Is the reason that KDE Plasma has such strange defaults to avoid legal issues?

A thought struck me as I was wrestling with the desktop and “Desktop mode” and “Folder View” and trashcan widgets which don’t take up space like icons, etc.:

Is possibly the reason that KDE Plasma has such strange defaults (but very much allow you to set things up so they become nice) not because the developers have very strange preferences, but rather to avoid it looking and behaving too much like Windows 10?

There are things about Windows that make a lot of sense and feel natural, but the problem is that they added so much unwanted junk on top of it, started changing things around, removing anything useful and generally kept harassing their users to the point where it was no longer possible to use the OS without losing one’s mind. Now that I use Linux, there’s not random new garbage popping up every other boot without my consent, but the default settings are quite odd in many ways.

For example, the “peek at desktop” instead of “minimize all” default which has to be changed for it to behave properly. Once you know about this and change it, it works just like it should. But by default it’s maddening when random windows pop up underneath when you open Dolphin, for example. It’s exhausting to post questions about things online or to try to time IRC right to get a response. Most people thus won’t bother, and therefore will assume that “Linux is bad” if the default desktop experience appears broken.

Another notable example is the default lack of an “up arrow” in Dolphin. It’s there, hidden in preferences, but by default there’s only “left and right” arrows to browse back and forward – not “up one level”. I don’t know if MS has some sort of patent on that (I suspect that they stole the idea to begin with), but it does make it feel more like (a non-crappy version of) File Explorer from modern Windows.

It strikes me that this could be a conscious effort to avoid legal action from Microsoft. Is there any truth in that?

If there are no legal issues related to this, I would suggest having a one-time choice when you first start/install KDE Plasma which asks you if you would like to set the preferences to resemble Windows, or if you want to use the actual defaults. This would save a ton of time and energy for all those who get annoyed by the “peek at desktop” behaviour or the lack of a way to “go up one level” when browsing files in Dolphin (among other details which really do make a difference for the user experience).

i could be wrong, but i think the defaults are up to the distro so i doubt that MS has any influence over that…

my only experience with KDE is kubuntu and i share your frustration that the defaults they choose are not the best that KDE has to offer, and the learning curve is steep enough without piling on.

neon probably has better defaults and i’m told the opensuse KDE spin is better as well… but i don’t know if that’s because of any of these issues you raise and now that i’ve got KDE doing what i want, i’m not interested in finding out.

trust me when i say sorting our your KDE desktop is only a fraction of the effort you have yet to expend making the transition from MS, but it will all be worth it.

take notes, enjoy the journey, and remember you are free.

I’ve spent months doing nothing but trying to find solutions on the many things that were different or broke when switching to Linux, in spite of using 99% open source and multi-platform programs and doing extensive “pre-practicing”, so I’m well aware…

I use Debian, BTW. Does it have particularly bad defaults for KDE? I installed KDE Plasma with apt install kde-full. I frankly don’t understand why/how things such as KDE Plasma could have different defaults based on the distro. (I mean, it’s of course technically possible, but why do they change things around?)

because linux is like herding cats… it’s messy, but it’s free.

my experience is very similar and i’m still adjusting to some of the weird differences between MS office and libre office… spreadsheets in particular

but in almost every case when i step back and look at it objectively and ignoring the muscle memory issues, the linux way of doing things just makes more sense and gives me more control.

this is one of the main reasons why folks will tell anyone thinking of making the leap, linux is not windows… it’s can be similar, and in some ways familiar, but it’s a completely different thing.

1 Like

^^ I was going to say exactly this :smiley:

I would say that the design preference and user input has preferred fewer buttons, and less duplication – when I want to go up, instead of moving the mouse all the way over to the directional arrows, I use the ‘breadcrumbs’ to go where I want to. or I can customize things to be the way I want them to be – which is a main feature of Plasma in particular. You almost need to tweak things, though of course many do not need or want to.

That of course is personal experience and preference. I see things the other way 'round, as I have been using KDE for well over 20 years now, and only have light experience with Windows. I am equally frustrated by Microsoft’s default settings and differences.

No, not at all. In reality, you can see how Windows has…borrowed… some of Plasma’s Breeze styling going back to Vista, as well as desktop widgets, maybe. At the very least, it could be said that they were feeding off each other during development.

There is no legal reason. Rather, the reason is usually much more mundane: the people who implemented these features liked them that way.

In some cases, their preferences may not be representative of the general population, and in those cases, we often endeavor to change the default settings to better match the perceived preferences of the majority of the userbase.

In other cases, preferences are more split, and what you’ll prefer is really just a judgment call. In such cases, changing the default settings rarely makes sense.

The system is configurable precisely so that people with strong preferences or many expectations about “the way things should work” from their prior computing experience can self-satisfy.

On the subject of asking people for their preferences on first boot, we generally try to avoid that for a variety of reasons. If you’re curious to learn them, I can recommend Get Involved/Design/Frequently Discussed Topics - KDE Community Wiki.