KDE activities for computer challenged users - and other userfriendly apps

I thought this crowd might be most informed on this question so let’s see :slight_smile:

I’m migrating two seniors incl. my /home/big/daddy from W10 these weeks and have a few req. in place.

Haven’t used a DE for ages and took a tour. KDE activities caught my eye. Could be quite helpful for these users who literally never switches between two different apps and yet gets confused about what’s in the panel and where some window went and spends ages mousing around when that happens.

Maybe a nice dashboard and launcher with huge icons could simplify things for them.
And if KDE activities ties into specific browser sessions even better.

Any ideas? Is there something similar in Gnome, Budgie, etc. worth checking out?

They are on a 15" laptop. I’m pushing a 20" LCD as well and might succeed once they get a sense of the extra space.

Other reqs. FWIW:
Thunderbird or any client that easily imports a TB profile incl. filters

Easy theming, good scaling across all apps

VM host for Win 7/10, rarely used but crucial for one of the users a few times a year (because of IE req. on a gov site! hrmf!)

Maybe a guest account with a read only Win VM as well

Disk image backup or live iso remaster not needed but cloud connectors to Dropbox, onedrive and G drive are

Driver for a Canon scanner printer which I believe do exist in the repos already

Nice and simple image gallery browser, easy slideshows would be appreciated

20.04 LTS based unless someone convinces me otherwise :slight_smile:

If you still have KDE installed you might try Latte Dock. For a nice video to see how it works and how to install it try click this to see @EricAdams video on Latte Dock. Latte Dock was made for KDE and it is highly customizable.

I don’t know if IE is being updated but make sure it is, especially since Windows 7 is not being updated. The security on a webpage is important, especially on a government site. I know for myself I have to use Google Chrome for getting onto government sites. Some things Firefox will not do.

EDIT: I don’t use KDE very often either, I try to stay in WM’s.

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checking the Latte Dock video now, nice, not sure how it aligns with activities yet. As a quicklauncher its probably also overkill for this case. Come to think of it browser sessions may be all they need. Might as well leave some simple »CLICK HERE FOR EMAIL/BANKING/etc« .sh shortcuts on the desktop. Or maybe they’ll find a huge pop-up dashboard helpful, to be tested.

Anyway! There’s a IE 8 on winehq that might work. That would be handy compared to VM (though MS offers these for testing purposes).

I’m drawn to booting MX from USB, with apps, email, dox stored in persistence files either on the USB or on HDD alongside a crippled Win10 (stripped for M$ bloat) non-admin account for them and some portable apps. Separate data partition shared between MX and Win account (sandboxed read-only) for photos etc. and Win clients for cloud backup. Firefox accounts to sync passwords, bookmarks between MX and Win sessions (and elsewhere) and strict orders to do security sensitive tasks on MX sessions only.
Seems simpler to maintain and backup.

Eric Adams’ voice is epic btw, beyond ASMDR++ crispy and great stuff on his channel, thanks.

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Right click on the application launcher and select “Alternatives”. You can then pick " Application Dashboard" for it to become a fullscreen application launcher similar to GNOME’s own.


thanks Jared, wasn’t aware of that, will try

a bit stalled in research and got locked out of here until @EricAdams sorted that, anyway, apparently KDE activities are for widgets, not sure about that yet, but I did try Gnome (via Manjaro) and liked their dashboard or shell or whatever it’s called very much.

The Canon device can indeed scan with Linux, gscan2pdf is perfect.

https://www.ventoy.net/en/index.html is also perfect for quick distro testing not hopping.

I’ll finish this part and create a new post about overall migration plans and how it goes.
Still drawn to frugal installs on top a crippled Windows, might add a Chromium OS (or derivative) for the odd guest user if there’s disk space aplenty. TBC.

And if anyone’s got tips for easy gif recording and uploads please share

Spent 15 KDE activity minutes and its actually quite great. Does exactly as requested.

Usability could be a challenge in this case, the concept of stopping certain activities in particular, so it could end up like their ipad and phones with 10+ background apps running all the time.

But it’s quite promising, looking fw to customize it further.

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OK tried it out now and for my own use that’s a cool dashboard well suited for keyboard centrered usage. Like jgmenu, dmenu, etc. to launch and search for anything in WMs.
Reminds me of spotlight back on OS X, before Win Vista/XP/7 had a similar searcher by default, it blew all/most Win users mind :slight_smile: And there were some nice Win 3rd party apps that did the same (launchy perhaps, something like that).

For my users here who’ll probably always click start/launch/main KDE button every single time and just get confused about using a certain keyboard key for that the Gnome default dash seems better.

As in a big block full sized launcher, quite like Win 8/10 actually, with huge fat names under each icon. And in daily usage they’ll only launch mail client, web browser, pdf reader and scanner, file manager, anyway.

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Glad you’re enjoying the dashboard menu. Also does Windows 10 have one, I thought they got rid of it after Windows 8.

it’s there, OOTB AFAIK, with an alphabetic app listing packed away under an icon in the left side panel, at least on the ones I use.

Having tried Elementary (pantheon) and Gnome (on Manjaro) during the week plus a bit more KDE (neon and MX) I’m settling on Gnome. Would have chosen Elementary where it not for the frugal install setup on this box and I’ll skip trying to build pantheon from scratch on the base (debian, puppy or antix/MX).

https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/1362/custom-hot-corners/ seems to be a working extension that’ll match pantheon’s elegant solution. Could be a usability scoop for this use case.

Also found some Android and Chrome OS forks that could be added as read only boot options for the occasional guest user. Getting there.