Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
I've been complaining all over the place about how much KDE 4 sucks. Then after my post earlier I remembered something I've even said to other folks about stuff before myself, "Well, go ask for your money back!" I was just waiting for someone to say it to me. All of a sudden I felt kinda bad about all my bitchin'. While some of those guys are paid, many are volunteers. And I'm sure when they designed this new desktop and started writing it, they were doing what they thought would be really cool. I know they didn't sit down and say, "Now what can we do to fsck Susan up?" Towards that end, I thought I'd share some of the things I think are kinda nice about KDE 4.
1. Ksnapshot Current Screen - The first neato thing I discovered in KDE 4 was the new Current Screen option in Ksnapshot. There were many times that I had to cut my desktop screenshots about in 1/2 for some of the articles I published. There are times, many times, when a big ole dual display screenshot just isn't the best choice. So, now I can just take a shot of the whichever display I need. Of course, I know this is related to the separate screens and non-scalable wallpaper thing I complained about - but here's one good aspect to it.
2. Kickoff Search - Well, I know the Novell/openSUSE guys came up with the kickoff menu and the neato search functionality long time ago, but it's still as nice now as it was then. I actually think the kickoff menu is a lot more clicking around, thus harder to use - except for the search, which I really use a LOT. So, I guess using the search, it might be considered a bit easier since I don't bother hunting around the menu much at all anymore. I just type in what I want.
3. Dolphin Preview - In Dolphin the directories containing image files show actual previews of the real images on the folder icon and in the information pane. I guess a practical use of it would be, for example, if you had several photo directories and it could help you identify which you were looking for without having to click on all of them. For right now personally, I just think it's a neato effect. Now this is a special effect I can get behind. Now if the developers would add the actual size of the images, perhaps in pixels, to the information or properties that would truly be helpful.
4. Simple Default App Chooser - For years we could change which app was default for certain file types by editing the file associations. That worked, but it was a bit of pain finding all those file extensions to edit. The file associations configuration is still there, but now at least some of these associations can be quickly picked through the Default Applications function in the new Control Center. It has some of the most commonly changed tasks like Email Client, Web Browser, or File Manager. This is where you go if Dolphin is not your thing (which a lot of folks are still complaining about).
5. Konqueror Find Function - Ok, I know this idea was borrowed from Firefox, but it is a welcome substitution in Konqueror. The old find would open in a separate little window which, if you set your windows to be automagically raised like me, sometimes might get lost behind other windows. And if you wanted to find a second word or even find next, up into the menu opening the little window again (or you could use the F keys if you remembered which ones). The new one is out of the way, not to get lost, and stays there until you close it. Good deal.
6. Menu Icon/Start Button Easy Changer - Back in KDE 3 it was a pain to change out the Start button. If memory serves, you had to replace the actual icon in the icon directory, if you can remember the icon name/which icon and which directory. As for me, that's the kind of thing I forget after not thinking about it in a while. Like right now, I'd have to google for it and hope I find it. But in KDE 4, it's a simple little configuration like any other icon. Right click the Start button and open the Application Launcher Settings. Neato huh?
7. Same ole Kwrite - Know what's changed about KWrite? Absolutely nothing! KWrite is one of my most indispensible apps. I use it everyday. I love it. It's a simple little editor that doesn't put in any hard breaks and it leaves the text and code exactly where and how I put it. You ever type something into an editor and then copy and paste it into your CMS and it leaves like every other line about 1/2 the length of the others and it doesn't scale when the size of the Web page is changed? That's 'cause you're using a sucky editor that puts in hard breaks when it wraps. Or you ever use an editor that you have to hit enter at the end of line because or else it just keeps going on and on and on all on one line? -> Sucky editor. And the fact that no one went in and changed a bunch of stuff is a Godsend. Good ole KWrite.
Edit: When I say nothing, I mean nothing fundamental. The settings seem to have been simplified and some new options are available. A couple options that were once plugins are now built in.
Well, that's about all I can think of since I've been using KDE 4 everyday. I hope I find a lot of other stuff to like and I hope they fix some of the stuff I don't. I know they won't fix all of them cause many aren't bugs or considered regressions, but some are. I'll try to remember that those KDE guys have feelings and they are working hard. I'm going to try and remember that I didn't have pay anything for this desktop or even the OS, so I should keep the bitching down to a minimum if I ain't gonna go and try to help out. Folks might ask if I hate KDE 4 so much, why don't I change? And quite simply, because it's still the best even when it sucks.