KDE Commit-Digest for 28th September 2008

In this week's KDE Commit-Digest: Continued work on PowerDevil, and the "NetworkManager" and "Weather" Plasmoids. Monochrome action icons in Plasma expand to cover KRunner. A first working version of QEdje script engine, and the import of a "Window Manager" runner. Work on new containments and a mobile internet devices (MID) panel in Plasma. Various improvements in Konsole and the Kvkbd keyboard utility. Support for adding actions implemented by Kross scripts in Lokalize. First version of a MathML presentation markup importer in KAlgebra. Start of work on a Mollweide projection in Marble. More work on integration of Jabber-based network games in KSirK. Continued work towards Amarok 2.0. Better support for LilyPond links in and the "--unique" command-line switch (similar to KDVI) in Okular. A new version of Klotz (previously KLDraw) with database update functionality is imported into playground/graphics. The Paint.net red-eye reduction algorithm is incorporated into Gwenview, using a "iPhoto-inspired" interface bar. Start of a DNG image format converter in KIPI plugins (used in Digikam, etc). Various work on filters in Kst, including Butterworth, and Linear Weighted Fits plugins. Support for auto-saving/restoring opened tabs in Akregator. A "cost breakdown" view in KPlato. The ability to create web shortcuts by right-clicking on the line edit of a search field in KHTML. Support for subscript and superscript in KRichTextWidget. Import of KDE Partition Manager to KDE SVN. Ruby and C# bindings are promoted to the KDE 4.1 release branch. Various Plasma applets move to kdereview for official inclusion in KDE 4.2. Amarok 1.92 and KDE 4.1.2 are tagged for release. Read the rest of the Digest here.


I really enjoy reading digests, specially since http://www.jarzebski.pl/ is down.

By Mariano at Wed, 2008/10/15 - 5:00am

Perfect before a good night ! Thanks Danny :)

By DanaKil at Thu, 2008/10/16 - 5:00am

Thanks Danny!!

By Michael "Thanks... at Thu, 2008/10/16 - 5:00am

I'm very happy about this. Just a few days ago, I was trying out themes, and wished I could use the clock from one, taskbar from another, and everything else from a third. Of course, I'm lazy and didn't want to hack together my own theme.

Desktop Theme Details is exactly what I was hoping for.

By Soap at Thu, 2008/10/16 - 5:00am

Regarding Plasma customization... Will there be a way to switch to interacting with plasma components using a "normal" right-click menu, rather than having the cashews and floating toolboxes?

By Martin at Thu, 2008/10/16 - 5:00am

that might be fun until you get a widget that uses all the mouse events for itself (completely legitimate use pattern, btw).

but go ahead and give it a whirl; this is possible with a customized Containment.

in any case, there are already context menus provided for most actions.

as for "normal", a magical mouse click that brings up something you can't see with actions that are related to wahtever it thinks the context is might be expected by people who learned to use computers well in the last decade, but it's hardly intuitive or consistent.

By Aaron Seigo at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am

As ever you are unable to grasp the fact that people use a desktop in different ways. For me the chashew is one of the most annoying things lingering around on the plasma desktop and it rears it's uggly head the moment the mouse touches it and it often distracts the attention away from the intended task (most of the time I touch this uggly beast when I want to close or in other ways want to manage a *proper* window). There are people like me who like an uncluttered destop which does not impede the use of proper windows by drawing attention to itself on every possible occasion.
The analogy is that there is an annyoing blob of sticky marmalade on your desktop plate that lingers around next to your post-it notes - every now and then you find that (inadvertendly and annoyingly) until you have had sticky fingers often enough and remove it!

By Karl Günter Wünsch at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am

Which part of "but go ahead and give it a whirl; this is possible with a customized Containment." didn't you understand? ;P

By Hans Chen at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am

Look through the guy's posting history, especially his interactions with Aaron. It usually goes something like this:


A few days or weeks later:

Kurt: < another rant, filled with mostly the same misconceptions as before >
Aseigo: < sobs and kills kittens >

This one appears to be an interesting change to the pattern:

Aeigo: < sure you can do $X >
Kurt: < Gah why do you want to prevent people from doing $X you just don't get that other people want to do $X grrrr >

Dude just seems to want to make Aseigo out to be "the bad guy who stubbornly refuses to listen to end user", for some reason, and completely ignores any evidence to the contrary. Or maybe he is just very dense.

By anon at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am

I can't wait till the dot gets moderation. Then we don't have to suffer fools like this...

By txf at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am


all moderation will achieve is to open new fighting grounds. I have seen Kharma whoring and didn't enjoy it. I guess Danny will see more thank you then, but it will mean less.

And "why was this moderated down?" postings too.

I would hope that with release of 4.2 the need for moderation will nearly be gone.

And probably one day the light from above will really show why everybody must have the cashew in a place he cannot configure and cannot have it go away. Until then my attention deficit problems would make me want to configure it away. Until I switch to KDE 4 it likely will be solved.

BTW: Seems like little would prevent me soon from switching, except that it appears harder to tone down colors in KDE 4, but the new theme composer may make it easier to achieve. I normally reduce saturation, leaving the saturation to high-light. I feel that is ergonomic and giving me as little distraction as possible and needed.


By Debian User at Sat, 2008/10/18 - 5:00am

> Which part of "but go ahead and give it a whirl; this is possible with a
> customized Containment." didn't you understand? ;P
I don't understand the whole concept because noone cares to explain or even document the whole mess that plasma is to the noninitiated... Concrete I didn't find an way to customize a containment in such a way as to completely remove the Cashew without removing vital functionality which on the other hand is needed to manage the few important plasmoids inside to the extent of making it work at all!
So instead of calling me a troll, try to explain it to someone who does not care about the inner workings of plasma but who simply wants an unintrusive non-bling-bling desktop that offers the basic functionality needed to get his work (which does not involve playing with plasmoids for 4 hours a day) done!

By Karl Günter Wünsch at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am

Why don't you just open the code and start working. If you have no intention of knowing anything about the inner workings of plasma, you simply have to look for somebody who wants to do the work for you. Clearly, Aaron has enough to do, and is not interested, so maybe you could stop wasting his time. He (and every FOSS developer) is free to spend his time any way he wants - you're not paying him, nor am I.

I'm not a huge fan of the cashew either, but I can wait until someone willing to spend time on it finds another solution. Complaining about it all the time won't help anyone.

If you have questions while developing a cashew-free containment, you can ask them on the #plasma channel.

And if you don't want to or can't solve it yourself and have such grave issues with plasma, please use either the KDE 3.5.x desktop, the Gnome desktop or something else. There is no reason why you can't do that, and still have KWin and the other KDE applications.

By Jos Poortvliet at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am

This is exactly what I find deplorable about the behaviour of the KDE developers right now. Because resources are sparse things that annoy end users get pushed back indefinite because they are not hip (i.e. don't fit the own conception)! This is a highly arrogant behaviour which has besieged the GNOME developers for a long time (removal of highly important options because they required explanation) and which for equally long time was mostly absent from the KDE developers mind set. The KDE developers wanted to deliver a functional desktop environment. But with the new breed of developers this kind of arrogance has become standard in KDE as well. In discussions any criticism is quashed not by explanation or fruitful discussion but by name calling...
While I am able to code (commercial Qt developer for aslmost 10 years now) I have little spare time to contribute especially as I don't get the concepts behind the second layer of window mangement that plasma is. So as long as I don't get the concepts or anyone can explain the benefits of having a set of interactive windows that are exempt from normal window management I have no foothold in this development on which to base my changes.

By Karl Günter Wünsch at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am

I didn't call you a troll, although I did think you acted like one.
Note that this is a reply to your other post too.

> I don't understand the whole concept because noone cares to explain or even document the whole mess that plasma is to the noninitiated...

As far as I've seen, many persons (including Aaron) has explained a lot about Plasma to you. To back up my statement, see this post as an example: http://dot.kde.org/1219149384/1219200661/1219232051/
Have you even bothered to search for information yourself?

It's true that Plasma currently lacks documentation, but that's what Techbase and Userbase are for.

> As ever you are unable to grasp the fact that people use a desktop in different ways.

Since you talked about sticky marmalade I'll make a bad comparison too:

Let's say you've bought a LEGO model and just finished building a car by following the instructions. Now you want to make a boat instead, but there aren't any instructions on how to build one. Being frustrated, you write a post on a LEGO forum. However, the other members just tell you that "if you want a boat, you have to make it yourself".

Would you say that it's not possible to build a boat using LEGO?
Would you call the LEGO creators arrogant for not realizing that some people want to build a boat instead of a car?

Sure, you can claim that the model you bought lacks documentation since it didn't include an instruction on how to build a boat.

But if you have the knowledge, why don't you just come up with a solution yourself? If it turns out well, you can even share the build instructions with other users. Everyone would be happy.

Do you really think ranting on the LEGO forums would help you to make a LEGO boat?

By Hans Chen at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am

either way there is a patch for your particular problem on kde-look. Haven't tried it but you're welcome to...

Frankly I don't consider it a problem... It always stays below the windows so it doesn't interfere with anything I'm doing. This problem is so minor it is not even worth making the fuss you are. It may be important to you, but not for the rest of us, even if we can see some merit of what you're proposing...

As others have said you can do something about it, bear it, or just use something else...

By txf at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am

> Because resources are sparse things that annoy end
> users get pushed back indefinite because they are not hip

That complete bullshit on two levels:

a) I implement features on a weekly basis that I have no personal need for nor and which I personally find to be "hip" simply because people request them and share the reasons for them, reasons which actually go to the heart of usefulness and not just "because it used to be that way"

b) resources have always been sparse. we've always had to pick and choose which features we implement and which bugs we fix. saying this is somethign new is disingenuous, and i think you'll find that if you compare the amount of code that went into making kicker or kdesktop "more what people asked for" compared to plasma, you'd be ashamed of yourself for making the accusation that it's gotten worse instead of better.

You may not agree with my decisions, that's one thing, but how dare you accuse me and my team of things we are not doing.

> So as long as I don't get the concepts or anyone can explain the benefits of having
> a set of interactive windows that are exempt from normal window management
> I have no foothold in this development on which to base my changes.

That's completely fair. Here's my suggestion to you: I have talked quite a bit about the point and purpose of widgets on the desktop. You have a very skewed viewpoint on them (they aren't "interactive windows" any more than Kontact's various plugins and listviews are), but I'll chalk that up to simply not having had time to read through everything I've written on the topic. Which is cool: it's not a small amount of information to chew through, and I don't expect everyone to be able to. It's not a trivial topic, and I don't expect people to become "instant masters" of the deep concepts any more than I expect people to become "instant masters" on the deep concepts of, say, filesystem design.

So .. what I recommend in your case is using folderview as your desktop activity (you can set this in the configuration dialog in 4.2 quite easily) and treat plasma as if it were kdesktop+kicker from years previous.

Stop trying to bend your mind around the new ideas and concepts: they obviously aren't a fit for you, and that's *OK*. Just because a new thing is there doesn't mean you have to use it, and nobody will be offended if you don't. We've put in huge effort (to the expense of people waiting for all the new things to come to full fruition, btw!) to make sure that you can do exactly this.

By Aaron Seigo at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am

Is there a way to make this view appear automatically for a new user as if it was in a skeleton KDE config?

Is there a wiki or website that may hold all the documentation on plasma so its all in one place until such time that it can be all pulled together into a single document? It doesn't need to be organised as yet but it would be a good place to point some of us to when we are finding it difficult to transition to the new paradigm after all the years on the current one.

I've ended up with icons on the "desktop" that have no description and can only press it to launch the program or delete the icon, no way to move it or get to the properties - but then again, i've been messing around so i might need to start from scratch.

thanks to you developers for your dedication.


By Ian at Wed, 2008/10/22 - 5:00am

I'm not a huge fan of the cashew either

cashew's purpose looks more brand-related than technical.
Plasma developers want their brand prominently visible so they used the cashew.
Understandable, but problems with that approach:

1)the logo choice
is about the worst that could have been made given the market share situation in the free desktop world. Not for aesthetic reasons but purely for a matter of shape.
I attached an image. Have a look and tell me you never thought of that before :-(

2) brand dilution!!
if you have that C-topped-with-4-dots thingy in the upper right and in the panel, why is there a K on that application menu? that is *confusing*.
Why do you need a special logo for what is perceived as the KDE desktop main gui shell? Aren't plasma developers happy enough to defend and be identified to the KDE brand they have to somehow part from it like a desktop application?

3) too prominent versus application menu
it looks like an entry point for the shell to the new user, instead it's only about the desktop. that's messed up priorities!

By Ron at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am

It's called KDE 3.5.10.

By Phil at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am

> As ever you are unable to grasp the fact that people use a desktop in different ways.

So that's why I designed a system (plasma) with infinite flexibility? hm. Yeah, you're accusations don't map to reality.

What you *really* mean to say is "I dislike your decision to not make the defaults exactly what I used for the last 20 years. I dislike that you won't write the code I want you to the way I want you to."

I think that position is really unfortunate on several accounts, but respect your right to feel that way.

Here's my feeling on the matter: the Plasma team is working bloody hard to accomodate the whole user base, not only you. Not being the center of attention sucks, especially when you were before, but times change, things evolve and you are but one of our users. To bow to your personal opinion just because you have the audacity to post it over and over here in a public area and thereby bring to ruin what we've worked, and continue to work, so hard on bringing to life might make you happy as an individual, but would be a massive disservice to every one else out there that would get the shaft.

We are taking KDE to places it has never been before, nor could ever go before. Some of the product announcements that will be coming out in the next 12 months will spin our heads. If I lose one Karl in order to increase the loyalty of 3 others and gain 5 new users in the process ... so be it.

But you know what? It doesn't have to *be* confrontational. You don't *have* to be a prick to me here. I keep giving you more and more and you just keep being an ass about it, and that doesn't particularly motivate me to care about you, now does it? Realize that your only currency on the table here is community because you have yet to put a single dime in my pocket or a line of code in my repository. Use your currency wisely.

Step back and let yourself take in the information others are offering to you here in this thread, on forum.kde.org, on userbase.kde.org, etc and you'll find that a lot of your anxiety is likely to exit as you realize that, hey, surprise! Plasma is actually able to do what you want and proceeding at a pace that exceeds anything previous KDE shells managed to put together.

Be my friend, even in disagreement, and you'll get a lot further. Not only because it'll make me want to help you, but because I already have in many cases but your attitude is making it hard for you to see that.

Cheers, and I hope you can find a happy place to post from in the future.

By Aaron Seigo at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am

One question and please just answer with a yes or no, save the speaches for those who are asking to.

Will there be a way to dissable cashews from panels (containers?) in KDE 4.2?
will there be a way do sjhow a desktop w/o the annoying cashew?

By THIBOLOT at Sun, 2008/10/19 - 5:00am

I already got that in 4.1.2 -- right-click, choose Desktop Settings, choose Desktop Activity -- plain desktop. Done. And there is no cashew on the panel in any version of KDE 4 I've used when you lock the widgets.

By Boudewijn Rempt at Sun, 2008/10/19 - 5:00am


i wonder what the Status of the many different Google Summer of Code projects is.
Are 100% of them done and the features usable ? Are 100% dumped ?

perhaps i missed some parts in an old digest where there were stats on all the projects that were carried out ?

has only the money been taken for food and drinks ? :-)

By sfdg at Thu, 2008/10/16 - 5:00am

there was an article on the koffice projects; all the Plasma ones were successful to at least some extent, with all but one of them having been merged into mainline. i suspect we did better than last year on the success ration, though it certainly isn't 100%. nobody expects that, not even google. in fact, google gets suspicious when a project says all their SoC students succeeded ;)

By Aaron Seigo at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am

Hello Aaron,

I think the KDE project should also point out about SoC and students in general, what a great social service this is giving. You are teaching with mentorship a whole lot to these students in a short time.

Having access to, help from, guidance from some of the best developers in the world, clearly has value to the students, and value for those they later work for and with.


By Debian User at Sat, 2008/10/18 - 5:00am

Mad props to Danny. Thanks! And mad props to all the devs making KDE real.

By Winter at Thu, 2008/10/16 - 5:00am

First, Planet Developer, now this. Why are so many KDE sites making it so that text falls off the right side of the browser! One should first design for usability/accessibility, and then get fancy if you want. Not the other way 'round.

By Joseph Reagle at Thu, 2008/10/16 - 5:00am

I don't know what you're getting at. It doesn't spread/spill/widen Konq for me. KDE 3.5.10 (Gentoo)

By Xanadu at Thu, 2008/10/16 - 5:00am

Works here too. KDE 4.1.2 (OpenSuse)

By rippo at Thu, 2008/10/16 - 5:00am

I think I know what he means. I have the same problem here as I am using larger fonts than normal. Just try to increase the font size and you see that the text will not be wrapped fitting to the window width. Instead the horizontal scroller does appear what makes the article hard to read. I am lucky not to have a small netbook screen or something, so that I can enlarge the window to make the content fit in width.

By gttt at Thu, 2008/10/16 - 5:00am

If that's the problem Joseph is annoyed about, it comes from the very long lines (filenames) that set an effective minimum window width. It's a common html problem, and happens with every browser (except IE I think, which doesn't care and cut words in their middle).

A while ago I found that the cleanest (render-wise but not code-wise) way to solve it was to insert an invisible 1px gif in the middle of the long string. The browser would then line-wrap at that point in the string. Nowadays I thinks there's a CSS property to do that cleanly, although I can't remember the name and have no idea which browsers implement it.

By moltonel at Thu, 2008/10/16 - 5:00am

There is also the old unofficial html code to allow breaks within long words. ­ would be even better (since it ideally adds a hyphen on breaks), but support for this in browsers is even worse than the above wbr.

By anon at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am

Oh, IE shits on the commit digest page just as well... It looks horrible and doesn't fit the browser window...

By Jos Poortvliet at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am

You can see this problem by making your fonts bigger, or just narrow Konqueror. Commit-Digest falls off the screen even with a ~750px wide window. (See screenshot.) This happens in Firefox 3 and Opera 9 too. I don't think it has to do anything with long filenames, and px tricks certainly aren't the solution. Rather, they are the problem: specifying widths in px rather than in %.

By Joseph Reagle at Thu, 2008/10/16 - 5:00am

Can't really reproduce the issue with Opera 9.6.

By Mark Kretschmann at Thu, 2008/10/16 - 5:00am

Wow. I guess I've just hit another bug though. The dupes were not intended ;)

By Mark Kretschmann at Thu, 2008/10/16 - 5:00am

At a glance, I thought I had more comments on the Digest...
I like comments ;)


By Danny Allen at Thu, 2008/10/16 - 5:00am

Out of curiosity, did you intentionally grey-scale that image, or is that your "normal" desktop. I'm not downing you, I'm just really curious how one looks at a "desktop" devoid of color. I'm color blind and all ( red/green ), but to see no color...

I dunno. I'm just wondering if you desaturated that, or if that's your normal desktop.


By Xanadu at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am

As the images of the Digest site are also desaturated, I would guess it is an effect applied after the screenshot was taken ;)

Unless some kind of compositing window manager effect is in... effect ;o


By Danny Allen at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am

At the smallest possible font size I still need a width of 900px here. That's seems not due to any of the font sizes but actually due to the fixed width world map within the article plus the fixed width (167px) sidebare on the left pushing all of of the remaining digest page to the right (there may be more content forcing this width, haven't checked further).

By anon at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am

The commit logs come with hard returns at unfortunate locations, and in seemingly random, unpredictable ways.

Which, unless Danny is doing something that I tried but didn't succeed at, namely stripping the hard returns and doing a paragraph tag, which doesn't work for table type data, or some kind of complicated algorithm on the fly which strips the hard returns and puts them in a more convenient place all the while maintaining the format of the comment.

This is entirely due to the various editor settings, personal preferences and habits of the hundreds of KDE developers.

In other words, a hard problem unless you really enjoy hand editing commit logs.


By Derek Kite at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am


Great work guys!

However I got a question: is the NetworkManager plasmoid going to be a replacement for KNetworkManager? AFAIK KNetworkManager is a development done by Novell/SUSE, but to be honest: it is *very* crippled in OpenSUSE 11.0.

Basically I'm afraid that (from a user perspective) something as simple as connecting to a (wireless) network is not going to work 'nicely' in KDE.

So, just a question, but maybe someone can shed a light on the network thingie :-)

Regards Harry

By Harry at Thu, 2008/10/16 - 5:00am

"NetworkManager" is a program I think created by Novell? You're right, it does suck. Hopefully the KDE guys get it figured out nicely. I always use a traditional method to bring up my interfaces (ifup) as opposed to a GUI. It just does it in the background on boot and I don't have to worry about it, but when I'm mobile, i do have to resort to the CLI. It would be nice if they could get all those kinks worked out.

By Jake at Thu, 2008/10/16 - 5:00am

I'm a KDE guy and a Novell guy and I'm the guy doing most of the work on NetworkManager-kde4. It is going to replace knetworkmanager-0.7 on KDE 4 installs.

The previous KDE 3 iterations of knetworkmanager were not as good as we would have liked. There are a couple of reasons for this:

1, connecting to a wireless network is not simple: `man wpa_supplicant.conf` and read the example configs if you have only ever used WPA-PSK secured networks. NetworkManager itself complicates things with a rewrite between version 0.6 and 0.7 that completely changed the DBus interface, which is undocumented, so my first task was to add automatic documentation to their build system. That meant knetworkmanager had to be rewritten from scratch between 10.3 and 11.0. Then add all the other complexities and points of failure in the driver stack and the hardware that cause inexplicable failures on both GNOME and KDE.

2, Both KDE 3 knetworkmanagers were written under very tight time constraints, outside the KDE team at Novell by busy guys. So the code was not easy for others to get into and contribute to. Building a dev team around an application takes time and effort. We did have some valuable contributions from the community that fixed bugs (greetings to Michael, Valentine and Ryan, among others) but the apps were always seen as 'Novell property' despite being in branches of KDE svn and most work came from us guys at SUSE.

To deal with this situation this time around, NetworkManager-kde4 is
* Developed in KDE trunk
* built with standard KDE APIs and structure - In the last 2 years I have put a lot of work into Solid's networking components with NetworkManager client support as a major user.
* modular architecture, each component is independent and as simple as possible
* Designed with the community (starting at the KDE 4.0 launch in MV, now with Plasma team UI design contributions
* Documented like crazy
* Blogged about so other developers have visibility into its design and features: http://kdedevelopers.org/user/77/track

I admit I can't do anything about not having as much time as I would like but we are going to do the best we can and continue to develop it actively after release. Longer term, we want to provide a detailed Plasma Data Engine that will place the bar for modifying the UI parts of the system very low.

Hope that sheds some light. If you have any other questions, fire away!

By Will Stephenson at Thu, 2008/10/16 - 5:00am

nothing to say. Go for it!

By mangus at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am

Thanks for your thorough explanation!

I wished I saw your blogging earlier, because it probably answered all my questions :-)

It looks very promising!

Regards Harry

By Harry at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am

"* Blogged about so other developers have visibility into its design and features: http://kdedevelopers.org/user/77/track"

I saw the blogpost on the Planet. And in it I saw this mockup:


Maybe I'm alone, but I find that overtly complicated and flashy. It has just way too much bling. I would much rather prefer a simpler, more low-key design

By Janne at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am

I love it, though some simplification (who needs the IP adress visible all the time?) is probably needed.

By Jos Poortvliet at Fri, 2008/10/17 - 5:00am