Thursday, July 31, 2008

Using kde4

The first part of this post is a general rant about Kde4. The second part is a simple how-to for making kde4 look better and be more usable.

Every month or so I have an urge to try new things... Usually this means installing new (preferably beta) software on my computer. The program that got installed this time is kde4. I am using Linux, so if you are using windows this post will probably be of little interest to to you.

To make the story short, using kde is a horrible experience. The only reason I am doing this is stubbornness. The first thing I noticed after logging to kde4 is that the desktop looks very beautiful. Whoever designed it did an excellent job. However after doing this he let some other people turn the rest of it into a designer nightmare.

Firstly, the Firefox looks horrible. You can use another browser, konquer, but I wouldn't recommend doing so. A lot of sites (including Google and Yahoo) claim that this browser is unknown or very old.
The same is true for many other applications. However, this is possible to fix partially. All you need to do is to install the package gtk-qt-engine-kde4:

sudo apt-get install gtk-qt-engine-kde4

You’ll need to log out of KDE for the new options to appear. Once you’re logged back in, open System Settings and select and then GTK Styles and Fonts. Select the Use my KDE style in GTK applications option. Click Apply, and log out to make the changes take effect. I found this tip here. This is not a perfect solution, but it is significantly better than what was before.

After this rant, I guess I should say something positive. The file manager, Dolphin, while being a designer nightmare, works well and faster than Nautilus. The plasma widgets are also nice, but I never used widgets and I doubt I ever will, so this is of minor importance for me. The start menu also looks very good, but some of the icons are missing. Also, the desktop manager (at least I think this is what it is called) crashes sometimes. Well it happens I lose the panel, the widgets and the desktop background but all the rest works fine. Since I am using kiba-dock and Gnome-do, I don't really care about this, but I feel somewhat uncomfortable without the panel. I am writing this post from Kde4, and the desktop manager crashed a few minutes ago. I didn't yet find a way to get it back to work without restarting the X server.

In the next days I hope I will manage to solve at least some of the problems I am having with Kde4. If it will happen, I will update this post with some extra tips.

If you installed kde4 using the Kubuntu package, you will also get your Upsplash changed to say "Kubuntu" instead of "Ubuntu". If you care (I do), the simplest way to get it back is to use the start up manager: System->Administartion->StartUp-Manager. Go to the Appearence tab and change the upsplash theme to th one you want.

Remove games:
I don't play games, so I decided to remove all of them except for sudoku. This turned out to be extremely difficult. Firstly I attempted to use synaptic to remove them. By doing so I discovered that some programmer thought it would be nice to make the package kde4 depend on the package kdegames, which depends on every single game. The result was that an attempt to uninstal any game using aptitude ended with Kde4 being removed, and this set all the other packages connected to kde4 to auto removable. And since aptitude automatically removes such packages, by removing one game I removed all of kde4. To solve this I used adept package manager to uninstall all the games I could, and then I used synaptic to mark all the packages that were set to auto removable as manually installed. After this I finally got rid of the rest of the games.

Make Firefox look better:
The first thing to do after installing kde4 is to make gnome applications look normal in it. See above for instructions. However, this fix doesn't completely solve the problem with Firefox. It still doesn't render well. One possible solution is to install a theme for Firefox which was designed for Kde4. It is still experimental, so you will need to register an account on the Mozilla addons site.

No comments: