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Life with KDE 3.5 or How I learned to love Konqueror and forgot about Firefox

Posted 12-04-2005 at 01:19 AM by mebrelith

This is just a piece of my mind Im writing to test the new blog thingie from LQ. Enjoy!

Its been almost a week since KDE 3.5 came out, now Ive read probably the same feed you have, the same reviews and stuff like that. Changes between 3.4.3 and 3.5 can be counted and most people have dismissed them as just one more KDE version. It would seem that most people have read about whats coming in 4 and now just wait for it. If what Ive read in the developers' blogs is true it will be a long wait.

So, lets get personal. I love KDE, there, Ive said it. Flame on. I'm biased. Don't care about it? Good, keep on reading.
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Now, a brief note on KDE and my distro these days... Fedora. In the beginning of my Linux days (a lil more than a year ago), I knew KDE as a crashy, ugly-looking, not-so-useful DE. I didn't like it. But Gnome and the others were also not that good as people said they were. Then, the revelation. The name Rex Dieter and something called Kde-redhat came out in a chat at #fedora. Moohoohaha. So I gave it a try and discovered that KDE was really, truly great. Then I changed to Gentoo and learned some more about Linux and most important about KDE. These days I'm back at Fedora. Got tired of compiling stuff at my Celeron 1.8Ghz - He he he.

Now to the matter at hand. KDE 3.5
- Like most users and fans I got my hands on it as soon as I could. And there it was, after some downloading woes (you know how traffic gets :) ) a new shiny new version of KDE to play with. When one is accostumed to keep in touch with the news on betas, release candidates and stuff you know what to expect. So before I get to Konqueror lets talk about whats new in 3.5
For what Ive read at blogs, forums and whatnot. People are really not that impressed about having camera options for Kopete. Can't blame them, never needed it myself. But there are folks out there (never met one) who apparently do need it. Good for them, now they have it. Also in Kopete the global identity thingie. You know, when I read about it some time ago I thought it was going to be something different from what it turned out. Oh well, carry on.
Other apps, like Kopete, got small changes that could actually be ignored unless you were looking really hard, others just jumped at you when it came the time to use the apps. Like the session manager thingamajig for Kate (which so far Ive found just annoying).
In some other cases like the edu app KLettres you might notice some interesting develops like the one my cousin just pointed at me: now its not just french, its also english and spanish. Nice. Also, the already big, kdeedu has gotten some new apps. Not bad.

In the general behaviour of KDE Ive noticed, not without some amount of pleasure, that it feels, looks and usually acts a bit more faster; and is, as usual, stable. Yup, stable. Thats for all you folks out there who love complaining about KDE not being stable and crashing a lot. This actually reminds me that in the year or so that Ive been using KDE I have not seen a single crash dialog. Let me clarify, Ive seen crash dialogues, but they have always been about problems inherent to apps not KDE native. Heh, I can almost hear some of you saying... "Well thats whats wrong with it, it is not stable". IT IS. But interoperability (hrmm, not sure its the right word) between apps has been, is and will be a problem. My point is that so far my experience with K apps can be considered as flawless.

The desktop itself behaves as usual, everything looks as it should be and even better. I just love that "Lock panels" option for example. I noticed that some issues with xscreensavers and the gdm have been fixed. Not that I use either xscreensavers nor gdm, just covering whats new. And speaking of whats new, theres also to be mentioned the new "You've got media!" dialog. This is great, specially for unexperienced users and/or users familiar with the similar winxp tool.

Now lets get on with Konqueror. In the past Firefox has ruled without contest. Mainly thanks to the Sage and AdBlock extensions. Funny how it is that Firefox is good for me WITH those extensions. My experience with Konq as web browser before 3.5 was nil. So when the new version came out I was ready to jump at it, give it a try. Just 'cause now it comes with AdBlock. Niiiiiice. Steps for a great browsing experience: load Konq, install your adblock filters, enjoy. My cousin and yours truly have been gathering a not so bad list of ad sites and what not. Mine come mostly from Linux sites and such. His come from less acceptable sources but I try to ignore that. His time at the box, his choice.
For the first two days I ran the experiment to see whats what. Browsed with Konq. managed my feeds with Akregator. Life was, is good. Never tried the Akregator tool before 'cause I had Sage with the Fox, now I know what I was missing. Konq behaves greatly, browsing is fast, I would even dare to say faster than Firefox. Every single page I visit works. with small exceptions like GMail. Enter the agent changing tool inside Konq and get on with work.
This came as a revelation to me. Hadn't considered that from time to time the problem is not with my browser but with the site at hand. Now my naivete is showing, I know. I often forget that sites are not to be fully trusted, that some webmasters are overwhelmed by options and having to support multiple browsers probably seems unlikely most of the times. If only they just followed the standards (like the the ones from the folks of the W3C). Life would be easier for them. Speaking of standards, noticed how Konq passed the Acid2 test? I learned and work my HTML, JS, CSS and XML by reading the W3C docs. Having a fully standard-compliant browser like Konq is just great.

At first I thought I was going to miss the Fox, then I didn't even cared about updating to 1.5, now Ive just removed it from my system. Yup. Goodbye FoxyFox, hello Konq.

Anyway, thats my bit. Not exactly intended to be anything but my point of view. And now its time for you to share yours. All I ask is that if you haven't tried Konqueror, or KDE lately... please do. You shall be greatly surprised.
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