Home > Linux > My New Favorite Linux Desktop Environment:KDE

My New Favorite Linux Desktop Environment:KDE

I’m back with a rather passionate post about my new favorite Linux OS and my Konversion to KDE; or the K Desktop Environment.

About two weeks ago I was in a sorry state. I’ve used Linux Mint on our main computer for a couple of years now. But because of the impending demise of the Gnome 2 Desktop Environment, I’d been trying out Linux Mint 12 with Gnome 3 and Bodhi Linux which uses the Enlightenment desktop. Without going into details (which I’ve done before) I was growing more and more dissatisfied with the state of Mint 12, despite all the wonderful improvements they’ve made to add extensions and alternate Desktop Environments (MGSE, Mate, Cinnamon). I was just having too many problems with lack of basic management tools for the operating system and not being able to configure the computer the way I was used to. I kept running into roadblocks; and things that used to be easy to do were not working any more. I was getting rather testy! And mad at myself! I had erased the beautifully functional Mint 10 from the hard drive in order to install Mint 12 and Bodhi, in hopes that one of these would prove usable enough to keep on this computer for the long term. But I had become sick and tired of having to keep finding patches and tweaks and new extensions to get back the functionality of this machine.

The last straw came when I ran a bunch of updates to Bodhi Linux which caused Enlightenment to crash continuously, making the desktop unusable. I knew I could delete the ‘e’ configuration file to (probably) fix it, but then I’d have to reconfigure all the changes I’d made to Bodhi. And the same thing happened on my other computer running Bodhi, too! Now I know that this problem could be rectified with a little work; and the Bodhi team have done an amazing job making an E-17 distro that is way better than any I’ve used before. But I was just tired of  having to spend more time fixing things, or looking for ways to get something to work!

In desperation my thoughts wandered back to another Linux DE which is also (I think) the original one: KDE. For years KDE was the king in the Linux world; but over the last several years Gnome has gained a bit more popularity (until its recent release).  And over the last three years I’ve tried out KDE distros once in a while. I’ve tried to like KDE; but for some reason it seemed too different (it actually looks more like Windows in some ways) and seemed too complicated. It’s always appealed to me for its visual beauty; but for some reason I never felt comfortable enough to install and use it. But just recently I’ve been playing around with OpenSuse 12 with KDE. I liked it so much I actually installed it on another computer. But after installation, the wireless network would not work, though it did from the Live CD (?).

Anyway, to get to the point; I decided to try out Kubuntu (Ubuntu Linux using KDE instead of Unity/Gnome) since I’m most familiar with the way Ubuntu-based distros work. It uses the same repositories and package manager (more or less). All the Linux operating systems I’ve used over the last three and a half years have been Ubuntu-based. And; the very day I was going through my Linux identity crisis, I happened on this blog post: Kubuntu 11.10 Komprehensively Explored; which is probably the best advertisement for Kubuntu and KDE that I’ve ever seen!

I downloaded Kubuntu 11.10, burned it to disk and fired up my computer from the Live CD. After maybe half an hour; I was in love! This was gorgeous to look at! Compositing effects were beautiful and smooth, even from the CD! And you can configure everything and anything; even more so than with Enlightenment! This was what I had been wanting all along.

I reformatted my hard drive and installed Kubuntu that evening, and in a few hours I knew I had found Linux Bliss!!

And two weeks later I’m loving KDE more and more. I had a couple of minor problems early on which were quickly solved using the extremely helpful Kubuntu Forums and user database. I have since explored the wonders of KDE and it is, for me, simply a joy to use. Esthetically pleasing, highly functional, and really easy to use. The attention to detail astounds me! And it just works.

I’ve heard that when KDE went from version 3 to version 4 a year or more ago, a lot of users did not like the changes, either. So I’m sure Gnome will be a lot better off  a year from now. And maybe the earlier versions of KDE I had tried before were not as polished as the current 4.7 (with 4.8 being released shortly).  All I know is that Kubuntu 11.10 is here to stay for a long time on this computer! Until 12.04 comes out in the spring, that is.

On a side note: Yesterday I installed Xubuntu on our old laptop that has been running Bodhi Linux. I’ve had a fondness for the Xfce desktop for a while, but this latest version of Xubuntu is really nice. For older hardware, this distro runs great, and Xfce is very nicely configurable and a pleasure to use.

In my opinion, anyone looking for a worthwhile replacement for Gnome or Unity in Ubuntu would do well to try out Kubuntu or Xubuntu.  Those darn ‘buntus got ya covered, no matter what your taste in desktop environments!

Linux Desktop Environment Round Up

2011: A year full of right and wrong for Linux

KDE 4.8

Linux in 2012: What to Expect

Update March 17, 2012: I’ve decided to create a new blog here on WordPress strictly dealing with Linux and Open Source Software for the average desktop computer user. Please check it out at: TheFearlessPenguin. Thanks!

  1. DarkoT
    January 17, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Yeah I also recently switched to KDE. It is my first time using it and I am also in love as you are. I’m afraid I don’t see much hope for GNOME and Unity anymore. I say this because it is the general direction the are taking that are making them so bad. If they don’t change their mind I can only see myself using KDE for the future. I really love how much you can personalize KDE and how powerful their apps are. And at the same time kDE really has very streamlined desktop and user interfaces. Looks gorgeous and is very well integrated. I also like their innovations a lot. Really like the desktop/apps-wide scoring and tagging system and the Activities concept. I still have to learn a lot about KDE and discover even more unknown features. And every time I find a new gem like that I love KDE even more. I’m sure it is safe to say that KDE is currently the best and most powerful desktop environment you can get for you computer.

  2. January 18, 2012 at 1:45 am

    I couldn’t have said it better myself…
    I’m amazed by the innovation of KDE and the integration of the desktop environment and its applications. It’s exciting to learn more about using native KDE apps and all the options for the way the user can interact with the OS; especially ‘Activities’. I still have a lot to learn about that!
    But at the same time, it’s incredibly simple to use for the person who does not want to tinker much under the hood.
    Thanks for the comment.

  3. January 18, 2012 at 2:07 am

    Glad that you liked my article. Our reason for leaving Bodhi Linux are same. I liked bodhi, even made a video for the video section(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4Q1KkXgVHM) but the niggles were just too much to bare. Take Care.

  4. January 18, 2012 at 4:47 am

    Please continue your KDE articles; they are very informative!
    And I thought your name seemed familiar; I’ve seen the nice video you did of Bodhi Linux. I was sad to have to abandon Bodhi/Enlightenment. The problems that crop up are not from the Bodhi developers. I forget that Enlightenment is really still in Beta after all these years, and still can be a bit unstable at times.
    I find KDE to be all I liked about Enlightenment but with more features and reliability.
    I would certainly recommend Kubuntu to anyone new to Linux.

    • January 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      As I stated on my last post, I won’t be writing any fresh posts(although I had great fun writing them but several things impede me). You might want to drop by brother Chema’s blog http://cristalinux.blogspot.com/ , he is the KDE guy and updates regularly.

      • January 20, 2012 at 12:00 pm

        That’s right; I’d forgotten about that. I thought you may have meant it would be a long time before you wrote more. I am already a fan of Chema Martin’s blog. Thanks.

  5. January 19, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Also check this http://martys.typepad.com/blog/ . Hope you find them useful. Enjoy!

  6. February 26, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Good to see people finding solutions to their problems – it’s so annoying when ones favourite distro/desktop/whatever departs from previous goodness and becomes weird and unsatisfying.
    Always reminds me of my Windows days at work…..

    Gnome 3 & Unity are only recent examples, of course.
    I was a keen KDE 3.5 user when KDE 4.0 came along in January 2008, over 4 years ago now.

    I grabbed at the chance of trying the early releases. Sadly they were (of course) not up to today’s standards; bloated, features missing, crashy, and lacking general community acceptance – at first.
    We’ve still only got two machines that will heft the weight of KDE 4 to my satisfaction; so it’s unlikely that we’ll be using it anytime soon, but you’ve inspired me to have another play in a spare partition.
    If the 4-year wait for KDE to mature is anything to go by, Gnome 3 and Unity will be having a lonely time of it for a while, which is a pity.

    Like you we discovered Bodhi around 1.1 and have been using it full time since 1.2.

    Unlike you, we have had no insoluble problems in numerous installations on varied low-spec hardware; the latest ones on a neighbour’s laptop and their son’s netbook earlier this year.
    Still would not unreservedly recommend Bodhi for self-installation and configuration by a newcomer to the world of Linux, but once installed it has been commendably solid and reliable so far, on our hardware. Sorry you had probs…

    BTW the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries that underpin Enlightenment (and thus Bodhi) went from Beta to full release last year.
    Yes, we were all surprised! Seems that Samsung have invested in having that done – which is good news.
    Isn’t it grand to have so much good stuff on offer?

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