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This is my good old Mac Quadra 700. My last Mac standing, from the time I was a university student. It brings back a lot of good old memories of the impressing colorful acetates I could draw with it and project on a plain overhead projector after printing them with an HP Color Inkjet.

Then followed the impact with reality: Windows 3.11, OS/2 Warp, Windows NT and their descendants is all I met in the corporate world. But eventually they caught up to the Mac’s functionality.

Nevertheless, the Quadra 700 kept having a place in my life. In his last incarnation, it was running Debian as a test web server. It even ran MySQL and PHP – all of this on a 33MHz (I doped it’s clock) Motorola 68040. But as desktops became more powerful, the test web server ran locally.

Now that Mini-ITX, a relatively new standard for small motherboards, starts hitting the mainstream, new life may be instilled into this good old case again. It’s completely tool-less with the exception of a single screw in the middle and even that one is optional. It’s in my opinion one of the most elegant computer cases and it still looks good after all of these years.

It is getting an upgrade. It will even get the Intel Inside sticker. it will no longer have to envy the other gray boxes laying all around it. Will it still be considered an “Apple branded computer”?

My first tests with Kubuntu 8.04.1 show that KDE 4 has made giant strides. The graphic design is not yet as slick as Gnome or OS X, but it has improved – the irritating default animation effects have been replaced with more sensible ones. And KDE gives the user a lot more advanced options than Gnome. Linus Torvalds is right. I follow his advice, despite many things I did not like about KDE so far.

6 Responses

  1. Personally, I’m confused by illogical layout of the options for said functionality in KDE. ;-)

  2. Oh boy. I decided to give a try to KDE 4.1.0 last week. I definitely could live with KDE 3.5.x, but 4.x is, IMO, a huge misconception about using desktop. However, if it helps you being productive, so be it :-)

  3. I have personally always disliked KDE so far because of the uselessly redundant redundancy of having systematically at least 3 (three) [III] ways of doing common actions: through the menu bar, through the context menu, and then through the icon bar. Oh, I forgot: you also have keyboard shortcuts. That’s 4 (four) [IV].
    I can see a couple very common actions having icons repeating the function, but KDE used (does it still?) to cram every icon bar with Copy/Cut/Paste/Open/New and a bunch of others, which you couldn’t read because they had tried to cram so many so the icons were small and cluttered.

  4. @NM: “redundant redundancy” :-) The truth is that you are right, three out of the four ways of doing things are redundant indeed, but which ones? Take one of them out and you’ll make 25% of the users unhappy. Take another of them out, and another 25% of users are unhappy.

    On the desktop, there is only one right way to do things right. It’s the way the desktop’s owner likes it.

    @Alexandre: I could not stand the previous KDE default with the mouse pointer jumping all over the place and the time wasting animations, so I don’t have a comparison. And the current 4.1 one is specifically tagged as early preview. It has rough edges, but it has a lot of potential.

    What I like about KDE over Gnome is that it gives users the freedom to customize their experience. I used to think it was too Konsistent, and I honestly don’t need Konqueror (got Firefox), Kmail (got Thunderbird), Koffice (got OpenOffice). I realized that most (I hope all of them, time will tell) of those appliKations are not imposed on the user, as opposed to some desktop behavior that is imposed to the user by the Gnompeting desktop environment.

    @James: Some users prefer the freedom of not having to deal with that complexity. That’s fine too, there are self-proclaimed usability-gurus out there that feed them with a numbing experience. Not for me.

    To be perfectly honest, none of the open source desktops works for me (yet) and I am back to XP. If present productivity was the only criteria, I’d stick with Windows XP. I am considering alternative desktops because XP’s time is running out and I don’t like Vista. I’m even considering OS X, as well as a return to the good old CLI. Never had any problem with the FreeBSD CLI in more than ten years.

  5. @Yuv:

    Are you sure about KOffice? It has Krita inside ;-)

  6. @Alexandre: I installed OpenOffice Writer and Calc without Draw (which I don’t need – Inkscape does it for me). I installed Krita without Kword or Kspread.

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