Today was the official release of KDE4, and the Kubuntu packages are already available for download and use.
How to install?
If you want to install KDE4 in your current Ubuntu or Kubuntu Gutsy is very easy.
First add the repository to your sources list:
sudo kate /etc/apt/sources.list
Then add this line at the end of the file
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/kubuntu-members-kde4/ubuntu gutsy main
Refresh your packages
sudo aptitude update
And install kde4-core if you want the basic installation.
sudo aptitude install kde4-core
If you want all kde4 packages that are available, install the kde4 package.
sudo aptitude install kde4
The configuration process will ask you if you want to log in with gdm, kdm or kdm-kde4. Choose the one you like.
Finally, logout and log back in, choosing the KDE4 session from your login manager.
My first impressions of the released KDE4 were positive. Taking into account that I tried all release candidates in Live CD, the quality of this released version is actually usable and comfortable. The libraries might be stable release quality, but the applications are still a bit rough on the edges.
The kmenu changed a lot. It feels very Vista-ish (which i dislike) but you get used to it very easily. The search is fast and the navigation is not that cumbersome as the Vista menu.
To really enjoy the experience you must enable the animations. Open the System Settings KDE4 on the K menu. Kcontrol is gone in KDE4, and replaced with this System Settings. Its like the Kubuntu Control Panel layout. Choose Desktop, and enable all desktop effects. Also check the effects on the Advanced tab.
There are a lot of animations I didn’t expected on KDE4, and it looks very promising.
I definitely recommend you to set Dolphin as your default file manager. Maybe you will enjoy it as much as I do.
For some strange reason, the kubuntu packages dont have Dolphin as the main file manager, it has Konqueror. To enable Dolphin as the default file manager, just open Konqueror, go to the Tools menu, then Configure Konqueror. Now select the File Associations button and under inode, select directory. Move Dolphin to be the first option on the application preference order list and save the changes.
Dolphin on KDE4 is great! The panels, the file tree structure, the info pane, all worth having there. The icon animations on the info pane look awesome. And the greatest of all is the embedded terminal (press F4 to display). It changes directory to the current directory you are browsing. Nice touch.
One bug I’ve noticed is that Dolphin opens the file with right and left click. So even it launches the menu for the icon, in also opens the file, and then some error pops up. Its not as annoying as it sounds though.
On the RC releases, the panel was not configurable at all. On these release, the panel is still not that customizable, but at least it displays correctly the system tray, clock and virtual desktops. These are configurable, but not as much as in KDE3. Still cannot resize the panel or move around the widgets in it.
There are a couple of missing features. One of the most noticeable, for me, are the KWin shortcuts. There is no option for “switch to next desktop” keyboard shortcut, so I’m stuck with Ctrl+F1 through F4 to switch desktops. I’m used to configure Ctrl+Alt+Arrows to do this depending on the desktop I’m in (got used to it from my Gnome usage days). The expose feature is smooth and nice, but I can only activate it once and only once if I move the mouse to the left top corner. The next times I want to activate expose, I have to press Ctrl+F10.
The screenshots and video recording don’t come up. The zooming and looking glass didn’t work for me either. Also the panel clock can only display one timezone (I usually look at 3 different timezones I’m interested in).
Also I noticed that the GTK theming option is missing from the Settings manager. GTK based applications (Firefox) look…ugly.
And of course, as being a recent release, there are lots of applications that need to release their KDE4 version. Amarok for KDE4 is not on the kubuntu repositories yet and I’ve been trying to check that one out, since its one of my favourite KDE apps. My other two favourite KDE apps also need their KDE4 update: Yakuake and Katapult. Although you can still use them.
missing switch next desktop, bug in expose corner.
There are lots of features I haven’t discovered yet and there’s still a lot of polishing to do on it, but its beautiful, fun and safe to use. I’ve been using KDE4 at work for the whole day, and I know its very premature to say it, but I think its a great release, great changes, and with a very, very promising future ahead.