KDE can be fully accelerated, like Gnome Shell, and I noticed basically the same thing as you (running an old jhbuild of Gnome Shell on an old netbook and the same on a quad core intel with discrete graphics). The issues that are occurring seem related to specific hardware/software combinations. Basically both of us are running pretty old hardware which is pretty well supported (I'm assuming you're using the OSS drivers for the Radeon) and one netbook is much like another.
Am I wrong about this?
OpenSUSE 11.4's kernel doesn't have FOSS Radeon support for Llano, so that rules out my Llano desktop and laptop for any meaningful testing. Being that my PhenomII/HD4650 system isn't hooked up right now, I opted to test my wife's Athlon II/HD4200 laptop.
The laptop is still running an old Ubuntu 10.04 installation with the initial FOSS 3d support, and runs Compiz admirably, with every effect enabled, wobbly windows, exploding windows, paper-airplane windows, desktop cylinder, etc... All running smoothly on a 2 y/o IGP and a 2 y/o operating system.
1. Booted up OpenSUSE, everything seems to be going OK.
2. I open a few random applications, and move around to different virtual desktops. It seems pretty smooth, much better than previous KDE experiences.
3. I attempt to go all-out and turn on more desktop effects. I get a message saying that everything I tried to turn on can't be turned on, and also numerous effects that were already supposed to be on by default can't be turned on.
All in all, it was a huge improvement in speed, and although it could barely do any desktop effects, it didn't actually crash or show any screen corruption during the brief time I tested it.
However, the fact that most of the desktop effects can't be turned on doesn't instill confidence, nor does it make me want to recommend it for people with AMD hardware.
What desktop effects that are actually useful were disabled?
If my point was that KDE supports AMD GPUs poorly, then the question would be: do any of those effects work on Nvidia or Intel GPUs?
If they do, then it completely validates my point. If not, then the questions is: why on earth are they putting such a half-baked buggy feature into a so-called "stable" release of KDE, and then expecting people not to form a negative opinion of KDE?
I'll even take it one step further, I have Pentium IV, Core2 and Sandy Bridge machines available to me at work, and I may still some older Nvidia Quadro PCI cards laying around. Sometime next week, I'll compare OpenSUSE 11.4 on all of those various machines, and report back. My guess is that those machines will be somewhat better supported than the 2 AMD machines I've already tested.
none of the issues you bring up here in the thread are known to the KWin developers - they are not reported in KDE's bugtracker. If you want to improve you should report the bugs you find to the developers with all required information so that it can get fixed in future releases.
But I think the bugtracker is the wrong place for it. What is described here are user support issues: something is going wrong badly and there are people on e.g. forum.kde.org who could help. KDE also offers #kde on freenode and there are also user support mailing lists. I am very sure that these issues can be resolved so that you can have a pleasant user experience.
Now to get on the claims that the effects do not work. I am sorry but that is wrong. I am typing here on a system using R300G driver, mostly I'm using R600G and there is no effect not supported on such drivers (some tweaks might be required, e.g. Invert Effect is only supported on R300G with OpenGL ES but not with OpenGL).
If brand new hardware fails that is nothing KDE can do about - we don't have the hardware. Concerning the mentioned crash of X: KDE could work around it (and does so by ensuring that you can only crash X once), but it is wrong. If an XClient is able to crash X it is a possible security vulnerability as in the worst case this could be used to execute arbitrary code as the user owning the X server process (most likely root). I hope we all agree that such crashes have to be fixed in the X server and not worked around in KDE as it affects more than just KDE.
I also just checked my bug mail directory and we did not have any report in 2011 about crashing X servers when using KWin. Whatever you experienced it is not reported in our bug tracker, so we do not even have a chance to do anything about it.
Given what you wrote about the experience with KWin on the brand new hardware I even doubt that it supports any OpenGL yet. KWin did not start with compositing enabled, which is a clear indication that something failed and trying to enforce it resulted in a crash of X. I am pretty sure that also Compiz does not work and e.g. Unity-2D was used as the fallback.
Concerning the live CD I want to mention that those are special beasts and might differ from the real experience. Especially we as KDE do not have any influence on how the distributions build the live CDs. I never tried the openSUSE 11.4 live CD, but I can say that it comes with Plasma 4.6.0 - our current release is 4.7.2. It might be that there is some issue with compositing on the live CD. It might be that it starts into failsafe mode where compositing is disabled. This would explain why none of the effects worked even after checking them. And trying to think as a distributor I can understand why they would go for security and disable compositing on an installation media.
a)I'm lying.(and others in the thread who have made similar claims are also lying). or
b)I'm not doing it right, or
c)I didn't take the time to find those magic settings to make it work right.
I'm sorry dude, but all 3 of those answers are wrong. I'm trying to figure out if you actually believe what you're saying, or if you are trying to perpetuate some bizarre agenda where you knowingly waste your entirely life writing/maintaining deliberately broken software, for god-know's-what reasons... The only 2 ideas that really explain your behaviour are either that you're bat-scheisse crazy, or that you've accepted money from somebody to screw up KDE on-purpose. TBH, I'm leaning towards the former...