Migrating from Gnome to KDE

Since installing Linux Mint 11 on my new(est) machine, I’ve been frustrated with the UI. Even with (or because of?) the latest updates to Gnome, title bars and status tabs in the task panel would not update, such as when changing directories in a shell, or switching files in Emacs. Even switching from Compiz to Metacity did not help.

Mint 11 ships with Gnome as the window manager, and from feedback from another long-time Linux devotee, I decided to try KDE. I’d only used Gnome before, although I have set up KDE systems (namely Kubuntu) and liked what I saw.

Since Mint does not include KDE, via Synaptic I added kde-full, logged out and logged into KDE (selecting it on login), and … well, it’s great. Much cleaner interface, title bars and the task bar work as they should, and the effects are good, yet not excessive.

The only nit was the font for Gtk apps, such as Firefox and Synaptic, which were some ugly font, making me feel like I was running Netscape circa 1998. Online I found some references to gtkqt-engine, but that package is not in the Mint/Ubuntu/Debian repositories. More poking around revealed it now as kde-config-gtk, which, when installed, make Gtk applications use the KDE fonts, and all is well now.