OK, so I’ll lay some of the blame for this post off on SFaulken. He is a former dev/maintainer on the Cloverleaf Linux project, and a contributor to KlyDE as well. (I think I got all that right) Anyhow, he is a “big” proponent of KDE and has been telling me how great it is. After my recent exploration of openSUSE, which came with KDE by default, I was definitely impressed with the new KDE 4 Plasma Desktop.
I had not used KDE since around 2002. At the time, it was still a fledgling, bug filled, desktop environment that was difficult to use. I think KDE came out around ’97 or ’98, so to be fair I didn’t give it much more than a cursory look. I went back to it a couple of times over the years, but never for more than a day or two at best. This time I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks. Probably not long enough to be critical of something as far reaching as KDE but here goes anyway.
As you know, if you pay attention to any of the drivel I post here, I have been using the VSIDO Raptor distro for over a year now. This distro started off as an Xfce distro that also included Openbox. A few months went by, and Fluxbox was brought to our attention. Well, to make a long story short, we really swooned over it! VSIDO Raptor became a Fluxbox distro first and foremost. It also still comes pre-configured with i3, Openbox, and Xfce as well. But Fluxbox is where it’s at! That said, this isn’t a post about Fluxbox.
When I first booted the new openSUSE 13.1 and saw that it came with KDE’s Plasma Desktop, I said to myself that I wouldn’t be spending long with it. I played around with openSUSE for a couple of weeks, but I must confess that it was the KDE 4 experience that held me there. As far as Linux distro’s go, there is a different one available for each and every Linux user out there. Don’t believe me, go to a site like distrowatch.com and start counting. (to be fair here, there aren’t that many, but there are a lot!) That is not a bad thing at all, however, it can make deciding on “which Linux” a bit of a challenge. I had searched off and on for years, never staying with one distro (Linux distribution) for more than 6 months at a time, and equally dividing that time with Windows. Essentially a “distro-hopper”.
Since beginning to use VSIDO, I’ve never looked back. I’m sorry openSUSE, but over the last year I have really been spoiled by this distro. It will install from boot-up in less than 4 minutes. I know, I’ve done it. I’ve heard others make the claim that theirs installed fast but this is a first for me. From a blank hard-drive to an installed OS and all the tools and apps I need to be productive in less than 4 minutes? Ever timed a Windows install? One of the things I noticed about openSUSE, was it’s long install time. To be clear, I was using their KDE Factory beta build (bottle), which is comparable, I suppose, to Debian’s SID release in that it is an unstable or testing version of their OS. VSIDO is, and will always be, built on Debian SID.
After playing with openSUSE, I wanted to see how KDE worked on my favorite Linux distro, VSIDO Raptor. A simple ‘sudo apt-get install kde-full‘ and a reboot later, I had it up and running. I’m using KDE 4.11.3 at the time of this writing. It is very smooth, easy to use, installs quickly, and is VERY pleasing to the eye. Not to mention that it comes with about every application your ever going to need. I did the kde-full install to measure the impact it had on my VSIDO Raptor. I’ve been pleasantly surprised. It still boots phenomenally fast, and once into the system, everything is very responsive, and quick. No lags or delays. There are several ways to install KDE so that you don’t have to have all of the ‘stuff’ that comes with it. A simple trip to kde.org will get you on your way. As well as provide all you need documentation wise to get started and moving along smoothly.
KDE has come a long way. If your not using it simple because it left a bad taste in your mouth, so-to-speak, a few years ago, then you really need to give it another shot! While my distro-hopping days are mostly behind me, I do still love to experiment with what I have. VSIDO Raptor and KDE get along very well on my laptop. I have an i7 processor, and 16Gb’s of RAM, so maybe not the typical laptop. However, with the amount of processing power and RAM todays computers come with, KDE should have no impact on the performance of your machine. Unlike in the past, KDE will be staying installed this time! While I’ll probably never give up my Fluxbox, if I do it will be to go to KDE. At this point in time it is a very refined and polished desktop experience.