In the last few weeks, I’ve been using the Plasma Desktop full time in Ubuntu with the Kubuntu Backports PPA enabled. This way I can get the latest version of this desktop environment on Ubuntu 18.10.
The latest Plasma Desktop version is 5.14 and it’s really amazing. On my hardware, it uses less resources than Gnome Shell, although it takes more time to get to the destkop. And the best part is not having the Gnome Shell process eating up more than 1GB or 2GB of RAM (even after the garbage collection patches).
Yesterday, I had to reinstall Windows 10 on a computer because the owner was complaining it was too slow. After a successful, albeit slow, reinstall, I had to change the language.
This computer had Windows in English and the owner wanted it in European Portuguese. So, after reinstalling the OS, I selected the European Portuguese language in the system options (or whatever it is called) and chose the pt-PT langpack.
So far, so good, I thought. Yet, the download took about 30 minutes to start and I was stumped. How could this be, if I have a 200Mb/100Mb fiber connection?! Even an upgrade from Debian Stable to Debian Testing takes less time (downloading and installing the packages). I guess that Windows Update still works at the speed of a snail.
Lately, I’ve been switching between Gnome and Plasma. Both are great desktop environments and, like all the other software in the world, both have some shortcomings. So, this is not a flamewar post, nor is intended to start yet another one.
Yesterday, I logged on a Plasma session and opened Firefox to check my email, social network accounts and read the news. Moments after firing up the browser, I got a Plasma notification about an integration with my browser of choice. I clicked on it and it opened the page for an add-on on the official add-ons website for Firefox.
Multitask efficiently by controlling browser functions from the desktop, even while Firefox is in the background. Manage audio and video playback, check downloads in the notification area, send files to your phone using KDE Connect and more inside the KDE Plasma Desktop!
I was struck. This set of functionalities provided by the add-on are what I long wanted for Firefox on a desktop environment, especially the KDE Connect integration.
This means one less shortcoming in the Plasma Desktop. So, thank you, Plasma developers and community.
Read The Autocracy App, published in The New York Review of Books, and draw your own conclusions. It’s a long, but well worth, text about the impacts of Facebook on our societies and the apparent inclination it has for favoring dictatorships and autocracies.