I have been using the KDE desktop environment since 2004, when I first switched to Linux, however in recent days I have been planning to start using GNOME, because of the dysfunctionality of the 4.x versions of the central KDE applications that I have used for years.

In my case, Kontact has just been a dog for two years, and it looks to get even worse for a while before it gets better given that the next version will be using the Akonadi storage framework, which has just worked absolutely abysmally for something as simple as a 20-entry addressbook. How on earth that Akonadi is going to handle 2000+ email archives like mine is completely and totally beyond me comprehension.

Another big drag has been the various the bookmarks editor in Konqueror. I have at least 1000 bookmarks, and every damn time I have tried sorting and arranging them, the damn editor has crashed, and ruined all my bookmarks, and even after several versions it still did it (I am using 4.4.3, however I have tested 4.5 and the problems persisted, and so far I cannot imagine 4.6 being any better).

Amarok has turned into the biggest hog I h ave ever seen, what the hell is with a 25 – 30 second start-up time? *sigh*

Kopete has been giving me problems for a while now, when adding people on MSN/WLM, they would not show up despite being online, and I would have to delete and re-add them several times.

So with all of these problems, I have been slowly gravitating towards replacing Kontact/Kopete/Konqueror with Thunderbird/Pidgin/Firefox, and I thought to myself, since all of these applications, which I spend the most of my time in, are GTK apps, why not just run GNOME and get a general GTK environment which would probably work and feel more integrated? It did not immediately occur to me, because I generally hate GNOME’s user interface philosophy of dumbing everything down to the lowest common denominator like the plague, however as a “shell” for applications, I find it usable. Having said that, there’s still some KDE applications that no GNOME equivalent even gets near in terms of functionality and power.

First of all is KWrite/Kate, because gedit just sucks, big time. Try writing some shell commands in gedit and skip through it using Ctrl and the arrow keys, and then do the same with KWrite, and you will see what I mean. A feature of KWrite I have always fond useful is the ability to quickly turn a bunch of lower case text to upper case, and vice versa.

Second is BasKet Note Pads, which is probably THE BEST note-taking program for Linux and UNIX, hands down.

During my research into using GNOME, which was done mainly with Debian Squeeze in mind, as that is what I am considering switching to. I wrote a small HOWTO for integrating Qt and KDE applications into GNOME or Xfce in case anybody out there finds it useful which can be found here: Integrating KDE applications into GNOME/Xfce on Debian Squeeze.