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!


> It's not always evident to new users that the "K" button is where all your applications are.

I think it is evident for anybody already using Windows. It is the first button... I have never seen a new user searching the start button...

The interest of a big K button is that it is easier to click on a big button...

You know, it is easy to have the K button as a big button, and the others as small ones. You give the width of two small buttons to the Kicker bar, you let the K button as a large icon, and you put all the other icons in the start applet with little icons... This start applet is a very interesting thing (the task applet too).

Here, I only have one problem : there is the Desktop icon that I cannot (easily) put in the Start applet, so it is also a big button...

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

Not everyone has used Windows, and knowing how to use Windows shouldn't be a requirement for KDE ;-) My Mom wouldn't know what the "K" button means, and she uses Windows every day anyways. She would be looking for a start button.

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

In the GNOME usability study a while back, it was specifically reported that the users had problems with guessing what their start icon would do. It must be the same problem with KDE. Under any circumstances, relying on knowledge about another operating system (and letting it take the job of usability) has to be bad design.

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

The main icon is in the first place, it's easy to understand. There is few place on the Kicker bar and it is a trouble to reduce this place with some useless thing.

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

I could not agree more, (K) or (foot) is just silly, we should have something more evident! perhaps A switch or ignision key? Never the less there are a few things in K and Gnome which do not make sense to new users, and for that matter old users!

By Alphamale at Mon, 2002/04/15 - 5:00am

Well I am not a newbie and I know what the K menu button does very well.
However, I do not agree at all that adding more pixels to the K-menu button would undermine all that KDE is. I see this as a matter of user preference, not as some profound matter of GNU vs MS philosophy . It's dissapointing that this hasn't been added in all this time because of a fear resembling windows.

Personally i use linux because i like what's behing the GUI, the OS. Adding pixels to the K button takes nothing away from that..

By ed at Wed, 2003/09/17 - 5:00am

hey listen i have spent many hours with mandrake 9.2 and installed the sparkling kde 3.3 they evidently skipped 3.2 for some reason it was around but... well anyway they have solved the problem it doesnt say start like in winxp as soon as you start you get the kde menu up button depressed and when you press the windows button instead of the menu near the mouse it is where the button is and it is larger compared to the other ones and it says when you move your mouse over it KDE really really cool but this damned thing is so buggy it is almost crippled well back to the drawing boards for this x-windows but looks promising

By christopher at Mon, 2003/12/15 - 6:00am

Anyone can just add a second "K" button, right next to the first one
if they're so clumsy with the mouse.
It is also not too much to learn rhat that button is where the programs are
So NO don't make it bigger.

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

How about giving users the option to make it bigger or leave it small. A configuration option would do this. That way each person could decide for themselves.

By Cerephim at Mon, 2007/03/19 - 5:00am

I do agree here.
Why not a vertical text instead of the arrow?
Something like menu would give the idea of exataly it is.
And for the size... when using little kicker panel it really should be 22*32 or 16*32. Why? Okay, think about this, you will click on this button a lot, bigger button, easier to click, right?

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

Well, going by the same token, what would a new user with no previous experience know about window management, pull-down menus, etc?

Perhaps brand new users could be directed initially by KTip or the intro wizard to take a look at the rather well writtten KDE tutorial in the docs.

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

And if he/she is using a old account that already have used kde?
This would loose the idea.
I think there is nothing wrong on putting a small text on k-menu.
We need to stop this windows-fobia sometimes to think what is better for joe-user.
There is no harm on looking a bit like windows on parts that really can help the user if KDE do that way.

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

> I think there is nothing wrong on putting a small text on k-menu.

Of course, think of i18n issues.

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

hum... menu is menu in portuguese.....
KDE can't be read by someone that only reads japaneses, arabic, but it's there.

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

Why not give the kicker panel buttons names, like the app toolbars, and have several toolbars on it - one with Kicker alone, one which absorbs all the other menus & app shortcuts, and then the usual applets. That way, distributors could set it up that way if they pleased. Also I wouldn't go with "Start" for a name - look at the Start->Shutdown mess. I'd much prefer Kommand. It'd be cool if you could use the K-Menu image for the "K" but I'm not sure how that'd work out with i18n

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

Why not make Toolbars and Kicker of the same type? I would like that :)

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

KonCD is great. But unfortunately it tends to be Linux specific. That's because it uses (as do most cd burning software) cdrecord. This requires SCSI burners. Linux gets around this because it can have IDE drives emulate SCSI. But not all unix-like operating systems do this.

Any way to get KonCD to use FreeBSD's burncd as an option? Any way to change the KonCD requirements to something other than "Linux 2.x.x", as mentioned in the README? After all, KDE is not a Linux only desktop.

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

I suppose that, if you are a BSD user, you could do it.
If you are not, and the KOnCD author is not, how is anyone going to get it done?

You could write a wrapper for whatever CLI tool you use on BSD to make it act
like cdrecord.

Or you could ask the cdrecord author to make cdrecord support the BSD stuff.

You could even stop using BSD.

There are many ways to get what you want.

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

You could write a wrapper for whatever CLI tool you use on BSD to make it act like cdrecord.

I thought that has occurred to me several time. Perhaps I will some day, but not immediately as my time is limited.

You could even stop using BSD.


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

I think most of the people involved recognize that the current "K" button is less than ideal usability- and designwise. But as someone mentioned on some list, the problem is really to find a good substitute. Directly implementing the windows "start"-button would be an improvement in usability, but it is hard to bear with this blatant lack of originality.

So I would like suggest that should arrange a contest to find a new symbol/design for this button!

The button should pass the the test of asking a completely new user: "what do you think pressing this button would achieve", and should have a simple and attractive design that matches different themes.

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

I honestly think that after KDE 1.0,..., 1.1.2, ... 2.2.2 the K button is known good enough among users.
One sentence to a new user who doesn't know the K button is enough "click on the button with the big K to get all the apps" and he will always know what to do.
I don't see any need to change it.


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

Thanks for the reply!

See these comments about GNOME's foot in from Sun's usability report.

KDE is should be worse off because it doesn't supply a visual metaphor all..

I agree that the current option doing an OK job, but from a design standpoint it is a mediocre solution, and *that* is the real reason to change it.

It provides no metaphor, it isn't simple enough as an icon, its "meta"-functionality in relation to other buttons should be reflected in visual appearance (it should stand out), the gears doesn't speak to the values of common users, it isn't pretty etc.

gotta run...

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

Just FYI, the default GNOME 2 setup will have a ¨menu¨ panel. This is the best thing to do, IMHO, usability wise (The programs menu is not just an icon, it has a text in the side; it´s similiar to the menu of an application, the user sees it as a menu of the desktop; top-bottom is better than bottom-top, so the menu is on the top of the screen, etc).

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

Users will click on anything in the bottom left corner, whether it's a K, Start, Launch, or what have you. It's not icon recognition that's important. The question is, do we want a goofy K in the taskbar? What is a K, anyways? I know it's for KDE, but there are too many K's in the KDE world. It should be user-configurable like wallpaper.


By Andrew at Fri, 2002/09/20 - 5:00am

Is there realy no way to change the K-Button to a normal "Start"-Button?

By CJoke at Thu, 2003/03/13 - 6:00am

Personally I feel that K button is very annoyingly small and annoyingly big at normal size at 800x600 resolution; I don't prefer 1024+ resolution, since I find fonts look nice on the desktop. But If we could have Both "Text & Graphics" to make the 'K' button make more sense like see "Wish-Kicker.png" please, the attachment... Hope this will give kicker some good looks, even if we choose not to have "Start", we could have "Linux", "Menu", "Launch", "KDE" along with a suitable graphics.

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

People will find "start" too similar to Windows I think - but "menu" or "launch" is fine, and I am all for that! If I were a developer I would say "please commit"..

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

I like the simple button.
Often I have more than 4 programs open and than the kicker is to small.
I've deleted the icons and made my own, a folder in the start-menu which is included in the kicker to save space for other programs.

I don't like the idear with bigger button.
A kicker with size small looks good, but there is not enougth space.
A bigger button and you have no space ;(

What about themes an styles.
'Just' make a config dialog for the "Look & Feel" section.

Give the user (or a theme/style) the chance to fit the size and design.

have fun

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

Look at the MS Windoze XP. ActiveX makes Desktop living, breathing.
And USE of transparent console till i'm unable to see what's behind it but background....everything like...win95. yes. after kde v1.. v2 looked just great. and progrеss. I'm very upset. I expected essential changes in UI :(

By dr3node at Wed, 2001/11/21 - 6:00am

My guess is by KDE 5, the desktop will look even more like Mac OS X. Not true?

Why don't you guys go ahead and enjoy alpha blending. I wander what will be next....

By bandit at Thu, 2001/11/22 - 6:00am

Why not create a new style to desktop computing. It is not following windows XP and Mac OS but for people who want to compute on desktop.

I think the OS (operating system) is the abstract of the hardware or hard resources. the desktop should be the the abstract of the OS resource to supply the applications. For example user should have the chance to computing on the desktop but have not any acknowledge about file system and any OS conceptions!

By dingguijin at Fri, 2001/11/23 - 6:00am


I am sorry but kde never looked great to me. I think gnome looks much better but lacks AA which is why i don't use it. Looking at kde 3.0 screenshots all i can say is that it still looks pretty much like kde2 which was pretty ugly.
my 2 cents.

By quitedown at Fri, 2001/11/23 - 6:00am

I don't believe my eyes -- a Windows style/theme for KDE! (not cool).

By DVK at Tue, 2001/12/04 - 6:00am