Since my dad taught me how to dual-boot Mandrake Linux 7 with Windows ME in my early pre-teen years, I have not owned a single computer that hasn’t had a Linux distribution on it. And for many years, KDE was my desktop manager of choice. Sometime around KDE 3.4, I deemed KDE too clunky and left it to experiment with other desktop managers.
Still, I never forgot about my roots in the Linux world, and indeed KDE 4 brought KDE significantly forward towards modern desktops. Now, KDE seems to be turning towards everyone’s favorite rising PC market: netbooks. KDE 4.4 is a massive version release touting 7293 bug fixes and 1433 new feature implementations. The result is a promised new, cleaner experience, with the majority of the changes relating to the actual Plasma desktop.
Specifically for netbooks, KDE has made this particular announcement:
Plasma Netbook debuts in 4.4.0. Plasma Netbook is an alternative interface to the Plasma Desktop, specifically designed for ergonomic use on netbooks and smaller notebooks. The Plasma framework has been built from the beginning with non-desktop target devices in mind as well. Plasma Netbook shares many components with the Plasma Desktop, but is specifically designed to make good use of the small space, and to be more suitable also for touchscreen input. The Plasma Netbook shell features a full-screen application launcher and search interface, and a Newspaper which offers many widgets to display content from the web and small utilities already known from Plasma Netbook’s sibling.
This means KDE is stepping up to the plate for a true netbook experience. I tried KDE 4.4 on my laptop, but haven’t used it enough to consider switching away from GNOME. Still, it is good to see that the Linux community is viewing netbooks as a legitimate shot to enter the mainstream market. And KDE is arguably the most Windows-esque desktop manager providing an easier transition for first time users. If you want to give it a spin, go download any KDE based Linux distribution (i.e. Kubuntu, openSUSE).