Seeking advice on desktop environment

Hi folks,

The last time I really enjoyed my computer was years ago, and I’ve been living with a blah setup for over a year just for lack of time to mess with it. Now I’m getting a new computer and I want to do it right, so I’m asking advice from those who’ve kept up better than I have.

The setup I liked, around opensuse 12 I think, featured KDE 4. It greeted me with a wallpaper only; everything else started hidden and I found a widget to hide the ****ed cashew. Panel popped up from the bottom, and a widget that I think was called daisy provided a themed menu on each virtual desktop, but it too started hidden. This worked because KDE 4 supported different widgets on each desktop. I used the cube to switch, with Alt-Z as the key command to start cube, very natural for me to hit those keys with the left hand and spin with the right. Activities just don’t give me that fluidity. Also, I used the dashboard to hide the other widgets I liked, because when you could put different widgets on different desktops, you could also put 'em on the dashboard, bringing them up over whatever desktop you were using at the time. I found this really elegant. I seem to need an empty screen to start thinking, but once I get rolling, then I want a variety of tools ready to hand, and KDE 4 seemed to fit my workflow better than its successor. And maybe the competition will too, but I’m not very familiar with it.

Based on the foregoing, can you speculate on what current desktop I’d prefer today? Installing an older version with KDE 4 is a choice, but what benefits does KDE 5 actually have, that I’d be giving up?

Thanks in advance


The main problem with KDE4, is that it is no longer supported.

I did use the different backgrounds and widgets on each desktop with KDE4, though I switched to having them all the same a little before KDE4 was dropped by the folk at

With Plasma 5, I do currently use activities. I have two activities defined. But I find that I am mostly using just the one activity, and only occasionally switch to the other when I want different widgets.

I am not aware of any other desktop environment that provides this feature that you liked with KDE4.

The main advantage of Plasma 5, is that it now has support for Wayland (as an alternative to X11). At present this is still a work in progress, and not working very well. But it may become more important in the future.

I thought I had ties with kde4 that would be difficult to break
But, no.
I just adapted to Plasma 5
No regrets

Thanks for the feedback.

>I just adapted to Plasma 5. No regrets
Wish I could say the same, but I’ve been using Plasma 5 for a year, so if I were gonna learn to love it I would have by now.

>The main advantage of Plasma 5, is that it now has support for Wayland…not working very well.
Well that’s faint praise, though admittedly I know little of Wayland or why I should want it even if it did work.

How practical is Enlightenment these days? Does anyone actually use it as a daily driver or is it still a vanity project?

… out of frustration with the upstream KDE people dropping that feature of different wallpapers and different widgets, I switched to Xfce.

At least, in Xfce, I get the different Wallpapers on different VDs.

But, what I also found is that my PC is far snappier in Xfce, and there are a couple other features I like better than kde.

I am actually quite pleased I got prompted into trying Xfce, so I guess I have the KDE people to thank for that.:stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve installed and tried Enlightenment several times. I guess I must be one of the unenlightened, because I am unable to see why I would ever want to use it.

As far as I know, it is supported. And there do seem to be some fans.

Plasma5 is running fine here, for years now. No regrets either.

Enlightenment is definitely not a vanity project, but a working DE. One may not like it for it’s being different from f.e. KDE or GNOME, but that’s a matter of personal taste, which is undebatable. FWIW, I quite like it, use it once in a while.

Yes, I like and use KDE Plasma 5. Yes, the current version is acceptable. Yes, there was a respectable amount of “user involvement” needed to point out the “annoying bits and pieces” to the KDE development community but, they have responded to the user’s inputs and, IMHO, the current offering is acceptable.

IMHO, the place to look for a definite answer to the “how to set up the desktop” question is: <>.
The “preferred names” of the various desktop components is here: <>.
Dealing with things like “everything else started hidden” is answered here: <>.

I can recommend using the desktop “Activities” functionality to organise your workflows.

  • Another use for Activities is during presentations and schooling sessions:

Set up an activity for the presentation slides.
Set up a parallel activity for “live examples” of things such as Konsole windows and CLI usage.
Switch (immediately) between the activities with <Meta-Tab> when and as needed …

Plasma 5 supports “Virtual Desktops” – I usually setup with 6 desktops and “Desktop Cube Animation” with OpenGL compositing active:


  • Switch between desktops by means of <Ctrl-F1>; <Ctrl-F2>; <Ctrl-F3>; <Ctrl-F4>; <Ctrl-F5>; <Ctrl-F6>.

Hmm, I thought I’d replied to the foregoing, but evidently somehow failed to. In any case, if folks are interested, I set up the new laptop with Plasma 5 and then put Enlightenment on a Virtual Box. It’s the DE I most want to love, and it amazed me by be so snappy even inside the vbox. However, the file manager won’t make symlinks, or at least I can’t figure out how to make it do so, which puts it for me in “still not ready” territory. I’m trying to learn to love activities, too, and failing. In Plasma 4, you could customize virtual desktops or use activities for the same purpose; the practical difference was that virtual desktops used a visual metaphor that leverages our brain’s evolutionay adaptation to hunting and foraging across space. Trinity’s keeping alive the wrong deprecated version, in my humble opinion. Alas, I don’t have the skills to be a KDE developer. -GEF

Dolphin; “right-click” anywhere in the white-space of a directory display; “Create New” > (float the mouse pointer); “Basic link to file or directory…”. Or, from the Menubar (<Ctrl-M> if hidden): “File” -->> “Create New” > and then the same …