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!
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!