Monday, July 26, 2010

A (partial) week with KDE

I've failed to keep this updated over the past week as intended because I was busy with a sprint. The short story is that I made it through about 3.5 days before finally having to give it up. The breaking point for me was when I was trying to switch back and forth between 2 different wireless access points. I found setting up a new WAP in KDE to be a bit cumbersome, but switching to a new one after already being connected to one got pretty painful. Definitely an area that could stand some improvement. Since I had a busy week ahead and this was a feature that I needed to work right and quickly, I opted to put my experiment on hold for now. The good news is that there really weren't too many things preventing me from using this as a default interface. It worked well for most things, and I appreciate the compromise that KDE makes when it comes to how the desktop should be used. Traditionally this has been a dumping ground for "Files I'm currently working on." While somewhat useful, this can quickly become a mess. Macs go to the other extreme and seem to just waste the space and keep it empty. I think that's a bit boring. Having the space available for widgets (including one that let's you see the files under ~/Desktop) seems to be a much better use.

I will be upgrading my main dogfooding machine to Maverick today, so after that I have plans to try this again with KDE, and probably Unity and Xubuntu as well. :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A week with KDE - Day 2

I've got the theme, fonts, background, etc. at least a little more tolerable for now. I have a few major complaints though from spending the last 24+ hours with it.
  1. Screen artifacts - lots of them. I even have a fresh login now and about 60% of my bottom panel is black. The buttons draw over the foreground ok, but half of it is dark, the other half is grey. Could be video driver related I suppose, but I don't get this in gnome.
  2. Unmounting media doesn't seem to work in dolphin. I have many occasions where I mount my phone as a usb drive, work with SD cards, and USB sticks. Unmounting from dolphin is less intuitive than gnome, but also just doesn't work. It says something is using them, but nothing seems to be. Open a shell and unmount manually seems to be the best bet for now. (yes I know I should go make sure bugs are filed for all these, and will try to get to that as soon as I have time and I'm a bit more convinced that this isn't just me doing something newbie-ish).
  3. Konsole, which I used to love, doesn't deal with tabs nicely. I tend to have a lot of tabs open in a console session, but Konsole does not seem to have an option to resize them automatically. Or at least I haven't found it if it does have such an option. Instead it gives you arrows you can use to scroll through the available tabs.
That being said, I'm still finding it to be pretty usable. Mostly just nitpicks right now, nothing that's really keeping me from getting work done.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A week with KDE

It's been a long time since I've given KDE a chance. I used to really appreciate things like extensive configurability that existed in KDE, especially in contrast to Gnome where the user is pretty much told "this is how it's going to work, take it or leave it." I've launched into Kubuntu a few times, and kept it installed on my machine, but never really forced myself to use it for more than a few minutes. So I'm going to give it a go for the next week or so and see how it goes. Here are some initial observations.
  • The recent notifications isn't exactly pretty, but I like that they at least try to preserve some history in it. I think that's a useful feature
  • Every time I've tried widgets, I thought they were terrible... yep, still terrible, luckily it's easy to just kill them all off and ignore it
  • Default theme needs to change, now that I have my usual set of apps launched and ready to go, that will be happening SOON
  • Odd, I can change to 4 virtual desktops, but the switcher doesn't seem to want to let me align them horizontally
That's enough for now. I'll try to update later. I should be roaming with my laptop quite a bit next week, so it will be good to give that a workout.