Kernel Cousin KDE #13 Released

Kernel Cousin KDE #13 has just been published. In this week's issue: Avery label templates for KWord, improvements to Kicker, and a new personalizer wizard to make configuring KDE easier. You can read the full article here.


I noticed the personalizer some time before but ignored it due to the fact that I already had configured my desktop. With KDE's 06/13/2001 CVS sources I was surprized to see the KPersonalizer appear on first startup.
It claimed it would configure my desktop !
OK, there was that 'Skip' button in the lower left of the window.
Pressing it, I saw that KPersonalizer warn that it couldn't configure my desktop if I proceeded [to skip] and then "threatened" to install the default KDE Settings [over my existing ones] in that case.
I preferred sending a SIGKILL ... ;-)
I wonder what that kind of compulsion is for in an environment like KDE?
OK, I do not really believe that this behavior was intended...

By Andreas Leuner at Thu, 2001/06/14 - 5:00am

Yes, I think these severe warnings should go too. They violate the User Interface Design guide for programmers, for one. :-)

By Navindra Umanee at Thu, 2001/06/14 - 5:00am

Wow! Thanks...coooooool link!!!

By Michele Di Trani at Thu, 2001/06/14 - 5:00am

If you like that you will love:

"About Face"

It's the best book on the subject


By Simon at Thu, 2001/06/14 - 5:00am

Personally I didn't like this book much. It has some good ideas, but it is ruined by the author's insistence on using his own weird terminology, and his insistence on highlighting so many words. For a book on UI design to have such poor interaction with the reader is rather ironic...

You'll find the same information in pretty much any recent UI design text book, so personally I'd recommend reading something else.


By Richard Moore at Thu, 2001/06/14 - 5:00am

> OK, there was that 'Skip' button in
> the lower left of the window.

Well, you are using CVS ... how do you get the idea that things do work as supposed there?


By Torsten Rahn at Thu, 2001/06/14 - 5:00am

Maybe he was just pointing it out to insure that the problems will be gone when it's released as stable...

By Per Wigren at Fri, 2001/06/15 - 5:00am

Its gone.

By anon at Fri, 2001/06/15 - 5:00am

since there are millions of options in kde2 (which makes it configurable and therefor great IMHO) there are about as many discussions about if a newbee could anyhow deal with all that.

newbee can not (i did win95/98 support for 2 years for 14-65 year old people in playing, learning and business setups)

so what about an option to lock all these wonderfull options (probably even on kde install with unlock only happens with root password)

that would keep DAU's in business settings as well as wives and girl-friends (yes, also otherwise round) from distroying their setup and from playing with user interface. i do it all the time and get horrible results from time to time (yes, it's my free time :-)


By maxwest at Thu, 2001/06/14 - 5:00am

I have a question about KDE apps :

*WHY* alpha channel is only used with icons ?

Kview, konqueror, pixie don't support alpha channel :(

gqview, galeon, gimp support it.

Where is the problem ?
I want full alpha channel support everywhere ;)

By shift at Fri, 2001/06/15 - 5:00am

> *WHY* alpha channel is only used with icons ?

There's no technical reason.

[X] Create a patch to make it work :-)


By Torsten Rahn at Fri, 2001/06/15 - 5:00am

I think is time to reorganizate the kde applications menu. There are lot of mini-applications and is very very confuse for the begginers.

On windows menus,for example (they have spent lot of $ on I+D), there are a few real applications as Internet Explorer, outlook, word, ppp,or winpad, and the rest of the applications are part of wizards menus ,administration tools or explorer filemanager options. For example, the KDE application Kdisk. In KDE is a program, but on Windows, is part of the filemanager.

Do you know what i mean ?

Best regards ...

By Daniel at Fri, 2001/06/15 - 5:00am

Excellent idea. I really like the fact that the K menu is logically arranged but the Utilities and System subsections really need cleanup. I've been using KDE since 1.0 and always have trouble finding things in the System and Utilities menus.

By raven667 at Fri, 2001/06/15 - 5:00am

And I think it should be possible to arrange the items, e.g. it is easier to find something if it is arranged alphabetically (Actually it is, but only if you use english language)

By Norbert at Fri, 2001/06/15 - 5:00am

I agree strongly, the kde menu could be improved.

First, for each application have a name and a short description dispayed: konqueror (web browser), noatun (multimedia player), etc.

The current way have either only the name which is not always explicite (what's noatun ?) or only the short description which makes you ignore what the real application is (it took me a while to figure out that this "internet dialer" on my mandrake was in fact kppp).

This require to introduce a new field in the .desktop but it is necessary in my opinion. The problem is that we have thousand of free software, with names that are not very explicit, especially for newbie.

Second, allow to easily reorganize the K menu and provides more than one setup. The standard organization is ok, but we also need a windows-friendly organisation (6 apps on top, everything in submenu), some distibution specific organisation, ...

This would help distribution and users to sort out their applications.

By Philippe Fremy at Fri, 2001/06/15 - 5:00am

The real problem is not that, its the whole application idea.

Who _cares_ that we use noatun, xmms, kaiman or winamp-under-wine to play music? (Let's hallucinate that they all equaly well solve the problem, are easy to use, burn as much resources, etc. for the sake of argumentation)

I know my users don't. (The sysadmin in me is talking) They want to _play music_, or _write a letter_ or _format a floppy_, etc. They couldn't care less applications were named 'noatun, 'kword', 'kfloppy' (?), etc. The real problem comes with having a menu at all. We need some sort of 'User task manager' that revolves (?) around a few strong points:

* What are users doing most often. (Secretarial work, c++ developer, 3-year-old kid trying to play 'Pick-a-dilly-pair', etc.) [Pick a dilly pair was the game I was playing on an Apple ][, some 18 years ago... =) ]

This already is embodied somewhat in the 'most recent used' entries in KMenu, in task-* debian packages (go on http://packages.debian.org, search for packages starting with task in the unstable distro), and in the debian installer 'profiles' (workstation, server, etc.)

But we need to improve on this a bit, in the user interface. Say that new KPersonalizer thingamajig: Add a few pages saying "I'm doing secretarial work" and add a "Secretarial Work" menu or applet, or whatever, on Kicker, with the most obvious applications in there: KWord, maybe KSpread, etc.

* User's level of UNIX expertise. Trust me, users don't give a hoot about man/info pages. This doesn't need to be proeminent in the KHelpCenter. People that really use man pages know where to find those anyway.

This has millions of other advantages: Big Company Corp. (thereafter known as BCC) just install a new 'Task Kicker Extension' for BCC's own applications, and there you go. Or Debian just adds 'Debian Kicker Extension' for Debian Sysadmins, and there you go. And if I ever get promoted to chief-research scientist at McGill, I just add the 'Maths and Computer Science Theory' Task Kicker Extension and there I go.

There is no need for a menu in the first place, KDE needs to focus on what users want to do. They want to 'Write a letter', not 'Run KWord'. They want to 'play that mp3', not 'run noatun' (sorry Charles), etc. etc. etc.

The drawbacks:

* TASK NAME EXPLOSION: Not everyone wants to 'Write a letter', some people want to 'Write their PhDs', and others want to 'Create labels for BCC' and yet others want to 'Enhance that document I got from grandma' and the craziest amongst us want to 'keep track of the grocery list with headers and embedded spreadsheet with a graph of the history of prices of african tomatoes for the last 50 times I bought some here'. Try to make reasonable task names for those... (I know I can't =)

* MAJOR UI PARADIGM CHANGE: Removing the K menu (or at least superseding it with something I feel is better)... Well, let's just say the K menu has been here since 1.0, hasn't it? Since win95 on windows; and the apple logo on MacOS is probably half as old as I am...


The good idea(s) might just be:

To give more desktop-space to the templates that come with various applications, say the KWord new Labels templates, instead of insisting on KWord itself.

To include a few new KParts to Konqueror (remember that playlist viewer in Nautilus?) and make Konqy more central than it actually is right now.

To let our users Boldly Do What No One Else Has Done Before.


I call to dot readers: Does this make sense? Do you agree? Should I call an asylum to make reservations?

Have fun,

By Christian Lavoie at Fri, 2001/06/15 - 5:00am


I posted this address before and someone didn't believe that it was real. Let me assure you it is. Go there and check out their "task-oriented menus."

By not me at Mon, 2001/06/18 - 5:00am