KDE 4 Progress: New plasmoids, Akonadi, KRunner and more

[ Monday, 2 June 2008, Bastion ]

In spite of fragmentary information about changes, that I’ve published since my last insight (like the Amarok 2 visual changelog), I’ve decided after all to gather them all in
one place. Hence, I invite you to the next insight of KDE 4. The revision of the day is 811150.

KDE 4 — rev 811150
KDE 4 - rev 811150


The panel configuration has been refactored heavily. When clicking the appropriate icon, we gain possibility to change its position as well as its minimal and maximal width. This is done using the sliders indicated by triangle-like buttons . Apart from that, buttons that add new Plasma aplets and remove the whole panels are also available. Currently the only drawback is the lack of an option to change the position of the applets that have been already in place.

New panel configuration

Control elements
Control elements


Style Oxygen has lived to see a lovely progress bar, eventually. To be quite frank I’ve never liked the previous versions, so the change is good :)

Current Oxygen Style
Actual Oxygen Style


The Folder View applet has been equipped with a configuration window. With its assistance we are able to decide which folders will be highlited. We can even also construct a mask for such files.

Folder View
Folder View


When we talk about the KDE menu, the ‘drag and drop’ mechanism has been (eventually!) added for icons. From now on we can place shortcuts to our favorite programs on the desktop.

Shortcut to Konsole
Shortcut to Konsole

The Notepad has been equipped with a spell checkermechanism, where all misspelled words are colured red automatically.
Interesting option in configuration is the automatic font size adjustment to fit the current applet size.

Notes and spell checking
Notes and spell checking


Spell Checking

Now Playing is the applet that we know alread. Its use is to inform about currently played audio track. Up to now it worked with XMMS, JuK and Audaciousplayers. In current version it supports Amarok as well. Also the additional information in form of album name and track lenght time has been added. I must admit, that the cover project function is the only thing missing to make me happy.

Now Playing (Amarok)
Now Playing (Amarok)

Akonadi Tray

Akonadi is one of the more innovative technologies available in KDE 4. It is a specialized platform used to store personal data (PIM ), including the calendar, mail client and the address book. It helps to prevent data incompatibility between different aplications. In practice – when the data in the address book change, automatically the information (e.g. by a Plasmoid) will get updated in other apps. Akonadi will also support others interesting application in the files system. We can for example imagine that when the owner photo displayd in Dolphin changes, it could affect other applications as well.
Akonadi Tray is a small program, inserted into the system tray, that facilitates creation and recovery copy of the data.

Akonadi Tray
Akonadi Tray


Marble, the Google Maps competitor from KDE, has been equipped with a new visualisation map that uses the OpenStreetMap resources. Curiously enough, the plans of Polish city roads are also available. Thermal views of the planet in the summer and winter periods have been also added.


Road plans
Road plans

Thermal Map
Thermal Map


The Gwenview development has progressed so much that it can now threa its rival image cataloguing software. A feature has been implemented to add favorite places that act like albums. Fullscreen view has been enhanced by adding the image miniatures from the same folder in the top area of the screen.

Tryb pełnoekranowy

Main View
Main View

Fullscreen mode


For the rubik’s dice lovers, new game is available: Kubrick. Using a 3D model of the dice and its different views, we can rotate blocks to get the final result (ggod luck with that!).



The most interesting change is the new KRunner,used to quick start the programs using the well-known Alt+F2 key combination. I have informed about the new KRunner previously, but it’s not proper not to mention about him again, the more because it has changed a lot since last time.

Animations of the query results have been improved, the active icon zooming has been added as well as their descriptions.

KRunner. Starting the program
KRunner. Starting the program

Krunner is not just the fast start of the right aplications but also calculator and measure scaler :

KRunner : Calculator
KRunner : Calculator

Krunner: Measure scaler
Krunner :Measure scaler

With its help we can also quickly switch to our favourite website:

KRunner: Web Adresses
KRunner : Web Adresses

…or write a letter to the person we love or hate :)

Krunner: The adress book contacts
Krunner :The adress book contacts

But the most important one is the ability to expand the KRunner abilities by using add-ons:


That’s it folks for now. Wait for the new KDE dev visual snapshot some time later this month!

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fold this thread Sokraates  Monday, 2 June 2008 o godz. 3:35 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +4

While I don’t use KRunner much, the new abilities should give it incredibly useful. I’m looking forward to trying KDE 4.1 Beat 1 on my Kubuntu-machine once the packages are built. Here’s a big “Thank You!” to nixternal for all his efforts.

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fold this thread fred  Monday, 2 June 2008 o godz. 5:30 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +3

I don’t like the old progress bar as well, and the new one is quite nice :D . Now I’m only waiting them to change the scrollbar (I hope they’ll make it like nuno’s mockup, so beautiful :)

And also thanks again for your review, you always do a great job reviewing KDE 4.

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fold this thread debianita  Monday, 2 June 2008 o godz. 5:52 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

excelente review as usual, tank you very much.

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fold this thread ekto  Monday, 2 June 2008 o godz. 9:54 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

Looks amazing. KDE 4 will be an excellent desktop.

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fold this thread orlando_ombzzz  Monday, 2 June 2008 o godz. 11:28 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +2

Thank you, great article.

Greetings from Argentina

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fold this thread Sid  Tuesday, 3 June 2008 o godz. 12:03 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +2

I love the beautiful green desktop.

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fold this thread TonyM  Tuesday, 3 June 2008 o godz. 1:34 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +3

Unfortunately, you just missed the new plasma theme being commited. Now you need to update all your screen shots :P

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fold this thread michuk  Tuesday, 3 June 2008 o godz. 3:37 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

The article was written last weekend. It took some time to translate it from here and republish here.

fold this thread Giordano  Tuesday, 3 June 2008 o godz. 8:48 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Nice review.

I’m a bit curious about the stability aspect of the current KDE…

For several reasons I never managed to try any 4.x version and I would like to know whether you experience frequent crashes or whether the situation is significantly better in comparison to the 4.0.x branch, which from what I read is rather unstable.

I know that we are still talking about alpha/beta software but I’m interested in knowing your impressions ^_^

Thanks :)

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fold this thread Mark  Wednesday, 4 June 2008 o godz. 5:55 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

I’ve used it on my laptop since 4.01, and haven’t ever experienced a crash. There have been some other little problems, like hotkeys that don’t work from one update to the next or whatever, but no crashes.

fold this thread AC  Tuesday, 10 June 2008 o godz. 9:18 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  --1

If/when you loose shortcut keys, try opening konsole and running “kded4″.

At least for me it crashes sometimes, and I loose shortcuts and some apps behave funny, but you run it again and all is well [you don't even have to restart said apps].

fold this thread Morten Juhl-Johansen Zölde-Fejér  Tuesday, 3 June 2008 o godz. 10:40 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  error

I would have loved some shots of the coming KOffice. Any ideas about that?

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fold this thread michuk  Tuesday, 3 June 2008 o godz. 3:38 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

We’ll put that on the list. Just subscribe to polishlinux.org RSS and you’ll be the first one to know :)

fold this thread gemidjy  Tuesday, 3 June 2008 o godz. 1:09 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  --7

s-p-a-c-e !!!

KDE 4.x is getting suckier and suckier with each new release!

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fold this thread Íñigo  Tuesday, 3 June 2008 o godz. 10:30 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +5

Agreed about the wasted space in KDE, not about KDE sucking. I can’t understand why KDE guys think it’s a good idea to make our screens plenty of unuseful grey surfaces, like those 3 or 4 milimeter thick lines dividing views in Dolphin, for example, or those almos 1 cm thick progress bars. Do they thing we, useras, are so short-sighted? :-s. Despite those clumsy details KDE is getting rocker and rocker each new release :D .

Pax et amor

fold this thread Socceroos  Wednesday, 4 June 2008 o godz. 3:33 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +3

I guess this is just your view.

For me, KDE 4.1 has the best visual style that I have ever seen – proprietary or free.

They’ve put a LOT of effort into it (people who know what they’re doing). And for the first time ever, I feel that KDE not only feels good, but looks good.

fold this thread Íñigo  Wednesday, 4 June 2008 o godz. 3:54 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +3

KDE 3.5 is already awesome, and KDE 4 is becoming even better, but the fact that KDE developers are doing a great job isn’t compatible with the fact that it does have several design failures. I want my screen to show information, not to show lots of thick margins and unuseful empty widget areas or exaggerated progress bars.
The best is an enemy of the good, I’m sorry, and KDE 4 looks very, very good, but it could be better. My comment was a constructive criticism, not a destructive one.

Pax et amor

fold this thread Leo S  Tuesday, 10 June 2008 o godz. 3:36 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

That’s fine. Just change the widget style to something more compact.

Personally I use the default Oxygen at work, where I have a big screen because it looks great, and switched to Plastique on my EeePC because it takes less space.

fold this thread IO  Sunday, 15 June 2008 o godz. 11:55 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

I like Plastique more too, less space used and looks more friendly, that is the fun with more options.
The thing I do not like is the big taskbar, I do not know if it is more flexible in 4.1 but in 4.0.x series it has some big icons showing the applications. I can make it smaller, that is good, but than the clock is too big. And if you put it on the side (I use it on the right side) the applications do not arrange nicely like in 3.5 series. I hope this gets updated. The big problem on kde 4 until now from my view is that the icons and a lot of things are big, and it is not that easy to modify them to get smaller

fold this thread asdfghj  Tuesday, 10 June 2008 o godz. 3:32 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

I must agree, the wasted gray area is like a disease in KDE 4.
For example, look at the GwenView picture.
About 47% of this screenshot is infested by “disainum so stupido” gray slime. :)

fold this thread Íñigo  Wednesday, 4 June 2008 o godz. 3:55 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Err… I meant “… isn’t INcompatible”

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fold this thread Inge Wallin  Tuesday, 10 June 2008 o godz. 7:19 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

@Íñigo: What I want is my screen to show information that I can use. If the organization of the information takes some white space (and it does!), then so be it. I have worked a looong time with unstructured desktops almost without any whitespace at all, and it is not better. I ran twm for many years before switching to an early KDE, and I have learnt that much information on the screen is not always the same as much information conveyed to me.

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fold this thread Rian Orie  Tuesday, 10 June 2008 o godz. 9:19 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

If you don’t like the theme.. why not just port one you do like to KDE 4.1??

I for one DO like the new design, I don’t care for the lost space in margin, but that’s me and I’ve been known to be different from the masses ;)

The whole fun about KDE is that it’s opensource and customizable up the wazoo. Profit from it and adjust it to your own preferences.

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fold this thread Darkelve  Tuesday, 10 June 2008 o godz. 9:21 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

About the Folder View applet/plasmoid: is it possible to show a folder view and in the Filter Settings search folders recursively?

For example: suppose I have mp3′s spread across different folders in /home/myuser/ , can I then apply a filter to the folder view that shows every folder containing mp3′s?

Or same thing, but with images (jpeg OR gif OR png OR BMP OR …); meaning multiple ‘keywords’ for filters.

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fold this thread markus  Tuesday, 10 June 2008 o godz. 10:44 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

really cool pics


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fold this thread drz_0  Tuesday, 10 June 2008 o godz. 11:28 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

I agree with the article in one point: the lack of a option to change the position of the applets in the bar.

Does anyone knows if this will be implemented?


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fold this thread pharaoh  Tuesday, 10 June 2008 o godz. 3:00 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +6

Nice review. Please use PNGs for screenshots, instead of JPEGs.

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fold this thread atheos3  Thursday, 12 June 2008 o godz. 4:13 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

honestly i like kde cos if its tons of options and speed. but the LAYOUT is a very big factor that keeps me away from it. and the PANEL damn…i hope they make it clean, consistent, and slick. not small icons here and too big icons over there. please make it a bit more professional in looks!..especially the panel…just don’t trash our comments by saying “do it yourself cos it is customizable”. remember most users don’t want to go that far. GOOD LUCK!

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fold this thread Karl Günter Wünsch  Friday, 13 June 2008 o godz. 11:12 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Well I have to disagree with gwenviews progress – that has gone backwards quite a bit with the disappearance of the seperate icon view that only listed supported file types. Now that the file browser doubles up as icon view it is unwieldly and for me (who has a raw file for every image taken) it has become completely and utterly useless as navigation always will include these files which will never be supported because of the philosophy of gwenview not to include those…

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About the Author

Korneliusz Jarzębski

Free software enthusiast, KDE fan. Author of a popular blog: /dev/jarzebski (in Polish). Contributes to PolishLinux.org since October 2007.

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