When Kubuntu switched to KDE4 as it’s main desktop, I was disheartened. KDE 4, at the time was just, well, pretty unusable for me. It kept crashing, I couldn’t do the things that I wanted to, and I spent more time fighting with KDE than I did actually doing work. After about a week, I’d had enough, and I switched to Gnome.
Now, a lot of people are probably going to respond to this with Gnome vs KDE flames, but let me explain my viewpoint on the whole “Desktop Environment” war
I prefer KDE, but if a desktop will let me do the work I need to do without getting in my way and causing issues, then I can learn to use it.
The above is possibly the reason that I can get along ok with Windows XP, but if I have to use Vista, I’ll end up wanting to throw the machine out of the window.
So, for possibly the last year or so (I’m not too sure on the timescale!) I’ve been using Gnome in Ubuntu, and I must say, I’ve liked it. the fact that I can login, and instantly get access to my servers without having to type in my SSH key password (yes, insecure I know!), and that everything seems to integrate in a nice way, well.. it’s been fun.
But still, my heart lies with KDE, and I’ve been flipping back to it to see how KDE4 is coming along on a regular basis.
So far, I’ve seen it gradually improving, and well, it looks damned sexy to be honest, but there were a few things that I felt it was missing. The ability to have multiple rows of apps on the task switcher was a big one for me. I generally have a lot of windows open, and I don’t like the “Grouping” functionality. So when I get more than a few apps open, I could only see the icons. That’s been fixed in KDE4.2, and it does it in a nicer way than Gnome does it (only switching to two rows once there are a certain amount of windows open.
Next on the list is the whole password management thing. Gnome does a GREAT job at this. I login, and it unlocks the default keyring, sets up the SSH agent, adds my key, unlocking it from the keyring, and I don’t have to do anything but login with my normal user and password (though I intend to switch that to biometric login once I can be bothered to setup the fingerprint reader).
I’ve fixed that little issue (well, for SSH) by setting up an autostart script using ksshaskpass to add my SSH key when I login.
So far, KDE seems pretty usable for me now, but then, I’m quite happy to plod along on my Laptop and try things out. I’m feeling a bit lost with all the new functionality, and wishing that the Ubuntu Gnome Notifications (from pidgin, which I use as my IM client) didn’t look so ugly in the new sexy KDE Desktop (in fact, if anyone knows a way to get pidgin to use the Jaunty style notifications in KDE, let me know, as they’d fit in quite well under the new KDE look ) – I’d like to see some sort of common ground for notifications across the desktops, but who knows when that’s going to happen!
I’ll also try using it at work, if I can use it there without it getting in the way, then I will happily switch back permanently, but that’s the ultimate test.
I’m pretty sure that KDE 4 will be usable for me soon, and I’ll let you know if that’s now