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24 March 2006 @ 09:59 am
Making the switch ...  
Over the last week or so I've been installing Gentoo Linux on my machine - it's been usable for the last several days, though it's not quite finished (most notably I've yet to configure my soundcard, but there's also an app or two I've not got round to installing). I decided while I was at it that I'd switch over to using KDE instead of Gnome. I think I last used KDE more than 5 years ago, and I can't remember precisely what it was that I didn't like - just that I wasn't keen on the look & feel of the desktop, kinda clunky. But things move on so it was time to give it another go. Unless I get overly frustrated with it I'm going to try & use it for at least a couple of months to give myself a chance to both get past the 'oooooh shiny toy' effect of configuring new software and the 'damn thing doesn't work right' of switching to a different collection of software.


So far, so good. I've found the settings to reduce all the icons & text in size as the defaults still seem clunky to me - like the menu bars are too big & the actual app is surrounded in a hard shell of KDE-Stuff. Made me think of the oversize lego you can get for small children because they haven't yet got the motor skills for the normal size stuff. With all the negative associations of that ;) But now I've dealt with that it actually looks rather nice, I'm still playing with backdrops & colours, but that's trivial eye-candy & I change it all about once a month anyway :)

I'm trying to use the standard KDE apps for things where they exist, rather than use KDE with my normal suite of apps on the top. So I'm using Kontact for email, addressbook, calendar, to-do list & RSS feed aggregator. Took me a little while to get the email side sorted properly - at first it wanted to show me every folder in my home directory on igloo, then it didn't want to show me the inbox. But that's fixed, and it only checks for mail in the two actual folders where new mail arrives, and only shows me mail folders. And I didn't even cause too much of an IMAP bandwidth spike while I fought with it ;) I've got the addressbook side sorted out - exported my addressbooks from Thunderbird and managed to import with only a few tweaks needed. The RSS aggregator works, and there's not much more I can say about that - I've not used one in the past, I've only used LJ. We'll see if I get fed up with it being a different app or not.

I've not used an integrated mail/calendar app for a while (didn't get on that well with Evolution), and so far I'm liking this one and I'm taking the time to get it set up properly. Working on adding birthdays and wedding anniversaries (and children & their birthdays) - if you think I should know your birthday/child's birthday/wedding anniversary and think it's unlikely I'll be able to get the info from LJ, do let me know :) The to-do list feature actually seems to work the way I want such a thing to work, which is nice and a trifle unexpected (maybe things have just moved on since I last tried a to-do list app). I like the nested to-dos, I like the way the recurring ones are set up, the only problem I've run into so far is the integration into the calendar app is displaying recurring to-dos that were done yesterday & are now due next week as the 'overdue' colour.

I'm not, however, doing nearly as well with Konqueror :( I may have settings that need tweaked, so if anyone knows the solutions to my issues with it, please let me know! From all I'd heard Konqueror was supposed to be faster than Firefox - it might be on start up, but if so it's not enough to be noticeable. However it's apparently lot slower on page load. This may be a false impression because of the way it draws the contents of the page, but it defintely feels sluggish to me. When I reload my LJ friends page even when nothing's different it blanks the page, redraws the text, redraws the pictures. Maybe it gets everything from cache and just redraws, but it looks like it goes and fetches stuff again, and takes a noticeable length of time rather than firefox's much quicker reload which only looks like it redraws when something's changed.

The next problem I have with it is something I was expecting, though it's annoying me more than I thought it would. I've heard in the past that Konqueror 'does things properly', which is a Good Thing, sure. But as a user rather than a developer I value robustness over strictness. For instance, there's a piece of javascript in one of the forums I visit every day that's broken, it's quite possibly in an ad not the actual forum. And everytime Konqueror barfs and tells me I need to abort the script. I'm loathe to check the 'don't ask me again' box as the default appears to be 'continue' not 'abort' and apparently continuing to run would bring my machine to its knees. I've not noticed it being an issue in Firefox at all - it Just Works. Maybe Firefox aborts it silently, maybe it allows for some errors in scripts, I don't care, it Just Works in a way that Konqueror doesn't. I've also got some display issues with pages like this. The details of J's profile should line up in a list down the page, but on my screen they're all over the place. I'm guessing something's not quite precisely standards compliant. And if I could work out what it was, I'm sure esr would fix it if I asked. But the html is pretty impenetrable, I'm not sure what Konqueror is barfing on, and damnit I'm a user not a developer and as such I value robustness and things that Just Work.


Talking of javascript ... my prefered (current) way of working is to have javascript off globally and switch it on on a per-site basis. I tried switching off javascript in Konqueror, which worked fine, but I couldn't find an easy way to add a site to the list of permitted ones, nor an easy way to see if a site had javascript that had been prevented from running. I'd also like to be able to temporarily let a site run a script. Did I miss something? Or do I need to manually add sites to the whitelist?

I've not used many other apps yet - I'm using Konsoles for terminals, which work as I like terminals to work, and I'm using Kopete for IM, which again works as well as GAIM. I've yet to try any coding - I used to use emacs to write perl in and might stick to that, but then I might prefer to move to something with a GUI that works the way I expect it to. Anyone any recommendations from KDE's apps suite, my only real requirements are syntax highlighting and bracket-matching?

Overall then, I'm likely to last until I get used to it. Except Konqueror, which is driving me to distraction at the moment.
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Ceci n'est pas une viemarble on March 24th, 2006 12:53 pm (UTC)
Sorry, I can't help much with your konq issues. To me it's always seemed as fast/faster than firefox, and I leave JS on, just set it to smart popup blocking.

For editors, Kate is really pretty good, and KDevelop is cool too if you decide you want a whole IDE.
Margaretpling on March 24th, 2006 02:50 pm (UTC)
Sorry, I can't help much with your konq issues. To me it's always seemed as fast/faster than firefox, and I leave JS on, just set it to smart popup blocking.

S'ok :) I shall poke at it more and see if I can see how to get it set up to work the way I'd like ... (or just get used to it ;) ).

For editors, Kate is really pretty good, and KDevelop is cool too if you decide you want a whole IDE.

Thanks for the recommendations - I shall try them out when I next actually do something like that :)
nirikinanirikina on March 24th, 2006 06:41 pm (UTC)
Talking of javascript ... my prefered (current) way of working is to have javascript off globally and switch it on on a per-site basis. ... I'd also like to be able to temporarily let a site run a script. Did I miss something? Or do I need to manually add sites to the whitelist?

There's an add-on for Firefox that does exactly that. You get a little status bar at the bottom of the page and you can allow permanently, or allow temporarily. It also distinguishes where websites have javascripts from different domains so you can allow the functionality but not the annoying ads.
Margaretpling on March 24th, 2006 06:46 pm (UTC)
Yeah - that's what I was using to do that before :) I was hoping to find a way to do that in Konqueror, though.
pycpyc on March 25th, 2006 10:57 pm (UTC)

the only problem I've run into so far is the integration into the calendar app is displaying recurring to-dos that were done yesterday & are now due next week as the 'overdue' colour

I found that with recurring to-dos, you need to click once (if you click more than once, it will mark your future to-dos as 'done') on the checkbox (of to-do list) in order to have your calendar updated so that it will display a 'done' coloured checkmark for previous events, and keep a red 'undone' coloured checkmark for future events.

The problem I had found with recurring to-dos was that the Start and Due dates were funny. If I set the Start to: 01 March, and the Due to: 31 March, it will only display the to-do on the 31st. However, if I set the Due date to the same as the Start date, and the end date in the Recurrance tab, then it seems to work fine.

Kopete seems alright, but it does funny things for me at times. It likes to choose my display name, but likes to mix them up too (if I use different usernames for different IMs).

Margaretpling on March 26th, 2006 08:33 am (UTC)
I may be using an older version of Kontact than you - coz I've definitely got last Friday & Thursday's stuff marked as done then, but due again next week and if I have to-dos displayed on the day/week/month view of the calendar they're all there in the 'all day' bit of the calendar (even today and they're not Sunday items) and coloured as over-due. I've just taken them off that view, they're still there on the sidebar & still there in the to-do list so it's not that important.

I don't think I've ever met a to-do list app that really understood start dates :/ I've stopped using them, just do the sort of thing you do with recurrence.
Ceci n'est pas une viemarble on March 30th, 2006 11:17 am (UTC)
I just upgraded to KDE 3.5.2, and that page you linked to now lays out neatly in konqueror. Sadly the main LJ page is pretty screwed though... (At least it still functions, even if it looks awful though, and my friends page looks OK).
Ceci n'est pas une viemarble on March 30th, 2006 02:38 pm (UTC)
Huh, must have been some kubuntu package weirdness. LJ is fine on my other machine (just finished compiling KDE 3.5.2 from source), but the other site is weirdly formatted again.
Margaretpling on March 30th, 2006 02:54 pm (UTC)
Oh well. That's weird though :/