KDE 4.1: Good, bad, or beautiful?

The last week, I’ve been struggling with KDE 4.1. As was pretty obvious from my previous articles, I really want to like it. Actually, I do like it. It’s stable, it’s fast, and it’s gorgeous. I love the Oxygen look, the plasmoids, the KWin desktop effects…it all looks great.
On the software side there’s much to like too. I haven’t used Dolphin extensively yet, but I can’t find any faults with it. I like the layout, even the three column view; I like the breadcrumbs, I like the fact that yes, it does have tabs.
Amarok 2 is pretty sweet. At the moment, it’s still in alpha, which means it lacks some features, but the stability was just fine. The layout is a definite improvement over the 1.4 series, and it went through and played my collection just fine.
Arch Linux users should also check out Shaman, which is like Synaptic, only for Arch. It works just as well and fast as its more famous counterpart, with the added bonus of some really funny icons in the system tray. I won’t spoil things, but if you know that Arch’s package management is called “pacman”…

It actually works well too. I haven’t had any major problems, except the nvidia issue, which was solved pretty easily with this fix.

Unfortunately, that still left me with a lot of minor problems.

  • Not all of the plasmoids work well. The traditional KDE-Menu sometimes disappears, sometimes it stops working. It also doesn’t get updated when you install new software.The system tray sometimes shows icons, sometimes they don’t. The clock sometimes disappears. Also, it’s kind of hard to select, resize, or move them. It’s not very intuitive.
  • Sound didn’t work for me at first. For Arch Linux users, this fixed it for me
    . It’s not very hard, but not something I’d think of by myself. Also, the KMix icon in the systray doesn’t have a main slider, just a “Mixer” button. Why not show the mixer in the first place then?
  • Panel configuration is almost non-existent. I don’t want all applications in the panel, just the ones of the current desktop. Also, I’d like some transparency. I hope this gets added.
  • There’s no “Hide all windows and show desktop” shortcut, like Windows+D in Windows. That one’s baffling, as most distributions even provide a button in the panel that does this. It’s an often used function, so why isn’t it included?
  • All of this kind of gives me a “it works, but it’s not quite finished” feeling. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely think the KDE guys are moving in the right direction, I just don’t think they’re there, not yet. That’s the reason I won’t be using it at this time. Right now, my Openbox-setup just gives me more configuration possibilities.

    Still, thumbs up. 4.1 is an enormous improvement over 4.0. I hope 4.2 continues that trend.



    7 Responses to KDE 4.1: Good, bad, or beautiful?

    1. paxku says:

      Just a note: I only used kde4.1 for 2-3 minutes (I wanted to try it, but something much more important happened), and I was able to put a “show desktop” button in the panel.
      It’s a widget. Reaaally simple to set up.

    2. SoftVision says:

      “There’s no “Hide all windows and show desktop” shortcut, like Windows+D in Windows. That one’s baffling, as most distributions even provide a button in the panel that does this. It’s an often used function, so why isn’t it included?”

      There was a Show Desktop plasma widget at one point of time in SVN when I was running it on my system, probably still is now too. However, you can use the Show Dashboard to see only your widgets in 4.1.

    3. celettu says:

      paxku & SoftVision:

      I missed it then, thanks for pointing it out.

      Still, a keyboard shortcut is so much faster.

    4. Gareth says:

      -Right click on the task manager (not on a minimised app) and select “Task Manager Settings” then select how you want it to behave.

      – if you want a transparent panel, you have 2 choices, 1) find a plasma theme that has a more transparent panel or 2) edit the theme yourself and make the panel svg transparent (its really not hard to do, its just an svg).

      – Keyboard shortcuts can be set up from system settings, i can’t be bothered to give a step by step guide right now 😛

      – install the “plasma-addons” package and you should get a “show desktop” and a “show dashboard” plasmoid.


    5. deech says:

      CTRL+f12 will also give you the plasma desktop….

    6. […] 4.1: some corrections This article is an add-on to my previous article about KDE4.1. The comments I got made it clear that I missed some […]

    7. […] somewhat lacking in this regard, especially when it came to the panel. A personal pet-peeve is that KDE 4 left out the ShowDesktop keyboard shortcut, although it supports the function. The only workaround here was to add a plasmoid and assign a […]

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