Jun 1, 2009

KDE, revisited

The other day I posted about me trying out KDE, and my first impressions of it. I've been using it a bit since then to see how I like it.

Initially it blew me away, since the default look and feel is much nicer than GNOME. It's not grey and brown anymore, there are smooth animations and fading effects, etc. etc. It feels much more modern and appeals on a more aesthetic level.

However after I started using it more, there was just a few too many things that annoyed me for me to really want to keep using it. I will probably try and see how to fix some of the problems but for now it is easier just to stick with GNOME.

Here's a list of the annoyances I've had. Note that a lot of them I could probably fix by either searching through their settings panels, or scouring the Internet. However it is just easier for me to switch back to GNOME, which is already pretty much the way I like it.
  • Panel widget sizing - the widgets on your panels seem to have no maximum size, so they just expand to fill up the whole panel. This is really really annoying, because the little cashew thing on the right hand side overlaps the widget that is furthest to the right. Also if you like to use programs like Avant Window Navigator (AWN) like I do, there is no need for the "task manager" widget that shows the open windows. However if you remove it, the other widgets will expand to take up the entire space. Nothing like a clock widget that is 300 pixels across. I ended up having to split the one panel into two, with a huge gap in the middle. Kinda broke the aesthetic aspect there.
    This was something that I did try to look up online how to fix. Apparently there is a "Spacer Widget" that you can get that just takes up empty space, however it was not available through their auto-download thing and I didn't really feel like searching for it. On top of that it feels like a rather ugly way of handling this.
  • Cashews. The little cashew thing is for tweaking settings. It's nice to have it right there in front of you the first time you try KDE because that way you have easy access to make your tweaks. However after you make your tweaks, they are still there in the way of what you are trying to do. A good alternative would be that you right-click on the panel and go to "Settings". Oh wait, they do that. So why would they have the cashew thing?
  • Desktop - Where did all the files on my desktop go? I put lots of files on my desktop either for quick and easy access, or for reminders of a program that I'm supposed to check out - although it is surprisingly easy to forget the things that are right in front of you all the time.
  • The menu - I like the favourites part. And the search feature. However I have counters: with a dock there isn't really a need for the favourites list, because you just put your favourite programs on the dock. And the search feature seems to only be useful for me since the damn menus are a bit more of a pain to navigate! With old-school menus I just need to mouse over things and they open. If I open the wrong menu, it is trivially easy to go back to another one since I can still see it (and am likely still looking at it). Instead with KDE, it is a bit more work to actually have to navigate to the menu, so you just type it in the search field instead. I suppose some people may prefer this over the GNOME menus but I'm not sure if I do.

Anyway these are the little things here and there that I didn't like so far. I'll probably switch back and forth between KDE and GNOME until I get KDE working the way I want it, or when I finally get completely annoyed and stick it out with the less nice aesthetics of GNOME.

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