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Friday, November 30th, 2007, 7:54 am

Life with a Mixture of KDE 3 and KDE 4 Applications

“It’s all about the apps”

THIS is by no means a review, but just a quick mind dump that reflects on my impressions of KDE 4 applications in isolation (other factors aside). Think of it as a ramble which I’m unlikely to proofread properly (a bad habit of mine, I know). It has become tiring to find rants about KDE 4.0. Yes, some people have decided to put to shame a product that is not yet finalised and they also evaluate what appears to be the wrong things.

Several months ago, in KDE’s news site (the Dot), someone started a whole big flame when he insinuated that KDE 4 was all about clocks, and widgets, and plasmoids. This is simply not true and it is the form of superficial perspective which has had recent proprietary platform releases assessed in the wrong way (e.g. Leopard, Vista, both of which suffer from other real issues). To many of us, it’s all about function, not visuals. The internal structures of KDE have been overhauled and the promise of a better system will be delivered as time goes by.

For me, using KDE 4.0 should primarily be a question of applications; general usability (advanced functions in particular) is probably second. So, here’s just a quick comparison that convinced me to gradually move to KDE 4.0 once it’s made final. It’s truly something to look forward to.

KNode in KDE 4.0 beta still indicates that it’s version 3.5.6, assuming the About windows is anything to go by. The same goes for KOrganizer.

Kalendar/Korganizer KDE 4
Korganizer (KDE 4 on the left, KDE 3 on the right), click image for full size

KWriter is a different story because 3.8 is said to be in use. There’s no apparent visual difference, but it’s likely that new functionality is hidden away in the menus somewhere.

KWrite KDE 4
KWrite (KDE 4 on the left, KDE 3 on the right), click image for full size

Dolphin is an impressive addition that will probably convince many beginners to hope on the KDE bandwagon. I haven’t had a chance to experiment with it all that much, but in all these screenshots that are here (be sure to view them in full scale), the subtle differences can be seen. I’m combining KDE 3.5.6 and 4 in the same session, just in order to do a quick comparison.

Dolphin and Konqueror KDE 4
File managers (Dolphin on the left, Konqueror on the right), click image for full size

If you’re left curious about a proper 4.0 session, here’s a demo video

Remember that KDE 4.0 is still work in progress and if you need to get your work done properly, KDE 4.0 is probably ready for you. I’ve had no crashes and encountered no issues or quirks while tinkering. That indicates that stability is almost there, even at a stage of prematurity.

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