I’ve been able to download the KDE4 LiveCD by now, so I wanted to give it a test ride and write a basic KDE 4 review. These are my findings. I first and foremost want to stress I do not ever want to attack, offend or whatever anyone in this post (as reactions of vocal users on posts like these can be fierce sometimes ). These are my findings, both positive and negative.
One reason to read this until the end (in case you wouldn’t ):
At first bootup the OpenSuSE bootsplash theme attracts your attention. I really like it, very smooth.
After a successful bootup (using VirtualBox virtualization) the KDE desktop starts. This takes a while, but this can be blamed on the use of a LiveCD, and a virtual machine. The splash screen is very clean, the use of black and rounded corners reminds me of Apple OS X a little, don’t ask me why. The icon animation is nice, although I think the transparency shouldn’t go all the way to completely transparent (at least, that’s what it looks like), an maybe it should change somewhat slower. Next to this, the last icon in row (the KDE icon) is much bigger than the others, which doens’t look nice. Anyway, minor details.
Once booted, the user is presented with his desktop and a ‘Useful Tips’ dialog:
One can immediately notice the new themeing (at least, compared to what I remember of KDE 3.5). The window borders are pretty nice (I like the fact they’re integrated with the window content, notice the curve on top), icons in the dialog are slick. One detail I really dislike is the use of centered text. No clue why this isn’t simply left-aligned.
Once the dialog is closed, one can explore the desktop. As I mentioned in my previous KDE 4 post, I dislike the panel width. I could not figure out how to change this though: when right-clicking the panel in search of some “Properties” function, only panel applet-specific properties can be changed, and the panel border is not draggable. Maybe this setting is hidden somewhere else, but it’s not available in the (IMHO) most logical place.
There are 6 panel applets enabled by default: a menu (which integrates applications, places and system settings, as before, somewhat like the GNOME panel menu Novell created), a task manager, a desktop switcher, the clipboard manager, an applet to manage removable devices, and a clock.
There’s a minor issue with the applet represented by the computer screen: unlike the other applets, when hovering with your mouse above it, no tooltip is displayed denoting what this icon is all about. I could only figure this out once clicking it.
On the upper right corner there’s a hotspot which allows the user to add widgets to his desktop, or to ‘Zoom out’:
I, honestly, have no clue what the use of that is. Luckily you can zoom in again too, although the hotspot context menu is zoomed out to one quarter of its original size too, which is really small (actually, not readable). Bug?