I wrote my this post last Sunday, but completely forgot to actually publish it. In any case, I’ve been running x86-64 Arch on an ext4 partition with KDE 4.2.3 since. It has been interesting, to say the least.
- Arch: I must say I’m not really happy with the way Arch users have to hack around hal, PoliciKit and Xorg to get their keyboard working these days. Apparently, Xorg input hotplugging is in a case of flux these days, and the solution is to add some fairly complex lines in multiple config files. It works, but trial and error is not much fun when your mouse and keyboard refuse to do anything and you can’t get out of X.
Otherwise, no problems whatsoever. Arch remains my favourite distribution by far.
- ext4: I’ve been installing Ubuntus, Mintses and Arches using ext4 filesystems on laptops and desktops galore, and never had a problem. They only thing that’s very noticable is the speed boost. Moving on.
- x86-64: A first for me. Can’t really comment on any speed difference. The system is very snappy, but that can be because of a number of reasons. In any case, I haven’t encountered any problems, not even with flash, with works very well in 64-bit these days. Only one footnote: Arch doesn’t provide a 64-bit wine package. Installing the 32-bit version is possible from AUR, the user repository, but also installs 32-bit libraries. Again, it works.
- KDE 4.2.3: Ah, here’s the really interesting one. I’ve been enthousiastic about KDE4 before, but I haven’t really installed it as my day-to-day-desktop. Usually I install it, look around, tweak some stuff, and then run back to Openbox. Not this time, I vowed. I promised myself to use KDE at least a week. What’s more, I wouldn’t use my favourite GTK-apps, but I’d stick to the defaults provided by KDE as much as possible.
Well, we’re half way, and I can’t say there haven’t been any difficult moments. Figuring out how to add custom keyboard shortcuts was one. Struggling with Konqueror, Kopete and Amarok were others, and I still don’t know if the latest k3b (alpha) is actually capable of burning anything. Configuration issues aside, I also hit a couple of crashes and lockups, which definitely doesn’t happen as much in GNOME or my own Openbox. Konqueror dissappeared on me sometimes, some Plasmoids made Plasma crash entirely, caused weird skipping issues in Amarok, or simply didn’t work as intended, and Juk frequently planted itself handling my 5000+ mp3 collection. I have been able to work around almost all of these issues, but it’s apparent KDE4 is still rather young and wobbly on it’s feet.
And while I succeeded (I still use KDE), I’ve also failed (I installed GTK-apps). I’ve said something like this before, but I still think that the main problem KDE has is the fact that its applications simply aren’t as good or as many as the GTK ones. I had to trade Kopete for Pidgin, Konqueror for Firefox, and Koffice for OpenOffice, not because I didn’t “like” them (I don’t, but that didn’t stop me using them), but because of bugs and crashes forced me to do so. I plan to go into this with a series of posts, comparing Qt and GTK software in different areas. The first one should be about Kopete, Pidgin, and Emesene, but I’ve never been good with writing series (I hate deadlines 😉 ).
In the end, what’s important is that after compromising a bit, I still use KDE. It’s possible that I switch back to Openbox after the week is over (for example, if K3b really can’t burn yet), but I don’t plan to. I like my desktop very much the way it is now, and I’ve been able to impress my co-workers with the following screenshots. KDE makes your peers like you! Try it out now!