If you haven’t read my post Pseudonym Gets Dedicated Desktop then some of the changes here will make little sense to you. That being said, since I wrote that blog post I have been installing and removing flavors of Linux and trying out various desktops fairly frequently. The requirements I had when looking for a combination were stability, and easy of use. The ability to easily customize the desktop was also on the list, but not completely mandatory.
I really wanted something lightweight since I basically run two operating systems at the same time but I have to tell you Xfce 4.10 fell short in a big way when it came to stability. The windows system crashed so frequently I couldn’t stand it. It’s nice and light, and had some features I really wanted to have but without the stability it was junk. I had tried Xfce on the Linux Mint 13 distribution, perhaps Xfce is more stable on another distribution but on my system, and using the Linux Mint distribution, it just didn’t cut the mustard.
I tried Ubuntu using their Unity desktop, but that only lasted about four minutes on my system and I removed. The biggest fail of the desktop was simply that it felt and looked horrible right out of the box. I hate their new “start menu” and the side bar, while it potentially could be okay with enough configuring, was awful out of the box.
I also tried Cinnamon 1.6 and MATE 1.4. Cinnamon had the style workspace manager I was looking for, but failed when it came to the ability to customize it, and of course stability seemed to be an issue. MATE also fell short in the ability to customize it, but it had far more options than Cinnamon. The problem I had with MATE was that When using LibreOffice and running a VirtualBox machine, it would lock up almost every time without fail. When I say it would lock up, I mean it locked the machine up so tight the only solution was a hard restart.
So after trying almost every Gnome spin-off I thought worthy of looking at and not finding something that pleased me completely, I just had to look at KDE. Nobody had suggested KDE to me and so I just hadn’t considered trying it before going through all the others. The last time I looked at KDE was about five years ago and it was running on the Fedora distribution. At that pont Linux just wasn’t ready for users to easily swap to it and I had dumped it for that reason. But today, I have been using KDE for over three weeks. It doesn’t sound like long, but it is by far the longest that any single desktop and distro has lasted on my computer, with the acceptation of my home based server which is running Linux Mint 13 using MATE as a desktop that hardly ever gets used.
I tried Kubuntu, and it just wasn’t right for me. One of the things that is important to me, besides stability and usability, is that the setup can just click and run. Kubuntu had some problems running in my VirtualBox and wouldn’t generate a full screen view decent. It only lasted a short amount of time before I booted it. I installed Linux Mint 13 with KDE 4.8, and then I upgraded KDE to version 4.9 and that is what I have been running both as a host, and as a Pseudonym VirtualBox setup ever since.
Being this post has reached epic lengths, I’ll plan to cover several of the things I enjoy about the KDE desktop in future posts. But for now just know that I have decided that this is the perfect fit for what I’m doing, and I believe its also the best option for beginners to Linux.
My personal winner for Linux distro and desktop is Linux Mint 13 with KDE.