A Jaunty KDE4 update

A while back I posted that I was giving pre-alpha Jaunty Jackalope a try. I don’t think I ever posted the end result (a short while after Jaunty went beta, the Nvidia driver quit working, so I abandoned ship). I tried Alpha 5 a week or so ago, and couldn’t get past the login screen, but I installed Beta 1 on Monday, and it rocks! Jaunty (Kubuntu, 64-bit) is now my primary box. Part of what makes Jaunty great for me is that the version of KDE4 it uses is far superior to the version Intrepid used (which was so craptastic that I switched to Fluxbox for a few months). I love the fact that I can finally, after years of waiting, use a 64-bit OS without having to tweak anything to make it work.

So I want to also update my opinion of KDE4. Going back to my previous post outlining it’s shortcomings and lack of anything to recommend it…

  1. The desktop wallpaper. I can no longer have “centered maxpect” as
    an option. This means that all my pictures too small to reach the edges
    of my monitor stay too small unless I scale them (distorts the image
    aspect ratio) or “scale & crop” them (make them reach all 4 edges,
    and possibly some of the picture is off-screen). Highly annoying, but
    not a show stopper.
  2. Rotating (slideshow) wallpaper has no option for how to display the
    image at all. If I want to change from centered to scaled, I have to
    display a single wallpaper picture, make the change I want, then go
    back to the slideshow. Again, an annoyance.
  3. Advanced->Special Window Settings->Preferences allows you to
    choose active and inactive opacity levels. Sweet. Too bad it doesn’t
    work at all.
  4. Under KDE3, my keyboard volume controls would visibly affect the
    sound level (a graphic would pop up center-screen showing the volume
    level). Gone. In fact, the volume controls don’t seem to affect the
    system sound anymore. They don’t work on Amarok. They do work on
  5. Most of the apps are still KDE3 apps.
  6. Most of the plasma widgets are just plain lame (so far).
  7. When I click on Logout, Restart, or Shutdown from the K menu, it
    pops up a window asking me if I want to Logout, Restart, or Shutdown.
    This is maddening. I just got done telling you what I wanted 0.1
    seconds ago. Why are you asking me again?
  8. The new default K menu blows. Hard. I want my old-style K menu back. They’ve made it super-easy to get it back now.
  9. I can add the old-style K menu to the taskbar as a widget, but it
    appears on the right-hand side of the bar instead of the left. There is
    no way to change it.
  10. Konqueror is in my “Favorites” on the menu, despite me never using it. Firefox is not, despite me using it all the damned time.

Somebody explained #10 to me, and I guess it makes sense, but I expect something called “Favorites” to automatically populate with the programs I actually use (you know… like that Microsoft OS does with it’s start menu). If I have to manually populate the contents of “Favorites”, what’s the point? I’m just editing the menu…

Now, what do I like about KDE4? Hmm. Hard to say, still. There’s an improved IRC client (Quassel vs Konversation), but I’m not sure if that’s a KDE4 change. More likely a Kubuntu change. The notifications are nice. The Device Notifier is super-nifty. But overall I’m just happy to be getting back to a usable desktop environment. Overall, 4 finally equals 3.5 but doesn’t really surpass it in my mind.

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  • Jeff  On April 1, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Glad to hear you are able to run the 64bit version of the OS with KDE success!

    I’m doing the Jaunty beta 64 thing myself, though in plain old Gnome.



  • Bob Smiley  On April 27, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    I got a chuckle at your article, since I was the same way when I started using Ubuntu; I came up with a list of hacks, tweaks and work-arounds to list everything that annoyed me. As time’s gone on, I’ve slowely deleted things off the list, because they’ve been resolved. Wireless now “just works” for me. I don’t have to jack around with config files to get my screen “just right”. Unfortunately, the switch to Pulse Audio during Intrepid nerfed up my sound. I had to hack some config files to get it working, and theoretically it was supposed to be much smoother and better implemented in Jaunty. But, after the upgrade to Jaunty, my sound doesn’t work anymore. LOL!

    I’m considering making the switch to 64-bit. I’ve spent so much time exploring with Linux that I feel I should go ahead and explore that too. Have to admit, for being free, Ubuntu is a very nicely polished end result, even with the sometimes flakey bugs.

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