Featured Comments: Week of 2012 January 22

There was one post that got a few comments this week, so I'll repost most of them.

How-To: Make KDE Like Unity

Reader decentralist.wordpress.com had a few suggestions for KDE itself: "The main things I want to fix is being able to start a dash/menu/takeoff with just the meta/super/windows key and not need key combinations in KDE. I'm told this would require a change to Qt itself. I also want KDE to be able to use CTRL+ALT+ arrow keys to switch desktops instead of CTRL+Function keys. Don't think this can be fixed currently either."
An anonymous commenter responded to this, saying, "I did this a couple of months ago on openSUSE and Debian. The CTRL+ALT+ arrow keys is in the convoluted UI somewhere, I just don't remember where. I have also have gotten the super key to launch Kicker, I believe I added something to .xinit. Google is your friend, er maybe not. :)"
In the context of KDE being a refuge for people who don't like the Unity UI, another anonymous reader asked, "Why?"

Thanks to all those who commented on this past week's posts. This coming week, I don't really have much planned, but I'm sure I can think of something to write about. In any case, if you like what I write, please continue subscribing and commenting!


How-To: Make KDE Like Unity

I was going to do a review of PC-BSD, but unfortunately, that didn't work out (more on that later), so I'm doing this instead, though I had planned this for next week.

Vanilla KDE
Many months ago, I did a post on how to make KDE look more like Elementary OS. It was just one way of showcasing KDE's power and customizability. Now, I'm doing the same with regard to the Unity UI present in recent versions of Ubuntu. I know that a lot of people online have expressed displeasure with Unity along with the intention to use KDE instead. But what if you like the Unity UI but want the other features of KDE as well? Then this article is for you.

If you are using Kubuntu, this post is technically moot, because it is possible to use all of Unity 2D under KDE in Kubuntu without any issues; that is because Unity 2D is made with the Qt libraries, which also underlie KDE, so there's some compatibility there as far as I can tell. If you aren't using anything Ubuntu-based, though, then you're out of luck in terms of trying to use Unity 2D, so this is for you. I did this using a Chakra 2011.12 "Edn" live USB, so all my instructions will be based on that. If you are using another distribution, you may have to search online to see how some steps are done. Follow the jump to do it.


Featured Comments: Week of 2012 January 15

There was one post this past week that got a whole bunch of comments, so I'll repost a few of them.

Review: Fuduntu 2012.1

Reader Fewt, who is the main Fuduntu developer, clarified reason for the issue that I was having: "There is a problem with our LibreOffice package (my fault) that causes it to use a lot more space than normally necessary (over 1GB). I'm working on a fix, but you probably saw your system run out of memory and oom killer ate some of your running processes. Sorry about that."
Commenter enrico said, "[I]nstall software in a live environment is a nightmare, in every distro you can try there are some errors, or at least glitch that cause every error you can imagine... A good review is made when software is installed in a real or virtual machine, live cd are a good thing, but some software and the stability of the distro is only a matter of luck... even sabayon has a live dvdfull of software, really good, but if you try to installa anything in live session,there are always crashes... in a virtual setup, there are no such things.. the same occur using a opensuse live cd...and the setups of this distros are stable as debian is."
An anonymous reader had this to say: "Perhaps this should have been named a "live" environment review because basing it totally off of that experience only covers a small portion of a distro's capabilities and character. Thanks for the effort of writing one up though. Hopefully you can try Fuduntu in the future and give it a fair chance."
Another anonymous commenter had these bits of advice: "Not related to fuduntu, but I want to share. I remember reading a live cd review where the author recommended installing distro x. i asked about package manager and he didn´t know. He said he never bothered because he just uses the vanilla distro and doesn´t install anything new. Yet I think it´s kind of unfair not mentioning and not looking at methods of installing new software. Yet a fuller review, where one installs and uses the distro for about a week as his main system and really tries everything he/she normally does, is rare. Understandable. Because Linux still sucks that much. It´s great but it sucks that much that You have to face these hickups.  I installed Kubuntu on my laptop and thought it was great. Updated to latest KDE SC...ah. And then my girlfriend was unable to set up wireless. And she was right. The issue is now fixed but I can not blaim her. Sometimes You really need another PC to google Your problem. So, it´s easy to say: write a full review. An I agree that some reviews are really, really shallow, often barely more than a summary of the release notes and screenshots (not PV´s though). This is all free. Open a blog, download the distro and start writing."

Thanks to all those who commented on that post this past week. This coming week, I intend to have another review out at least. In any case, if you like what I write, please continue subscribing and commenting!


Review: Fuduntu 2012.1

I'm back! Thankfully it looks like too many people know about how bad the SOPA and PIPA bills are to not take action, and it looks like sponsors of those bills are dropping like European honeybees. Now let's get back to the main post.

I've reviewed Fuduntu a couple times before. There's a new release out, so I'm reviewing it now.

Fuduntu used to be based on Fedora, but then several months ago the lead developer announced that it would fork and maintain an independent codebase. This would serve two purposes: one would be to provide stable rolling releases, and the other would be to maintain GNOME 2 as long as possible. Indeed, Fuduntu uses not MATE, but good old GNOME 2.32.

I tested the live session using a live USB made with MultiSystem. I tested the installation in VirtualBox inside a Xubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot" MultiSystem-made live USB host with 1024 MB of RAM allocated to the guest OS. Follow the jump to see what it's like.


In Protest of SOPA/PIPA: Das U-Blackout

There are a lot of sites that are blacking out on Wednesday, 2012 January 18 to protest SOPA and PIPA together. I know this site doesn't get that much traffic except when I post OS & related reviews and they get on sites like LXer, but I feel like I couldn't have it on my conscience to not show solidarity in this move. Therefore, I will try to take everything on this site offline tomorrow except for this post. I wanted to post something tomorrow, but it [the rest of this sentence has been removed as per SOPA].
Toodle-oo! And just remember, this will become the norm if those bills get passed. This won't affect just small-time sites like mine, but big ones too. If you don't like that, contact your elected representatives and tell them what you think. Even if the only effect is that a staffer adds another tally to the box saying "SOPA [or PIPA]: opposed", that's fine. Do it!


Featured Comments: Week of 2012 January 8

There was one post that got a handful of comments this past week, so I'll repost a few of those.

Review: Razor-Qt 0.4.0 (via Ubuntu Razor-Qt Remix)

Reader Jeff Hoogland said, "220 while being far less than KDE is a good deal more than LXDE and E17. Still more alternatives are good."
Commenter Barnaby supported this: "220 MB? LXDE on Salix basic needs only 45, but it's still early days, hopefully it will come down. Thanks for the very detailed walkthrough. Your blog is still getting better, and it wasn't bad to begin with. Interesting. Cheers".
Reader desm0tes had this view: "I've been using LXDE with Compiz for about a year now (left Gnome BEFORE it became cool!!! (lol just kidding: left Gnome for personal reasons way before G3 and not because of it)), and haven't been using any KDE for a long time (8-10 yrs maybe) - but I heard of Razor-qt and had to try it: it's not really "mature" yet, but it's promising. For now, it needs some hard coding and the cumbersome KDE-"theming"-section to customize it, yet there are not that many apps for QT as are for GTK, so it takes time to customize a whole desktop in the way I like it...anyway, I'll stick with it for at least a week maybe, growing accustomed to it and then decide over it for now. But even if I might decide to not use it anymore, this doesn't mean, there is no need for Razor-qt....otherwise there would be no KDE (don't like the whole look and feel of it, esp the panel and the system settings...the plasma-panel seems to not have changed that in a way) , Gnome (tried g3 and the gnome-shell for 1-2 days and didn't like it) or XFCE (cheap copy of g2, why start it at all in the days of g2??^^), not to speak of all the window managers, ROX or E17."
Commenter Mark said, "Im pretty sure it idles at a lot lower if you're using Openbox as your WM as LXDE does. Kwin is as bloated as KDE..."

Thanks to all those who commented on this past week's posts. This coming week, I intend to have another review out. Anyway, if you like what I write, please continue subscribing and commenting!


Review: Razor-Qt 0.4.0 (via Ubuntu Razor-Qt Remix)

Razor-Qt: Main Screen + Right-Click Menu
It seems like the recent discontent over GNOME 3 and Unity has caused a renaissance in DEs that act more traditionally. Xfce is gaining popularity as it basically replicates GNOME 2.X and can do even more now, while KDE is winning over users attracted to its shininess and power. LXDE is also gaining attention as a DE that pushes the limit of how stripped-down a DE can be before it is just a WM again, while Enlightenment seems to be gaining renewed interest thanks to Bodhi Linux. Linux Mint has modified GNOME 3 through MGSE, and now it is replacing GNOME 3/Shell with GNOME 3/Cinnamon. Yet only one of these alternatives (KDE) uses the Qt toolkit; save Enlightenment, which uses the E17 toolkit, all the others use GTK+. Until now.

There's a new kid on the DE block, and it's called Razor-Qt. It aims to be a lightweight, traditional-style DE, sort of like KDE, Xfce, and LXDE. The best way to put it is that it aims to be to KDE what LXDE has been to GNOME; it is stripped-down and manages the desktop in a more minimalistic way, but it is still compatible with KDE and Qt applications, just as LXDE can still take GNOME and GTK+ applications just fine.

I am trying Razor-Qt as a MultiSystem-made live USB in the form of Ubuntu Razor-Qt Remix. Follow the jump to see what it's like.


Featured Comments: Week of 2012 January 1

There were two posts that got a couple comments, so I'll repost most of those.

Featured Comments: Week of 2011 December 25

Reader Antonio Jones said, "i'm an old gnome-fan who wants to try KDE style. After a horrible experiences on KDE oriented distros like Mandriva, a not so bad install of Chakra and a not so good experiences with distros like Pardus i arrived to Mageia. Mageia it's the best distro on KDE desktop that i tried. All works ok, including kde desktop efects, not working on any distro in my computer. Easy to install, easy to customize, easy to work with. And is only the first revision. In 2012 i'm sure Mageia can excel."

Comparison Test: Pear OS 3.0 "Panther" vs. Zorin OS 5.2 Core

An anonymous commenter said, "Nice article. I tried both distros before (even had Zorin on my mail laptop a year ago) and came to the same conclusion. Zorin is more polished and professional, but PearOS is a nice try anyway.. =:^)"

Thanks to all those who commented on this past week's posts. This coming week, I hope to have another review out at least. In any case, if you like what I write, please continue subscribing and commenting!


Comparison Test: Pear OS 3.0 "Panther" vs. Zorin OS 5.2 Core

Pear OS: Main Screen
There's been a new distribution making small waves lately called Pear OS. It aims to replicate the experience of Apple's Mac OS X, and upon first appearances, it seems to do so pretty well. I'm comparing it to Zorin OS, which similarly tries to replicate the experience of Microsoft Windows, to see which one does its job better.

Pear OS takes no shame in aping absolutely every part of Apple's Mac OS X. Its slogan is "Think Totally Different", which is an obvious rip off of Apple's slogan, "Think Different". Its logo is a pear into which someone has taken a small bite. It shows box art that clearly apes that of Apple's Mac OS X. Even the version name is "Panther", which is actually a past release of Apple's Mac OS X ( The list goes on, but it's clear what the developers are aiming at.
By contrast, Zorin OS is quite a bit more subtle about its goals. It explicitly states that it aims to bring Linux to Microsoft Windows users, but its website is a bit more generic in that it simply states the advantages and features of Zorin OS without directly referencing Microsoft Windows too many times.

Zorin OS: Main Screen + GnoMenu
(Microsoft Windows 7 look)
I tested both using a multiboot live USB made with MultiSystem. Please bear in mind that as both distributions are based on Ubuntu, and as I have found time and again that my laptop's hardware works just fine on Ubuntu and so do applications like Skype and Google Talk, this comparison is going to seem pretty shallow. I'm basically just going to discuss appearances, deeper aspects of the interface, and included applications, without doing my usual other testing. Follow the jump to see what each is like.


Featured Comments: Week of 2011 December 25

Happy new year 2012! There were no "Featured Comments" posts the past 2 weeks as there were no comments that got posts those weeks. This week, there was one post that got a whole bunch of comments, so I'll repost a few of those.

Review: Chakra 2011.12 "Edn"

Reader Antonio Jones said, "I installed chakra today, not bad but i had some issues: - font rendering, i can' t live without ubuntu style of rendering fonts. Chakra don't look cool. Any solution to font rendering? - your bar is semi-transparent, how do you configure it? By the way, chakra looks like one of the best distros around kde. I like Pardus, but seems to have less popularity. Mandriva was a hell for me, but i like the way it does things."
An anonymous commenter had this experience to share: "I installed Chakra recently on a troublesome laptop. This laptop does not like the new 3.0 kernels with any distro. Chakra supplies a LTS kernel which works very well. I'm liking KDE after trying out Unity and Gnome 3. Chakra has a polished feel to it."
Reader 3rabuntu had this tip: "To preview videos, make sure you installed kffmpegthumbnail or mplayerthumbnail then enable it in Dolphin (Settings > General > Previews >Video Files). Also, you need to increase the limit to something like 2000 MB for local files (default is set to 5MB). KDE is a great platform and can be tweaked easily to your liking. It just doesn't have sane default options. Cheers"
Commenter TanKe said, "I have been testing chakra since almost the beginning. I loved to see an Arch made easy but it was terrible then with the software manager (Shaman) and they had a lot of conflicts too. Then they changed to their own packaging based or arch making it more stable but the tools they wrote (installer, package manager and so on fail to work properly from time to time. I'm going to test this very last Chakra to see if everything works this time."

Thanks to all those who commented on this past week's posts. This coming week, I will have at least one review of some sort out. Another review may come either this week or next week. In any case, if you like what I write, please continue subscribing and commenting! And once again, happy new year 2012!
(UPDATE: I accidentally wrote the wrong date. I guess I still haven't gotten enough sleep. My bad!)