Why KDE?

The title comes from some random thoughts I had while reading aseigo’s latest entry on Plasma. I was thinking about the line “who uses KDE for his/her day job, and why?”, but related perhaps to people who don’t code for a living. Here I will illustrate my point of view on why I chose KDE as my day to day desktop environment.

It’s not like I started on KDE at all: back in 1995, when I first tried Linux out, I used fwvm, and didn’t quite get used to its way of doing things. When I returned to the penguin OS a few years later, I installed a copy of Red Hat (I think it was RH 6, but I’m not sure). It came with GNOME and Enlightement as the window manager. For a long time I used that desktop environment, but:

  • It felt somewhat ‘‘alien’’ to me;

  • Admittedly it was still in its infancy, so not quite sophisticated

Later I got to try a copy of SUSE 6.4, which came with either KDE or GNOME. I tried KDE (back in its 1.x days) and I thought “how ugly!”, so I returned to GNOME. This went on for a while, until I got Mandrake (now Mandriva) 7.2.

Mandrake offered packages for the then new KDE 2. I admit that I was blown away by the change, everything was much better than what it used to be! Still, it had a lot of quirks, but I soon started getting familarised with the platform. What I liked best was the integration of features, still in its infancy but on the way to become something interesting.

KDE 3 then came, and while it looked “less revolutionary”, it brought integration at a whole new level. I still used GNOME from time to time, but the feature removal was not what I wanted (even though I’m not as much of a power user as I used to be), so I decided to see what KDE would bring.

I first started using KDE for fun, but now I use it in my bioinformatics work every day. There are a number of applications I use constantly, such as KDevelop (it may be worse than eric for Python support but I find it a really nice IDE),  Konqueror and its io-slaves (do I have to mention fish://?) , Kontact (I find its integration and features better than what Thunderbird has to offer), Amarok (for music in the boring moments) and Kate (a rather nice editor).

Also, other applications that are not part of KDE that I use constantly, and which fit into the DE perfectly are Kile, Yakuake and k3b.

The way everything is arranged, integrated and designed helps me in being quite productive, and even if there are quirks, they aren’t as annoying as some Windows bugs.  I like the idea of a consistent DE, from file operations to looks to the way applications behave. When I get back to Windows, with its mess of non-standard widgets and UI operations, I cringe.

So, I would like to congratulate the whole KDE developer community for making an amazing piece of software and also for making my work easier. I am really interested in seeing how KDE 4 will shape out.

Dialogue & Discussion