Skip navigation

Tag Archives: kde

I know this isn’t the MAME post I promised, but I felt that I should write about this first.  Network Manager, which comes with GNOME, does exactly what its name implies.  It manages networks…well…sometimes it does.  It crashes a lot and for no apparent reason.

That is why I decided to switch to Wicd.  Wicd does exactly what Network Manager does except it doesn’t crash and it doesn’t have any GNOME dependencies, so it runs great in all desktop environments.  Installation is simple.  Simply use apt-get or whatever your distro uses to manage packages to get it.  It should remove Network Manager and replace it with Wicd.  The rest is quite self-explanatory.  Try restarting if something doesn’t quite work and go into Wicd’s options to set it up.

Why Wicd isn’t included by default is beyond me.  Nearly everyone complains about NetworkManager.  The only benefit I see is that Network Manager can use 3g cards and that Wicd cannot as far as I know, but I could be wrong.  Anyway, if you are looking for an alternative to Network Manager, Wicd is for you.


Linux isn’t known for games.  In fact, one of the main reasons people don’t switch is because almost no commercial games have native Linux support.  The Wine project is certainly helping, but we Linux users really want native Linux games, which there are many already available.

Crack Attack! is a free, fast paced puzzle game for Linux.  It is in most distribution’s repositories and is a blast to play.  In the game, you try to line up blocks of the same color.  Once you have three or more lined up either vertically or horizontally, the blocks dissappear and you get points.  While you are doing this, more blocks are slowly added until the blocks touch the top of the window.  When that happens, the game ends.  The goal is to prevent this from happening by getting rid of as many blocks as possible.

Crack Attack! Being Played on Fedora 11 KDE

Although it is a “casual game”, it is great fun.  Also, all you really need to move the blocks are the arrow keys and the spacebar, so a netbook will be fine to play it on.  In fact, it was one of the games included in the ASUS Eee PC’s Xandros Linux install, so it should work on almost any machine.

While the commercial operating systems are looking more towards flashy GUI’s, we Linux users seem to be trying out lightweight window managers.  Openbox, IceWM, Fluxbox, and Enlightenment are just a few of these usually bare, but extremely fast user interfaces.  Why are so many switching you ask?  To tell you the truth, I don’t know myself.

I think that this trend toward lightweight desktops is kind of odd.  We have the processing power, so why wouldn’t we use it?  I like XFCE, but it is ugly compared to KDE and if my friends saw what XFCE looked like, their interest in Linux would decrease.  If we are to spread Linux, shouldn’t we show that it looks better and has more features?  Yes, speed is important, but with hardware at the level it is today, it isn’t much of an issue.  I mean, if something has enough power to run Windows Vista, then it definitely has enough power to run Linux with KDE 4, which is the heaviest of all Linux desktop environments as far as I know.  So why then, are we trying to make Linux look like Windows 95?

We shouldn’t compromise looks for speed.  It is fine to want a fast desktop, but who wants to use an ugly one?  What we, the Linux community, should do, is write a desktop environment in an extremely fast language like C, and make it look great.  That way we have the best of both worlds, speed and good looks.  While speed isn’t as important to me, with this desktop, Linux will at least be acceptable to all users.  Also, I guarantee that the first desktop environment to do this will be the most popular.

I’ve used GNOME for as long as I’ve been using Linux.  My first distro was Ubuntu 7.04 and I’ve only tried out other desktops for short periods of time.  This year however, I tried KDE 4 and found myself using it more and more.  I loved the user interface, especially the widgets.  Unlike GNOME, I felt that KDE really had a chance at looking better than Mac OS X.

GNOME is great.  It’s fast, stable, and it doesn’t look like it’s from 1998.  GNOME is still my favorite desktop environment.  The only issue is, it didn’t feel like it was going anywhere.  GNOME still looks like it did two years ago.  Yes, it’s a little slicker, but the base appearance is still the same.  On the other hand, KDE 4 is a complete redesign from KDE 3.5.

I really like how KDE looks and acts as a desktop environment.  It’s user friendly, fast, and functional.  I did have a little issue with the way fonts looked at first, but it turns out that I needed to turn on sub-pixel hinting.  Now, everything looks much better.  KDE also has another advantage.  Everything is integrated with the user interface.  When I download a file using Konqueror, the notification system pops up from the taskbar, showing the progress of my downloads.  This and other little things make KDE feel complete.

KDE with Twitter Client and Notepad

The desktop effects really make KDE shine too.  While I do think that Compiz Fusion has better effects, KWin is really close in comparison.  It’s just one more thing that improves the user interface.  The window borders look clean, as does the taskbar.  KDE is way ahead of GNOME in appearance in my opinion.

The KDE applications are good.  GNOME does have a little advantage here, but if you don’t include Firefox or Pidgin, they match up very well.  Konqueror is much better than Epiphany, but Firefox is much better than both.  So much better in fact, that I’m using it instead.  Amarok used to be the best audio player, but the new interface is not that great.  According to various sources though, this will be fixed in future releases.  KDE’s Twitter widget is awesome and is my favorite application included with KDE.

Not much is wrong with KDE in my opinion.  The font issue I had was probably my fault and I experienced no other bugs.  KDE is slower than GNOME.  There is no argument about that.  GNOME has the speedy interface down.  But, if you want something different, KDE is not a bad option.  It’s not as good as GNOME for me, but I’m using it because there is something about it I like.  It just “feels” right to me.  So, if you hate KDE, that’s fine, but don’t judge a book by its cover.  If you haven’t tried it, give it a whirl.  You might like what you see.

As sort of a follow-up on a yesterday’s post about setting up a music server, I thought I would go over some music management applications for Linux.  Now, almost everyone who runs a GNOME desktop has Rhythmbox installed, while every KDE user has Amarok.  Rhythmbox, in my opinion, doesn’t even come close to Amarok.  Amarok is nearly perfect and is considered to be the best music management application by many users on both KDE and GNOME.  Yes, Rhythmbox does work fine and it is a native GTK application, but Amarok is much better, even on GNOME.

My favorite music management application is a Novell project called Banshee.  Banshee is fast, stable, and feature rich, making it an awesome music player for those using GNOME.  KDE users should probably stick with Amarok.  Banshee plays just about any music format using the GStreamer libraries, but I recommend either Ogg Vorbis or FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) files.  The interface is very clean and functional.  Nothing is over-complicated or odd to use.


Banshee’s feature list is impressive.  It has the ability to rip CDs into either Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, Waveform PCM, or Wavpack,  it has track bookmaking (the ability to remember where a track left off), cover art, iPod support, podcast management, and more.  Basically, everything you can do in other media applications can be done in Banshee.  There’s even a plug-in for GNOME Do that allows you to control it using text commands.

I do have to give another shout out to Sockso though.  While it is a personal music server, it technically does music management.  You can make playlists, search its database, and it is all done in the same interface  Sockso is amazing and absolutely has the potential to become extremely successful.  So, if you have a free server and you want to use the web to manage your music, Sockso is the way to go.

With music becoming an essential part of our lives, projects like Sockso will take off.  They are the future of music.  Do you know how much cheaper an Mp3 player would be if it only had a network card and just enough memory for the operating system and cache?  Trust me, everyone could get one for almost nothing.  Until then, we’re just going to have to deal with copying our music to every music device and computer we have, using music managers.