A series of unfortunate events gave me a golden opportunity revisit KDE 4. My previous post regarding it was not a shining one. There were serious limitations with Plasma, and Konqueror was, at least on Kubuntu Gutsy, unusable.
I had two hard drives in my computer, an older 80GB one with the operating system and applications on it, and a newer 250GB one for my data. Unfortunately, the 80GB started to make whining and clicking noises. My experience tells me that those sounds are the beginning stages of its demise. Rather than wait around for it to crash completely, it was the perfect time to upgrade.
I bought a second 250GB drive and reinstalled Kubuntu on it, transferring all of my home folder settings and files in the process.
I decided that I would try KDE 4 on a fresh install. Lo and behold, the Plasma issues were largely resolved. Icons on the desktop worked, and it doesn’t seem to have the stability problems that it had before. Apparently, one bug that I’ve found is that setting the mouse to double-click fails to activate icons, whereas single click works just fine.
The downer has been Konqueror. Since I’ve started using Dolphin as a file manager, I’ve been using Firefox more and more anyway, but with a still unusable Konqueror on KDE4, I’ve gone to Firefox full time. There are two problems with it currently:
1. The location bar disappears. I can get it back by putting it inside the main toolbar, but when I restart Konqueror, it hangs.
2. I cannot get SSL enabled sites to work. Any site that uses https fails to load. I’ve read that it is a certificate issue, but for me, this is a show stopper.
When I feel the need to use Konqueror, which I still prefer for its slimness and speed, the KDE3 version works just fine in KDE4. In fact, all KDE3 apps work perfectly well, which is much better than people’s experiences with upgrading other desktops/operating systems, such as the transition from Mac OS 9 to OS X or from Windows XP to Vista. Hats off to the KDE and QT developers for that.
In the end, KDE4 is already beautiful and does add notable usability features. Over time it will mature into the best desktop environment in the world, a title KDE 3 currently holds.