Showing posts with label KDE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label KDE. Show all posts

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

The Super Easy KDE Users Guide for Fedora 16

The Super Easy KDE Users Guide 
Latest Edition Fedora 16


Follow these super easy steps to turn your Fedora KDE installation into a fully functional multimedia rich and enjoyable desktop.

Add the RPM Fusion repository

su -c 'yum -y localinstall --nogpgcheck && yum -y update'

Install the additional Gstreamer and K3b plugins

su -c 'yum -y install gstreamer-ffmpeg gstreamer-plugins-bad gstreamer-plugins-ugly gstreamer-plugins-bad-nonfree transcode k3b-extras-freeworld sox vcdimager normalize'

Install Flash Player

su -c 'yum -y install$(arch)/adobe-release-$(arch)-1.0-1.noarch.rpm && yum -y install flash-plugin'

If you want to watch encrypted DVDs

su -c 'yum -y install$(arch)/libdvdcss-1.2.10-1.$(arch).rpm'

Install Firefox, Thunderbird and LibreOffice

su -c 'yum -y install firefox thunderbird @office'

Fix the font rendering and install Microsoft fonts

su -c 'yum -y install freetype-freeworld'

Now you can enjoy using Fedora and KDE!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

openSUSE 12.1 - Just released and seems to be working?

I am sure you have seen the default openSUSE 12.1 KDE Desktop, so here is a different one.

I remember when openSUSE 11.4 was released and that was probably the most broken release in their history. So broken that I decided there and then that I would be dumping openSUSE for good.

To date I have stuck to my words but for the past few months there have been significant developments in the world of Linux desktop environments. Yes, Gnome (S)hell and Unity.

Those developments have left me with a big problem, long term wise what Linux distribution should I use?

The first step in addressing this problem is to identify what Desktop Environment is available to suit my needs and right now KDE looks promising. I was impressed with Fedora's implementation of KDE in F15, even with Kubuntu 11.04 but both suffer from the occasional quirk. With Fedora being what it is, I can understand the odd quirk but Kubuntu needs to try harder.

Fast forward to Fedora 16 KDE and Kubuntu 11.10, I am finding F16 just too unreliable. You know when a distribution is unreliable when you have to hit the reset button on your PC.

Kubuntu 11.10, feels a little sluggish and rough in a few places but is at least usable.

At some point before F16 and Kubuntu 11.10 I came across Mandriva 2011, I like what they have done with KDE but usability wise they need to make it more reliable. Perhaps when they release their LTS version by the end of the year things will be better.

Hold on, who are you trying to kid, it's French. But the Russians now have their hands on it. (Perhaps not then)

There are of course many more KDE distributions out there but I cant be bothered to try everything. At the end of the day I want something that works, is easy to setup and has good support.

So the quest continues or do I eat my own words and give openSUSE another chance?

I am currently running it from a Live USB, inital observations are that it is quite nippy, probably due to their desktop kernel tweaks. The Live CD / USB also comes with useful software such as Firefox, LibreOffice and GIMP which makes it a better option over Fedora and Kubuntu.

I think for now I will just continue to monitor the forums and internet as I need my system for some important work. On that note if you are wondering what operating system I am using for this important work, Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Fedora 15 KDE - How to upgrade to KDE 4.7

As a Fedora KDE user we sometimes have to wait that bit extra for KDE updates, nonetheless the efforts by the Fedora KDE team are much appreciated.

My Fedora 15 KDE 4.7 Desktop

I no longer use openSUSE, it has gone too sour for my liking and is surrounded by a lot of negativity. I am one of those who believe the negative energy of others can have a big impact on ones well being and since giving openSUSE the boot I have been feeling much better.

The how to...

The steps for upgrading KDE to version 4.7 was originally brought to my attention by browsing the Fedora Forum, see the post by ah7013. I have modified the steps slightly as those of us who installed Fedora KDE from the Live CD do not have wget installed.

Please note, KDE 4.7 is not in the Fedora 15 stable repository and the guide  will install KDE 4.7 from a repository created by Rex Dieter, a valued member of the Fedora KDE team.

Open a terminal and run the following commands,

cd /etc/yum.repos.d
su -c 'yum install wget'
su -c 'wget'
su -c 'yum update'

Please reboot your system.

Enjoy KDE!

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Praise for Fedora 15 and KDE 4.6.x - A great experience!

Some old time Fedora users may be aware of Fedora's poor track record when it comes to KDE although things have been changing ever since the release of KDE 4.x. I regularly try Fedora KDE and so far haven't been fully convinced with the experience until now.

As a fan of both Fedora and KDE it gives me pleasure to say Fedora 15 with KDE 4.6.x is a great experience!

Over the past few months I haven't had a single crash or experienced any bugs with Fedora 15 and KDE 4.6.x. I am also particularly impressed with the fact that the latest (minor updates) versions of KDE are included in the standard update repositories.

With distributions such as Kubuntu and openSUSE you have to add an additional repository, which often works but on occasion as typically is the case with openSUSE you may end up with multiple dependency issues.

Performance wise, Fedora 15 with KDE feels noticeably nippier than Kubuntu 11.04 and hard to distinguish from openSUSE, a compliment to Fedora given their Kernel is not optimize for low latency like openSUSE and there is the additional overhead of SELinux.

Enabling restricted multimedia is also a breeze, my preferred method is to install the phonon vlc backend from the RPM Fusion repository.

So, once again I am impressed with Fedora but even more so with the Fedora-KDE team who have done a superb job.

 Fedora 15 and KDE 4.6.5 running harmoniously together!

Breaking news - Microsoft extends its interoperability agreement with SUSE

Well look on the bright side, at least there are plenty of alternatives to openSUSE / SUSE, Fedora being one of many!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Mageia 1 - First Impressions, possibly the best KDE 4.6.x distribution to date

When I first heard about Mageia I was not too bothered, if anything it was just going to be another Mandriva. Buggy, random crashes, poor 64-bit support and useless.

But that didn't stop me from trying it and what an amazing find it has turned out to be. From the installer to desktop, everything just works. The installer itself is also quite impressive with enough options to keep power users happy but at the same time well balanced to provide a pleasant experience for newbies.

Mageia 1 (64-Bit) with a customized KDE 4.6.x desktop

Going with the KDE 4.6.3 desktop, the experience is very nippy out of the box and in my view noticeably better than Kubuntu 11.04 > openSUSE 11.4 > Fedora 15 KDE.

When it comes to administering the system Mageia features an application called Mageia Control Center, which unlike openSUSE's YaST,  is more accessible, better laid out and not over complicated.

The Mageia Control Center - What YaST should have been!

And just like YaST, if you are not running in an X-server environment the Mageia Control Center has a text mode equivalent.

I have only had Mageia 1 (64-bit) on my system for a few hours but everything about this distribution has a quality feel. The art work, splash screens, the user experience, the easy to use central management application, the installation, the's more than a job well done!

My only issue was the default Mageia customized KDE appearance was not to my liking and the oxygen-gtk engine was not installed by default, this meant GTK apps like Firefox were not blending well in KDE. An issue that was quick to fix but nonetheless could have been easily avoided by providing the oxygen-gtk engine by default which makes a lot of sense if you are going to bundle applications like Firefox and LibreOffice.

I am definitely keeping Mageia installed for a while longer to see if it meets my very simple needs but in any event I seriously believe this new and recent Linux distribution has a lot going for it regardless of its origins.

Mageia is not Mandriva, its better.

I would encourage anyone looking for a KDE distribution to take Mageia for a spin.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Fedora 15 KDE 4.6.x - Install phonon-backend-vlc for better multimedia support

If you are a Fedora KDE user who wishes to have better multimedia support, use the VLC phonon-backend!

1. Install the RPM Fusion repos -

su -c 'yum localinstall --nogpgcheck'

2. Install phonon-backend-vlc

su -c 'yum install phonon-backend-vlc'

3. Remove the gstreamer backend

su -c 'yum erase phonon-backend-gstreamer'

4. Reboot

Thursday, 3 March 2011

openSUSE 11.4 in 6 days, screenshots look very professional

In 6 days time openSUSE 11.4 will be released and I am already impressed with the screenshots from

openSUSE has always had a very polished feel but 11.3 with its horrible default wallpaper and splash screens lacked that professional touch. Well it looks like 11.4 will remedy that with its striking new professional looks.

openSUSE 11.4 with Gnome -

Just look at that wallpaper!

openSUSE 11.3 with KDE -

KDE, with a greener version.

I can't wait for openSUSE 11.4, I hope the user experience is as good as the looks.

This also goes to show that sometimes the small things (like a different desktop wallpaper) can have a big effect.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

openSUSE 11.3 with KDE 4.6 (mini review)

Despite the troubles in Novell / Attachmate land, openSUSE remains strong and focused with the availability of KDE 4.6.

Another update to KDE, it's now on version 4.6. Thinking back to the very first KDE 4.x release, there is no doubt that the KDE team have made a lot of progress to this date.

As a desktop environment KDE provides a modern looking and stylish desktop that feels fast and has plenty of eye candy.

Being a KDE fan I decided to give KDE 4.6 a go with openSUSE 11.3 since openSUSE provides the most polished user experience with KDE. By default openSUSE 11.3 ships with KDE 4.4.4 but the team have provided a stable KDE 4.5 repository which I highly recommend.

I believe plans for a stable KDE 4.6 repository are underway but at the moment openSUSE users have the option of using the Factory openSUSE KDE 4.6 repo. Essentially this provides an upstream version of KDE with openSUSE patches which is in the progress of being tested.

So after upgrading openSUSE 11.3 to KDE 4.6, in comparison to KDE 4.5.x there really isnt much difference apart from the odd visual and application tweaks here and there.


Far from it, under the hood KDE 4.6 has undergone significant changes, such as the removal of HAL and shift to udev, upower and udisks. Improvements to kwin have resulted in a better performance. Overall I am more happy with the lack of obvious changes because I feel it illustrates KDE 4.x is starting to stabilise and mature into a rock solid desktop environment,

End users such as myself are starting to get tired of drastic changes with each update of KDE, the release of 4.6 makes a nice change and hopefully marks a new stage for KDE. A stage that will perhaps focus a bit more on the end user.

So if you are serious about KDE, get openSUSE 11.3.

Smoke some Tumbleweed

If the excitement of KDE 4.6 isn't enough, then why not try the openSUSE Tumbleweed repository?

As announced not so long ago, openSUSE is looking into the possibility of becoming a rolling release.Simply add their Tumbleweed repository to your system to benefit from more up to date and stable packages.Currently this includes kernel 2.6.37.

openSUSE 11.3, KDE 4.6 and Kernel 2.6.37 at more or less at the click of a button!

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Rolling release is the way forward, join the openSUSE roller coaster

Linux in general is under constant development, always improving and moving forward with pace.This is great overall for the world of Linux but for its users there is a slight problem.

To benefit from newer packages you typically have to wait until your distribution vendor releases an entirely new distribution that incorporates newer packages.

However what often occurs is the latest release of a distribution includes a KDE desktop that is already outdated and it will remain stuck at this version until the distribution vendor in question releases their next release.

Or a Linux kernel that is several version behind the latest stable release.

If you were to install openSUSE 11.3 this very moment you would get KDE 4.4.4 and Linux kernel 2.6.34

The latest stable KDE is 4.5.5 and Linux kernel is 2.6.37

But here is another problem, to benefit from newer software packages you typically have to install your distribution again using the latest release.

So if you wish to benefit from newer packages, as a Ubuntu / Fedora user you have to perform a distribution install every 6 months. 8 months for openSUSE users.

Given the choice most of us would rather not have to bother but as a Linux user this is the Linux way.

Or was the way?

Distributions like Gentoo and Arch have an advantage in that they are already rolling release distributions.

This means to benefit from newer packages you do not need to reinstall the system from scratch but just perform a simple online update which will download newer packages.

The convenience a rolling release distribution can provide is simply something that all distribution vendors should seriously consider. I believe it is a major step in the right direction for Linux if all distributions were rolling release distributions.

There has already been talk from the Ubuntu crowd about a rolling release but that is all.

openSUSE however has made a big leap forward and taken the initiative to get the roller coaster rolling.

The goal of the Tumbleweed project is to create a ‘rolling release’ version of openSUSE. A rolling release distribution (like Arch Linux or Gentoo) always offers the latest stable versions of a package as updates so that when a new release of any upstream software surfaces, users actually don’t have to do a distribution upgrade. The packages will simply be part of the usual updates.

The openSUSE tumbleweed project is the first steps towards making openSUSE a rolling release distribution.

But was it the first steps?

Interesting question and in my view no. openSUSE already took the first steps towards moving to a rolling release months ago when they announced the KDE 4.5 stable repository for openSUSE 11.3.

With KDE development moving so quickly between distribution releases, users don’t want to be stuck with the distro release version of KDE. The much requested 4.5.* stable repo has now been provided for openSUSE 11.3 users.

The KDE 4.5 repository has by far been the most welcoming move for openSUSE KDE 4.x users, bringing many bug fixes and performance enhancements.

The announcement of the Tumbleweed project could not come at a better time for openSUSE. I had my doubts about the future of openSUSE since the Attachmate deal but developments like this demonstrate openSUSE is a very active project with huge potential.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Is it me or is there a lack of interest in openSUSE?

Whether its browsing the internet and looking for information about openSUSE or talking to the general public, openSUSE just seems to not get the attention I believe it deserves.

It isn't a bad operating system but struggles to gain popularity, is that still because of the Microsoft deal a few years ago?

Is it because it dropped KDE 3.5 at a time when KDE 4.x was in a miserable state?

Is it because it places more emphasis on KDE?

Is it due to the poor documentation it provides to its users?

I am interested in your views and experiences with openSUSE. What is it that makes you stay away from openSUSE?

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Fedora 13 - Still a Gnome Distribution

Fedora has a history of being a Gnome distribution although things have been changing with the release of KDE 4.x.

Click on any picture for a bigger view.

Fedora 13 with KDE 4.4.3 and Oxygen theme

In the past certain distributions were regarded as having better KDE integration, especially with KDE 3.5.x. OpenSUSE and Mandriva notably had a better KDE experience and were regarded as KDE distributions.

However with the introduction of KDE 4.x I feel things have changed. Looking at my Gentoo KDE desktop, I no longer see OpenSUSE as having an advantage or better KDE integration.

Unfortunately I can't say the same for Mandriva, their KDE 4.x desktop has been heavily customized to look more like KDE 3.5.x. Infact I feel they have ruined KDE 4.x with their customizations. Personally I have never been a Mandriva fan.

Yesterday I decided to download Fedora 13, I went for the Live KDE CD. I prefer KDE over Gnome due to the nicer appearance and additional features. My best feature with KDE is when you drag a file or icon to another location, a context menu appears giving you a variety of choices.

Gnome would either move or copy the file / icon, just like Windows.

Fedora's KDE 4.x seems very nice but is let down by the lack of a few polishing touches.

The logon KDM greeter looks really nice, the desktop looks just like any other KDE 4.x desktop but all is spoilt by some Gnome-ish icons, notification dialogues and graphical interfaces.

The icons

As you can see in the below screenshot, the inconsistency with the icons.

The horror!

Many applications that are related to system settings or administration in Fedora's KDE spin haven't been given a KDE equivalent. Hence the inconsistency and lack of a polished finish.

Gnome-ish dialogue

Next up is the notification dialogue when root access is required. For a minute I thought I was in Gnome.

Root access deserves better, give it KDE!

Gnome has invaded my KDE 4.x desktop, eek!

A system wide application

The next screenshot shows Fedora's (RedHat's) Network Configuration application.

Fedora's devs, you can do better than that!

The Network Configuration application is a system wide application to control your network devices in Fedora and is not exclusive to Fedora, it is a RedHat application.

Looking at it, clearly it is GTK based just like all other RedHat applications.

Overall the lack of a consistent feel and polished result means Fedora's KDE needs more work.

Other applications you can see in the KDE menu screenshot, SELinux, Service Management, Network Device Control, Bootloader Control, Firewall are all RedHat applications. You will also notice some of these and others in CentOS and RedHat Enterprise, they are core RedHat applications and based on GTK.

As it stands, Fedora is still a Gnome centric distribution like its paid / commercial counter part RedHat.

By the way, I changed the fonts to Liberation Sans as the default font in Fedora is pure ugly.

Why not change the default fonts to the Liberation set, which was developed by RedHat?

Perhaps one day Fedora will feature better KDE integration but I have my doubts. All of the core RedHat applications are based on GTK for the obvious reason that RedHat is a Gnome based distribution.

To further explain why I have doubts a few points need to be stated.

Fedora is a RedHat sponsored project.

Fedora is based on the latest and greatest software packages and innovations.

New features in Fedora are incorporated into future RedHat Enterprise releases.

Bearing in mind all of the above, my view is Fedora is simply a development platform for RedHat to try out the latest and greatest. They use it to improve their commercial flagship product which is Gnome orientated.

Additionally any bug fixes, security fixes and enhancements are pushed upstream so overall everyone benefits, RedHat is a big contributor to Linux.

However I do not see any reason for RedHat to tweak their core applications and make it look nicer in KDE.

It is not in their interest unless they wish to release a RedHat Enterprise KDE spin with a professional polished appearance and feel.

As a desktop user I like having a good looking operating system with a polished feel and Fedora with KDE doesn't deliver.

Also bearing in mind the bleeding edge characteristic of Fedora and stability issues which I have encountered in the past, I would not use Fedora or recommend it for desktop use anyway. It is more geared towards developers, Linux enthusiasts, those interested in experiencing some of the latest innovations and those who wish to contribute and file bug reports.

If you are looking for a stable alternative to Windows, Fedora should not be on your list.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Better looking fonts in OpenSUSE 11.2 KDE 4.x

You may be thinking the default fonts used by OpenSUSE in KDE are quite good already but it can be slightly better.

All you have to do is change the default fonts to the Liberation font set to experience slightly better looking text within your desktop environment.

Go to KDE System settings > Appearance > Fonts

System Settings - Fonts

Simply match the fonts in the above screenshot, set Anti Aliasing to enabled and the DPI to 96.

Finally click on the configure button and change the font hinting to full.

Anti-Aliasing Settings

Once you have finished, reboot for your changes to take effect.