I’m back on KDE again


KDE 4.6 on my old ThinkPad

After several years of self-imposed KDE exile, I'm back and loving it :).

I still have my Red Hat Linux CDs

KDE and I go a long way back. When I first started using Red Hat Linux 5.0 in primary school I was fascinated by the concept of having multiple installable graphical environments instead of just one, and used Anaconda to install Gnome and KDE at the same time. I quickly settled on KDE because I thought the UI was the nicest, and it felt the most feature complete.

Haruhi KDE FreeBSD

In 2006 (above) when I started experimenting with FreeBSD on the desktop as well as on headless servers, I blogged about my experience with getting those maddening xorg.conf files working , and installing KDE from the ports system. I was living in Malaysia at the time and we were all obsessed with The Melancholoy of Haruhi Suzumiya, which naturally made its way into everything I was blogging about at the time!

In 2008 I also briefly ran KDE with Openbox, this time when I was obsessed with Clannad:

Openbox running in KDE (with Amarok listening to Whole Wheat Radio!)

That’s why I love having a blog compared to anything else, you can go back in time and see what you were doing all those years ago. ^_^

At the same time I was also trying Xfce however, and with the release of KDE 4.0 which was more unstable than the Windows OSs I’d left behind, I gradually moved over to it, then to Gnome. I justified my decision by claiming most of my software was GTK+, and it made sense using a DE that was too.

UTS is Pro Qt

Fast forward to 2011, and something fateful happened. Walking into my first class for a semester, I noticed our tutor was running KDE 4.6 on a ThinkPad X60, the next model up from my X40. Not only that, it was running fast!

That night, I went home and installed the KDE spin of Fedora onto my venerable ThinkPad X40. I knew Fedora had a (in my opinion an undeserved) reputation for treating KDE as a second class citizen, but it’s the distribution I was most comfortable with and love how easily it can be configured with SELinux and whole drive encryption.


In an O'Reilly Nutshell (see what I did there?), I was blown away. KDE only took marginally longer to boot than Xfce, and included all the graphical bells and whistles. I was reaKquainted with Konqueror, Konsole, Kate, KNews, amaroK and the venerable KDEGames. I installed KDevelop and instantly remembered why I thought it was the finest F/OSS IDE. I was able to install VLC and Opera without worrying about dependencies!

Other than performance, perhaps most surprising still was just how well my GTK apps like Firefox, the Gimp, Inkscape and LibreOffice (with a little tweaking) looked with the Oxygen-GTK theme. Aside from the lack of subtle gradient in their title bars and a few other minor visual tells, they were otherwise indistinguishable.

A lot of things have changed since the time I used KDE 3.x, but I’m gradually getting my bearings back. No doubt you’ll be seeing plenty of posts on the subject in the coming weeks.

Ah Qt, how I missed you :’)

Author bio and support


Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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