I finally decided to update the 60 GB Linux partition on my 2009 Intel Mac Mini this month. I wanted to see if a modern Linux distro could make use of the machine’s reasonable hardware (for the time), and so I went for a KDE install instead of my usual Debian/Crunchbang. This time I used Kubuntu, a Debian derivative that uses the Ubuntu repositories and a nicely polished KDE 4.11 interface.
I am impressed. I’ve never been a KDE person, but I know quite well that I don’t get along with either Gnome Shell or Unity. I’ve been using OSX for a while on my other partition and it makes me seethe with anger on a regular basis. I like to give all these interfaces a chance, and I since Kubuntu 13.10 comes with KDE 10 I thought it would be a good chance to give it another opportunity to impress me… and it did.
I’ve never had a KDE distro feel so complete before. There is nothing lacking in its default set-up. That’s sort of false, as I did install quite a lot of software after the install as well as codecs and whatnot. However what I mean is this version of KDE doesn’t feel like it has loose ends, hanging chads if you will. The activities metaphor replaced the default virtual desktops and I think this is appropriate, it’s a clever way of reorganizing different tasks and it doesn’t feel redundant anymore. Switching activities also stopped breaking things.
The application menu works without being weird. The transitions are smooth and beautiful without being obnoxious. The window decorations don’t flicker or glitch. The tool-tip pop-up timing seems a little bit longer by default than before, which is nice, because I felt like I was getting punched in the face by all the tool-tips in the past. Even the background and fonts are nicely integrated.
I wanted to keep using Rekonq, the default web browser because it was so beautifully integrated, but it’s not quite there with Google Drive, so I really can’t use it alone, and opted to install Firefox.
There are only two major problems I haven’t yet resolved, one of which I really need to fix in order to use it on a daily basis, the other of which is just a nuisance.
Ibus isn’t working for me. It may be a GTK dependency issue that I haven’t figured out yet, or it may be something else, but I can’t get ibus-setup to run to add anthy or mozc as an input method for Japanese. (Solved yesterday: http://www.kubuntuforums.net/showthread.php?64012-Ibus-input-methods)
The other problem is just a visual glitch with Plymouth on startup… not an uncommon problem historically, and I’m accustomed to Plymouth almost looking good, but instead having some glitch like this.
Overall this is the best out of the box KDE experience I’ve ever had, hands down.