Kernel Cousin KDE #12

KC KDE #12 is out, with a slight delay due to a family emergency in the life of the Kernel Cousins coordinator. This week, read about the collaboration between the Abiword, wvWare and KWord developers, some very interesting developments and ideas regarding a sidebar in Konqueror, KPovModeler, and much more. As usual, credits go to Aaron J. Seigo, Rob Kaper, and Zack Brown. Get your fix here.

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by BASEMAN (not verified)


you people are talking about philosophy and you can't even write out a complete thought half of the time. Does anyone see the irony? freaks!

and what is funny is that this kind of CRAP appears every time i do a web search for important information. maybe you should be talking about how stupid your conversations are rather than the OS you are writing them out on....just a though...after all...we're talking philosophy right?

Yes, many people use M$ software.
And do you know why? Not because they want to, but because they are forced to.
Other users are using M$ formats too and can't/want to save to another format.
So if you want to read M$ Word docs properly, you need M$ Word.

M$ software is not popular because it's good, but because it's being overhyped.
Because of the hype, people think that M$ is the best and will only use their software.
And many people who don't like M$ will have to use M$ software anyway because other people use it.

There still isn't a Linux office suite that can compete with Microsoft Office:

Staroffice is extremely slow.
Abiword has unreadable fonts.
Gnumeric can't even do graphs or plots yet.
KOffice is extremely buggy (I am really looking forward to the next release though)

Microsoft Office is far from perfect though. The interface is EXTREMELY poor. I also can't stand the way Word tries to guess what you are doing (sometimes I don't want the first word of a sentence capitalized damn it). However, Office is still the best around.

Internet Explorer is also an excellent piece of software. Its quite fast and has lots of features. Until recently it was CLEARLY the best browser around. Mozilla is catching up very rapidly though. Konqueror is fast and stable, but I don't like the way it renders fonts sometimes.

Part of the problem with Microsoft software is that most people use it on top of a Microsoft operating system :) Win98 and WinME are both incredibly unstable. This might change when XP ships though.


PS - Age of Empires and Motocross Madness were good too ehehe

PPS - Can someone make kppp stop crashing evertime pppd dies unexpectedly (Bug #25490)

the font problems you mention are probably configuration problems.
the konqueror utf8 font encoding you are probably facing - forgive me if i am wrong (unreadable fonts in sites like / are because of the lack of utf8-capable fonts you have installed or properly configured. Search for a solution (i used utf-8 as a searc string), or for a quick fix:
in the [HTML Settings] section of your .kde/share/config/konquerorrc :

abiword has probably a similar problem/fix (i tried it here, it was readable)

By the way: the latest koffice beta is more stable (not perfect yet , but its fairly stable) and i
discovered you can actually create really pretty documents with it already (by using frames in a creative way), but that is not the point, i understand.

by Salvatore Enric... (not verified)

I would like to comment on StarOffice being slow.

ONLY the startup of SO5.2 is slow. Once it is up, it is very responsive.

KDE has the beautiful feature of multiple desktops (default = 4 ). Just dedicate one of the desktopsto SO5.2 and leave it there.

Since Linux and KDE are stable for months, to say the least, yuo will have this slow startup of SO5.2 only when you restart Linux or KDE. Big deal!

this is difficult in practice because

- staroffice crashes often here
- staroffice uses a lot of ram
- staroffice is not that responsive here, let alone a
64 mb ram box (where its microsoft counterpart runs fine on) - it stalls for more than 10 seconds when opening a file.

i think a 43 second startup time for an office suite on a 64 meg ram box (and more memory / cpu power does not make a lot it seems: it takes 38 seconds to start here on my athlon 750 w/ 384 meg ram , okay its openoffice 619 but i think its comparablee with staroffice 5.2 -- correct me if i'm wrong) is really unacceptable.

by Aaron J. Seigo (not verified)

don't worry about it. koffice development is absolutely screaming ahead right now and it opens very fast (<3 seconds to a blank docu for KWord on pII400, taking <12MB res RAM)

the only thing that has me keeping SO around right now is MS Word _export_ (import into kword works well, though not perfect...). every once in a blue moon i need that capability.

yes, me too, and for word documents with tables, there seems to be a bug in the kword filter that makes the 'cells' too big and overlap each other.
and i can't use the version of openoffice i installed (612) because i can't get it to print or even to output rtf readable by kword...

by BASEMAN (not verified)

Why do you need an Exporter for MS Word?

Nobody is going to make one, b/c it wastes time for people to do it. Why don't you just export your documents into RTF, other similar format. then MS word will open it.

Shit just use plain text

It's not ridiculous for the menu to show only frequently used item only, this is awesome feature!..... do you like the kde program menu.. which has hundreds of stuffs pop up almost across the screen vertically? !! that's more ridiculous, we just want one!! it's more annoying and it takes time to find your favourite one.

For the one who love to waste such a time in such a way, go on but please don't drag KDE backward with you!.

Perhaps you are too much afraid of 'being stupid' (which actually you may or may not), and don't want the computer to be smarter than you. Sorry but I have to say that your definition of 'tools' is the old concept. Tools should work together with you, not always wait for you to order.. that's stupid tools.

The problem here is that these smart tools is not 100% smart, but we must go on, develop the better one.. not just said "hey that's ridiculous, let's use the old one" ...what a even more ridiculous idea !!!

As you can see there're difference among people (there's still some dinosaurs demanding for old-style tools here), I think KDE should provide the features with the options to enable or disable the features. This will maintain our concept of 'flexible' and 'configurable' !! :-)

by Alain (not verified)

>,It's not ridiculous for the menu to show only frequently used item only, this is awesome feature!.....

Yes !... Badly awesome... What is frequent, what is not ? Who decides ?

>Do you like the kde program menu.. which has hundreds of stuffs pop up almost across the screen vertically? !!

Hundred hmmm... I search a little, and I find a maximum of 18 in KMail... And suppose there are too much lines, it is possible to have sub-menus...

by Tackat (not verified)

>> It's not ridiculous for the menu to show only
>> frequently used item only, this is awesome
>> feature!.....

> Yes !... Badly awesome... What is frequent,
> what is not ? Who decides ?

The user him/herself. Actually this is pretty smart. They don't use "static" user-levels (like Nautilus does) which were used back in the eighties and which didn't help much. They show only those menuitems which the user actually uses frequently and hide those which are only being used rarely. So these "dynamic" user-levels are being selftriggered by the user.

Of course there are quite some disadvantages in this concept, too.

> Of course there are quite some disadvantages in this concept, too.

It is worse than the Nautilus management. Neverwhere the menus are similar. I don't think that something frequent one day would be frequent the other day... It is restrictive to live with the same features...

Also (I already searched in Office 2000) there is no parameter to enable/disable such truncated menus. The user MUST suffer.

Yesterday I heard at the radio a publicity of HP saying something like "The computer will understand you". No, no, no, it's you who have to understand the computer, so that it will be the best tool for doing what you want it does.

A good computer is a computer easy to understand (for your use), not a computer which changes the things as it thinks it is better for the moment, what a pretentiousness !

In the Microsoft philosophy, more and more, the computer commands and the assisted user suffers (happily Bob is gone... but he is back in other forms...). In the Linux philosophy, the user commands, the computer works.

by Windows User (not verified)

I have to agree with you. I found this page while desperately searching for a way to disable this annoying "feature". I can't "learn" the new Office programs because the order of the menu options is constantly changing, and is never the same between different computers. It is more than a little irritating. If I use an option frequently I eventually memorize where it is found on the menu. All this trunctuating helps me do is have a hard time finding less-used options. I have to click the expand button on each menu to get to the options, and searching for an option of which the location I am unsure is near impossible. I can't even remember where the option was located based on the appearance of the drop-down menu, because this changes all the time.

by Timothy R. Butler (not verified)

It actually works quite well. It shows everything you've used recently, and hides the rest. Everything pops up if you click the little double arrow at the bottom of the menu.
This is nice in that some things are used so infrequently that you don't want to waste screen realestate on them. To me, I feel that MS makes great interfaces, they just don't know how to make 'em stable (or as "pretty" as KDE ).


by Aaron J. Seigo (not verified)

i believe the conversation was about menus in programs, not the start/k application menus. in newer versions of windows when you pull down, for instance, the edit menu not all the options are shown. some are hidden and there is a little arrow entry at the bottom you click on to show the two or three options the developers thought you wouldn't really need. even MS recently admitted that this was something of a UI failure.

as for most recent apps/documents in the k menu, it supports this right now... with a few minutes of customization you could have a k menu with just the apps you use + the recent apps/documents feature turned on and have something you apparently prefer. life is good.

by Windows User (not verified)

Thank god, there is a way to disable it in Office. View->Toolbars->Customize

by Electronic Eric (not verified)

Once again, I'm amazed by how much you guys are getting done.

A few thoughts:

IMAP caching in Kmail? Control of this?
Oh yeah, and my university will soon be switching all its IMAP servers over to secure IMAP. Any chance of putting this in KMail, or should I just slog with Mozilla?

If you make a KDE-native interface for XMMS, please, please, please make the fonts and widgets resizeable. The one thing I really don't like in XMMS is the absurdly small (and non-resizeable) skins.

Great job.



by j0hn (not verified)

you can use stunnel ( to connect with a normal IMAP-client to a Secure IMAP server. I've done it a few times and it works great.

by not me (not verified)

>If you make a KDE-native interface for XMMS, please, please, please make the fonts and widgets resizeable.

Sorry, that's not possible. XMMS skins (winamp skins actually) are bitmaps, meaning that everything is a fixed size. You can put XMMS in "doublesize" mode which does make everything bigger but I think it makes everything too big. Scaling the bitmap to an arbitrary size would introduce artifacts and make it look bad.

You can change and resize the playlist font in Winamp, I'm not sure if you can in XMMS.

by Mark Hillary (not verified)

You can chanmge the playlist font in xmms along with the font in the main window, it is in the prefs sectiom

by Al_trent (not verified)

This new sidebar in Konq seems awesome! I can't wait to try it. =)
Thanks for all your great work!

by Shift (not verified)

No !
No !
And No !

These slidebar is horrible : it takes too much space in the konqueror window.
And if you want something like this, put the icons buttons in the bottom like this

| < | _ | _ | _ | _ >|

The line between folder and sidebar must be small to avoid dangerous click :)

by Aaron J. Seigo (not verified)

first, as i understand the current development of sidebar-tng, you can turn it on or off... you will be able to have just the classic sidebar as it is now. no one will be shoving this down your throat, but at least those who want extended features will be able to get at them.

second, putting the tabs at the top or bottom is not a workable idea since the horizontal space in the sidebar is usually very small compared to the vertical. you would not be able to comfortably and usably fit many icons horizontally. one thing i hope for, though, is that the icons can appear to the left of the sidebar as an option (as opposed to the right).

by Shift (not verified)

That's why I put some -> on the sides.

And of course, it can be configured (as all in kde). But high customability will be made.

For exemple, You can have preview of images and html files and that's great, but when you browse a ftp, it will be useful if it can be unactivated ;)

by Antialias (not verified)

I would realy like to have possibility to place Konqi's sidebar on the right side of Kongi's window. I am righthanded and my mouse cursor is always placed on the right side of the monitor. Please, have a look how Lighttek's Alteros 3D handles this I experience sidebars which are placed on the left side very clumsy. Second, is it possible to make icons in the sidebar customizable? I mean, on higher resolutions they are too small.
Third, is it possible to make Konqi's sidebar customizable so it shows only dirs I choose? I don't need to have bin, boot, dev, sbin, etc. directories in Konqi's sidebar for my everyday use. If I want to do administrators tasks I fire up konsole, or run Konqi as root.
Toolbar between sidebar and window on qwertz's screenshot looks ugly and clumsy IMHO. Not elegant at all. Placing icons between sidebar and window is a bad thing. If you make these icons smaller you get more elegant toolbar, but then you miss usability - it is difficult to click on small icons. Kde developers have to re-think design for this thing. The main problem here is: YOU CAN'T PUT EVERYTHING INSIDE THE KONQI'S WINDOW. This is the wrong way. Are we going to have 5 extra toolbars on the top, 5 extra toolbars on the left, 5 extra toolbars on the bottom, and a little window in the middle for viewing things? Don't follow IE or Mozilla, make it your own way. It can be done.
Or better look what Rasterman & comp. are doing right now. It seems they have some great ideas.
BTW, when you want to implement a new feature, why don't you use this site and discuss it with kde users? Maybe, some of kde users have some brilliant ideas...

by Alain (not verified)

> Toolbar between sidebar and window on qwertz's screenshot looks ugly and clumsy IMHO.

It is already written on the screenshot legend :
> > You can see Konqueror's sidebar below.
(ugly icons becoz resized)

> Placing icons between sidebar and window is a bad thing.

No, it is the good place for the usage. On the right, you may have classical toolbars. You have a proposal ?

> If you make these icons smaller you get more elegant toolbar, but then you miss usability - it is difficult to click on small icons.

Huh... The user chooses what he prefers. I don't think that the developper may give much that now, giving choice of the positions, the size, the content and the number of toolbars... You have a proposal ?

> The main problem here is: YOU CAN'T PUT EVERYTHING INSIDE THE KONQI'S WINDOW. This is the wrong way. Are we going to have 5 extra toolbars on the top, 5 extra toolbars on the left, 5 extra toolbars on the bottom, and a little window in the middle for viewing things?

15 toolbars ?? You are not credible... The maximum is 5 (including the menus), 6 with the new one.

Konqueror lets the user choose, it is very good. I have a 19" screen and I like having toolbars in the right side, and one other vertical between sidebar and windows is good. If the user feels it's too big, he chooses tiny icons and it's oK !

The only problem I have now is that I did'nt succeed to place on the top two toolbars in one (on the 1/3 left a toolbar with icons and on the 2/3 right the URL bar). However it is possible, but only for a few time, then the two toolbar position are not stable. Also I cannot place a toolbar beside the menus...

by Antialias (not verified)

>You have a proposal ?<
I said I would like to have sidebar on the right side (something like Alteros and Neoplanet), not on the left side of Konqi's window (I mean possibility to chose where to place sidebar).
I said I would like to have possibility to chose which dirs to have in sidebar.
I said it would be nice to have possibility to chose bigger icons in sidebar (if we have to have icons there).
And IMHO tabs are much better than icons in sidebar. Something like Neoplanet's channelbar, but it can be even better implemented. You want to go through Konqi's sidebar to /usr/share/icons/hicolor/48x48/mimetypes and you get a sausage in the sidebar (7 clicks). I don't know who uses this. I don't. I just bookmark mimetypes icons, and I need 2 clicks to get there (or only one).

by me (not verified)

I definitely think you DO have some points there. It seems really awkward to have those buttons to the right of the sidebar. I dunno why, it just feels wrong.

Then again, I am quite sure it'll be configurable (hopefully NOT by adding a kcontrol option, but rather allowing you to just drag it to another edge just as it works with kicker).

And everything was good.

by Aaron J. Seigo (not verified)

> BTW, when you want to implement a new feature,
> why don't you use this site and discuss it
> with kde users? Maybe, some of kde users have
> some brilliant ideas...

because this is not where development discussions occur. if you are interested in aiding kde development, there are many fine email lists ( where these discussions go on day and night. even if you are not a developer, there are lists like kde-look and kde-user that are good places to interact w/other users and developers.

by Antialias (not verified)

>because this is not where development discussions occur<

Huh, yes it does, very often... Even about C++ and Gtk. Shall I mention some of the recent discussions? I don't see why we shouldn't discuss these things here. I was talking about ideas, and users can give a good feedback to developers. I know that developers discuss the things before they implement them, and I also know the KDE is their project, not mine, and that I have to shut up, and I am so sorry if I offended you. Please forgive me.
I will never do that again.

>if you are interested in aiding kde development..<

Yes, I am, KDE is the desktop I use..., but unfortunately I am not developer, I wish I was :( I just thought I could contribute with some ideas...

>there are many fine email lists (<

Really? Great :) Are there also any kde IRC channels too?

by Aaron J. Seigo (not verified)

that's exactly what i meant: email lists where non-developers interact with developers. and the conversations can be productive and are watched much closely than here...

by the time discussion gets here its usually already been talked about for some time on the mailing lists. just the nature of the mediums =)

as for irc, go to the openprojects network ( is a part of op) and join #kde and/or #kde-users ... #kde is primarily for development discussion, #kde-users for more use/idea related topics. other #kde-* channels exist for more specific topics as well, just do a channel listing and filter on kde

by Anders (not verified)

I think the main concern so far would be to have a clean concept for splitting up the sidebar items. Home, root, history, bookmarks are obvious but how about costum items? and an API for creating sidebar items as plugins - obvious too.

The layout can fairly easily be made customizable in lots of ways, where to put the icons, icon/text/both modes etc.

Personally the organization of sidebar tabs is the one thing I /really/ like in nautilus. And I can't help loving the looks of ie4/mac, with the vertical tabs at the left edge of the sidebar.

The dockwindow used by the screenshot was used as a fast way of creating the shot AFAIK, and hopefully a final solution would have the icons of "open" sidebar items connected to those in some way - an advanatge of the mozilla and nautilus approaches.

One part of the discussion that I find a bit funny is the suggestion of a preview widget for images (+ html/text/pdf/... files), as something special. IMHO this issue should be solved by expanding the view linking in konqueror, so that /any/ view could be dedicated as preview area for one or more other views (so locking the "parent" view to location could be avoided). The image viewer can zoom images to the available size of the viewer widget, and creating pixmap previews of text/pdf files is slow, who'd prefer more than the available iconic previews over the RO preview provided by the embedded viewers anyway?

by Tel-Cor (not verified)

Two things I'm looking for in KMail (or maybe it's in the address book app?):
1) Ability to connect the address book to an LDAP server to obtain/check addresses;
2) Able to define mailing lists to use in KMail. Not the [email protected] style, but an entry in the address book that contains multiple email address recipients.

ATM those are my two biggest 'woes' with KDE and its' apps. Will we see anything like them soon? Those two features are very useful at my workplace. Otherwise, the quality and speed of development of KDE is great. Am looking forward to more good stuff in the future.

by Timothy R. Butler (not verified)

Is there an word on when the proposed work on XMMS's KDE interface will begin? Noauton just isn't usable enough I've found, so I always use XMMS - I'd love to use it in a native KDE mode. :-)


by Alain (not verified)

It is said "a KDE native front end"... What does it means ?

I suppose it is an add-on (in quicker, for example, or a plugin...), I don't think it can be a "native KDE mode"...

by Protoman (not verified)

For the little I can tell you, there will be a option on configure script to use kde/qt instead of using the default gtk/gnome "interface". (the interface term on xmms refers to menus and open file dialog).

Unhapply I don't know when it will start but I want it NOW! :-)

Noatun and arts are still very primitive so I keep using xmms and will be glad to be able to open smb shared files if xmms gets kde support.

by Timothy R. Butler (not verified)

I have pretty good success with aRts (I can use the XMMS-aRts plugin to use aRts), but I do no have nearly as much success with noauton. I also miss XMMS/Winamp's nice integrated play list (i.e. the audio controls snap on the play list) . Finally, noauton is so slow - it will definately be nice to have a QT-based program with the robust features of XMMS.

It seems to me, maybe XMMS with the new GUI should replace noauton as the official KDE audio client. Just think - then GNOME and KDE would not only be collaborating on future versions of aRts, they would also be working together on a multimedia client...


by Protoman (not verified)

I've found arts is too much slow here, but I really think with more development time it will be one of the greastest tjings on *nix systems.

About second part, I only can agree 100%. You know, you can't block the sun with a sieve (I hope this is right in english), noAtun isn't good enought yet for being on distribution of KDE, if it gets on the same stage as XMMS someday, well, so we it can be put in, but until there users need something useable as XMMS is.

This without saying that noatun can be a waste of energy instead of collaboring to change xmms.

by daniel (not verified)

Opening smb:// links in xmms is possible with my patch to the mpg123 input-plugin of xmms-1.2.7, available at

by Neil Stevens (not verified)

It'll start when one of you sick, twisted xmms fans gets up and starts one.

Us Noatun developers aren't exactly keen on the idea, so don't expect it from us.


by Jon (not verified)

It's not so sick and twisted to use a stable, fast application that works for more than 10 minutes without crashing.

by Timothy R. Butler (not verified)

I sympathize with what you are saying, but it seems like it would be nice to avoid reinventing the wheel anyway. XMMS is very stable, has tons of plugins, and XMMS/Winamp have more skins than I could ever use.
Why have two incompatible apps, if we can have one great one (just think, if all of the noauton developers helped with XMMS!).


by Neil Stevens (not verified)

Let's see.. what's it say next to my name in the Noatun about box these days? "Standards and usability complainer" What did it say before then? "Noatun Excellent, and more"

In layman's terms, I focus on the Noatun user interface, trying to make it easy to use, mostly by trying to keep it consistent with KDE's standards and practices.

How on earth would I fit in with xmms, an app whose UI is nothing but a clone of some idiotic, incredibly difficult to use Windows app? The UI of Winamp is so horrid, they had to add the "doublesize" mode just to make it almost usable!

Sometimes collaboration is good, but when one's goals are divergent, and the goals of XMMS and Noatun are widely divergent, collaboration would be impossible.

by Protoman (not verified)

./configure --with-kde --kde-interface

You know, simply don't using escuses is a great step.
There isn't galeon for mozilla? Can't there be a kmedia frontend for xmms? Sure it can!

by Timothy R. Butler (not verified)

I can understand your dislike of XMMS due to the fact that you work on a competing tool, but I think you have to admit a few things about it: It works, works well, and works fast.
XMMS, much like WinAmp, use a simple formula - they don't have "fancy" skins like Noatun or Windows Media Player - they just run fast and efficiently. For instance, to start up XMMS takes a matter of moments on my system, whereas Noatun takes a good while, and then hogs a sizable portion of my system's memory. Since I mainly turn the media player on, and then don't see it for the rest of the night, I don't care what it looks like for the most part.
I think your mention of XMMS's lousy GUI, is much like my similar accusation against the GIMP. I was a big Photo-Paint user, and I hated the GIMP's unorthodox UI - however, I spent a few days using the GIMP, and realized for what I was attempting to do with it, it's UI was uniquely shaped around that task. Similarly, XMMS/Winamp have things like the play list and controls being in one Window, etc. that make it a pleasure to use, once you get use to it.


by Alejandro (not verified)

If one can´t see the whole thing, your apreciation will be always partial. I use noatun, and its perfectness is easy to explain. I have not done anything, and it opens everything. Y have not done "./configure bla bla bla", neither wait two or three days to being confortable using it. Everyday I used it, it guide me deeper to its posibilities. That it is too heavy for your machine? I disagree. A multimedia player isn´t heavy when it takes lot to start, it is heavy when the song or video it plays sounds wrong, stopts impredictibly, etc.. If it takes to mutch to start, just click it´s icon, and go to another virtual desktop so that you can wait doing anything else. See the system as a hole, not as a pile of caprices.

by Bart (not verified)

Why does everything new in KDE seem to be modeled after some ugly Windows shareware widget? I'm specifically talking about those seperators in the sidebars. The double-horizontal lines with an X to the right of them. Yuck! The fewer extra lines in an interface, the cleaner it looks.