KDE, XFCE et al.
I’ve been using KDE since my final migration to Linux operating system in 2005. It used to be useful, although ugly looking environment in its first versions.
KDE version 3 set the standard and KDE version 4 has improved over it. But including inclusion of the Plasma desktop instead of experimental SuperKaramba used previously has demonstrated itself as two-edged sword. Although nice and potentially likely highly useful, Plasma has been plagued by many problems. Crashes used to be frequent in the first versions of KDE 4 and rarely they still happen. Overall feeling from KDE is that it is not integrated well enough. Every program uses its own notifications, there are many different ways how a user is informed about an event etc. KDE also feels sometimes rather unresponsive or heavy.
I have recently tried using XFCE on a new desktop computer and it immediately felt lighter, faster and moreover, much better integrated. Everything seems to be well integrated in XFCE, icons, tooltips, pop-ups, notifications. Everything feels smooth and seamless.
KDE is now a giant slowly falling down under its own weight. I am really expecting what will the new version of KDE (number 5) bring.
Why I don’t mention Gnome? Because it’s way outdated, that’s why. And no, based on what I have seen, the Unity is not the right path to take either.