I am pleased to report that with desktop effects turned off, Kubuntu Jaunty works wonderfully well, even on a computer with a 900MHz CPU and 1G of DRAM. That would be my Eee PC netbook, and new-gen netbooks aren't that much faster or better equipped with DRAM. This should also work well on older desktops with comparable specs.
UI Differences Between KDE3.5.10 and KDE4.2.2
The biggest visible differences include the bottom panel, which is now a smaller (size can be changed) 3D-looking and rounded panel replacing the flat Kicker panel from 3.5.10; and Desktop folder, whose content appears in a transparent resizable floating window over the desktop (and of course, any file added to the folder will appear).
You can add applications to the desktop below the floating window by right-clicking an application in the menu and selecting "Add to Desktop." The new bottom panel works well for netbooks and laptop screen form factors.
The biggest difference in usage from KDE3.5.10 is the menu, which is no longer a multilevel menu which opens a new submenu to the right when one clicks a menu entry with a sideways menu, it opens a new menu window with the submenu content. If you're in a submenu and want to go up a menu level, click the arrow to the left of the menu. Also note the search box on top of the menu window (see Figure 2). If you know the application name, type it in and let the computer find it for you. I don't miss the old menu setup.
Figure 2 Top-level menu
If you don't like the default desktop background, click the upper right screen icon and select Appearance Settings from the menu. My only minor problem with this is that it doesn't allow a different appearance setting per desktop. (I like different background images on each desktop).
The easiest way to add an application to the panel is to right-click the application menu entry and select "Add To Panel." it'll add the icon to the right-most space available on the left side of the panel where the non-System Tray apps go. Application drag and drop to the panel is also supported, but you have to do it carefully. When you drag to the panel, a new space for the application icon will appear, drag the icon to that space, then open the panel, move the cursor over the new icon, it'll change to a cross-shaped 'move' cursor, drag it where you want it. The panel shown in Figure 3 reflects the batch of new apps I added to it.
Figure 3 New panel
To add applets (called widgets or plasmoids) to the panel, right-click anywhere on the desktop, select "Add Widgets," and scroll through the list.
If you want more, search applications for plasma-widget by:
$ aptitude search plasma-widgets
Pick from a long list. Once installed, add it to the panel via Add Widget (or via System Settings > Add and Remove Software).
Use plasma as a search term. The applications with – next to them are already installed.
Because KDE4 is relatively new, there aren't that many widgets available as yet. The widget that is not available that I'd like to see is either a CPU temp or CPU usage percentage utility whose panel icon provides a legible numeric temp or usage reading.
One tends to push a slow processor harder, and if it's hitting 100% or if the processor is heating up, I'd really like to know about it. Although I use the GTK gkrellm utility for it (shown in Figure 1), it takes more screen real estate than I want to use on a netbook full-time, and I haven't found a way to make it show up on multiple desktops that doesn't mean enabling as a normal window. This means it takes a slot in the panel list of open application windows I also don't want it to use.
If you want your clock to look like mine, do the following:
- Install the adjustable clock applet via
- Put it on the panel in "Add New Widgets."
- Remove the "Digital Clock", with right-click > Remove.
- Right-click the new clock icon.
- Adjustable Clock SettingsAppearance tab: replace the configuration line with this:
$ sudo aptitude install plasma-widget-adjustableclock
<pre> <center><h2><font color="yellow">%H:%M:%S</font></font></h2></center> </pre>
For wireless users (see Figure 4), when you try opening a wireless network connection and KDE Wallet appears and asks you to create a password, do it if you want wireless to work.
Figure 4 Wireless networking
Also note that the number of networks it will display is limited to five by default (you can change it to a larger number in the wireless network manager configuration GUI).
Other than that, I had no problem getting it to connect; it found my wireless LAN and connected immediately.