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

 

Review: Firefox 3 Beta 1

Firefox 3 Beta 1 is available now. I downloaded the package yesterday morning and started using it right away. While using, I figured out some of the good things and at the same time there are some bad things about this test release. Here is what I feel about Firefox 3 Beta 1.

BTW, you can get beta 1 for Firefox 3 here. I am not going to tell, how to install firefox :)

Positives:

1.Nice Default Font:

Well someone may argue that you can configure any font in any version of Firefox, so whats the good thing about this default font in Firefox 3 Beta1. Well, I’ll say that configuration is always available but nobody gives a damn to configure the font in browser. I am liking this default font in FF3 Beta1 and everything now seems interesting to read. I have Read more than 40 wiki pages since last two days.

2.New FTP Listing Style:

The FTP listings in Firefox 3 Beta 1 has got new stylesheet. Its not dirty any more. It feels good while browsing ftp now. See the screen-shot below.

FTP Listing In Firefox

3.Website Identity:

This is new feature, but I couldn’t find it useful. When you click on favicon in the location bar, a pop-up kinda thing comes up, which tells about the identity of the site you are visiting. Check out the snapshot below.

Website Identity in Firefox

4.Drag n Drop:

You can now hold any thing in Firefox 3 Beta 1 and drag it anywhere you want. Though I could not drop the images to gimp or anywhere else, it looks good. I think its in the development stage right now.

Drag and Drop in Firefox Drag and Drop in Firefox

5.Bookmarks:

Bookmarking a website or editing your bookmarks is far easier now. You can edit a bookmarked site while its loading or can bookmark the site by just clicking a button. A new star-shaped button has been added in the location bar before the go button. If a site is not bookmarked, clicking the button will just bookmark it without asking for anything. If you again click on the button, now you can edit or delete the site you just bookmarked.

Bookmark Editing in Firefox

6.Adding Search Engine:

In firefox 3 beta 1, you can add the site you are browsing in you search engine list just like google, imdb, wikipedia, yahoo or whatever. But this is not valid for every website. Every website in this world can’t be a search engine 😛 Checkout the snapshot or KDE.

Adding Search Engine in Firefox

7.Link sorting/searching in location bar:

Firefox 3 beta 1 implements a new searching/sorting mechanism for links in location bar. As you type some letters, those are now searched in the link as well as the title of the page and then the links are sorted and displayed as list. In drop down list, you can also see the sites on your bookmarks.

8.Places Folder:

A new bookmark folder named ‘Places’ has been added. It has 6 sub-folders which contains links to different site based on a particular criterion. Some of them are ‘Recently Starred Pages’, ‘Recently Visited Starred Pages’, ‘Most Visited Starred Pages’ etc. I was looking for something like this since a long time. Because every time I login into my PC and fire up my firefox, first of all, I visit 8-10 sites (students mail, slashdot, iiit blogroll, yahoo mail, gmail, forum, orkut etc.). Now, I can open all of them in just one click. I click on ‘Most Visited Starred Pages’ and done.

9.Low Memory:

Well, a review of Firefox 3 Beta 1 on zdnet, say that Firefox 3 beta 1 is consuming low memory than Firefox 2 and IE 7. That review is for Firefox in windows. But in Fedora 7, I didn’t experience any reduction in memory usage.

10.Faster:

I don’t know how to justify this, but Firefox 3 Beta 1 seems to load pages faster. What I could think was that, when you click go, it loads the page in the background for some-time and then suddenly flushes the page to the screen and it appears that the entire page has been loaded in one go. I may be wrong though.

11.Improved GUI:

The rendering of buttons, input fields, images in the pages have improved a lot and buttons and drop down menus look better now.

Negatives:

1.Extensions:

Life is a bit or I should say a byte difficult with Firefox extensions. Now, I am too much used to use these extensions that I can’t live without them. I’ll crash if I don’t have ‘Undo Closed Tab’ extension. I keep making stupid mistakes. All the extensions are not yet available for Firefox 3, so its a problem.

2.Multiple Tabs:

Firefox 3 Beta 1 immediately dies if I open more than 20 tabs. I opened my wiki saved session (39 tabs) and after sometime I was searching for Firefox. Where the hell firefox window has gone?

3.Crashes:

I don’t know what exactly is the problem, but I think Firefox 3 revolts against Yahoo Mail and GMail. Whenever I open Yahoo Mail or GMail, Firefox 3 Beta 1 crashes. Either there is some problem with the heavily loaded mail pages or it doesn’t want me to use GMail or Yahoo.

Well, there may be lot more positives and negatives. These are the things I noticed about Firefox 3 Beta 1 in last two days. As the positives list is ruling the negatives, I am using Firefox 3 Beta 1 full time these days.

PS : @Paresh I think FF3 is better than FF2 in many ways. But you may want to wait for all the extensions to be compatible with FF3.