KDE vs Unity: Is KDE Better Than Unity?

KDE’s advantages on a multi-monitor set-up
KDE is extremely customizable when you are looking at a multi-monitor set-up. Here is how you can customize KDE for a multi-monitor set-up.
1. You can add independent panels on each monitor
2. You can add independent widgets on each monitor.  For example, I use second monitor to watch movies so I have added a folder view on the second monitor which is configured to show the partition where I keep all my videos. You can have as many folder views you want on each monitor.
3. You can pin different apps on the panels of different monitor and thus have access to the apps that you would want to open on that monitor. For example, I use GIMP and other editing applicatiosn on my second monitor. So I have pinned such apps on the panels of that monitor. The first monitor has Firefox, Thunderbird and Chrome pinned to its panel.
4. You can have different wallpaper for each monitor. Yes, you can set different wallpapers on different monitors.

Nekhelesh: SOme of this will land in Ubuntu 12.10 with the new unity spread with the ability to assign a wallpaper for each workspace.

These capabilities of KDE makes me feel as if each monitor is an independent OS. These capabilities are missing from Unity.

This capability of KDE is one of the reasons (in addition to the lack of customization and global menus) why I chose KDE over Unity. There are no emotions or liking here. It’s purely based on a use case.

Unity rocks in its own capacity
As I said above with Unity Ubuntu has started to look beautiful and appealing. I have converted a lot of users from Windows to Ubuntu and they loved Unity. With Unity Ubuntu has joined the ranks of highly integrated distributions such as Mandriva. Unfortunately a KDE fan doesn’t get the same level of integration in Kubuntu that we see in Mandriva or openSUSE. It is unfortunate that we don’t have a highly integrated distro like Mandriva, Mageia, Chakra or Arch which is based on Debian. I think integration and design is an area where Kubuntu and Linux Mint team may want to focus on. We do need a highly integrated Debian based KDE distro.

Should I consider Unity with 12.04?
In my opinion and use case KDE is far more advanced and ‘useful’ than Unity is. I have pointed out some areas where KDE excelled over Unity. I know that the design decisions which Canonical has taken don’t and won’t allow such flexibility and customization. Not much is going to change with 12.04. Which unfortunately also mean Unity can never become as customizable as KDE is. I don’t know about future, may be Unity will gradually evolve into a much more customizable shell. May be Unity will learn from KDE and implement such features. If that happens, I will surely switch back to Unity.

Nekhelesh: With 3rd party apps, it becomes configurable although not as much as KDE.

Conclusion:
So, after my 24 hour long stint with Unity, I am back to KDE. I strongly believe that Kubuntu can be an answer to Windows 8, but the team needs to work a bit on polishing it and integrate it well. Most of the users that I talked to and who didn’t have a very good impression of KDE were the ones who tried it with Kubuntu. I have yet to come across any openSUSE,  Mandriva, Chakra or Fedora user who hates KDE. The reason is simple – tight integration and polish. So, the goal for Kubutu team is simple and easy.

I will heavily recommend KDE to a user. KDE has been kept out  of the limelight and hype that it truely deserves. Unity is a great project and it is shaping up really well but if you are looking for complete control over your computer, you should consider KDE. That doesn’t mean KDE is for everyone. It’s not meant to be. You should be perfectly fine with Unity. I will prefer Unity on my netbook, but for my laptop and main PC it will only be KDE.

About Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.

69 thoughts on “KDE vs Unity: Is KDE Better Than Unity?

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