KDE 4 rev 790000: Better stability and performance

[ Saturday, 29 March 2008, Bastion ]


This is another revision of the development version of KDE 4 environment. Lots of you have asked why it took me so long to publish this article. Well, I was just waiting for rev 790000, that’s all. I hope that your curiosity will be satisfied since there’s been a lot of changes to describe this time. I did my best.

Author: Korneliusz Jarzebski



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Desktop

Device notifier is an applet known and appreciated by the users. Its role is to monitor connected devices using Solid framework. This time a very handy feature has been added. I’m talking about fast disconnecting of a pointed device by clicking on the Eject icon.


Devices / Eject

In KDE 4 repository we can still find an old copy of Qt 4.4, but if we install one of the fresh snapshots of this library we gain the possibility to install any applet prepared for the Mac OS X system. Of course the implementation is still very new and unstable and you should not expect a very high reliability. In the future we can expect much better results.


Adding new Plasma applet


Installing new applet from file

I installed a few of the Mac OS X applets just to test them and see if they are usable. For now they seem to be capable of displaying themselves on the desktop.


Mac OS X applets

It’s possible to download new themes for Plasma from kde-look.org website.


Downloading Plasma themes


Choosing a Plasma theme

As far as Pager is concerned, an option has been added to display an icon of the running program on the virtual desktops.


Pager

Lots of people complained about the lack of the option to add a new panel. Well it’s been added so no more complaints!


Adding new panel

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Desktop with two panels

Dolphin

The default KDE 4 file manager surprised me positively. The changes are noticeable. When choosing the file preview, a frame has been added which looks marvelous. Also the information panel has been modified as well as the feature of adding a new comment. The most important new feature however (at least in my opinion) is the tag cloud, know from the Web 2.0 portals.


Dolphin


Adding a comment


File information

Konqueror

I launched Konqueror only to check how well it does in the Acid3 test.

Not bad at all. Soon we can all expect 100% compatibility, though, since WebKit, the Konqueror engine has been already fixed in Safari to pass the new Acid test.

I haven’t noticed any significant changes. In the lower part of the window I spotted buttons and a scroll bar which I believe should be able to resize the displayed elements. The feature apparently didn’t work or I misunderstood it goal.

Oxygen, Bespin

Traditionally, some screens comparing the current Oxygen style with Bespin.


Oxygen style


Bespin style


Dolphin / Bespin

Plasma

New Plasma applets appear almost every day so this time I can also present you something cool and interesting. First of the applets I liked is Folder View, which simply displays the home folder contents.


Folder View

Picture Frame can now a picture of the day from a selected (and supported) web site.


Picture Frame

Some other interesting applets I found are: Kate Session Applet and Konqueror Profiles Applet which enable you to quickly launch these apps with some pre-defined settings.


Kate Session Applet


Konqueror Profiles Applet

KDE 4 also has already a lot of applets for displaying RSS feeds. Some of them take a lot of screen since they try to connect all added channels in one view. RSSNow is currently one of the most interesting of feed applets, since it displays the messages one by one, grouping them by services.


RSSNow

Another applet I would like to share with you is System Command. It simply allows you to execute any command just like a traditional command line.


System Command

And the last one… World Clock. No explanation needed here, I believe.


World Clock

KGet

KGet has been enriched to support the history of downloads, which can be displayed in different ways. Being honest I’m not 100% sure if this option was not present before. I just noticed it now.


KGet


Advanced settings


Downloads history


Another view of downloads history

KWin

One of the special effects of KWin allows for better configuration of windows shades. From now on we can choose their color, except for the previously available options.


KWin : Shadow settings

KDE Info Center

KDE Info Center gained the processor info basing on Solid.


Processor info

System Settings

Settings applet also received some polish and new features. One of the best is the new Autostart panel.


Advanced settings

Using it, we can specify the scripts or programs to be executed during the KDE start-up, together with the exact time they should be run.


Autostart

Out of curiosity I installed two new mouse pointer themes from Oxygen. I was skeptical about them before, being afraid of the additional TODO they might introduce. The pointers are not yet in the official KDE 4 repos.


Mouse pointers


Oxygen pointers

A new full screen version of the default Splash Screen has been added, as well.


Splash Screen

Amarok

More visual changes in Amarok, yet again! Not only the looks has been polished, but also the behavior. What can be noticed is Amarok’s own style of Plasma applets, new progress bar and the ability to hide/show albums on the playlist.


Amarok

A lot of changes in last.fm module as well. Now we can use our friends’ channels, our own channels and choose any music genre from the long list of tags.


Last.fm

DigiKam

We have covered DigiKam in a separate article recently: KDE 4 Tour: digiKam 0.10. The only change I have noticed since then is the altered dialog for fetching photos from a digital camera.


DigiKam


Fetching the photos


Camera info

Shutdown timer

When logging out of KDE 4 a timer appeared in the lower part of the screen, displaying the remaining time to log off or shutdown.


Logging off

Stability and performance of the build

Considering that the previous revisions were surprisingly unstable, I can honestly call this one the most stable of the ones I have tested till now. I experienced only one crash and the performance was more than satisfactory. Now I can be almost sure that when a stable edition of KDE 4.1 is published, I will definitely say good bay to my old good KDE 3.5.

This article has been originally published on /dev/jarzebski blog. It has been translated and reprinted with author’s permission.

Update: same article is also available in Arabic now: ??? 4 790000 : ???? ??????? ? ????
thanks to Zayed Al-Saidi!

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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