Loving KDE 4.4

5 03 2010

I’ve been using KDE 4.X for the last three months.  And despite what you might hvave read about from other bloggers and Linux users, I personally love KDE.  I do have a relatively peculiar setup and have been daring enough to install new versions of apps and kernels rather than waiting for a new distro release.  How I got to my current setup:

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Moved to KDE 4.3

14 11 2009

I recently caught the upgrade bug.  With the release of Windows 7, Ubuntu 9.10 and a bunch of other new major Linux distributions, I was very tempted to upgrade my Thinkpad X200 running a personalized version of Linux Mint 7.  But the thought of having to re-do all the customization I’ve made was disheartening.  It would have likely taken the better part of a weekend.

So instead, I decided to scratch my upgrade itch and try something a little less drastic. I upgrade my kernel to 2.6.31 (instructions here) even if Mint 7 / Ubuntu 9.04 didn’t officially support.  I also tried out KDE 4.3.

Well, what can I say? I was blown away!

  • Desktop is gorgeous. Looks so much better than GNOME.  Very polished and tightly integrated.  Same visual quality as OS X or Vista.  For an open-source effort, it’s incredible.
  • Power management is better than GNOME. KDE’s Power Devil automatically switches power profiles when I switch to battery mode.  Suspend and hibernate works better too — feels like they work correctly more frequently.
  • Rediscovered Amarok. I’ve tried Amarok before, but it just felt like a mess.  I read somewhere Amarok was built for KDE — now I know why.  Very sophisticated media player. Just need to make it work better with my podcasts 😉

It’s been 4 solid and stable days living in the KDE world.  And I think I’m staying.

Google Chrome runs Flash

24 09 2009

I’ve been dabbling with Chrome (the official Google browser based on the open source Chromium) the last few weeks and have found myself using it more frequently.  I’m particularly fond of it’s speed.  It launches faster than Firefox. And it feels like opening and closing tabs are faster as well. I particularly like it when using my Gmail account because it feels faster as well. Read the rest of this entry »

5 Things I Would Miss in Linux Mint

30 07 2009

mintbubbleSo after my last post, I figured it would be interesting to ask myself, “what would I miss in Linux Mint?” if I were to go back to Windows Vista today.  I came up with 5 nontrivial things.

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6 Things I Miss About Windows Vista in Linux

27 07 2009

missvistaAs I go through the daily grind on my trusty Thinkpad,  I once in a while notice quirks in Linux Mint / Ubuntu that makes me miss certain small but important conveniences from Windows Vista.  I’ve been taking notes, and here’s my list.

update: thanks to some wonderful tips below, my list has quickly gone down to 3 in the last 24 hours.

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Finally, good themes for Ubuntu / Mint

12 07 2009


The standard theme in Linux Mint 7, with the green wet windshield effect and dark grey window trimmings, is really quite nice.  But seeing all that green can get tiring after a few weeks.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been contented with the alternative themes that come with my Mint system.

So like any good Internet user, I googled* for Linux Mint themes. Read the rest of this entry »

Google’s Linux OS: what’s going to be special about it?

9 07 2009


Google just announced that they will be launching their own open-source operating system that would compete against the venerable Microsoft Windows. Story here.

According to Google, the core benefit of this product is that it will offer a better online experience:

“The plan is part of Google’s bet that a huge shift in computing is under way. In Google’s view, Web connections will become so fast and browsers so powerful that most of the programs that currently run on PCs will be replaced by online applications.”

If there’s two things I’ve learned from my switching experience into using Linux, Open Office, and the like is that this may not be enough reason to switch: how hard is it anyway to go online using a Windows or Mac system?  Quite easy actually. And no harder than using any other connected device–be it a cell phone, iPod touch or whatnot. Read the rest of this entry »

Improving Battery Life on Linux Mint by 50%

1 07 2009


In one my first posts, I noted that my biggest concern with moving 100% to Linux from Windows is the higher consumption in power which leads to degradation in battery life when unplugged.  I use a Lenovo ThinkPad X200 with a 6-cell battery.  A recent business trip reminded me how important longer battery life is.

So I did a little research, experimentation and tweaking to improve my situation.  Below are the steps I took to get up to a 45% reduction in power consumption as measured in Watts (from about 15W to 8.3W) and about 50% more working time on my unplugged computer (from 3 to 4.5 hours). Read the rest of this entry »

No assembly required.

27 06 2009


Just having more fun.

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Emailing on Linux: sticking to one

26 06 2009

outmalithunI use a lot of web-based email services, such as GMail.  But there’s not a whole to say about my experience with using web-based email on Linux since there really is nothing significantly different (Okay, I found out last night that Google Talk Audio/Video calling doesn’t work on Linux yet, but I wouldn’t consider that significant).  So long as the web browser works.

In the past, I’ve used Microsoft Outlook for work and Apple’s Mail App for personal email.  Both are terrific programs.  Outlook let our company easily schedule group appointments and manage contacts.  Apple Mail was dead simple to use and made attaching photos into emails a joy by showing you the picture you’re sending instead of some barely useful thumbnail with even less helpful filename as the description. Read the rest of this entry »