New KDE Desktop! Version 4.5 not perfect, but much better!

So of course, while I’m spending a glorious and relaxing week hanging out in Boulder, Colorado, the KDE community is working overtime fixing a few showstopper bugs. Version 4.5 of the KDE Software Collection (also known as KDE SC) was released Tuesday, a week late from the original release plan, but it looks like a pretty good one.

Tyler Ballance over at OMG! SUSE! has a good overall summary of the highlights of this release. I got my Kubuntu laptop upgraded with only a little fussing with APT repositories (semi-inevitable on launch day).  After just a day of playing around, I’m pretty happy.

This initial happiness is really centered on several small things:

  • Boot time seems faster than it’s been. Haven’t clocked it, but login-to-start-working may take half the time it did in v4.4.x
  • The external device notifier now appears by default in the main panel when there’s something in the USB port.
  • The infernal announcement that Akonadi is installing its front end on every boot has finally gone away!

Yet, it is still a dot-zero release, and some weirdness has been puzzling me:

  • Since I reset four of my virtual desktops with different wallpapers, an empty box appears in the upper left corner of the screen on boot. Clicking X makes the panel, and all the wallpapers, disappear. Logging out solves the problem, but I’m sure something short of that will fix it.
  • One time I rendered my mouse unusable by apparently activating a gesture (I think) that added a plus sign to the cursor. No combination of clicks restored mouse functioning, and a again I had to logout/login (thankfully I could get KRunner to run logout!) to get back to normal.

More research required, but if anyone has an idea, I’m all ears.

Meanwhile, if you want to try KDE 4.5, instructions for some of the leading distros can be found here (thanks  to Planet KDE):

openSUSE: http://lists.opensuse.org/opensuse-kde/2010-08/msg00057.html

Kubuntu: http://www.kubuntu.org/news/kde-sc-45

Mandriva: http://not403.blogspot.com/2010/08/kde-45-final-available-for-mandriva.html

I’ll have more on this release in the coming days. In the meantime, let me know what kind of experience you want or are having with KDE 4.5 in the comments.

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12 thoughts on “New KDE Desktop! Version 4.5 not perfect, but much better!

  1. I’m about to give Ubuntu 10.04’s Netbook Edition a try with 4.5 on my Asus EEE. I haven’t used KDE in a while, this could be interesting.

    • @Will: I will report this, though it may take a day or two to flesh out what’s happening.

      @Steve: Thanks for the link. That certainly sounds like what I ran into. Ideally it won’t happen again.

      @Anthony: Don’t know whether “a while” means you haven’t seen the 4.x series. It is a bit different from KDE 3.x, but I’ve become a fan.

  2. Tried it on my Ubuntu and loved it. I think I might switch to KDE soon. I just need to get used to it a bit more. Great job!

  3. The only bad things about KDE4.5 in openSUSE 11.3 is that they will change the KDE factory repositories (4.5) to the next 4.6 version so we have to choose in to downgrade back to 4.4 or keep that unstable KDE repository.

    • Like with all the previous versions, there will be a solution for this, announcements about changes in the repos will be made, like before

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  6. The issue with activities is normal if you come from KDE 4.4. SC 4.5 really fixed a lot of Activities use cases, but the massive fixes came out at the cost of new migration bugs. Here’s how you fix this, once and for all.

    1. Click on the cashew, select “Activities”.
    2. You’ll see various activities. Delete all of them, except one.
    3. If you use one activity per virtual desktop, disable the feature and enable it again. Same thing if you use a separate Dashboard: disable and enable it again.
    4. Rebuild freely your desktop.

    After this, you’ll never have issues with activities, like those you’ve seen.

    • Alejandro, this fix worked! Indeed, I had two activities on the desktop(s). Deleting the second and keeping the original retained the distinct wallpapers on each desktop, with no widget artifact.

      I did file a bug at kde.org. Will locate the number and report the fix. Many thanks!

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