Tuesday, April 22, 2008

KDE 4.0

When it looked like today would be as boring as ever i decided to go ahead and give KDE 4.0 a try. Googled up and found that KDE 4.0 repos where there for Kubuntu Gutsy and that I could try it out without affecting my perfectly configured KDE 3.5 setup. It was just an 80MB download. I guess its 'coz the KDE 4 version of lots of apps is a work in progress. I logged in to be greeted by the nice and shiny KDE 4 splash screen. Ran into some minor problems when junk apps like kiba dock and avant window navigator started to run at KDE 4 startup. Uninstalling them removed the problem. I'll classify my observations into two categories :D

What I liked in KDE 4.0
  • Plasma and Oxygen are truly awwsum. The visual appeal is real nice. Check the above screenshot.
  • As someone said somewhere, turning each desktop icon into a widget/plasmoid and enabling features like rotate and all gives the desktop an "organic"/"real life" feel.
  • If youve used Microsoft Windows Vista, no matter how cluttered and irritating the OS was, it did sport a very polished and shiny look. KDE 4 is has lived upto that level.
  • KDE 4 version of dolphin is faster than its KDE 3.5 backport.
  • I liked the new kicker menu. Sports a more organized appearance and finaly doesnt remind me of the windows start button :D
  • Truly awwsum set of wallpapers :D :D
What I'm skeptical about in KDE 4.0
  • Turning each icon into a widget took off the useful right click contextual menu of each icon. Mayb a solution will arise for this in a subsequent version.
  • Most KDE 4 apps are a work in progress. I tried out Amarok2. I couldn't get it to scan my music collection. A menu option is there, but nothing happens when i click it. Thankfully amarok and every other KDE3.5 app works just fine in KDE 4.0. So nothings lost :D
  • KDE 3.5 used to apply Qt styles to Gtk apps(firefox for eg). That doesnt happen in KDE 4.0. Gtk apps look horribly out of sorts when compared to the new polished KDE apps.
  • Even though Kwin(the KDE window manager) now provides compositing support with some GUI effects it is still light years behind the likes of compiz(In terms of features, performace and customizability)
To sum it all up, KDE 4.0.3 has enough and more to keep me excited till 4.1 or 4.2 gets released. +1 for the KDE project :)
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