Ditching gnome 3 for kde 4

I finally made the switch. I’ve been a long time fan of gnome, critical of kde memory bloat, and not fond of the lack of integration that has haunted kde and its apps for years. But I finally made the switch.

I have an Nvidia graphics card in this three and a half year old laptop on which I run the Nvidia proprietary drivers. Let’s not kid ourselves; in many cases the open source drivers aren’t up to snuff, and this card and laptop is one of those cases. I’m talking about regular use for watching videos, doing my development work and so on, not games, not exotic uses of blender or what have you, nothing out of the ordinary.

Gnome shell has been a memory hog since its inception, with leaks that force the shell to die a horrible death or hang in odd ways after a few days of uptime. Maybe this is caused by interaction with the Nvidia drivers, and maybe not, but it’s a drag.

Nonetheless, it was a drag I was willing to put up with, in the name of ‘use the current technologies, they’ll stabilize eventually’. No, no they won’t. With the latest upgrade to Fedora 20, I noticed a bizarre mouse pointer bug which goes something like this:

Type… typetypetype… woops mouse pointer is gone. Huh, where is it? Try alt-shift-tab to see the window switcher. Ah *whew*, I can at least switch to another window, and now the pointer is back.

Only, that alt-shift-tab trick didn’t always work the first time, and sometimes it didn’t work at all. I was forced often enough to hard power off the laptop (no alternate consoles to switch into, and the system was in hard lockup doing something disk-intensive, who knows what… maybe swapping to death).

After the last round of package updates I started seeing lockups multiple times a day. The bug reporter, on the few times gnome shell would actually segfault, refused to report the bug because it was a dupe and what was I doing using those proprietary drivers anyways.

Usability has a bunch of factors in there, but basic is the ability to use the system without lockup. So… kde 4.11. Five days later I have had no mouse pointer issues, no lockups, no OOM, no swapping. I miss my global emacs key bindings, I couldn’t get gnome terminal to work right because of the random shrinking terminal bug, and the world clock isn’t exactly the way I’d like it but I’ll live with that. Goodbye gnome 3, if you see gnome 4 around some day, my door will be open.

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