Thursday, July 21, 2011

Install KDE apps on windows natively

Many of you might be in love with KDE and its applications (as I am), but might be forced to use windows at work/school or for any other reason (again, like me). What is needed is a way to run those applications on windows, without giving up too much resources.

Now, running Linux applications on windows is not new. There are many methods to do so, like:
  • Install Linux in a virtual machine and run it in seamless mode. But, in this method, the whole operating system is installed and it takes up a lot of computer resources to run it.
  • Use cygwin. Cygwin is a collection of tools which provide a Linux look and feel environment for Windows. But, it does not support many GUI applications.
  • Use Cooperative Linux (or coLinux), which is a native port of Linux on windows. But, it still is the whole operating system, and due to some reason I was not able to make sound work in it. There are some other derivatives of coLinux like andLinux, but I have not tried them yet.
  • And of course, there may be native windows builds of your favorite Linux applications which you can directly install and use (like pidgin). 

    The last option is true for some KDE applications because of the KDE Windows Initiative. They develop native versions of many KDE applications for windows. Right now, KDE Software Compilation 4.5.4 is available.

    To install, just download the KDE-installer, select applications to download and install, and you are done. You can see installation screenshots, or the complete manual for more information.

    Since this method just installs the applications you select, it will not take up extra resources. You can also install the plasma-desktop, and it will replace your windows desktop! Also, in the plasma-desktop, you can download and install widgets directly as you do in KDE. If you want, you can also hide the windows taskbar and replace it with a KDE panel (see last screenshot).

    Now, time for some screenshots (KDE applications on windows):

    Plasma Desktop with Dolphin (KDE's file manager)
    Amarok (KDE Music Player)

    KDE System Settings

    Konversation (KDE's IRC Client)
    Plasma-Desktop with panel and Kopete (KDE's Instant Messenger)

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