I upgraded my notebook to Kubuntu Gutsy last week. In the end, I decided to
cleanly install it since I had made quite
some modifications to (mostly powermanagement-related) pieces, and I wanted to sync with the current state of
the art of fellow Ubuntu developers.
It has been a bit of a bumpy ride, and I have yet suspend to get working again, some debugging is needed there.
I’m suspecting the ipw3945 driver and fglrx.ko to not play nicely, so that’s left for further investigation.
I have now installed the newest fglrx driver (42.3) which includes brand-spanking new support for AIGLX. KWin
from KDE4 works now on that machine. Hooray! (No Xgl tricks needed.) I didn’t get the driver to compile with
a 2.6.23 kernel, but I heard the support for this is already in the pipeline. It would really be nice if those
things wouldn’t be held back. I guess that’s me really waiting for a driver for ati chips that is developed in
the open, so hopefully the newly released specs and driver will fix that within a reasonable timeframe.
resizing is slower than in Kwin3 (but
feels better than in Beryl where I really find it annoyingly slow). I understood that there are also some problems
with knotify4, but dfaure should have already fixed that. Transparency in konsole works smoothly. I find the shadows
of windows not perfect yet, they seem to be painted when the application still fades in and create a dark
background and a less smooth transition. Also, the edges look a bit artificial to me, maybe some more blur towards
the outer edges would do good here. (Lubos, Rivo!? :-))
I really do like the sliding animations when changing virtual desktops. (Bonus point for making that one respect
the ordering of desktops on pager plasmoid :> ) Also the expose effect with its “find as you type” is really a
useful thing. Big thanks for that!
Another thing that struck me in a positive way is kickoff. It works really well, feels snappy, the search feature
rocks compared to the ‘classic’ menu. I had tried kickoff in KDE 3 some time ago, but it didn’t seem to be my cup
of tea. I’m astonished how this addition makes the new desktop really a useful and intuitive tool. It’s good to see many things falling into place right now, and experiencing the progress that is currently being
made towards a release. For some, it turns rather stressful at times. Dealing with high expectations, a lot of
feedback that is not always equally useful (hello, armchair developers!) can be daunting. Nevertheless, the
critical point of the development cycle leading up to KDE 4.0 lies well behind us. Putting this into context,
we’re now pretty close to having our work in a state where we can actually use it, take advantage of it and
have fun with it — and make it a smooth release.