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Author Topic: NIX: KDE anyone? First thoughts.  (Read 5539 times)

40hz

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NIX: KDE anyone? First thoughts.
« on: April 03, 2014, 12:06:59 PM »
I'll confess I have a certain love/hate relationship with KDE. It was the first WM I ever used back when I first started getting acquainted with Linux. That was back in the days when Slackware was the reigning emperor - and using upstart distros like Redhat and SUSE and Knoppix was considered "rad." But lately there are times when I need (or prefer) to use certain KDE-based apps. So I thought this would be a good time to start getting familiar with KDE again.

Since I don't like to mix desktop environments on a Linux box, I went looking for a few KDE-oriented distros in order to get back into the swing of things. For those who don't know, KDE had it's ups and downs, and went through a fairly contentious period among its developers and users not too long ago. Luckily, the dust has seemed to settle. And the latest iterations of KDE look to be solid and back on track. So this seemed to be the ideal time to get back up to speed on the K{fill in the blank} universe.

My test machine is an HP Pavilion dv7 laptop sporting an Intel Core i5 CPU with 8GB RAM w/ATI Radeon 6400-series graphics and Intel Centrino-N 1030 BGN wifi.

For testing I tried the latest 64-bit versions of KWheezy and Mint 16 KDE Edition. Both were downloaded and "burned" to bootable USB for preliminary testing.

Initial impressions:

I started with KWheezy 1.5 since Mint is still getting a lot of software from Ubuntu repositories. I wanted to start distancing myself from things Ubu for a variety of reasons I've gone into elsewhere. If that comment doesn't make sense to anybody, don't worry about it. It's more a FOSS cultural/political issue that doesn't have a bearing on either distro for testing purposes.

On first bootup, KWheezy displayed an attractive splash sequence that eventually landed me on an equally pretty desktop. On first boot neither sound (which can be fussy on this laptop) nor the wifi interface came up configured correctly. After a second boot both seemed to work fine with no intervetion required, so whatever happened was likely a timing issue introduced by booting from a relatively slow USB 2.0 key.

All the major apps and goodies we know and like appeared on the menus by default. KWheezy is a distro that includes everything the average PC user could want (plus a whole lot more) by default. Hardly a slender distribution. But many people see that as a plus so I won't comment. Suffice to say most people won't need to open Synaptic to add anything to the mix anytime soon if they're running a Wheezy default install.

Things were looking good. Then the problems started. The Plasma desktop kept repeatedly crashing. Fortunately, crash recovery isn't the hassle for Linux the way it is for Windows. It was relatively easy to start a new user session and muddle forward. Except...it kept happening every 10 or so minutes. I don't know if this was just an issue with running the 'live' session rather than a 'bare iron' install. But it didn't give me warm fuzzies. Especially since booting a live session is often the best compatibility test you can run. If it works 'live' it will almost always work as well (or better) once it's installed.

That's something I'll need to explore later...on to Mint 16 KDE.

Mint launched noticeably more quickly than KWheezy. Probably because it was packing nowhere near as much baggage as KWheezy. Mint butchers in around half the download size. Running live it uses slightly less than 800Mb of RAM with a few small apps or a browser open. And it seems to consume between 3% and 5% CPU utilization when mostly idle.

Sound and wifi worked out of the box on first boot. Screen resolution was set correctly using a recommended driver. There were two additional accelerated drivers also available that I'll have to play with later. But as of now, the screen looks great.

There's a lot more apps loaded than  I usually use. It seems the full Calligra Suite along with Libre Office comes along by default. So there's definitely some "app overlap" in places. I'd definitely consider slimming that down at some point since I like to keep as little "stuff" on my machines as possible. FFox is the default web browser. And VLC is also included - which is a welcome surprise.

So far everything is working smoothly with no bad surprises. (I'm typing and uploading this in Mint KDE as we speak.) So it looks like Mint just might become my goto KDE distro despite my misgivings over its Ubuntu roots.

I'll have to sit down with KWheezy when I have more time to play - and ideally install it to disk first, rather than run it in a live session.


Anybody else putzing around with any of this? Or would anyone care to share their thoughts/advice/tips/war stories?

I'm all ears. :)

« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 01:35:05 PM by 40hz »

Edvard

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Re: NIX: KDE anyone? First thoughts.
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2014, 08:22:17 PM »
It's been a LOOOONG time since I tried anything KDE, though I hear it's not half as bad as it used to be.  I remember being impressed by the Keramic window decoration and the bouncing "wait" icons, but many of the configuration GUIs appeared to be written by the same people who write custom Windows software installers.  I'm configuring my screen resolution, not installing new hardware!!
Nowadays, I'm so comfortable in Xfce that I never feel the need to walk on the other side of the fence, and the random Qt app that makes it onto my Desktop isn't unwelcome as long as it doesn't hook into KDElibs... You hear me, K3b?!?  >:(

zridling

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Re: NIX: KDE anyone? First thoughts.
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2014, 09:02:46 AM »
I've been a KDE fan for the simple reason that I like their software, mainly Gwenview image viewer and Dolphin file manager. But your attempts at Mint are similar to mine -- the distro is often too heavy for my hardware, and I just don't need all that stuff. To your point, I still say openSUSE has the best implementation of KDE, and like all distros, some swear by it, others can't stand openSUSE.

40hz

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Re: NIX: KDE anyone? First thoughts.
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2014, 12:14:50 PM »
I've been a KDE fan for the simple reason that I like their software, mainly Gwenview image viewer and Dolphin file manager. But your attempts at Mint are similar to mine -- the distro is often too heavy for my hardware, and I just don't need all that stuff. To your point, I still say openSUSE has the best implementation of KDE, and like all distros, some swear by it, others can't stand openSUSE.

I agree. OpenSUSE always had - and still has (IMO) - the single most polished and refined KDE implementation out there.

Also agree that Mint is definitely targeted at 'newer' hardware. If you're stuck with (or intend to take a stand on) older silicon, the smartest thing to do is bite the bullet and get comfortable working with Debian. Deb will never let you down although you may need put in some actual study time to get it to do everything you want/need it to.
 8)

ewemoa

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Re: NIX: KDE anyone? First thoughts.
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2014, 02:30:30 AM »
Tried the RC for Linux Mint 17 KDE, 40hz?

  http://community.linuxmint.com/iso

40hz

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Re: NIX: KDE anyone? First thoughts.
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2014, 06:40:41 PM »
Tried the RC for Linux Mint 17 KDE, 40hz?

  http://community.linuxmint.com/iso

Nope!

Probably won't either. If I were to go over to another WM it would either be Xfce or Openbox. Those are what I run on my "traveling" laptops.
 :)

TaoPhoenix

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Re: NIX: KDE anyone? First thoughts.
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2014, 09:19:08 PM »
It's been to long for me to remember any of this, but what I vaguely recall was just that it was just different enough from Good ol' Win XP that it was annoying me. Specifically the right click menu options felt strange. Prob MS has some kind of patent on what 12 commands can be in a menu or whatever, but it slowed me down. It would possibly be like trying to learn driving in Britain - lots of people do their thing quite nicely, but darn I'm not good enough of a driver to have THAT reflex messed with!
:o

And because I was only just dabbling with a cheap box from best buy, I never really got going with any of the apps. Then one day uBuntu dropped a key driver between editions that hosed the box for all future Ubuntu distros up to however far I got. I did find a sub-sub distro with the driver back, but around then I was just growing tired of it all.




ewemoa

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Re: NIX: KDE anyone? First thoughts.
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2014, 09:32:42 PM »
If I were to go over to another WM it would either be Xfce or Openbox.

The main drawback to me about many of the existing options is the key sequence collisions and what trouble is involved in minimizing such things.  I've been using fluxbox as it was relatively easy to become collision-free by changing ~/.fluxbox/keys to use the Mod4 modifier (Windows key here).  The result is that window management here makes use of the Windows key, and other things don't (at least for the most part).

full-disclosure...
Gothi[c] also hacks on fluxbox so that seems a plus :)




I like XFCE but I haven't figured out an easy way (yet?) to achieve a similar small-number-of-collisions end.  I tried Openbox for a while but had difficulty in working with the switching among and control individual windows functionality that typically is available via taskbar-ish UIs (this was after trying a variety of 3rd party "panels").

Edvard

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Re: NIX: KDE anyone? First thoughts.
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2014, 10:02:08 PM »
Xfce Settings -> Keyboard -> Application Shortcuts

keyboard1.pngNIX: KDE anyone? First thoughts.

keyboard.pngNIX: KDE anyone? First thoughts.

 :Thmbsup:

ewemoa

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Re: NIX: KDE anyone? First thoughts.
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2014, 10:26:05 PM »
I hope you were joking -- is that not quite a lot of point of clicking you have to do (to be comprehensive)?  FWIW, I have looked there before :)

Edvard

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Re: NIX: KDE anyone? First thoughts.
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2014, 12:15:54 AM »

I hope you were joking

No.  :(

I'm sure there's a config somewhere that does the same thing, but this tool is easy enough.  You are correct that the *boxen WMs keep it simple with basic config files that can be simply text-edited, which is nice.  I wouldn't know where to begin in KDE  :o

ewemoa

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Re: NIX: KDE anyone? First thoughts.
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2014, 12:54:48 AM »
BTW, aren't there also the Window Manager -> Keyboard and Window Manager Tweaks -> Accessibility -> Key used to grab and move windows sections?  Perhaps there are other nooks that contain keyboard-related things...IIRC, it's no better in most other non-XFCE things.



I wonder why more desktop environments/managers/etc. don't go for using the Windows key to stay out of application key usage territory...seems like such a nice solution.

ewemoa

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Re: NIX: KDE anyone? First thoughts.
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2014, 04:41:15 AM »
40hz and other interested parties,

I was going to start another thread on the following (and may be I still will ;)), but if you'd like another fun rabbit hole that happens to use KDE, perhaps NixOS would be interesting to check out.  It appears to support XFCE (as well as other things), but KDE appears to be more the default.



I've been using its package manager, Nix, on top of Gentoo mostly with happy results, but am also testing NixOS via VirtualBox.

not all roses...
Unfortunately, NixOS is also systemd-based -- may be someone will try to produce a version with OpenRC at some point...


ewemoa

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Re: NIX: KDE anyone? First thoughts.
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2014, 06:45:28 PM »
I wonder why more desktop environments/managers/etc. don't go for using the Windows key to stay out of application key usage territory...seems like such a nice solution.

Tweaked the 3 sections that looked to contain keyboard settings in XFCE4 to try to avoid potential conflicts with various applications -- by judicious use of the Windows key.  Now I'd like to reuse these settings on other machines.  Anyone know of a good way to do so?  Didn't have much luck turning up any kind of export / import of settings...

Edvard

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Re: NIX: KDE anyone? First thoughts.
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2014, 11:45:34 PM »
/home/user/.config/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/xfce4-keyboard-shortcuts.xml
 :Thmbsup:

ewemoa

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Re: NIX: KDE anyone? First thoughts.
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2014, 05:26:45 AM »
Thanks -- any advice on performing "merges" with existing settings?

FWIW, attached is a copy of xfce4-keyboard-shortcuts.xml

I didn't find the setting related to Window Manager Tweaks -> Accessibility -> Key used to grab and move windows -- is that in there too?

Edvard

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Re: NIX: KDE anyone? First thoughts.
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2014, 05:59:33 PM »
AHA!
It's in /home/user/.config/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/xfwm4.xml

<property name="easy_click" type="string" value="Super"/>

I found out by watching what files changed when I changed that setting, making a copy, changing it back and diff'ing the two files.  :Thmbsup:

ewemoa

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Re: NIX: KDE anyone? First thoughts.
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2014, 07:03:27 PM »
I checked that file out after changing the value but didn't notice any difference, but perhaps the file hadn't updated...or something ;)

Thanks!