February 19, 2019
Recently, I obtained a 500Gb NVMe SSD for my desktop computer. I took the opportunity to change from my long standing DE of choice, Gnome, and went with KDE, installing Kubuntu. I have tried KDE in the past, but never done a complete install and stuck with it. The customization has always been confusing and I have never been a fan of the look. But I decided, after getting tired of some of the issues I have had with Gnome, to go with KDE for an extended period, and honestly try to learn how it works.
The install is the same good experience one should expect from an Ubuntu variant. It is easy to make your way through it and gives you some nice options at the beginning to ensure you get everything you need for out of the box performance. All of my hardware worked without a single issue.
The desktop is a clean, and beautiful experience. I really cannot fault anything with the desktop. It has a clean, modern look. When I say modern, I do not just mean the flat look with bold colors that is in vogue, but it has the little touches like hovering over an open window on the task bar shows a t humbnail preview. I am still getting used to the applications menu, which has a very different layout and seems to switch between the different tabs at the bottom a little too quickly on hover. I have not investigated if there is a way to slow this down, but I think by default the timing on this should be slower. I have pretty simple needs though, so mostly I can stick to the favorites list.
The applications store is good. It is easy to navigate and there is more than enough common software for the typical user. I really appreciate that these application stores have become prevalent in Linux distros because it make Linux more user friendly for common users.
One thing I love a lot more with KDE is the Dolphin file manager. This is a small thing for most people, a file manager is a file manager, but I like the options for viewing the files in Dolphin much more than what comes in Nautilus.
The included applications are great, and finally I am not having to put up with a KDE version of everything. I hated using a special browser, Konqueror, and a whole host of other applications that were misspelled to be cute. Fire Fox is the browser that is installed, and since it is easy to install new ones, I am not locked in.
The customization options are vast, and likely confusing to someone that does not know what they are doing. I have gotten used to finding all customization options in a settings application; however, in KDE, the wallpaper is changed by right clicking on the desktop. This is fine once you realize this is where the change is, but that took me a while. I also dislike the hot corners/sides and ran into an issue where if I deactivated the top of the screen function, I could not move windows where the title bar were touching the top.
From a performance perspective, this system is super fast. Now, this is also the best hardware I have ever had, so that is definitely playing a part, but KDE is instantaneously fast. I have barely started to stress this computer and cannot tell that KDE is a heavier desktop. I have run into some bugs, more of a graphical nature. I was using it to develop and suddenly the task bar looks like it has some crazy pattern of title bars and icons that would not go away until I restarted. I also just recently started the computer up and the left screen had no wallpaper. The task bar was there, and there was a wallpaper on the right screen, but the left had none. Little things like this really make me feel that KDE is just not as polished as Gnome and they frustrate me. Gnome, especially Ubuntu, have some of their own bugs, but I do not run into them as frequently.
I will continue with KDE for a while, to see if a newer version of Kubuntu helps to eliminate the bugs, but I have little hope right now. I enjoy using it, but it is overwhelming with the options for customization and has bugs that just seem to be elementary.