Open Source

If it "ain't" broke...

Since this last summer I have been promising myself I would upgrade my main PC. You see, I am still running Fedora 6 with e16 (Enlightenment). Let's put that into perspective. Fedora "Core" 6 was released in October 2006 and e16 was released sometime in 2000. So that's a two-year old operating system (that hasn't been re-installed since) working with an eight-year old window manager.

Needless to say I often feel "out of date."

But the problem comes when, every time I stick in a new drive to load up a new version of Fedora or a new Ubuntu, I am not impressed enough to give up my tried and true Fedora 6/e16 combination. And that, strangely enough, disappoints me on certain levels. At the same time, however, it makes me proud that the open source community created solid enough technologies to stand the test of time.

You see, this F6/e16 combination might very well be the most reliable installation I have ever had. Not once have I experienced a problem with it. This does present a problem, however. On my main machine, I do not experience the latest technologies. Better, faster kernels? Nope. Higher security? Nope. Remember, Fedora 6 has reached EOL.

So I decided over the weekend to remove the drive once again and install Ubuntu 7.10. This time I decided to go with the 64 bit version as well as immediately update to KDE4. I was impressed with what I had seen with KDE4 in the news and wanted to try it first hand. Here's how it went.

I have an onboard Nvidia card. Groan. So EVERY STINKING time xorg made a change—I had to go in and edit the file adding:

Option "HWcursor" "Off"

For some silly reason, those pesky nvidia drivers always leave this out, thus making my cursor disappear. Okay, not a show stopper by any means.

The Ubuntu install was smooth as silk. All the ugrades, easy as pie. Installing KDE4? Not a problem.

Using KDE4? Problem.

Okay people, KDE4 was supposed to be "IT." It was supposed to be the new Segway. KDE4 promised to do all my computing for me, write all my articles, balance my check book, and look super sweet in the process. Okay, maybe not all that — but it was promised to be the heralding of the new evolution of the Linux desktop. I certainly hope it's not. What it seems like to me is KDE trying to be Microsoft Vista and, in the process, creating a bunch of tools and widgets that do little more than crash and burn.

Maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration. But it was clunky. It crashed a number of times and quickly proved itself to me not to be production ready. And if that's the case, why did they release it? Why didn't they work out the bugs, actually have a good set of widgets to add, and make it NOT look like Vista? I don't know.

What I do know is after less than an hour working in KDE 4 and Ubuntu 7.10, I shut down the machine, swapped the drives, and loaded up Fedora Core 6/e16 and am back in my happy place.

It works. It works really, really well. And it's going to take one heck of a solid release to get me to change.

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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