After running Linux (Debian 12) for almost half a year (after switching from Windows), I have now just gone through the ordeal of making a completely fresh, clean installation in order to attempt to verify/fix the various bizarre KDE Plasma issues which I suspected may have resulted from the “cruft” collected from me having originally installed XFCE and then later switched over to KDE Plasma on the installed system.
I downloaded the latest Debian installer, verified its SHA-512 hash (as I always do), put it on a stick and installed it very carefully, unchecking everything in the list of DEs except for “KDE Plasma”. For this new installation, I have cleanly followed my careful notes from my first experience, with zero “experimentation” which could in any way affect how KDE Plasma performs or behaves.
I use the “X11” session rather than “Wayland” out of necessity. (Long story.) If I now log out and try to log in again with Wayland, the login screen just reloads itself with no explanation, so let’s focus on X11 as it will take a long time until Wayland can be switched over to.
I use the official (closed source) NVIDIA drivers, again out of necessity, fetched and installed via Debian’s own “contrib”-enabled APT. (The MESA/open source GPU drivers are just painfully slow.)
The only setting I have changed is “Allow applications to block compositing”, because it causes visual glitches with (for example) Kate/Konsole appearing upside-down and flickering around. (I have checked that turning this back on does not fix my issues.)
Even before I changed any GUI preference or installed any of my scripts (which I also previously suspected were the cause for some of my issues), the same frustrating bugs showed themselves on the KDE Plasma desktop:
- The wastebin icon is visually permanently “full” no matter how many times I empty it or how I do it. It doesn’t matter if I right-click it and select “Empty”, or do it from Dolphin’s “Empty wastebin” button. It remains visually “full”.
- Both on the desktop and in Dolphin, views don’t always (pretty rarely) update when files are moved or deleted or added. In Dolphin, I can press F5 to “force” it manually, but the desktop doesn’t respond to any “nudging” such as pressing the same button.
- When I click an icon on the desktop, hold it and move it around on the desktop, it “feels” extremely “heavy” in a difficult to describe manner, as if the system is under extreme load (it isn’t), and when you “drop” it by releasing the mouse button, it disappears briefly (half a second or so) before reappearing in the new place.
- Oftentimes when I move the cursor “too quickly” (or so it seems) after clicking an icon to drag it to a different place on the desktop, the cursor appears not above the icon that is being moved, but far away from it (not always the same location).
- When I attempt to switch between the “layout modes” called “Folder View” and “Desktop”, the whole GUI window permanently freezes with nothing rendered inside it (you can see the desktop wallpaper underneath), every single time. I have rebooted in between; it was not a temporary glitch. I am thus stuck in “Folder View” right now, although I still don’t understand the difference between that and “Desktop” mode; both seem to behave in the same way as just detailed.
The GUI in general is not similarly “sluggish”, so it cannot be some fundamental driver issue. This seems to pertain only to the desktop. I’m unsure if this is normal or abnormal, but opening Dolphin can take half a second to a second, and clicking a “task manager group” has a noticeable delay whereas clicking individual task manager items is instant, but that’s about it. That was the same before the reinstallation, BTW. Moving around windows seems smooth and whatnot, just like they were before reinstalling.
I do remember that a KDE developer here told me that there is some “bad blood” between the Debian and KDE projects, and that they may have made some changes to (deliberately or not) mess with Plasma. While I was still using the original installation, he suggested that I should create the new file
fs.inotify.max_user_instances=256 in it, which I did. This partially seemed to fix the issue with Dolphin views not updating, but not fully, and it did not fix the wastebin icon being visually stuck as “full”. The aforementioned sluggishness and glitchiness of moving items around on the desktop seems to be a new issue since the reinstallation.
I have not yet applied this “hack” on my new installation, because, again, I’m trying to keep it fully “clean” so that nobody can possibly accuse me of “doing something wrong”, “running weird scripts” or “over-customizing”.
Re-installing Debian Linux from scratch with KDE Plasma as the first and only DE appears to only have worsened the glitches I experienced before. Although I had not touched it for quite a while, the last time I tried I had no issues switching between the two “layouts” (Folder View/Desktop) prior to the new installation.
Now that I have verified that it even happens on a clean system, with no possible interference from XFCE or things I may have done and forgotten about the first time around, I really don’t know what to do.
I want to point out that this was a major deal for me to go through and that I’m not willing to switch Linux distros (for a multitude of reasons which aren’t relevant here). Surely whatever strange configuration they may be applying can be reverted/overloaded?
I don’t want to go through this with Gnome as well. Nothing indicates that it would be a better experience overall (the exact opposite is the most likely), but at the same time, the desktop is the most fundamental part of a visual computer environment and it needs to work properly. I really don’t understand what could possibly be causing these things, or why it’s even worse after reinstalling.
plasmashell --version reports
plasmashell 5.27.5 and
apt list --installed | grep plasma says
kde-plasma-desktop/stable,now 5:142 amd64 [installed,automatic].