No KDE4 for me

Author's note: Welcome to another episode of "From the Archives". This is the stub of an article that I wrote twelve years ago, on April 25, 2008. At the time, KDE 4.x was freshly into stable release. I was a use and fan of KDE at the time, and there had been a lot of hype about how awesome version 4 was going to be. My initial reaction, however, was...not so great.

This is actually slightly relevant because I have resurrected the GUI on my "home desktop", by which I mean my "home server". This is the box sitting under my desk in the basement that runs Ubuntu 18.04 and runs various web and media server software. It does have a GUI installed, but I hadn't really used it in years - in part because GNOME didn't really work well on it. This isn't super surprising, since it's an old box with just the integrated graphics chip. But it's got more than enough memory and processing power for the workload I want it to do, so there's not really any point in upgrading.

Anyway, due to the current CONVID-19 pandemic I'm now working from home and sitting at that desk all day every day, so I decided to fix up my desktop. Part of my cleanup process was to axe GNOME and install the Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE). This is a project I just recently discovered and immediately fell in love with. It's essentially a fork and continuation of KDE 3.5. It's since evolved into its own thing, apparently, but it's still noticeably KDE-like, so I'm very comfortable in the UI. Just like the original KDE 3.5, TDE is powerful, intuitive, generally pleasant to use, and works quite well on my not-so-new system. It doesn't have the fancy graphical bells and whistles, but I never really cared much about that anyway. I would definitely recommend it to any old-school KDE 3.x fans.

Anyway, here are my thoughts from the time. To be fair, I haven't used "real" KDE to any extent since this, so I'm sure all of my complaints have been addressed. But then again, I don't really care. I'm happy with TDE. Enjoy!

Kubuntu 8.04 was released yesterday (note: again, this was twelve years ago). That means it's upgrade time for me again.

This time around, Kubuntu comes in 2 varieties: the "rock-solid" KDE 3 version, and the KDE 4 remix. I had been intending to get on the leading edge and install the KDE 4 version. However, just to be on the safe side, I decided to give the live CD a try first. And after messing around with it for half an hour or so, I'm glad I did.

Bottom line: I think I'm going to wait for KDE 4.1. Or maybe 4.2.

I just don't care for 4.0.3. It definitely looks different...but not better. I just didn't see any new features that looked even remotely interesting, let alone compelling. The splash screens were kind of nice, and the plasma widget effects on the desktop were pretty neat, but that's about it.

There seemed to be a lot more down sides. Of course, I'm not sure how many of these are KDE 4 issues and how many are Kubuntu issues, but I found them annoying either way. Here's my list:

  1. The window style for the default desktop theme is unbearably ugly. It's too dark and too monochromatic. I guess somebody must like it, but it really bothers me.
  2. Where's the control panel? I don't see it and the context-sensitive configuration panels don't have all the options in them.
  3. In fact, where the heck are the other options?
  4. What the heck happened to Amarok and the other applications? The UI is completely different and it feels like half the features are missing.

I could go on, but why bother? There's just no reason for me to upgrade at this point.

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