This comes after I (unsuccessfully) tried to install the new KDE 4.4 on my computer. It seems that Ubuntu hasn't come with packages for versions earlier than 9.04 "Jaunty Jackalope"; the only packages are those available for 9.10 "Karmic Koala" and the (currently beta) 10.04 LTS "Lucid Lynx". I use Linux Mint 7 "Gloria" which is the equivalent of Ubuntu 9.04 "Jaunty Jackalope", so I found myself out of luck. It is my intention to upgrade this computer to Linux Mint 9 "Isadora" when that comes out; hopefully I will be able to get the new KDE packages then, as I am eager to try them out. Until then, I thought of taking another look at KDE 4.3 (which I had already installed and reviewed), as I thought some of my comments were a bit unfair. I found that KDE 4.3 redeemed the old problems (to an extent) while presenting new problems. I have been doing this for about a week.
First, I want to review and maybe show how KDE managed to rectify the old problems.
The biggest annoyance was the lack of integration of Mozilla Firefox, OpenOffice.org, and GTK+ applications. I have since learned that there is a theme for GTK+ applications called QtCurve to integrate them into KDE 4.X. I'm not going to do that as I want to have a native look in GNOME as well; it's a shame that KDE can't integrate GTK+ applications even close to as well as GNOME integrates Qt applications. I know a lot of distributions with KDE 4.X have this theme for included GTK+ applications, but as I also use GNOME, I won't be following this.
OpenOffice.org is a nightmare in this regard. As it turns out, the theme management for OpenOffice.org is near-dysfunctional; even in GNOME, I can't even change the theme to one of the included themes (forget installing a new one).
Firefox is a bit better. I installed the KFirefox theme which gives the menu a look combining the Windows Firefox back/forward buttons with the Konqueror look for the other menu buttons and the scrollbars. Sadly, the buttons in the webpages still look like they come from Windows 3.X. Oh well, at least it is a little better than before.
The Facebook Plasmoid still doesn't work. Oh well.
On a brighter note, Plasma has not crashed on me. KDE also seems notably more responsive and snappy (and quick to load) now. Maybe the latest update brought a serious shot in the arm for speed. That's good.
I managed to fix the problem of window labels in the Task Manager showing up across all virtual desktops, defeating the purpose of virtual desktops. There is an option in Task Manager to turn this off, so that in any given virtual desktop, the Task Manager will only show window labels from that virtual desktop. It's a good improvement, but I would like to see it like that by default in the future as in Linux Mint GNOME's default behavior (once the virtual desktop panel application is added to the panel).
I changed the main menu to the "Lancelot" menu, which is a slab menu similar to Linux Mint's MintMenu. I like it as I like all slab menus, but it has some quirks. Every time I unclick and reclick the menu, it resets to the default view rather than showing me the tab I was looking at before I unclicked the menu. It's a little annoying, but I can deal with it. I was hoping for a bit more customization of the menu as well in terms of determining what appears and what doesn't and in what order the icons go, but oh well.
I've changed the theme from the bland default "Air" to the more appealing (to me) "Oxygen". It looks a lot nicer now.
A new quirk I've found is that even though I've disabled these applications from startup, the applications Pidgin and Cairo Dock are still executed upon startup. I'm not really sure how to change this behavior now.
One thing I have done now that I didn't do before was to enable Activities. These basically enable me to keep Plasmoids (except for the panel but including the desktop background Plasmoid) on different desktops, greatly reducing the number of Plasmoids running at any one time. It's a neat feature, but I think only organizational freaks will find use in it.
I'm a little concerned that I can't really set default applications in KDE like I can in GNOME. It doesn't even give me the option of choosing Pidgin as my default IM client (it only gives Kopete as an option); the issue is similar with Firefox vs. Konqueror. Thankfully, OpenOffice.org is listed as an option for default applications.
Finally, I've found a quirk in Dolphin. For some reason, I can't permanently delete anything - I can only send it to the trash, which may not work if I'm deleting a particularly large file (like a Linux installation DVD ISO); it almost makes me want to use Nautilus again (and as I now know, in the newer versions of GNOME, Nautilus, like Dolphin, has split-pane viewing).
For all of these bright and dark spots, my opinion of KDE 4.3 is higher (but only by a little) than before. I'll probably be able to tolerate it a little longer than before - that is, before I get sick of it and decide to switch back to GNOME.
UPDATE: There are two things to update.
I got another weather Plasmoid. This one looks kind of nice, but still doesn't have a forecast.
More importantly, think of the devil... As I tried to use the "Lancelot" menu, it crashed. I guess it had to happen. Thankfully, that's the first time a crash has occurred since the start of this re-review.
UPDATE: Oops. Sorry I forgot this biggie.
For some reason even though KDE has a setting for power management, though I have set the computer to automatically suspend to RAM after 20 minutes of inactivity, this has never happened in KDE (though it faithfully happens in GNOME). I later did a manual suspend action and then resumed the session to find that suspending to RAM also logs the current user out of KDE. That explains a lot. It's a pretty big bug, though, as suspending to RAM can save a lot of power over leaving the computer on in full (even when inactive). A lot of people are used to this in Windows, and GNOME does it beautifully. KDE needs a lot of work in this regard.