Sat Sep 01, 2012 7:53 pm
I am a professional software developer coming from a Microsoft background. Many years ago I felt the need, for a variety of reasons, to try to migrate away from Windows, both as a user, as to develop (exclusively) software for. I started to install Linux systems for evaluation and got some experience with Red Hat, Suse etc, but it wasn't until I found a polished distribution as Ubuntu and a viable way to run Windows (Virtual Box) that I could really start using Linux as my primary OS (I needed virtualization to be able to run my Microsoft IDE's which our software was targeted at until then).
So at that point I used Ubuntu Linux for all my work except developing. A big step forward! I was so happy with Ubuntu that I didn't even feel any need at the time to experiment with other Desktop Environments, although before establishing on Ubuntu I had always preferred KDE. I followed everything Linux and became aware of KDE upcoming Plasma 4.0 release and the hype about it made me decide to try it as soon as a stable release would be made available. Once it did I installed it on a laptop and was utterly disappointed to find out that it was full with bugs and glitches, and missing features.
Mind you, I liked the looks, appreciated the new design paradigms, admired the people who where creating this, but realised that the software was nowhere near to being ready to be used by people with a need to get their daily work done.
I really wanted to like the KDE (yeah, I know Plasma!!) Desktop. I tried again when 4.1 came out. And 4.2 and at least 2 more releases. I even ended up running the Plasma Desktop for at least a week as my primary system, but small issues accumulated and made me decide to return to good old Gnome 2.x, which was nothing special, but was stable as a rock. I think this must have been a release in the 4.5 -ish area. I decided to stop trying, stop wasting my time. And that's what I did until 2 weeks ago.
I had already gotten fairly fed up with Ubuntu with Unity (which I forced myself to use for at least a month). I also used the Gnome 3.0 shell and found it workable as long as I used an extra dock for window management. My dock of choice was the Cairo Dock. I decided to install Linux Mint with Cinnamon on my laptop, just to have a way to compare the 2 systems. Cinnamon is quite good, polished, but I still had problems finding all of my windows. I tend to have a lot of windows open and just splitting over multiple desktops does not help me to find them. I ended up establishing on a Gnome 3 desktop with the Cairo Dock as my main window manager system. That was until a couple of weeks ago, when I read a review of the latest KDE 4.9 http://www.linuxinsider.com/story/75903.html which was so positive that I decided to try again. I did a full KDE install on my Linux Mint laptop and logged into Plasma.
My first impression was the low resource usage of Plasma compared to previous versions I had tested (4.5 was the last I tried) My laptop is still the same (4 years) old HP Compaq 6720s laptop, but with KDE 4.9 it seems much more responsive as the older Plasma versions I tried!
This laptop has a tendency to heat up quickly, even if you don't use it. any back ground process can cause the fan to spin up excessively. None of this though with the KDE 4.9 Plasma desktop. I installed a temperature monitoring widget, and the highest temperature is 65ºC. I created some activities, put Quicklaunch widgets on their desktops, and have adapted to using them. I especially like the option to disable an activity and it gets nicely out of the way. Very good! Activities can still be improved a lot, but so far it is an improvement over anything else I have seen. I work a lot with files, and have now come to like Dolphin very much. I even got used to single click file management and will not switch back! On previous KDE releases I had had troubles with SMB file sharing. Not with Plasma 4.9 though. It works beautifully. In the mean time I have installed KDE 4.9 on my main development system. What a joy to work with!
So I want to thank all KDE developers for their truely remarkable efforts in creating this jewel which is free for everybody to use. And more than ever do we need the Plasma desktop. Finally we have a grown up DESKTOP Environment, rather than the blown up smart-phone GUIs that are being pushed down our throats! For professionals users, not only softwared developers like me, but also graphic designers, architects and other professionals the smart phone touch paradigm does not work. Plain Gnome3 and Unity are not an option, while Xfce, LXDE and the like are just too bare bone for me to be acceptable for prime time usage.
So I finally am a KDE Plasma convert. That's what I wanted to let the community know. In the hope that others will give it a try too.
Thanks KDE community!