Saturday, August 2, 2008

More on KDE 4.1

Okay, I've only used KDE 4.1 for a couple of days and I have a little more to report. The first thing to say that this is my favorite KDE "straight out of the box" that I've encountered so far in my limited experience. Aesthetically, this couldn't be better - I think it's much sleeker than Gnome (we'll see what Gnome 3.0 brings) and rivals the design of Mac OS X (sorry - prejudice aside, Vista's not in the running here!). The eye candy is abundant, but not overdone. The last thing to say about the "look" factor is that in all my years as a computer end-user, I have never just wanted to sit there and admire the desktop, especially without changing the default wallpaper. I can't help it - I'm posting another screenshot:

So let's consider it a settled point that KDE 4.1 is very pretty.

There are, though, some issues I've encountered. I've always found KDE to be a bit buggy, and this one seems to be no exception:
  • The "startup" music clip is truncated (I hear dramatic piano that begins, then suddenly stops). Strangely, the "shutdown" clip works fine.
  • As a Firefox - Thunderbird user, I always have problems setting them as my default browser/mail client - this has been true in all my KDE experience.
  • I tried to configure Kopete as my Google chat client, but it failed, saying that I didn't have a certain plugin installed (which I do see on my package list as installed).
  • I'll mention here that my KDE 4.1 is installed onto my existing Kubuntu KDE 3.5 installation, which may be a factor in these issues.
And just a couple of usability complaints:
  • Well, (and this was lambasted in KDE 4.0 from what I've read) the desktop is no longer a "desktop" in the sense that you can just, say, download a file and put it there (which is something I do all the time). It is now a palate to place "widgets," some of which are actually useful, but are mostly nonessential eye candy as far as I can tell.
  • Things are not as "configurable" as they were before. I can't, for instance, change my clock to display in a "12 hour" mode - not a huge deal, just a preference. Some of the things that are configurable are things I'm not that interested in changing, like the length of my task panel at the bottom of the screen.
All in all, though, this is an impressive program, and I will keep it going alongside my "normal" Ubuntu Hardy installation.


Anonymous said...

you can change to 12 hour mode by going to systemsettings-> regional and language click "time and dates" tab and then change time format ..

i am using kde4 svn compiled from source so i dont know if this option exists on your kde4 install but its there ..

i dont know why the time is in 24 hours by default since not that many people use that

Chris said...

Hey - thanks for that tip - that's exactly what I did. I think, for what it's worth, that the default is 24 hour time because that's what's common in Europe.



Anonymous said...

if you want to just "download files and put it there", you should add a 'folder view' widget, and asign it to any folder where you download files. This way you can have an area of the desktop which dislays your mounted devices and another which shows your downloaded files.