FEB
17
2005

OSNews Reviews KDE 3.4 Beta2

OSNews have written a review of KDE 3.4 Beta2. Highlights picked out include the new application welcome screens, the many improvements in KPDF, the new system ioslave and text to speech support. The conclusion, "it looks like the developers have done a great job with this beta release".

Comments

you should make a movie of kde's new composite features. When your Windows go slowly transparent when you move them. And where passive Windows fade to 50%. This is just so awsome !!!!!

keep up the eye candy. we will have better eye candy than mac osx or perhaps we already have :-)

ch.


By chris at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am


By Anonymous at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

where is the movie there ? i only see the image. its not that buggy anymore.


By chris at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

Much more depth was needed, only a fraction of enhancements were listed, but in was decent.

A movie would be great, people do not read so much, but a nice movie showing KDE 3.4's feature would truly be amazing.


By matt at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

The upcoming KDE 3.4 Feature Guide is planned to have flash movies.


By Anonymous at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

That's GREAT!


By Anonymous at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

Are you serious, where did you read this.

That would truly be remarkable!!! Every KDE release should have something lixe that.

Will the feature guide onlf highlight new features or show off existing features from 3.3.2 as well?


By Al at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

Only new.


By Anonymous at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

Why Flash? Why not SVG?


By am at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

Flash movies? or flash movies?

Macromedia Flash is proprietary crap that doesn't work on many of the platforms KDE works on. I hope KDE folks will have the sense to avoid it and use open standards.


By Jel at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

Do you want some cheese with that whine? If they do implement flash-movies, think of it as an added bonus. Right now we have NO demonstrations of the new capabilities. It's better IMO to have such demonstrations, even if they didn't work on all machines.


By Janne at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

Do you want some cheese with that whine?

No, but a mature discussion of an important principle would have been nice. I'm sorry if you fail to understand it.


By Jel at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

I did offer "mature discussion". right now we have NO demos of the new features. Nothing, nada, zilch! If KDE in the future did offer flash-movies that demonstrated the new features, it would be infinitely better than what we have right now, even if it didn't work on all the machines! And it wouldn't be THAT important in the end. We have done just fine without demos. Any demos that we might get would simply be an added bonus.

Would it be good if they used some OS-tool for it? Sure! But maybe flash is the easiest way to do it? If you desire an OS-solution to this, why not create your own demos using some OS-tool to do it? What was that? You are not willing to do it? You want someone else to do it instead, but he must do it the way YOU want it to be done? O....K....


By Janne at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

Still not mature.

But there are plenty of open source ways to do a demo, it only takes a moment to be concerned and choose the best approach. Flash is NOT the easiest way to do it.


By Jel at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

Perhaps if you suggested another way of doing it people could take you more seriously, but honestly, you do come across as whining for no good reason.


By Jim at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

Well, excluding members of the community is called discrimination, and some of us think it's a VERY good reason to seek other alternatives. I'm aware that others see no such issues, even in massive problems like one company's domination of the desktop market, but that's their problem, not mine. I'm pointing this out in the hope that the people in question will take note, not in the hope of converting every dot.kde reader to ethical computing. Take it or leave it.

If you really want to know, some of the options are discussed here:

http://software.newsforge.com/software/04/08/16/2128226.shtml?tid=75

It sounds like the person in question is planning to use one of the tools mentioned: vnc2swf. But it's more common and probably easier for everyone (including him/herself) to use xvidcap.


By Jel at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

> Well, excluding members of the community is called discrimination

Please learn the meaning of words before you use them. It's not discrimination if you differentiate based upon merit. If there's no other feasible way of providing the demo, then it's not unfair to provide it to only those that are capable of viewing Flash.

> I'm aware that others see no such issues, even in massive problems like one company's domination of the desktop market, but that's their problem, not mine.

That has *nothing* to do with the topic at hand.

> I'm pointing this out in the hope that the people in question will take note, not in the hope of converting every dot.kde reader to ethical computing.

What's unethical about Flash? It sounds like you are speaking from a position of ignorance.

> It sounds like the person in question is planning to use one of the tools mentioned: vnc2swf. But it's more common and probably easier for everyone (including him/herself) to use xvidcap.

MPEG videos are usually *much* larger in file size and bandwidth usage than Flash files. That alone could be a deciding factor. Furthermore, I believe most non-Windows systems aren't usually set up to play video clips embedded in web pages, but being set up to play Flash is much more common.

See how an actual discussion can occur when you provide suggestions instead of just whining?


By Jim at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

>It's not discrimination if you differentiate based upon merit. If there's no other feasible way of providing the demo, then it's not unfair to provide it to only those that are capable of viewing Flash.

Yes, exactly. You're making my point for me. Prove that Flash is necessary, and it won't be discrimination.

> That has *nothing* to do with the topic at hand.

Well, perhaps I see underlying principles where you cannot.

> What's unethical about Flash?

The discrimination that you just agreed about.

> MPEG videos are usually *much* larger in file size and bandwidth usage than Flash files. That alone could be a deciding factor.

I doubt the difference would be very much, considering the similarity and low bandwidth of content.

> Furthermore, I believe most non-Windows systems aren't usually set up to play video clips embedded in web pages, but being set up to play Flash is much more common.

You're quite wrong about that.

> See how an actual discussion can occur when you provide suggestions instead of just whining?

I've been doing that all along. You, on the other hand, have been making childish remarks like that one.

This discussion is pointless. You don't seem to care to look at the principles involved, we're going round in circles, and I didn't address you with the original comment anyway. I'm done with this. Call me a whiner or whatever other childish remarks you like.


By Jel at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

"Prove that Flash is necessary, and it won't be discrimination."

The video's aren't necessary in the first place, tehy are just optional bonus for those who might be interested. What if KDE offered NO videos at all? Would you then be happy? At least no-one would be "discriminated" then! oh no, we can't have any additional extras because someone, somewhere might not be able to use them! Hell, why do we offer screenshots? I mean, that clearly discriminate against those who surf with Links or Lynx!

"I've been doing that all along. You, on the other hand, have been making childish remarks like that one."

You have offered zero constructive criticism. You just said that they shouldn't use flash. But you failed to mention any alternatives.


By Janne at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

"Prove that Flash is necessary, and it won't be discrimination."

The video's aren't necessary in the first place, tehy are just optional bonus for those who might be interested. What if KDE offered NO videos at all? Would you then be happy? At least no-one would be "discriminated" then! oh no, we can't have any additional extras because someone, somewhere might not be able to use them! Hell, why do we offer screenshots? I mean, that clearly discriminate against those who surf with Links or Lynx! Why does KDE have sound-capabilities? It clearly discriminates those without sound-cards!

"I've been doing that all along. You, on the other hand, have been making childish remarks like that one."

You have offered zero constructive criticism. You just said that they shouldn't use flash. But you failed to mention any alternatives.


By Janne at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

> Prove that Flash is necessary, and it won't be discrimination.

Since you are the one accusing people of being discriminatory, the burden of proof is on you to prove that it isn't necessary; i.e. to suggest a suitable alternative.

> Well, perhaps I see underlying principles where you cannot.

No, I suspect I see the "underlying principle" that you are on about; control by a company that can lock people out.

That isn't an underlying principle in this situation, since SWF is an open format with open-source implementations.

> The discrimination that you just agreed about.

That's a dishonest thing to say. Saying I "just agreed" implies that I said something that I certainly didn't say.

> I doubt the difference would be very much, considering the similarity and low bandwidth of content.

There is no similarity. VNC operates at a higher level than a simple video stream.

> You're quite wrong about that.

My experience says otherwise, but fair enough, I haven't got any statistics to back that up with. Do you?

> I've been doing that all along.

No, you haven't. That comment was in response to the first time I have seen you make an actual suggestion instead of mere criticism and abuse.

> I didn't address you with the original comment anyway.

This is a public forum.


By Jim at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

> i.e. to suggest a suitable alternative.

I have already done that. I hope you are more capable of reading than the other person who has reacted badly to this suggestion.

> That's a dishonest thing to say. Saying I "just agreed" implies that I said something that I certainly didn't say.

Agreement comes in more forms than a direct "I agree".

> There is no similarity. VNC operates at a higher level than a simple video stream.

Wrong. Most animation formats are smart enough to only record what changes between frames.

> No, you haven't. That comment was in response to the first time I have seen you make an actual suggestion instead of mere criticism and abuse.

In fact, I've been quite tolerant of the other poster's abuse, and you are becoming quite abusive yourself. I have simply suggested a small change that would benefit everyone. Granted, my details of the alternatives were not suggested right away, but that is only because I firstly assumed everyone would be aware of the alternatives, and secondly because you have both been so unwilling to even admit the problem that talk of solutions has been a long way off.

> This is a public forum.

Perhaps, but I was *replying* to a public post, not starting one.

Anyway. This has dragged on forever, and it's as silly as arguing about why Word formats are bad imho, so feel free to debate or condemn my comments amongst yourselves if you feel so inclined. I have work to do.


By Jel at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

Um... Idle question:

The Flash plug-in is installed (at current estimates!) by 96% of the web browsing public.

This is more than any video encoder out there, perhaps excluding MPEG/MPEG-2 (although the numbers on these are by no means confirmed)!

Choosing video over Flash almost certainly limits the number of people able to watch the movie. Choosing a codec with a decent compression ratio (Quicktime, WMV, RealVideo, DivX, Xvid) disenfranchises many more people who don't have the codec. Not to mention that DivX decoding consumes far more memory and has higher CPU load than rendering the Flash, this prevents people with more limited hardware from viewing.

Finally, since video is far larger than VNC2SWF-created Flash files, you also limit access to those with high-bandwidth connections, which makes matters still worse.

You'll also notice that all of these formats require players, many with dubious EULA requirements. The only exception would be using OggTheora, which still has far too little market pentration to be viable.

Congratulations! While berating the use of Flash as being unethical and discriminatory (< 3% excluded), you've managed to generate a solution (the use of full video), which disenfranchises around 75% of the web browsing public and worse excludes those with limited Internet connectivity and limited hardware, those to whom the costs of software purchase are the most onerous (the poor, populations of developing countries); the people who could most benefit from the use of KDE with free operating systems, such as Linux and *BSDs.


By Luke Chatburn at Fri, 2005/02/18 - 6:00am

> The Flash plug-in is installed (at current estimates!) by 96% of the web browsing public.

If you believe that, you'll believe anything. You really imagine that only 4 percent of users:

* have one of the many platforms that Flash isn't properly available for?
* are oblivious to Flash's existence
* are incapable of understanding the installation process
* simply don't use websites that ever require Flash?
* have upgraded to a recent version, rather than sticking with the buggy version that (possibly) came with their machine?
* etc.

Macromedia simply can't have that kind of market permeation, no matter what they like to tell you in their marketing blurb.

Nonetheless, I'm not talking about which is most common, I'm talking about which is most usable and accessible and ethical. Big difference.

But nevermind. This has gone on long enough. If they want to make it accessible to people like me, they'll make a non-flash version. If not, they won't. I'm simply pointing out how their current choice will affect some of us, and there's no need for you to get reactionary about that.


By Jel at Fri, 2005/02/18 - 6:00am

> What's unethical about Flash?

What about this: I seem to remember that you need to accept their "EULA" which grants Makromedia "officers" the right to enter your home to check if you comply with their license. Yes, I know that other "famous" EULAs contain that as well, and also that this EULA doesn't survive one minute in an European court. But still, it reminded me too much of the GeStaPo knocking on my door, that I didn't install the flash player on my clean Linux. Unethical enough?


By Melchior FRANZ at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

> What's unethical about Flash? It sounds like you are speaking from a position of ignorance.

Oh my god!, should we repeat this in a free software weblog?.

Have you heard about free software? Have you heard of [un] ethical issues involved in proprietary software? Do you know the motivations of free software? Do you know flash is a proprietary format? Do you know there are no free flash players? Have you read the flash license and restrictions?

http://www.macromedia.com/software/flash/open/licensing/fileformat/

Do you know you _cannot_ legally program/distribute a third party flash _player_, only encoders?

Sorry, who was in that "position of ignorance"?


By Ricardo Galli at Fri, 2005/02/18 - 6:00am

Is someone stopping you from creating such a demos and offering the to the KDE-folks? I'm sure they would gladly accept them. If you are not willing to do it, then you do not IMO have the right to whine if someone else does it on his/her own spare-time using a tool that you personally do not like. I mean, it's not like you paid for the demos. Someone did them for you, and they did it for free. You are not required to watch the demos, KDE will work just fine even without them.

So, do something to fix this issue or quit your whining!


By Janne at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

So far, your whole discussion has been fallacious. I don't have to fix something myself to be able to point it out; that's a ridiculous thing to claim. Although I'm well aware that's it's a common claim, and you probably just repeated it without thinking it through, which does happen. Reporting bugs and requesting features is a very common way to get things done, and a perfectly valid one. All the moreso, when it involves ethical things that need to be pointed out for the good of us all. As it happens, I have my own project to work on, and would gladly welcome input on such issues, when it's ready for that.


By Jel at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

If someone does something on his free time, what right do you have to criticize him for it? I mean, if someone creates flash-movies to demonstrate new features of KDE, it's not like he's throwing stones at your windows. He's simply doing something on his free time that doesn't really affect you at all. Of course, you have the right to not watch the flash-movies, but I think it's pretty stupid to whine "No! You shouldn't do that! You should do this instead!". it's his time, he can use it any way he chooses to. If you are SO annoyed by the fact that he uses flash, you are completely free to make alternative videos, using the tools of your choice.

Yes, reporting bugs is a good thing to do. But this is not IMO a bug. Someone just decided to make videos that show off the features of KDE. And all you can do about it is whine? And besides, the developers are not REQUIRED to fix the bugs you report ;). They do this because they want to. It's not like you are required to pay for KDE.

This isn't really an "ethical" issue either. It might be if KDE was basing it's future on closed-source software. But they are not. Somneone is just offering (are they really? is there any confirmation to this claim?) completely voluntary thingie that is in no way required by KDE. Nothing is taken away from the users, but they are offered something extra. And they can choose to take advantage of it, or not to. It's up to them.

You wont get far by demanding that people spend their free time so that it fits your agenda. If you are so distressed by this, the constructive thing to do is to

a) Suggest an alternative tool (you have failed to do even this!)
b) Do it yourself using the tool of your choice

It's not like you need a CVS-account for this. Just spend some time, create the movies and offer them to the KDE-folks. Or host them yourself. But I REALLY fail to see why you should get your panties in a bunch if someone else uses his spare time doing something that you may not personally approve. It's their choice, not yours.


By Janne at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

> If someone does something on his free time, what right do you have to criticize him for it?

That has already been discussed. Again, you're going round in circles -- to the point where I can't even be bothered reading beyond the first sentence of your comment. The one part I just happened to look at:

a) Suggest an alternative tool (you have failed to do even this!)

Is completely wrong, and you just replied to the post in which I did it before this reply, so it says a lot about the probable quality of the rest of your comment.

Why be so reactionary? What are you afraid of? That it may take 30 seconds to download a different tool, and another five minutes to learn, so that everyone benefits? Sheesh.

Enjoy your panic, I'll have no more part in it.


By Jel at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

"Again, you're going round in circles -- to the point where I can't even be bothered reading beyond the first sentence of your comment."

I guess not reading opposing comments is one way to discuss matters...

"a) Suggest an alternative tool (you have failed to do even this!)

Is completely wrong, and you just replied to the post in which I did it before this reply, so it says a lot about the probable quality of the rest of your comment."

Your suggestion was not there when I started replying. So it took quite a while before you got around to even making one suggestion on this matter.

"Why be so reactionary? What are you afraid of? That it may take 30 seconds to download a different tool, and another five minutes to learn, so that everyone benefits? Sheesh."

So it takes about 5.5 minutes to do? Then why don't you do it then? If this thing is so important to you, then surely you are willing to do your part?


By Janne at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

I believe that the reason to ditch xvidcap was that it did not capture the mouse cursor, or something like that...


By Henrique at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

Ahh, thanks for that detail :)

Are they using vnc2swf then, though? Because there is another tool to generate standard video files from vnc, so, presumably, if any vnc can provide good enough recording, it should be possible to make something quite compatible from it?


By Jel at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

I believe so. You might search the kde-promo mailinglist archives to confirm.

What is that other tool?


By Henrique at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

vncrec, along with transcode which will convert vncrec's output to standard video formats.


By Jel at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

Try reading the flashplayer license someday...


By mornfall at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

Who, me? What does the license have to do with this?


By Janne at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

Some feel Flash's license is not ethical and therefore refuse to run it on moral grounds.


By Al at Fri, 2005/02/18 - 6:00am

Well, that's their choice. If they really feel so strongly about this issue, they are free to create their own demos using free tools and offer them to KDE-folks instead. But, like I already said elsewhere: these demos are 100% optional. The user doesn't really lose anything if he doesn't view them.

Mp3 also has restrictive license, yet just about all of us use it without ethical problems.


By Janne at Fri, 2005/02/18 - 6:00am

No note on KDE performance, has it gottes slower this release or unchanged? It was slow enough last time, I definitely hope it hasn't gotten worse, KDE usually gets faster.


By Al at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

The comments at OSNews note that changes in the latest GCC combined with work done for KDE 3.4 (configurable symbol visibility, if you care) has made KDE applications start up faster than they did before, if you or your distribution compile KDE in the right way.


By Spy Hunter at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

but you should always think about : if you add more things it *never* can get faster. everything you add *takes* processor time.

you need to optimize to make things faster.


By ch at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

KDE 3.1 to 3.2 got faster for me and so did 3.2 to 3.3. How do you explain that :p

Anyway, I hope 3.4 is a lot faster too because KDE is still slower than XP here and I do not like having second best in any category :(


By Al at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

we're working on it. the new toolchain (gcc, glibc, etc), X and Qt developments are and will continue to help us along to that end.

btw, when you say "KDE is still slower than", are you talking about... start up time from login? start up time of applications? operations of applications? window management? just curious. always nice to know what people perceive to be the case =)


By Aaron J. Seigo at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

What flags in configure do you advise to set to get maximum performance? I usually compile KDE myself but knowing very little what the options usually do, I set things a bit by chance. I usually use "--disable-debug --enable-pch --enable-new-ldflags" or something like that, but don't really know if it makes any difference.

Best regards,


By Richard Van Den Boom at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

yes, those do make a difference. as do compiling for your arch, at least for things like the graphics routines. but even more important than the config flags is the quality of the toolchain that ships with your OS. these are getting better and kde is benefitting from it. the symbol visibility is a good example. we had to do a good amount of work to ensure our libraries were marked properly to support this, but without the support for it in the toolchain (in this case, the GNU compiler) we would never had this as an option. and it makes a good deal of difference.

really, the future of performance lies in 3 places:

a) the toolchain
b) the technologies we commonly rely on (Qt, X.org, etc)
c) our own optimization efforts

all three are improving in ways we weren't seeing 3 or 4 years ago, really. and this is why each release has been getting more performant rather than less, despite the extra capabilities in KDE. KDE4 looks like it's going to continue this trend.


By Aaron J. Seigo at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

hey, aaron, are you changing the default clock, by the way? the digital one looks quite a bit '80, and there are some complaints (from me, too, indeed) on osnews. a bit more modern look (styleclock is cool, but I guess the openGL dependency is a bit too much) would be nice. at least, change the default from lcd to plain or analogue...


By superstoned at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

Plain clock looks so '70 :-)...


By Anonymous at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

mja, its not perfect either. but I think its (a bit) better than the digital clock. maybe just use the analoge clock? KDE has default an a huge kicker anyway, so it'l be cool.

I'd prefer to split the kicker like the gnomes did, but I don't think that'll get into KDE 3.4 (if at all).

but the kicker pager is cool :D better than the normal pager (can you drag'n'drop windows using the pager, now? The kicker-pager from kde-look does it...)


By superstoned at Thu, 2005/02/17 - 6:00am

Pages