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My KDE Workfloaw

Ayush
・3 min read

Introduction

I have been using KDE as my default Desktop Environment for about a year now. Previously I have used Gnome, Budgie, LXDE and Window Managers like Qtile and Awsome.

Recently, I tried switching back to just Window Manager, however, after struggling a few days, I came back to KDE. So I decided, to write this to understand my workflow on KDE better and realized what has changed from my window manager time.

System

I am using the Fedora KDE Spin of Fedroa 34 with Nvidia Drivers.

Workflow

Activities

KDE has this concept of activities which I have not yet seen in any other Desktop Environment. At first glance it appears to be be similar to Workspaces in Gnome, but that's not quite accurate considering KDE already has Virtual Desktops which are closer to workspaces.

The best way I can describe activities is like having a multi monitor setup, but the monitors are placed such that only 1 monitor is visible at a time. Activites can have their own Virtual Desktops, their own power setting, separate wallpapers, desktop widgets and a lot more.

My current setup consists of 5 Activities:

  1. Default
  2. Games
  3. Media
  4. Programming
  5. University

Each Activity is bound with a keyboard shortcut. Also, each activity consists of 5 virtual desktops, so in Gnome terms, I have 25 workspaces at once, and each jump requires either 1 keypress (if in same activity) or 2 keypresses. This is extreamly useful, specially on my desktop since I mostly do not shut it down even once during the day. This means I can attend my university lectures in the morning, switch to the media activity to watch some anime, and then go back to the university activity for afternoon lectures.

I also have a order about which Virtual Desktop I use for which application, so mostly, windows never get lost.

Most desktops have either horizontal or vertical virtual desktops, however, this Activities + Virtual Desktops workflow gives a Matrix like layout, which is just much easier to work with when there are too many virtual desktops. Also the separation allows focusing on a particular task.

Theme

I use the Breeze-Dark theme which is the dark variant of the default theme. I have tried use a few other themes before, however the compositor used to crash for me a lot, and I found the default theme has no such issues with Nvidia, so I just stick with it now.

Applications

Most of KDE applications are really great and extremely powerful, so I just stick with those. Also, I just use the QT versions of the applications, if possible. Most of my applications are installed through flatpak, so dependencies is not really an issue.

KDE Connect is an application that deserves a special mention. It is simply incredible. If you have an Android phone, you simply need to check it out. It even works with Gnome through an extension (GSconnect).

Display Server

I have Nvidia GPU so well, wayland is simply not really a consideration for me. I know that Gnome is better with Wayland but I'm pretty sure that KDE will catch up by the time Nvidia 470 drivers will come out.

Performance

KDE is fast enough, just like almost any DE out there. I have a fairly good machine, so I as long as there is no drastic difference, I don't mind a few extra % cpu usage.

Also, KDE is lighter than Gnome at least in my system, and I don't feel Gnome is slow, so KDE isn't either.

Conclusion

KDE is one of the most customizable DE out there. It works pretty well out of the box, but with a bit of tinkering, I find it much better suited to my needs than anything else I have used before. Also, Activities is pretty much a killer feature and I haven't found any alternative to it yet. So I think I am going to continue using KDE for the foreseeable future. I would also like to hear how other people use KDE in comments.

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