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KDE rules

A few short years ago the majority of apps I used were GTK2 apps. I alternated between Gnome and/or XFCE4 regularly. Compiz and Beryl came out and they were all gconf'd and whatnot so it was more Gnome. There was Gaim, Firefox, I think Thunar for file management, Gvim, GIMP, and so on.

It's strange when you're so immersed in your own world that you almost forget that another world exists. I kind of had in the back of my mind that KDE was probably dying out there somewhere and that all the KDE apps were just clunky crappy versions of GTK apps. This is what happens when you go a long time without using them. Eventually I gave KDE another try around a year or so ago, and I haven't looked back. I've mentioned before some of the reasons I like KDE. (The window manager in KDE actually manages windows, for one thing.)

Today I found another reason. Interestingly, lately more and more GTK apps I thought were indispensable are being sniped by QT apps. Not KDE4 apps either, I haven't installed KDE4 and don't plan to for a long while. Just old mature QT3 apps. Today on a whim I tried Kopete and much to my surprise I find that it's a nice alternative to Pidgin. Last time I tried it years ago it was really not a lot of fun to use, but it seems to have matured. It's a lot more customizable in look and feel than Pidgin, almost Adium-like.

Lately also I've taken to using Akregator for RSS feeds, and again, I'm largely impressed. It sits in the taskbar unobtrusively, and overlays a number on its icon indicating how many new feeds there are. You can then view them in what appears to be an embedded Konqueror tab, or in an external browser, depending if you left-click or middle-click. Embedded view works fine for the things I RSS for (webcomics and geek blogs).

I've even given up urxvt, which I'd used for many many years, for Konsole. KDE apps tend to be loaded with features, but also tend to be loaded with ways to disable all of those features and keep the one or two you actually want. Konsole is a good example of that. You could barely tell that my Konsole window isn't a lightweight terminal, until you right clicked it and got a billion options. No menubar, no statusbar, no tabs, no scrollbar if I don't want one (but I do). And under the hood you have sane font selection dialogs rather than screwy xft:strings:of:crap or -*-*-*-*-font-*-*-**-*specs-**-- no one can read. You can turn on/off visible or audible bell via a menu selection. You can save/load color schemes rather than waste endless amounts of time hacking of .Xdefaults. You have session management, pre-set standard row/col sizes, selectable word boundaries for double-click-highlight, etc. etc. etc. All those features only if you want them, otherwise go ahead and pretend they don't exist. It has everything you could want and more, yet it runs just as fast (on my machine) as any other terminal, and it looks identical.

Same for Kopete actually. My Kopete contact list has no toolbar, no menubar, no statusbar, nothing but a window frame with people's contact icons in it. And you have four or five different ways to display those icons. KDE somehow has some reputation for being bloated or having a bloated interface, but I find just the opposite. It has an interface you can make exactly as bloated or non-bloated as you want at any given moment.

Had I not blindly tried KDE one day I would never have realized how nice it all was nowadays. Sadly this train of thought leads me to the conclusion that I should blindly try Gnome again sometime soon. How depressing.

Once someone ports Firefox to QT and revives Kvim I'll be set. I'm sure that'll happen. Any day now. May as well start holding my breath.

February 07, 2008 @ 2:42 PM PST
Cateogory: Linux
Tags: KDE, Gnome, XFCE

4 Comments

numerodix
Quoth numerodix on February 07, 2008 @ 9:56 PM PST

I can only say.. about time :)

> Once someone ports Firefox to QT and revives Kvim I'll be set.

Religion aside, what on earth for? Fair enough, gvim sort of stinks gui-wise, but what would rewriting in qt buy us?

lefty.crupps
Quoth lefty.crupps on February 08, 2008 @ 12:30 AM PST

Welcome to a wide world! Gnome has some nice apps, sure, but I've always found it impossible to work in, and the default Gnome printing screens and file open/save dialogs are horrible.

KVim would be nice; Firefox can be customized (some) to better integrate with KDE with Konquefox and KDEFF; but overall, yes I agree, KDE ROCKS.

Brian
Quoth Brian on February 08, 2008 @ 4:16 AM PST

I'll have to look at Konquefox and KDEFF, thanks.

numerodix: A sane file selector, for one. Maybe a snappier interface like Opera's? Integration with KDE would be nice. There's that GTK-QT theme engine but it mangles scrollbars in KDE, among other glitches.

Mostly though, no more need to install GTK, install GTK theme engines, track down themes to make everything look as close to normal as possible on my desktop, etc. etc.

Dirk Gently
Quoth Dirk Gently on February 08, 2008 @ 3:38 PM PST

I remember learning quark express. I love that layout program. Gnome has nothing of the sort. I'd haven't tried KDE in a long time, but am tempted by some of its apps.