Some of you might know that I have been looking at nearly all of the full featured desktop environments lately, trying to find the one that did everything I wanted the way I wanted it too. I looked at Cinnamon, Gnome Shell, Mate, Unity and a couple others that are distro specific.
Recently I installed the Linux Mint 14 KDE x64 release candidate to take a look at it. Before anyone says it, I know it is Kubuntu re-branded with codecs installed by default and that is fine with me, they are both very good and I have always had nothing but admiration for the Kubuntu community. I wanted specific features out of the box, like all of the Dolphin right click features though.
At any rate, KDE has really gotten very good since the last time I had used it. I love how the hot corner is only active when multiple applications are running, it's nice and it's not annoying. I liked how everything to set up the system was in one place too, no hunting for anything!
The default set of applications was ideal for me, not too much or too little. I play a lot of music and I had forgotten how nice Kaffiene was! I like how easy it is to change themes in KDE, no using a piece of this and that to get everything looking right. Gtk apps look right at home in KDE! I should mention that I upgraded KDE from 4.9.2 to 4.9.4, it made memory use a bit better and it seems to run nice and smooth now.
I like how the maintainer of this edition chose to stay with the original KDE 4 folder icons, I know this is a small detail but I like these icons much better than the new KDE default folder icons. Another small detail, plymouth works perfectly with ATI and NVidea graphics. I have gotten so used to plymouth not working with most anything Ubuntu based and this was just a pleasant surprise to me.
I love how I can fine tune compositing in KDE to my taste with no hassle and the alt, tab feature is nice! KDE lets me do anything I want to the panel too and I like that I can have it wherever I want it and have any shortcut I want where I want them.
KDE is giving me every feature I could possibly want and I have not seen a single error message with it, it really seems solid and dependable. My hats off to the Kubuntu developers, the Mint team and the KDE developers. I think I have found a desktop environment I can enjoy using!
I looked at KDE last because I honestly thought it would be bloated and use a lot more memory than the other full featured environments but I was dead wrong on that. KDE 4.9.4 uses about the same memory footprint as Ubuntu 12.10 with Unity and that's not bad considering how feature rich the system is.
I am glad I took the time to explore all my options as far as desktop environments go, it was a good experience. KDE really surprised me because of how customizable it is and how well thought out many of it's settings are. I think I have finally found the ideal desktop environment that suits my needs. If you have not looked at KDE in a while, it really is worth the time to have a look.