This must be one of the rare times that I’ll have a review which features negative comments on Linux! Like many KDE fans around, I was pretty much excited by announcement of KDE 4 and the promise of a better looking interface that’s lighter than KDE 3. So when Hardy Heron was released, of course I couldn’t help but try but my experience with it has been a bit disappointing – maybe coz I’ve been used to much higher standards from Linux.
The test platform:
- Pentium IV – 2.4 GHz
- 512 MB DDR 2 RAM
- NVidia Geforce 4000 MX (not great at all)
- Hard Disk – 180 GB
- Wired Ethernet, DVD,…
The Installation is very smooth (I’m using the alternate edition), in less than one hour you are done. Note that I’m now used to the partitioning system.
Not bad; the login screen is so so – could have been improved and once you get started you are welcome with the new default desktop and the taskbar is black. The starting menu has also changed; the applications are grouped into categories.
Beyond appearances: the good, the bad and the ugly
- No need to add repositories
- Previously in Kubuntu, you had to add all sort of repositories; enabling multiverse, … and that would allow additional programs to be included – even onts. Now this is no longer required – the only programs not available that I had to download seperately are realplayer, adobe acrobat and skype.
- Amarok & MP3
- Previously you had to get libxine extracodes or similar to play mp3. Now, just start amarok and try to play an mp3 file. It will say that it cannot play mp3 by default but it will prompt you to install the required library which will automatically be installed through adept.
- Nice Interface
- KDE 4 is definitely nice and plasma-extragear will give you additional widgets.
– – –
- Random quirks
- On installing firefox in adept, it’s firefox 3 beta that got installed. Why the hell is it not the stable Firefox 2 in there
- Firefox would not appear in the starting menu (same with Amarok) after they were installed in adept. They could howver be launched with Run
- The initial OpenGL drivers do not support blur, fade, … or any other eyecandy. However, the Nvidia drivers are easy to install.
- FAT32 partitions
- My FAT32 partitions (where my music is stored) did not appear by default in Amarok. It’s only when I played with dolphin that they appeared.
– – –
- Since blur, fade and … did not work with the official; I chose to use XRender as renderer and it failed. If failed miserably and the system became incredibly slow.
- The taskbar disappeared
- For I don’t know what reason, the taskbar disappeared and I couldn’t get it back. I tried to install Kicker but it turned out to be the taskbar of KDE 3 and not of KDE 4. Finally I preferred to reinstall everything
- Show Desktop icon and taskbar widgets
- Very strangely, there is no “Show Desktop” icon and widgets cannot be added to taskbar! What the heck? The “Show Desktop” icon is particularly useful and it seems that is is replaced by CTRL + F12. Sorry that’s lame since the taskbar is not visible in this mode and even worse when you launch new applications, they do not appear!
KDE 4 is a step in the right direction but it is a technology that will need time to mature and I now understand why Cannonical has decided that Kubuntu 8.04 won’t be LTS. For now, I’ll be sticking to Dapper on my laptop coz one of the prime reasons I’m using ubuntu is it’s incredible stability which is currently not available in Kubuntu 8.04.