Help give a voice to KDE

With the KDE 2.1 release nearing, major code changes are prohibited. Despite this restriction, we started thinking about how to make KDE 2.1 (or future releases) even more appealing. Carsten Pfeiffer, devoted KDE developer, remarked that while people are hard at work polishing the visual aspects, KDE suffers from a marked lack of sounds and sound effects.
[Update: 02/18 23:25 PM by N: See also this mail for more details.]

Window manager events, application events, general actions, even games, are in a need for high quality, appealing sound bits. So, we hereby invite all those willing unsung sound artists to contribute a bit of their talent to KDE. If you are interested, please go and subscribe to the KDE Multimedia mailing list, and help get the snowball rolling.

The only criteria for the sounds you submit are: aesthetic elegance, originality and copyright rightness. Please, make sure your sound bits aren't proprietary; open licenses or public domain are acceptable, as for all things KDE.

Well, come in large numbers, we need your help before the KDE-2.1 release, if at all possible.

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by Rolf (not verified)

KWrite is a text editor and will probably never same someting else than simple text. And MS Word can read simple text. If you meant KWord, it's being worked on, and it has a print preview.
KMail is able to open graphics in email.It shows them inline or can open them with a program, and you can d'n'd them just anywhere. What are you missing?

by rinse (not verified)

About KWord, I like to see MS Word improve their import/export filters so you can use KWord files in MS Word en vise versa.
About Kmail, it can show attached grafics, but not embedded ones. If de sender creates a HTML email containing graphics, Kmail does not show them emmedded in the mail body (or at least not on my system, but it displays them as attachements
But enough about Kde wishes, KDE has a fine bug system where you can post your wishes for future releases.

Kind regards, Rinse

by Lars Janssen (not verified)

Following on from the comments about priorities and stablity:

I think KDE is a superb system and has plenty of features, so adding more isn't urgent IMHO.

There is, however, one seemingly small thing that presents a huge barrier to Linux (or Unix) and KDE (or GNOME) on the desktop: copy & paste.

I realise this isn't a new revelation, and that a lot of good work has been done. But, again IMHO, it has not been resolved.

Example: I cannot type this message in KWrite, select Copy from the menu and then Paste it via the Edit menu of Mozilla. For new users this is a disaster.

After years of using computers, including Amiga, Mac and Windows, I found it really difficult at first (eventually you learn about the middle mouse button etc. and then it's only somewhat inconvenient). My girlfriend, less experienced but nevertheless intelligent [:-)] found it frustrating too.

Luckily we both stuck with it, but many users won't. I really think this issue is a huge barrier to Linux on the desktop - it's a little niggle that will annoy almost anyone who comes to Linux from Windows or Mac; it'll put them off, and they'll tell people that Linux is 'fiddly' or 'hard' to use. [I know, KDE != Linux, but there's a close relationship there ;-)]

I realise this isn't KDE's fault. It's also not the fault of Mozilla, GNOME, XFree86, Linux, Bill Gates, or Saddam Hussain. But it's a problem nevertheless, and if there is *anything* KDE can do to contribute to its resolution (through tweaking KDE or working with others), then that would be an extremely worthwhile enhancement. (Of course, the same goes for the good people behind GNOME, Mozilla etc.)

IMO: Stability, Usability, Features - in that order.

To the KDE team/community: you guys are doing a fantastic job, and I hope you don't mind me drawing attention (back) to this issue.

Kind regards,


by Justin (not verified)

I believe the root of the problem is the way all apps use copy/paste. Also, isn't the middle-mouse and selection autocopy a feature of X? I don't know if this is possible, but maybe disabling that feature would solve the whole problem. Sure it would kill all copy/paste support in non-Qt apps, but it might solve any frustration with copy/paste in KDE. In fact, by merely disabling that feature in X, KDE would probably operate exactly like Windows does in this regard.

While selection-autocopy is handy (and sometimes the only way, like in Konsole), it really can be annoying when writing text or programming. Fortunately, Kwrite actually has a feature to disable it. Now I can copy blocks of code and paste over blocks of code without worry of autocopying the destination region. It would be cool if this was a global feature in KDE.


by Rolf (not verified)

No! Don't disable this. It's something I really like.
Look about how nedit does this. It supports both. But Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V uses it's own buffer, so that you can select a part of your text and paste someting over it with ctrl-v. And the normal paste with middle button still works.

by Justin (not verified)

Having an extra buffer for keyboard copy/paste is quite strange. What if you want to do a keyboard copy to paste into another application? Or vice versa. The clipboard should be universal.

The concern is the automatic copy to clipboard that X does. While faster for doing quick grab-and-paste actions, it can get in the way when dealing with selections.

Two easy ways to nuke your clipboard:
1) Make a selection to paste over.
2) Make a selection to delete

Both are very annoying. It is reasonable that you should be able to highlight and delete a paragraph of text without destroying your clipboard, isn't it? The X clipboard is like a timebomb. Hurry and put it somewhere, *anywhere*, even in a new text editor window. Just don't keep it in the clipboard for too long, or you'll kill it by accident.

It's clear that both methods of copy/paste have their ups and downs (Windows style Ctrl-C/V = more work for the user, more control, X11 style = quick and easy). I think having an extra option to disable it would be a good thing. I absolutely love the feature in Kwrite. If only all of the KDE apps had such a feature (or a KControl global setting).


by Moritz Moeller-... (not verified)

Thank you. I like cutnpaste the way it is.

by Justin (not verified)

Well that's why if an alternate method is devised, it should be an option. Everyone likes to do things differently. It's all about choice. There's nothing wrong with it being an option, is there?

IMO I think it's a bit strange to lose your current clipboard while doing selection delete, and then turn around and retrieve the original content with klipper.

Anyway I gave some thought to this problem and I came up with what I think is a simple solution. Why not just have autocopy only work when using the middle mousebutton to highlight? Highlighting with the left mousebutton would not copy. This would totally solve the problem. Best of both worlds.


by Moritz Moeller-... (not verified)

The middle button DOES NOT HIGHTLIGHT. It pastes. That is X standard. This is KDE standard.

If you prefer the windows method which is equivalent, but different, stick with windows.

You can't have an option for everything. Too many options work against usability.

You are just not used to the X way. Why do you have to delete BEFORE you paste? Paste, then delete. Viola, no klipper needed.

by Macka (not verified)

> If you prefer the windows method which is equivalent, but different, stick with windows

That is a very unfair thing to say; and the "X way" is not so holy that it cannot be challenged if a more user-friendly alternative is available.

See my reply to your previous post for more of my thoughts on this matter.


by Anonymous Coward (not verified)

Yes, the people that say "stick with windows" are elitists and have no clue about what a good user interface is. The X method is indeed annoying for anybody except poeple that copy/paste to and from a shell window. Desktop users of Linux could do without the X method. I love linux and have been using it exclusively for years, but the whole cut and paste issue still drives me nuts. This is one case where the windows way to do it is A LOT more intuitive. I will welcome the day when they finally get rid of the X windows cut/paste method.

by Macka (not verified)

I've been in the computer industry for about 15 years now. Starting out with VT100's, then working up to X-terminals and VMS workstations, then Unix (for the last 10 years). I've only had to use MS windows (and therefore the RMB cut-n-paste) for the last two years. Eventually I got forced into it through work.

You'd think that having all those previous years experience with X Windows that I'd be a die hard MMB man and pretty much set in my ways. Not the case. I prefer the MS style cut-n-paste and given the choice would use that everywhere. It's one of the (very) few things about MS Windows that I do advocate (that and ^Z undo in text widgets .. what a life saver that one is ;-)

I agree with Justin that this is quite an obstacle to people migrating from MS Windows to an X Windows based environment. That and the fragility of the X clipboard and the ease with which you can loose what you've selected en-route to the next application.

Just pointing out that not everyone thinks as you do!


by John L. Males (not verified)


I have read all the messages on this cut and pat topic. I an replying to this message of Macka as I believe it best summarizes the essence of the matter. I to was forced to Windows NT both personally (now migrating to Linux :<)) ) and professionally (missed the whole 3.x/Win9x experience personally :<)))), but had limited time in professionally).

I have to admit the degree of seemless and ease of how the cut and past works in windows is truely a wonderful feature.

I know Linux is about choices, and I have seen some window manageers provide a close, but not quite complete cut and paste functionality as Windows has. I really like using KDE, and really want the same, perhaps we can even improve a few samll aspects, of the cut and paste that exists in windows.

I believe the option to have a Windows Like" cut and paste like behaviour should exit for KDE. It will need to be seamless across all applications and wigets. Simply put it allows users to keep their preference of choice on this matter as it seems to be so important for those that have voiced an opinion here, but also for those that would if they were aware of this forum. I would hope the implementation of the option could be like the other KDE options that can be set via the KDE options.

Linux is not only about choices, but also in striving to be the "best of the breed". That does mean some aspects of Linux will have features or applications that existed on other OS's, but either implemented better, cleaner and/or with less bloat. That is what makes Linux and all of what brings the Linux experience together such a growing and welcome experience.

So please do bring the ease of Windows cut and paste functionality to KDE. Think of the many more users that would be so happy to have this and the many untapped users that would consider Linux as an alternative to the OS's or wannabe OS's that users stay with just because of the value, power and ease this feature brings to users.

John L. Males
Software I.Q. Consulting
Toronto, Ontario
20 Feb 2001 14:22

by William coleman (not verified)

IMO, the MMB for paste is better than for scroll anchoring in windows, not only is that what the cursor keys are for but also you have sufficent widgets to move the window anyway, if you want a device to scroll you have the wheel, buttons 4 and 5. I know most mice don't incorporate this device. And anyway shift selections can be pasted over without klipper replacement.

by Anonymous Coward (not verified)

Totally agree with you. This is one area where the windows method of copy/paste is just intuitive and makes sense. The x windows method is meant for people that need to copy/paste between x apps and shell window... that is all.

by Massimo (not verified)

Are there any applications to monitor or manage both X and kde's clipboard ?

it would be nice that a third party application could handle cross clipboard transfert with every app. that can handle text selection.

by sedman (not verified)

Interesting set of views. I like both methods as much as each other.
It all depends on the tasks at hand.
Everyone will, at some point, perform repetitive tasks, tasks which are too small and infrequent to automate.
I'd be much happier in that circumstance using '[DLClick|highlight] [alt-tab|LClick] RClick' method and skip the extra 'ctrl-c' - as long as switching between methods didnt take more effort than the extra 'ctrl-c'.


by Graham (not verified)

If memory serves X actually has several cut buffers available: selection-autocopy and middle button only use the primary selection, the most ephemeral of them. Emacs has a notion of a secondary selection which I believe corresponds to one of the other X cut buffers, and you could use that for C-c and C-v.

by Lars Janssen (not verified)

Yes, as far as I can make out there are two buffers commonly used by X, and maybe a third one too that is rarely used.

I read something about it here a while back:

From what I can make out, there is a PRIMARY buffer, a SECONDARY (rarely used) and the Clipboard, and the author of the above page seems to be suggesting something like this:

1. If you highlight text with your mouse, it goes into the PRIMARY buffer. If you press the middle mouse button, the contents of the PRIMARY buffer are pasted.

2. If you highlight text and select 'copy' (menu or keyboard shortcut) it goes into the Clipboard. When you 'paste' (menu or keyboard shortcut), the contents of the clipboard are pasted.

Thus, the old X way and the Mac/Windows/Amiga(almost)/others way can co-exist more or less happily; new users will not need to learn about the middle mouse button trick unless they want to.

I hesitated to say this when I originally posted, because I don't know *for sure*, and I don't want to suggest KDE are doing it 'wrong' (if there is such a thing) - but the impression I get is that when you select 'copy' (menu or shortcut) in a KDE app, your text goes into the Secondary buffer, or somewhere else specific to KDE maybe? - rather than the clipboard. I'm not sure, but unfortunately it doesn't seem to go into a place where non-KDE apps can find it, such as GNOME apps (in fact I think even between KDE apps it's tricky, whereas with GNOME it works a bit better for me).

As to whether KDE, GNOME or both should change, I really don't know, and I think that's something they should discuss with each other. (Where 'should' == 'if you want to remove a huge barrier to new users that harms KDE and GNOME alike')

In short, we need to see standardisation; this is a real shortcoming.

by Dan (not verified)

Sound's exactly like what I want. So, how do I disable middle-click-pastes? Whether in X or KDE, whatever, yet still allow middle click for other stuff. It's too easy with the wheel mouse to insert random text all over the place!!

Otherwise, if this is a place for wish lists have an option to disable it and/or allow it to be qualified with, say, shift-click (the console uses shift-insert) for those with sensitive mice...

by Tom (not verified)

Well, I'm not sure if many of you know this, but if you download the source code you can make your own modifications to have the functions you want.

As for the Middle Mouse click, I think it should be on by default (and just work) and if you want it off, you can turn it off. In fact, I have used many distro's and KDE seems to have the most difficult time with the feature. Forcing us to build workarounds so that KDE functions work correctly with our custom applications.

Deleting the feature all-together would piss off a lot of people, trust me. But allowing for some customization global or application based would work fine with me.

by L.Lunak (not verified)

Please see . In short, it says how to use the clipboard the same way in all toolkits, and it also says that Qt2.x uses different way, and that in Qt3.x it will work the standard way ( it's actually not a formal standard, it's just the most logical way ).So ... wait for first Qt3.x based version of KDE ( I think KDE2.2 already will be Qt3.x based ).

by mcbrain (not verified)

The clipboard specs file was moved to this URL:

by Hynek "rADOn" Fabian (not verified)

I had same problems but surprisingly, KDE solved it. Klipper can manage X clipboard (selection) and KDE clipboard (^X ^C) separately or synchronize them. it has some history (not only) for the case of accidental overwriting. in short, i'm DOS/windows grown so a had some hard time with X clippboard style but klipper solved that all. only issue i can remember is opera which does not support X style clipboard (you see i get used to X style after some time and combined with reasonably long klipper history i think it is superior)

by Nick (not verified)

Fuck KDE, how about that? Got me new asus eee pc. Decided to watch movies from my external hard drive. For some stupid fucking reason KDE renamed permissions on the hard drive to root and now i cant fucking watch shit on it becuase of this dumbshit program. Now I am fucking stuck reading fucking manuals on how to reverse this shit so this piece of shit OS can allow me to fucking watch my god damn movies. Fuck this shit WINDOWS XP rocks this bitch ass os. When i need ot use the hard drive between windows machines no problem FUCK KDE!

by Muythaibxr (not verified)

well, speaking of sound (I hope an arts developer is looking at this) There has got to be some way to make the arts daemon let go of the /dev/dsp device faster. None of my non-arts compliant apps will play sound when artsd has recently played a kde system sound. This is quite annoying.

by Mandrias (not verified)

You can, for example, wrap the non arTs compliant sound app with artsdsp...

ie. artsdsp xmms

Works for me for most things...

-Robert Dowden

by Ed Rataj (not verified)

Sounds and little elegant polish is nice, but reliability and functionality are nicer. KDE cannot succeed without superior performance and RELIABILITY to Windows 98/2000.

KDE is now an outstanding GUI and the programming involved is the best anywhere. Please concentrate on KOffice to be better than MS Office so we can finally switch to Linux without regrets or loss of our .docs and .xls!

by Shift (not verified)

IF you can make beautiful sounds and you are not a programmer, you can't help koffice team.

So your post is ridiculous.

If there are too much persons in a restaurant to be served, I prefer waiting than having food made by the person responsable of clening the restaurant (I don't remenber the word for this)

French guy ;)

by hihimr (not verified)

what are you doing here ???
go back immediatly to linuxfr ;)))

by me (not verified)

People, this is kinda the wrong article for the things you write. Please stay on topic!

I'd like to know too, how sounds can be 'made', because i haven't ever done it nor heard about how they're done. Even assuming you have a nice sound editor, how do you start on this? Record something, and edit it with some effects until it sounds nice? How does it work?

by Jason Katz-Brown (not verified)


Somebody respond please :)


by gis (not verified)

There are two different approaches: either you synthesize the sound from scratch using a hardware or software synthesizer (like aRts or CSound for example) or you record something with your soundcard. Then you use a soundeditor to give it the right "shape", by applying effects, filters, changing dynamics, i.e. making it sound as you want it to be.
Finally, when you have a collection of sounds, you should make them fit together by making sure they all have the same "loudness", removing unnecessary silence in the beginning/end and maybe downsample them to make the files smaller. Here's the tradeoff between quality and filesize, you should try to make them as small as possible while keeping them sound well enough.

There are a lot of sound editing tools available for Windows (that's where I last did audio-related stuff a few years ago) -- unfortunately I haven't ever done anything like that on Linux, so I can't recommend any programs for that.

by AC (not verified)

go to and see what's available ...

by reihal (not verified)

You shoudn't have given him this link, now the kid will be lost in soundspace forever ;-)

by gis (not verified)

You shoudn't have given him this link, now the kid will be lost in soundspace forever ;-)

I haven't checked the link yet, but now I'm warned at least :)

by reihal (not verified)

It would be a good thing if someone could convince the developers of the software listed in that page, to port to KDE2.

by Jason Katz-Brown (not verified)


I had been there looking, but none of the software i compile works or seems to be what I want.

oh well.. /me codes krpn some more

by Nolv (not verified)

I would be glad to create some sounds for KDE, but unlike some of you, i am more a sound specialist than a computer specialist. A friend gave me this url because he think i can do something for you.

I have a ton of ideas but I don't know where to put the sounds or themes, once finished. Anyone could explain, or give an url where i can find some info?

by marm (not verified)

Have a look at the kde-multimedia mailing list at where the multimedia developers should be able to help you out with what to do with sounds or themes you've created.

by Adam Black (not verified)

Sound events are a great idea, but I'm not big on sounds and usually have them turned off. Will these be tied in w/ their given pacakages or will they be packaged as kdesounds? I think thought should be given to the later so that people like me stuck on a 56k (or slower) won't have to download anything that we will not use.

by marm (not verified)

I'm all for adding a little bit of extra sound to KDE - now artsd is solid and reliable and doing its job. But the interface for adding sounds to events is less than top-notch, and, more importantly, there is no way of saving your system notifications as a scheme, like there is in the Colours kcontrol module.

Any chance of getting this fixed and getting the System Notifications kcontrol module polished up a bit?

Also, there are a few system events that could do with entries in the System Notifications module - for instance, the equivalent of IE's 'Start Navigation' sound, but in Konqueror. This is a subtle but important addition to IE which Konqueror could use - it really does help the browser's perceived speed, as the sound plays and notifies you that the browser is doing stuff even before the page has started loading.

by spark (not verified)

About the internet explorer sound, I completely agree with you. That's why I hacked it in myself. It really works great IMHO. After 2.1 I'll see if I can get it into a patch so I can perhaps have it commited to the cvs.

by gis (not verified)

But the interface for adding sounds to events is less than top-notch, and, more importantly, there is no way of saving your system notifications as a scheme, like there is in the Colours kcontrol module.

You're right. I'll improve the System Notifications control module for KDE 2.2, including adding Sound Theme support.

by Bojan (not verified)

Isn't that (I mean giving voice to KDE) something KDE league should do??