I was delighted to hear that KDE was back in the groove again with a fast, stable and extremely usable system- SC 4.8. After the dark age of versions 4.0 to 4.7, it was music to my ears. The jump from 3 to 4 had indeed been traumatic, as the KDE developers gradually managed to get their version 4 code to work properly. Taking a quick look around I went for Linux Mint 12 KDE
I used the 32 bit DVD iso and installed on a Dell Precision 380 with 2Gb ram. Post install keyboard, sound and graphics all worked flawlessly including desktop effects. To install a canon ip1800 printer I downloaded a couple of deb files (for the driver) and the kde printer utility did the rest- worked first time.
Linux Mint 12 KDE comes with KDE 4.7 but you can easily upgrade to the 4.8 version that is creating all the buzz, by adding the kubuntu backports repository
(sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kubuntu-ppa/backports). Then do a ‘sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade’ to install 4.8. I have had no application crashes at all, in fact the solutions to the well known niggles can be found here: http://forum.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=109&t=95939&p=552613
I switched to the ‘icon-only task manager’ for the panel which just puts icons on the task bar.
I found it strange that the Mint team did not include the firewall utility in system settings. However, Linux Mint 12 comes with ufw (uncomplicated firewall) and is simple to setup for a desktop system. In konsole just type:
sudo ufw default deny incoming && sudo ufw default allow outgoing && sudo ufw allow ssh && sudo ufw enable
That will give you a solid firewall that allows ssh connections, in case you want to login from another computer. If you need other services to run then check out the manual.
Getting VirtualBox up and running needed a little research but I had it working inside of half an hour.
Linux Mint 12 KDE (upgraded to KDE SC 4.8) is a solid distro for desktop/ home business use. Apart from a few minor niggles (a lot less than I have had setting up windows 7) I have found it to be stable, responsive and easy to use.
KDE SC 4.8 is morphing into a professional desktop environment, that is just as good as Windows 7 or Mac OS X. After the limbo of version 4.0 ( that’s when I stopped using KDE, it was just a mess) the KDE team have got their mojo back with a vengeance.