NOV
26
2008

KDE 4.2 Beta1 Out for Testing

Today, the KDE team invites interested testers and reviewers to give KDE 4.2.0-Beta1 a go. The release announcement lists some significant improvements. The purpose of this release is to get feedback from the community, preferably in the form of bugreports on the new bugs.kde.org bugtracker.
Beta1 offers critical features like the Eyes applet (an XEyes clone), but also a more streamlined user experience all over the workspace and applications.
With the KDE team being in bug fixing frenzy after the recent hard feature freeze, now is the time to help us smoothing the release for your pleasure starting in January.

So install KDE 4.2-Beta1 and help us make it rock.

Comments

That was really a good statement. I feared that my post would be labelled as trolling, so by doing a long answer you partly contradicted my statement ;).

However, I think it's too easy to always blame others - despite the facts that some critics make it easy to dismiss them as trolls. The complaints really go on for quite some time.

I see it in my case. I consider myself a very dedicated KDE user. However, I dislike some developments with KDE4. And I'm not able to recommend KDE4 even to computer savy friends, as too much has still to be fiddled around.

Take the example of the "new desktop paradigm" (no more ~/Desktop folder). Maybe I'm getting old and crusty, but I liked (and still like) that simple principle. Many others thought the same at that time.
The devs' communication in this case went like this:
1. dismiss all the critics as incapable of grasping a new destop concept
2. and only much later and grudgingly implement a new (and admittedly now better) version of this ~/Desktop thingy.
which means basically, piss the users off first and only later show them that their complaints would be taken into account.

Many developments in KDE4 seem to work this way round. I'm a big KDE fan, but I don't like it if my criticism is dismissed, even if there are lots of trolls around getting on the devs nerves. I as somebody who wants to make constructive critic cannot make the trolls around shut up.


By Larx at Fri, 2008/11/28 - 6:00am

"Take the example of the "new desktop paradigm" (no more ~/Desktop folder). Maybe I'm getting old and crusty, but I liked (and still like) that simple principle. Many others thought the same at that time.
The devs' communication in this case went like this:
1. dismiss all the critics as incapable of grasping a new destop concept
2. and only much later and grudgingly implement a new (and admittedly now better) version of this ~/Desktop thingy.
which means basically, piss the users off first and only later show them that their complaints would be taken into account."

That's not what happened. What did happen was a new model for achieving the old Desktop paradigm while being more flexible was in the works. However, the explanation is pretty technical (a folder view plasmoid being used as your primary desktop containment which will house your icons and other plasmoids). The reason it's difficult to understand is not because we're stupid, but because it uses a bunch of concepts we're not used to (it's a whole new paradigm built on a whole new paradigm!). It wasn't "grudgingly" as you say, but rather it just took time and manpower. Combine that with trying to implement a 1:1 panel:kicker (kicker was a boatload of code), and it's easy to see where the last year+ has gone for the plasma team. (Of course, sensationalist titles in blog posts by Aaron didn't help...)

The real problem is very few of the critics sound like you. You're polite, reasonable, and open to discussion. Others... not so much.

But I just want to paraphrase what Boudewijn Rempt said for emphasis: most devs don't use your computer like you do, so just file a bug, submit a backtrace, and answer their questions.


By anon at Fri, 2008/11/28 - 6:00am

"2. and only much later and grudgingly implement a new (and admittedly now better) version of this ~/Desktop thingy.
which means basically, piss the users off first and only later show them that their complaints would be taken into account."

I have to disagree on this one. I think it was an idea right from the start (like extenders, that have been planned since the start of Plasma). There wasn't just enough time with the release schedule and all.
Note to the Plasma guys: if I was incorrect, feel free to point that out.


By Luca Beltrame at Fri, 2008/11/28 - 6:00am

openSUSE probably won't drop 3.5 until 4 is stable enough.


By Grósz Dániel at Fri, 2008/11/28 - 6:00am

Slackware still keeps 4 in /testing/, 3.5 being the ONLY version in main tree.


By slacker at Sat, 2008/11/29 - 6:00am

I really like KDE4 and it runs very nice on my Ubuntu machine (KDE compiled from scratch), congrats to te devs. But, as a tablet/pen user, I simply cant use it until the QT problem related to submenus is present. I really wonder why this usability itch doesn't get more attention :(

http://trolltech.com/developer/task-tracker/index_html?method=entry&id=1...
and see
https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=167488

Anybody here with some QT connections?

Regards,
Jens


By Jens at Fri, 2008/11/28 - 6:00am

I was talking to someone on #qt, and it seems Qt only cares about pen/tablet on Qt/Embedded (or whatever its new name is). I still use KDE 3 because of this problem on a slate tablet PC. What's worse: I cannot click on HeaderView headers to change sorting, it immediately starts dragging, because no drag distance is respected there.


By christoph at Sat, 2008/11/29 - 6:00am

I can't understand that, this must be annoying even with a regular mouse. Btw, I don't have this effect when using eg. skype on Windows, so it seems only related to QT/X11 (no idea about OSX).

May be you could also vote on the KDE bugtracking system for some more attention.

Regards,
jens


By Jens at Sat, 2008/11/29 - 6:00am

"I can't understand that, this must be annoying even with a regular mouse. Btw, I don't have this effect when using eg. skype on Windows"

Skype for windows is written in Delphi. yes... Say hello the 90's.
Skype for OS-X is written as a native OS-X app.

Looks like the Trolltech salesguys were not up to their task...


By a.c. at Sat, 2008/11/29 - 6:00am

I have two graphics cards. Each has one monitor attached.

This setup works great with every window manager except KDE 4.x's kwin. It works with fluxbox, xfce4, kde 3.x, gnome, ion, xfce4 and so on.

KDE 4.x's kwin will only use one monitor. This has been utterly broken since KDE 4.0. And guess what? It's still broken in KDE 4.2 beta 1 (4.1.80).

IS THIS SO DAMN HARD TO FIX, and how come that KDE 4.x is the ONLY window manager which has managed to mess this up???

This is a major issue; being able to use both monitors is so important to me that this alone makes using KDE 4.x out of the question.

Yes, there are several bugs about this at bugs.kde.org, and those have been there for a very long time. They probably still are - but I would not be amazed if they are closed with a claim that this is somehow fixed.. (I have the impression that bugs are more often closed without them being fixed than not)


By Øyvind Sæther at Sat, 2008/11/29 - 6:00am

Answering your question "is this so damn hard to fix", the answer is yes.

By the way, I have two monitors, but I'm using my dual-head NVidia card through TwinView. It works without a glitch.

If you're not using Xinerama, then the problem is known. No one in the KWin developer team uses that setup, so you'll expect the problem to remain there until someone decides to send a patch.


By Thiago Macieira at Sat, 2008/11/29 - 6:00am

Actually, it is not that hard to fix. Qt has built-in support for multiple X screens (Xinerama and TwinView create a single screen out of two or more monitors).
I had the same problem, and started working on a fix a few months back. Sadly, the developers were not interested, and by the time I had an initial patch the code base changed so that the patch no longer applied.
After 8 years of using KDE (and developing for KDE), I finally gave up and moved to Xfce4. It's the attitude more than anything else that made me do so.


By Elad Lahav at Wed, 2008/12/03 - 6:00am

I agree that this is a show stopper.

It sure would be nice for someone to donate a video card to a developer so that they could fix it. Although, I assume that it is VERY hard to fix; otherwise, it would have been by now.


By Nate at Sat, 2008/11/29 - 6:00am

Sorry but dual monitor setup are so rares that this hardly is a show stopper. Maybe it could be a serious bug, but not show stopper (take a deeper look at the show stopper definition)


By Vide at Tue, 2008/12/02 - 6:00am

Rare?

This poll indicates over 40% of users use multi-head:
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=924&num=3


By christoph at Wed, 2008/12/03 - 6:00am

I find that number pretty dubious - amongst the users I meet locally none use it. That said, I did have a user reporting a bug recently that turned out to be caused by him having the TV out on his graphics card turned on by mistake causing him to have a multihead setup without knowing it.


By Richard Moore at Wed, 2008/12/03 - 6:00am

Maybe they all use KDE 4 :)


By christoph at Thu, 2008/12/04 - 6:00am

Rare? Come on. Over half of my friends use two monitors. Oh, yes, maybe that's because we have enough money to buy two 26 in. LCDs and we are mostly in IT. As another poster said, it's the attitude that hurts, not the bug. It is a show stopper. Funny thing is, somehow I had it working on KDE3. Dual monitor support is, IMHO, more important than sound, desktop effects, and a bunch of other stuff. It's as important as proper font rendering. OK, if that's not a show stopper, then what is? Shall we use the console for artwork?

Anyhow, plasma is working a *LOT* better now. It's actually usable and handles the crashes that have occurred gracefully. Props on that.


By frozen at Fri, 2008/12/05 - 6:00am

As I am running this on an older, single dual head Nvidia card, I can't say for sure what multi-card problems are like.

The only issue I seem to be having is that Plasma Desktop is quite glitchy. Zoom in/out does not work right, and it affects both monitors, instead of just one. Changing desktop settings in monitor "1" seemed to work OK, but once I moved to monitor "2" and attempted a bit of personalization, both desktops began acting as clones of each other, and messing up. The panel and running applications are not affected, fortunately. Both environments still run and show up if I zoom out, but I cannot place them back properly in their respective monitors. In many ways, it is reminiscent of odd desktop behavior that was happening back in the KDE 4.0 days, and that was mostly gone in 4.1. (Mostly because the removal of "Zoom" and "Events" from the plasma desktop available features. That kept me from getting into too much trouble, even if they where working mostly OK before they went away.) Currently, my desktop experience in 4.1 is mostly stable, even as the desktop cashew has become useless there.

This beta gives it some use again, even if it is mostly of an unintendedly comedic nature at the moment. But the "out-of-the-box" settings work, even if they are rather ho-hum generic. It may take a little bit of google (and work) to return my 4.2 plasma desktop to "default" but it looks like that may be the way to go to have a wallpaper that covers each screen again in 4.2.

Still, it's a beta, so stuff will break. not work right or go away eventually, so here's a cheer to the many things that do work better in 4.2 than 4.1! (But I think I'll stick to 4.1 for a little longer, as this desktop thing is a little too buggy for me to like too much.)


By Pablo A. at Wed, 2008/12/03 - 6:00am

I'll just stick to a big thank you for now. There has been enough talking about what's missing and what's still not working in all what is written above.

I am using my KDE4.1.3 desktop daily on my laptop and I am very happy with it. It is free (which is really really cheap)! It is pretty! It is functional (for me)! It gives me the opportunity to use a legal desktop environment at no cost! It makes me smile when a happy Vista user proudly shows me a sexy window manager feature, which I can reproduce easily and even beat it with tons of other cool features in my KDE4.1.3!

So to all the KDE devs out there, thanks from a happy dutchie! I hope you will keep up this fast tempo in creating an awesome desktop experience!

Deech


By deech at Sat, 2008/11/29 - 6:00am

I've been very skeptical of KDE 4, but I have to say, it looks like you've made some great progress. Keep up the good work!


By Nate at Sat, 2008/11/29 - 6:00am

Hi!
I've been running trunk for several months and I must say I do not experience any special crash or weird behaviour as far as I am concerned, everything works fine for me and I enjoy the KDE4 experience very much.
I just noticed yesterday an image quality problem with Dragon Player using the Phonon xine plugin. It is lower than the one provided by xine-ui one the very same platform. Basically, it doesn't seem to do any deinterlacing, the image seems interlaced and a bit edhy compared to xine-ui output.
Is this a known issue or does phonon uses a particular xine.cfg file?


By Richard Van Den Boom at Sun, 2008/11/30 - 6:00am

I wonder why I need to compile libs from GNOME to continue further compiling of KDE from SVN ? I speak about glib here which shared-mime-info seem to require. At this point I stopped further investigation into KDE SVN. Regardless how great KDE 4 becomes it's a no-go for me until all parts from GNOME has been removed cleanly from it.


By ac at Sun, 2008/11/30 - 6:00am

Well, first glib isn't a part of GNOME.
It is an utility library often used by C programmers to make their life easier. Some parts of it are similar to things C++ programmers have in the C++ Standard Library and/or QtCore.

Second, the glib dependency is for the update helper program update-mime-database and not required for accessing the MIME info itself.
If you feel you need to replace the update tool with something written in a different language nobody is going to stop you, though IMHO your time might be better spent on the things you intended to develop instead of replacing parts of your toolchain.


By Kevin Krammer at Sun, 2008/11/30 - 6:00am

Can't text run around shapes on _both_ sides?


By Axl at Mon, 2008/12/01 - 6:00am

Well, I think the debate opened by the original post is a good one. App vs. Desktop. Maybe is it a matter of Classical vs. Modern. The moderns would like to lead us to a virtual env. Web based OS and App... While the classics would like to stick with traditional desktop and App. powered by their own workstation.
While I am always thinking being a modernist, I think that for my computer I would like to stick with Classical view. Why that:
After several attempts to use Applets with many OS (Vista, MacOS, KDE4, gOS,...XP+Applets), I just can only conclude that desktop Applets are a waste of ressource and only distracting. At least to me, they have no value.
So I would prefer having a simple QT DE (lightweight, fast) with all powerfull KDE4 Applications.

Please Make a KDE4-Lite !!!!!!!!!


By Jerome at Mon, 2008/12/08 - 6:00am

Well, I think the debate opened by the original post is a good one. App vs. Desktop. Maybe is it a matter of Classical vs. Modern. The moderns would like to lead us to a virtual env. Web based OS and App... While the classics would like to stick with traditional desktop and App. powered by their own workstation.
While I am always thinking being a modernist, I think that for my computer I would like to stick with Classical view. Why that:
After several attempts to use Applets with many OS (Vista, MacOS, KDE4, gOS,...XP+Applets), I just can only conclude that desktop Applets are a waste of ressource and only distracting. At least to me, they have no value.
So I would prefer having a simple QT DE (lightweight, fast) with all powerfull KDE4 Applications.

Please Make a KDE4-Lite !!!!!!!!!


By Jerome at Mon, 2008/12/08 - 6:00am

to continue my post:

I know that in the past there were several attempts to make lightweight QT based windows manager.
But what I mean is closer to a KDE4 without many heavy weight features, lower memory footprint, faster screen actions... On my XP1800+, it feels very slow since 4.0RC. 4.0beta2 was the fatest for me!
Would it be possible that the developpers could put Flags in their code for a KDE4-Lite profile?


By Jerome at Mon, 2008/12/08 - 6:00am

There is a QuickTime based window manager?


By anon at Wed, 2008/12/10 - 6:00am

.. and i hope KDE4 is finally catching up. I jumped on the SVN bandwagon after the first 4.0 beta and since now, (sorry to say) it has been looped disappointments all the way. The biggest pain was that while KDE3 was fulfilling every true geeks dream of highest efficiency (both concerning f.e. file management but also screen estate), up to now KDE4 has been sooooo VISTA (that being meant as an insult) thx to some folks on the usability front. Giant margins and unused space everywhere. Stupid folders that 'remember their view mode' and save it in a hidden file in each folder you visit (veeeery non-destructive - careful with those rw mounted broken filesystems!). Buttons and settings hidden by default so that 95% of potential users will *never* witness the functionality they might use otherwise to be more productive. Plasma desktop mostly broken and with all the bling bling not able to reach the 'basic' practicability of a well configured kicker..
Well it can only get better. After almost a month i am just compiling QT4.5 and after that KDE4 trunk, let's see if i can start it again or will be stuck with fluxbox forever. Hopefully some progress has been made on the geek pride issues. Oh i miss the time when i had a working Desktop that pleasantly surprised me on a regular basis (when folder trees would still expand automatically upon dragging something onto them..)..
KDE4.4 should really focus on making the geek happy again. Efficiency, configurability, more features exposed on the interface. The distributions can slim down the interface to make it easy and they will, but they'll not add options to the default look! So the default should be a interface exposing every functionality in the best-organized possible way. And kill that waste of screen space (i'm repeating myself huh)!


By Marcel Partap at Tue, 2008/12/09 - 6:00am

Dear KDE developers.

Can you include in a default install of KDE 4.whatever a spacer plasmoid? Yes, a spacer app who sits in a panel, does NOTHING but occupying (a configurable amount of) space. AFAIK OpenSUSE already has it.

I would thank you for that.


By Ernesto Manríquez at Wed, 2008/12/10 - 6:00am

I try every release of KDE that maybe they will fix the sluggish feel it has. Just resizing windows, shows blank grey screens on the windows, lag when opening menus, lag when moving windows, and poor performance overall, with or without compositing.

My Specs are fairly average computer parts:
Athlon X2 3.0GHZ Duel Core
Asus M3A78-EM Mobo
2GB Ram
Ati 3200HD

If it doesn't run on these specs, then I don't understand whats the problem.


By jeremy at Sat, 2008/12/13 - 6:00am

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