KDE 4 the desktop environment for Linux was released on Jan 11. The release announcement is here. A nice guided tour is also available here. Having looked at KDE 4 Beta 4 and KDE 4 RC 1, I could not wait to get my hands on the final release. I downloaded the SUSE CD image, burnt it and got started.
The test system was custom built. I have given the spec below even though I tested using a Live CD
- Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 @ 2.2 GHz
- 2 GB DDR2 RAM
- Seagate 250 GB HDD
- nVidia GeForce 8500 GT with 512 MB RAM
- LG Super Multi DVD Writer
- Acer 17″ LCD monitor
1. Stability - The final release is far more stable and usable than the two previous releases I had looked at. This is only to be expected. Congrats to all the developers who had worked on KDE 4
2. Response - The UI was very responsive and I never experienced a lag even while running multiple applications
3. Eye Candy – Plasma has improved greatly. Though the widgets provided don’t do anything great, they dont crash as they did earlier. Even the controls – buttons, scroll bars and the like – have been converted to blue which is more pleasant than the default green of SUSE Linux. The Oxygen icon theme looks beautiful, though I still could find some icons missing under Applications
4. Desktop Effects - Unfortunately, I could not enable the desktop effects while running the Live CD. I don’t have a spare system to install and check it out
5. Configuration – The monitor was recognized and the correct resolution was set. Similarly, the network card, sound and everything else was configured on boot. Once I get my laptop, I should check for Wi-Fi. I know this is more of an OS thing but still I want to mention this here since last time I could not get my Ethernet card detected.
1. Kickoff – After looking at Kickoff, I should say, whoever came up with this idea did not have the least idea of what usability is. And what pains me is the decision to use this idea and bring it out in the final product. Why should I click four times to open an application?
2. Konqueror – Again, how come Konqueror can even be imagined as the default web browser. Most sites don’t work on it. It was good to use it as a file manager in previous KDE versions and Konqueror was very good at that. But to use it as a web browser is a little disappointing. Mozilla Firefox should have been there, or if you are against it pitch for Opera.
A great release. Though the Live CD did not have a usable browser or an office suite, I assume it is up to the distros to add their favorite applications on top of the platform.