A glorious moment: Today I’m finally retiring my 2004/2005 Centrino laptop: it was initially my work laptop in a previous work life and was eventually passed on to me with the permission of management of said employer. It has served as my main Ubuntu laptop since 2008: as I didn’t have the official permission to carry the laptop’s OS, it made only sense to install Ubuntu on it. I recall, that at that time I had to do some manual stuff to get, for example, the wireless working.
Laptop 2 is another pass-me-down, but obviously a lot more powerful than the Centrino/512MB laptop I’m retiring. I expect this to last me for at least a couple of years, with the traditional host of Ubuntu upgrades. Once again, I refuse to run Unity on this thing: however, I might consider running Gnome 3 on this as I believe the Nvidia 8400 should be able to handle this.
Just yesterday, Canonical released one of the most important Ubuntu versions of its history: “Natty Narwhal”. The most famous Linux based desktop officially did away with the Gnome shell and replaced it with the Gnome based Unity shell (wikipedia to the rescue).
There was a time (see here) that I really wanted to like KDE 4 as opposed to Gnome. I only reverted back to Gnome, because KDE was slower than a pair of mocassins in a pot of molasses. So, yesterday, I started the regular upgrade process: The upgrade to Unity/Narwhal went fairly smooth and when the much touted shell finally showed up properly, I was fairly impressed. While toy-ish, the window handling appears fairly intuitive (“Mac-like”) and the general layout looks, well, clean. However, it’s buggy and it’s slow, with disk-activity and processor activity spiking out of control without any particular reason.
Returning back to Kubuntu, (you know, all things KDE), I was pleasantly surprised to find out it that is a lot more stable than I’ve seen almost 1 year ago. Heck, it’s even usable. Kubuntu or Ubuntu? Kubuntu, for now. Maybe in another year, I’ll be looking at Unity as my default desktop environment, but as far as it looks like right now, I won’t be looking at Unity for a while.
05/05/2011: It looks like my laptop (equiped with an Intel 9xx GPU) wasn’t the only one with sudden freezes: it seems to have been fixed, right a couple of days ago.
I work in both environments: that is, whenever I think there’s a need for working in KDE or Gnome, I just logout and change session (I have both window managers installed). But that wouldn’t really answer the question, I guess.
Obviously, I really like KDE 4: it’s generally more streamlined than Gnome and while the new Plasma ‘paradigm’ was not really well received during launch, it has improved a lot. However, it’s still buggy, which is the reason, why I mostly login to Gnome. Gnome, is not without issues either: compared to KDE it’s visually less appealing and (from a user-perspective) less intuitive. At one time, I strictly logged into KDE because of Amarok: KDE’s music player is superior to the bunch of media players that come with Gnome.
So, for me the answer to the question ‘Gnome vs. KDE’ would be Gnome. We’ll see how the KDE team fares in the next (K)Ubuntu release.