KDE 4.0 Release Candidate 2 Out Now, Codename "Coenig"

The KDE Community is happy to announce the immediate availability of the
second release candidate for KDE 4.0
. This release candidate marks the last
mile on the road to KDE 4.0. This release sees increasing participation from distributions, you can download packages for Debian, Kubuntu, Mandriva, openSUSE & Fedora or grab the live CDs from Kubuntu & openSUSE.

KDE's webbrowser Konqueror

KOffice has also put out a sixth alpha release, released separately.

While progress on the quality and completeness of what is to become the KDE 4.0 desktop
has been great, the KDE Community decided to have another release candidate before releasing
KDE 4.0 on January 11th. The codebase is now feature-complete. Some work is still being done
to put the icing on the KDE 4.0 cake. This includes fixing bugs,
finishing off artwork and smoothing out the user experience.

Dot Categories: 


The gaping hole between the close button (X) and the minimize/maximize buttons needlessly expands application dialogs, especially if these have long titles. This weird spacing is a failed attempt at making it harder to accidentally close a window when in fact you only wanted to minimize it.

The better solution (and one advocated by Aaron Seigo) is to move the minimize/maximize buttons to the left and bring the title text and application icon to the center. Unfortunately, KWin maintainer Lubos Lunak decided introduce this ugly, wasteful space as a stopgap measure. Now I have the utmost respect for Lubos and his work, but I humbly disagree with this decision on aesthetic and practical concerns. Please move the max/min buttons to the left and bring the title text/icon to the center in the final KDE 4.0 release!

The thread where this was discussed is:

With all due respect (not that much but still) putting the minimize/maximize icons on the left would be really ugly and completely unexpected. Everyone who has ever used kde or windows is expecting the buttons to be on the right, moving them just to be different (because you can't convince me that its better usability to put them away from the close button) is, imo, not worth it at this point in time. There are much more pressing bikesheds to paint.

by phD student tha... (not verified)

I actually use the suggestion from aaron, and found it good.
I think it is a matter of personal taste, but it could make the default value for kde 4.0 as it is not that annoying. Keep in mind that Apple has all buttons at left, windows at right. So people switching still may have to change their habits, however the few people I know who have switched windows -> mac os had no problem.

Agreed, I was very skeptical at first, but after using the button arrangement Aaron suggested I must say it just works that much better.

It's not ugly, and it is excellent for mousing efficiency (since the minimize button in maximized apps is right in the corner of the screen). I've had this setup for years.

I agree it would be a bad idea as a default though. New users would complain that it's different than windows to no end.

However, I hope that the setting to allow moving of maximized windows is finally off by default in kwin. I don't know why it's on by default in kde 3, because it completely disregards fitts law and wastes screen space by putting a border around maximized apps. The window buttons are way harder to hit that way. Please turn this off by default if it isn't already.

> New users would complain that it's different than windows to no end.

This is KDE 4. I think users expect novelty, and will accept this change because it is apparent that a dangerous button like Close should not be anywhere near the other buttons. I personally haven't heard of a single OS X user complaining that the buttons are on the left side. And in OS X's situation they really don't have a good excuse to make the change beside wanting to be different from Windows. In this proposal we actually have a valid reason for splitting the buttons up.

by Velvet Elvis (not verified)

I think users expect novelty

Something can't be expected and novel at the same time.

by Quintesse (not verified)

You're changing his words and you know it.

(Hint: he doesn't say "Users want expected novelty")

by KOffice fan (not verified)

Mac OS has always had the close button on the left.

As did CDE and other early X-Window environments. And Windows 3.x

Actually, I think it was Windows 4.0 (aka Cairo, aka Win95) first introduced the close button on the right.

Since KDE has always had the close button on the right, though, I think it's good to leave it there, especially since this is the expected behaviour on most systems nowadays. It used to be configurable for people who want it on the left, and as long as the option is there, I'm fine with the current setup.

by Gabriel Gazzán (not verified)

Don't forget about the beloved Amiga! :)
Workbench UI also had the "Close" button on the left, and "Minimize"/"Maximize" on the right side.
As well as all Mac OS versions prior to OS X, now that I remember.
It was THE standard window button layout these days. And it was a good one, I don't know exactly why it was changed.

The problem with the "Close" button on the left is, that it is very near the menue and can accidently be clickt. I used this settings for a few months and after I accidently closed the app some times while I just wanted to access the menu I changed the "Close" button to the right and all other buttons to the left and since then I never accidently closed an app.

> The problem with the "Close" button on the left is, that it is very near the menue

Under my proposal the menu (application icon) is moved to the center along with the title text. So the menu and the "Close" button are actually far apart.

sorry, I'n not a native speaker. I didn't meant the menu icon but the menu toolbar with its menues like "File", "Edit" ...

Dear all,

first of all, thank you to all of you. KDE rocks and I'm excited about KDE4. Please consider my comment below as an alternative opinion for the discussion.

I'm using windows in the office and have problems with changing environments. I'd prefer to have those functions that are executed without thinking consistent even over different OS.

I'm still trying to save/close notepad.exe with ZZ (yes, I'm a VIM freak)

I'm using ctrl-c ctrl-v in Linux instead of the middle mouse button for C&P.

I'm typing 'ls' instead of 'dir' and 'cp' instead of 'copy' when working in a command shell on windows.

Please, allow me to keep the minimize button in the same place, anything else will drive me creazy (I know, it is configurable, but most people will never know)


i think that "put all the buttons in one corner thing" really came over us in 1995, and i think it is a bad idea. it neither makes the ui simpler, nor prettier nor more efficient, nor more aestethically pleasing. i am definitely for splitting them up.

just my oppinion

by f00fbug (not verified)

The default setup is intended to suit the needs of most users, who are used to the buttons on the right. Having the close button separated from the two others actually represents a move forward in usability, there's a bit of buffer space so that if you are 2 pixels to the right of the maximize button you won't accidentally close the window, and the majority of KDE users (new users coming from Windows, and previous users) won't have to get used to a complete change in position.

Secondly, if you do not like the default setup, KDE is and has always been fully configurable. It takes less than 5 minutes to go into the appearance dialog and drag your close button to the left side.

all in favour of forever ignoring Dan say "Aye"!

"With all due respect (not that much but still)"

how is that necessary?

This can easily be changed in systemsettings, just tick 'use custom titlebar button positions' in Appearances->Windows->Buttons and drag out the two spacers. I suspect the distropackagers will adapt the default style to fix these issues for their users.

By the way can anyone else confirm that the embedded terminal in konqueror gives no prompt (unlike in kate where it works well)? I am using the RC2 packages of openSuse released today.

Thanks for the info, now that I know you can edit it easy I'm happy for any crazy experiment the devs wish to do :)

by Freddie (not verified)

Isn't this still controlled by the window manager settings, the way it is in KDE3? In which case, each user can configure it the way they want it?

I manually insert a few spaces in there, for just that reason. Tried with them on the left, but didn't like it. The nice thing (at least in KDE3, haven't tried configuring things in KDE4 yet) is that each user can set this according to their preferences.

by fuegofoto (not verified)

I have been using the 'aaron' method for a few weeks now since the "try it before you dis it" argument came up and it's fine except that sometimes when you click for a menu you miss and your window goes where you don't want it (smaller or bigger). The one advantage of them being on the right is that you rarely have menu items under the buttons to the chance of missing your target doesn't result in the wrong action happening.

On a mac the window buttons are on the left but you also don't have the menu nearby usually either.

Your argument about the space between the close and max/restore button wasting space isn't a very strong one either unless you're on a really low res display where any button would be an issue. ;)

I think the biggest issue here comes from the inconsistency of closing windows. Sometimes clicking the close button quits the apps, sometimes it puts it to the sys tray, and sometimes it leaves a copy running but reset so it launches faster next time. Then there's duplication of the app 'Menu' and a title bar right click and also a 'Close' in both of those. Close should be just that, close the window but don't quit the app.

>> Close should be just that, close the window but don't quit the app.

I hate that behaviour on OS X. Sure it's more consistent, but for most apps it just doesn't make any sense. I don't want to keep my web browser running when no windows are open. There's no point to that. An app like Ktorrent is fundamentally different. 99% of the time it's running in the background, and making it keep on running when you close the window is fine.

by Terracotta (not verified)

Sometimes it's nice to have a browser open in a systray like opera does, to stay logged on, all the time i.e.

by CAPSLOCK2000 (not verified)

I put my close button on the left side. This way I never accidently close a windows instead of mini/maximizing it. It takes a little while to get used to, but I'm completely happy with it.

As I wrote above, I had this settings a few months and it happened that I closed the app while I just wanted to access the menu, therefore I think it is better to put the "Close" button on the right, because there is nothing near and all other buttons on the left, so the worst that could happen is that the window get mimimized/maximized.

by Stephen (not verified)

I've removed the maximize and menu buttons
swapped the order of the minimize and close
and finally added a spacer in between the 2.

Why? I've never use the maximize I always double click the titlebar which I've set as maximize. I never use the menu button.
As for why I swapped the order, When you own an optical mouse and a cat.. you tend to realize quick how jumpy a cursor can be. Anytime I hair would get under the mouse it would ever-so-often jump to a corner of the screen.. a few of those times it would jump up into the upper right hand, right as I was clicking.. This would close the window. Swapping the order made it so the worst that would ever happen was it just minimized. The Space was added to avoid accidentally closing the window instead of minimizing.

I've now ran with this for over a year and I'll never go back. Absolutely love this setup.

What's all the fuss about, isn't this what KDE Personaliser is for?

What I really like about OSX is the titlebar-button to show/hide the menu/toolbar. Now that's a space saver!! How difficult would it be to introduce a button for menubar rollup/down and one for toolbar rollup/down (heck, this could even be combined into one button. LMB on it will do a menubar show/hide, RMB will do a toolbar show/hide. Finish it all of with a session default configuration and I would be very happy!!

by T. J. Brumfield (not verified)

IE7, WMP, and many new Windows apps now autohide the menu bar to make the interface look clean. Press Alt and it magically appears.

At first I didn't care for it, but it has been growing on me, and the apps do look nicer.

by goran (not verified)

Will the following usability improvements make it until KDE 4.0 final?

1. A resizable Kickoff like in KDE 3.5.X.
2. Clicking on Applications button/tab will return to the Top-Level of the Application menu.

Other than that I really like Kickoff. If only it would be a little bit more configurable...

by Aaron J. Seigo (not verified)

depends if patches (by my hands, yours or someone else's) appear in time.

by fuegofoto (not verified)

It would be nice to be able to resize it or make the default size a bit bigger. On a 800 high display and 100dpi the default size still makes you scroll once you hit the Applications area(tab?). I wouldn't even consider it an issue except that it's the 'not-a-menu launcher' so if it's visible you're using it and not anything else so the screen space it takes up shouldn't be a major issue as long as it fits on the screen. Kind of an organized desktop full of icons... ;)

by Aaron J. Seigo (not verified)

oh, i agree. and it will eventually be resizeable at some point. how soon is the question =)

by Oscar (not verified)


Have a look at it. You can donate money to have someone write the patches for you. Perhaps you can alter Aarons priorites by donating a large enough sum of money. :-)

I've got some money waiting for the release of KDE4 and when that happens I'll donate to KDEev instead. I have no specific requests, I'll let them distribute it as they see fit.

Wouldn't it be cool to have a "donate money on release day"-day for the devs who work hard and do all this wonderful stuff for us?

by Abe (not verified)

Have you seen the Kickoff menu by Linuxmint?

I really really like it the way it replaces the 3rd level every time you select a 2nd level item.

In the new Kickoff menu, I don't particularly like the way the 3rd, 4th, etc... levels push the previous level list to the left. It is dizzying and confusing. Replacing is more elegant, appealing and seems faster.

Please make the Linuxmint style the default if current behavior is configurable.

by Moritz Moeller-... (not verified)

Even though the release anouncement claims KDE4rc2 packages are in Debian experimental, thus us clearly not the case (for 64 bit AMD64) at least. So now again, I am using icewm until I find the time to reinstall kde3...

Annoying. Anyone know of a complete working set of packages for Debian? Something except for the non-working experimental packages?

by Andrew (not verified)

If you have a fairly speedy computer, or a lot of time on your hands, you can use kdesvn-build (google it) to get a trunk build of KDE4. I'm using it on Kubuntu Gutsy (x64) and it works well here.

by rudolph (not verified)

im using archlinux and compiles kdelibs and kdebase direct from svn, and works fine, now kwin feels more fast, specially under heavy load, but stills have some lags.

in my system compiles really fast(amd64@3000, 1gbram), about 20/30mins for kdebase and the same for kdelibs.

by Leo S (not verified)

Does anyone know how to get the i386 packages from experimental? I just have a standard line for experimental and it doesn't have RC2 packages yet. Someone said that this is because it is for all architectures, and if you get the i386 branch the packages will arrive faster. However I haven't figured out what to put in my sources.list to achieve this.

by phD student tha... (not verified)

They are in incoming. Just wait for one day or pick them there

On the other hand I wonder why there is only amd64, but I may misunderstand something ...

by Moritz Moeller-... (not verified)

Yes, KDE 4 works for me the first time with Debian/experimental now. I think the key package is kdebase-workspace or something like that.

However, I agree with other peoples' impression, that the technical platform is impressive, but some design decisions need tweaking. (I managed to ruin the panel in 10 minutes by adding the log-out widget, which couldnot be removed , I deleted the config file to be able to restore the previous situation). Also kmail from KDE3 stopped working.

I look forward to the tweaked versions in the future...

by Ascay (not verified)

Nice improvements to RC1, speed is really impressing. I'm using the live CD within a Parallels VM and it's not noticeable slower than my native KDE 3.5 installment. Wow. Good job!

But what I'd really like to see is a nice default font. Vera Sans or DejaVu Sans look quite dated nowadays. I know, I know... it's a distribution thing. But some kind of a recommendation for distributors would be cool.

I use DejaVu Sans Condensed e.g. - looks much more modern than standard DejaVu Sans. And it works without any anti aliasing as good as with subpixel hinting.

by Askrates (not verified)

+ 1

I have quite poor eyesight, and I think the fonts on the Betas and RCS are quite hard to read. One of the first things I do after installing KDE is change the default font. In the spirit of breaking new ground, are there any plans to change the default font to something prettier/more readable?

by Askrates (not verified)

Oh, and Asian fonts tend to render poorly in default KDE as well :(

by Flavio (not verified)

Disabling font hinting when using antialias produces a much smoother font rendering much like OSX. Even Vera can look good without hinting.
Hinting can be disable in the KDE font settings or in your ~/.fonts.conf

I think distributions and KDE itself should consider this. It's almost 2008 and those lines made of a single pixel look like the 80s.

by Bobby (not verified)

I don't have the best eyesight either. That's why I always change the default font and it's size. I like and use Bitstream Vera Sans (font size 12) which seems to be fine for me. However Bitstream is not installed by default on openSuse. One has to install the package from the DVD/CD.
It would be nice to see better, more beautiful and readable fonts in the default setting.

by Vladislav (not verified)

what about Liberation fonts from Redhat?

by logixoul (not verified)

Well, I have some gripes with Liberation, as compared with DejaVu.

- at 7pt bad kerning is apparent
- it's designed to be metric-compatible with fonts from the Windows 98 era... which were changed in Windows 2000, and then again in Vista, becoming closer and closer to today's DejaVu (except for the mono variant). So, well, Liberation brings back bad memories ;)
- it has an all-around weirdness, like how the capital R is super wide, or how diagonal strokes are blurry and disproportionally fat... see attached

All of this is with antialiasing on (smoothness), subpixel hinting off (clarity), and hinting style full (sharpness).
I've heard stuff about uncrippling my freetype, but this never worked...

by nobody a.k.a. idiot (not verified)

That's the hinting screwing everything up. (IMHO the Liberation fonts all look awful though, especially the Mono font.. completely unusable)
The solution for better font rendering lies in display technology. Hinting will always destroy the way how the font is actually supposed to look.
I've seen the XO-1 in grayscale mode (200 dpi apparently) and fonts look awesome on that machine.
Right now I run my Desktop at 1600x1200 (@100HZ :-) on a 19" CRT without hinting and it looks alright. I'm having a hard time to find a LCD replacement for this Monitor though. A 20" screen at a resolution of 1920x1200 would be nice but I guess that's not going to happen (soon and at an affordable price).

So the magic words for "good" looking fonts are DPI, PPI, pixel density, dot pitch and so on ..but NOT hinting. :-)

by Flavio (not verified)