Experiencing KDE for the First Time. Again.

KDEWhen I started using Linux back in the late 90s, I started out with FVWM95. It’s almost identical appearance to Windows 95 was very enticing to me. I was using Windows 95 most of the time, and the fact that Linux with FVWM95 was free was really cool. After FVWM95, I moved to Enlightenment with Gnome for the cool theming capabilities. Eventually the Enlightenment portion of Gnome faded away and I was just using Gnome.

I liked Gnome. Originally I was drawn to FVWM95 because it was so similar to Windows 95, but I liked Gnome because it wasn’t.

A desktop battle started between Gnome and KDE. I figured that if Gnome and KDE were competing, it was a good idea to try KDE as well, so I threw it on a computer and gave it a try.

The first time I tried KDE, I didn’t like it. That’s probably an understatement. Many people liked it, but to me, it was terrible. I ran back to Gnome pretty quickly. I’ve never really left Gnome since then. I’ve tried KDE probably a dozen times since that first time, but I never stuck with it. Every time I tried it, my initial dislike was only reinforced.

I’ve always loved the customizability of Linux. I love browsing the Desktop Screenshots on deviantART. There are some truly creative individuals there, and some of the things they do with Linux are amazing to look at.

What does that have to do with the story? I’m getting there, I promise.

One day, when I was browsing through the latest screenshots, something happened. I saw some of the really impressive screenshots were running software I didn’t recognize. After digging a little deeper, I discovered that they were running KDE. This surprised me quite a bit, but it inspired me to give KDE another shot.

I’m currently running Ubuntu 12.04 on my primary system, so I just dropped to the command line, fired up apt-get, and minutes later, KDE was installed. I fired up the new DE, and was greeted by a fairly unfamiliar environment. It took a little bit of getting used to, but after a few hours of use, I found that I was really enjoying using it.

Wait, what?

Yep, I was really enjoying using KDE. I liked the DE that I’d been virtually repulsed by for more than a decade.

I’ve noticed a few oddities with KDE installed on Ubuntu, mostly because I’m still using KDM as my login screen. To get a more full experience of KDE, I put Kubuntu 12.10 on a spare USB key, and booted my laptop with it. Of course, everything automatically detected and the laptop started with a full KDE experience.

Not only did I enjoy using it, it’s awesome. Unless something drastically changes in the next couple months, I expect I’ll rebuild my primary system to run on Kubuntu 13.04.


  1. I tried Kubuntu 12.04 recently and I found that although it does look nice, it has far too many customisation options for my liking. I don’t know where to begin with it haha.

    • TOO MANY customization options?!? Does such a think actually exist? In all seriousness, there are a ton of customization options in KDE, but I think that they’re well enough organized that customizing things the way that you want isn’t terribly hard to do.

  2. I like KDE and was blown away by it when I built my first Debian x86 image in 2005, inadvertently throwing in KDE as the desktop environment. I eventually settled on using GNOME, primarily because it seems that Kubuntu, where I commonly test drive KDE, just doesn’t want to run well in VMWare or Virtual Box. In 2012, I switched over to Xfce after getting acquainted with its lightness in Xubuntu 10.04.

  3. tracyanne

    Personally I think it’s incredible that someone would reject a Desktop Environment because “it has too many cutomisation options”. WTF, don’t use them.

    I’ve used KDE since 2000, with the odd side track to GNOME and XFCE, I’m currently using KDE 4.10.2 on Linux Mint 13, and I’ve changed the desktop background, I’ve changed the Window decorations and general Style and I’ve changed the number of virtual workspaces, something that everyone does with every available desktop. What, I wonder, is so difficult about that?

    Oh yeah, I’ve removed the Folder view widget from the desktop.

    I would have to suppose that someone who gets confused by the customisation choices in KDE must get very disorientated when visiting the supermarket, or maybe they have some to do that for them.

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