NOV
27
2001

KC KDE #26 Is Out

This week, Aaron J. Seigo, Juergen Appel and Rob Kaper present the jam-packed Kernel Cousin KDE #26. Read about how Linux father, Linus Torvalds, is also a model KDE user and bug reporter, LISa the new Lan Browsing Wizard, Kinkatta plugins, the Boson real-time strategy game, a KDE Script Interface, news of a kdeedu module, the KDE3 beta1 week delay, and much more. Thanks, guys!

Comments

Of course, if the like-start button is optionnal, it is less troubling for many ones. But I feel that ">2" is not easy for translation in Chinese and many languages... I don't feel the need of writing something...

It's easy to have now a big K icon and the others little. You give to the kicker bar the width of two little icons and you put all the icons in the launch applet, excepted the K button which becomes 4 x bigger that the others... And you too use the task applet, for replacing the task bar. So that you replace the simple width kicker + task bar by the double width kicker including launch and task applets.

Example here : http://www.pressibus.org/linux/histo/histo9l.html (there are 5 big icons instead of 1 - I forgot that it must be at least 2 big icons, I don't know how to put the Desktop icon in the launch applet...)


By Alain at Wed, 2001/11/28 - 6:00am

>have you seen StarOffice 5.1 or 5.2 lately?

No, I was not aware it had a start button. Oops.

> it can be translated if it had '[k-image] Menu' or '[tux-image] Linux' or '[Konqi-image] Desktop'.

I don't quite understand you. Do you mean the text could be added seperately from the image? I guess you could do it that way.

> and many people get offended when KDE do not behave like Windows, like the keybindings, windows uses ctrl+c, Ctrl+v etc., what if we say that these are windowish things and discard them.

But those things are usability issues. I am trying to say that the "start" text in the button does not make it easier to use. Please see my next response.

>The small 16x16 button is very bothersome to be clicked, unlike this proposed 18x55 (hxw). What do you feel clicking in a small square box is easier or a rectangular button?

Because the button is in the *exact* corner of the screen, where even a small child could hit it every time. The button is essentially infinitely large! You can move the mouse as far down or to the right as you want and you will never go past it. It is not bothersome at all to hit it. This is a basic mouse usability principle (and one Microsoft ignored in Win95/98 by making the Start button 2 pixels from the edge of the screen! Doh!) The K button is already so easy to press, making it larger would simply waste valuable panel space.

There is a similar argument for making the default to be like the Mac with the menus at the top of the screen. When the menus are there, they are much faster to use because you don't have to worry about moving the mouse past them. Unfortunately, this would confuse all the ex-Windows users out there, so it really can't be done. You see, I'm not hating Windows users, I just don't think that the Start button is a good usability feature.

I'm sorry I brought this up now, since you said to ignore it. Anyway, you didn't answer my question about why you haven't started contributing yourself. I think that question is more important than this silly argument about the Start button.


By not me at Thu, 2001/11/29 - 6:00am

>Anyway, you didn't answer my question about why you haven't started contributing yourself.

I tried by learing the "KDE programming Language" a book by Uwe Theim, and believe me it was about his program instead of teaching KDE he was teaching his program which was very badly explained. I could not understand anything in his book and my $$200+ dollars got trashed.

The KDE 2.0 devlopement book is also not clear. I am an average C++ programmer, and I find no book or resources which could teach me KDE/QT and especially the signal slot mechanism. I never programmed a gui. Tried but failed.

I do contribute to KDE, by hunting and reporting bugs, asking for good features, encouraging new KDE developers by thanking them for their application even if their application is of no use to me. Now I am creating few bright icons. You'll see that soon at http://www.kde-look.org, as I don't was to release unfinished and incomplete set of icons.


By Asif Ali Rizwaan at Fri, 2001/11/30 - 6:00am

> I could not understand anything in his book and my $200+ dollars got trashed.

Troll, you never paid more than $50 for this book.


By Someone at Fri, 2001/11/30 - 6:00am

Thanks for correcting.


By Asif Ali Rizwaan at Sat, 2001/12/01 - 6:00am

If it is for beginning, there is a very good book, maybe a little old published by O'Reilly about QT. When you know QT, learning how KDE works,
is a lot easier. At that moment, you will see that the KDE 2.0 development
book is not bad at all. It is maybe too direct.


By Marc at Mon, 2001/12/03 - 6:00am

for what its worth - you have my support. I think the important point is that the k-button needs improvement, and after agreeing on that one can always discuss the pros and cons of the alternatives and eventually find the best solution.

I personally think that "menu" would be an OK alternative. But it would be even better if someone can come up with a really striking visual metaphor. But at the moment that is a solution that doesn't exist, unfortunately.

I also think that the starter button should stand out a bit in comparison to the other buttons. This draws more attention to the button, and is also logical since the button doesn't start a program like the other buttons, but rather helps you to reach "buttons" that starts a program (so to speak). I notice from screenshots that start button has a different color in Windows XP, and i find this logical. I'm sure there are other ways to do it as well.

btw, I'm sure the fact that the button contains text isn't an unsourmountable techical difficulty. Where there is will there is a way.


By will at Thu, 2001/11/29 - 6:00am

>>1. Microsoft probably has a trademark on the Start button
>I don't feel so, have you seen StarOffice 5.1 or 5.2 lately?

Just as a note, all the complaints about SO5's start button were one of the many things that made them decide to remove it, along with the rest of it's "integrated desktop".

I have to tell you, this whole thing seems like kind of a moot point. If it was optional, only the trolls would care, as those who dislike it could turn it off. Especially if we named it something other then start, or perhaps just made it look _different_ then the Windows Start button. The main thing is that it needs to be slightly larger and more obvious then most buttons in order to catch attention to KDE newbs and to make it easier to click, right? Well, that's possible with wider, more colorful, different backgrounded icons, w/o the difficult to translate image text and without adding text-under-icons or such space-wasting stuff (even newbs care about desktop space :-).

How about an extra-wide optional K-menu icon where the text KDE is put on three consecutive lined up gears, overlapping so that the overall effect is of a double-wide icon? Not only this, you could make it even easier for Windows transitioners by giving this icon a different background tile then default (this is already implemented, which I rather like) and by mentioning it in the introductory wizard after the customization screens, like so:

---
Thanks for installing KDE!

Now that you've personalized your system to taste, it's time to learn how to use KDE. Please notice the panel along the bottom of the screen. This is known as the Kicker, and it provides many useful functions. The first function of Kicker you should become acquanited with is the K-Menu, which contains access to all the programs and features that KDE is aware is installed on your system. Just click on the K-Menu icon to the lower left of the panel to open it. From there, you can click on Help to learn more about how to use KDE.
---

Not being an active developer (read, have not actually committed any code to KDE CVS yet :-) ) I'm in no position to finalize this or even to really reccomend much at all, but what are the developer's opinions on this idea?


By Carbon at Fri, 2001/11/30 - 6:00am

Well, I am not a developer either, but that doesn't stop me from commenting =)

I agree that the button should stand out, but it must be done carefully so that it doesn't add significant complexity to the style elements on the screen. (It is a mark of amateur design that it has too many and too incoherent style-elements. (less is more)) KDE is still plagued by this, btw.

I disagree that the button should have have the letters "KDE" for various reasons. One is that this suggestion does not even start to take on the task of improving usability. The entire point of usability is that the design by *itself* shall simply tell you what its own purpose is. In usability studies they ask the test subjects "what do you think this is for", and if the design is good, the layout will be self-explanatory. Look at Suns usability test for GNOME's starter:

http://developer.gnome.org/projects/gup/ut1_report/exploring_desktop.html

I think people underestimate how good Microsofts start-button is in this respect. Probably because they are not aware of the tasks GUI design is called upon to solve. Contrary to the contrieved counterconsiderations from someone else here, people *do* immediatly understand the purpose of this button. It is designwise even a bit bold (in a Miles Davis kind of way -"but it contains text?!!" - "So what? It works.")

I also oppose the idea that the button should contain the words "KDE", because getting those letters out is a developer-concern, not a user concern. What interest does the user have in knowing that some elements of the the software he is using is made by a group called KDE? Absolutely none. On the contrary: get such things out of the way, and start thinking about what the user needs to know in order to be comfortable and get things done....

A related issue is the use of gears as symbolic elements. These are also chosen because the developers like it rather than because it expected to go well with the users. I personally think this is bad design, because it is too cold and alienating for common users. I can almost feel the smell of diesel when I look at KDE. If you asked a design bureau to design the desktop you could be sure they would stay far away from a style like that.

I literally shudder at the suggestion that a presupposition for using a GUI should be be told how it works before you use it. Imagine all the usability problems solved in this way - then you would require the user to read two pages of instructions before you start to work. Again, this is to ignore the very point of userdesign: it is the art of making things self-explanatory.


By will at Fri, 2001/11/30 - 6:00am

>>
I also oppose the idea that the button should contain the words "KDE", because getting those letters out is a developer-concern, not a user concern. What interest does the user have in knowing that some elements of the the software he is using is made by a group called KDE? Absolutely none. On the contrary: get such things out of the way, and start thinking about what the user needs to know in order to be comfortable and get things done....
<<

I actually think you have a definite point. One thing to remember is that no other DE I've ever seen manages to keep their logo entirely off the main menu button (Windows, KDE, GNOME, MacOS even). However, it might be good if KDE was the first.

>>
I literally shudder at the suggestion that a presupposition for using a GUI should be be told how it works before you use it. Imagine all the usability problems solved in this way - then you would require the user to read two pages of instructions before you start to work. Again, this is to ignore the very point of userdesign: it is the art of making things self-explanatory.
<<

That concept has another name, intuitivity, and I may just be speaking out of my rear end here, but I think that to make a UI completely self-explanatory will also make it almost completely useless. There has to be at least some sort of manual (even if it's only a sprinkling of 3-word long manuals in the form of tooltips), because to make a UI intuitive, you have to make it look like something the user already knows about. KDE already does this by making some apps UI's have elements in similar with other common DE's, but this can't solve everything, as KDE does not do the exact same things as any other environment. If you've seen the User Interface Hall of Shame, you'll notice that almost always, providing an accurate allusion to a non-computer device in a computer UI results in screen-space loss, loss of functionality, and a slight to non-existant increase in usability. This is because computers do things no other devices do. And I haven't even looked at the problems of trying to do extra-computer assocations that work in all the different cultures and languages KDE works under. (For instance, the concept of red for stop and green for go is not applicable to very many countires at all)

Here's my theory about UI: Users of a computer interface along the lines of KDE (user friendliness but power equally important, as opposed to say a preschool app or a high-octane 3d modeller) can be divided into two groups : those who will explore the interface and find out what everything does, and those who will attempt to establish patterns that do given tasks, without knowing what their actions mean. This is based on personal experience, though of course that's not worth _that_ much :-). Providing handy, _short_ documentation (the segment above is not 1 or 2 pages long, it's a short paragraph) that's written right, imo solves the problems of both groups. The first group wants to know where they can start exploring, and the second group wants a task-by-task deliniation of where they can get done the thing they're currently trying to do. The paragraph gives the first group a good place to start exploring from, Kicker and the K-Menu, while also giving the second group a good place to start searching for the method of how to complete task x from, K-Menu->Help. KDE's help is nicely done for the first group, as the Introduction to KDE gives the first group a load of things to check out, and the rest of the manual acts like a reference for that group once they've learned enough about apps in general. The second group needs a quick set of docs that immediately pop up, because they can't be expected to look around for the online manual. My proposed final page, along with KTip and similar things, provides for this second group.

KDE is a complex set of applications. However, once you learn how to use it, you may very well never need the docs again, so it's worth the developer's and user's while to read a manual so as to learn how to use it properly.


By David Simon at Fri, 2001/11/30 - 6:00am

Ok - I need to think about that... I'll be back! :)

PS. I may not want to go as far as to remove all references to KDE - just make it more discreet perhaps...


By will at Sat, 2001/12/01 - 6:00am

The LAN wizard is a really great idea! Now all it needs are some nice pictures and better text disposition. Any network related pictures release as GPL out there? :)


By Joe at Wed, 2001/11/28 - 6:00am

If you find some, send them to me :-)

Alex, the author


By aleXXX at Wed, 2001/11/28 - 6:00am

Apropos annoyances: Compairing KHTML with Gecko, there is one thing that bothers me - when returning to previous page, in Gecko now the previous position in that page appears immediately (by position I mean the portion of the page after scrolling down), like in IE, when in KHTML it is still the top of the page that shows first and only after a while the view jumps to the actual position. It may seem like a minor thing, but when jumping back and forth between long web pages it becomes an annoyance. I would love to fix it myself, but I am not that proficient in programming yet, unfortunately :)
cheers

Sagie


By Sagie at Thu, 2001/11/29 - 6:00am

That annoys me immensely. For one thing, it's jarring and distracting to see the image on the screen flip from one part of the page (the top where it starts) to another part (the part you want to be at, once it's done loading). For another, it's a hassle to wait for it to load enough of the page to jump down there. Just position it such that it doesn't 'jump,' even if the content is blank at first.

Also, I've noticed that when I open a new konq window (middle click on a URL) to a URL with an HTML anchor, the window starts up with that anchor at the top. Good. BUT if I then maximize the window, the anchor ends up just about anywhere *except* the top.


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

That annoys me immensely. For one thing, it's jarring and distracting to see the image on the screen flip from one part of the page (the top where it starts) to another part (the part you want to be at, once it's done loading). For another, it's a hassle to wait for it to load enough of the page to jump down there. Just position it such that it doesn't 'jump,' even if the content is blank at first.

Also, I've noticed that when I open a new konq window (middle click on a URL) to a URL with an HTML anchor, the window starts up with that anchor at the top. Good. BUT if I then maximize the window, the anchor ends up just about anywhere *except* the top.


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

That annoys me immensely. For one thing, it's jarring and distracting to see the image on the screen flip from one part of the page (the top where it starts) to another part (the part you want to be at, once it's done loading). For another, it's a hassle to wait for it to load enough of the page to jump down there. Just position it such that it doesn't 'jump,' even if the content is blank at first.

Also, I've noticed that when I open a new konq window (middle click on a URL) to a URL with an HTML anchor, the window starts up with that anchor at the top. Good. BUT if I then maximize the window, the anchor ends up just about anywhere *except* the top.


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

AAAAAGH!

You know what else annoys me immensely?

When I try to post to the dot, hit "Add," and then the request times out. I tried posting this three times, and apparently each time I tried it actually succeeded, even though I was told it didn't go through. Thus the triple posting. Grrr...


By Rakko at Thu, 2001/12/06 - 6:00am

Add an option to make KDE look and behave EXACTLY like Windows. If this is added, I will switch to KDE from W2K, but not before... I just can't handle learning a new UI, but want Linux...


By Future KDE user at Thu, 2001/11/29 - 6:00am

This is silly..you are unable to use KDE because it says K on the startbutton instead of Start? And a few other minor differences? With some themes most people do not even notice the difference.
If you are really unable to handling this how did you manage to learn the w2k gui? Since it differs an equally great deal compared to win98.


By Danny at Thu, 2001/11/29 - 6:00am

What huge differences between the W98 and W2K GUIs could you be talking about???


By Chris Bordeman at Fri, 2001/11/30 - 6:00am

you're kidding, right? :)


By mark dufour at Thu, 2001/11/29 - 6:00am

get Win2k icon theme from http://www.kde-look.org and in the icons seciton.


By Asif Ali Rizwaan at Fri, 2001/11/30 - 6:00am

I guess/hope that is not his real problem, any retarded can learn meanings of new icons and default kde icons don't look that bad.But consider a windows user trying to change resolution settings of kde, the difference is huge. He probably wants kde to behave just like windows. Perhaps a linux & xfree86 specialized desktop environment would be a good idea.


By nusuth at Sun, 2001/12/02 - 6:00am

Yes, I agree, I have many times asked for easy system and network configuration utilities based on atleast linuxconf, since KDE is totally dependent on Gnome configuration tools, like Mandrakeconf, Linuxconf, etc., Hope we find better tools in KDE 3.x


By Asif Ali Rizwaan at Mon, 2001/12/03 - 6:00am

:: KDE is totally dependent on Gnome configuration tools, like
:: Mandrakeconf, Linuxconf, etc.,

Try SuSE - their "conf" program is called Yast2, and it is accessed as modules in the Control Center. Right where you set your font and color choices, you jump down a few icons and can set whether or not apache runs on your computer, and what modules are loaded into the kernel.

Attached is a picture of the SuSE 7.1 Control Center - it's several months old; 7.3 is sitting on my desk, and I'm backing up my system to install it right now.

--
Evan


By Evan "JabberWok... at Mon, 2001/12/03 - 6:00am

So, why switch to Linux at all? If what you want is W2K, then use w2k. There is more to learn about LInux than just a UI. If you're afraid of learning a new UI, then really, don't bother. I'm not meaning to be elitest, so don't get offended. I just am curious why you'd want Linux if what you really want is w2k.


By Pungent at Sat, 2001/12/01 - 6:00am

Well, what he was saying is he wanted the power of Linux with Windows' UI. The seperation between UI and core is particluarly visible in Linux, where the entire graphical system is composed of packages that run in user-space.


By Carbon at Sat, 2001/12/01 - 6:00am

Right. I know, but at the same time, personally I HATE the Windows UI, and wouldn't waste my time re-implementing it in code. Maybe there IS some developer willing to, but again, the UI is a very small part that if you can't really get past that change, there are LOTS of other new things to learn about in a *Nix system. And really, I may hate the w2k UI, but it IS at least stable. What else is he looking for?


By CPungent at Mon, 2001/12/03 - 6:00am

Look, gentlemen, as I see it were at war. This is a war of values. Should you make people pay through the teeth for a very user friendly OS?

I'd like to imagine the whole goal of KDE is to produce a stable, powerful and easy to manage UI for Linux and other Unix based OSes.

If KDE were to have an option, perhaps a kind of theme that made it behave a lot like its rival what I see happening is the big bad wolf will have a bit of a problem.

I think what we need is something to help get people in the door. They'll use KDE at first because they can do whatever they want and not have to learn a new GUI. But after they realize their freedom, they'll become our latest recruits.

Sound like a plan?

Later,
J


By james at Mon, 2001/12/03 - 6:00am

no


By no at Tue, 2003/05/27 - 5:00am

a straight forward answer, no lol

i think it would be great to have an easy interface for people migrating to linux, its a great start and i think some developers already did it. But for the experienced people in linux, they wouldn't agree because they want linux to stand out and they sure dont want to copy windows.

I think its a great idea


By lol at Thu, 2004/12/02 - 6:00am

Yes


By Ricardo at Fri, 2004/08/27 - 5:00am

thats nice. I am happy with windows and this fag keeps telling me it sucks. yea, well i don't see anything wrong with it (there are probably tons). Im just not as cool as you people using linux- if thats okay


By Idiot at Sun, 2002/06/09 - 5:00am

So this person's a fag for having and stating an opinion, or just happens to be gay? Either way his sexuality (real or imagined) has nothing to do with it. My fiancee wants me to mention that she was a "windows freak" and when she saw/used my Linux computer she never went back. Anyway to the person who wants KDE acting like Windows why not use XPde ( http://www.xpde.com/ ) instead of KDE? It's still development (I think).. but keep an eye on it, it could help you make the transition. Personally I never had any problems switching from the Windows GUI to KDE but I am kinda a geeky girl then again my girlfriend isn't and she didn't have probs either.. we now use Afterstep anyway which has a very different interface to Windows. As a side note, Longhorn (Win 2005) is looking remarkably ugly, isn't it? I'm wondering if the person who wanted a Win2kish KDE has ever actually used KDE.. long enough to learn it, and it's slight differences to Windows I mean.


By xmoogle at Tue, 2003/07/08 - 5:00am

I will tell you what is wrong with windows. Bill Gates never wrote an origional piece of code for any of his software. Bill screwed the man who wrote DOS, He sold it to IBM before he even owned DOS. Bill did not stop there, he stole Windows from Apple, but Apple also stole it from Xerox. Again, Bill did not stop there. He somehow set up a deal so that if a computer was sold anywhere in the US, Bill got money for a licence for a copy of windows that the computer store had to pay, whether or not a copy of windows was sold to the customer. In effect he cramed windows down everybodys throat. Another way he did this was he made deals with hardware manufactures that only windows would have the latest hardware drivers. So, the latest games would work on windows. That is just a few of the reasons people every day switch to Linux!!
Jeremiah


By JJ at Thu, 2003/10/30 - 6:00am

thing i miss is a Winzip like program. I miss click with the right button on a folder and appears an option to compress it (tar and gzip). We only have an option to descompress when we click on a gzip file. It will be dificult to add this feature to ark?


By Daniel at Thu, 2001/11/29 - 6:00am

Hint:

You can create an action/program for all file types which just runs a command like "tar zcvf ...".

I cannot recall the details and I have no access to KDE right now, so you have to work it out by yourself. Take a look at creating action/programs and the parameters involved.

The command should be something resembling

tar zcvf %f.tgz %f

but i'm not shure.


By TarHai at Fri, 2001/11/30 - 6:00am

At least I have the entries "Extract" and "Exctract to ..." in the context menu when I do right click on a zip-file. I think the rest should be rather easy to do if not on the way already.
Please check out what the guys from the ark project are saying :-)

- Holger


By Holger Lehmann at Mon, 2001/12/03 - 6:00am

At least I have the entries "Extract" and "Exctract to ..." in the context menu when I do right click on a zip-file. I think the rest should be rather easy to do if not on the way already.
Please check out what the guys from the ark project are saying :-)

- Holger


By Holger Lehmann at Mon, 2001/12/03 - 6:00am

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