Home > KDE > KDE 3.2: A User’s Perspective KDE 3.2: A User’s Perspective Submitted by Navindra Umanee 2004-04-09 KDE 26 Comments W. Kendrick gives a visual overview of lesser known KDE features in KDE 3.2 – A User’s Perspective (mirror). He covers everything from SuperKaramba to the new Kiosk tool. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 26 Comments 2004-04-09 8:39 pm Nice selection of screenies -> discovered just some new things 🙂 Thanks! 2004-04-09 8:49 pm I couldn’t find some of the apps (like the memory info center), it would be nice if the author put the name of the executables so we could run the apps when we don’t find it on the menus. 2004-04-09 8:57 pm kinfocenter 2004-04-09 9:05 pm Ah, I miss KDE. If I have time this weekend, I might give it a spin. 2004-04-09 9:10 pm These are great. 2004-04-09 11:19 pm I like a lot the new Plastik theme, is great! 2004-04-10 1:43 am It would be nice to see someone put together a side-by-side with this guide, and show what Gnome has to offer…. 2004-04-10 5:16 am This is a good site for newbies. I enjoyed looking at all the screenshots. Going to test out kxdocker now. 2004-04-10 7:24 am It’s this simple: GNOME: simplicity and minimalistic KDE: powerful and lots of eyecandy Are you a power user and do you like a UI with tons of buttons, toolbars, bells, whistles and eyecandy? Use KDE. Do you want something simple, out-of-your-way? Use GNOME. GNOME and KDE do not target the same users. 2004-04-10 8:44 am It’s not that simple: You can configure KDE quite minimalistic if you like to. You can easily remove buttons from KDE toolbars, you can even remove menu entries by editing XML-Files if you think the menus are too cluttered. It is actually quite easy. You will probably not manage to get an UI as simplistic and as elegant as GNOMEs, but you can simplify KDEs UI a lot. And I really doubt that GNOME and KDE do not target the same users. KDE targets the whole range of users, from beginners to advanced users. That KDE is not usable for beginners is just some FUD some people spread. Everyone who is able to use Windows will be able to use KDE. Some days ago there was an article on OSNews about a 4 year old girl using KDE. If a 4 year old girl can use it, everyone will be able to use it. I think people should really behave less arrogant and stop claiming that the “average user” is not able to use toolbars with more then five buttons. I guess some people would be really surprised what “average users” are able to do with programs they really like and know. It’s fine if someone likes a simplistic UI but that kind of simplisity GNOME offers is not necessary for the average user, otherwise they would all not be able to use Windows. In my opinion, one of the good things Microsoft managed to do is, that they made a GUI that is useable for a wide range of users. It is for sure not perfect, but it is by far not as bad as people claim (I don’t like Windows and Microsoft, but I am realistic and pragmatic enough to see that not everything from Microsoft is pure evil). 2004-04-10 12:01 pm First of all, KDE can be “minimalized”. that’s up to the distro. Second, there is no doubt that KDE has a much more powerful framework. But coming from a KDE background, trying out Gnome 2.4/2.6, and then going back to KDE I found KDE to be a bit too “busy”. No big deal, because that can easily be dealt with unlike Gnome where core technologies are lagging behind KDE. Too bad the QT license sucks for those of us in the business world. That’s probably the only reason that Gnome still exists as a viable alternative to KDE. @Michael Thayer Here we go again with another german acting like any criticism of KDE is an insult on their national pride. 2004-04-10 1:07 pm 🙂 I studied in the US for a year and it was a wonderful year, I love the country and the people there. And I really hope I can go abroad again. I don’t like KDE because it is from Germany (many people are contributing to KDE and it happens that a lot of them are from Germany), I like it because it gives me a powerful framework, I like coding with C++, Qt and KDE. I am very happy that KDE is coming alone so nicely getting faster, more lightwight and nevertheless more powerful. There is also a lot of work going on to make KDE more usable, e.g. just have a look at the KDE usability mailing list or the KDE Quality teams. It is not as far as GNOME, usability-wise, but it is progressing nicely. And concerning the Qt license, I think it is very good that Qt is GPL. First, the GPL encourages people to develop open source applications and that is a good thing. With gtk it is much easier to write closed source applications, which ultimatively is not a good thing for the OSS community. Second, open source is nice, but there also have to be a business model and the developers have to earn some money for living and I think Trolltechs business model is pretty good. They earn enough money to pay their developers and the open source community gets a very good toolkit for free (as in speech and beer). I really would not like Trolltech to change the license of Qt to LGPL because Trolltech would not earn money with Qt anymore and they would not be able to pay their developers to work on improving Qt. I think sooner or later other big open source projects will have to find a way how to make some money, too, because life is not for free and the developers have to earn some money, too. 2004-04-10 1:42 pm from what i understand the qt library is under gpl for when you want to make open source software while you can get it under a “normal” licence if you want to make closed source software. so where is the problem for the business world? is it that you cant run of with the qt libs and use that to make your own software without trowing a dime at trolltech? remeber that GPL dont go after users but after developers so a corporation can use gpl software without getting sued for copyright infringement. its only if they use the source to create a variation that they then ship in to others in some way that they get into trouble as the gpl clearly states that any changes have to be made available then. for internal use of source there is no problems. 2004-04-10 2:34 pm Could you please give me your arguments about the fact that gnome core technologies lag behind their kde counterparts ? Here are my thoughts : C vs C++ : hum no sorry : it is object oriented via GObject and you can even code against it in C++ using gtkmm/gnomemm. And this way is even cleaner than qt as it it STL based and doesn’t use that hideous “moc”. GTK vs QT : actually I would say that they are as good technically speaking, even if I must admit that gtk isn’t really a rocket at redrawing. They both offer an easy way to produce a decent gui using code description or XML code generation. They both are portable and scallable. GTK seems easier to bind to but QT offers more high level widgets. Here is the major divergence, QT is more that a widget set, it is a full developement framework, GTK do is work of toolkit period. If you need more, you must use a gnome technology. For example, QT has XML feature, the gnome counterparts are libxml/libglade/libcroco/libsrvg … IMHO, it really wealthier to have separate projects for separate tasks : more specialized developers, easier to manage, parallel developement = less time. Think of the shell pipes : reuse little tools. The result is that you may have to code more lines to develop a gnome app than a qt one. And actually projects like Bakery makes that false : it handle all the MV side of your app for you and give you an easy api to build a document oriented application. And it is gtkmm based gnomevfs vs KIO : each of them use a clean way to handle the IO stack. Actually heriting from a class then overloading its methods isn’t really different of implementing an interface. No winner here. bonobo vs KPART : from what i heard bonobo isn’t really easy to handle and is the achille’s kneel of gnome. On the opposite, KPART seems to satisfy everybody, some much that it is overused (see konqueror case). Gconf vs KConfigXT : quite similars concepts, dunno For most other parts gnome depends on freedesktop specifications, KDE, while adopting slowly freedesktop, uses mostly own made technologies. So in my point of view, we face a draw technically speaking. I use gnome happilly since October Gnome and see a brighter future for our four fingered foot but keep on rolling KDE! 2004-04-10 3:55 pm > For most other parts gnome depends on freedesktop > specifications, KDE, while adopting slowly freedesktop, > uses mostly own made technologies. that’s not really accurate. GNOME does a great job of supporting FD.o standards, and so does KDE. the only place i know of that KDE isn’t 100% on an accepted FD.o standard is the systray isn’t perfect, though not in ways that most would even notice. support fo the upcoming mimetype spec, for instance, is already being worked on in KDE =) in the past KDE has had to implement some FD.o specs over older stuff simply because KDE got to those things first, often years ago before such a thing as FD.o existed or was even considered. =) 2004-04-10 5:09 pm I’m impressed with the DCOP stuff. Never knew you could do that. 2004-04-10 5:24 pm I think this is a great intro to neat features in KDE. Kudos to the author. Here’s my experience with Mandrakelinux 10, which I still use and enjoy on my desktop. I just wish these issues could be resolved: 1) KWallet needs a password to start-up Kopete. IM program should just start-up when the machine boots up. Kopete and Yahoo don’t play well together (I might just accept that it’s time to leave Yahoo). 2) At 1600×1200, there seems to be no way to rationalize fonts between KDE apps and GTK apps. I’ve tried every variation of every setting, but Thunderbird and Firebird still look different from the other apps, and they look ugly. 3) Kontact crashes too often. 4) I have not been able to get the multimedia applet to actually control xmms. 5) Noatun’s presentation of multiple port playlists is really unpleasant, compared to xmms. 6) KWeather applet doesn’t work properly on my machine. 7) Too bad Mandrakelinux doesn’t include Plastik. 2004-04-10 6:05 pm 7) Too bad Mandrakelinux doesn’t include Plastik. I’m staring at Plastik on my laptop with Linux Mandrake 10.0 as I write this… 2004-04-10 8:05 pm > For most other parts gnome depends on freedesktop > specifications, KDE, while adopting slowly freedesktop, > uses mostly own made technologies. Actually most of the freedesktop specs are derived from the KDE specifications. For example the .desktop files are based on our .kdelnk spec. The system tray spec is based on the we implemented in KDE 2.x. There are several other examples. The reason we don’t switch to these modified versions immediately is because we don’t want to break existing applications. It is also important to remember that freedesktop is about de facto standards – anyone is welcome to propose a specification there, but only those that get general agreement will be used in practice. The specifications that work tend to be those where Gnome and KDE people agree on a particular approach. 2004-04-10 8:39 pm 7) Too bad Mandrakelinux doesn’t include Plastik. I’m staring at Plastik on my laptop with Linux Mandrake 10.0 as I write this… Really? Gotta go look again. 2004-04-10 8:49 pm QT License – For the record I think having two dominant desktops has hurt Linux more than it’s helped. Also, I come from a business perspective not someone that is writing open source apps. Historically, the main reason given for the start of the Gnome project was that the QT license was encumbered. There are reasons too, mainly that some developers don’t/didn’t like C++. Now KDE and gpl-compatible apps are unemcumbered but that’ doesn’t hold true for business. If KDE was ever to become “the” business desktop and ISVs start producing a lot of apps for the KDE desktop then they are beholden to a small company in Norway for their product line. The licensing cost as it stands is not a big deal, but who knows what Trolltech is going to charge for your next app revision. Also, a lot of little custom apps tend to be distributed by vendors to clients to do various things and are not being charged for, but in that case your still forced to open up the code unless you want to pay the license. The core KDE libs are LGPL or MIT/BSD anyway so it seems that the KDE guys didn’t think that GPL was the greatest thing anyway. In any case, you can download microsoft’s c/c++/c# sdk for free and even if you do buy Visual Studio you can sell as many apps as you want with it without buying license. about gnome’s supposed technical inferiority… First off, I’m writing this from a Gnome 2.6 desktop and I’m loving it. – try deriving a new widget from GtkWidget and then you know what a pain it is. Gtkmm is out there, but not quite a first-class citizen in the gnome world yet, if ever. Gtk+ is a good toolkit for c and the bindings are good but these bindings tend to have deployment problems and are either out of sync or buggy. Yeah, and as you stated the redraw problem with gtk+ on more moderate systems. You are right about Bonobo being the achilles heel of Gnome. I’ve never used, but developers seem to think it’s a big pain. Frankly, I’d like to see c#/mono development take off to leapfrog over many of the advantages that the KDE framework has. Let’s face it, C++ has a lot of warts of its own even if it is a better language for a desktop framework. C# with its upcoming generics support and in the long run is going to be much faster than something like Python or Ruby. 2004-04-10 11:12 pm that article changed my thoughts about kde, i upgraded my kde. karamba is nice and cool. i like the webshortcuts feature of konqueror as well. those features are the kinds of things that makes your life easier. 2004-04-10 11:48 pm There seems to be some very nice features in KDE, DCOP for one. But everything seems to be very crowded and ugly. Well, the buttons and the colors can be skinned. But the applications themselves are really too crowded in my opinion. For example look at kdewallet http://static.kdenews.org/mirrors/www.lugod.org/presentations/kde-u… Why is it divided in three “tables”? What is the purpose of the table at top-left? It shows the number of items and what you have selected? Is there any other purpose for it? As it seems to only add useless clutter at the moment. You have already selected an item in “Folder Entry” and to the right you can see your selection again “Name-Value Map: …”. “Show Values” should most propably be in some kind of settings-panel, not in the main UI. And why is that list like a spreadsheet table, do i really need to know the number of the keys? What is that rescue-ring-thing (don’t know what it is called in english) in the list-view? What is it with that Kopete IRC-screen? http://static.kdenews.org/mirrors/www.lugod.org/presentations/kde-u… Are you sure about showing IRC-text like that, there is a lot of useless information and wrapping the messages in a boxes? What is that all about? It is propably just designed to show IRC conversation like you would see an IM conversation? In that case it might work better so that Kopete will keep conversation with it consistant. It seems that most of the KDE programs shown here is too crowded with “tables” http://static.kdenews.org/mirrors/www.lugod.org/presentations/kde-u… , icons http://static.kdenews.org/mirrors/www.lugod.org/presentations/kde-u… and options that should be in a separate settings dialog. Even the printer settings dialog which is propably part of the KDE seems like someone just whipped up the code and never thinked about the UI he is making http://static.kdenews.org/mirrors/www.lugod.org/presentations/kde-u… It seems like KDE has a really powerful core, you can control other programs with DCOP, customize your alerts.. kparts and things like that. But i think KDE should now focus on the usability and elegance issues of the UI before packing too many features in the mishmash that some of those UI’s seem to be. PS. I am not trolling or flaming. This is just my opinion. I am not a Gnome advocate or anything like that. Actually i mostly use CLI apps with Ion. I can say that Gnome UI doesn’t please me usage-wise but it looks elegant. 2004-04-11 12:00 am I think your comments are correct, especially when you take a look at screenshots of Gnome 2.6. I’ve never liked Gnome and don’t really intend to use it, but I did install Fedora Core 2 test2 on a test system lately and its elegance astonished me. Of course, I couldn’t get networking to work, so I gave up for now, but it’s hard not to want some of that for KDE. I also think there’s the issue of who’s coding client-side apps for either system? I’m a web developer, and I can switch back and forth pretty easily, with little effect. 2004-04-11 6:13 pm Hi v+, the beauty of free software projects is that you can join them to help to make them take the path you’d like to see. Judging from your suggestions I think that you could become a very valueable contributor to the KDE project. Did you ever think about joining the KDE Quality Team (which deals with the topics that you address)? http://quality.kde.org And for all the people who become core developers (no matter whether they are coders, artists, writers, usability people) there’s a nice shiny kde.org address and eternal fame waiting for you 😉 Greetings, Tackat 2004-04-12 10:59 am > There seems to be some very nice features in KDE, DCOP for one. +KIO (works with non-kde applications, too!) > But everything seems to be very crowded and ugly. You mean his screenshots look crowded and ugly? You are right, his screenshots are not nice. > Well, the buttons and the colors can be skinned. But the > applications themselves are really too crowded in my > opinion. *Every* toolbar can be adjusted. It’s really simple. Just right-click on any (KDE-)toolbar… The layout of most applications can be adjusted, too. Just drag frames around or close them. > For example look at kdewallet > Why is it divided in three “tables”? What is the purpose > of the table at top-left? It shows the number of items > and what you have selected? Is there any other purpose > for it? Use KWallet and you will see that the GUI is really well done. > As it seems to only add useless clutter at the moment. That’s your *first impression* > What is it with that Kopete IRC-screen? > Are you sure about showing IRC-text like that, there is > a lot of useless information and wrapping the messages > in a boxes? What is that all about? Just a matter of configuration > It seems that most of the KDE programs shown here is too > crowded with “tables” Remov some tables if you want. > , icons Remove some icons or help the author of the application. >Even the printer settings dialog which is propably part > of the KDE seems like someone just whipped up the code > and never thinked about the UI he is making Those are not the “printer settings” from the print dialog. What the screenshot shows is a k-Part that allows you to define special printers, classes of printers and much more, for more info see http://printing.kde.org/ There exists *no* gnome equivalent for this powerfull application. > It seems like KDE has a really powerful core, you can > control other programs with DCOP, customize your alerts.. > kparts and things like that. But i think KDE should now > focus on the usability and elegance issues of the UI > before packing too many features in the mishmash that > some of those UI’s seem to be. Most toolbars of KDE-programs are too crowded. But what do you prefer: – a nice looking application that lacks some needed features or – a application that looks nearly as nice once you have removed some toolbar icons but offers all features you nead? Please keep in mind that you only need to adjust the layout of an (kde-)application *one time* but that you will miss a feature *each time* when you need it. With kde it is possible to use a really clean desktop with all the power of KDE.