Plasma 5.14 Just Released – Here’s what to discover.

Virtual Desktops Have Changed in Favor of Activities

It doesn’t seem possible to switch virtual desktops with a programmable keyboard shortcut anymore, however, in my pure Archlinux KDE Plasma 5.14 install, it is possible to switch desktops by placing the cursor on a blank area of the screen and using the mouse wheel – if you have one. You can also switch to virtual desktops by pressing Ctrl-F1 / Ctrl-F2 etc.

Activities, on the other hand, can be programmed to switch with your own programmable keystrokes, AKA keyboard shortcuts.

For example, on my computer I set up four virtual desktops and four Activities. I also set up so I can switch to any activity on the left with Ctrl-Alt-Left or on the right with Ctrl-Alt-Right. I used to do that with virtual desktops, however, now activities behave much like virtual desktop switching used to but each activity has it’s own set of virtual desktops completely separate from the other virtual desktops. Therefore, I have 16 virtual desktops! These things are relatively easy to figure out how to do in the new KDE Plasma 5.15 release.

Since each activity can have a diffent keyboard shortcut, unlike KDE Plasma virtual desktops which all share the same wallpaper, it’s more like XFCE in that sense. The default (and perhaps only) animation in switching activities is sliding. I hope they change that. I like the cube.

Every time you set up a new activity you have the same setup of virtual desktops you had in the original. That’s probably a flaw that could be corrected, but who cares? I like four virtual desktops, so I set that up. Then I set up four activities, and each has four virtual desktops, and I can now switch from activity to activity with CTRL-ALT-LEFT (or RIGHT). It gives me 16 virtual desktops, if you follow me. Mind you that configuring how to switch activities is up to you.

I now have a super easy way to switch activities and a super easy way to switch to desktops within that activity. Essentially, I have 4 x 4 desktops, or 16. You can have as many or as few as you want. I think some projects might get buried or lost – like this article. I lost which activity and/or virtual desktop out of my 16 contained my article while I did research. Fortunately, I found it again!

KDE is still under development

KDE is still changing and I’m an old school Linux user. I used to use KDE but then abandoned it in favor of Cinnamon and Mate until years later. I’ve tried, of course, Gnome, XFCE, etcetera, but now I’m back examining Gnome after 21 years of Linux experience.

KDE is improving all the time. It is resource heavy, unlike XFCE which is lighting fast, but it’s prettier and more functional if you don’t mind the lag. Of course, if you’ve got a modern computer, there’s no lag. Go with KDE Plasma 5.14.

Remember, my personal recommendation? Kde Plasma 5.14!

Xubuntu

Members of the Arch, Antergos and (especially) Manjaro communities will probably be happy to learn that I’m over here now. Xubuntu.
I was at a point where I thought to experiment and I reformatted with Sabayon Linux. What I learned is that Gentoo based distributions take forever to compile and use simple software downloads.
Alas, after a few days I thought to go back to the safety net of Antergos OS. At the time, I didn’t know, Cnchi, the Antergos installer, was broken. To have broken software on a rolling distribution of Linux is normal. To have that happen to the installer was unfortunate to me.
I had no computer! This wasn’t a VM box install. This was the real deal. I needed something to use until Cnchi repaired itself.
Even though some people in the Manjaro forum have been very “good riddance” to me when I suggested an April Fools prank they did was not funny, I reinstalled Manjaro.
It turns out my ISP was having problems at the time. I didn’t know. No fault to Manjaro. I could not update the system once it was installed.
My wife suggested, “Go back to Ubuntu.”
Well, not exactly. I hate Unity and even though Unity is out the door it’s still here for now. I did, however, have a DVD install of Xubuntu, the Xfce version of Ubuntu.
That’s where I am.
It’s not a rolling distribution, but it is solid and I don’t have to reinstall because I can keep the system up to date, apparently, with the click of a mouse.
I loved Arch/Antergos/Manjaro and the now discontinued Apricity. I still belong to their forums. I am now back with Ubuntu.
Everything works. Codecs, YouTube, Netflix, all functional out of the box. That helps a lot!

Sabayon Linux Deal Breaker?

Install a System. It worked great in a Virtual Box window. Time to install it on a real system, not a virtual one. I downloaded the ISO file from the Sabayon Linux Website. Burned the ISO file to a DVD and installed, since my older system requires I install from DVD.
Follow the Wiki: I followed the steps which took a whole day to upgrade the system in the Sabayon New Install Wiki. That just took forever. In any case I wound up with a fresh install of Sabayon Linux, based on Gentoo, running on my computer.
Printer Can’t Be Found: Well, obviously if I can’t set up the printer with at least CUPS if not the HP Printer utility that would be a deal breaker. One must be able to print out stuff on the printer, right?
Still looking into it. Not happy that it’s not as “out of the box” as it seemed in a virtual box, especially after investing two days in the install, update process. Not many people would be impressed, although when you have a working, updated system they say stuff like “Your system is up to date! Cool!”