APR
9
2007

Ars Technica: A First Look At Dolphin

Ryan Paul over at Ars Technica has a short article talking about Dolphin and KDE 4. "The Linux-based Dolphin file manager is now scheduled for official inclusion in KDE 4, the next major release of the KDE desktop environment. Dolphin includes several unique usability enhancements that aren't available in Konqueror, KDE's current file manager..."

Comments

I've tried Dolphin; several times. And I'm not impressed :-)
Sure, I haven't seen the final version, but has anyone?

I agree with you re KAudiocreator. Sure, it works, but it's - boring. It's just not fun to work with. I think the guy who did the development got bored, too :-)
(But I must add that that I'm very thankful to him; I use the tool frequently).


By Goran Jartin at Tue, 2007/04/10 - 5:00am

Why is the KDE team planning to replace (as default) an established, popular, fundamental program with a program that is not even finished? Sure, the KDE4 launch is months away, but how do we know that Dolphin will improve at all in that time?


By Nate at Tue, 2007/04/10 - 5:00am

Maybe a remnant of the kfmviewxx that was used in the KDE 1.0 days ?

dont repeat the
the mistake


By bah at Wed, 2007/04/11 - 5:00am

Or more to the point. Why do we keep starting new apps rather than improve (and complete) existing ones. The same thing is happening to KView unless there is a last minute reprieve.


By James Richard Tyrer at Wed, 2007/04/11 - 5:00am

"Why do we keep starting new apps rather than improve (and complete) existing ones."

Because improving Konqueror wont change the basic premise of the app. if it did, then it wouldn't be Konqueror anymore, and we might as well have a brand-new app in any case.


By Janne at Wed, 2007/04/11 - 5:00am

"Why is the KDE team planning to replace (as default) an established, popular, fundamental program with a program that is not even finished?"

Because it will be "finished" when they release it? By same logic: Why is KDE-team going to replace KDE3 with KDE4, since KDE4 isn't even finished!

"how do we know that Dolphin will improve at all in that time?"

How do you know it will NOT improve? You are looking at a beta-version of the app, and proclaiming that

a) it's crap

and

b) it's not going to get any better


By Janne at Wed, 2007/04/11 - 5:00am

> How do you know it will NOT improve? You are looking at a beta-version of the
> app, and proclaiming that
> a) it's crap
> and
> b) it's not going to get any better

Fair enough, but those arguments are hardly strong enough to change the *default* file manager. And that's what we're actually talking about.


By Goran Jartin at Wed, 2007/04/11 - 5:00am

"Fair enough, but those arguments are hardly strong enough to change the *default* file manager. And that's what we're actually talking about."

Why not? Are you suggesting that Dolphin will be incapable of handling filemanagement when KDE4 is released?


By Janne at Wed, 2007/04/11 - 5:00am

> Why not? Are you suggesting that Dolphin will be incapable
> of handling filemanagement when KDE4 is released?

No. What I'm saying is that the fact that noone has proved that Dolphin is bad, is not proof that it is good. Not in my book, anyway.
That's why I think that the decision to make Dolphin *default* might have been a bit hasty.


By Goran Jartin at Wed, 2007/04/11 - 5:00am

what should be proved!?

i even like the kde-3 version of dolphin more than konqueror. doesn't that prove dolphin is better?

how would you even compare konqueror and dolphin? they don't do the same thing - and thats the point! the argument for dolphin is that it doesn't do everything konqueror does.


By ac at Wed, 2007/04/11 - 5:00am

> i even like the kde-3 version of dolphin more than konqueror.
> doesn't that prove dolphin is better?

No. But it's nice that you like it :-)

> the argument for dolphin is that it doesn't do everything konqueror does.

? I'd say that that would be an argument for Konqueror, - as least as *default*.

Look - I have nothing against Dolphin, other than that i find Konqueror better, for now. In the future, who knows?
I don't say "scrap Dolphin" - on the contrary, I think people should be allowed to choose. Maybe there shouldn't be a default at all, but just a choice - do you want a integrated KDE file manager / browser, or a simplified one, with a choice of browsers?

If you make Dolphin the default, people will start to use Firefox as a browser, because it is (at the moment) slightly better (at some things).
That *will* end up in fewer people using Konqueror, and thus less interest in developing Konqueror.
This is not hypothetical, it's just pure marketing effects.


By Goran Jartin at Wed, 2007/04/11 - 5:00am

you don't understand...

konqueror and dolphin have completely different concepts.

the developers of dolphin think that the concept of konqueror failed. thats why they write a new application.

so its pretty simple: you can't replace konqueror with dolphin alone, thus you can't really compare them. you just can't say "well, its time, finally dolphin is better than konqueror - make the switch!".

besides, there are other problems. the default filemanager has to be integrated into the desktop. so the best time to change the default is a new major kde version.
thats why the default was decided before dolphin was ready. and because its currently under heavy development, in contrary to konqueror for the last years, it is most likely that dolphin will be ready for the release.
it won't be perfect, but at leased it will not have the same problems konqueror had. and with luck, it may be a better filemanager even for most powerusers.


By ac at Thu, 2007/04/12 - 5:00am

a) "the KDE team"
There hardly is "THE team". KDE is made from a losely coupled group of individuals. And many of them join and leave this group.
There is no "masterplan" that developers have to follow sticktly. That's OSS!

That's the reason why some importand KDE applications aren't developed currently. It's sad, but that's the way of OSS.

b) "a program that is not even finished"
Because konqueror's filemanagement development of the last years nearly stalled. But dolphin has a very active grup of developers at the moment. Thanks to their work konqueror filemanager saw more improvements in the last months than in the whole last years.
Without dolphin, konqueror would have hardly seen any improvement at all!

c) "how do we know that Dolphin will improve"
The list of active deolphin developers ist long compared to konqueror's filemanagement list of developers.
Hacking on dolphin is much easier than hacking on konqueror, simply because konqueror is much more complex.

I think chances that dolphin sees much more development than konqueror's filemanagement is pretty high ;-)
But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe some developers start improving konqueror quite a lot. And maybe dolphin's development will stall.
Then chances are good, that konqueror becomes the default filemanager again.


By birdy at Wed, 2007/04/11 - 5:00am

I'm glad to hear that Dolphin has an active development team. Let's hope it turns out to be a good program.

I just think that it is hasty to decide that an unfinished program should be the default file manager. I would prefer Dolphin to mature for a little while first.


By Nate at Wed, 2007/04/11 - 5:00am

> I would prefer Dolphin to mature for a little while first.

KDE 4 is a platform for proving lots of new technologies and applications. If you want something already mature, you're better off sticking with KDE 3.x until 4.x has been out for a while.


By Paul Eggleton at Wed, 2007/04/11 - 5:00am

Um, no. KDE 4 is the next iteration of KDE. Which I expect to be bigger and better than the previous iteration of KDE, KDE3. It's not about proving random technologies and applications.


By KDE User at Wed, 2007/04/11 - 5:00am

Um, yes. If you look at the number of new technologies being introduced in KDE 4 (none of which are random, by the way) then you'll see that I am correct. Not to mention that KDE 3.x is planned to be be kept around under maintenance even after KDE 4.0 is released for that exact reason.


By Paul Eggleton at Thu, 2007/04/12 - 5:00am

> Because konqueror's filemanagement development of the last years nearly
> stalled. But dolphin has a very active grup of developers at the moment.
> Thanks to their work konqueror filemanager saw more improvements in the
> last months than in the whole last years.

If this is correct (and I have no reason to doubt it), it's actually the first solid argument I've heard for choosing Dolphin! (I still don't think it's a very *strong* argument for changing the default, though).


By Goran Jartin at Wed, 2007/04/11 - 5:00am

I don't know if I'll like Dolphin in KDE 4 or Konqueror in KDE 4 better.

I'm glad I'll get to choose for myself between them when they actually exist.


By Evan "JabberWok... at Wed, 2007/04/11 - 5:00am

Hey! Where is the tree view?? How should I navigate directories? Imagine deep directory structure and you need to go just about its bottom... it would be awfull clicking folder icons and "back/forward". I agree, Konqueror is a bit overfunctional (for a 2 minute session of just finding and opening some doc), but file manager is not a file manager for me, if it hasn't a simple (and fast building) tree view.


By Knuckles at Wed, 2007/04/11 - 5:00am

The KDE 4 version of Dolphin has a tree view.

Best regards,
Peter


By Peter Penz at Wed, 2007/04/11 - 5:00am

Hi! I love konqueror but at this moment i don't like dolphin (i don't know if i'll like it when it be finished). But i've seen this mockup and it's very interesting and nice: http://www.kde-look.org/content/show.php/Dolphin+mockup%21?content=56040
It would be nice if developers take a look at this mockup. The only thing that i've missed it's tabs, they are essential for me and many people.


By Fenix-TX at Wed, 2007/04/11 - 5:00am

I think it is a great idea to make Linux more user friendly, and Konqueror could be easier to use; however, maybe it's just me, but I found Dolphin harder to use than Konqueror.

Does any one know how many usability tests the developers have done on Dolphin?


By Nate at Wed, 2007/04/11 - 5:00am

I still do not understand why it wasn´t possible to simply add a Beginners/Advanced-Option to Konqueror and hide most of the functionality in beginner-mode.
That would probably only take a week of work.


By Jens H. at Wed, 2007/04/11 - 5:00am

Because it's also about to have a simple (and once again, simple doesn't have to mean that it lacks features) file manager.

From http://www.konqueror.org/:
"Konqueror - Web Browser, File Manager - and more!"

Also, you can read some thoughts about user levels here:
http://lists.kde.org/?l=kde-core-devel&m=98944039129759&w=2

Sure, you only suggested Beginner/Advanced, but it could still be interesting reading as some applies to two levels too I think.


By Lans at Wed, 2007/04/11 - 5:00am

Dolphin is not about being simpler, it's about being specialized.

And I doubt it would have been a week of work. As konqueror is very complex because of being a manager and browser, it's much harder to work on.
Simply have a look at the konqueror's settings. They are a mess. Browser and manager related settings are mixed up - surely not userfriendly. And not fixable in one week...


By birdy at Thu, 2007/04/12 - 5:00am

One thing I'd love to see in Dolphin is a left bar identical or at least similar to the sidebar in Xandros' File Manager (you can see it here at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Xfm.png).
It looks reasonably ergonomic and contains links to various important parts of the system. Obviously in some ways Dolphin already looks better, e.g. better icon theme and breadcrumb support. However, let's take the best features from the Xandros offering and use them to enhance this manager even further.


By Darryl Ramm at Thu, 2007/04/12 - 5:00am

It's a joke, dosen't it?.


By Luis at Fri, 2007/04/13 - 5:00am

I think from this whole discussion and from the previous one it is quite obvious that making Dolphin the default was and is a seriously bad idea. Not because it's like Nautilus or whatnot, not because it may or may not have been conceived by "usability experts" that seem to always end up ruining usability, and not because Konqueror is so much better - we all know it's teeming with ridiculous bugs and needs tons of work to make it usable.

It's because making Dolphin the default brings a great risk of splitting the community and ruining the traditional KDE spirit of progress, unity, and collaboration. It is so much easier to ruin a community than to build it. Remember what happened to Kollaboration? It worked wonderfully until one day someone decided to "improve" it by moving the whole thing to some different place and making other changes? The result? The whole thing is *gone*, as in *totally destroyed*, and that new project with shiny new forums has exactly two messages posted over the last year, without a single reply.

So Aaron and all of you who make decisions, please think it a hundred times over before doing something like that again.


By 5yr KDE user at Thu, 2007/04/12 - 5:00am

Let the project take its course. There's no reason why the best attributes of Konqueror can't be implemented into Dolphin, and the hard work of the developer(s) suggests a willingness to produce high-quality code, which could quite feasibly have few, mainly minor bugs by the KDE 4 release.


By Albus Snape at Fri, 2007/04/13 - 5:00am

I'm with you 100%. Let Dolphin take its time to develop and be a great KDE program.

The bad idea I talked about is making it the default, at this time at least.

That's a mistake, and I hope the powers that be realize it sooner rather than later.


By 5yr KDE user at Fri, 2007/04/13 - 5:00am

1. view memory. the single biggest reason i dislike konqueror. who on earth though it would be a good idea *not* to remember view settings in directories? if i set the contents to preview mode and sort it by date, i want it that way permanently. thank god dolphin does this. if konqueror does it, you can mark it down for usability cos i've been using the thing for a year and not found it yet...

2. bookmarks. very easily accessible bookmarks. and very easy to make new ones too.

3. file info. highlight a file and it's on the left (or right or wherever they've put it now). i don't have to hover over anything and wait for it to pop up in a tiny image.

4. open as root. the amount of times i've had to go through the start menu to open a whole new konqueror window just so i can get root privaleges to edit something... highlight a folder in dolphin and there's a button in the sidebar to allow oppening that folder as root. i like the "open this location in terminal" button too.

5. no horrible tree view for files. never like the things. up, back, forward, and a few bookmarks, that's how i like my navigation.


By pepsi_max2k at Sat, 2007/04/14 - 5:00am

5. Bad news: there will be a tree view ;-)


By MM at Sun, 2007/04/15 - 5:00am

Are you sick, KDE4 developers?
In my opinion, Konqueror is the only serious reason for the KDE project still to exist: The genuine all-in-one idea has been, as Konqueror has been the first in it and is still the only, the key to KDE's success. When you need a web browser, take Konqueror, and it does a really good job as file manager and basic FTP client, as well. Any file can be viewed \- but hasn't to. No one and nothing forces the user to view videos with KMPlayer KPart, there are also Kaffeine and xmms-mplayer and so on. For browsing, Firefox or Opera or w3m or whatever also do a good job. KWord is an excellent _and_ lightweight word processor not only in a Konqueror tab; nothing plays your music more comfortably than Amarok. But to provide all these facilities combinedly, Konqueror is the only choice!
KDE lives from being integrated, it's even advertises with that. Why should you want to destroy that image forcibly? What would then be the difference between KDE and all the other faceless \"mosaicked" DEs? Why should one install blown-up Qt4 and kdelibs just for another Thunar or nautilus clone (they _exactly_ do the same restricted job and _look_ even the same)? There is not even a lack of standalone Qt-based file managers! Not even amateurish ones!

And to the point that Konqueror would stay available: Did you realise at all, that Konqueror is KDE's most charismatic application? One must squeeze man into their luck. And that Konqueror isn't that customisable that it looks and acts like all the mid-class Gtk-FMs does be luck.
People changing from any proprietary OS to linux want to discover new functions. But when there are none, why should they stay using linuxoids? As I switched from Windoof to GNU/Linux (KDE 3.3 on SuSE 9.2, good ol' times...), I was deeply amazed by all of Konqueror's features, and no time even the idea of frightened about over-complexity, that's not the problem. Konqueror just was a good app (and furthermore self-confident enough for showing its name), a very good app.
Some months, I still used Firefox as a web browser (of habit), until Konqueror's Adblock-functionality obsoleted it within KDE 3.5 . Even though one can argue if Konqui's browsing capabilities are superior of Geckos' ones (btw: don't throw KHTML away when integrating Gecko into the KDE4 browser, not only Apple would be concerned...), but Konqueror offered one-in-all functionality \- an entierly new experience! Is it sensible to hide that between the dozens of other applikations of a KDE box?

Imagine a Windoof user trying a try-out-Linux-GUI live CD, browsing his HDD with Dolphin and the web with Konqueror, and then switching to Gnome, seeing the same with Nautilus and Epiphany, and then to XFce, with Thunar and Firefox. He undoes the CD and asks why to switch away from his Exploiter/IE desktop when there is nothing new than a few other-looking widgets, a bit more security, exchanged for a bit few WMV and Adobe Flash.
Is that the impression you want to give, KDE4 team? To be replaceable? (Yes, you might say Konqueror still continues existing, but the expression will come up, if you don't force all people use it). If yes, you should also port QtCurve as fast as possible to Qt4. Or sink.

Is there actually a reason to throw Konqueror as file manager? Konqueror (and the view profiles technology is awesome as you can see from the minor spread of Krusader and similar) is as simple or as advanced as you need it for file management! Yes, annoyingly Metabar, the preview and filelinfo function is not as weakly hidden as in M$ Exploiter or Nautilus, for scripting you will have to cope with a programming language, and yes, the directory tree sidebar does not follow the current path properly. But those are no existential problems or design errors, but solvable issues. Why not integrating some useful how-to pages into documentation accessible over the portal page? Why not coding some lines instead of writing an entirely new programme? And OOOARGH! They KILLED the URL bar! Why not as here: http://www.kde-look.org/content/show.php?content=35637 ? Why to flatten everything onto Gtk-format, only because Canonical has a smarter and more successful marketing management than Bernhard Rosenkränzer?
Doesn't a free community live from freedom to choose, to choose also between a Konqueror-ish file manager and cd ls mv ?
KDE can't wait for masses' curiosity of computing issues for promotion its uniqueness!

Actually, I want to give some advise to both the KDE4 developers and, mainly, to dolphin's: Do you know Filelight? http://www.kde-apps.org/content/show.php?content=9887 It's unique, it's tiny, and it's KPart. Running \"filelight" from a Run dialog, or out of the K menu, Filelight starts as a standalone device filling grade overview, you can browse into your dirs, search'n'delete huge files or enjoy all the nice colours of the filesize diagrams. But clicking the little yellowish-orange button in Konqueror's main toolbar, the same applies to the current directory. KPart. It works.
I acknowledge every line of free source code and don't want to fight against diversity of software. But wouldn't it thus be the finest to transform Dolphin, which might really have its advantages, into a KPart? And then, as the default Konqueror plugin for directory browsing, I don't mind. Dolphin (what a sin \- not a single K inside the name, how should people then realise that it is a KDE programme?) would stay optionally as a standalone, basical file browser, and those who want to continue using the high-quality file manager Konqueror (as me, for instance), enjoy another growth of versatility. Why not?


By ertua at Sun, 2007/04/15 - 5:00am

> Are you sick, KDE4 developers?

No, but we are open for any constructive input. Starting your input like this does not speak very much for you, honestly speaking ;-) Still I'd like to reply to some of your points.

> Did you realise at all, that Konqueror is KDE's most charismatic
> application? One must squeeze man into their luck.

No, we don't want to squeeze anybody into their luck. That's why Konqueror will stay as it is. We don't want to replace Konqueror by Dolphin. Please check http://aseigo.blogspot.com/search/label/dolphin for some background infos.

> Is there actually a reason to throw Konqueror as file manager?

Konqueror will exist as file manager as always. Nothing will be thrown away.

> Why not coding some lines instead of writing an entirely new programme?

Dot comments like yours are one reason why developers fear to change anything in Konqueror: as soon as something will be changed a lot of people raise there voice "don't change this and that, you kill the soul of Konqueror". Also Dolphin is not a complete new application, it uses all Konqueror commands and the KDE library for the file management tasks. Dolphin is not much more than a thin shell.

> And OOOARGH! They KILLED the URL bar!

That's not true: you can switch back without any problems and the setting will be remembered. Please inform yourself a little bit and spend 5 minutes reading some information at http://enzosworld.gmxhome.de.

> Actually, I want to give some advise to both the KDE4 developers
> and, mainly, to dolphin's

Thanks, but as you called us developers "crazy" I'll just ignore (at least your) advice :-)

> But wouldn't it thus be the finest to transform Dolphin,
> which might really have its advantages, into a KPart?

Dolphin will offer a KPart for Konqueror.

Best regards,
Peter


By Peter Penz at Sun, 2007/04/15 - 5:00am

I just wanted to say, Peter, that I admire your patience and willingness to listen to input (even if most of the input from these threads is ... a little misinformed, to say the least :))

You're doing a great job with Dolphin, and I'm sure it will go from strength to strength. As one of the handful of KDE fans on the UbuntuForums, I pay special attention to the complaints about KDE, and one of the foremost is the clutter and complexity of Konqueror that stems from its browser-manager duality. Making Dolphin the default is, in my opinion, the Right Move, and keeping Konqueror around for the power users makes it even Righter :)


By anon at Sun, 2007/04/15 - 5:00am

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