First Look at KDE 4

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

The Good

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.

The Bad

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.

Conclusion

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.

Screen shots

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9 responses to “First Look at KDE 4

  1. I like konqueror, it’s fast, clean, integrated to kde interface and works very nice, in kde 3, this version on KDE4 has some problems, but im opening tickets on bugzilla and hope all will fixed =]
    I am using KDE4 on Mandriva 2008.0
    Thanks!

  2. @bedi, thanks for your comment. Yes, Konqueror is clean and fast. My only grudge is many websites dont work completely with Konqueror.

    Cheers,
    Bala

  3. if you use the kubuntu packages, you can use the “simple menu” which is just like the previous kmenu. Its probably also on other distributions.

  4. The bad?

    1. You can have the traditional menu instead of kickoff (add plasmoid> traditional panel or something alike)

    2. Mozilla is not a project of KDE so won’t be the default in a KDE environment. Indeed Mozilla is not KDE-friendly. Konqueror (in real system, not a liveCD!) takes advantage of Firefox plugins and loads every single webpage just like Firefox (change identification for problematic sites). Even more, for me, with webkit is far superior to FF as text rendering is much better and it has better support for some web standards. Obviously, it has a better look now.

  5. Pingback: About KDE4 and KDE 4.0 and Little More « Linux and Open Source Blog

  6. The Mandriva 2008 version of KDE4 was sweet in aesthetics and it doesn’t have the kickoff style by default.

  7. @nosrednaekim, Sid – Thanks for the comment. I was running the SUSE Live CD version of KDE 4. I have not tried the other distros. Thanks for the heads up. I will try them over the weekend.

    @Miguel – I tried the plasmoid menu. You can see it on one of the screen shots.As far as the Mozilla project is concerned, I am fully aware its not a KDE project. It would have been a nice addition though. Again, that is up to the distro to decide what to package.

    Cheers,
    Bala

  8. glad to hear u didn’t have anymore troubles on that release . on nearly the same hardware i tried the suse livecd and it frooze several times . but i like what i saw so far .
    with ongoing development it will become the most advanced linuxdesktop so far .
    kubuntu is next 🙂

  9. @pete, its unfortunate to hear that you had problems. Did u get a chance to try out another distro with KDE 4? Yeah the desktop looks really good. Personally, for now, I prefer the simplicity of GNOME.

    Cheers
    Bala

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