KDE 4.0.2 Brings New Plasma Features

The KDE community has released another update to its cutting edge KDE 4.0 desktop. KDE 4.0.2 has, along with the bugfixes some new features in Plasma. The panel can now be configured to sit somewhere else than at the bottom and UI options for changing its size have been added. Do not let yourself be distracted by those new things, there are also plenty of bugfixes, performance improvements and translation updates in there, among which support for two new languages: Persian and Icelandic. KDE 4.0.2 is thus available in 49 whopping languages, and more are soon to come. More highlights include rendering improvements in KHTML and lots of bugfixes in Okular and Kopete. The KDE community hopes you enjoy this release which should be hitting your favourite packaging system soon. See the changelog for more updates and info page for download options.

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by Mark Kretschmann (not verified)


And btw, I wish the KDE marketing team would automatically handle submissions to Digg, Slashdot, etc, for important news. In Amarok our promotion team handles such tasks, which works nicely.

This could also help prevent horrible typos in the submission, *cough* ;)

by Max (not verified)

+1 Great idea..

Don't forget to add Facebok to the list.

by Max (not verified)

I thing it would be also great if major releases feature a keynote video that shows off all the cool features. <-- Videos are easier to spread virally. i.e.: Stumbleupon, Youtube, etc.

So KDE 4.1 should definitely have a cool video. (including tons of eye candy, tutorials, feature showoffs, showoffs of features that increase productivity, features that can't be found on OS-X/Windows )

by jos poortvliet (not verified)

Unfurtunately, video-on-linux sucks... Most of the promo ppl have issues with that. I've made a few video's once, but these days I can't start any of the recording apps without an immediate crash... It'd be great if you could help out, really. Just talk to us on [email protected]!

by FedupUser (not verified)

Maybe you're not the right person to promote KDE if you think Linux video sucks just because you can't make it work.

by . (not verified)

He's the guy who wrote all the KDE release annoucement. And BTW, that would also means that Aaron Seigo is "not the right person to promote KDE": http://aseigo.blogspot.com/2008/03/multimedia-its-time-to-get-serious.html

by whatever noticed (not verified)

perhaps you can prove him otherwise by creating an astounding good video of kde4 in action..

by millhaven (not verified)

Hello! First off, congratulations with the new release, just upgraded and it looks superb. It's great that features such as the ability to resize the panel is being backported to minor releases.

What i wanted to ask about is the following: My most wanted lost feature from 3.x is the ability to autohide the panel and the ability to have multiple panels. However, I'm a bit sure if such input is useful for the devs, and in that case, how to best communicate this. Any thoughts?

by Michael (not verified)

> ability to autohide the panel

The worst feature ever IMO. Think about it for a minute: A small taskbar has 22 pixels height. The usual screen is at least 1024x768 today. Without autohide you go with the mouse cursor to the window, button, applet you need in your taskbar and click on it. With autohide you go down to the bottom edge of your screen. Because you dont see the taskbar yet you can only guess where your button is. You now have to wait until the taskbar appears. Look for what you wanted to click on. Go there. Wait until the taskbar disappears. Ugh. 22/768*100 equals 3%. So you do this every time you want to use your taskbar for 3% more vertical screen estate? In times where a mouse with scroll wheel is readily available. I just don't get it.

by kollum (not verified)

Note that I'm not the first poster, but let me answer for him ;)

My counter argument here is that I nearly never use the panel, but it always takes 5% of my screen.
On the other hand, I hapen to feel I spend my life scrolling. So should this nearly useless thing that is the panel (thought it is realy usefull sometimes ) not get in my way, I'dd be more than happy.

Anyway, I hope someday, there will be a 'CDE like' 'taskbar' ( wich is the whole windows ) implemented : with the dashboard 'widgets other anything' effect it could be cool.

I actualy use CDE at work on an solaris box, and at my surprise, after a few configurations, I like this desktop a lot, I find it prety effiscient. Plasma could bring a new skin to it, with additional kwin (window management) bonus ^^

by Soap (not verified)

My solution with plasma: No Panel! I've got a taskbar on the desktop accessible with ctrl-F12 if I actually need it, which I rarely do.

This matters on my 800x480 screen.

by Mark Kretschmann (not verified)

Ah, hooray for the new Eee PC with bigger screen :) *want*

by Soap (not verified)

Yeah, if only I'd held out a little longer.

by jos poortvliet (not verified)

Indeed, the short batterylife sucks. I thought the new Proc&chipset would enable a fanless design (and longer battery life) but apparently not. They should've used a LED based screen, but I guess that's too expensive.

by Mark Kretschmann (not verified)

IIRC I've read that the new screen is LED backlit, but I might be wrong.

by reihal (not verified)

9 inch 1024 x 600, as it should be. me want too.

by Tsiolkovsky (not verified)

If I understand correctly it is already possible to completely remove the panel container. Just not through graphical settings, yet. You need to edit the Plasma configuration file for your user. Then with panel gone you can put task manager plasmoid on background and it is hidden by default and you can show it with turning on the Dashboard with pressing Ctrl+F12.

by Bjarne Wichmann... (not verified)

>> ability to autohide the panel
> The worst feature ever IMO

autohiding the panel isn't about desktop realestate. It's about visual noise.

I'm using autohide so I don't get distracted by all those blinking applets, buttons etc..

by millhaven (not verified)

Well, here's a usecase: My usual setup in kde3 was to have two panels, one at the bottom with the systray and task manager, and one at the top left corner with width set to about about 1/3 of the screen width (very important so you don't accidentially tricker it when you try to close a maximized window) containing icons for the 8-10 programs i use the most. Both panels rather high (look, pretty icons :-) ) and set to autohide with no animation.

The rationale being that i got the most out of the avaliable screen estate, that i had far easier access to the programs that i use the most and like 95% of the time the panel is really just sitting there not doing anything but distracting.
There is (in my experience) no time loss between this setup and not having autohiding enabled, since it very quickly becomes a habit just to throw the pointer to the bottom of the screen when you want to access a program and then find it (i also thought this would be a problem before i tried out this setup but it's not - apparently you automatically remember where the programs are relative to each other in the task manager).

I agree that i never understood the idea of having animated hiding, that's just a pain.

by Antti (not verified)

I have a quite similar setup. On the bottom I have a panel with a taskbar and few other applets I need most, and on the left side an autohiding panel with K menu, systray and some other applets I need _sometimes_. This allows to keep the always visible panel small, and still have enough space for monitoring etc. applets in the left side panel, since it can be made as big as required.

I do disagree about the autohiding though, a really fast but still noticeable animation is quite nice imho.

by Adrian (not verified)

I'm agree 100%.
I think I won't switch to kde 4.1 until they implement autohide panels.
Today I have been testing 4.1 beta 1 and I hated the panels.
Autohide is needed.

by Paradox (not verified)

Best feature ever IMHO! I've got a big expensive plasma TV that my computer is hooked into as its main display. One of the problems you get with using plasma TVs as displays is burn in. I noticed that just from a few hours of the panel sitting down the bottom of the screen I would start to get problems. Setting the panel to auto-hide solves this nicely.

by John (not verified)

I think you make "autohide" sound a lot more complicated than it is. It's a feature I've been using since Windows 95. I like it because i A) frees up extra screen. B) Makes the screen look "taller" (that helps when having to text document pages side by side) C) gives me less distractions from what I currently work on..

When the taskbar is hidden I tend to focus on one task and not "multi-task" aka. get sidetracked. It's well known that I have the attention span of a goldfish.. ooo shiny!!

What were we talking about again? :p

oh yea. When the taskbar is hidden I'm less tempted to explore the "start menu" aka. Kicker/Kickoff, or whatever it's called now. When it's visible I'm known to start multiple programs, games, browser windows, and don't get my actual work done as quickly.

So Autohide = Good.

by reihal (not verified)

Auto-hide for the panel is the most important feature in the entire history of computing.
I can't live without it.

by Ian Monroe (not verified)

Really, the most important feature? I would consider the role of computers in landing on the moon or the Human Genome Project to be more impressive, but that's just me.


by Debian User (not verified)


no actually it's spell checking.


by blueget (not verified)

I want to use *all* of my desktop space, and afaik on of the basic ideas of KDE is choice. If you dont want to use autohide that's fine, but I and many others want autohide, so it should be implemented.

by Debian User (not verified)


brings the question to my mind, what full screen view is about. When you need all the space, you go full screen view, no?

But obviously the discussion is strange in the first place. Of course is autohide useful in many setups. Think presentation, think small screen, think rare use, think second panel with specific use.

Plasma has so little features in the stable release, do we really need to argue every time one is finally added now? As a matter of fact, there are still a lot of things holding me back on using Plasma now.


by xddule (not verified)

My intention are not to denote any of KDE hard work, but look from the user side, just for the moment, do not try to sell something with the nice shinny package as a super new flips with a bit extra peanuts into, but taste exactly the same, or even worse.

As you know, most Linux users use Linux professionally, not for having fun or playing tetris, and we all have a big srceens, at home my 'smallest' monitor is "17 which gives me 1280x1024, and 22pixels panel is very irritating to have, so i have 48pixs in my kde3.5.8 and i am using my monitor 90degre rotated, yeah cuz i want to have as more vertical side as i can use, hint here? And i am forced to use auto hide feature. Second mostly i am a keyboard user, i like to start everything from the keyboard, not to track my mouse somewhere and then i need to think where i should locate terminal shortcut, and than to wait about 30seconds to appear and even more. In those 30secodns i write, let say fair one line of the code. So i waste my one line of the code for using the super plasma effect, which by the way not working correctly, and you sells me that my 4% of the screen is not important, but 30 seconds i can give up?

Let's be fair here and say, kde 4.0 is a bit distracted, and gone in the way win vista has been gone, to disappoint the user which are with them since qt 1.4 and the first kde release. So i am ready to give more than 13 years using kde because i am disappointed with kde 4.0 and i am not the only one, and if you wanna gain some younger people to use kde, then sell it under windows, because i will stick me on 3.5.

by Steve (not verified)

Agree with KDE 4.0 being 'distracted' and going the way of Vista'. I installed KUBUNTU with KDE 4 and couldn't get past the new K environment to actually test the UBUNTU side.
KDE 4 is clearly not as pleasent to use as KDE 3.X, in fact I would describe the experience as incredibly frustrating, to the point where, like xddule, I am seriously considering pitching KDE to the rubbish heap. Perhaps we can fork KDE, keep the 3.X branch alive and make evololutionary changes to improve it rather than revolutionary changes which fail to deliver.
The lesson? If it is not ready DON'T RELEASE IT!

by Velvet Elvis (not verified)

I have four different panels, three vertical and one horizontal. The horizontal one contained the taskbar and desktop switcher. Another was the menu and launchers. Another was just for information displays, etc.

The net effect was more like mouse shortcuts than anything else. I mentally associate mouse movement to a particular region of the screen with a particular functionality.

I suspect my preferences are rooted in many years of windowmaker use.

by D Kite (not verified)

You are assuming the machine running kde 4 has ample screen space.

I never use the autohide on my desktop.

On my eeepc it is essential.


by Anon (not verified)

Both of these well-known to the devs, so there's no need to report them :)

by markc (not verified)

Autohide = must have... please... rsn. In KDE3 I used a custom sized panel 108 pixels high so the alternate launcher could have 2 rows of 48px sized icons. The large panel allowed my to have a reasonable sized analog clock in the bottom right and the desktop viewer was large enough to drag windows between desktops. This huge panel would be unacceptable without immediate dissapear available. I also set my control-left|right arrows to switch to previous|nextdesktop which meant I did not need to go to the panel just to switch desktops. I really miss this functionality in KDE4.

by Melchior FRANZ (not verified)

> My most wanted lost feature from 3.x is the ability to autohide the panel

Same here. This and the feature loss in gwenview (gamma/brightness/contrast setting) are the main reasons why I'm not switching to KDE4.

by JRT (not verified)

Might I also point out that it isn't just autohide but also the setting that windows can cover the panel that is missing. Actually, that feature was killed by a serious bug in KDE-3.5 -- what good is it to be able to cover a panel if the panel takes up desktop space that it isn't using.

In either case, using the mouse to get the panel back is much better than having to use the keyboard. So, perhaps it would be possible to have some way for the user to get desktop widgets to come to the top by using the mouse.

I also miss my separate taskbar that also autohides (vertical text only).

by Mr Clock (not verified)

This is premature release. For so many basic UI customization options to not make it into the release is pretty bad.

I know I can run without the panel, but you know what? I *like* the panel. I use it *all the time*. And I want the thing to *hide* when it's not in use.

KDE3 autohide panel without a short delay (like in Windows and Gnome) was the best thing I ever had in a GUI.

That I can't seem to customize the panel except wrt size and position - but not color or hiding - amazes me.

This should have been clearly labelled something like "KDE 4 INCOMLETE FEATURE RELEASE".

Gonna see now if Fedora 9 will let me swap KDE 4 for KDE 3.

by Mr Clock (not verified)

Yikes! I can't even turn off the wallpaper?

There was a time before political correctness when this kind of software was labelled 'fascist' - it wants to tell me how I can and cannot configure things.

>> The KDE community hopes you enjoy this release
I will I will. I believe in you.

I know there is something called 'birth pangs' but the aftermath is always great...

Congratulations to all who made KDE 4 possible.

by rockmen1 (not verified)

I am enjoying 4.0.2 already, besides plays games, I enjoy doing every thing in KDE 4 environment.

by Beat Wolf (not verified)

i'm running the svn version of trunk. so i can't check it out myself. but is now possible to resize the panel like in trunk? i was surprised not to see this in the changelog.

by Jonathan Thomas (not verified)

Yeah, the panel can be resized now.
Also, it is in the changelog. Twice, heh. (Not in the changes marked under features though)

by Mark (not verified)

That sounds like I soon give KDE4 another try.
But what about other configuration options:
- Is it or when will it be possible to configure the size of icons and fonts in the taskbar, the menu and on the desktop again?
- is possible to disable that ugly frame which surrounds all icons and wigdets as soon as you approach them?

by ramses (not verified)

do not ask too much. It's still not possible to change the size of the font for the clock for exemple and so the clock is bigger than the panel...

Another small problem I saw is that when the panel is very small (tiny in my case) some of the widget inside are too big and appear at the top of the screen (the clock and the application launcher do have this behavior!)

But these are details! The work done between 4.0.1 and 4.0.2 is great really. And now I can think to use kde4 as my default desktop.

I just hope that the plasmoid will improve for the 4.0.3 and that the ATI driver could let me use all the effetc and the OpenGL stuff.

by Sebastian Kuegler (not verified)

> do not ask too much. It's still not possible to change the size of the font for the clock for exemple and so the clock is bigger than the panel...

The digiclock is supposed to do that itself. It does respect the "smallest readable font" setting from systemsettings, if you set this smaller, the clock might be able to fit in nicer.

Which settings expose those problems, by the way? Interesting would be the panel size, the font used and the smallest readable font, and of course a screenshot.

> I just hope that the plasmoid will improve for the 4.0.3 and that the ATI driver could let me use all the effetc and the OpenGL stuff.

I'm using the ATI fglrx driver on my notebook, X1300 and it actually works quite well, kwin composite runs smoothly so that it doesn't get in the way. YMMV, but at least it *is* possible to have kwin compositing with fglrx.

by whatever noticed (not verified)

Where can we find that 'smallest readable font' in the systemsettings"

I couldn't find it, and over here, the clock also doesn't scale with the panel size (the font size stays the same, causing the panel to only show the upper part of the digits). Also, the icons for k-menu, show desktop, konqueror and filemanager to the left of the panel don't scale. They now show the upper 3/4 of the icon on the panel.

What i also noticed is that my Dutch desktop contains a lot of English text, which is odd considering that the statistic page of the translations gives the Dutch team a gold medal for their 100% translation of kde 4.0

Lat but not least: the icons on my desktop are doubled (which is an improvement, as they were tripled on my 4.01 desktop)..

by Sebastian Kuegler (not verified)

Look for the "Small" setting in System Settings | Appearance | Fonts.

Please supply more information of your things in Plasma, as I wrote in the other post, the following is interesting:

- Font sizes (Taskbar, Small)
- Panel Size
- Screenshots

Easiest to address and track it is a bugreport, the Dot is a very poor tool for that kind of thing.


by Dan Linder (not verified)

I'm not the original poster, but I can comment on this as well. If a bug report has been opened on this, give me the ID and I'll add these there -- I couldn't find one that applied to the KDE4 issue.

Kubuntu 8.04 with the latest (May-6) updates applied. (kde4-4.0.3 I believe)

When I right-click on the panel (kicker?) and choose the size to be "Tiny" there are two quickly noticeable effects (aside from the desired thin panel):
1: The default "Digital Clock" on the right side is too big and only the upper half of the time is displayed. A work-around is to enable the "Show date" on the clock which just shrinks the time font a bit and moves it higher. (But you can't actually see the date so it's not a fix.)
2: When I click on the "K" menu, it isn't right above the panel, rather it is shoved to the top of the screen.

I'll attach a screen shot with annotations showing these errors.


by Rinse (not verified)

>>What i also noticed is that my Dutch desktop contains a lot of English text,

Checked this, and i noticed that a lot of languages have been commented out in the kde4 .desktop files that opensuse ships.
Dunno if this is a suse issue or a kde issue.

I'll check this out...