KDE 4 Progress - A Review of SVN Version 811150

Another review of the upcoming KDE 4.1 was published at polishlinux.org. The review features the Panel's new configuration tool, the folder viewer, Gwenview, Marble, Akonadi and others. As usual it comes along with many screenshots.

Dot Categories: 


by SirDonnerbold (not verified)

the panel configuration tool is great, but you can't move applets inside the panel. and if you add the old menu to the panel you really want to put it leftmost. so thats basically why i'm not using kde4 despite the great efforts (looks like i'm very picky).

by Anon (not verified)

If that's the only reason you aren't using it, then there's actually a workaround, of sorts: remove the widget from the panel, open the Add Widgets dialog, and drag the widget from the Add Widgets dialog onto the required position on the panel.

by Birdy (not verified)

What's the workaround for placeing application shortcuts? Currently one has to poke around in the configuration file :-(

by mimoune djouallah (not verified)

eh really, just in kickoff right click and add to panel, u can even drag and drop links from desktop to panel, but yes moving applet in the panel is still not here, not a big deal for me anyway

by Birdy (not verified)

Yes, they can be added to the panel. But I can't move them where I want them to be (placeing).
At least with kubuntu rc1 packages.

by dolio (not verified)

When you drag and drop them to the panel, they should appear where you drop them. At least, they did for me.

It's kind of a pain, and it's possible you'll have to try a couple times to get them exactly where you want, but at least you only have to do it once.

by mimoune djouallah (not verified)

for now, it is not possible to move applet inside the panel, there is already a bug report, although u will be astonished to see that in kde4.0.x packages of opensuse and i guess fedora they have fixed this issue why it is not upstream, i don't know ;)

by Anon (not verified)

Replace "Add Widgets dialog" with "Kickoff" in the other post ;)

by Anonymous (not verified)

What I'm really is the possibility to configure the taskbar. I'd like to set it so that it behaves like in KDE3, where I have a great overview because of these "open programs" one under the other (and next to the other). Can you implement this please?

by legato (not verified)

Yes. We want see more taskbar usability.

by Grósz Dániel (not verified)

openSUSE has a patch that allows moving plasmoids in the panel. (I'm not sure if this works with the 4.1 experimental but it works with the default 4.0.x.)

by Kevin Kofler (not verified)

It doesn't work with 4.1.

by fish (not verified)

KDE 4.1 is shaping up reaaaally nicely. Big THANK YOU to all the devs! :)

I think there are only a few annoyances left: (I'm on beta 1)

- why can't we hide the plasma "bubble" in the upper right corner?
- the folder view applet has problems with unmounted network shares
- the shutdown dialog is still unnecessary complicated (too many clicks)
- widgets --> install new widgets --> download from internet --> nothing happens
- no right click menus for desktop icons and/or folder view
- why does dolphin create annoying hidden .directory files? krusader doesn't do that...
- some plasmoids in the panel look messy when making the panel really small

that's all for now. thanks everyone! :)

by Anon (not verified)

"- why can't we hide the plasma "bubble" in the upper right corner?"

OpenSuse have a patch for that. Eventually, the main supported method (as far as I can tell - I'm happy to be corrected, here) for outright removing it will be for someone to write a containment that does not have the Plasma Cashew. This should be easy to do (in fact, I think the existing Folder View may qualify) and again, as far as I can tell, there will eventually be a GUI option for setting your desktop containment. It won't happen for 4.1, though, I don't think.

"- the folder view applet has problems with unmounted network shares"

The folder view will likely have many problems as it is very young :) They will be fixed in time, I'm sure.

"- the shutdown dialog is still unnecessary complicated (too many clicks)"

I haven't seen any plans to change this, I'm afraid :/

"- widgets --> install new widgets --> download from internet --> nothing happens"

This might still be on the TODO list - I'm not sure.

"- no right click menus for desktop icons and/or folder view"

The Folder View will have this for 4.1, IIRC (in fact, it may have been added over the last couple of days). Ultimately, if you want your desktop background to behave as in KDE3, the Folder View is the only place where you'll need this functionality.

"- why does dolphin create annoying hidden .directory files? krusader doesn't do that..."

Because it uses the same system of storing per-folder settings that Konqueror did in the KDE3 series. I'd like to see a cleaner system, personally, but I'm not sure how technically difficult this would be.

"- some plasmoids in the panel look messy when making the panel really small"

Ensure you have a bleeding edge build (KDE4Daily is great for that:

http://etotheipiplusone.com/kde4daily/docs/kde4daily.html )

and, if they are still present, file bugs reports, with screenshots.

Thanks for the helpful and refreshingly non-vague feedback! Dot commenters - this guy knows how to give constructive and actionable feedback, and it would be great if more people followed his example. If you don't feel the slightest bit of gratitude for the KDE devs, you can even strip out all the "Thankyou"'s and general tone of politeness, if you want - the resulting post will still stand head and shoulders above the usual "criticism" we see here every day.

by NabLa (not verified)

* Because it uses the same system of storing per-folder settings that Konqueror did in the KDE3 series. I'd like to see a cleaner system, personally, but I'm not sure how technically difficult this would be. *

Wouldn't Nepomuk qualify for this particular task?

by Greg M (not verified)

> Because it uses the same system of storing per-folder settings that Konqueror did in the KDE3 series. I'd like to see a cleaner system, personally, but I'm not sure how technically difficult this would be.

Personally I'd prefer it if Dolphin used the same setting for all folders by default.

by Peter Penz (not verified)

> Personally I'd prefer it if Dolphin used the same setting for
> all folders by default.

Just go into Settings -> Configure Dolphin... -> View Modes and click on "(x) Use common view properties for all folders" No .directory files are generated anymore :-)

by fish (not verified)


So I'll switch to Dolphin right now...

by ac (not verified)

i know this is not the right location to post questions, but...

is there a reason why dolphin doesn't try to use extended attributes before resorting to an extra file per directory?

by Riddle (not verified)

> is there a reason why dolphin doesn't try to use extended attributes before resorting to an extra file per directory?

It's not portable. The less OS-specific code in any particular application, the better, the easier to work with later, the smaller the application, and the more portable the application.

What's wrong with a single file (say dolphin-directoriesrc) in ~/.kde/share/config, to which any directories with altered settings are added along with their settings? The one thing I can think of(for why not) is parsing that text file when it contains thousands of entries might be slow going(?).

Per-directory settings are something I'd like to use, but not at the cost of crufting up every directory I visit with a .directory file.

While I'm at it I'll also mention that I can't help but wholeheartedly agree with the previous comment about the Shutdown dialog.

You hover over the Leave button on the menu and the menu changes to offer you all the regular options (logout, reboot, shutdown), so far so good. But then when you choose one of these options, you are just presented with a dialog containing the exact same options? What's the point of that? There is no point that I can see, apart from being totally redundant.

Just make the Leave button on the menu an actual button with no menu items tied to it. When CLICKing Leave, the menu should stay the same, displaying whatever applications or favourites or whatnot were already displayed at the time. It should only activate the dialog containing the choices of which way the user wants to leave the desktop. Then the user makes a choice and logs out. It's that simple really. Or keep it the way it is and remove the redundant choices from the dialog and just have it be a "Do you really want to "logout|shutdown|reboot"? Yes/No.

Appologies for not remembering the name of the new-fangled KMenu. And for possibly not excercising tact/restraint in my comments. I love KDE!

by Ian (not verified)

I'll agree with this one.
- the shutdown dialog is still unnecessary complicated (too many clicks)

I think what i am going to comment on is also a 3.5 wobbly. When you've pressed for shutdown or logout, the screen washes out to black which is fine. But a soon as you confirm the action, the screen colour returns and the dialog box disappears. Depending on whats happening on your PC (i.e. madly processing causing a slow down) you are then presented with what looks like a useable desktop where you could select an icon. Should the screen stay black or the desktop completely disappear as the first action after a confirmed logout/shutdown?
This caught me out late one evening when i was a bit dozy and i thought the Confirmation screen had been cancelled so i tried to select logout/shutdown applet again.

Great work is being done by all the devs on KDE4 and related apps. Thanks.

by MoritzMH (not verified)

The shutdown dialogue is much too complicated, but not powerful enough at the same time. I miss the option (under an advanced button) for timed shutdowns. For an idea what I mean have a look at (KDE3-only) kshutdown.

Also hibernate and suspend do not do anything, I want to at least get an error report if something fails.

But these are minor annoyances, I have been using KDE4 for three months as main desktop. It is still behind KDE3, but the pain is becoming less intense.... More betas would be appreciated.....

by Kevin Kofler (not verified)

What version of KDE are you using, or were you using when you last tried suspend/resume? It should be fixed in 4.0.4 (and anything newer, of course).

by Kevin Kofler (not verified)

I mean suspend/hibernate. But yes, resuming afterwards should work too. ;-) But if that doesn't work, it most likely isn't KDE's fault. ;-)

by Morty (not verified)

"- why can't we hide the plasma "bubble" in the upper right corner?"

Put a application window on to of it, and it's "gone". Seriously, what's the use of removing it? It does not take away any screen relastate for applications whatsoever, and when it's not covered by applications it's easy accesable wich is intentional. The biggest consecquence of having it present, is that it cover up the corner of the walpaper. If loosing a 20-30 pixel square of the walpaper is a big issue, I think you spend way to much time staring at the walpaper rather than using the computer....

"- the shutdown dialog is still unnecessary complicated (too many clicks)"

Agreed, use the shutdown panel applet instead. One click and you get the shutdown dialog.

by Bob (not verified)

It's not a huge issue but it is visual noise. I don't change my desktop settings very much so I'd just like one less widget to be there. Should we have a network, sound, graphics etc. settings widget sitting around too in plain sight? I hide my kmix system tray icon in KDE3 for the same reason.

The more clickable things in sight, the more distracting they are. I also find the cashew expand animation very annoying as I set it off accidentally a lot and it just begs you to click the buttons that just appeared. The subtle glow, say, the close button makes tells you the button is clickable without distracting you if you weren't looking at the close button. I just find the cashew distracting. Yes, it's not that big a deal, but all these small decision choices add up.

by terracotta (not verified)

The cashew expand animation now only starts after clicking on the cashes, the only thing it does when hovering over it is getting a color. I used to dislike the cashew as well, but I can live with the current form (at least the kubuntu kde4.1 beta packages).

There are still a lot of things missing, but it's a nice improvement, and especially the speed improvement of both kwin in composite mode and plasma are welcome.

by fred (not verified)

>> - no right click menus for desktop icons and/or folder view

This has just been implemented 1 or 2 days ago, so you must build from svn trunk to see this, or wait for the RC :D

I am also very happy to get all file management function with right click in the Folder View! And I guess several other features are planned for Folder View, I'm crossing my fingers...

Yay!!!!! Plasma developers are amazing people with amazing patience :D :D

by Iuri Fiedoruk (not verified)

- can't delete files in the folder view

Basically if you want to delete a Desktop item, you must open dolphin and go to your ~/Desktop folder and delete the files, this is not possible from the folder view applet.

by Fabio Margarido (not verified)

Dragging any item from the folder view plasmoid to the trash can plasmoid will also do the trick.. :)

by anon (not verified)

It is already possible in current trunk, it was not possible in Beta.

by Peter Penz (not verified)

> - why does dolphin create annoying hidden .directory files? krusader
> doesn't do that...

As mentioned by Anon already: like Konqueror in KDE 3 this file is used to store folder specific settings. If you don't want that Dolphin stores this information you can turn this off under Settings -> Configure Dolphin... -> View Modes and clicking on "(x) Use common view properties for all folders".

Other file managers use a similar approach as this has some benefits in comparison to a mirrored storing of the view properties (which BTW is done already for non-local directories or directories without write access).

by DanaKil (not verified)

"KDE 4.1 is shaping up reaaaally nicely"

Yep, I've just tested the 4.1 packages from Kubuntu and I'm near to do to the switch right now. The 4.0 was just unusable for me and now, everything works better, especially KWin compositing and Plasma of course

The only thing that prevent me to do so* is maybe that I can't change the desktop with a scrollwheel stroke on the desktop (this is really the best way to manage desktops for me because I only use 2 desktops). I think it's too late for the 4.1, even if this is surely (well... maybe) a very small change :-/
I'll be glad if I see the Quick Browser applet as a plasmoid too :)

Thanks everyone :)

* well, ok... this can't prevent me to switch, I'm too impatient :p

by Jonathan Thomas (not verified)

Maybe in the meantime you could place a somewhat-large pager plasmoid on the desktop and use your scrollwheel on that? That might hold you over until the feature is implemented.

by Michael (not verified)

I tried KDE 4.0 and quickly switched back to KDE 3. It simply had too few features at that time to be worth switching. Yesterday I tried 4.1beta1. Muuuuch better, really. Thanks to all involved. But it took me some time to figure some things out (please note that I'm well aware of bugs.kde.org - I don't wanna complain here about specific bugs, just want to give a "meta-view" about my first experience with 4.1, what's good, what's bad and how I worked around things that don't work so well right now)

1) I created ~/Desktop4/Graphics, ~/Desktop4/Tools and so on and now use the new folder view applet to show those folders on the desktop in separate boxes. Way better than the cluttered KDE3 desktop. And much better than all those separate boxes behind icons in KDE 4.0. Some things I don't like about this solution: There is no way to get rid of the icons in ~/Desktop for good. So I had to delete them. Now, if I still sometimes want to switch back to KDE 3 there are no icons. But I can live with that. Another "glitch" is that I cannot right-click/create icons directly in the folder view. I need to go there in Dolphin. Now, when I create an Icon in Dolphin it has the extension ".desktop". I need to remove it manually to have a decent Icon label. Perhaps an option to hide extensions in the folder view and a menu entry to open the folder in Dolphin would already solve most of those problems easily.

2) Getting 3D graphics right is a bit tricky, because I couldn't find information on what is recommended. First thing is, you should set effects to "OpenGL" in the System Settings. Otherwise, you cannot expect all those great effects to work fast. While experimenting, sometimes KDE4 didnt start at all so I needed KDE3 to repair my system. I thought FGLRX would be better even if I'm sacrificing "openness". But RADEON driver seems to have much improved to what I'm used to in recent days. I'm not gaming so I cannot say anything about that. But for KDE 4 desktop I found RADEON to be that much better choice. Even if there were sometimes some artifacts on the screen. With FGLRX sometimes X used 40% cpu for minutes without apparent reason. And I havent been able to play movies properly without heavy flashing and distortions - I tried all combinations of VideoOverlay, OpenGLOverlay, TexturedVideo and what not. With radeon I didn't need a single option. Worked out of the box. So I'm sticking with RADEON and it seems to be that even general performance and CPU usage is better than with the proprietary driver.

3) Watch out: A square applet takes 100% of your CPU continuously. It took me some time to figure out, that the "Minimize All" applet made my PC so slow. So I removed it from the panel. I'm working around this right now by using Ctrl+F2 or Ctrl+F12. This is OK. I couldnt move the applet to it's usual spot anyway because you cannot move applets in the panel with KDE 4.1.

4) The only remaining problem I cannot work around right now is the fact, that the width of the places bar inside the open dialog isn't saved and is so large that I need to resize the panel bar everytime I use the open dialog. This is quite annoying because you obviously use the open dialog very often...

5) Finally you can get rid of the ugly black boxes everywhere by installing the "Glassified" plasma theme. It even downloads this theme directly from the dialog. Great!

6) After start-up I see the plasma desktop. I can click the K menu and so on. I can start apps like MPlayer from the "Recent documents" menu. But it takes extremly long until I can start KDE 4 applications like Dolphin (more than 1 minute) with seemingly no activity (no disk thrashing). I wonder what is it doing there? Well, I can live with the wait at the moment.

Otherwise, KDE4.1beta1 is just great. With radeon driver it all works fast even with 3d effects. I never had that much success with Compiz causing all sorts of problems with different apps and slowing my PC down. User interfaces looks polished and fresh. So, I think 4.1beta1 is finally "good enough" for me to use it regularly. Thanks again to all those involved for shipping a great product which will probably be even better if one day those remaining problems are resolved.

by Anon (not verified)

You'll be please to hear that 3) was fixed very soon after the release of Beta 1, and also that (I think) the Places bar size issue (4)) is now much better - there was apparently a temporary regression or suchlike that caused the Places bar to be inordinately oversized. I'm not sure if the size that you have set is actually stored now, though.

by mimoune djouallah (not verified)

for 5) i wonder why it did not worked for me, i have used kde4.0.81 with glassified theme and those ugly black frame around icons are still here, please can u provide a screenshot;) this the most hated bug for me ;)

by Michael (not verified)

Here you are...

by Michael (not verified)

I'd like to add: Glassified theme has some problem with different graphics cards. Perhaps it's useful if you temporarily switch to XRender instead of OpenGL just to find out if this is causing the problem.

by DanaKil (not verified)

About the folder view, it would be great if we can choose which type of files to show through its mime-type (but I agree that the actual file mask is quite good in some case). If anybody know how I can show only the directory with the current applet, I'll be glad to hear you :)

by Michael (not verified)

Just for the record:

I have solved the very long start-up delay by installing kdm-kde4 instead of kdm.

by robbie enderle (not verified)

I agree with the post and appreciate the tone and what you tried to do but I disagree with one thing;
Well, I can live with the wait at the moment.

No, we cant.
If you told me that this is a beta version of any other software, I would have said yes, run it on your test system but do not run it on your main machines.
It is not ready.

I get where we are at in the process and the jump from 4.04 to 4.1 has been enormous but that's just because 4.04 shouldnt have been even considered an alpha release.

Im not agreeing with SJVN all the way about the numbering system but KDE 4 is being ravaged in the specialized media because the 4.0 is to them an indication that the product is ready to ship.
But I also understand that version 4 is totally different from version 3 so you couldnt call this version 3.9.

I blame the KDE marketing team for jumping the gun and for each layer after not going out of their way to warn people that 3.5 was the stable version.
I got that because I follow KDE blogs like Aaron's but I have friends of mine who are less in the loop who had a different take on it.
If the message is badly understood, you DONT blame the person who didnt understand it but those who sent the message.

We see the 4.x as a new paradigm who will disturb the status quo and I think we have isolated ourselves to the point where we think that others dont want to understand. I say we should do a better job of getting the message across.
And tell the PR people to take a layer of BS off the press releases.

- 4.04 was not ready by far. It promised something which it wasnt equipped to give at that point. This was nothing more than a preview.
- 4.1 is a huge step and you can see the changes in the recent builds but it still is not something that I would tout to non-KDE users as something they should check out. 4.1 is a beta.
- 4.2 looks promising. Will it be something we can use to entice new users?
I want so much to say yes, but I would rather make sure that everything is wrapped up tightly by 4.3

Not BSing with promises and getting the message out there about what v4 is trying to do different than v3 is very important. Both to the specialized press/web media and to the non free software using public.
(I turn off the eye candy for personal use but ALWAYS leave it on for my newbie friends/Mac users).
We need a spreadfirefox grassroots campaign.

The message is not getting out there.

And there are many childish technologists like SJVN who wont be back to KDE 4 for quite some time because they thought KDE4.04 is something that it wasnt.

Dont blame others for this misconception, look inwards.

If a tree falls in a forrest and no one hears it, does it still make a noise?

by ETN (not verified)

Hi, is there any application that helps mith the migration of settings like shortcuts, Bookmarks, Kontact data (mail, pop/imap/smtp conf., ...), Kwalletmanager data, ... ?

by Kevin Krammer (not verified)

I think this will happen automatically, since the files are basically the same and content changes are handled through an update script mechanism.

by Adrian Baugh (not verified)

It doesn't, at least with a kubuntu hardy installation with kde3.5 and kde4.1 beta2 coexisting. At least not with bookmarks, kdewallet data or email account settings, though most of my mailboxes do seem to be recognised.

by Darkelve (not verified)

Thanks for the link to the article, I love the articles on PolishLinux.

I agree with the article in one point: the lack of a option to change the position of the applets in the taskbar.

Does anyone knows when this will be implemented?


It will be implemented, but probably not for 4.1 as it is in feature-freeze.

by Stefan Majewsky (not verified)

The main question (apart from what it takes to implement that) is whether moving items on the panel is considered a feature or if this function missing is considered a bug.