KDE 4.4 Rocks Part 1 and other thoughts on Lucid Lynx alpha 2

by Stephen Fluin 2010.01.29

A few weeks ago I installed the Ubuntu Lucid Lynx second alpha. Typically Ubuntu alphas and betas have quite a few bugs, and I have been burned in the past by upgrading Ubuntu versions prematurely. This time I decided to try it out a little early by installing it in a separate partition where I had cleaned up some space and taken it back from my ntfs partition.

Lucid Lynx - Ubuntu Alpha 2

So far, Lucid Lynx has been extremely stable. For the entire release cycles of Jaunty and Karmic, as well as alpha 1 of Lucid Lynx, the Live CD wouldn't work on my system. It wouldn't boot at all, regardless of using the alternative installer, or the live CD with a plethora of boot flags attempted. Lucid Lynx went so far as to work in my system without the Kernel flag acpi=off which I have needed for my entire life with Ubuntu.

The installer was nice, easy to use, and although my Nvidia drivers weren't installed properly by the Jockey (KDE) GUI, they were very easy to install with sudo apt-get install nvidia-current

In addition to this, Kubuntu installed ALSA without PulseAudio by default, which in the past hasn't worked with my microphone, but this install seemed to fix everything I have been fighting with for the past few years. Once again we will see how long it lasts, and I had almost gotten used to the per-application controls of pavucontrol. Who knows, maybe I will install PulseAudio a year from now and everything will just work with ALSA + PulseAudio in perfect harmony. I'm not holding my breath.

KDE 4.4

A couple of the features I was waiting for with KDE have finally landed. The first which I wanted, but I had no idea why I wanted it is a feature that is most easily described as "Windows 7 Snap". This means that I can drag windows to the left or right edges of my screens, and they will "snap" into place at 100% height and 50% width. You can also drag windows to the top of the screen and they will maximize. This hurts my workflow a little bit in that it isn't instant to drag and drop maximized windows between monitors, but I believe I will get used to it. This also works for multiple monitors, which is surprising because as of a week ago (before I ran some package updates) wasn't working for the middle bar between the monitors.

Another improvement that I wasn't expecting is that they remade (or finished) the Add Widget menu. Now when you add a widget, whether to the desktop or a panel, a very nice bar pops out that is easily navigable, and uses drag-and-drop for placement.

The final thing I didn't expect was that moving files and deleting files is much smoother. In Karmic and before, when I deleted a set of files in Dolphin (or sent them to the trash), they would remain on the screen for a few moments while KDE worked in the background. Now these types of processes are instant, as they should be. The notifications for file transfers and activities have also been much improved. Now the useful data is presented first, with the option to expand the notification to show the rest of the information. Biggest of all about the notifications, they actually seem accurate now.

Hopefully I will be able to write more about any new features of KDE I discover as I continue this dangerous journey through the Ubuntu 10.04 alphas.