It was an uneasy breakup. Kubuntu and I had parted about two months ago rather abruptly after I had installed 9.02. After a nearly four year love affair between us, I felt that I had been jaded. The new KDE 4.1 Plasma desktop was awkward and things just didn’t seem right.
Numerous crashes. Not knowing where things went. Applications acting strange. It was as though I had returned from a vacation to my home and all the rooms had been redecorated. After much soul-searching and investigation, I decided not to leave the Ubuntu “family” just yet, but to forsake KDE (as I felt they had forsaken me with Plasma) and to move to Gnome with Ubuntu.
From the get-go, Ubuntu seemed familiar and easy to use. All the elements were in the right place. It was as though the stars had aligned. I was happy again as a Linux user. I was sold on Ubuntu. I wrote off KDE and Kubuntu. Sure, there were plenty of pleasant KDE implementations, many better than Kubuntu, like Mandriva and SUSE. Even Mepis 8.0, with it’s KDE 3.5 was appealing. But, I had decided to stay with Ubuntu. It was inertia, and it felt fine.
After about a month of using Ubuntu on Gnome, the cracks in the foundation started appearing. Where was Klipper! Amarok didn’t work well. The Gnome tools felt different than KDE. The Alsa sound drivers were having problems all the time. Come to think of it, I missed KDE…
So, after two months, I’m back with Kubuntu. This time, I’ve installed KDE 4.2. Many of the kinks of the original Plasma version have been worked out. I’ve been reunited with all my favorite KDE apps in their native desktop environment. Even the sound card is working again. I’m happy to be back. The only real holdover from my Gnome days is Evolution. I’ve left Kmail, and for now have taken a real liking to Evolution as the best email app for my needs.
KDE is working on releasing v.4.3. They are up to RC2, and there are details on the Kubuntu website on how to upgrade your existing KDE desktop within Kubuntu. If you are still struggling with KDE 4.1, I strongly encourage you to check out at least v.4.2, and/or leapfrog to 4.3.
My next hill to conquer is whether to leap with KDE to another distro such as Mandriva or Open Suse. There are so many choices out there for Linux users. But the old adage still rings true – “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
Let us know about your KDE vs. Gnome vs. Xfce experiences.