Such is the power of the Internet that I can actually feel you wincing as you read that title.
So I’ve had a play with the KDE 4.5 Live CD and thought I’d share my first impressions, coloured by the fact that I’m currently using the GNOME desktop environment on my installation of Linux Mint. There’s also an available version of Mint with KDE, but my understanding is that it’s the latest release of OpenSUSE that provides the most up-to-date KDE experience.
Ready? Let’s do this…
Critical to any live CD is support for my WPA-encrypted home WiFi network. OpenSUSE did not disappoint.
A big selling point for KDE is Plasmoids — they’re similar to the desktop widgets available for OS X, but instead of being invoked through a hidden menu they live permanently on the desktop. For example, that desktop folder you see in the grab above isn’t actually an open file manager window, but a Plasmoid.
So why does the bar along the bottom of the screen use the term “Widgets” instead of Plasmoids? I think it’s because the Plasmoids are native to KDE, but there’s additional support for the likes of Google Gadgets and even the aforementioned OS X widgets.
This is the KMenu. Kindly note that:
- You can “tear” it off of the bottom navigation bar with the “Alt” key.
- You can navigate both forwards and backwards through the many layers of menus and sub-menus. See that highlighted blue vertical bar on the left?
- The KDE button in the top right corner of the menu that looks suspiciously like a web link is indeed just that.
- According to the second-last menu item, OpenSUSE comes with a pre-installed virtual machine (!)
Continuing with the KDE/OpenSUSE compatibility check, it looks like my wireless HP printer will work without issue.
By the way, the folder icons aren’t that huge by default — I resized them for the screen grab, and in so doing was fairly impressed by KDE’s snappiness in re-drawing windows.
And while system-wide emoticons may not constitute a killer feature, I think it’s kind of a cool touch.
Overall it seems the KDE has many more options for customization built-in, whereas with GNOME they’re available separately (depending on your specific distro, of course). I’m not knocking one over the other, but I am planning on giving OpenSUSE and KDE a trial run on my main box after I make my backups at the end of the month.
Or sooner if I can’t stand the wait.