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Back to the Future

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KBD
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Back to the Future

#1 Post by KBD » Tue Apr 11, 2017 6:30 pm

I recently installed Debian Jessie KDE via Crouton to my Acer C720 Chromebook.
I began using Linux 6 years ago with SimplyMEPIS 11. It feels a bit like 'back to the future' using KDE 4 desktop again. I forgot how much I enjoyed this and it feels like home again. I've leaned more toward Xfce as my first choice and MATE as my second choice of DE in the years since beginning with KDE.
My question for you is how is the newest iteration of KDE? Any idea what KDE will be like on Debian Stretch?

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richb
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Re: Back to the Future

#2 Post by richb » Tue Apr 11, 2017 7:47 pm

How is the newest KDE version? A question that requires a one word answer or volumes. One word, different. I will not write volumes.
It will be familiar to a KDE4 user. Look quite different and feel familiar. It is Plasma 5. As a KDE 4 user you will be able to get around quite well. Some hate it, others love it. To find out download a LIve USB and give it a try.

I downloaded Kubuntu 16.10 and put it on a USB, but so far have not been able to boot, trying to finesse the bios settings to get a UEFI Live USB to boot. So far unsuccessful. I was able to boot a previous version having Plasma 5 so know a bit about it.
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Re: Back to the Future

#3 Post by KBD » Tue Apr 11, 2017 7:57 pm

I may wait until New Stable is released. If I get too anxious I may try it on Fedora :)
Jessie still has 3 years support so I may just stick with my current KDE install for awhile.

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Re: Back to the Future

#4 Post by richb » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:00 pm

I did get Kubuntu 16.10 Live to boot. I had to format the USB FAT32 and use unetbootin, no bios fiddling required. It is pretty slick. and quick on USB 3.0. But I am not fond of the flat looking icons and default monochrome panel. That probably can be tweaked.
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Re: Back to the Future

#5 Post by Stevo » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:12 pm

Yes, Kvantum can be built and used for Plasma 5, and comes with a variety of themes, ranging from flat to very 3D. Currently the version in MX is only going to work on Qt 4 and KDE 4, due to problems with theme changing on Jessie's Qt 5.

Some of themes included with Kvantum can be seen on this page: https://store.kde.org/usermanager/searc ... n=contents

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Re: Back to the Future

#6 Post by KBD » Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:59 pm

richb wrote:I did get Kubuntu 16.10 Live to boot. I had to format the USB FAT32 and use unetbootin, no bios fiddling required. It is pretty slick. and quick on USB 3.0. But I am not fond of the flat looking icons and default monochrome panel. That probably can be tweaked.
Flat icons and monochrome panel would be a big change from KDE4. Not sure why all these developers want to have their desktop look like a tablet or smartphone :(
Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it.

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Re: Back to the Future

#7 Post by KBD » Wed Apr 12, 2017 12:02 am

Stevo wrote:Yes, Kvantum can be built and used for Plasma 5, and comes with a variety of themes, ranging from flat to very 3D. Currently the version in MX is only going to work on Qt 4 and KDE 4, due to problems with theme changing on Jessie's Qt 5.

Some of themes included with Kvantum can be seen on this page: https://store.kde.org/usermanager/searc ... n=contents
That has been a good thing about KDE--it allows for tweaking. Some of those themes are quite nice. Thanks for posting the link.

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Re: Back to the Future

#8 Post by asqwerth » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:54 am

I have Plasma 5 in an install of KDE Neon Developer's Edition. It's pleasant to use and not particularly heavy on resources. I think Plasma 5 is more modular than KDE4. You don't need to pull in a whole bunch of KDE applications and dependent packages just because you want one small part. In Neon, lots of the usual K applications or accessories weren't present as default. I like that because I never used a whole lot of the KDE suite in the past anyway.

To me, Plasma is not as easy to customise as gtk-based DE like XFCE, MATE, GNOME, but that's probably due to my lack of familiarity. For instance, in gtk, you could just extract themes to $HOME/.themes and /.icons folders. For Plasma, I have no idea where themes are supposed to be saved. Icons in Plasma have to be saved in $HOME/.local/share/icons. Further, the themeing for gtk and Qt applications is applied separately, so people like me who use a fair number of gtk apps will need to find themes that are compatible with both Qt and gtk2/3, or have separate gtk and Qt themes that are similar. I also feel there are so many nice gtk themes with no equivalent in Qt but again, maybe I just don't know where to look for them.

Luckily, it looks like Kvantum Manager will be a good tool to simplify Plasma customisation. I didn't know what it was until Stevo mentioned it in his MX-KDE thread. Stevo packaged KM for Qt4/KDE4 and it works fine in my MX-KDE VM. I just installed it in Neon but haven't had time to test it. It's not in the Neon/Ubuntu repos so I followed developer's instructions on his github page and compiled it.

Anyway, since I don't particularly like the default flat and minimalist icons (navigation icons are just outline drawings), I was happy to note that the developers of Papirus icon set had put together a dark Plasma full theme consisting of Papirus icons + Arc-dark theme for Plasma (windows, panel, menu, widgets) + splash theme + wallpaper (see: https://github.com/PapirusDevelopmentTeam/arc-kde ).

Here is my Neon desktop with Papirus icons, Arc-themed panel and clock/power on-off widgets. I'm using the default dark theme Breeze-dark for the windows instead of Arc dark. It's fairly consistent with MX16's default dark look for XFCE. I'd set this up some time ago but will now test the themes in Kvantum Manager. With Kvantum darkGnomish theme which I used in MX-KDE, Plasma should look even more like MX's Adwaita-xfce-dark.

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Re: Back to the Future

#9 Post by richb » Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:06 am

The Panel plasma widgets in Plasma 5 are not as configurable as the XFCE Panel addons. For example, and only one example, most I have looked at do not have font configuration, particularly size. To affect size you must increase the panel height. On a large monitor it needs to be ridiculously high to get a comfortable font size for many widgets. May be my inexperience but in ant case not as straightforward as XFCE. I will have to keep working with it to see what can be done.
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Re: Back to the Future

#10 Post by asqwerth » Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:45 am

Like you, I find things easier to set up and configure in XFCE.

In comparing KDE4 and Plasma desktop widgets, I also found the KDE4 ones easier to grab hold of on the desktop and to move.
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