Advances in Alpha-Blending

Icon alpha-blending has taken some big steps forward today. First, Antonio Larrosa introduced alpha blending to the HEAD branch in CVS. Here's a screenshot showing one icon blended into another. A few hours later, Carsten Pfeiffer shot back with this tasty screenshot of Konqueror previewing text files with the mimetype icon blended in. Oh, I can't wait for 2.1 -- time to hit CVS! (screenshots below)

Thought I'd put the screenshots right inline for ya'll:

Dot Categories: 


by Sam (not verified)

Completely of topic, but:
Will Qt-3 or KDE-2.1 allow menubars and toolbars to be combined on the same bar to say. Today you can have more than one toolbar vertically connected....Just like IE and Win2000 has it.

by Ill Logik (not verified)

Errr, it already does this?

by Sam (not verified)

There is no way to put a menubar together with a toolbar. Ie:
¦[File][Edit]| ¦[Toolbar Icon] [Icon]
That is not supported. There is pretty much dead space between the right most menu (usually help) and the right border of the screen.


by Ill Logik (not verified)

Yeah, I checked toolbars, but didn't check menu bars.... my bad.......

by Erik Engheim (not verified)

This is great. Unlike a lot of people I find many text utilities usefull and I'm not scared about the commandline but I do like a nice looking desktop and I like cool features even though they might not be terribly usefull. I think a lot of people would agree on that. I remember when I first booted up Linux (RedHat 4.2 I think) I though yuck this looks really amaturish. I didn't matter if you could to productive things with the thing. It didn't look proffesional and I think that has scared off a lot of people earlier.

After looking at the Quick Time movies of Mac OS X I'm almost ready to waste a lot of money to get a Mac and play with that wonderful looking OS (yeah I know it's stupid but the OS just looks so good). I hope we will be able to make KDE look like Mac OS X some day. But before we can do that I think we got to get rid of X.

by curmi (not verified)

Why is that stupid? I just did exactly that - a 450MHz dual processor G4. I can now run OSX, OS9, and Linux. The machine is fast, it looks superb, and it feels so much better than any PC I've played with. Not a waste of money at all.

by jazz (not verified)

I agree with the other poster, it's not stupid. I feel that working with the computer should be a pleasant and productive experience, whether GUI or CLI is your preference, or you always switch between both a lot :-)

That's why my WinBox is skinned to the gills, thanks to the folks at and They hardly resemble that boring ol interface from u-know-where

by Inspector Todd (not verified)

Why don't you folks just use GNOME and stop wasting your time?

by Jacek (not verified)

Why don't you just troll somewhere else?

by Marco Krohn (not verified)

Why do YOU waste your time writing trollish postings?

To give you a real answer: for my personal needs KDE is better: better to program (C++), nicer and more consistent GUI and better apps.

Last but not least the signal / noise ratio is
excellent and the KDE community is very friendly and helpful.

So what is the result of your flame? One more reason to stay with the best desktop: KDE!

by Ill Logik (not verified)

No, see, I like my desktop *not* crashing... If you're gonna make a stupid statement, it might as well be, "Why don't you folks just use Windows and stop wasting your time?"

by Anonymous Custard (not verified)

I just rebuilt from CVS, but cannot see the new effect. Do I need to grad any new icons, and if so, from where?


Quote from the orig announcement:

If you want to test it, go and edit manually your
$KDEHOME/share/config/kdeglobals file and add a
entry to the [General] section.

Cheers!ar_ ýì@ ýì@øŒ.hQPœ%qˆï,üì@iled [email protected]°›%XpW W(ûì@ B´@ÿÿÿÿ¯¸ð›%ð,à <@¹è#(Xüì@`Ú,@À<@(œ%(øŒ.p›%˜¦Èý+ üì@ç´@¨'¸ûì@[email protected]@€›%X°ûì@h WT­

by Tick (not verified)

did you put alphaBlending=true in the [General] section of your kdeglobals file?

by Anonymous Custard (not verified)


I have

in my ~/.kde/share/config/kdeglobals

I also checked my CVS sources, and it's definitely the new version.

by Anonymous Custard (not verified)

I take it all back.

I didn't realise that only the 48px icons had made use of the alpha channels.


by Albert Knox (not verified)

I see, you guys make gigantic steps forward. Alphablending, wow!! These are the things revolutions are made of.


by Otter (not verified)

Speaking of icons and alpha channels, I've been having a problem that no one else seems to have seen. Anyone know about this?

Using recent CVS, starting about three weeks ago, kicker icons look fine during the zooming. However, if I turn off the zooming, the icons are all greyed out. Going to the control panel for icon effects shows no effects active. If I apply an effect, it works but the icon is still greyed out.

This is after reinstalling from scratch with fresh CVS and a fresh .~/kde. Any ideas?

by Manuel Román (not verified)

Antoñito es un maestro, el Malagueño más apañado que he visto. Además le tengo mucha envidia porque vive más cerca de mi niña (ella está en Sevilla y yo en Barcelona).

Ya me gustaría a mi poder tener tus conocimientos para poder contribuir a KDE. Ahora que mi editorial ha cerrado mi revista podría meterme de lleno en ello, tendré que conformarme con la traducción.

by krazyC (not verified)

C++/programacion no es tan dificil muchacho. ponte a jugar con eso, y en dos o tres meses tu eres un experto.

by kidcat (not verified)

bablefish says:
C++/programacion is not so dificil boy ponte to play with that, and in two or three months your you are an expert

by krazyC (not verified)


by kidcat (not verified)

bablefish says:
Antonito is a teacher, the grasped Malagueno more than I have seen. In addition I have much to him envies because it lives more near my girl (she is in Seville and I in Barcelona). It would already please me to my power to have your knowledge to be able to contribute to KDE. Now that my editorial has closed my magazine could put to me completely in it, I will have to conform to me to the translation

by Manuel Román (not verified)


See you other day.

by Otro espánis (not verified)


by McLoud (not verified)

Alpha blending? Do you have seen ?

by Lenny (not verified)

Berlin-consortium ? Have you ever seen a Berlin-app running on a Cray redirected to your 486 ?

by McLooud (not verified)

No, and I don't want to do it. Instead, I guess it will run better on my Athlon 600 redirected to my P200 doing it's good job on true alpha blending, instead of doing icon overlapping on a static background, thing that started with win95.

(ps. sorry my very bad english)

by Tobias Hunger (not verified)

What a stupid idea! With berlin's architecture all the alpha blending happens in the (display-)server, so your 486 would do it.

The idea is that clients create graphics in the serverprocess. So that knows everything it needs to redraw, change alpha transparency of windows, move the windows around, ... all without _any_ communication with the server. Once a UI is set up only chnages in the client's state are transmitted over the network. That way we use very little bandwidth.


by CockneyRebel (not verified)

I think this is great and a step forward. If you don't like it and you feel it slows you down, I am sure that there will be an option to turn it off. Keep up the good work guys!

by heroo (not verified)

I think this is a great feature, as long as i have the option to disable it. But what about font smothing and colored mouse cursors?

by jpmfan (not verified)

I want font smoothing too! It looks great on OSs that have it - such as Mac OS X. Doesn't X handle the fonts? Or can we use FreeType or something?

by David (not verified)

Sorry, font smoothing would have to in X, which it isn't (yet).

by Caleb Land (not verified)

Not necessarily. Nautilus does font and icon smoothing, but as of the second test release it is fairly slow. But from what I understand, when it is in X, it will be universal, which will be sweet :)

by reihal (not verified)

It is closer than you think:
read this thread from the mailing lists.

If you have a magnifier on your system, you can see how the text is anti-aliased in the screenshot.

by reihal (not verified)

It is closer than you think:
read this thread from the mailing lists.

If you have a magnifier on your system, you can see how the text is anti-aliased in the screenshot.

by Daniel Schlieder (not verified)

OK here is what i have to say in case u care:

this is one step towards a windows-like gui and when i say windows-like im mean a gui stuffed with crap nobody needs. stuff like this here is only slowing down the system - increasing kde-code - could make system unstable

when will we have a mouse-shadow ???

hi to everybody


by Steffen (not verified)

Daniel you are so right! KDE still misses a lot of nice features. I don't want to say that this alpha blending isn't nice to look at, but it doesn't make the desktop more usable.
First of all make the desktop more stable! There are so many bugs left on the new KDE2. I think that KDE has no change as a multimedia operating system, but has a lot of users in the scientific world. These users don't need alpha blending, but need a fast and stable desktop.
I would like to see features like burning a CD without starting an external program (modul in konqueror? - just drag and drop on a CD-symbol?), better tools for programming (keep developing on kdevelop!), to combine kmail,korganizer,kab and some others to something like 'outlook'.

But first of all stability comes first and then the 'cool looking'!

by Ill Logik (not verified)

But, the thing that you have to remember is;
Different people do different things, some work on the stability some work on the candy, so should the people on candy wait for the others, or should the do more work? Seriously, that's what makes KDE so cool, lots, and LOTS of cool crap that can be turned on... It's not like they'll force you to use this... And I for one want a mouse with a shadow... ;-p

by jpmfan (not verified)

I think you could probably attract more new people to KDE by including all these fairly pointless but pretty features like alpha blending, shadow mouse pointers, anti-aliased text and so on, as these people would probably come from a Windows environment which is full of rubbish that no-one needs.

In regards to code bloat from these new features, please bear in mind it's KDE we're talking about which is fairly modern in terms of the technologies it uses (apart from X :-)) unlike Windows 95/98/SE/Me/2K/Whistler which is based on MS-DOS and Windows 3.1.

As long as people who don't want them have the option to turn them off, I don't really mind, so long as it doesn't divert resources from putting in all those really cool features...

by Michael McLaughlin (not verified)

You can do this if you have an Nvidia based card. I can give you the config. I for one really like the eye candy. I can't wait for 3d powered version of KDE like the new OSX release.

by jock (not verified)

So what ?

Gfx cards get faster and faster.
Memory (let's hope!) tends to fall in price ,ost of the time.
CPU power grows rapidly.

Windows has some nice features. Only a fanatic can say it's completly crap.
(I use AmigaOS btw. (you could name me a fanatic, hehe), neither Windows
nor Linux, but soon will)

And guess what: My mouse-pointer HAS a shadow and it looks absolutly cool.
I don't know how it is on Linux, but I guess the mouse-pointer is a bitmap.
Here it is. And it has a shadow drawn in.

What definitly would be cool would be an option to position the lightsource
on your desktop: The shine/shadow elements of the GUI would be rendered
according to that. And connect that with the daytime and you have a sun
moving on your desktop. That would be cool. Hehe.

Don't get me wrong !
I like thin and stable systems. I LOVE the commandline, I really like passing series of commands through a pipe, I often prefer it rather than firing up a full blown GUI.
I am not a GUInatic. I like both worlds at their maximum for maximum joy.
And....I am sure that you can switch this off. (Well, not the bugs, though.)

maybe this is the right moment to discuss something, i lately noticed.
i switched to icewm as my desktop of choice.
this is not a big deal.
i still like to use konqueror, kmail, knode, etc.
these are great programs.
but i noticed, that if i start any kde app, several kdeinit processes are started.
i guess these are all the processes to provide enough of a kde environment, that those apps are able to run.
i don't like this really much, but i can understand that it is necessary now.
nevertheless, they should atleast quit, when they are not needed anymore.
i hope that you will think more of other desktop environments soon.
the power of choice is the power of unix.
if you want to become a unix standard desktop, you shouldn't ignore the rules.
this is not a rule, just a friendly reminder ;)
i used to like kde a lot and it sure has a great potential when working together with other applications and not ignoring them.

by Moritz Moeller-... (not verified)

I think on thursday a counter for KDE programs was implemented (KDE 2.1 CVS Head). Thus kdeinit and all the other background processes will quit when the last KDE app is gone.

So this has already been implemented :-)

oh... WTG! :)

Hi all,

I think it's really nice to look at it.
But as you can read in the other statements
it only getting the kde core bigger.

I'd think it's okay to make it optional.

But really really more usefule would be other thinks like plugins for konqueror some peoples
really need I think, e.g. a CVS integration such as TortoiseCVS it is.

You know there are alot of developers making the code of kde, so it would be really a good idea to
have an CVS integration in konqueror. It's really easier.

Christian Parpart (mailto:[email protected])
http://www.surakware.comÐT:ÀP:iè +ß6ÀP:.8/a`[´@ÐT:I€6,Ðâê@ ]Èâê@(0ÌÑ!AЌ'T:Èâê@iè + á6T:XP:(á6.975`[´@Ќ'gFor€6,Ðâê@À@ÌÑ!A¸ß6à6Èâê@)`Í:èâê@ÐÐâê@@ÌÑ!A8T:™pÀXäê@‰`¢ Häê@Â*n!A8Â*üm!A`Â*ìm!AØÖ*Üm!ApS:Ìm!A‘H¶2`w%à6âê@`[´@˜à6ÿÿÿÿØâê@9°ö6øâê@°à6 !˜x+àâê@±€6,Ðâê@ÈÌÑ!Aèà[email protected]ÐÐâê@ð0ÌÑ!AÐà6T:iè +X;T:ß6`[´@Ðà6€6,Ðâê@[email protected]ÌÑ!Aàê@Ü6Ü6ÈS:pâ6Èâê@À2Ðãê@ä6àS:{5é@¡!¨ãê@ÿÿÿÿ â6ÁÐP7€ãê@ÿÿÿÿâ6™˜Î5Xãê@(q¿20ãê@Â*n!A8Â*üm!A`Â*ìm!AÝ6Üm!Ax­5Ìm!A9¨M78±&pâ6¨*ÿÿÿÿÈ0ê@0(

by James Alan Brown (not verified)

Great stuff!!!

But what about the overall GEOMETRY Control of KDE2 packages?

It aint no good if it just looks good because it has to also function as a usable desktop too!

Maybe you need some "Alpha Bent Feet Icons" and do a re-name to "Knome"?

by Christian Parpart (not verified)

Hi all,

this feature looks really very nice. But as you have read above, it's not really usefull.
Btw. the shadow cursor like the one from m$win looks nice too.

But I think the real missing features (for developers) aren't implemented yet.

So, what do you think about an integration of CVS access for the konqueror, such as TortoiseCVS for InternetExplorer it is. These is something required from all developers (developing for kde, gnome or all sourceforge projects) (otherwise an standalone K-CVS-app)

What do you think?

Christian Parpart

[email protected]


by Johan (not verified)

Text preview: Theoretically a very useful feature, but the way its done above is not good enough. First, as mentioned several times above, the icon is more important than the content and should thus be displayed stronger. Maybe in the top left corner going over the edge of the white paper, leaving a nice alpha-blended drop shadow on paper as well as background (with different displacements to show that the paper is closer to the icon...)?

Alpha channel for icons: Cool, alpha channel should really be standard when dealing with any kind of graphics.

What would be even cooler is antialiased text. This might be a problem due to stone age X architecture - but if it could be done it would be soo great. It's getting sort of embarrasing not having antialiasing yet... Looks Win3.1-isch to MS users. .

by Adam (not verified)

I too would like anti-aliasing. I've seen it working on an OS called Acorn RISC OS ages ago. It need to be done at the X protocol level - but don't despair, I think it's on the way: I've just found this link:

Small fonts are much more readable when smoothed using anti-aliasing.