Saturday, April 20, 2013

semantic desktop

Here's an informative article: Semantic Desktop: Akonadi and Nepomuk

I know that people use KDE4's indexing tools, and say that the whole things's great. I can see that, for example, adding tags, ratings, or comments to my image files might be quite useful. But I haven't bothered; I stick with keeping my directories organized, in my old-fashioned way, and naming/renaming files as needed. Besides, none of that metadata would help me when I'm not using KDE -- and I use other DEs and WMs quite a bit.

The user can still turn that stuff off, and I think it should be off by default. But the author included a pretty good explanation of why, since KDE 4.10, having it on doesn't affect performance as much anymore:

Up until KDE 4.9 Nepomuk used a file indexing program called Strigi. While a good, fairly light-weight indexer, Strigi has drawbacks in getting it to work with Nepomuk in the way needed. But with the release of KDE Plasma Desktop 4.10, Nepomuk is Strigi-less. Thanks largely to the hard work of a talented developer named Vishesh Handa, Nepomuk was re-worked from the ground up, and even has it's own indexer now. The difference in performance and speed are extremely noticeable...

As with any environment, there are things I miss when I'm not using KDE, but these indexing tools are not among them. These "features" didn't bother me before KDE 4.10, since it took only a few moments to turn them off, and they don't bother me in 4.10.x because I'm fine with the responsiveness of the desktop even with everything turned on. But do I need a semantic desktop? Not convinced.

KDE devs put a lot of effort into providing features that users may or may not want or need, and I've got no problem with that. But KDE4 would be better, in my opinion, if it "shipped" with most "features" turned off, or if you could just add the ones you wanted. Or, better yet, if they shipped a "stripped-down" KDE4 version.

They can't or won't do any of that, but that's okay, because whether it's KDE 4.8.x, 4.9.x, or 4.10.x, I enjoy using it; the positives far outweigh any negatives. Still, I'm just as happy using Xfce, GNOME Shell, Openbox, etc. Hey, whatever works.

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