Review: KDE4 – Is it worth upgrading?

KDE4 was released on Jan 11, 2008. I noticed the rpms for Fedora on rpmfind.net on Jan 13. It was a big trouble to get packages one by one keeping in mind the dependencies. I tried Yum with rpmfind repo but it didn’t work out. Then I used the server where my domain is hosted. I have 15GB bandwidth per month and the download speed on the server is awesome (average 400kbps). So, I just ftp to rpmfind.net and downloaded all the rpms on the server hosting my site. And then I downloaded the packages from my domain to my local machine ( No effort for searching now and I can do parallel downloading now). So, lets see how to install KDE4 on Fedora.

Step 1:

Get the KDE4 rpms from rpmfind.net . Here is the list of all the kde4 rpms that you need to download from rpmfind.net.

Step 2:

Enable the fedora development repository. In '/etc/yum.repos.d/fedora-development.repo' file check if enabled is equal to 1 for development repo. If its zero, then change it to 1.

Step 3:

Use yum to install the kde rpms that you have downloaded.

[root@bordeaux KDE4_RPMS]# yum install *.rpm [Enter]  (do as root)

Note: After the KDE4 rpms are up in the fedora repos, then you can skip the step 1 and directly install kde by issuing the command

[root@bordeaux saini]# yum install kde* [Enter] (do as root)

My Experience

I was expecting a lot from KDE4. But a lot of things went wrong. When I logged into KDE4 for the first time, everything was looking awesome and very sharp. But then I faced the first crash while editing the settings for a widget and I realized that its not possible to have a crash free KDE application. After upgrade ( which cost me around 1GB of downloading via yum) and spending a lot of time manually downloading the packages, all I got was a desktop environment which will crash frequently to remind that you just wasted 1GB of bandwidth.

After upgrading, Kopete stopped working due to some conflict in ssl libraries, xchat is also not working due to some other library conflicts, dolphin the new file manager for KDE doesn’t even start and flush all kind of errors and faults when launched from command line. After the first crash the panel disappeared and I couldn’t get it back. Launching kicker returns the kde3 panel.

KDE4 is awesome when you just sit back and look at it. But when you want to work with some apps, its miserable. One of my friend had this status message on gtalk ‘ KDE4 : KDE3.5.8 :: Vista : XP ‘. KDE4 is as good as Vista when it comes to looks but its equally bad as Vista as compared to XP when it comes to work with it.

Conclusion: Don’t upgrade to KDE4 and wait till May, 2008 when KDE4 will be shipped with Fedora 9. I hope that KDE4 will not crash frequently when it’ll be embedded natively.

Here are some screen shots if you wanna have a look :)

KDE4 Desktop KDE4 Menus KDE4 Konqueror KDE4 Logout Screen

 

How To: Configure VNC Server

Vncserver is just another application available in almost all the available Linux based distros. Configuring vncserver is very easy. But the default desktop view in vncviewer is gray scale desktop with very pathetic GUI. To view normal Gnome or KDE desktop in vncviewer, assigning a custom port for usage, user configuration and to adjust the resolution of the vncviewer window, some files need to be configured properly. Here are the required configuration in any version of Fedora/Fedora Core. But with minor modifications these can be applied to other distros like Ubuntu, SuSE, Gentoo etc.

Step 1: Installing Vncviewer, Vncserver

As root do this

[root@bordeaux saini]# yum install vnc [Enter]

Step 2: Configuring resolution, port & user

The default location of server configuration file for vncserver is ‘/etc/sysconfig/’. To configure the resolution, user and port open ‘/etc/sysconfig/vncservers’ in you favorite editor and add two lines per user configuration shown ..

VNCSERVERS=":"
VNCSERVERARGS[]="-geometry x x"

Example :

VNCSERVERS="3:saini"
VNCSERVERARGS[3]="-geometry 1000x700"

You can choose any display port, but it should not be in use by another X server. Window height and width can be anything (not in fraction of course). But keep in mind that the system on which you are going to view the desktop using vncviewer should have greater resolution than what you specify here, otherwise scrollbars will appear.

Step 3: Configuring Desktop Environment

The user specific configuration files of vncviewer resides in ‘.vnc’ directory in user’s home directory. (e.g. ‘/home/saini/.vnc/’). Open ‘.vnc/xstartup’ in your favorite editor and edit as below

  • For Gnome

The ‘xstartup’ file shout look like this

#!/bin/sh
 
# Uncomment the following two lines for normal desktop:
unset SESSION_MANAGER
exec /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc
 
[ -x /etc/vnc/xstartup ] && exec /etc/vnc/xstartup
[ -r $HOME/.Xresources ] && xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
#xsetroot -solid grey
#vncconfig -iconic &
#xterm -geometry 80x24+10+10 -ls -title "$VNCDESKTOP Desktop" &
#twm &
startx &
  • For KDE

The ‘xstartup’ file should look like this

#!/bin/sh
 
# Uncomment the following two lines for normal desktop:
#unset SESSION_MANAGER
#exec /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc
 
[ -x /etc/vnc/xstartup ] && exec /etc/vnc/xstartup
[ -r $HOME/.Xresources ] && xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
#xsetroot -solid grey
#vncconfig -iconic &
#xterm -geometry 80x24+10+10 -ls -title "$VNCDESKTOP Desktop" &
#twm &
startkde &

Step 4: Configuring password

For setting up vncviewer password for user ‘xyz’, login as user ‘xyz’ and issue ‘vncpasswd’ command on a terminal/konsole (or whatever). Enter password twice and you are done with password setting.

Step 5: Starting Vncserver

To start vncserver, login as root and issue ‘service vncserver start’ command. If service started successfully, you are ready to use vncviewer on a remote/local machine.

Step 6: Accessing through Vncviewer

  • From Linux based machines
[saini@bordeaux saini]# vncviewer IP_Address:displayPort [Enter] #(IP Address is for the machine where you set up vncserver)
  • From Windows

On windows there is a software called RealVnc. Install it and enter <IPAddress>:<displayPort> in the dialog box.
[I explained how to connect via windows because it may help someone get a bit of relief.]

Screenshots:

  • Vncviewer with Gnome as Desktop environment

VNC Server VNC Viewer Screenshot GNOME

  • Vncviewer with KDE as Desktop environment

VNC Server VNC Viewer Screenshot KDE

Vnc is nice tool if you want to avoid using windows. I use it all the time. While I am forced to work on windows system, I install vncviewer and use it in full screen mode 😛 It also helps when you want to run some gui based application and monitor is remotely. Because if you close vncviewer window and use vncviewer again, you will be given the desktop session where you left it (all windows open and applications running).

 

QuadKonsole – Programme Better

Well, the era of Quad Core computing is approaching fast. But everybody can’t just enjoy the computing powers of those high end processors due to very high cost and maintenance(power supply and heat) problems. If you are a programmer and and use linux, then you can at least have a Quad Core Konsole. I found a small application here which can change the way you program and can make programming very easy and fast. It has four konsoles tiled in one single window and comes with very easy navigation controls. You may want to give it a try. Below is a screenshot of QuadKonsole.

Quad Core Konsole

Quad Core Konsole