JLP's KDE 3.5 Previews (Part 1)

Every year, during the summer holidays, I regularly download the source code of the new version of KDE desktop that's in the works and compile it, test it and help with translation into Slovenian language. This year I've decided to also post previews of the development version of KDE on my blog. I'll try to put up as many screenshots as possible so that everyone can see what is coming in the future. JLP's KDE 3.5 Previews - Part 1 is now available.


And in this case it's pure and simple brilliant usability, the first time a event happens you may configure the computer to act the way you want it to every time the same event occurs. Since this specific case are one where there are countless different ways for the computer to act, according to the users preferred usage pattern. No default solution would be good enough and satisfy anything but a fraction of the users. Take your preferred way, it would be rather annoying or even illogical for a rather large number of users. But with this solution we all get our preferred solution, for each kind of device, with tree simple mouse clicks.

By Morty at Tue, 2005/07/26 - 5:00am

>Having things pop up in your face is generally annoying...

OK it's annoying when you have done nothing special, but it's quite predictable right after you plug your USB key or put a CR-ROM.

By guillaumeh at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am

> What was wrong with just putting an icon on the desktop
> and letting me access it when I want to?

nothing if you know exactly what to do with it every time, but many people don't. so as a power user, just skip over this feature. the rest of the user population will find things easier due to it, whilst you click on the icons. =)

By Aaron J. Seigo at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am

We could put Kicker on the top of the screen, and then we would be just like GNOME and nothing at all like Windows!

Seriously. I've never understood why KDE is like Windows but GNOME is not. Both have a "start" button. Both have panels. Both have windows with titlebars on top. Both have icons on the desktop. But for some reason KDE managed to get a reputation of being Windows-like, but GNOME didn't. Why is this?

p.s. Of course, XFCE doesn't have this reputation because it started as a deliberate clone of CDE instead.

By Brandybuck at Tue, 2005/07/26 - 5:00am

Simple, it's the color scheme. Both KDE and Windows are blueish while Gnome uses brown colors as default. It sounds ridiculous right? But sadly it's the biggest reason. It's rather easy to spot too. Look at reviews of Mandrake/Mandriva and how often it, KDE looks like windows appear in the folowing discussions. Then compare it to reviews of Suse, you never see that particular comment directed at the default Suse desktop. Sometimes as general rantingag towards KDE, but never Suse specific.

By Morty at Tue, 2005/07/26 - 5:00am

> Gnome uses brown colors as default.

Since when? You only know Ubuntu, right?

By Anonymous at Tue, 2005/07/26 - 5:00am

Nah, just forgot to add "greyish blue or" before the brown. But my argument are still correct tho.

By Morty at Tue, 2005/07/26 - 5:00am

Looks like there's no colors in Gnome at all. Everything is rather monochromic. Maybe it's because of gnome's "designer" eyes deviation?

By Vik at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am

Well, actually, the "monochromatic" colour cheme of Gnome how you call it is one of the 2 points where Gnome outperforms KDE.
An interface should not be too flashy. Think about your car, your washing machine, your VCR etc. They all have un-agressive interfaces, so you can concentrate your attention on what you are doing (driving, choosing the washing temperature, programming for recording the movie tonight).

Once KDE will get rid of the flashy colours and icons, it will become more usable. Actually, the same is true for XP. Most of the collegues I know at work are in 2 groups:
1- users who do not know how to change the look and feel of XP. They keep the default fisher price look.
2- slightly more advanced users: they bring back the classic start menu, change the explorer (file manager) to look like win2k or nt one, change the widget style (to classic, or at least to the silver one) and change many other configurations hidden somewhere.

An interface/desktop must not focus the attention of the user. The user has to focus on his work (the letter he is writing, his accountancy stuff, the photos of the kids, the code he is writing, whatever).

For the curious, the second point Gnome is better that KDE is being addressed I think. Spaces in menubars, too many Konqueror useless buttons.

Apart from that, of course, KDE is lightyears away (speed, user-friendlyness, open/save window, configurability).

Let the flames begin!

By oliv at Thu, 2005/07/28 - 5:00am

I agree it is not a good thing if we just started copying the look of windows in every detail. On the other hand, it's neither a good thing to just do everything opposite of Windows. Even windows is userfriendly at some things.

KDE is the most innovative desktop environment around if you look at it's code design and features, and shouldn't do or don't do things usabilitywise because of the behaviour of windows, mac os x, gnome or emacs. We should just make the most intuitive and usable settings default.

By bas at Tue, 2005/07/26 - 5:00am

If you were more specific on WHY it feels like windows you might be taken more seriously.

By am at Tue, 2005/07/26 - 5:00am

First, I'm not a GUi expert... I'm in fact quite bad (in reference to each time I've been involved in an interface in a program)... my point of view was based on a general impression and some people's feedback (forums, etc...)... and also on some of KDE's evolutions... (not necessarily bad)

Secondly, at the beginning it was a way to discuss about a possible improvements... but some people here :

_ think it's useless to discuss (I though this community was more open... Indeed, I've written this here because a KDE site... so I though it was the best place to talk about KDE... the point was not to tell that KDE sucks... but what it can be done ... or what have not to be done....)

_ have misunderstood what I've said (someone even suggested as a critic against my message to remove all the GUI)... I've not a close or extreme point of view...

But I recognise I must have not expressed myself very well. Maybe my english is not good enough.

So your right : I can't been taken seriously...

As I said in a previous message, let's drop all this discusion... it's useless now...

My finals words will be (again) : great works to all KDE team... keep going..

By Didier at Tue, 2005/07/26 - 5:00am

Yes, I want KDE to be exactly like Windows!!! Do you have any problem? I'ts good for ex-windows users. And I have been using KDE for 7 years since KDE 1.1 and Redhat 6.1.

The only bad thing about windows is NO-FREEDOM

1. you cannot install on more than 1 system
2. you cannot share the OS with your family and friends
3. you cannot modify a program to suit your needs

But KDE is wonderful, it gives the essential necessity of humans - 'Freedom', and freedom means you can be good or bad, beautiful or ugly. If someone forces you to be good and beautiful then where is the freedom to be bad or ugly? Let KDE be made like Mac OSX, Windows, CDE, OS/2 or even Windows 3.1 ;).

I love KDE and KDE developers for respecting the most humane value and that is "freedom!". Thanks guys, I love you for that!

By Asif Ali Rizwaan at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am

Looks like Windows. more and more...agreed!

By blubb at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am

I see that you used mandriva 2006 beta with GCC 4.0.1. Was mandriva's GCC patched, or does KDE 3.5 work with vanilla GCC 4.0.1? I have tried KDE 3.3.2 and 3.4.x with vanilla GCC 4.0,1, but it miscompiles some parts and pukes on others. (like GCC 4.0.0)

By Steven at Tue, 2005/07/26 - 5:00am

It should since AFAIK some KDE developers compile KDE trunk with GCC 4.

By ac at Tue, 2005/07/26 - 5:00am

KDE 3.4.1 works perfectly when being compiled with GCC 4.0.1 (Some newer files from SVN are required though). I suppose KDE 3.5 will compile with GCC 4.0.1 without a hitch

By Artem Tashkinov at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am

I think all you need is the kdebase-3.4.1 gcc4 patch -

By kyler at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am

The LSB must include Qt or we will have to fight them


By rogue at Tue, 2005/07/26 - 5:00am

It is possible you'll get what you are asking for since make xconfig needs Qt.

By ne... at Tue, 2005/07/26 - 5:00am

isn't there another tool that's built with Gtk that does the same? I'd be surprised if there wasn't. And if this would be the only reason for merging in Qt I'm quite sure that someone would write a Gtk version pretty soon...

By chakie at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am

make gconfig uses Gtk, that's has been there for a while!

By Anonymous Person at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am

As if the LSB matters anyway... No one gives a damn about it.

By KDE User at Tue, 2005/07/26 - 5:00am

No one gives a shit because up to two-thirds of KDE users use KDE fine, without regard for what is or isn't in the LSB. I doubt whether anyone knows what it is.

It's typical of what's gone on in the Unix world for many years "Let's standardise everything and we can shut out the stuff we don't want". People then go off and use what they want anyway, including Windows.

By David at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am


This does not stop distribution shipping KDE! (For years distributions having been shipping stuff that is not part LSB including those that are LSB-Compliant!)

By Anonymous Person at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am

How do you make this work?

When I insert a CD into my drive, nothing happens.

I've the latest SVN of KDE, I've ivman and hald running.

PS.: I'm using gentoo, but I don't think that makes a difference here.

By Morten Sjøgren at Tue, 2005/07/26 - 5:00am

Control Center-> Service Manger, there I think you need to have KDED Media Manger and/or Media Notifier Demon running.

By Morty at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am

It already is, but I've just found out that the whole detect devices doesn't work. Not sure what the name for this is, so I'll try to explain:
If I right on desktop select "Configure Desktop..." and go into Behavior -> "Device Icons", Select "Show device icons:" and mark all "Device Types to Display".
No devices is shown on my desktop, not in latest SVN nor in KDE3.4. I think that s why "Storage Media Notification" isn't working for lastest SVN.

And it doesn't work for root either.

The only device icon I can get on my desktop is my USB flashpen.

I'm not sure what's wrong here, I've a couple of ideas:
I'm running a 98% native 64 bit OS on a AMD64 3000+ (might be that device icons doesn't work on AMD64).
My kernel could be screwed, I'm using 2.6.12-gentoo-r6, so I'm going to other kernels later.

By Morten Sjøgren at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am

I'm not sure, but you might need to have HAL installed. I have HAL on my Gentoo-machine, and KDE automatically detects media that I insert to the system.

By Janne at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am

Don't think it's a AMD64 issue, but you have several other possible points of failure before the KDE part. Have you verified if the HAL and DBUS are set up correctly and works(from shell or something). And the versions of DBUS are important, as KDE 3.4 and the Qt-DBUS bindings only works with version 0.4.x of DBUS. If you don't want to muck around with that, try building KDE without DBUS supports as it then does some autodetecting magic on its own. It works rather well, and it's rather portable(no 64 bit issues as far as I know).

By Morty at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am

There is an USE flag on some KDE package that enables the media manager. Sorry I don't remember what is.

By pepebotika at Sun, 2005/07/31 - 5:00am

Already had that, it's called "hal"

For somereason it didn't didn't work before, but aften trying upgrading/downgrading hal, dbus and ivman it works now in KDE3.4, well all except inserting data CD/DVDs. It does however not work in KDE3.5 svn, tried rebuilding and reinstalling three or four times.

hal 0.4.8
ivman 6.4
dbus 0.23

By Morten Sjøgren at Mon, 2005/08/08 - 5:00am

You've explained the new features very well. Thank you, and I hope to see your reviews more on "the dot."

By Asif Ali Rizwaan at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am

Is there any plans to use a standard notification architeture ? I mean look at the msn/amsn dialog popup when some one send a message to you? I mean cant we have a framework so applications can use the standard notification? instead of each application having to use its own notification methods ?

I believe there is some thing like this on macos (apple) dont remember what it is now ?

I mean provide something like the amsn popup as a standard notification for kde/other applications. Any thing like this is being worked on for kde 4 ?

By pingu at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am

> Is there any plans to use a standard notification architeture ?

Did you ever use KDE?

By Anonymous at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am

Ahh its growl:
the info for it is here: http://growl.info/


By pingu at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am

> Is there any plans to use a standard notification architeture ?

KDE has a KDE-wide standard notification architecture since a very long time. It's called knotify. It provides differents means of event notification like sounds, dialog boxes or passive popups.

This is an interesting article how to use knotify in your own scripts:

By cl at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am


I have known knotify for a while :) but instead of popups, couldnt we have the notifications of applications like the amsn user has logged in notification (probably at the taskbar area instead of the obtrusive popup.) The notification area on the corner of taskbar to me seems ideal for program notifications like the amsn user logged in or xyz says:....

An example would also be the windows xp/2k identification when a usb or external device is connected but at a much higher level.

The colour of the popup on the corner of the taskbar would indicate the severity of the progam requiring the users attention.

It can be flexible and allow embedding of images, text, buttons and other items so as to make it flexible.

It could also provide notification of new usb images disconnected/connected and syslogs etc.

There also needs to be a cleanup of the ui (knotify) for creating such an application.

Probably could also use superkaramba for notification

Any comments

By pingu at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am

Submit a feature request at bugs.kde.org and you have my vote :)

The current framework lacks features in many areas so that developers began to invent their own solutions. Examples are the OSD of amaroK, bubble tray popups of kopete and the OSD of kmilo, just to name a few.

A new framework should make visual notifications themeable and should solve a usability issue which seems to be very under underrated: Notifications disappear within a very short period of time and you have no chance to see them again. Think of people with bad eyes who can't read that fast or the average Joe User who doesn't look at the screen for a couple of seconds. One should be able to see the last few notifications again. Consider a flashing button in the tray or maybe a section of the sidebar, where the last few notifications are displayed (just an example).

What I like best at KDE are the powerful frameworks (and therefore code reduction, fewer bugs and consistency), but knotify is definitly the one that needs a lot of work. I hope, someone picks up the work on it for KDE4.

By Markus at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am


Please vote for this bug, Some one has already made a wishlist for the growl like notification for knotify.

look for bug #108076

By pingu at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am

Done. Thanks for bringing this to attention and for copying our comments to the bugreport.

By Markus at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am

No problem Markus :) i forgot to add post by markus tho for the comment on the bug :)

Hopefully this one makes progress


By pingu at Thu, 2005/07/28 - 5:00am

I just voted for it too =]

By DeadS0ul at Fri, 2005/07/29 - 5:00am

The new mouse-overs in KDE 3.4 for static Kicker icons are very nice and polished looking. At the most simple, notifications could look as nice as this. (It is strange to roll the mouse over, for instance, the KMenu icon, then to roll it over the kmix docked icon; the yellow tooltip for the kmix mouse-over simply looks ugly.)

By d w at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am

I think all this will be done for KDE 4. knotify can be enhanced to allow for all kind of notifications, bubbles and whatever you want...

By superstoned at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am

I've already suggested something remotely similar on the Kollaboration forum:


By Willie Sippel at Thu, 2005/07/28 - 5:00am

Ha Willie thats some great stuff you got there, I will add the url comment to the bug report :)


By pingu at Thu, 2005/07/28 - 5:00am

Ohh one more important thing:

Why only use the lower right corner for notifications ?

if we divide the desktop into 4 squares:
(top right, top left, bottom left, bottom right)

We can use the

Top right square for:
1. Laptop Information/status updates ?

Top left for:
1. application OSD etc.
2. what else?

bottom left square for:
1. dunno ?

bottom right square for:
1. system notifications
2. device notifications

If these are standardised will be great and will disperse the notification areas acording to categories to different sections of the screen. These need to be standardised on the desktop so no matter what application/error generated it gets displayed in the appropriate section of the screen.

There needs to be a standard on the color of the notification:
Red: Critical User needs to take care of if immediately

Yellow: User can continue working on his work, but will need to look at it at a later stage

Green: Application update success etc eg: yast update successfully compelted etc.

Distribution developers can standardise this on their desktops for the color and the section of the screen for the types of notifications.

I am looking forward to it Hopefully it will become reality.

I will submit a bug report for this :)

Any comments ?


By pingu at Thu, 2005/07/28 - 5:00am

added bug report


Pleaase vote for it

also comments?

By pingu at Thu, 2005/07/28 - 5:00am


It was my understanding that after some discussion on kde-core-devel that this (so-called) "feature" was being dropped. But, if not, the question is why would anyone want to do this (to see the HOME folders of other members in a group [groups?])?

Remaining unresolved is the question of where the "Documents" folder fits in with this. And, it is questionable if "Documents" is a good name for the default working directory for loading/saving files. There is also the problem that this currently only works for KDE applications. Yes I filed a bug (108510) for this, but the maintainer doesn't believe that it exists. :-( Will this issue be fixed for 3.5?

The "My Documents" vs. HOME issue is an important usability issue that needs further design work. Should there also be an I/O slave for "Documents"? What should it be called ("documents:/" would be consistent but that name appears to confuse users that don't realize that "Documents" is for _all_ of their personal data files). This is confounded by the current default where "Documents" = HOME -- this not how Windows and OS/X do it -- and things need to change based on whether "Documents" is set to HOME or somewhere else - $HOME/Files on my system. Look at the code: "kdelibs/kio/kfile/kfilespeedbar.cpp". The same needs to be implemented in other places for consistency.

By James Richard Tyrer at Wed, 2005/07/27 - 5:00am