A quick look at KDE 3.2 Beta 2 (AKA 3.1.94)
I am a bit reluctant to write about a new KDE version, because I am very attached to the project, and really can't be impartial, but I have now updated to KDE 3.1.94 (AKA 3.2 beta 2), and I say, what the heck, I like it!
In this piece, I may liberally speak about stuff that is not in KDE proper as if it were, don't mention it, I already know about it. Also, the score numbers are just personal, if you disagree: buh-hu. Also, I will treat stuff I just found out about as if it were new. If you notice something here that has been present in an earlier release: tough. Finally, this is not comprehensive, it's just a couple of things I noticed.
Hardware and PerformanceI am testing it in one of my office boxes, a PII 233MHZ, 128MB of RAM, 20GB IDE drive, really an old noname workhorse clone. Despite this aging carcass, it worked pretty well. Starting a large app (quanta) is slow, but konqueror blinks up, (probably the new preloading), konsole flashes open, and everyhting is a lot faster than 3.1.4, so kudos to the KDE guys for it.
How I got it
I am not active in development of KDE HEAD packages, so I don't have the KDE CVS tree around. In fact, I haven't build KDE from source in a couple of years. Packagers do that. In this particular case, I used the Red Hat 9.0 packages built by Rex and the other nice guys at kde-redhat.sf.net.
Since that is an apt repository, it was as simple as apt-get upgrade for me, or apt-get install kde for those who aren't using this stuff yet (you really should ;-).
Look & Feel
- It's really good. The tab widget looks great, the scrollbars look very good... I like all of it. Understated, classy. Looks much better with a smallish font, say 9pt Verdana or something like that, because the widgets are smaller than Keramik's (I am smaller than some of keramik's widgets :-) [9/10]
- Crystal SVG icons:
- Much nicer than previous versions. Konqueror's toolbar buttons, for example, are now just right, the mimetype icons are also better. [8/10]
- Window Decorations:
- Haven't noticed much new, I am a Glow fan, and switched to the square version.
- Liked the reorganization, the new Actions stuff. Not that I use any of them, Alt+F2 is my medicine.
- Looks much nicer with real tabs instead of that weird button bar it had.
- I only use it as a web browser, if I used it as a filemanager, I would have a problem: I modified
the location toolbar, and apparently those changes are not per-profile. I wish they were!
Konqueror-the-browser is much simpler like this.
Good and Not So Good
- This is the panel, you newbie! I was going to say it's just the same old thing, until I
ran into the "Universal Sidebar Panel". This nifty addition puts the new collapsed Konqueror sidebar
on the desktop edge, so all your bookmarks, devices, networks, services, digital cameras, files, etc
are just a couple of clicks away, wasting very little screen space. I now can't live without it!
It makes no sense having to open a web browser to then open a bookmark. Just whip the mouse to the edge, click on the star, select, and then the brwoser opens.
Sidebar expanded and collapsed
- Gooood. Does what it should, does it well. If you don't know what it is: switches resolution, refresh rate and screen orientatin on the fly using the RandR X extension.
- Not so good. In fact, it doesn't show any of the PDFs I give to my students right. Since xpdf does and Kpdf is based on it, it must be some glitch. While the content is scrambled, the app looks nice, so I really hope I can soon use it instead of (ugly) xpdf or (slow) kghostview.
- Yes, quanta is not new, but it's VPL component is. Works OK, it seems, but is quite slow in this slow box, crashes sometimes, and doesn't seem to handle stylesheets, so it's not really WYSIWYG. Not my thing. Quanta in general is much better, though. Better edition of tags.
- Again, not really new, but I wasn't looking at it much. Two words: Bootable movies. Two more: I like!
Not many. I am having some problems with keyboard handling (a page down will scroll 4 pages or so), but that may be because of the simultaneous upgrade to XFree 4.3, it needs further investigation.
Some apps (notably konqueror) sometimes crash when you reconfigure them, or reconfigure the desktop theme. I can't quite reproduce this reliably, though, so no bug report yet.
This one's a keeper. Works much better at most things than 3.1.4, and I was already happy with it, so, what's not to like? Very little.
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