Margaret (pling) wrote,

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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.
Tags: computer, kde

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