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″.


Desktop

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

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

Dolphin with tabs

Phonon

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

Ozone

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

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

K3b

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!

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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