KDE 4 rev 802150: Work in progress

[ Tuesday, 29 April 2008, Bastion ]

The state of Plasma can be currently described as ‘chaotic’. The reason for that is that its API is being refactored which in result makes it almost impossible to use for a regular human being. Most applets despite continuous development, still experience issues with adjusting to the new API. This results in instabilities and — in some cases — even problem with displaying properly on desktop. Yesterday however, I managed to catch a dev snapshot of KDE 4.1 which allowed me to test the recent changes, at least on the surface. Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to “The Revision 802150″.


First thing worth noticing is the new looks of KRunner. Unfortunately, on the current stage, it behaves in an unpredictable manner. In some cases after typing one letter I had to wait a few seconds for KRunner to catch it and prompt me with a list of available choices. What is more, it randomly hung up completely, exceeding the maximum response time, forcing KWin to kindly ask me to kill it.

KRunner — new looks

Till now, the only way to add a Plasma applet was to use an icon located in the upper-right corner of the desktop. This time I noticed a new icon, located in the bottom panel. Currently it does not response to my actions so it’s hard to state whether it’s going to replace the former solution or — perhaps — it will be used to add a new applet to a specific panel. I think though, that the latter makes more sense so it’s pretty likely to be the correct guess.

Plasma manager in KDE panel


Dolphin — the file manager — eventually got the feature I’ve been waiting for: the tab support!

Dolphin with tabs


In kdereview tree, the work is in progress to add a new sound engine to Phonon. Now those of you who — for one reason or another — don’t like Xine, are given an option to choose GStreamer as the audio output. I have often heard that Gstreamer beats Xine in many areas, especially when the number of supported audio/video formats is concerned.

Sound system settings

Konqueror & WebKit

Some people commented my previous revision stating that Konqueror already used WebKit as the default engine. These comments were incorrect. Last time I presented the Acid3 test results for Konqueror with default KHTML engine. Today however, I compiled the Qt library with WebKit support and the required dependencies. Here is the result for Acid3 for the Konqueror/WebKit duo:

Konqueror / WebKit

Oxygen theme

Only cosmetic changes here: polished tabs and beautified scroll bars.

Oxygen theme


As it shows, the default window decoration for KDE 4.1 will not be Oxygen, but its fork, called Ozone. Currently the only difference is that — in contrary to Oxygen — Ozone respects the color scheme changes.

Windows decoration for Ozone theme

KDE Info Center

KDE Info Center has been fully ported to Qt4 library. Let’s see how it looks now…

KDE Info Center: Main windows

KDE Info Center: Memory usage

KDE Info Center: Partitions

KWin with Wobbly Windows

Kwin features a new visual effect known to most of you from Compiz: the Wobbly Windows. Only a few days ago the settings panel for this effect had tons of detailed options. Most of these options have been disabled now, the only thing that can be configured is the window deformation level while in motion. This seems more appropriate for a common user since the number of configurable settings was overwhelming before. One minor flaw that I noticed in KWin Wobble Windows is that the window shadow is not properly deformed (it does not adjust to the current shape of the window).

KWin effects

Wobbly effect configuration

Wobbly effect in action


Amarok is getting closer and closer to its major release. The current changes mostly concern the looks of Plasma applets and streaming sources extensions. It’s however worth noting that the application itself proves to be much more stable than before. Amarok also now remembers previously added collections, playlists and — what is crucial — does not crash upon frequent interaction with the user. I’ll try to write a separate piece of text about this great multimedia player soon.

Amarok: Let the music play!

Amarok: Last.fm support


Another crucial KDE app is K3b. It is by far the best open source tool in the world to burn DVDs and CDs, but it also features other things as well. There is a rumor that K3b will be renamed to K4b with its stable release of KDE 4. Whatever its name is or will be, the fact is that it’s quite usable even now, in development state.

K3b (K4b)

Let’s investigate some configuration options…

K3b settings

Other configuration options

A DVD project that I started to test the app:

Now it suffices to insert a blank disk and… let it burn!

Burn settings

I hope you liked this new revision, it took some time to prepare it but I promise the next one will appear soon, so check frequently your PolishLinux RSS and stay tuned!

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fold this thread fliegenderfrosch  Tuesday, 29 April 2008 o godz. 8:23 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +7

Thanks a lot for the regular KDE4 revisions!

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fold this thread kedadi  Tuesday, 29 April 2008 o godz. 8:43 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +6

K3b is from “KDE Burn Baby Burn” and not from the major KDE/Qt release

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fold this thread marra  Friday, 2 May 2008 o godz. 9:29 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +3

K3b is from “KDE Burn Baby Burn”

Sure, but in future it could be:
“KDE Burn Baby Burn, Beautifully”

fold this thread Jonathan Thomas  Tuesday, 29 April 2008 o godz. 9:42 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +7

Digg it if ya loved it! (The publicity is good for KDE too)

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fold this thread michuk  Tuesday, 29 April 2008 o godz. 10:31 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +4

Thanks for the link. I added the digg button at the top.

fold this thread fred  Wednesday, 30 April 2008 o godz. 10:08 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +5

WebKit shipped by Qt is quite an old snapshot, I am not surprised it only scores 55/100. Even KHTML now is about 75/100. That’s why IMO it is very good to keep both KHTML and WebKit, or even the best is to merge both (I heard there is an ongoing effort to sync KHTML dir structure to WebKit’s – also porting WebKit’s SVG to KDE as GSoC).

With WebKit sure we get excellent engine, but it is rather annoying to see the bugfixes/features propagate from WebKit to Qt and finally to KDE. (except we want to create yet another Qt/KDE binding which can be synced directly to WebKit)

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fold this thread bernard  Sunday, 4 May 2008 o godz. 9:34 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  --1

That’s strange, my KHTML Konqueror scored only 13 on the Acid 3 test.

fold this thread Anon  Tuesday, 6 May 2008 o godz. 6:36 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

You have something seriously messed up, sorry. Standard trunk is at 75. I think you can get higher if you install test patches. And there’s an soc project which should give another 10.

fold this thread Johannes  Wednesday, 30 April 2008 o godz. 11:29 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

Thank you for this Review.

It’s everytime very interesting to see the development progress of KDE4.

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fold this thread Morten Juhl-Johansen Zölde-Fejér  Wednesday, 30 April 2008 o godz. 2:43 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  error

Sad – Amarok looks much less attractive in the incarnation than the previous, and K3B looks really, really sad.

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fold this thread Stefan  Wednesday, 30 April 2008 o godz. 3:06 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  --2

In which way?

Concerning Amarok, you’re right. Nothing can be more attractive than a huge list full of text.

fold this thread edgar  Wednesday, 30 April 2008 o godz. 4:01 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

If this was meant to be ironic, au contraire. I’m a supporter of the list too. It’s much easier to oversee the whole collection when scrolling through the list, assisted by search words.

I’m not a user of play lists, I’m just adjusting the search words and play my stuff in random mode. Also I tag tracks or albums to the play next list which is very comfortable in the list view. So hopefully, K3b will be configurable to show the list if the user wants it like the developer once promised when the new interface was shown first.

If I want to see information about the current track, album and stuff, this part was shown in the info bar very nicely, so why waste the whole central space for it?

Regarding the “add a Plasma applet” button in the top right corner is a nice thing – if it ca be disabled. Right-click on the desktop is the way to go for an experienced user (same for the applets themselves) as I don’t like to always have something pop up when I hover it. Don’t get me wrong, these are nice features for beginneres, yet not for people who want to do their everyday-work on a workstation.

Please KDE guys make more stuff configurable (through dialogues) as we’re used to from KDE3, we’re not all beginners. If you want, establish an “advanced mode” as it exist in Xine for example. Fine tuning through config files may be possible, but who really wants to search for info every time he wants to change the color of the panel. And black is not everyone’s favorite “colour”.

What about the super user mode in configuration dialogues that need this stuff (as in former kcontrol)? Couldn’t find that ind KDE4 by now (Kubuntu Hardy), I guess it was just not implemented yet?

Anyway, I really look forward to find testing KDE 4.1. It looks very promising, if it’ll get close to KDE 3.5.x in maturity I’ll be more than happy with it :)

fold this thread Alejandro Nova  Monday, 5 May 2008 o godz. 8:40 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

AFAIK there was possible to disable Plasma applets in Amarok, and there was also possible to have a 1.4.x-like playlist. Was that removed in the alpha process?

fold this thread DanaKil  Wednesday, 30 April 2008 o godz. 3:39 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

thank you :)

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fold this thread Dettifoss Bergmann  Wednesday, 30 April 2008 o godz. 4:50 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy these reviews.

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fold this thread debianita  Wednesday, 30 April 2008 o godz. 5:00 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

thanks for all the kde4 reviews, its seems to be nice, great work

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fold this thread rs3york  Wednesday, 30 April 2008 o godz. 8:45 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Thanks for your work, it’s nice to see the work done on KDE 4 from another person’s perspective.

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fold this thread Czessi  Thursday, 1 May 2008 o godz. 12:04 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Thanks, I love that articles!

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fold this thread orlando  Thursday, 1 May 2008 o godz. 3:40 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +3

“Dolphin — the file manager — eventually got the feature I’ve been waiting for: the tab support!”

wonderful !

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fold this thread homercycles  Thursday, 1 May 2008 o godz. 1:09 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Now if only Dolphin could be put on a diet. Its default is so chunky you can carve it. I like a minimalistic file manager that does not highlight the entire row in details mode. If Dolphin does this and treats me like a moron (as does Nautilus) then it’s a deal breaker!

fold this thread David Webb  Thursday, 1 May 2008 o godz. 4:44 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

great work. looking forward to kde4.1!

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fold this thread M  Thursday, 1 May 2008 o godz. 8:25 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +2

Thank you for doing these. We really do appreciate them. I know it takes time to put suc a screenshot tour together.

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fold this thread M  Thursday, 1 May 2008 o godz. 8:29 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

Thanks for doing these. Those screen shot tours are great. I’m a very visual person.

Please take your time and do a very thorough tour of Amarok. It is probably the most highly anticipated open source project since Firefox. You’ll deal with a lot of newbies that will hear about Amarok for the first time ever!!

Please be thorough enough that even the Amarok veterans will find useful information as well as tons of visual eye candy in there.

I’m predicting the Amarok tour being in the 1000′s of “diggs”.

Thank you again.

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fold this thread toim  Thursday, 1 May 2008 o godz. 1:51 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

KDE is more beautiful day by day.Thanks 4 review :D

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fold this thread www.kde4.de  Thursday, 1 May 2008 o godz. 8:41 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Nice to see the progress on 4.1 ;-)

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fold this thread Pieter  Thursday, 1 May 2008 o godz. 9:55 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Thanks, I really enjoy these previews! I would really like a preview of Amarok2 when you can, and if you want to! :)

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fold this thread Dexter  Friday, 2 May 2008 o godz. 5:33 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

I use the opensuse 10.3 version of kde 4.0.3.
kwin_composite doesn’t work with xgl in kde 4.0.3.
but it works bad with nvidia-glx.
i hope xgl support will be added to kwin_composite in kde 4.1.

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fold this thread tuxv  Friday, 2 May 2008 o godz. 8:44 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +2

Looks like KDE 4.1 will be usable.. but what we need is a configurable taskbar. But I tried using plasma from within KDE3 and it worked fine :) and having plasma in kde3 with the ‘good old’ task bar may interest many people. I made a post about it some time ago. Plasma in KDE3

Hope this will be useful to the people who have been annoyed by the taskbar and who love the new plasma experience. :)

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fold this thread jiu  Saturday, 3 May 2008 o godz. 10:55 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

KDE4 looks so much better than GNOME!!! Coupled with its greater overall speed and responsiveness, I hope it becomes the default used by more distros that count!

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fold this thread Dongvid  Saturday, 3 May 2008 o godz. 9:57 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

I switched entirely to KDE4.0 for just over a week and I switched back to KDE3.5.9 when hardy came out. I think KDE4′s interface is more intuititve but the lack of qt4 software (like adept, or knetworkmanager) makes it not worth the switch for kubuntu users like myself. I really miss the CTRL+F8/F9/F10 commands. I hope the performance increases are significant, because KDE4 was still rather laggy when I used 4.0.3. This seems like a load of welcome changes and it’s wetting my palette to taste KDE4.1 when a beta or final release comes out.

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fold this thread liv  Monday, 5 May 2008 o godz. 2:37 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Thanks for the great reviews.
Hope kde becomes stable until august when I plan to reinstall my system.

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fold this thread Tyler  Tuesday, 6 May 2008 o godz. 11:14 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  error

Great reviews. KDE is looking great.

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fold this thread James  Thursday, 8 May 2008 o godz. 2:40 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

My windows won’t wobble :( I compile the trunk every day and yet my wobbling windows configuration won’t work. Never has. Using a Macbook. Does it work now for anyone else?

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fold this thread Lake-end  Wednesday, 14 May 2008 o godz. 8:26 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Keep these coming, very nice way to see how KDE4 is coming along.

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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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