With yesterday’s announcement of the 4.1.0 release of KDE, my willpower did not allow me to go another day without giving KDE4 another shot. For a bit of history, I have been using Gnome for several years. In the past 3 months or so I began using KDE 3.5.9 long enough that I began to enjoy it and realize that it is a nice desktop environment as well. At this point I really have no favorite between the two and like different things about both of them.
When the first releases of KDE 4 started showing up several months ago, I gave it a shot but was extremely underwhelmed. While it came with all the warnings from the community that the 4.0 release was nothing more than the introduction of a new platform which developers would expand, some of the basic pieces of it just felt wrong. I can clearly say that after spending most of an afternoon using it, running my development environment, and doing basic daily functions, 4.1 is light years beyond the first peak I had of it. I am *really* enjoying it so far and I have a feeling it will be my desktop of choice for the immediate future.
One thing that seems to not be common knowledge to some people is that you can just install it and try it out without affecting your existing desktop environments, be it KDE 3.5.x or Gnome. For example, my current installation started out as Kubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron. Shortly after installing I added Gnome by running:
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop
Then in the GDM or KDM login window, I had options for either logging in using Gnome or the default KDE. Thankfully the two coexist without bothering each other, and I can switch back and forth at will. I took the same approach today when installing KDE 4.1, planning to keep both Gnome and KDE 3.5 as fallback positions or simply to use when I am in the mood.
If this type of setup sounds like something you want to try out, do the following. First, add the following repo into your /etc/apt/sources.list file:
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/kubuntu-members-kde4/ubuntu hardy main
After adding that you will want to update your repos by running:
sudo apt-get update
Then to install KDE 4.1 you will run the following:
sudo apt-get install kubuntu-kde4-desktop kdeplasma-addons amarok-kde4 and kontact-kde4 kate-kde4 kmail-kde4
Notice that I am also updating several applications, such as kate, amaroK, kmail, and kontact. Kdeplasma-addons also brings you some extra goodies beyond the base install. During that installation you will be prompted to choose your login manager. KDE4 brings you yet another option beyond GDM and KDM. I chose it and it is a really nice clean look. I recommend giving it a look. Once the installation completes, restart X or reboot and have fun!