It’s no secret that KDE is not the most popular desktop environment for Linux/Unix users. With Ubuntu’s success slowly breaking through to the mainstream, there is now a whole swath of users who have no idea about it, or recognize it as “the other one”. In many ways, it’s exotic, having no other desktops environments forked or built from it. It seems to stand alone in excellence.
5 It’s hyper-polished
If you need to spend an exorbitant amount of time in front of a computer screen then you will want it to look good. There really is no comparison between the default Oxygen theme– and now the oxygen font— and Ubuntu’s sleepy, low-contrast color-scheme and hard-gradient Ambiance theme. The separation of Plasma and the basic widget-set for drawing windows was a wise decision by the KDE project! Plasma allows for dynamic graphics inside of desktop widgets and panels while windows are all drawn in a more practical and static way. This puts a point of division between the two elements and gives them an elegant contrast that makes the experience all the more worthwhile.
4 Infinite customizability
If you install Ubuntu 11.10 today, you will be left with virtually NO options for customizing the look & feel to meet your needs. You won’t even be able to size down the offensively over-sized fonts without installing a separate package! You won’t be able to move your panel to an area that suits your tastes and you will be stuck with a small collection of mediocre themes. With KDE, there are no limits. You are able to download new window borders right from the system-settings menu, as well as wallpaper packs, plasma (desktop) themes and even color schemes. Move your panel all around the screen. Make it smaller, right-align it, center it. These choices are all available to you.
Well Canonical, I have news for you. Your core demographic is still the Networking professional. The content-creator. The artist. All of use need to manage our files and we don’t find choice and options a burden at all. If you want to design a computer that will allow the every-man to access the Internet without complaint, Chrome OS has beat you to it.
3 File management
Comparing Nautilus and Dolphin is like comparing nothing to something. Canonical has put the Linux desktop at a crossroads. They want to make Ubuntu so incredibly simplified that there will be no excuses for the every-man not to use it. Well Canonical, I have news for you. Your core demographic is still the Networking professional. The content-creator. The artist. All of use need to manage our files and we don’t find choice and options a burden at all. If you want to design a computer that will allow the every-man to access the Internet without complaint, Chrome OS has beat you to it.
As I touched on briefly in number 3, Unity is not for me. Unity is a product that Canonical wants to deliver to the masses on every kind of device with a screen. There is no harm in this at all, but it does affect the immediate priorities of the project. KDE puts usability first, and I believe that it always will. The 4.x series got off to a really rocky start back in 2006, but what we have now in KDE 4.7 is a stable, mature, rock-solid software collection that any user should be able to trust in.
1 You can manage your windows with it
I’m sure the trolls are already lighting their torches over this one, but it’s true. I’ll even give my thanks to Microsoft Windows for this one. Way back when in the days of Windows 95, the one thing you could accomplish on your dangerous unstable system is effective multi-tasking. The task-bar was and still is a boon for those who use their computers for productivity. It’s not true for everyone, but when you are editing images in the GIMP, or any other program that doesn’t isolate its work into one window, you can quickly lose control of your work-flow in Ubuntu 11.10 using Unity. The idea of iconifying your tasks is expertly executed in Windows 7, and that fundemental idea is available to you in Unity, though it doesn’t really pull it off in a usable way. Now, allow me to dowse your torches for a moment. If you’ve got a tune playing in Banshee and a web-browser full of tabs open with nothing else, you can get by with any DE that supports alt+tab, so here, unity is OK!
KDE takes a very traditional route with a twist. By default you manage your windows with a task-manager ala’ Microsoft Windows. You can dock your favorite apps here as icons and when you open them, the icon disappears and becomes a task. This is really a compromise between the extreme over-simplification of Unity and the excellence of the Windows Super-bar.