My life with KDE4

It was late July that I went back to KDE — I left it just after version 4.0 was released, with the whole confusion after it. I’ve got now a generally good impression with it, it works much better than it used to in the original release, and it proved itself much more stable than GNOME 3 or Cinnamon, as it never crashed on me altogether, like both of them did so many times. Multi-monitor, which is what I complained about regarding Cinnamon, is not perfect here either, but that’s a completely different story at this point I guess.

While I’m still not liking the way the whole KDE 4.0 release has been handled – “everybody should know that a dot-zero is not ready for daily use” is just a sorry excuse for a mess up – the situation has improved and the results are good. Of course, like everybody already told me, I steered clear of semantic desktop, which means I’m not using KMail or anything like that (even though Tomáš pointed out that the problem is that it needs to have the code available, but not enabled at runtime). On one laptop I’ve been using Thunderbird — on the other I’m using only GMail and it seems enough for most cases, right now.

There are a few things that I still don’t really find straightforward, like the Plasma widget sharing (what the heck is it used for?) and the fact that you can have both widgets and notification icons in the lower panel for things like battery and network — and of the two, the nice ones are the notification icons, which have been, to me, the most difficult to identify. I also haven’t grasped the idea of activities, or to be precise their difference from desktops, beside looking, to me, like a three-dimensions desktop wall. I know that for it to work properly you need support from the apps as well, and they change both the apps and the available widgets… still, it doesn’t look like I can care for it right now.

KRunner (the thingy that comes up with M-F2) is actually quite nice, but there are a few rough edges on it as it is right now, I think. One of the was with the latest update (4.10) I lost the icons on it .. till the next reboot, then they appeared back. Maybe it was something to do with the further updates done on the ebuilds after the first unmask. Also, at least in 4.9, sometimes if you’re too quick to type and press enter, it executes the results of the previous search rather than current one… but okay, it’s my fault I guess.

After quite a long time I also decided to give up on Pidgin (on the Dell where I have been using it, the Zenbook right now does not have it at all, as when I’m using it, like right now, I care about being left alone, mostly — I have bought it as my “time to write” laptop), in favour of the Telepathy integration provided by KDE itself – you probably noticed after my previous rant about SSL implementations – which actually seems to work pretty well. Only issue? When you first try to add an account, and you don’t have the backends installed yet, it’ll tell you to install both telepathy-gabble and telepathy-haze — the former implements XMPP and thus allows both GTalk and Facebook accounts, the latter implements almost everything else on top of Pidgin’s libpurple… you don’t need it for either GTalk or Facebook, which happen to be the only accounts I care about myself, so at the end I was able to get rid of both telepathy-haze and Pidgin itself.

I like digiKam for photo handling, although the Flickr upload feature (at least in the previous version) was lacking, and the Facebook one absolutely unreliable… I know that version 3 has been just released and I’m looking forward to see if the new version solves my problems, which would make me very happy. I’m also hoping I’ll be able to get a new harddrive just for the photos, the one I’m using now is shared with Windows, and thus is formatted in NTFS — access speed even over USB3 is abysmal.

So, all in all, going back to KDE was really a very good idea. Although it took me a while to get used to it, and while it includes a number of features that I don’t think I’ll ever use (activities and widget sharing as noted above), it does not get in my way, which is the main reason why I was so bothered by GNOME 3, and it’s much more stable than Cinnamon.