My impressions of KDE4

Okay, so I installed the KDE4 Remix package over my Ubuntu 8.04 install (which is still chugging away despite me wanting to downgrade to 7.10). I just wanted to get a lay of the land and see what all the buzz is about.

When I booted into KDE4, my first thought was, Wow, this is pretty. After about five minutes using it, I thought, Wow, this is awful. I respect what the devs are trying to do with KDE4. And the beginnings they have are very nice. From what I’ve read, what’s under the hood is very nice as well. But it’s simply not ready for prime time anything. Ubuntu — for once, with this release — wisely chose not to designate Kubuntu Remix an LTS. There’s no way anyone could run this for five years or whatever. It’s barely usable. The rough edges made me want to cry.

I don’t know who designated KDE4 a release in the condition it’s in. Whoever that person is, kindly let someone else handle the releasing of things. You’re not very good at it. This is an 0.5 release, not a 4.0. Or a 4.0.4. Even early adopters do not deserve this much flagellation.

So back to Gnome I went, trailing the wounds of my experience. Literally. Removing the Kubuntu package didn’t remove all the programs that went with it, and now I’m left floundering in a sea of “K”s.

What I Have Open

This is what I get for reading Ubuntu Planet. Another meme to make the people happy. This one is, what do you have open on your desktop? I’m including things that are living in my system tray as well.

Tranmission
Amarok
gTwitter
padevchooser
Firefox (with four tabs)
gnome-terminal
F-Spot
Hydrogen

Reflections on Sunday

This Sunday’s sermon really hit me. Jeff preached on the fact that God is near and what that means, why God doesn’t just show up all the time, and why our human senses can’t really see much of God except the evidence of his working.

I specifically identified with the quantum mechanics and string theory illustrations: if there is that much we don’t understand about the universe, if there are things hidden from our sight and from our understanding, how can we understand where God is and what he is doing? I love physics, and I love sermons with physics in them… even if I’m the only one in the congregation that feels that way.

This is the thing I really appreciate about Jeff’s preaching; I don’t know if he’s a trained preacher by trade, but what he says is pretty much always spot on, and he doesn’t resort to clich├ęs and pat answers to get his point across. I can always get on board with an innovative explanation, or a new way of looking at an old issue. It seems to me that saying things the same way for a long time can create a mental bypass in the listener’s mind: creativity in preaching is a great didactic tool for that reason among others.

I am really looking forward to Joel coming back from his little conference. I hope he’s preaching this Sunday, as I think he’s a superior speaker, but also a superior communicator. I especially like his exploration of the history surrounding scripture (an implicit nod, I think, to the fact that all truth is contextual). Anyone — yeah, even me — can do a surface treatment of some of the subject matter Joel has taken on, but I think it takes a better preacher to dig into it and get his hands dirty. As the rabbis used to say, scripture is a many-faceted jewel: you hold it up to a new light and get a new reflection you’ve never seen before.

I don’t know who ever convinced Joel he’s not a good preacher; I’ve heard him hint at as much. Laura and I didn’t originally start attending Freshwater because of the atmosphere or the music or the people — though all those things are huge factors — but because when Joel spoke we were both like, wow, this guy is telling the truth. And that’s really what matters.

So yeah, Joel, if you ever read this, the next time you say something depreciating about your messages and speaking ability, I’m going to (in all Christian love) punch you in the face. Okay, not really.

(Or… will I?)

After the service we went over to Tanya and Trevor’s palace. I mean, house. It’s quite nice. They have a sublime sense of interior. And Trevor makes a mean rib. It was nice to get to know them better; they seem like good people.

You know Christians are all like, “Come back quickly, Lord Jesus?” I totally get that now. So if I may, come back quickly, Tim and Candace. I hope you’ve having a nice holiday. But seriously, get back here.

Transmission

I’m downloading a bunch of British television right now (and some Scrubs so I don’t end up with an accent). Every once in a while I like to glance at the userstrings of my connected peers. The vast majority of them are uTorrent clients, with a good portion of them reporting as Azureus. There are a smattering of others, which testifies mostly to how well uTorrent has totally soaked up the market in BitTorrent clients.

What’s new and different, however, is how many Transmission clients I see. There are two or three for every connected torrent, a good sign, because Transmission is a great open source client.

One thing that always bothered me about uTorrent was that though it was free as in beer, it was not free as in speech. I didn’t really understand why that was; BitTorrent clients aren’t particularly difficult to implement from what I’ve heard. Of course, once it was bought up it made sense, but that’s another issue. The fact that BitTorrent (the people who originally developed BT, one of whom is named Bram something or other) bought it, and the fact that they are now beholden to the media interests they have gotten into bed with leaves something to be desired in a closed source client. I don’t really know what my software is doing, do I? Where’s the peer review?

Transmission solves all that, and is quite a nice little application to boot. Nice to see the few that I did.