Thursday, April 10, 2008

KDE 4 in Actual Usage

I've decided to fill the large gap in my blogging with descriptions of my experiences with KDE4.

I've been building KDE 4 from svn for a while, testing from time to time to see if it could be used. The answer was negative until recently. Most of what I want has stabilized enough to become my working desktop. I use Arch Linux as a distibution, and have built PKGBUILD's for all the major modules. The build scripts are here.

My first test was to install it on my Eeepc. I was using kdemod 3.5 series, which worked fine. But I wanted to see if KDE4 was usable and how resource intensive it is. Konqueror works, the taskbar can be shrunk enough to be possible, and there is a reasonable working plasmoid for battery power monitoring. No crashes so far. I installed the kdesupport modules, kdelibs, kdepimlibs and kdebase. Startup is quick, shutdown is about as slow as kde 3. If the machine shuts down abnormally, ie. not through the Kde menu, any configuration changes seem to be lost and I needed to delete the plasma configurations in .kde to get it to start again. Once the configuration is saved by a shutdown, further abnormal halts don't seem to cause any problem. This is based on svn revision 792413.

This gave me confidence to try the it on my desktop which is used differently. There have been a few issues, some almost show stoppers. My setup is at svn revision 795172. Konqueror won't start from the menu, and top tells me I have a konqueror --preload instance that is taking 95% cpu. If I start from a console, it loads and runs fine. Every so often nsplugin crashes, and on some pages the cpu usage spikes. It works well enough most of the time. I'm typing this in Firefox because Konqueror locked when trying to insert an image.

The desktop effects are neat for a short while, but for some reason the individual ones can't be shut off. I haven't tried editing the configuration file yet, and I probably will turn them all off. They work. Great.

Most desktop items are profoundly rudimentary in usage. Barely useful. These will no doubt improve with time.

I have used Amarok as a podcast collector, and use it to transfer to my mtp based MP3 player. This isn't working in Amarok 4 yet.


Comments:
Have you checked out the kdemod4 packagebuilds?
svn co http://kdemod.ath.cx/svn/branches/kde4 for kde 4.0 and svn co http://kdemod.ath.cx/svn/branches/kde41
for what's going to become 4.1
 
You compile the packages by yourself ?
There is an daily KDE4 svn repo for archlinux.
I use it day by day for one month now and it rocks. The only drawback is that it conflicts with kde3.5
 
> The only drawback is that it conflicts with kde3.5

Thats why I built my own. I have to maintain a working 3.5 for other users.

Derek
 
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