Just for kicks I installed Kubuntu Netbook Edition on my Eee PC. What follows is a brief visual overview of what you can expect should you do the same.
Note that this isn’t the latest and greatest KDE but rather the latest and greatest Kubuntu (10.04.1), with version 4.42 of KDE. I tried to invoke the netbook workspace from an installation from the KDE 4.5 Live CD but it repeatedly crashed my machine so I installed Kubuntu for netbooks instead.
Okay, so this is what you see when you boot up and log in.
You can type a query into that search bar and the icons below will be replaced with matching apps. Very innovative, but using the combination of Alt+F2 keys will do the same thing, and allow you to launch the app directly without taking your hands off of your keyboard.
Also, that top menu bar seems unnecessarily busy to me. And why is that second row of icons so much smaller?
The other main interface of the Plasma Netbook is called “Page one”, a cascading series of connected widgets — er, Plasmoids (…?) You can add or remove them as you see fit.
As for the defaults, openDesktop is apparently something you need an account for, and for whatever reason the Knowledge Base widget wasn’t working. The other two are fairly self-explanatory, I hope.
This is the app/window switcher. Pretty slick.
One thing, though… since every window is maximized you’ll be treated to a lot of wasted space — like this KWallet dialog box, for example.
If I’m starting to sound like I’m not a fan of this netbook spin on KDE I guess I’m guilty as charged. It’s an interesting idea but lots of the execution seems to be at odds with small screen optimization, from the too-busy top bar to the wasted space in windows like the one above.
Oh, and this Ubuntu-specific version of netbook KDE runs really slow, kind of negating its whole purpose as an OS for low-powered small-screened computers.
Don’t let my humble opinion stop you from trying it if you’re interested, of course. And if this netbook-optimized KDE workspace does better with a different distro by all means leave a comment and let me know.