JAN
6
2008

Ars Technica Reports on KDE 4.0.0 Tagging

Ars Technica is reporting on the tagging of KDE 4.0.0 in an article titled, "KDE 4.0.0 tagged in preparation for release." In this report, Ars Technica briefly explains the importance of the tagging process as well as what one can expect with the upcoming KDE 4.0.0 release. "Although the 4.0 release has many rough edges, it also showcases a tremendous number of innovative new features and technologies." 4.0 is scheduled for release at the end of next week.

Comments

Nice. That is actually, in my opinion, a very clear and concise summary of how the end user should look at KDE 4.0.0.

This is the foundation, usable for some, lacking for others. Migration will happen slowly, as each user or distribution decides that it has reached sufficient maturity. :-)


By Nikolaj Hald Nielsen at Mon, 2008/01/07 - 6:00am

Put this in the release notes : )

I've been in two minds about this release being 'premature' from first trying the RCs, but this just sold it to me: Releasing is totally the right thing to do.

Thanks Michael


By Martin Fitzpatrick at Mon, 2008/01/07 - 6:00am

> For example, in file dialog there are no more owner, group and
> permissions columns or "folder first", "separate folders" and
> "case sensitive" options, WHY?

I ported the file-dialog from KDE 3 to KDE 4 and the reasons for having this features not available in KDE 4.0 are just because we've been running out of time. As Aaron explained already especially the file-view related parts in KDE 4 had to be rewritten nearly from scratch due to Interview from Qt4. We'll add such kind of missing features again in the 4.x releases :-)


By Peter Penz at Mon, 2008/01/07 - 6:00am

This is the point where I get frustrated with KDE's monolithic releases ;) I'd love to see such stuff come in without necessarily having to wait for 4.1 (and without having to run SVN). The monolithic thing just seems to slow things down sometimes. I wasn't happy at all when Kopete went into KDE, as that meant new features would only come out with KDE releases.

Obviously it works well (for all but the illogically impatient perhaps) so I'm not advocating change. I guess it's my way of saying I'm glad to hear changes are coming and I look forward to them!


By jason at Mon, 2008/01/07 - 6:00am

Everytime I build KDE from source, I'm so glad it has monolithic releases. :-)


By Richard Van Den Boom at Mon, 2008/01/07 - 6:00am

Set yourself up a build environment where you can use the latest from svn code. Set yourself up a proper and robust backup method for your data.

Then run the latest and greatest. During the kde 3 development cycle I found it very satisfying to experience the maturation as it happened. And I found it surprisingly stable.

Some inside baseball: don't update during the two weeks preceeding a code freeze. It will break.

Derek


By D Kite at Mon, 2008/01/07 - 6:00am

This approach usually does not work. If your preferred app resides in a KDE mayor package, you can't cherry-pick it but have to pull the hole package, which maybe only builds against the unstable trunk kdelibs, but not against any stable version. That means that you have only two reasonable options:

(1) Live on the bleeding edge and use the trunk for all your KDE apps.

(2) Wait until the next release.

A more modular approach (i.e. git repositories for each app) would allow an app to proceed at its own pace and state its own preconditions.


By anonymous coward at Mon, 2008/01/07 - 6:00am

This approach does usually work, even if you have to get the whole major package you don't have to compile more than the application you want. Much the same way distributions split it in to individual packages for each application. The KDE packages are very modular.

As stated the only problem you can have are when the application require functionality not present in the current stable kdelibs, but the ability to only pick the application you want makes this less likely. In the past this has even been done officially by application maintainers, for instance Kopete has been released both as part of the kde and as separate releases.


By Morty at Mon, 2008/01/07 - 6:00am

Hi, the work that's gone into the KDE4 series is impressive. I was looking at the Plasma website (which I know is out of date) and I saw a whole thing on "extenders" (scroll halfway down http://plasma.kde.org/cms/1069). So I now wonder if extenders are still part of the developers' plans for Plasma (obviously in 4.1 or later) or if they are going to use something else for the same functionality?

Also, there was a really exciting article a while ago by Troy Unrau about a job progress manager (http://dot.kde.org/1169588301/). And it was also cool to hear from Aaron that Plasma will be better integrated later on for use with Linux MCE. There probably won't be updates on that for a while, but it's definitely something I'll look forward to as KDE4 matures.

So how do the developers find all their ideas going into implementation phase? Have you had to remove or change some of the features you intend to have for Plasma over the next few years, or is everything going according to a pre-arranged plan? KDE is a really exciting project, and I look forward to hearing more about its future direction soon!


By Parminder Ramesh at Mon, 2008/01/07 - 6:00am

everything you note is still on the rails to happen. just not all in 4.0. i wish i was a magician and could make it all happen yesterday, but at least we've been able to put down all the tracks necessary to drive the train to the destination. media center (relies on mce project; they'll be at the release event), extenders (relies in part on WOC in Qt 4.4) and job manager (just didn't have time for it, just as with completing the welcome applet) will come too.

i should have a lot more time for plasmoid devel rather than only plasma framework devel, meaning that i'll be able to help bring the plasma features to the forefront with the other plasma devs this time around =)


By Aaron J. Seigo at Mon, 2008/01/07 - 6:00am

Thanks for the reply Aaron. I'm happy to wait patiently, because I know that you and the KDE developers can be relied on to deliver. Even if you're only human, the results so far look pretty promising, so good job!


By Parminder Ramesh at Mon, 2008/01/07 - 6:00am

Human? Aaron? no shit!

:-)


By Fred at Mon, 2008/01/07 - 6:00am

Wow, Aaron, you did a great job! I really hated the Plasma before, but I just checked out the kde4live, and it rocks hard! Very stable, does exactly what I thought it would (i.e. user-friendly), and, as I heard, it is (along with the rest of the KDE4 technologies) a great foundation. So, you took a lot of heat (even from me...) and you still did a great job. Well done, to you and to everyone else in the KDE team!


By Phd Student at Mon, 2008/01/07 - 6:00am

I'm quite impressed about how you've been able to take a mix of different posts, discard the trolling ones, take the constructive critics and comments, and for the nice work. The newest live release was clearly better and I'm sure it'll improve further. It takes guts to withstand so much cr@p from people. Other developers have quit different project because of that. Thanks for holding on, and for the good work.
Julian


By Julian at Mon, 2008/01/07 - 6:00am

That's what I wanted to say too. Thanks.


By Glen Anthony Kirkup at Mon, 2008/01/07 - 6:00am

Thanks for all the hard work, and for taking the time to answer questions & take feedback. I know it might not seem it sometimes, but you've got a very appreciative community out here who seriously impressed with what you've managed to turn around in such a short timeframe. We're also looking forward to seeing what you can pull together for 4.1! Well done, seriously.

(P.S. Remember to get some rest after it's out the door, you've earnt it.)


By Martin Fitzpatrick at Mon, 2008/01/07 - 6:00am

The plasma website makes all these bold claims about a vision, and this is what gets me.

I love KDE, and I mean I really love it. I'm excited to see it continue to grow. However, the Plasma website promises a lot, where is it seems like so little is delivered at the moment.

I'm a patient chap, and if you tell me, we have this vision, and this is what it is going to be, but it will take 18 months, then so be it.

I'm just curious to see what exactly the vision is to reinvent the desktop. How can we rethink the space, make it work better, etc?

For starters, I'd wouldn't mind hearing you fully explain the rationale behind your opinion on the Desktop folder. You say the concept is broken, and I'm curious why you think that, and how we can do it better.


By T. J. Brumfield at Mon, 2008/01/07 - 6:00am

I would like to see a little containment applet to hold and sort all the icons for the files in ~/Desktop/. As is, the icons get spread out all over the place. A containment applet could provide quick access to files and apps, keep them sorted, and keep them from sprawling all over the desktop.


By Joe Kowalski at Mon, 2008/01/07 - 6:00am

Yep - I've been wanting this for years, and I especially would like to be able to reserve a separate area for removable devices. Thankfully, this should all be relatively easy within the Plasma framework!


By anon at Mon, 2008/01/07 - 6:00am

thing is you wont be able to place new items on desktop so easy....

you need to go to your home folder... click Desktop... and then make a new file or folder.

dont like this 'feature' personally.


By ptr at Mon, 2008/01/07 - 6:00am

I'm happy icons are in Plasma at all. From what I can consider, Plasma is the first desktop to allow one to rotate the icons. If only my KWin would work (bug 154637)...


By Stefan at Mon, 2008/01/07 - 6:00am

The Answer for this is actually simple. When QT 4.4 is out, load the dolphin file view kpart (the same that is now being used in konquerors file view) into the containment as a widget on canvas. Now the file icons with this won't be plasma icons, but they will be fully manageable as files.


By Joe Kowalski at Tue, 2008/01/08 - 6:00am

It would be nice if the folders on the desktops are these containments. Imagine, you drag&drop a folder to your desktop and what you see is the folder icon. So far nothing new, but when you resize the icon it turns into the containment and shows all the items inside the folder.


By hias at Mon, 2008/01/07 - 6:00am

Would be easily possible with plasma ;-)


By jos poortvliet at Tue, 2008/01/08 - 6:00am

> I would like to see a little containment applet to hold and sort all the
> icons for the files in ~/Desktop/

that's already on my list for 4.1 =)


By Aaron J. Seigo at Wed, 2008/01/09 - 6:00am

Read Aaron Siego's blog at http://aseigo.blogspot.com/ It will explain you everything. Aaron is very talkative :)


By Phd student at Mon, 2008/01/07 - 6:00am

I do, and I've seen him say several times that icons in a Desktop folder is a broken concept, though I'm not sure why. He writes about hating the old Kicker and desktop, and how Plasma is meant to allow great flexibility, but I haven't read how we're going to reinvent the desktop.

"This, then, is the goal and mandate of Plasma: to take the desktop as we know it and make it relevant again. Breathtaking beauty, workflow driven design and fresh ideas are key ingredients and this web site is your portal onto its birth."

Where is the workflow driven design and fresh ideas?

At the moment, we just have an easier means to write widgets. If widgets are the end-all-be-all of Plasma, I'll count myself extremely disappointed. We've had widgets since Windows 95, and they've never revolutionized anything.


By T. J. Brumfield at Tue, 2008/01/08 - 6:00am

Well, the point is that these widgets can do pretty much anything. Very unlike traditional widgets for the desktop. Now we just need to figure out what out of 'everything' it is we need ;-)


By jos poortvliet at Tue, 2008/01/08 - 6:00am

before i could write the new workflow components, i needed a framework capable of supporting what i needed.

since i planned on replacing the desktop/panels, i needed a rewritten desktop/panels app on top of that framework.

when we replaced the desktop/panels, people wanted every feature they are used to from traditional desktops.

meanwhile we ran in bugs in x, bugs in drivers in x, bugs in Qt, missing or (for plasma) unformed features in Qt and kwin .. hell, even issues in gtk+.

all this took time to cook. not to mention everything else i end up doing during the day/night. so 4.0 arrived.

in the meantime, many of the the ideas that i talked about publicly a lot have appeared in other environments since. a little depressing ;) i don't think that people listen to me and then run off to implement features in macos, windows, etc.. or anything (i'm not quite that megalomaniacal ;). but i do think that when one person in an industry starts thinking openly about things, then other people near them do as well, and then the next person and the next person and ... ideas ripple and pop up here and there like particles tunnelling about via quantum mechanics. =)

the ideas i haven't really discussed much haven't appeared anywhere mainstream that i've noticed (yet). so just to avoid jinxing myself even more, i'm keeping a bit more quiet about things until the code is there.

i've also spent more time trying to get deserved attention for the fine work of others in kde4. it's not just all about plasma, you know ;)

and i will admit, another motivation for being quiet is that many times when i i would talk about some sort of feature people would shout "vapour! vapour! you and your vapour suck!" which is a bit annoying to deal with while your writing the code to implement those features. even i have limits to how much negative feedback i can receive in one time span. so .. i grow quiet.

anyways.. i'm feeling good and energetic, 4.0 is out, we can barrel forward with 4.1 ... fun times.

as for why ~/Desktop is a bad, stupid and limiting idea ... i'll blog about that.


By Aaron J. Seigo at Wed, 2008/01/09 - 6:00am

I'm sure some of you have seen Anand Agarawala/Ravin Balakrishnan's prototype of a new Desktop (if not, be sure to check it out at http://bumptop.com/, it's really great work).. I think the usefulness of this does not scale to any kind of computing one would like to do, but it is to be noted as a very refreshing and exciting INNOVATION in the field of graphical user interfaces. I don't know if plasmoids scale to 3D yet, but it would sure be kool to have that possibility, also in the next few years we will see the arrival of 'real' 3D screens as consumer products, so if we talk about 'visions' and computing NG(tm) then certainly we at some point need to give some thoughts about the third dimension ... ;)


By Marcel Partap at Tue, 2008/01/08 - 6:00am

Anand Agarawala/Ravin Balakrishnan's prototype of a new Desktop is kinda messy, but since it's just a prototype I think it is very important to share these ideas to make things better. I don't really know if plasma is going to be in a few years (since it will be able to be pretty much everything ;)) but I think these kind of ideas of making the desktop and apps windows real 3D will pretty much be possible with the addiction of widgets-on-canvas on qt 4.4.

The preview of this technology can be seen here:

http://labs.trolltech.com/blogs/2007/11/22/widgets-on-the-canvas-integra...

Aaron already mentioned about moving plasma to widgets-on-canvas and webkit for applet rendering:

http://aseigo.blogspot.com/2008/01/pencils-down.html

What will happen then? Only the future will say... And I'd say it's a near and very exciting future...

Sorry for my English, still learning...


By SVG Crazy at Tue, 2008/01/08 - 6:00am

Hi, today I runned KDE4 on a new user from a saturday's build on kde 4.0 branch and I found Ktip first tip was on a way for adding new panels that I'm not sure if it still valid on Plasma, because it remainds to me the kicker way to do it, even if the Ktip message doesn't mention kicker. I attached the Ktip message.

BTW, it is possible in Plasma to have another panel? I ask this because my brother can't live without a top panel with knewsticker. I haven't seen any GUI method to do it, but I'm interested if it is possible editing a Plasma configuration file.


By Josep at Tue, 2008/01/08 - 6:00am

KTip will probably be killed off relatively soon.

I'm not sure if Plasma in its current state supports multiple panels, but it is almost guaranteed to come 4.1.


By anon at Tue, 2008/01/08 - 6:00am

To get a second panel edit .kde4/share/config/plasma-appletsrc and add something like this at the bottom:

[Containments][3]
formfactor=2
geometry=0,829,1440,71
location=3
locked=false
plugin=panel
screen=0
transform=1,0,0,0,1,0,0,-906,1

then you will need to restart plasma (killall plasma & plasma is a quick way to do this) and you will be able to drop widgets in your new top panel


By Charles Fryett at Tue, 2008/01/08 - 6:00am

If someone can explain the rationale for the different parameters I'll add it in my in-progress Plasma FAQ. THis is surely a feature that's going to be requested and if there's a workaround like this, better.


By Luca Beltrame at Tue, 2008/01/08 - 6:00am

I have a 1440x900 LCD so with some of the parameters are easy (I'll guess the other poster below has a 1280x1024.
location=3 is the top edge
location=4 is the bottom edge
location=1 & 2 are the sides I would guess (but don't work atm)

And for the rest I guess someone will ahve to look at the code ;)


By Charles Fryett at Wed, 2008/01/09 - 6:00am

Hi Charles, thanks for your very informative post. I have been using kubuntu for a year and just switched to KDE4 (with a fresh install of hardy).

I have a feeling I'm about to start REALLY tweaking KDE settings... I almost started writing a php tool to rewrite the plasma-appletsrc file... maybe instead I need to research how to use kdialog for it??

Anyhow, I'm replying because I'm having an interesting problem and hope that you could reply with your thoughts on my situation with where to look, post, search terms to use, etc... I have googled like mad (which finally came up with this dotKDE thread) and there is SO much content that searches come up with little real info (like yours).

My situation:

Hardware:
I have a laptop with 1440x900 attached LCD... at work, I drop it onto a docking station and use a 24" monitor to run 1920x1200 ... at home, I plug in a 19" LCD at 1280x1024.

KDE4 behaviour:
There is a "transparency" the size of 1440x900 with the taskbar on it. This is 1440x900 regardless of which monitor is present. The plasma "button" thing is in the top right corner of the 1920x1200 desktop (again, doesn't matter the size of the viewing area of current monitor).

With the taskbar at the "bottom", it is at the bottom edge of the 1440x900 area and on the external monitors (with more vertical pixels than laptop) windows can be moved down but the taskbar stays on top of them. So I move the taskbar to the top, no problem. Buuut, on the 19" monitor, there is no plasma button and the taskbar's tray is off the right of the screen. (mouse still goes out there and can click on things, too!)

My next workaround may be to change its length via various different plasma-appletsrc files and a bash script to execute the change. (I already do this to alter my /etc/hosts and .ssh/known-hosts files so things work when moved from home to work, etc)

I'm trying to learn more about xorg, but prior to KDE4, the desktop and ubuntu worked seamlessly in the above 3 cases. I suspect this is a temporary situation caused by hard coding (and will be fixed soon) so I'm hoping for a quick fix or something "simple" that I'm not aware of.

Right now, I'm going to try a fresh install using the kubuntu+kde4 mix iso... Maybe there are some small changes to it that are better than my current brew of unbuntu + adding packages??

:) Chris


By chris at Thu, 2008/05/08 - 5:00am

It is possible in plasma to have another panel today. What we don't have is the UI to make it yet. I think it's because this feature isn't completely done yet and need some minor adjustments(as well as the knewsticker applet). I'd say that it will be ready and shiny in kde 4.1.

If you want to test this feature anyway, all you have to do is edit the plasma-appletsrc file. On Opensuse, it is located at:
(don't forget to backup the file first)

~/.kde4/share/config

All you have to do is put a third Containment, plugin panel. (Since the first containment is the desktop and the second is the panel). Remember to change the location to 3 (location 3 is top). That means a panel at the top of the screen.

Example:

[Containments][3]
formfactor=2
geometry=0,5,1280,10
location=3
locked=false
plugin=panel
screen=0
transform=1,0,0,0,1,0,0,-1030,1

Restart plasma.
You can easly put and widget to the panel after that (the way we usually do).

It is very fun to play with this file and make some tests...

As I say before, I think this feature is not completely done, but don't worry, Kde developers will make it work perfectly :D

Here's a screenshot to prove it


By SVGCrazy at Tue, 2008/01/08 - 6:00am

Thank you!!!

I've got another question, it will be possible to make the top panel a bit smaller?


By Josep at Tue, 2008/01/08 - 6:00am

I tried to change the size of the panels by changing the geometry parameter but it didn't work for me. I don't know if it's either a plasma bug or an opensuse's package problem. I think it wasn't implemented yet (maybe that's why we don't have a UI to change panel sizes).


By SVG Crazy at Tue, 2008/01/08 - 6:00am

I noticed the same issue. I tried to halve the default panel's size to 24 (+4 for separator), and set all the coordinates correctly, and nothing changed. I made sure to kill off plasma before making the changes. Maybe it needs a restart.


By fenerli at Sun, 2008/02/24 - 6:00am

There's a lot of stuff in Plasma that was hard-coded in the frenzied rush for the release date - I'd wait until you use packages where re-sizing has been officially added by the devs, if I were you :)


By anon at Sun, 2008/02/24 - 6:00am

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