I’ve had my netbook for about two weeks now, and I absolutely love it. It’s small and light, it looks great and it outperforms my old Thinkpad. It’s a Samsung NC10.
Since I don’t have a nice camera, you won’t see any pictures of the actual computer here. However, I’ll share some screenshots that I took yesterday while using the netbook – maybe other netbook users can find some inspiration?
Show me your desktop!
I like clean desktops. Desktop Environment is KDE 4.2, and the NC10 is running Arch Linux.
Wallpaper: A E R O S T R E A M
Plasma theme: Mainly Arezzo
A cool feature of Plasma is that you can have several “desktops”, or activities as they’re called. Here are two other activities:
The activity name is pretty self-descriptive – I plan to use it for studies. No time to fool around!
Observant math addicts may notice that the calculator isn’t correct. I’m not very happy with the current one and plan to replace it with the Qalculate plasmoid once it’s been fixed for KDE 4.2.
Wallpaper: A Little Motivation
My other activities might not be very newbie friendly – no icons on the desktop and no “start menu”. (How do I launch applications anyway? More on it later). This activity is for people who wants to borrow my netbook. The idea is to set up a keyboard shortcut that switches the desktop to this activity and also changes the keyboard layout to QWERTY.
Wallpaper: Air (default in KDE 4.2)
So I hear it’s called Netbook
First there was a Navigator, then there was an Explorer. Later it was time for a Konqueror. Now it’s time for an Imperator,
With a resolution of 1024 x 600, vertical space is very valuable. The default Firefox configuration takes way too much space. There are many extensions that can help you to optimize Firefox’ viewing area – just do a simple search on Google or check this thread.
As you can see, I choose the easy way – an extension that by default removes the menubar and toolbars. Much recommended to people who like Vim and/or keyboard navigation.
How do you launch applications anyway?
KRunner in action
You probably understand that I prefer to use the keyboard by now. With KRunner mapped to Alt-Space, all applications are just a few keystrokes away. And it’s not only an application launcher – you can also search for files, open bookmarks, calculate expressions, switch between power profiles and much more. There are some nice screenshots of KRunner here.
Common applications, such as Firefox, are mapped to Win-<letter>.
As a bonus, you can also see that the laptop icon next to the clock is supposed to do.
Dolphin, the default file manager
Nothing very special here. Like most applications, Dolphin runs maximized and without window borders. This is done automatically with KWin and window-specific settings. Might add a close button to the panel once the new version of ActiveWindow Control has been released.
My first thought was to make the taskbar look like a tab bar, but there’s a small problem with the theme – the panel’s border separates the “tab” and application, thus completely destroying the “tab feeling”.
Playing games on the netbook
Yakuake is a wonderful terminal emulator and Nethack a wonderful game. They make a great combination.
… Aaw, I suck at Nethack.
Nope, I haven’t tried other games yet – if you wonder how well certain games run on NC10, I can only tell you “Nethack works just fine. For other games, you’ll have to ask someone else”.
However, I do use “Desktop Effects”, introduced in KDE4, and it works very well. Effects such as Slide, Desktop Grid, Cover Switch and Present Windows (see screenshot) run smoothly. The Cube is OKish.
Guess that’s enough screenshots for this time. Now I have to bring my white NC10 out and see how many people will ask if it’s a Mac or if the netbook is running Windows 7.
February 21, 2009 at 19:57
Really slick stuff! Thanks for posting these shots. Now my head is exploding with ideas on how to set up KDE4 on my “netty” (once I get one, that is).
On the other hand, I might just end up not getting any useful work done…
February 22, 2009 at 22:05
Thanks for your kind words. Hope you’ll find a netbook you like soon and enjoy your KDE4 experience. 🙂
February 25, 2009 at 3:05
Hey Hans, I got a quick question. I’ve been hearing rumors that the Intel x11 driver is having issues with the 2.6.28 kernel (current in Arch). Are you having any trouble with this? How are Kwin effects, etc? Did you make any performance tweaks?
Thanks so much!
February 25, 2009 at 12:54
zak89: I use the xf86-video-intel driver, and as far as I can tell, everything’s working fine. I get some corrupted icons in the system tray from time to time, but it isn’t that bad (I also get colored “squares” behind the tray icons if I use some Plasma themes, such as Arezzo original – the system tray theme in the screenshots are from Oxygen).
You can find some tweaks in this Arch thread. I don’t get that much fps with glxgears, but most KWin effects I use still run fine.
Which KWin effects are you interested in? Give me a list and I can try them out (just remember that I’ve upgraded to 2 GB; don’t know if it makes a big difference).
EDIT: There are some minor drawing issues with the window borders. However it happens very seldom and hasn’t bothered me one bit (although I usually hide the border, as seen in the screenshot), so I haven’t tried to track down the cause yet.
April 10, 2009 at 1:29
[…] I greatly prefer KDE4 because it lends itself perfectly to a customized netbook interface. I was hooked by these pix. . And it looks all set to get better! Aaron Seigo posted on his blog about a netbook specific […]
April 24, 2009 at 8:35
May 9, 2009 at 21:17
A little bit late, but thanks! =)
July 26, 2009 at 0:50
Hey hans! Could you document you KWin window settings sometime (the maximized/no-win-decs thing)? I would love to set that up on my netty but I can’t seem to get my head around the KWin config.
July 27, 2009 at 9:50
Sure! Will do when I find the time.