KDE: Strength in Abstraction

I have not yet tried out Gnome Shell or Ubuntu Unity, but the biggest complaint most people level against them is that our desktops are being tablet-ified.  Sure, there need to be new, innovative interfaces for tablets and phones, but that’s no reason to abandon the desktop.  Sure, perhaps the average Joe (or Jane) will be using tablets more and more, but some of us have real work to get done.  We need to do photo editing, programming, video editing, 3D modeling, and other tasks that require something more than a glorified smart phone.  This is where KDE excels.

For years people have been berating KDE for abstracting everything.  What was the point?  Why have Phonon and Solid and all these other abstractions over Hal and gStreamer?  Why have the desktop be a part of Plasma?  Well, now the strengths of these choices have become clearer.  Specifically, when it comes to Plasma, this swapping out of parts allows for different interfaces with the absolute minimum of code duplication.  You can switch from a regular KDE desktop to a netbook interface and the KDE components needed for that are swapped with the regular desktop.  Both get to use the same underlying technology and we aren’t stuck with an interface that doesn’t work for regular destkop work.  And now I saw this new interface being developed for tablets.  On top of that, more and more KDE programs are being abstracted so that they present different interfaces based on the device they think they’re on.  Marble is a great example.  It is a KDE Google Earth clone and has a corresponding interface.  But if it thinks it’s in a smartphone or tablet, it changes its interface to work more like an in-car GPS navigation unit.  That’s brilliant!

And that’s why I prefer KDE for my desktops.

Published by Eric Mesa

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