I have installed KDE 4 on my laptop from Launchpad’s repositories. I will refrain from going through the installation steps for the purpose of explaining my KDE 4 experience… Which really was interesting to say the least.
KDE 4, which is due in 11 days, performed pathetically on my laptop. It was slow, many applications did not work or even install, and the entire system is far less customizeable than the current KDE 3. The lack of hundreds of options can be viewed as a good thing, although no controls for the taskbar is a bit of a dissapointment. I also noticed that the clock in the taskbar cannot be changed, and the style is not the flip-number style, but instead a bold-style plain clock. The widgets worked well, very well in fact, and I also had great success with Firefox under KDE 4. The taskbar, which I assume to be transparent, had a blank black bar directly behind it. Also, if I drag a widget behind the taskbar (in my effort to place it on the taskbar, which does not work) it dissapears. I am not sure why or where the widget goes, but it goes somewhere.
The only reason I could think of for the poor performance for KDE 4 would be package incompatibility. Since I was using Launchpad’s repositories, most of the packages are on a released-as-they’re-made status, so I expect that they are not going to be comaptible until the final release. The incompatibilities have left me without an office suite, or just about any other applications for that matter. To make matters worse, KDE 4 does not have a screenshot application built in, like KDE 3, so I was unable to take any screenshots. So, in light of these problems, I have decided to move on — to Mandriva One 2008!
Mandriva One 2008, through first impressions, is one of the best systems that I have ever used. The system I downloaded is using KDE, which is EXTREMELY polished. It’s the best KDE I have ever seen. Mandriva comes with Firefox, OpenOffice, and a whole slew of other applications native to KDE. The background is almost remenisent of Fedora 6, with a similar double helix DNA strand in the background and to the right. I think what surprised me the most with this system is how graphically pleasing it is — the icons look clean, the menus are just the right size, and all of the applications, whether GNOME or KDE based, integrate well. The installation also went well, and is quite easy. Perhaps the network setup would be the most confusing to new users, but the default/best settings are already checked, so just clicking “Next” should do the trick. Here’s a few screeshots of Mandriva One 2008:
And there you have it! Mandriva 2008. The only problem I have experienced with using Mandriva involves the lacking of a english dictionary for Firefox, which shows every word I type as mispelled in a text field. This really is not a problem, as all I have to do is right-click on the field and uncheck the “Spellcheck this field” option. Mandriva lets you choose the repositories as well. Since Mandriva apparently does not use separate repositories like Ubuntu, it uses one, and makes that repository available from many, many sources. The one I am using is provided by Georgia Tech. It gives me around the same number of applications that are available in Ubuntu. All in all, I give Mandriva a solid 9 1/2 on a 1-10 basis.
Happy New Year (even though there are still 3 hours to go…)!
= Update =
Seems like when I am just getting comfortable with a system, something goes wrong. Mandriva won’t install the CUPS printing system. Apparently a certain package can’t be found. I forgot I had run into this problem when running Mandriva 2007, and I still get a nagging message telling me CUPs wouldn’t install every time I start the computer. To make matters worse, updates are not being applied because of one single package. I guess it might be a good idea for the Mandriva folks to come up with some official repositories to manage these kinds of dependencies. I will have to move back to Ubuntu, although from all of my experiences with other distributions, that’s certainly a move up. Maybe I’ll give Debian a shot…