Alexander Dymo reviews KDE 4.2. I didn’t know it was released yet. The past enthusiasm of developers turned sour when users felt the last two releases were not ready yet and didn’t “feel right”. His review demonstrates that notorious KDE3 users have to reconsider KDE4 with KDE 4.2. Of course users are always curious what features are not available yet or what breaks. Perfection is boring. So as expected KDE4 is ready but not perfect. Alexander Dymo points out a glitch with orphaned scroll bars when you use the default Oxygen style and discusses a still missing KDE3 feature:
In [KDE] 4.2 panel finally has one of two important features I need, namely the “Windows Can Cover” mode which I always use. Another one is still missing though. I very much liked the MacOS-alike menubar mode in KDE3. You could place the menubar panel on the top and add menu, application launcher, systray and clock there while leaving the task manager panel at the bottom (in “Windows Can Cover” mode). Such setup saved me some precious vertical screen space. Precious because I’m an widescreen monitor addict and on my 1920×1200 display I hate anything that takes my pixels from that “1200” side.
There are two implementations of the menubar for KDE4 already. One lies in the playground and another comes with the Bespin widget style. I tried the later which is called XBar. It mostly works, but doesn’t look good even with Bespin. With other styles it’s just plain ugly. I guess the code needs some more love to make the XBar ready for general consumption.
The old KDE3 had an immature implementation of the top menu bar, immature because it was very old old “Mosfet” code and contained some unfixed bugs. I liked it very much but it didn’t work with applications that used GTK or Gnome libraries for rendering. I would love to see a Freedesktop specification on that matter. GTK experts tell you it’s complicated to implement it. But as application ports to Mac Os X are possible it should be feasible to get is done.
Gnome has a default top menu bar but it just eats screen and it is not for the applications, the most ugly aspect of the other main Desktop Environment for the “free world”. Mac OS X got it right. In the world of Desktop reviews having a top menu bar makes you get the “like apple” brand. When you place the panel in the lower left as KDE and LXDE do as default, your desktop environment is “like windows”. Ghee!
KDE 4.2 steers into another direction, an unique desktop experience. But still the top menu bar is an argument for me.