Home > Fedora, GNU/Linux, KDE, Korora, linux, Linux > Larry in KDE Land

Larry in KDE Land

November 25, 2013

This week’s blog was supposed to be a look at the newly released Raptor provided by VSIDO, and there is a version now on the soon-to-be-delivered-to-REGLUE ThinkPad T60 (sorry for the delay, Ken). I didn’t spend as much time as I should have with this release — you’ll see why below — and I didn’t want to provide a half-baked report on what is a very solid distro.

But one is forthcoming, I promise, and any delay should not be interpreted as any dissatisfaction on my part — Terry Ganus and his crew at VSIDO are doing great things making Debian Sid work for the average Joe.

However, I fell down the rabbit hole. For the most part last week I had been playing the role of the proverbial moth to KDE’s hypothetical flame. Having spent most of the week trying to plumb the depths of the K Desktop Environment — better known by its initials KDE — and the accompanying software (of which there is much; most of it remarkably cool and some of it undeniably sanity-testing), I think I’m beginning to understand its appeal across a wide range of users.

But first, how I got here. As outlined last week, I tried and liked Korora 19.1 KDE, so much so that I installed it on a fairly powerful laptop, keeping the other laptop that I always carry with me running CrunchBang. This gives me the best of both possible Debian/Red Hat worlds in an overstuffed backpack (the aforementioned T60 stayed at home). As it turned out, my forum account on KDE.org was still active even though I hadn’t logged in since 2009.

Having hardware that could easily pull the KDE load (a very important point here, since that is not common for yours truly), I went exploring.

There are things about KDE that I find mysterious. There are things about KDE that I find inconceivable (I keep using that word: I think it means what I think it means). There are things about the software that I find both compelling and unfathomable at the same time, and I find it a huge credit to the KDE community that they keep providing this software while keeping the cats herded and moving somewhat in the same direction. With enough time, I’ve fathomed things like Dolphin — getting a hold of what it does and nodding approvingly — and KWallet, which is something I don’t really need, but I can see how others with somewhat more complicated lives can utilize it. The stick-poking care in changing and re-changing icons and desktop patterns created, over time, a confidence that increased the more I did it.

So the basis for a quality desktop environment supported with a variety of software — heck, I’ve even made my peace with Konqueror and, this time around, I actually enjoyed using Konversation until finally breaking down and going back to Irssi, which is what the cool kids use — enjoys a comfortable home with KDE and it’s a testament to its far-flung community around the globe.

But there’s one thing I find I have to mention, and I did so on the forum (though I am told that I may be appealing to deaf ears). It is the “march of the icons” on the splash screen at startup, and it’s not so much the icons themselves as much as the different size of the KDE icon in the lineup.

Here’s an example from Fedora 19 (which looks a lot like the Korora startup screen with different branding):


So we have a hard drive icon, a tools icon, a globe icon, a desktop icon all the same size, and the piece-de-resistance is a twice-the-size-of-the-others KDE icon. It reminds one of Berke Breathed’s character Bill the Cat, who had one normal eye and one that was two or three times the size of the other. Also, if memory serves, the icons were all the same size in KDE 3.5, which is the last one that I used with any consistency before finding it too resource-intensive for my old hardware.

Trivial? In the grand scheme of things, yeah. I get that if KDE wants to make a statement because they’re proud of their work, go for it, dudes, and make it stand out (thought that would not be the way I’d do it). It still looks funny to me, and I would hope that there is some consideration in KDE’s higher echelons to make this KDE icon more in line, size-wise, with the rest of them.

Meanwhile, I will keep poking and probing this desktop environment and someday — someday — I will be enlightened to the true meaning of Nepomuk.

But before that, a VSIDO reports as promised. Scout’s honor. See you next week, if not before.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy, Larry the CrunchBang Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

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Eliminate DRM!

  1. November 25, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Yeah, I get twitchy myself….my OCD goes into hyperdrive when I see that oversized KDE icon. But I have thoroughly enjoyed re-acquainting myself with KDE. I have found a couple of splash themes that get by the superK on Steroids though. This one is simple but beautiful and bypasses above-mentioned quirks:


    And then again, you can go a completely different direction if you want to. I alternate this one in from time to time:


  2. waitingForThePunchline
    November 26, 2013 at 5:31 am

    it depends on the status splash screen author. In openSUSE, the splash screen is different, and has the same size icons. Even other kSplash (like Caledonia) doesn’t have icons at all… 😉

  3. November 26, 2013 at 8:33 am

    If you find out what Nepomuk is really for then PLEASE let me know. I’ve never taken the time but always wondered. I love my KDE on Ubuntu on my laptop but may actually think about stripping out some stuff I don’t care to use like wallet. I look forward to your wanderings through the world of KDE.

  4. November 26, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Kwallet sucks.

    Well, it sucks for me. I use a different solution. I’ve been a die-hard KDE fan since I took up Linux. The sad fact of the matter is, KDE was a lot more like what I had been using than Gnome. Consequently, the learning curve was actually easier for me with KDE.

    Once I learned to actually use Konqueror, it was my goto, swiss army application. I managed my network, launched apps, edited files, and even used it as a file manager. I didn’t think there was any way I was ever going to embrace Dolphin given the capability I found in Konqueror. It took some deliberate effort, but I like Dolphin. I still prefer the smaller footprint of Konqueror, but I can certainly do what I want to do in Dolphin.

    Sure, you can find things to be put off about – the big honking icon on the splash screen, the smarmy and irritating way the developers try to start everything with a “K” whether it needs to or not, the loss of ability to stack panels like I could pre version 4, but for the most part, I can make it look and behave like I want to. As I have argued with the Colonel a number of times, having your desktop make decisions for you is not always a good thing, therefore, I appreciate the flexibility offered by KDE. I have had some beautiful and incredibly functional desktops under KDE. I’ve tried others, but I keep coming back.

    And just incidentally, Nepomuk (and strigi) are developers utilities that deal with managing/searching meta data and file contents. It’s not necessarily something you actually use yourself.

    KDE rocks.

  5. Colonel Panik
    November 27, 2013 at 8:52 am

    The good news is that the MATE desktop will be in the Debian repositories
    with the next release.

  6. Ali
    December 2, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    Kwallet does seriously suck. FWIW, the KDE splash-screen icon on Debian-Testing is *not* outsized. I do like okular, ksnapshot and amarok, but ignore much of the other KDE software. I choose Konqueror when I visit a website whose “features” I hate.

  7. December 2, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Hmm, the “Ali” comment it mine: premature posting somehow.

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