KDE 4.2: Stable and Shiny

KDE Logo

I have upgraded my laptop(Kubuntu 8.10) to KDE 4.2. And all is well. The laptop did not, I repeat, did not explode. As a matter of fact, its been on KDE 4.2 for the last whole week – I never got to write anything about it because of my busy schedule. For the rest of the article, I have to write ‘KDE 4.2’ lots of time. To save some time, I am going to short it to 42. Seems appropriate. So when ever you see ’42’, mentally replace it with ‘KDE 4.2’

42 looks good. And by ‘looks good’ I don’t mean all those fancy effects. I mean it’s usableunlike its 4.x predecessors. You can actually get things done on it. You don’t have to hit save every other second because you know that the inevitable crash is just around the corner. 42 fixes most of the glaring errors in the earlier releases.

And it does look good – yes, visually this time. They really got into gradients and shadows in this release. Lots of fancy effects as well. Some of them are actually useful, to my surprise. Usually, I just ignore the shiny things – but the ‘Present Windows’ mode have changed my mind. It is a effect that actually has a use. To enable it, go to System Settings > Desktop > Desktop Effects. Now set the ‘Effect for Switching Windows’ to Present Windows.

For all you screenshot fans, here is a nice one…

KDE 4.2 Screenshot

Still, I have some complaints…

Missing Widgets/Plasmoids/Whatever

Command Widget
I want a input area in my panel that can be used to execute commands. The new Run dialog is useless for this purpose.
Bookmark Widget
In the old KDE, there was an option to add the Konqueror bookmarks to the panel – this was very, very useful for me. I cannot find this in the new version.

I am not really worried about these – I am sure the KDE team will add these soon. If they fail, there is always KDE-Look.org. If they don’t have one, well, I could always write one myself. Tinkerability is one of the main reason I love FOSS!


There is still a few bugs left – and for some reason, most of the bugs I notice seems to be in the panel side.

I have two panels – the bottom(with taskbar, system tray, pager, etc) and top panel(clock, quick launch, etc). Unfortunately, my top panel is having a lot of troubles. I cannot position the icons correctly – some widgets(like clock, quick launch, etc.) try to take up way more space that they actually need.

Also the folder view desktop mode seems to have a problem remembering the icon positions.

Again, not too worried – nothing big enough to cause me any trouble.

Kinda Crashy

Even though 42 is much more stable than 4 or 4.2 beta(Nightly neon) its still has a long way to go before it can reach the reliability of KDE 3.5. Still, since I am working on a laptop and not on a server, 42 is more than enough.

Anyway, whenever 42 crashes on you, use this mantra, as I do. Just tell yourself…

It could be a lot worse – I could be using Windows


  1. Did they finally include a freaking widget like KDE 3.x had to launch 1 program from the panel? How could they possibly not include that in 4.1?

  2. Dude – How can your title say, “stable and shiny” but your article talks about “there are still a few bugs left” and “kinda of crashy” and “still has a long way to go to reach the stability of 3.5″ … IMHO bugs and crashy negate the word ‘stable”. Maybe shiny and wobbly would have been a better title.

  3. KDE: The DE that I WANT to love. When oh when will it ever become stable? I’ve been trying KDE off and on since 1999 (KDE 1.1) and, while I’ve always enjoyed the consistency of its apps and the integration, I’ve always had to leave it behind because it’s just too buggy to be trusted. Now, 10 years later, the situation seems to be no better. Come on guys! Forget the shiny things and the feature creep, just make the darn thing WORK, please!

  4. Hey, Thanks for the review.
    I was always attracted to the look of KDE, but was very disappointed after trying 4.1, it was unstable and unusable that I start wondering how can they release such a software with alpha stage quality.
    First I liked the concept of widgets but I discovered that it doesn’t really add value any real value to the user experience.
    Still, I always have thoughts to switch to KDE because of the great KDE applications (eg. Konsole), but after trying 4.1 I need now a very good reason to consider doing this again.

  5. @everyone disappointed with KDE—
    ive been running kde 3.5 for a couple months now and not a single crash(of course im running it on debian)
    It is exponentially faster than windows, doesnt bug at all, has extraordinary boot times and control and flexibility. I LOVE it!!! so if your disappointed about kde 4.x switch to 3.5

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