Gesture Recognition for KDE

Mike Pilone has stepped up to the challenge of implementing gesture recognition for KDE. "KGesture uses libstroke to recognize definable gestures, then run an associated command. Using KDE's DCOP interface, KGesture can interact with applications already running, or launch new applications." You might be forgiven if, like me, you first thought this was a joke. KGesture works as advertised, and is almost as fun as the now discontinued KVoiceControl, but it does need a little more fuzzy logic before it becomes practical enough. I did manage to get it to work for simpler gestures -- I can draw an L-shape on my desktop and a window will pop up. However, for more complex gestures such as a circle, it takes a little practice and patience to get right. With time, your help and feedback, KGesture is bound to improve. Download it here or view the screenshots (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9).


Aaaaah, kool!
Maybe it works even better with a pen-pad, like those from Wacom.

By reihal at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

I think no !
I've tested with a DigitalEdge PenPad and it works less good than with mouse.
Although it was easier to go through the configuration steps with my tablet, the results on the screen were less good !


By Tom at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

i love it :) a feature I haven't seen on too many other systems (except black&white).. looks promasing!

By xasto at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

Speaking of Black & White, I gave it a try some days ago and the mouse movement recognition stuff is really nifty, I've never ever seen any other program which can handle as complex shapes that good.

Was the functionality which is responsible for that feature developed just for Black & White or does it originate from some external source? I can imagine it would be interesting to give it a try.

By Frerich Raabe at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

I used to follow the lionhead-diaries, until shortly.. If I remember correctly, the idea of gestures was the result of a brainstorming-session.. (therefore I guess it's inhouse, but it's no proof..)

By xasto at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

I remember I tried a similar app a three or four years ago on MS Windows. It is useless.
First off all it is useless for launching applications: why to draw when you can click on an icon or even better press a key on your keyboard. Second, I don't have any space on my desktop while working: this means that I have to close some running applications and draw something on my desktop to launch a new app.
No thanks, Ctrl + K = Konqueror is running :)

By Antialias at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

I don't know whether it's really useful, but it
is better than you think in at least one way:
you don't need to be able to get at the root
window to use the gesture. You just wave the
mouse wherever it happens to be on the screen.

By gnb at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

>You just wave the
mouse wherever it happens to be on the screen.<

What if I accidentaly wave a mouse and launch an
application? I wave my mouse cursor a lot :), especially when I browse the web.

By Antialias at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

umm.. but do u wave ur mouse cursor in geometric shapes u define? i didn't think so :-)


By Jason Katz-Brown at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

Are we going to draw complex geometric shapes to execute a simple commands? And how many geometric shapes you can remember and associate with commands?
And can you precisely draw your geometric shapes?
I daubt it. I've just compiled Kgesture and tried it, and I needed 5-6 times to draw a simple geometric shape before it was recognized by Kgesture. Waste of time. Shape looks like this
|_| .
I admit that it would be very usefull to, for example minimize and maximize windows, but IIRC
there is no dcop call for these actions, or maybe I am wrong. My sister just called and told me that she had asked on #kde and developers said that there is no dcop call for minimize window.

By Antialias at Fri, 2001/05/25 - 5:00am

Opera on windows support this, and all I can say is that I'm now addicted to it... I found myself trying the mouse mouves everywhere, and wondering why it is not working... Especially in Opera under Linux...

By Holstein at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

Congratulations, you're one of the lucky people able to use a keyboard or have enough hand/eye coordination to be able to use a standard point and click interface.

Now try thinking about it from the point of view of someone who cant use a keyboard or hasnt got the hand/eye coordination to click on tiny icons on a screen.

Yeah I know I should rise to trolls....

By Sparky at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

>Now try thinking about it from the point of view of someone who cant use a keyboard or hasnt got the hand/eye coordination to click on tiny icons on a screen.<

And that 'someone' has hand/eye coordination to draw circles or different shapes?

BTW, icons don't need to be tiny :)

By Antialias at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

Same for me... though I think such features make KDE more complete and I appreciate that functionality like this begins with linux (even if you tried a separate app, it might not integrate as well with the DE).
Btw, I doubt "fuzzy logic" being used (I didn't take the time to look at the code, sorry).

By Henri at Fri, 2001/05/25 - 5:00am


will i be able to live without it now? :o))))))))))

thanks for this :o)))))

emmanuel :o)

By emmanuel at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

Great! I use WayV to launch applications, which doesn't depend on KDE, but it can't talk to apps that are already running except in limited ways, so KGesture is a great improvement on that.

I hope that if/when Gnome gets gesture recognition it's something that can run simultaneously with this and not cause conflicts... although somehow I doubt that.

By MaW at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

Well, it seems to be calling dcop to do the actual actions, so as long as gnome has a shell-callable scripting interface, I don't see why you would need another app at all.

Just use this one and/or extend it to control GNOME apps.

By Roberto Alsina at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

That'd be good. Maybe one day I'll figure out how to do it myself.

By MaW at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

Why not implement REAL gesture, capturing data from a Webcam ?

By Julio Alvarez at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

I rememeber that somone tried this some time ago. They made a console app that controlled kpresenter by body movement. I'll look for it in the mail archives.

By Jørgen Adam Holen at Fri, 2001/05/25 - 5:00am

> . . . Using KDE's DCOP interface . . .

Does anyone know where I can find more information on DCOP calls.
Ideally I would like to find a full list of possible DCOP calls for every KDE2 app.





By Risto Treksler at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

Have you tried using the graphical browser "kdcop" or the command-line browser "dcop"?.This only applies to running applications though.

By Navindra Umanee at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

Task oriented documentation would be much better. For example if I wanted to programatically move a window to a different desktop I would have had no idea how to actually do it. kdcop may be useful for a full-on developer but is not really useful for end-user scripting of the environment, which should be one of the strengths of KDE.

By raven667 at Fri, 2001/05/25 - 5:00am

from dcop import *

blah blah blah

By AC at Sat, 2001/05/26 - 5:00am

This is a mail from the author as reported by LinuxToday. See the attachment for some interesting info.

By KDE User at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

i also would like to see more functionality of kde exported to dcop, especially things like konsole, ... i'd like to have a dcop interface, and i would enjoy a bigger konqueror dcop iface (kwin too ..)

By ik at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

It turns out Konqueror has a huger interface than we thought! Take a look at this mail from David Faure::


By KDE User at Fri, 2001/05/25 - 5:00am

cool, thanks
it would be even cooler if we didnot need that magic number in it:
~$ dcop kmix 'qt/unnamed76(KActionCollection, 0x8099214)/help_about_app' activate

since i guess it will be compile dependant ...
now we always need to grep for it ...


By ik at Fri, 2001/05/25 - 5:00am

Now that gesture interfaces finally seem to find their way into mainstream GUIs, I guess it's time to reconsider the related other interface method that [warning: bad pun] pops up every now and then in User Interface classes: Pie Menus []

There is already an implementation for GTK [], and I wonder what it would take to integrate something like it in Qt/KDE as well, maybe as a widget theme.

The biggest problem used to be the size that pie menus took up, but that could now probably avoided by making them transparent.

By Arnd Bergmann at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

It is a cool idea !
It will better to have it in kcontrol !


By Martin at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

This is a great development, when i saw Sensiva, application I was impressed with it and wished that KDE should have had it. I expected that KDE might take three to five years to get there to have this technology; but to my amazement and surprise; KDE's Development is real great. I wonder What will KDE and its apps will do till KDE 3.0 ;)

Thanks a lot for your hard and nice work!

By Asif Ali Rizwaan at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

Yeah. KDE's development is going very fast.

But i'm still waiting for someone (?) to implement that "focus follows mind" thing

By me at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

Sloppy focus is close enough to focus follows mind, I think:) Mice are totally useless without it. If you get into the habit of following your reading with your mouse cursor, and have sloppy focus on, you've effectively got focus follows mind:)

By james at Fri, 2001/05/25 - 5:00am

Actually, using a gaze tracker this was already done (albeit as a research prototype) by - I believe it was IBM: The gaze tracker determines where on the screen you're looking and when you move your mouse it will teleport there and move. The cursor only teleports when it's not in your field of vision. This combined with focus on mouse comes pretty close...
Too bad gaze trackers aren't exactly standard PC apparel.

By Frans Flippo at Thu, 2003/01/09 - 6:00am

Cool, you did something microsoft would try. I guess we have arrive.

By ryan ware at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

Look at the first screenshot, at the border around the selected icon (at left). Not that nice. I have the same problem in my KDE. The border around some selected items is ugly sometimes.

By PE at Thu, 2001/05/24 - 5:00am

This is *not* a KDE problem. This problem is either a problem in X or just in the nv(NVidia) X driver. Anyway AFAIK, it is fixed in the next X release. If I can find a reference on this problem, I'll post it here.

By Rob at Fri, 2001/05/25 - 5:00am

By Rob at Fri, 2001/05/25 - 5:00am

It happens with drivers other than nvidia's. Although I believe it is a X problem I have a workaround in the form of a patch to qt at (at least it works for me).

By Carlos Rodrigues at Sat, 2001/06/02 - 5:00am

Congradulations to the KDE developers. Even after i heavly pushed the kde vs. gnome poll on gnotices yesterday kde still has a 10 to 1 lead. Its my option that konqueror has been the killer app that pulled kde in the lead. ALso anti-aliased fonts and the kompany's applications hav'nt hurt either. Ok before all you flower power types get your bell bottoms ruffled. The community is united like a bunch of baseball fans are but i just enjoy rutting for the home team. So way to go guys your doing great. I think when koffice gets in better shape we'll really be looking good.


By Craig at Fri, 2001/05/25 - 5:00am

Don't get too excited about that poll. Past credible assessments place KDE and GNOME users head to head of the Unix desktop environments. Biased poll? Yep. There's a reason why professional companies such as Gallup ( hire mathematicians, statiticians, and linguistics experts to produce a fair representation of the public. And I can assure you that the 10:1 poll is hardly a statistical representation of all unix users.

By una persona que... at Fri, 2001/05/25 - 5:00am

I think the demiss of eazel and the stability and speed of konqueror and anti aliased fonts in kde have really panned out. I heavyly promoted the poll on gnotices and now its a headline story on newsforge and still kde leads gnome 10 to 1. I know its not a scientific poll but man thats a huge lead. Its not like the poll was a kde poll or anything. I pushed it hard yesterday on gnotices to make sure the gnome guys showed up.


By Craig at Fri, 2001/05/25 - 5:00am

k... just don't mention what the "gnome guys" SAID on gnotices... they flamed u like everyone else! now, i know u are a good person, but ur comments about this poll are evil! You know its biased!


By Jason Katz-Brown at Fri, 2001/05/25 - 5:00am

Who could the poll be biased? It was on here and gnotices and on mandrake forum and newsforge? Come on why can't you see that Knonqueror has pulled kde way ahead.


By Craig at Fri, 2001/05/25 - 5:00am

Did anyone see the poll at

The current votes show that Craig is in the lead by a huge margin. It seems that everybody (KDE users, GNOME users and the general news-thirsty linux crowd) has agreed that Craig's posts are getting annoying...

By Iva DeNuff at Fri, 2001/05/25 - 5:00am


/me votes for craig.. thanks for that poll notice iva denuff.... WAIT! i don't NEED to be notified about polls on the dot! KAH!


By Jason Katz-Brown at Fri, 2001/05/25 - 5:00am

Pay no attention to this CRAIG. He's been trolling gnotices for a few days. The website that the poll was on has been around for less than a month and has about 25 registered users--I think Craig's probably a 'nom de plume' of the guy who runs that site, and it is clear he has been trying to increase traffic on it. As a trained statistician, I can assure you that the results of that poll are inaccurate, and most likely not because of poor sampling techniques. I would really like to get some accurate figures about total users of both systems, because it would be interesting to know how each have grown in the past few years. The truth is, its not a race against each other, and the competition is
enhancing the usability of both desktops. If both GNOME and KDE can get a 1 or 2 percent of the Windows users to switch over, this will increase the number of Linux Desktop users incredibly.

Plus, Craig can't write a sentence without misspelling a word and making a grammatical error.

By Concerned Citizen at Fri, 2001/05/25 - 5:00am

Well your right about my spelling and wrong about me being somehow connected with the site. I to would be very interested in a scientific sampling of who's using what. I promoted the poll on the gnotices site so as to make it fair. I wanted the poll to be as accurate as it could be so as to get to the truth. Another poll has popped on on which is another site frequented by mandrake users. It also has a similar result of 10 to 1 ratio of kde users to gnome users. I think theres something to there polls but i don't think there 100% accurate.


By Craig at Fri, 2001/05/25 - 5:00am

Craig, Mandrake default desktop is KDE. Maybe you should try to ask Debian users.

By Antialias at Sat, 2001/05/26 - 5:00am