Product Review: The K Desktop Environment, Version 1.0
Developer: KDE Project Team
Reviewer: Bill Cunningham
Everyone's done a double-take at one time or another. For me, they can be the result of seeing a European sports car, a pretty girl or a UFO. I did a double-take on catching sight of a Linux window manager recently.
About a month ago, I received a S.u.S.E. flyer in the mail. The flyer had a screenshot of a new window manager called KDE, the K Desktop Environment, up and running. At the risk of sounding like a surfer, KDE was the sharpest, coolest window display I had ever seen on any operating system. I wanted my Linux desktop to look exactly like that.
Figure 1 is the screenshot that sold me. Compared to KDE, my old standby, FVWM, looked downright humble. I vowed to get KDE as soon as possible.
A Yahoo search led me to the KDE project's page at http://www.kde.org/. The web site has extensive documentation that I won't recite here. A slide show at http://www.kde.org/kdeslides/ summarizes the whole project quite nicely.
KDE is primarily a complete, windows-based graphical operating environment for UNIX platforms. The KDE Core, also called kdebase, comes with a highly configurable window manager, control panel, file manager and virtual terminal. A user can download and install just the core package and be up and running in fine style. All your original X Window System applications will still work as before.
However, to fully benefit from KDE, one can additionally install specialized, interoperative application suites from any or all of these functional areas:
More will surely appear in the future.
These applications were designed to be highly interoperable. At first, I wanted only the basic desktop. It proved to be so powerful and easy to use that I quickly decided to get the multimedia package. These applications work equally well. Inevitably, I will have all the KDE packages by Christmas.
In my experience so far, KDE seems to be quite solid. The basic desktop takes about five seconds longer to come up than FVWM did (I have a P-133, 32MB RAM). Once up, however, the applications run noticeably quicker than comparable, older applications under FVWM. The applications are sharp-looking and responsive. Memory usage seems to be no more than non-KDE applications use. On my system, I had Netscape, the Applix word processor, one kvt and an active PPP connection running simultaneously before I saw any swapping. Even then, I had about 66% of my 16MB swap space still free. This is about the same system usage required by FVWM.
Working with FVWM is sort of like ice skating on a vast, frozen lake. With KDE, I can have fun on my computer for hours changing the background pattern, moving scrollbars around and fiddling with the controls. Sure, all this was possible with FVWM, but who ever had time to figure out how? With KDE, every aspect of the desktop's appearance is configurable with a couple of mouse clicks.
Linux distributions from all over the world are now shipping with KDE. Here are some of the latest:
German companies S.u.S.E GmbH, Delix Computer GmbH and Chip Extra Magazine
Caldera OpenLinux 1.2
Eurielec 98 and COX-Red Hat 5.0 (Spanish)
Dream (French computer magazine)
Turkuaz (Turkish Linux distribution)
Walnut Creek's FreeBSD 2.2.7
LinuxPPC 1998 (PowerPC)
MkLinux (Power Macintosh)
New Linux users will probably use KDE as their X interface from the beginning. The following information is for users who would like to switch to KDE from another window manager.
The only warning I would make at this point is that KDE is somewhat large. Together, kdebase and kdelibs take up about 20MB once installed. The kdesupport package was another 4MB installed, and multimedia added 5.4MB. For most hard drives, these numbers are a drop in the bucket. I would even go so far as to say that KDE is worth buying a new hard drive for, if yours is getting full. With a complete Slackware installation, a whole year's worth of FTP downloaded applications and KDE, my 1.5GB hard drive is only 25% full.
|Dynamic DNS—an Object Lesson in Problem Solving||May 21, 2013|
|Using Salt Stack and Vagrant for Drupal Development||May 20, 2013|
|Making Linux and Android Get Along (It's Not as Hard as It Sounds)||May 16, 2013|
|Drupal Is a Framework: Why Everyone Needs to Understand This||May 15, 2013|
|Home, My Backup Data Center||May 13, 2013|
|Non-Linux FOSS: Seashore||May 10, 2013|
- RSS Feeds
- Making Linux and Android Get Along (It's Not as Hard as It Sounds)
- Using Salt Stack and Vagrant for Drupal Development
- Dynamic DNS—an Object Lesson in Problem Solving
- New Products
- Validate an E-Mail Address with PHP, the Right Way
- Drupal Is a Framework: Why Everyone Needs to Understand This
- A Topic for Discussion - Open Source Feature-Richness?
- Download the Free Red Hat White Paper "Using an Open Source Framework to Catch the Bad Guy"
- Tech Tip: Really Simple HTTP Server with Python
- Roll your own dynamic dns
3 hours 29 min ago
- Please correct the URL for Salt Stack's web site
6 hours 41 min ago
- Android is Linux -- why no better inter-operation
8 hours 56 min ago
- Connecting Android device to desktop Linux via USB
9 hours 24 min ago
- Find new cell phone and tablet pc
10 hours 22 min ago
11 hours 51 min ago
- Automatically updating Guest Additions
13 hours 25 sec ago
- I like your topic on android
13 hours 46 min ago
- This is the easiest tutorial
20 hours 22 min ago
- Ahh, the Koolaid.
1 day 2 hours ago
Enter to Win an Adafruit Pi Cobbler Breakout Kit for Raspberry Pi
It's Raspberry Pi month at Linux Journal. Each week in May, Adafruit will be giving away a Pi-related prize to a lucky, randomly drawn LJ reader. Winners will be announced weekly.
Fill out the fields below to enter to win this week's prize-- a Pi Cobbler Breakout Kit for Raspberry Pi.
Congratulations to our winners so far:
- 5-8-13, Pi Starter Pack: Jack Davis
- 5-15-13, Pi Model B 512MB RAM: Patrick Dunn
- 5-21-13, Prototyping Pi Plate Kit: Philip Kirby
- Next winner announced on 5-27-13!
Free Webinar: Hadoop
How to Build an Optimal Hadoop Cluster to Store and Maintain Unlimited Amounts of Data Using Microservers
Realizing the promise of Apache® Hadoop® requires the effective deployment of compute, memory, storage and networking to achieve optimal results. With its flexibility and multitude of options, it is easy to over or under provision the server infrastructure, resulting in poor performance and high TCO. Join us for an in depth, technical discussion with industry experts from leading Hadoop and server companies who will provide insights into the key considerations for designing and deploying an optimal Hadoop cluster.
Some of key questions to be discussed are:
- What is the “typical” Hadoop cluster and what should be installed on the different machine types?
- Why should you consider the typical workload patterns when making your hardware decisions?
- Are all microservers created equal for Hadoop deployments?
- How do I plan for expansion if I require more compute, memory, storage or networking?