Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A week with Intrepid Ibex...

After a couple of months waiting for the release of Kubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) I decided to give it a try and see what's good and what's not behind all the hype about kde 4, so here goes a small summary of what happened after a week using it.

It took around 3 hours for my Internet connection (at 90KBs) to download the whole thing and approximately 40 minutes to finish the installation process. The first impression is you'll get is that the look and feel of KDE 4 are great! I totally liked the effects, colors and window decorations.

The new plasma dashboard is a great functionality with a lot of potential in the near future for developers interested in creating new and clever widgets for each type of user. If you are bored of the current taskbar (now is called plasma panel), you can totally remove it and have a customized version including the widgets that you prefer at the location you like. I tried this new taskbarless way of working and I liked it, more work space and you have the stuff you need at the location you want.

After the initial excitement of the plasma dashboard, the effects and all the new visual improvements included with this release, came the small details that makes you go back to the comfort of Hardy Heron. First issue, the wifi connection, of course I had to plug my LAN cable to the wifi router to find a quick solution to this annoying problem and after googling and trying possible solutions for an hour or so, the wifi connection was back and the cable back in the drawer, the trick is to remove the Gnome default wifi manager, that for some unknown reason was being loaded at startup, this will allow KNetworkManager to take control of the wifi.

Now you will notice that KNetworkManager is still not working, at this point you should check the file /etc/network/interfaces and make sure that the wireless network interface is not included, the content of the file should be something like this:

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

After fixing this issue and trying to go back to normal mode and keep coding java with eclipse I started noticing more and more issues... I noticed that the systray icons background are somehow mixed with the following icon, this issue is normally referred to a "corrupted systray" and so far it seems that there is no "cure" for this problem. While trying to fix the previous issue you will understand that the new systray and the new plasma panel (previously called taskbar) have less funtionalities that the KDE 3 one. It seems that the code for the previous version was hard to maintain and impossible to improve so the best solution was to start from scratch, and they will include functionalities little by little.

Since the systray wasn't quite working I decided to go taskbarless and everything was working ok until I noticed I am incredible dependent of all the information in the sytray like kontact, skype and pidgin notifications. Even though the sytray is available as widget for the plasma dashboard, it's not working correctly, the icons are displayed randomly and I was forced to resize the widget in order to make the icons appear again. This marked the end of the taskbarless era on my pc and I went back to the previous "corrupted systray" style until some magical update gets me out of it.

Firefox couldn't scape the problems and the tabs are not rendered correctly, it seems that GTK applications will suffer for a while and even though that the problem is visible, is not imposible to live with it...

So this week's summary is, if you are a Linux enthusiast that also likes to be productive with other things (in my case JEE development) and don't want to spend a whole week making your system bearable and besides you are reading this while using Hardy, well then keep Hardy and wait for a few months until this release gets really "stable" and some of the bugs and missing functionalities are included again, what can I say? well hopefully the second week will be better ;)
blog comments powered by Disqus