Switching to KDE

I wanted to follow up on how my Linux adventure is going so far. It’s pretty good! I will say though, after living with Xfce for a while and struggling with tasks that should be relatively easy, I’ve made the switch to the Fedora KDE spin. Xfce is great in a lot of ways, but it is definitely showing its age. That’s not to say KDE hasn’t been around for a while, but it is evolving with the times a lot more gracefully. The recent addition of support for Wayland fractional scaling in Plasma 5.27 was what really made the decision easy for me.

The Framework laptop’s screen is beautiful and crisp, but it’s at an awkward resolution point where 100% scaling is way too small and 200% scaling is way too big. Fractional scaling is something I took for granted in Windows, but from what I can tell, it’s just starting to really gain traction in the Linux world. It’s encouraging to see how well it already works in KDE Plasma though. It automatically sized itself very nicely for my laptop’s screen, and while there are a few edge cases where it’s not perfect, it works surprisingly well. I’ve run into some minor hiccups plugging in an external monitor and trying to set a different scale for it, but it’s still a way better experience than trying to do that under Xfce.

Installing the KDE spin was relatively routine IT, and not something I imagine would be useful to go into detail on. The one interesting thing that happened was a failure of the NTFS driver: I was trying to use an old external hard drive to back up my home directory so I could easily restore my data after a clean install, and the NTFS “dirty” bit kept getting set. Something to do with how restic was writing to the drive caused repeated problems that I had to actually go back to my Windows machine to reset.

A few hours of clean SMART tests later, I formatted the drive to exFAT and completed the backup with no problems. I’m still not sure why it behaved that way, but it’s a good lesson for the future on why to format drives in a FAT filesystem if you’re using them on different operating systems. It might not be great for resilience, but it does wonders for driver stability on non-Windows systems.

Now I’m hoping not to reinstall any operating systems for a while. I also made some major changes to my phone recently (maybe that should be another post?), and it will be nice to just use the software I’ve got for a little while. It’s definitely good to be back on KDE.