Open Source

Will you try the KDE 4 desktop?


Blogger Jack Wallen has written on the subject of Linux desktops recently, particularly the highly customizable Enlightenment. I ran across this preview of KDE 4 from Kristin Shoemaker at downloadsquad.com, which is due to launch officially next week. Apparently there are some fairly significant changes to the design, and how much you like it probably depends on your status as Linux newbie vs. power user:

KDE is known for being highly customizable, both in terms of how the desktop looks and behaves, and how it ultimately handles the hardware on the system. The good news for you as a new Linux user is the amount of control you'll have over the desktop. You'll be able to configure things to look and act exactly as you want. The bad news? The amount of control you have can be puzzling to the point of frustration.

KDE 4 isn't the only new package to look out for. Matt Hartley at madpenguin.org is high on the potential of Fedora 8 to unseat the popular Ubuntu. He particularly likes the Pulseaudio package that will be installed by default for additional control over sound devices.

Are you shopping for a new desktop, looking to upgrade, or happy with what you've got?

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Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...

19 comments
drbayer
drbayer

I have used KDE 4 for a while now, and like it pretty well. There are some small peccadillos that I have learned to live with, much like I did with Windows & MacOS. For those "in-the-know" who want a lot of control, I prefer KDE. For average users I prefer Gnome on Ubuntu - easier to find common things and easy to find/install software.

rcugini
rcugini

I already have Fedora 8. The sound works on a 3000 N100 laptop and dual boots with Vista Business via easy BCD edit. I use KDE 3.5. I'll wait on the new desktop. I don't really need it. KDE rocks as it is.

Jaqui
Jaqui

Ya have to love being able to grab the sources even before it's released. :p just more bells and whistles that I have no use for.

rhomp2002
rhomp2002

I think most of the eye candy gets in the way. After all if you follow the dictum that form follows function, then most of it would not be used anyway.

chasmandocharles
chasmandocharles

When a Kanotix release carries it, cause I'm a live CD fan.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"The good news ... is the amount of control you'll have ... The bad news? The amount of control you have can be puzzling to the point of frustration." I think this sums up my feelings about the entire open source movement, from OS to GUI to apps :-)

catseverywhere
catseverywhere

Open source is indeed the proverbial double-edge sword. I have to hand it to Mandriva on this score, however. They are moving toward a less cluttered, more consistent default selection of tools, apps and utilities. BUT they still offer literally everything under the sun in their official on line repositories. Geeks like me get the best of all worlds. For my clients I can offer a solid, free and full featured OS that doesn't overload with all the competing choices. But I can also add custom items if someone isn't happy with the default Mandriva choice. I just did this with someone who wasn't happy with the open office spread sheet interface. I loaded gnumeric and she loved it. Then as far as my own systems go, I get the kitchen sink... I've added 10 Gig above and beyond the default Mandriva system on this here lap top, which I use for security auditing, staying in touch on the road and as a general Linux ambassador for folks who've never seen Linux in action. Make note: I think Mandriva is at least attempting to address that open source sense of "choice overload." I think it's worth keeping an eye on 'em over there in France... cat

j-mart
j-mart

When you have choices you can choose to use them or not use them. Linux and open source is about being able to choose, for some the prospect of having choices, is a frightening prospect. For these people we have proprietary closed source products, where the corporate "big brother" in order to reduce the stress of having to choose, has made all the necessary decisions already for you, though for some, even having the choice of going down the closed source path, or taking the open source path, places them under extreme stress, because even having to make one choice all om their own ,is just too stressful, and want to eliminate the need to make even one choice ( MS being a company who only has your best interest at heart has been working towards this goal for years ). So us degenerate people who like having to make our own decisions, and enjoy having options, will decide to continue on our merry way choosing, to use all these new features, or to ignore them if that is what we want but we won't let the mere thought of having choice stress us out too much.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Their rule is that they will only make three decisions a day. They haven't decided if selecting that number actually counted as one of their decisions the day they made the rule. If it did, then they're one decision over their limit and someday they only have to make two. However, selecting that "someday" is a decision in itself.

j-mart
j-mart

Sooner or later Linux fans will give it a go. Most though will tend to stick with whatever desktop suits them unless it is so special we can't leave it alone

morgancoxuk
morgancoxuk

I will try KDE4 as soon as it's stable. I have used Linux for about 5 years - first tried Mandrake (kde) - i now have opensuse 10.3 and gentoo (both KDE...) I work at a hosting company and nearly everybody has Linux installed - no one at all uses gnome - people actually say they would use Windows over gnome. I really dislike gnome and Ubuntu and hate the fact it is the most popular. ubuntu = a buggy nightmare gnome = unusable Many people will try out Ubuntu - install it , then about 1-2 days later remove it and NEVER try linux again - it really worries me....

catseverywhere
catseverywhere

I don't understand the fascination with either Gnome or Ubuntu. I agree a lot of folks will hear the hub-bub, try Ubuntu, rightly not like it and conclude "that's Linux." (along with "...and I don't like it") I will use KDE4 as soon it's stable as well. I tested it with a Debian and a Mandriva test bed and concluded it'll be 2009 before I'm loading it regularly. Looks like a lot to be worked out yet. I'm not a "inadvertent developer" with my production machines, but I do run a slew of testing units and will help with KDE4 stability. But don't get me started on my Gnome rant... nautilus... 35 open windows to get to one file... a theme you can only describe as "globular..." ok, I'll stop. cat

alaniane
alaniane

and then using switchdesk and startx when I want to use a UI. I use KDE as my default UI; however, sometimes I'll use Windowmaker but it loads a lot faster on my system. However, I prefer CLI for accomplishing most of my tasks.

lastchip
lastchip

there is a lot of truth in your reply, although I wouldn't go so far as to say GNOME is an embarrassment. In fact, I use GNOME on my Debian machine, and use KDE on my PCLinuxOS laptop. However, the fact of the matter is, most potential new users of Linux will be coming from Windows, and if ever they are to be "converted", the switch should be as painless as possible. There is no doubt in my mind, KDE is much more "Windows like" than GNOME and therefore, I believe makes it a good first choice particularly for a new user. Your final paragraph *is* a real source of concern and I think there are many people that do just that. It's a great pity, because there are so many aspects of Linux that are so much better than Windows and to not give it a proper chance just because it *looks* so different, is an opportunity missed.

Absolutely
Absolutely

The Gnome Control Center and placement of various other items in "System" vs. "Applications" are not what I'd call ideal, but not "unusable" or "an embarrassment." But, then, I don't exactly embarrass easy, and I don't care overly much about the 3-D rendering on my computer.

Absolutely
Absolutely

I'm not on the KDE dev team or a distro trying to get a contract with an OEM, so I'm not going to bother switching from what's working for me now.

Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

I'm just kidding but it does give me what I basically need. Anyways, going under the hood in Xwindows is where it matter most to me. The shell is EVERYTHING! Ya'lls feelin me! Hehe.

colniebling
colniebling

I Am very interestedin this product had good reports in PCU user.

jlwallen
jlwallen

i have been anxiously waiting for KDE 4 for a long time. even though KDE is not my default desktop (enlightenment is) KDE 4 will definitely be worth a keen, long look. heck even if for one thing: memory management. from what i hear KDE 4 will use memory much better than previous releases - and this with even more eye candy!

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