Is Linux Mint / KDE4 desktop ready?

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Is Linux Mint / KDE4 desktop ready?

Postby Mikademus on Sun Dec 07, 2008 2:08 pm

Good day folks, this is my first post here.

I have hitherto been a satisfied Mandriva user. However, the 2009 edition was less than problem free and recent political events inside the Mandriva corporation has led me to search for greener pastures (pun indented). I have been following Mint for some time, and the main reasons I have not used it before is that my most recent installation attempt a year ago didn't work on my computer (the installation hanged) and that it is based on Ubuntu, for which I have no great fondness. Nonetheless, Mind seems a different beast than Ubuntu.

My requirements are simple: I want and need

* A solid, well-supported Linux
* KDE4 (Mandriva's handling of KDE4 has proved that the DE is ready for production desktops)
* Support for simultaneous CJK and Swedish input handling (effortless switching between at least 3 keyboard locales)
* Support for Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000

My question is, how does Mint compare to there requirements?

Thanks in advance for any help and insights!
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Re: Is Linux Mint / KDE4 desktop ready?

Postby davidfoley on Sun Dec 07, 2008 8:41 pm

Hi,
Your first stop should probably be the KDE edition. Don't know what the plans are for KDE4 are though.. I'd like to say that I've moved from Mandriva to Mint, and I think it's the best distro I've ever used.. Moving away from KDE has been a breath of fresh air for me :)

David, Wexford, Ireland.
David Foley, Wexford, Ireland :)
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Re: Is Linux Mint / KDE4 desktop ready?

Postby Mikademus on Mon Dec 08, 2008 4:38 am

Hi David! Thanks for the reply! Interesting that you too were a Mandriva user that selected Mint for your next distro :) This Gnome/KDE difference is also very interesting, I have never been able to enjoy Gnome because it doesn't allow me the freedom of customisation I want, but I think it is a very good thing that Linux has two such excellent top-dog DEs!

Anyway, Mint seems very solid, and while I haven't tried installing it yet I read that the maintainer (or what it is called in the Mint world) of the KDE version has apparently added KDE4 support. So the two remaining questions for me are

(1) Does Mint support CJK and Swedish character input (f.i. comes configures with SCIM/Anthy or similar to allow me to to switch at a button between any locale)

and

(2) Does MInt support the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000?
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Yes, it is a MS product, but their hardware is much, much better than their software, and this is perhaps the most comfortable keyboard ever made. I recommend it to any and all programmers!

Again, thanks for any input!
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Re: Is Linux Mint / KDE4 desktop ready?

Postby rhvkl on Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:43 am

Hi Mikademus,

I own that, too. Some keys work like a charm (calc, volume-control, ...) and for some keys I haven't found a solution to fit my needs. Please keep me uptodate....
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Re: Is Linux Mint / KDE4 desktop ready?

Postby Mikademus on Mon Dec 08, 2008 8:52 am

Hi rhvkl!

I'm drawing closer to an install, so sure, I will post my findings! For what it is worth, under Mandriva none of the extended keys are recognised out-of-the-box. However, the special keyboard layout is recognised (F.i. the model 4000 has brackets/curly brackets above each other on the two keys immediately left of RETURN which is extremely convenient for programming) as long as you don't manually select another regional layout in the settings, then the 4000 is destroyed and you're screwed).

I was planning on trying some other distros too, just as I did when I went for Mandriva two years ago (I tried some 15 distros then), but given that Mint handles KDE4 it seems like the top candidate :)
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Re: Is Linux Mint / KDE4 desktop ready?

Postby viking777 on Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:39 am

Interesting thoughts. I am here at Mint because I am a refugee from KDE4, I regard it as so bad that it's an insult to the rest of Linux world and imho, does more damage to Linux than Microsoft and Apple put together ever could. I am not really keen on Gnome either but Mint's particular version of it is the best around and with sufficient tweaking it can be made to do as I want.

My earnest wish is that somebody picks up KDE3.5 and runs with it as a separate project as it is the best DE there is, and if KDE4 is the future, probably the best there ever will be! I'm not holding my breath though, that is why I am forcing myself to get used to Gnome.(and to save you asking I have tried XFCE and I do like a lot about it, but not enough to use it full time).
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Re: Is Linux Mint / KDE4 desktop ready?

Postby Mikademus on Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:05 am

Yeah, it is fascinating how differently we can react to DEs. I first used Linux in 1997 and then it was a primitive beast from a GUI perspective. I never got back to Linux until 2007, during which I used (read, "was locked to") Windows. Windows is a one-interface world and I was very taken aback the the number of alternatives! The windows GUI experience is perhaps not exciting, but there's no denying it is functional.

The first I tried was GNOME, not really knowing anything about *nix DEs. For some reason I never really liked it. It was too rigid, uninspiring and unimaginative. I later installed Xubuntu and though I rather enjoyed the XFce I also felt it was rigid and, frankly, boring. In my initial distro-hopping I then came across KDE, and poking around I discovered that I could mould it into anything I wanted! With the Othello widget engine I could make the most gorgeous and still functional environment I had ever used!

At my first test run with KDE4 I thought it interesting but decided to wait for 4.2 when it would have full functionality. Then Mandriva 2009 defaulted to KDE 4.1 and I decided to go for it, and that was a winning decision. It revolutionised my desktop experience. I like to keep things on the desktop for instant access but I also like having a tidy desktop. These are generally considered to be mutually exclusive ideals, and they have been, until the "desktop folder" innovation of KDE4! The new taskbar is the best-of-both-worlds of an OSX experience and everything Microsoft has tried to make the Vista and WIndows7 taskbar into but failed. Etc etc. Though not a fanboy --I am to critical and rational for that-- I do consider KDE4 light years ahead of all alternatives in efficiency, aesthetics, flexibility and usability, and I believe it is the current future of DEs.

KDE's problem was that they had no clue how to handle public relations, which is not particularly uncommon a deficiency among computer geeks. They were formally and logically correct: KDE is the core libraries and KDE4 represented the stable release state of the KDE core. Still, that the full desktop experience requires the user interface as well as at least essential applications they fully overlooked. So of course testers thinking they tried a finished product thought it crap when it failed to deliver. Let's see if GNOME3 will cause the same reaction that KDE did. They have a difficult choice; either they stay where they are and only polish what they have and fall behind in DE development, or they do bring GNOME into the present and risk alienating a large part of their community.
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