One Week With KDE : My Challenge

By | 2007/02/18

In response to all this recent nonsense about gnome vs KDE vs Linus vs everyone else that has jumped on this bandwagon I thought I would do the responsible thing and put the two to the test. I will use KDE for one full week and post my thoughts at the end of that time. If any of you have any tips for me an making that temporary transition let me know. Who knows, maybe I’ll even decide to stay. Below are a few questions and comments I have to keep in mind.

The last time I used KDE was in my Red Hat 9 days about 4 years ago. I have tried it off and on, but never longer than a day since. I have used gnome as my primary desktop since making the transition to Ubuntu with version 5.04.


Exchange Support. Does the default KDE mail client support Exchange the way Evolution does or will I need to continue with Evolution? (I know, I know, I have to use it for work.)

Feed Reader. I have been using Liferea. Is there another KDE specific reader I should checkout?

Firefox. Should I also try to use Konquerer during my stay or is FF good enough?

…that is all I can think of now. If I need help I’m sure I’ll make mention of it.

Again, I would love to hear helpful comments on giving KDE a solid try. I honestly want to see what I might be missing so lend me a hand. In an attempt to move away from the current flaming holy war if you do leave any kind of negative comments it’ll be promptly deleted. Wish me luck!

Update: I have added links to my daily thoughts & user comments below.

The switch to KDE : Day 1

The switch to KDE : Day 2 

The switch to KDE : Day 3

The switch to KDE : Day 4

The switch to KDE : Day 5

The switch to KDE : Day 6

36 thoughts on “One Week With KDE : My Challenge

  1. Robert Knight

    I cannot answer the exchange question, but as for the other two:

    - Akregator is the feed reader which comes as part of the KDE PIM suite. If you are using Kubuntu, you can either access it through the KDE menu under “Internet”, or start the KDE PIM suite ( Kontact ) using the button on the quick-launch area ( the buttons just to the right of the KDE menu at the bottom left of the screen) and select the “Feeds” section on the right-hand side.

    - Yes, you should use Konqueror for web browsing. Otherwise you will not be making use of an important part of the KDE desktop.

  2. ltmon

    Exchange: Never tried it, but mixed reports. There is a disclamer about it on

    Feeds: Akregator is plenty good enough. It will run standalone or as a Kontact plugin.

    Firefox: I use Konqueror mostly for the speed and better integration, but it isn’t as featureful as Firefox for web browsing. It’s file manager features (e.g. fish:// protocol, split views, embedded terminal, select-by-wildcard) are must have for me however.

  3. Josef Assad

    Evolution screenscrapes, afaik.There’s always fetchexc which does the same thing, but from the command line.

    Can’t say akregator is any better or worse than liferea.

    I tried konqueror for a while; it is pretty cool, but I got tired quickly of the many sites that were broken with it (which is in all likelihood not konq’s fault, since it passes ACID2 IIRC).

    Do yourself a favor and go WM for a month rather than changing DE for a week.

    When you do, aptitude install gmrun and give it a nice keybinding and you’ll be set.

  4. sam

    I know you probably prefer a feed reader app, but there are Firefox extensions for the purpose, as well as web-based readers if you’re not finding a suitable replacement. I love Netvibes myself.

  5. serhat

    You must try Akregator, it comes standard with Kubuntu desktop and any KDE based distro.

  6. Andreas Olsson

    I agree totally with everything already stated.

    Then I definitely think you should check out katapult. It is a wonderful utility to launch programs.

    When it comes to playing music I’m sure you’ve heard about Amarok. Really, really nice.

    It might be interesting to take a quick look at KOffice. It may not be up to OpenOffice at all levels, but on the other hand it runs alot quicker.

  7. eric

    Regarding Exchange: My school just switched over to exchange, and I was not able to get it working in KMail (I’d love it if someone can point me to a how-to on getting all aspects of exchange working in KMail, including the calendar and contacts), so switched to Evolution.

    Regarding Konqueror vs. Firefox, I think Konqueror is one of the best KDE apps, along with Kile (LaTeX editor). It’s true that some sites don’t load well on it, but the fast loading of PDF and PS files is awesome, especially when looking at academic sites. Also, the ability to have a site you’re downloading from in one tab and a folder open in another, and a shell at the bottom – it’s a great setup for installing programs.

    For what it’s worth, I was alerted to your blog post via Akregator. I prefer it to the firefox plug-ins.

  8. Miles

    Instant messaging > Kopete
    Music player > Amarok (& AmarokFS, worthy)
    Guitar tabs > KGuitar
    Video Editing > KDEnlive
    Burning CDs & DVDs > K3B

    You could also try KOffice. Katapult is also a nice little app (Alt + Space).

    The only problem with Kubuntu is that it is really buggy. I had never experienced so many bugs with other distros: random crashes, inconsistent taskbar, slow to boot, must log on twice before having a fully-fonctionnal desktop, and so on. Some other times, a random app asks me my sudo password (last time I saw this happening, it was KNotes).

  9. Paul Hoch

    I’ve been doing the opposite I guess. I have long been a fan of KDE but I grew tired of the fact that Kubuntu is not as “tight” as Ubuntu so starting with 6.10, I switched to Ubuntu and Gnome. That being said, I used Liferea, Evolution, etc. with KDE as they are superior apps. I see no reason that you have to give up some of your favorite apps just to switch desktops. There are plenty of other differences that you will either love or hate. Personally, I prefer Kate to GEdit, Konsole to Gnome Terminal but Liferea and Evolution to Akregator and KMail.

  10. Freddy

    I personally can’t use GNOME, not going to start a flame war but eh. Some useful apps, Knotes (Klipper is good too), Akregator (how I came to your site), Kmail or Kontact. KOffice does everything I need. I personally can not use Konqueror because I detest the middle mouse function (Middle Click Searches in contrast with Mozilla’s Close Tab / Scroll). I use Fx for web browsing and that all I need.

  11. Daniel

    I’d recommend going with KDE for a bit more than a week in order to get a more decent basis for comparison. It may take you a while to find your way around, so the first week could be more annoyances than benefits; obviously Gnome is nicer right out of the box for many people, but many people like KDE for being more customizable. So I’d say: use KDE until you feel very comfortable finding and modifying stuff, and then use it for one more week after that. I think that’s the only fair way to compare it with Gnome. I’ve bounced back and forth and like both just fine (as a Firefox/ Thunderbird/ Reminderfox/ VLC/ Bloglines user I’m rather desktop agnostic- that freedom is probably the main reason I gravitated towards those programs). One thing I do dislike about KDE that might give you problems: the arts sound system (slated for replacement in KDE4). I usually find a way to kill it so it doesn’t inadvertently mess up my sound (I’ve even gone so far as removing the arts file).

    Anyhow, perhaps it’s because I don’t use that many DE-specific programs, but I really don’t find Gnome and KDE to be very different (of course, I probably don’t use KDE to its maximum potential). Sure, I use Kopete in one and Gaim in the other, etc, etc, but overall, my experience is pretty much the same (especially if I’m using Beryl- in the absence of Beryl, I do think KDE feels a bit “snappier” on my box). I think the only time the system truly matters is if you have an older system with under 1 gig of RAM; then loading unnecessary libraries probably hurts more.

    In any case, if you haven’t already, I’d suggest becoming familiar with Katapult, Klipper, and Amarok, which are 3 KDE-related apps I do often find myself appreciating (although I use Amarok on Gnome too).

    Good luck, and enjoy!

  12. Amanda

    It takes a lot longer than one week to make KDE *yours* and have everything ‘just so’. I’ve been using KDE nearly a month on this computer, and GNOME is on the laptop. The laptop recently got KDE as well, and it looks terrible! I’d forgotten just how long it takes to make it great. Kontact is a must, it has everything. I use Konqueror for web & file browsing. If you have trouble with Kate (as I did, and had to permanently remove her), install kedit, which is great if you just need something really simple. Icons & fonts & wallpapers all need replacing, oh, and once you try Superkaramba, you’ll miss it terribly back on GNOME.
    Have fun, and well-done for not jumping on the bandwagon!