KDE 4.2: Beyond the first impressions


Or something like that. Yes, I did find some quite irritating issues yesterday, when I installed KDE 4.2 the first time. People have pointed out that KDE can hardly be blamed for the difference in looks between GTK and Qt applications, which is true, but the  result is still ugly. And the default menu is still craptastic, and the systray icons still look like they have been vomited on the screen.

But everything else is absolutely beautiful, from the switching between windows, and the plasmoids that pop-up when you move files around, the alt-tab switcher, the way windows become more transparent when you move them, to the discreet pop-up when you insert an USB stick…everything looks professional and elegant.

There are other things to like. When I used Dolphin for the first time I had my reservations, but in the meantime it’s become the standard of file managers, at least to me. It’s fast enough for me, simple enough, easy enough, and it has tabs. If it could somehow transform itself into a two-pane manager it would be perfect, I guess they wanted to move away from Konqueror-like configurabilty.

Another nice surprise came when I wanted to download a torrent. I was installing ktorrent at that time, so I just wanted to save it, and open it later. But KDE offered to open it with KGet, a download manager. Being curious, I let it, and indeed, KGet is capable of downloading torrents. As far as I can see there’s nothing fancy about it, like file selection, or a list of peers that you’re leeching from/uploading to, but in the end the files get downloaded and that’s what matters.

Most of all, working with KDE 4.2 was easy and speedy. I didn’t go crazy searching for one particular setting, and I never got the impression that the bling slowed the system down.

One other point of criticism though. By default, KDE 4.2 comes with a nice selection of clean, professional looking Plasma themes. Thumbs up. But when it comes to themeing the applications itself, the choice is very limited. You either choose Oxygen or something that looks like it was already ugly in the nineties. Even kde-look.org doesn’t offer much help here: it seems like KDE 4 needs a little more time before good themes start popping up.

In previous KDE4 releases, the first minor irritations were quickly followed by several other major ones. This time however, they stayed minor and quickly made way for a very good impression indeed.



4 Responses to KDE 4.2: Beyond the first impressions

  1. John says:

    Dolphin can operate with two panes… Just press f4 😉
    Pop-up terminal in F3 is awesome too

  2. Fred says:

    And I just tried KDE trunk with Qt 4.5, and it is even faster than KDE 4.2, even with debugging enabled! KDE rocks! 😀

  3. ryanchadwick says:

    I’m getting rather excited by KDE 4. It has a lot of nice touches that go beyond just being fancy eye candy. I think it will be 4.4 or so before it’s polished enough for me to really use it however.

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