Saturday, July 14, 2012

my kde installations

I'm running KDE in five different distros here: Mepis, PCLinuxOS, openSUSE, Fedora, and Sabayon. Each distro is excellent.

Mepis ships with only KDE.

According to DistroWatch, openSUSE's default desktop is KDE, Sabayon's is "GNOME/KDE," and Fedora's is GNOME; but all three of those distros have other spins.

In Mepis 11, I'm using KDE 4.5.3. The Mepis Community has stepped forward with ways to upgrade to newer KDE versions, but I've stayed with the "old" one in Mepis because it works fine, and because I have newer versions running in other distros here. The Mepis 12 "alpha" is about to be released, and I think that might be coming with KDE 4.8.4, which is in the Debian Testing repos.

PCLinuxOS 2012.02 (fully upgraded here from the original 2010.07 installation) is at KDE 4.6.5. The next "quarterly" release (right now, they're working on the 2012.06 "trial release") will have KDE 4.8.3. Users who do not wish to do a fresh installation will be able to upgrade KDE from 4.6.5 to 4.8.3 by running a script that will be provided.

openSUSE 12.1 has KDE 4.7.2.

Fedora 17 and Sabayon 9 ship with KDE 4.8.3, but last weekend I pulled in an update to 4.8.4 in Sabayon, so that's the most up-to-date distro here as far as KDE is concerned.

openSUSE and Fedora have shorter release cycles than the other three distros (approximately 8 and 6 months, respectively), and I don't expect to see newer KDE versions in either openSUSE 12.1 or Fedora 17.

Sabayon and PCLinuxOS are rolling-release distros; usually, all you have to do is keep your system updated and you'll be "current." But Sabayon is currently more of a "cutting-edge" distro than PCLinuxOS.

At the end of a Mepis release cycle, a fresh installation is recommended (if not required) to move to the next version. Fedora provides an upgrade path (called "Preupgrade" -- I hear it's good, but I haven't tried it), as does openSUSE.

All of these different distros have done well with their respective KDE implementations, and all are quite pleasant to use, but each one might appeal to different types of users. Folks who love Mepis don't care about having the "latest and greatest" stuff; stability is the priority. Fedora and Sabayon users might want to be closer to the cutting edge. openSUSE and Fedora users might not be keen on using a "one-man distro."

But each of these distros has many happy users in its camp, and I'm sure that any one of the five would be quite suitable for anyone who wants to stick with only one distro over a long period of time.

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