(If you are new to this series you are invited to start reading from DAY ONE)

Day 5 – Apologies for not doing the periodic updates thing, today was one of those very busy days. I am feeling really at home with KDE4 right now, and am beginning to really like my new “office.”

I will make some comments on the bottom panel for now, with a roundup of my day later tonight.

KDE Panel

(Apologies if I am not calling it by its correct name…)

The KDE panel is a bit of an enigma. There are great features in it, and then there are… less great features. Let me focus on the good for now…

KDE Panel

The KDE4 Panel (Click To Enlarge)


  • Looks – The KDE4 Panel looks nice. Different from other panels it really looks like it is part of the desktop.
  • Grouping of Applications - While I am generally not a fan of grouping applications I like the way the KDE panel handles it. Sometimes it could get a bit confusing because two skype chats will be grouped, and the third will sit next to that group on the panel. Also, sometimes an application that needs to notify you of an event gets “lost” in the group and doesn’t “advertise” until you click on the group to expand it.
  • Notification Area – I like how the notification area is set apart from the rest of the panel. In the Gnome Panel the notification area is too integrated in the panel, and most of the notifications included in there are of the same color. It also stays where you left things. In the Gnome panel the applets often move around from where you left them – it is irritating that stuff moves even after you LOCKED them to the panel.

That is it for now. Off to home and family stuff and then I will list my dislikes of the panel, and some other notes for the day – also the verdict on my Atheros Network Card.



  • Default Task Manager Settings – The task manager on the panel is set by default (at least in Mandriva) to show tasks from all workspaces. I dislike this, others might not. Boils down to personal preference.
  • Choosing What To Hide – In the Notification Area, some notifications are hidden. That is fine, until you notice what gets hidden and what not. In my case, I had the KOrganiser Daemon hidden – even though I had tasks scheduled for today. It should have been visible – a few times I started Kontact to get to my tasks, where KOrganser would have sufficed.
  • Kickoff Launcher – I know this is not technically part of the panel, but I will group it here. In order to assess KDE4 properly the first thing I did was switch to the Kickoff launcher. I dislike it. I can understand why Mandriva sports the classic menu style, and they do a great job of using it.

Logging In

One thing I notice with KDE is that login gets very busy. This is what I have launching when I log in now – Wallet Notification asking me to allow Plasma Desktop to use it, Wallet Notification asking me to allow Kmail to use it, Kmail “Did You Know” dialog, Skype, Kmail.

I can probably get rid of Skype autolaunching, and when using Gnome I generally do, so not KDE’s fault there. I could also get rid of Kmail’s “Did You Know” dialog – I like having it around for now though, if I use KDE4 for longer than this seven days series I will stop it from launching. Wallet(x2) and Kmail I cannot get rid of, and I did fiddle with the wallet settings to stop it from asking me what can use it when.

That Pesky Atheros Card…

Whenever I suspend/resume my Atheros WiFi card stops working. This is something that is a known issue with Linux – once you take the card down (you can do it with ifdown ath0) you cannot bring it back to life without rebooting. Ubuntu does not kill the card when suspending though – I can suspend resume without any issues.

I just booted into Mandriva Gnome, and the behavior is exactly like with Mandriva KDE. I did not note this in my reviews since I steer clear of faulting a distro for hardware problems, but maybe I should start noting the Atheros thing since MANY laptops use it.

KDE4 is not to blame for it though, just like I suspected.

Summary Day 5

I had a lot to do today, and KDE4 proved a welcome ally in getting the job done – it was not obtrusive at all. This is probably my bias speaking here, but I think Gnome is less obtrusive – possibly because there is less going on. For what it is worth the Ubuntu notifications tend to be intrusive – I like them, but they tend to break your concentration if they pop into view in the corner of your vision.

That is it for today then!

Tomorrow – how does KDE4 handle multiple screens, some thoughts on how desktop switching works in Compiz versus how KDE does it and seeing how hard it is to customize the desktop – until now I have left well enough alone in that department.

Have a great evening!

(Day 6 just went live! Read it HERE)

Related posts:

  1. Using KDE 4 – Day 7
  2. Using KDE – Day 6
  3. Using KDE4 – Day 3
  4. Using KDE4 – Day 2
  5. Using KDE4 – Day 1