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#1 2018-07-12 18:34

Locutus
Member
Registered: 2018-07-12
Posts: 3

Mini-review of Q4OS 2.5 KDE Plasma installed with windows installer

Since a long time I’ve been looking for a distro that I could install on my 2012 Acer desktop computer with legacy boot and a strange partitioning pattern where three partitions are used by Windows 7 (why? how?) and the fourth one is filled by data… I was starting to think that it was a hopeless enterprise, when I found Q4OS… I used the windows installer (why the hell other distros don’t offer the installation on a loop device out of the box?) and I wanted to share some of my insights concerning the entire process… Hovewer if you think that my mini-review is useless, don't hesitate to delete this post...

I’ve downloaded the installer, and saw immediately that it proposed only the installation of the 2.4 version… “OK, I will upgrade it to 2.5 later”, I told myself. I launched the installer, let it download and install the system, then rebooted the computer to finish the installation. First surprise: at no point I was asked for my keyboard layout (I had to set this up manually after the installation in the KDE control center), so the log-in process was challenging (as I have a French keyboard). Then I chose the KDE Plasma desktop (and the version with full desktop experience, as for the software installed). I was pleased to discover that the installer upgraded the system to 2.5.1 during the installation. The installation process took more than an hour.

First impressions after the final reboot (when I could see that the Windows bootloader was correctly set up for dual boot): the desktop is empty; no shortcuts to thrash or to the home folder, nothing. An odd choice, but not too difficult to correct by adding some .desktop files to the ~/Desktop folder.

After installing the codecs, I closed the welcome screen and opened the KDE control center to switch my keyboard layout to French. Next, I wanted to install the Firefox ESR browser… But I found no link to the Synaptic file manager in the menu, there was no way to reactivate the welcome screen (that I closed immediately after installing the media codecs) neither. Yes, sudo apt-get install works fine, but I think that everything should be doable in the GUI in the second decade of the XXI century… Well, it wasn't a long search to figure out that I needed to edit the corresponding .desktop file in /usr/share/Applications to remove the entry stopping KDE Plasma from showing it… I could not understand why it was hidden by default, it must be a bug… I profited from the occasion to put the welcome screen entry to the menu back too. After the Firefox installation, I wanted to copy my profile from Windows, and there were some moments of pure astonishment… the AppData folder is not visible in /mnt/host/Users/MyUserName/ at all, even if I activate showing the hidden files in Dolphin, or even with ls -a command in the Konsole… Strange… It took me about thirty minutes to figure out that I could access it by typing manually its path (both in the Konsole and in Dolphin)... Just a little remark: when I experimented with installs on pendrives of both Mageia and MX (and also with the frugal install of the latter), they showed the AppData folder where it should be, so it seems to be a Q4OS specific issue…

OK, I finished the process, I had a browser with all my bookmarks, passwords and extensions, and whatnot. I did the same for the Thunderbird. Next step: install the printer. Once more: no tool for printer installation. I opted first for installing the printer configuration tool for Plasma, using the Discover tool. Once installed, I run the KDE control center, selected this tool and installed my Epson printer. All went smooth except for one thing: I still couldn’t print at all. I would select the printer from the list, click on “OK”, and then nothing would happen. “OK, let's see in CUPS what's going on”, I told myself… I even added the entry executing “firefox-esr http://localhost:631” to the menu… and when I opened the CUPS, there was a huge surprise waiting for me: according to CUPS, there were no printers installed. Apparently once again a bug. I went through the installation process once again, this time through the CUPS web interface, accepting the proposed drivers - and then the printer was finally printing. The printer is a combo device with an integrated scanner, so I wanted to see whether the scanner worked… but I found no utility for scanning (actually, there was a TDE version of Kooka, that I could launch from the command line, but I was not sure if it was optimized to use with KDE, so I installed Xsane)... the scanner worked out of the box. Next: the music player - I installed Clementine and there were no problems there. Then I tested the connections with my smartphone (BlackBerry KeyOne) and my Kodak digital camera (as I had read that there were some problems in previous Q4OS editions with mobile devices connectivity)... Everything worked out of the box; I was really pleased. There were some lags accessing the camera folders, but Q4OS compensated it by moving the files from the device to my HD substantially faster than Windows and with a progress bar that actually was accurate (contrarily to the windows one)…

One bug that took me a long time to solve was installing .deb packages directly from the KDE (without going through Konsole). There was no application associated with .deb files and it was really not too easy to figure out for an inexperienced user as myself that I needed to install Gdebi and associate it with .deb files… Another one is taking screenshots… I’ve installed Spectacle (that was missing by default), but found no way in assigning it to the PrintScreen button on the keyboard...

The resource consumption is rather nice… the idle system uses 1% of the processor and about 350 Mb of RAM, apps launch very rapidly, system is responsive, no lags even if running multiple applications at the time… great!

Overall - the installation process went pretty good… still, I wouldn't recommend it for complete newbies (specially the lazy ones, wanting everything out of the box), but inexperienced users with a lot motivation (as myself) may be really satisfied… There are still some minor bugs, for example the inconsistent mouse cursors… I installed custom Blue Oxygen pack, configured it to be used both by Plasma (Qt) and by GTK applications, and for GTK applications it’s perfect, but Plasma after reboot goes wild… It shows sometimes the customized cursors, and sometimes the default ones with no consistency at all… there are moments where two instances of the same application (like Dolphin) use different cursors, depending on whether I launched them from a desktop shortcut or from the application menu entry… Sometimes even the left half of the menu uses the Oxygen cursor, and the right half the default one… Not a big bug, just a minor aesthetic nuisance, but could be corrected.

Briefly, after three weeks of heavy use I am really satisfied.

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#2 2018-07-13 16:19

Rademes
Member
Registered: 2015-12-13
Posts: 335

Re: Mini-review of Q4OS 2.5 KDE Plasma installed with windows installer

I have tried Q4OS with KDE Plasma, but I found it a bit slow for my PC. So personally I would recommend to use Trinity desktop environment with Debonaire theme If you want modern look and very small resource consumption. Keep in mind, that there are still some bugs in Trinity and Debonaire. But anyway, can anyone name me a distro without bugs?

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#3 2018-07-14 08:36

Locutus
Member
Registered: 2018-07-12
Posts: 3

Re: Mini-review of Q4OS 2.5 KDE Plasma installed with windows installer

Thanks for the advice, but I'm actually happy with KDE. As I've written in my review, the system is very responsive, there are no lags, and ressource consumption is low. Smooth and nice. I would never try Gnome or Cinnamon on my computer, for sure, but KDE Plasma is lightweight enough for this six years old machine...

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#4 2018-07-20 13:11

BonusBrain
Member
Registered: 2015-12-12
Posts: 18

Re: Mini-review of Q4OS 2.5 KDE Plasma installed with windows installer

I agree. I always found Trinity both alien and difficult to configure and navigate and hated Konqueror full stop. 2.5 Scorpion with KDE 5 however is the best implementation of this DE I’ve seen so far and I’ve tried most. 

Even the FireTray new mail count works with Thunderbird whereas the only other Plasma 5 distro I’ve found operational with this is Manjaro. The others just show a new mail icon which is pretty useless from a work perspective if you don’t know if there are 2 or 200 new messages needing attention without opening the window.

Have used Scorpion solidly for one week, work and play, with just one glitch. On just one occasion when clicking a panel launcher (Google Chrome) it caused the desktop to darken and freeze, forcing a hard reboot. A few cosmetic limitations with Plasma 5.8LTS, otherwise, perfect.
https://i.imgur.com/zq7n55j.png

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#5 2018-07-21 07:05

Locutus
Member
Registered: 2018-07-12
Posts: 3

Re: Mini-review of Q4OS 2.5 KDE Plasma installed with windows installer

Well, Trinity isn't so bad after all, it's still KDE-ish enough so I don't feel alienated, and if I had to install a Linux on a very old computer, probably I would opt for Q4OS with Trinity... But if I have the choice between Trinity and Plasma - the choice is obvious... It's not the same situation as in the GNOME world, where GNOME 3 drifted away from reason right into the waters of pure madness and it was necessary to create MATE in order to preserve what was best in GNOME 2 and develop it... KDE is still developing and each new release seems to be substantially better than the precedent, the KDE community really wants to create a perfect product for everyone, so why limit myself to the older version not as powerful and not as customizable?

28654247487_8c152a43bf_n.jpg

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