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Interesting release but watch out for KDE4 desktop effects

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on June 21, 2008 10:22 AM
I did two installs yesterday and I found the following points:

The installer looks extremely nice, makes smarter choices than previous installers (e.g. guessing a better timezone based on Language settings) but BE CAREFUL if you are doing custom partitioning - it is not immediately obvious which option leads you to the "Don't touch - I'm going to partition my system myself".

The installation process IS fast providing you do not have an existing home directory for the created user. If you do have such a user the changing of ownership can push up a 10-15 minute default install to 25-30 minutes.

Most of the default graphics (GRUB, Bootsplash screens shown while the system boots) look VERY polished so it is a shame that the default KDE4 login manager looks a bit shabby. It also helps if you like green.

The default KDE4 desktop has a button near the bottom left that many existing users will mistake for terminal. It's actually a show desktop/dashboard button. Most new users do not know what this does and struggle to get back to their regular desktop.

The KDE4 3D globe widget refused to start on a machine with an Intel i945 graphics card and another machine with a Geforce 7300 LE graphics card (with the binary drivers installed) complaining about lack of graphics shaders. I can understand this on the former but not the later.

I have seen cases on KDE4 where a new user was unable to log out because the leave desktop buttons stopped working. Clicking them just did nothing.

I have seen cases where on KDE4 the SUSE menu buttons at the bottom (Favourites, Applications etc) just disappeared frustrating users.

You currently can't rearrange the order of entries in the Favourites menu on KDE4.

The KDE4 desktop effects are not nearly as smooth or as plentiful as those found in compiz. Many are slow and jerky. There also seem to be major issues with them causing parts of the desktop to not be drawn correctly.

Many of the keyboard bindings people learned in KDE3 are no longer on by default in KDE4 and windows also default to shading by default when their titlebars are double clicked.

It is no longer possible to (easily) stop KNetworkmanager from starting at login. This annoys users who have fixed desktop network connections.

Moving icons around in the panel has now become a major chore (and middle mouse button drag has gone too).

The package manager finally has the speed of other top tier package managers like apt. It is far faster than the 10.3 package manager when it comes to solving dependencies and doesn't have the horrific memory/CPU sucking behaviour of the SLES10/SUSE 10.1 package manager. Fetching lists of packages seems faster too but it is a pity that EVERY TIME the GUI package manager is started it tries to fetch a list of community repositories. This masks its fast start up speed but if you are using zypper at the command line you will really see the difference.

The SUSE menu icon was shown at the bottom left hand corner of the right monitor on a two monitor setup however when the menu was actually opened it would appear at the right of the left hand monitor...

I have yet to try GNOME on openSUSE 11 nor have I tried it on a laptop so my experiences are very limited. It is unlikely that I would put a KDE4 openSUSE 11 into a lab environment though.


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