KDE 3.0 Screenshots (A/K/A, Do You Like Themes?)

Rob Kaper has graciously fulfilled the oft-heard
request for screenshots of the upcoming KDE 3.0 release. Take a trip
to and have a look
at the screenshots featuring (1) the cool dotNet style (my
personal favorite after
(large SS),
(2) KOnCD, now a part of the KDE base
(large SS),
(3) a desktop shot with the really cool
iKons icon set
(large SS), and
(4) the Media Peach color theme and Quartz window decorations
(large SS).
This might be a good time to remind everyone: for more information on the
amazing themes and icons available for KDE, check out, the
section at, and the
newly redesigned KDE section at (while a spiffy design,
this new site is still
<cough>somewhat bare bones</cough>, visit the
"classic" pages for some
actual content). P.S. is
running a "favorite desktop" poll on their
frontpage, let your voice be heard!


yep i known that but normaly as qT3 is source compatible on windows and linux ... so we should be able to compile and run kde3 application.

perhaps not core function like arts, direct X11 call ...but why not for knotes,konqueror,kedit etc ...


By Anonymous at Sat, 2001/11/17 - 6:00am

One of the best eye candy things I've every seen is drempels desktop. Pity it's only available for doze:( For those that haven't seen it, the sw does screen-saver type wibbly-wobbly effects to your backdrop behind your windows. It's bloody amazing, and a hell of a cycle waster! I wonder how long the static desktop will last now...

Any X gurus out there than can replicate it?

By tonyl at Fri, 2001/11/16 - 6:00am

Some of the mode are actually just a palette shift - a friend has noticed that some imgaes that he brings up have the same colors, and they rotate through as well. So it's not much of a cycle waster at all... but also can conflict with your normal windows.

There are "stretch and squeeze tile" modes, but I've seen demos (fromthe assembly demoscene) that optimize those down to really really fast and tight code. Maybe that would be a good starting point?


By Evan "JabberWok... at Fri, 2001/11/16 - 6:00am

The trouble with palette shifting is that it doesn't work unless there's a palette. This rules out most users these days as pretty much everyone uses true color.


By Richard Moore at Fri, 2001/11/16 - 6:00am

This Drempels thing runs under true color. It certainly swirls and morphs a lot, and you can't do that with palette shifting. I don't actually think it uses palette shifting at all. It takes a picture, tiles it, then morphs it around and swirls it. Occasionally it fades in a new picture.

By not me at Mon, 2001/11/19 - 6:00am

:: I don't actually think it uses palette shifting at all.

Yes it does. It does other things as well, but constant palette rotation is one of the things it does as part of the animation process. Certain colors will show it - a friend discovered a few pictures he had that contained the colors used, and when loaded in a viewer with Drempels running, they rotated through the colors used in the background. Showing that he has no taste, he then proceeded to make a theme where the window colors were made up of those colors, resulting in a disgusting, throbbing desktop. :)


By Evan "JabberWok... at Mon, 2001/11/19 - 6:00am

I think that's actually just a side-effect of the way you use DirectDraw to write a window on the desktop. It actually writes a pink box to the screen, and then anything in that box can be blitted with hardware tricks in DirectX instead of going through the regular windows window display libraries.

By Ranger Rick at Tue, 2001/11/20 - 6:00am

That's not palette shifting, that's overlay mode. By some weird trick Drempels (and winamp now too) "takes over" one color on the screen. Wherever this color is shown on the screen, each frame it is replaced with the background. So if you set your window background to this color, the swirling patterns will be drawn on top of them each frame, which is trippy. It's not palette shifting though. Palette shifting is where you take an image and rotate all of its colors in a circular manner. It doesn't produce images that change, it just shifts the color of sections of the picture. So if Drempels was using palette shifting, you wouldn't see the patterns through the windows, the windows would just be a different solid color every frame. Plus the images wouldn't swirl in the background, they would be static, with only the colors changing.

By not me at Tue, 2001/11/20 - 6:00am

(this is also a reply to Ranger Rick)

:: That's not palette shifting, that's overlay mode.

I had thought that as well, especially considering that there is bitmap warping going on at the same time. It may be, but I thought, looking at the image, that the effect wasn't "through" the image, but rather hitting different, very close colors in sequence.

:: Plus the images wouldn't swirl in the background, they would be static, with only the colors changing.

There are some routines for smooth animation on slow machines that involves painting four frames for the animation, generating the next frame as you palette rotate though to animate the current, onscreen frame, and then display the next frame. Things like this are used in assembly demos, where "impossible" things are shown in real time. That's why I thought that there was palette rotation going on as part of Drempels.

BUT - all of this is based on my shoulder surfing someone else's machine. I would not be surprised if I was incorrect. And an easy way to test it would be to see if you can play a DVD at the same time (on a video card you know only has one overlay channel - I belive I was using ATI when I found that limitation).


By Evan "JabberWok... at Tue, 2001/11/20 - 6:00am

In the Drempels control panel it says it uses overlay mode and allows you to choose the overlay color. So I'm pretty sure it doesn't use any palette shifting.

I'd never heard about that assembly demo stuff, that's interesting.

By not me at Wed, 2001/11/21 - 6:00am

Oh, then you're missing out. =)

Or, for linux-specific demos (still a pretty young field):

By Ranger Rick at Wed, 2001/11/21 - 6:00am

Would be nice if some of these demo hackers would turn their demos into screensavers.


By aleXXX at Wed, 2001/11/21 - 6:00am

just checked this out. you are so right. this thing ROCKS. makes me want to keep my app windows smaller and smaller just so i can see the background effect. something like this for kde would really, really ROCK!

By mark at Fri, 2001/11/16 - 6:00am

You can do various things to your root window in X, like run any of the XScreensaver hacks there. Then you can't use your desktop icons though. I'd be surprised if anyone could come up with something like this drempels thing. Full-screen, swirling, morphing colors at about 30 fps or more, and it only takes 35% CPU for the whole thing on my P3 500. Amazing. X will never be able to replicate that until we all have 20 GHz chips.

By not me at Fri, 2001/11/16 - 6:00am

This is ugly... I'd never want anything of the kind on my desktop. The whole idea just looks annoying. It may be nice to watch for a minute or two, but that's it.

By shumway at Sat, 2001/11/17 - 6:00am

I´d like to see improved the bottom taskbar.

Mostly the icons, the look&feel, the style; I think that it can be improved significantly.

The rest of KDE is SUPERB !
Best regards & good luck.

By Jorge Carminati at Fri, 2001/11/16 - 6:00am

KDE 2 is a memory consumer!
and KDE 3 willbe too ?
What are you doing to KDE conume less memory and load very fast ?

By Carlos Marcello... at Sat, 2001/11/17 - 6:00am

In case you haven't noticed, KDE has continually, with each release, been using LESS ram per feature quota. KDE 3 will follow this pattern.

By Carbon at Sat, 2001/11/17 - 6:00am

that wasn't true with kde 1.x -> kde 2.x.

By axe at Sat, 2001/11/17 - 6:00am

Yes it was. Notice i said "per feature quota". What i mean by that is, for any given amount of features added, ther's the same or better ratio between speed and features. Since kde2 added aRts, konqueror, kicker applets, and all sorts of other nifty things, for realitvely little speed decrease, it was an improvement. Also, kde 2 was a complete rewrite. kde 3 is more of a to-library port, so many of the optimized apps of kde 2 won't have to be redone from scratch.

By Carbon at Sat, 2001/11/17 - 6:00am

You can always install Debian. The speed difference is huge compared to Mandrake.

By Tellus at Sat, 2001/11/17 - 6:00am

Who votes to include Liquid theme as the default KDE 3.0 theme? or include it in the KDE CVS? it would be fantastic!

By Daniel at Sat, 2001/11/17 - 6:00am

liquid rocks, but it certainly doesn't run with kde3, due to a different style api (as far as i can understand).

and the problem of incompatible license comes to mind...
a modified qpl won't suit kde really well.

but liquid rocks, so kidnap mosfet, let him (or her?) change the license, and force him/her to work in kde cvs tree ;)

just kidding, mosfet!
(or not ?)

By tooobi at Sat, 2001/11/17 - 6:00am

No way. Liquid style doesn't like some graphic cards, and it would be shame to get black and grey boxes all around your desktop instead of Liquid style.
See attached screenshot to see combination of ProSavage graphic card & Liquid
(this is compiled Liquid 0.7).

By antialias at Sat, 2001/11/17 - 6:00am

I have got a Savage IX and my liquid looks as ugly as yours. I'm not sure if this is a problem of the graphic card. When I run the fbdev driver in Xfree 4.1.0 the problem (and the speed :-( ) are gone.

Perhaps we should drop a mail to the developer of the s3 driver?

By Hey at Sun, 2001/11/18 - 6:00am

I don't think it is a problem with your graphics card. Rather, I think the problem is the version of QT or KDE you are using. Older versions of QT and/or KDE won't work well at all with Liquid. What version of QT and KDE are you running?

By not me at Sun, 2001/11/18 - 6:00am

I used liquid 0.5 and 0.6 on KDE 2.2.1

I think the driver of the graphic card is the problem. When I use the framebuffer driver, liquid works well.

By Hey at Sun, 2001/11/18 - 6:00am

If you've got a Savage S3 graphics card it's a problem with the driver. It is broken and cannot handle the X11ParentRelative background mode. That's why it works fine when using the framebuffer device, or any other driver that I know of ;-) Personally I test it on ATI Rage and AT3D video cards.

By Mosfet at Mon, 2001/11/19 - 6:00am

You are right Mosfet, I have had a lot of problems with this graphic card, and I am going to change it as soon as possible.


By antialias at Mon, 2001/11/19 - 6:00am

You may want to try building XFree86 CVS and see if it helps. Looking at the Changelog I do see some updates and bugfixes for the Savage driver, but I'm not sure what it fixes. Building X can be a chore, but if you got a driver that has bugs sometimes it's worth it. While your at it you can always email your card manufacturer and tell them to give more resources to the XFree development team so they can support cards faster ;-)

By Mosfet at Mon, 2001/11/19 - 6:00am

I cannot change the card, because it is in my built in my thinkpad :-(

If you nedd the latest drivers for the card, go to also provides some drivers.

I will mail to the developer of the driver and ask him fpr a proper "liquid"-support


By Hey at Tue, 2001/11/20 - 6:00am

Who votes to include Liquid theme as the default KDE 3.0 theme?

People have different tastes. I personally would like to note that I absolutely hate and despise the Liquid theme. And I know I am very much not alone. Since the "average" user (who is now starting to use KDE) never figures out how to change styles, I would seriously suggest such a "love it or hate it" style *NOT* be selected as the default style - if a distro wants to make Liquid the default, they are free to.


By Evan "JabberWok... at Sat, 2001/11/17 - 6:00am

Well said.

By Alain at Sun, 2001/11/18 - 6:00am

People are going to "love or hate" any UI style. People bitch about Liquid, KDE's default style (which I also designed), MS Windows 95 & XP, Aqua, MaxOS9x, GTK, Amiga, NextStep, etc... You never can satisify all the people all the time. All one can do is pretty much ignore people who "hate and despise" your work if it doesn't match their taste ;-) Considering the user base that has grown around Liquid, and the positive comments about it all over the place, evidently someone likes it :)

Don't worry tho. I don't have any intention to try develop anything in CVS again, so you don't have to worry about anything I do being put in there. That's what the QPL is for...

By Mosfet at Mon, 2001/11/19 - 6:00am

Dont say it please! .. we all want you return to the KDE CVS! you are one of the best hackers here in the KDE world team

By Daniel at Mon, 2001/11/19 - 6:00am

I have been an admirer of yours for you being such a nice programmer. But I have observed that you get annoyed very easily; and that's not good for you and us KDE users ;), you know we like your work. Especially I like QTWindows Style, but I use Liquid for its performance. Not everybody likes J Bush or Al Gore for that matter. You should be open for criticism and please don't get hurt so easily. Thanks anyway... but I wish your work's license starts with a 'G' instead of a 'Q' ;)

By Asif Ali Rizwaan at Wed, 2001/11/21 - 6:00am

They must make an effort but, this version 3 is looked like kde2 seems that they must pornele but enfasis to the styles and showy things, if they wish you win to Windows XP must much be but elegant this version 3 follows the example of Liquid
I use kde2.2.1

Good Luck!

By Omar at Sun, 2001/11/18 - 6:00am

The internals of KDE are what matter. It seems that the KDE team are being caught up in the M$ marketing maneuver. Produce a product that looks better than it functions. The most important parts are functionality, stability and performance. These are the cornerstones of UNIX programming and should not be ignored.


Microsoft: "Give them piss and tell them its wine."

By BOB at Sun, 2001/11/18 - 6:00am

Would you buy a house, when ist very functional but looks ugly?

By Hey at Sun, 2001/11/18 - 6:00am

By a similar token, would you buy a house that was a pain to live with everyday, even if it looked really nice?

By Rayiner Hashem at Mon, 2001/11/19 - 6:00am

Okay, okay... both of you - it's all important. A good desktop feels nice, looks nice and works nice. Okay? The look *is* important, as is stability, consistancy, available help, and several other aspects of the total experience.


By Evan "JabberWok... at Mon, 2001/11/19 - 6:00am

> By a similar token, would you buy a house that was a pain to live with everyday, even if it looked really nice?

BOB implied that internals is sufficient, while Heys comment can be taken to mean that looks are neccesary. That does not mean that Hey said that looks is sufficient. ;)

By will at Mon, 2001/11/19 - 6:00am

Actually, I know some people who are BUILDING a house that will be a pain to live in, a horror to their kids due to lack of space, but the reason they've built it like that is because it looks impressive.

Everyone BUT hackers will pick looks over content, and sometimes, even hackers do that. It's why the world is ruled by idiots, and ugly people are despised around the globe.

By Joeri Sebrechts at Tue, 2001/11/20 - 6:00am

plz! make the k-menu button larger ... the width should be larger then normal icons on the menu.

By Andreas at Mon, 2001/11/19 - 6:00am


By not me at Mon, 2001/11/19 - 6:00am

I actually kindof agree with this. It's not always evident to new users that the "K" button is where all your applications are. Sure, it may seem evident to us that the K with a gear, (which represents executables), aligned to the left where the start menu usually is at would represent the application menu. But brand spanking new, computer illiterate users shouldn't be expected to know this. Windows at least has the "Start" text on the button. I'm not saying we should do that, but I think doing something to identify the button as special would be a good idea. The arrow isn't really enough. Same thing applies to Gnome and it's foot, I guess.

By Mosfet at Mon, 2001/11/19 - 6:00am

yes gnome do the same error if you ask me.. for a gnome user and a kde user it dosnt make any diffrens. But for new users it should be obvious with button they should use. No learning by doing wrong here!! ..

By Andreas at Mon, 2001/11/19 - 6:00am

I have been bothering Kicker developers for a KStart button, I Draw an image, the style is redmond but the redmond style do not has any effect on the tasbar buttons :(, Please see this "Wish-Kicker.png", I would love to see "Text-along-with-an-image", so that I could have many other names like "[tux-image]- Linux", "[Mosfet]- Liquid" ;). Isn't it possible?

By Asif Ali Rizwaan at Tue, 2001/11/20 - 6:00am

something like that is what i'm looking for!

By Andreas at Tue, 2001/11/20 - 6:00am

That is an unbelievably blatant Windows ripoff. Do you think KDE could ever implement something like that and keep a straight face?

I'm sure you can come up with something more original. Besides, that look is old now anyway. Windows XP is the new wave.

I think Kicker should have a nice themed look, as long as it is a unique theme and not some XP ripoff. And like someone said above, merely redesigining kicker would be enough for KDE3 to completely stand out.

By Justin at Wed, 2001/11/21 - 6:00am