Exploring the next generation KDE desktop

Desktop Party

© Lead Image © Elena Schweitzer, 123RF.com

© Lead Image © Elena Schweitzer, 123RF.com

Article from Issue 165/2014

The KDE desktop has at least a thousand tweaks for configuring your user interface down to the tiniest detail. KDE SC 5, the next generation K desktop, will be no exception.

Desktop environments have an equally strong effect on user satisfaction and productivity as does the underlying infrastructure of a distribution, and the Linux world is firmly divided into two design camps: supporters of the Qt framework [1] and supporters of Gtk+ [2]. Often KDE also acts as a first point of contact for users who switch from Windows to Linux. The way the desktop is controlled and visuals facilitate the transition. Rich configurability in particular is one of the KDE desktop's greatest strengths.

Both KDE and Gnome are the elder statesmen of Linux. KDE was founded in 1996 as the "Kool Desktop Environment," and the Gnome project was founded three years later. Lately, both desktops have evolved in opposite directions – which does not mean the two projects do not cooperate – such as in the Free Desktop Project [3]. The Gnome development process is increasingly moving toward a reduction of visible features, whereas KDE tends toward the other extreme and continually implements additional components, such as the semantic desktop.

Besides the Software Collection (KDE SC), which I will look at in this article, the KDE project also released the Calligra Office Suite [4], which emerged from KOffice, and KDE Extragear [5]. Extragear comprises programs such as the Amarok jukebox, K3b burning software, Digikam photo management, Konversation IRC client, and Kaffeine media player (Figure 1), which round out the current KDE SC with additional applications.


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