KDE 4: Key Improvements and User Tips

After three weeks of using KDE 4 on my laptop, I continue to find new features and changes. I am aware of the dictionary of special names that make up the back end of the new KDE -- Oxygen, Plasma, Phonon, and the rest -- but just as often as the major features, it's the little items that I find welcome as much as the large ones. Increasingly, I'm looking at KDE 4 as a statement about what a desktop should be, and contrasting it with my own ideas on the subject.

Last week, I talked about the defaults that didn't match my concepts of usability (and I meant defaults; I'm well aware that many settings can be changed, including the ones about which I complained, but the point is that even experienced users can miss the customizing tools). The result was exactly the sort of detailed discussion I was hoping for, when Aaron Seigo gave a detailed critique of my comments in his blog.

This week, I'm taking the opposite approach, and listing the items, big and small, that impress me about the latest release of KDE 4, in the hopes of offering some starting points for others' exploration of the new desktop. I have left out long-established features, such as virtual desktops, to focus on the new ones.