Ramblings of a Professional Computer Geek

August 13, 2009

PCLinuxOS + KDE4.3

Filed under: Linux,PCLinuxOS — Padma @ 2:14 pm
Tags: , ,

I’ve been playing with KDE4 under Kubuntu, and generally liking what I have seen.  But Kubuntu itself has always felt … foreign … to me.  Maybe I’m just getting old and my brain cells are ossifying, but while KDE4 seemed decent, I found myself booting into PCLOS more often, because there, everything “just works”.

Recently, Tex released his current 4.3 implementation to the world.  This weekend, I took the plunge.First, let me say that KDE4 on PCLOS is not 100% ready for the masses.  While I haven’t seen anything major, there are some niggles and glitches here and there.  Many distros might be happy with it in its current state, but it still feels a little rough around the edges for PCLOS.  Also, the devs recommend that users running critical apps stick with KDE3 for their primary system, and install KDE4 (if they want it) in a separate partition.  As far as Tex and the gang are concerned KDE4 in PCLOS is in “Testing”.  Be forewarned.

Installing KDE4 is simple.  Open Synaptic -> Settings -> Repositories, click on your selected repository, and change “kde” to “kde4” in the Sections box.  Close the dialog, reload the repository, and install “task-kde4”.  One point to note: this will remove all of your existing KDE3 apps and libraries.

“But wait!”, I hear you say.  “Other distros allow KDE3 and KDE4 to exists side-by-side!”  That is true.  But to do so, they have to either build KDE4 to live in /opt instead of /usr, with the necessity to rebuild everything to live in /usr when KDE4 becomes the default desktop environment, or they build KDE4 in /usr, and rebuild KDE3 to live in /opt.  But Tex is the only dev building KDE4 packages for PCLOS right now, and he has said he isn’t going to deal with changing build environments for either version, considering how many packages are involved.  You get either KDE3 or KDE4.  Just another reason to put KDE4 on a separate partition. 😉

Anyway, I went ahead and installed KDE4, watching a huge list of KDE3 libs and apps get removed.  I then installed “task-kde4-extra” to get some more of the common libraries and apps.  That done, I did a full reboot to be sure everything was reset.  Probably didn’t need to, but, what the heck. 🙂  When it came back up, I was looking at the KDE4 version of KDM.  Cool.

I logged in, and … I am in KDE4, right?  Yeah, there’s the “cashew” up in the corner.  But, there’s the taskbar, looking much like I left it, last.  The usual set of icons on the desktop.  Wait, icons on the desktop?  I right-clicked on the desktop, and looked at Properties.  Yeah, there it was.  Tex has the default set to be “Folder” view, instead of “Desktop”.  And the default folder showing is the old “Desktop” folder.  Makes everything look familiar.  And the default “start” menu is the classic view — more familiarity.  Kwin now has a lot of the Compiz functionality built in, so I don’t need to add Compiz-Fusion to the system.  I can easily set the amount of “eye-candy” I want (and that my poor old graphics card can handle).  I spent the better part of a day playing with widgets and such.  I finally settled back on gkrellm, though, plus a nice weather widget that seemed as good as Liquid Weather.  I’m already familiar with Dolphin, from playing with Kubuntu.  Firefox 3.5 is still there (no kde dependencies).  KVirc went missing, but I’ll check out some KDE4 irc clients before I compile that.

I think I’m going to like this. 😀

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4 Comments »

  1. So, you say, “First, let me say that KDE4 on PCLOS is not 100% ready for the masses. While I haven’t seen anything major, there are some niggles and glitches here and there.”

    But since you mention NONE of the niggles and glitches, the comment is rather worthless. I would like to know what niggles and glitches you experienced.

    By the way, I have experienced more niggles and glitches (apps freezing, desktop freezing) in KDE3 than kde4.

    So, what niggles?? Do tell…

    Thanks.

    D.

    Comment by Dulwithe — September 6, 2009 @ 9:12 pm | Reply

    • Hey, when I say minor niggles and glitches, I really mean minor niggles and glitches. 😉

      Examples include a somewhat aesthetically jarring change in themes from grub to the KDM. The menu editor doesn’t work properly. Little things like that. Things that are not show-stoppers by any means; just a lack of polish.

      Actually, the most serious problem I’ve run into happened last night. The Plasma desktop crashed, taking kwin with it. I got dropped back all the way to KDM. And when I re-logged in, many of my application settings/defaults were wiped out, including my Firefox bookmarks! I got to spend about half-an-hour rebuilding my desktop to how I wanted it. To be honest about that one, though, I probably did it to myself. I had been playing in the KDE Control Center, mucking about with paths, and I imagine I screwed one (or more) up.

      Comment by Padma — September 8, 2009 @ 10:08 am | Reply

  2. I just wanted to say thanks for the write up. I had played with a kde4 upgrade in the past and lost Quanta aka KDE-Webdev and when I re-installed it, it was unstable. I do like the look of kde4 but the reason I use PCLOS is stability, consistency and speed. I was considering the upgrade but will hold off until it becomes standard. Nice article. THANKS!

    Comment by CalHound — January 23, 2010 @ 9:40 am | Reply

    • KDE4, in its PCLOS implementation, is, IMHO, the best there is. Most reviews I’ve read put OpenSuse as the best, but I don’t care for OpenSuse. It’s slow (on my system, at least), and I don’t like the admin tools they use. I recently read a review of KDE distros in Linux Format magazine, and the only reason I saw that the reviewer marked PCLOS down was because it still had KDE3.5 as default — he loved the implemetation, otherwise.

      I’m assuming that when PCLOS 2010 is released as an ISO, it will feature KDE4.

      Comment by Padma — January 23, 2010 @ 5:17 pm | Reply


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