Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 10th Jan 2006 00:21 UTC, submitted by george
Linux "More than five years ago the launch of Microsoft Windows XP - and its considerably improved features and reliability compared with Windows 98 and 2000 - made a comprehensive desktop rollout a no-brainer for companies. The other options were all far from desirable. Now, as the world gears up for the launch of Windows Vista, the conclusion may not be so cut and dry. Certainly, Vista is set to be feature-packed and reliable, and many companies will move to the new platform as a matter of course. However, Linux has come a long way in five years, with the concerted effort of hobbyists around the world supplemented by the resources of tech heavyweights to push its desktop features to near-parity with Windows XP."
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near-parity ?
by jacquouille on Tue 10th Jan 2006 01:09 UTC
jacquouille
Member since:
2006-01-02

The article says : "to push its desktop features to near-parity with Windows XP."

Disclaimer : I happen to be a KDE user, but I'm sure that most of the good things I'm saying below about KDE, could also be said about Gnome.

Before 2003, KDE was simply too heavy, buggy and instable to be really usable. Those were the times of KDE 2 and 3.0.x, and both were very depressing.

In 2003, the KDE 3.1.x series were released, largely improving stability and speed, and I remember that Slackware 9.1 with KDE 3.1.4 was already a quite decent desktop.

In my opinion, as far as the desktop features are concerned, near-parity with XP has been achieved by the KDE 3.2.x versions, released in Spring 2004. This versions brought a lot more stability, speed and responsiveness, while refreshing the look and adding many new features and programs. Read here :
http://arstechnica.com/reviews/os/kde-3-2.ars
Together with the new 2.6 linux kernel, this was a huge leap for the free desktop. At last it was completely usable.

KDE 3.3, released at the end of the summer of 2004, noticeably improved the speed and the rendering (much less redraws and flicker). This is when KDE begun to get 'sexy' and it was truly amazing to see the developers being able to further improve the speed after all what had already be done in 3.1 and 3.2.

KDE 3.4, released at the beginning of 2005, shipped with the new Plastik theme, and for the first time my windows-using friends begun to say that "linux looks very good". It also was the first KDE release to include experimental features to demonstrate the new X extensions like Composite. At the same time, Amarok and Komposť (a copy of Apple's Exposť) were maturing, largely contributing to the desktop experience. The new media:/ KIO-slaves and the optional use of DBUS and HAL allowed to use USB keys very easily.

At that point, IMHO, the linux/BSD desktop was already noticeably better than XP.

KDE 3.5 considerably improves on KDE 3.4. With it, I think XP is simply left behind. See :
http://www.kde.org/announcements/visualguide-3.5.php
Good for MS that Vista is coming soon, because, on a technical point of view, XP can't compete with KDE anymore.

I don't know much about KDE4, other than it will run even faster and use even less memory, thanks to the migration to the excellent Qt4 libraries.

Edited 2006-01-10 01:28

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