With KDE 3.2 reaching a status of stable and mature, a lot of work has been going into the next and final release of the 3.x series, 3.3. Because 3.3 recently hit beta status, NewsForge caught up with KDE developer George Staikos to talk about all things KDE.
Sneak preview of KDE 3.3: Q&A with developer George Staikos
Submitted by cies 2004-08-16 KDE 63 Comments
What I really like about KDE is their omnipresent omnipotent optimism. Wherever you read anything written by a KDE team it’s always like “Yes!! KDE can do that! KDE is great!” that sort of thing. That really gets more people involved. And that sounds refreshingly nice too.
Thanks to all the devs – KDE’s coming on well – looking forward eventually to KDE 4 onwards – the work’s appreciated – good stuff
“Because 3.3 recently hit beta status”
I’m using kde 3.3 final on debian sid… kde 3.3 reach final state…
Umm… no actually.. it’s still only on Beta 2. The KDE site still says KDE 3.2.3 is the latest stable and I have seen no news release stating that KDE 3.3 is stable.
i believe kde 3.3 is now RC2 and due for release on the 19th, just before aKademy.
Oops, sorry. I meant RC2
BTW- Nice article!
KDE 3.3 now introducing new “our users no longer getting lost in 50 different control panel tabs and a few thousand settings and making us look like complete asses” technology.
…is refining KDE. I mean, it looks really good. The plastik theme is nice and modern looking without looking like a Fisher Price design. They’ve got all the features that a modern desktop should have. They should just spend a year focusing on refining the UI (the less clutter the better) and making it more stable.
I’m glad to see that KDE3.3 won’t be adding loads of more features. I hope this trend continues!
funnily enough, Its in debian (sid) unstable already.. It seems very good so far.. Konqueror is beginning to stabilise out some nice new features in control centre etc. all in all nice upgrade.. Not that much of a wow it looks completely different factor though, one thing to note is at last the pager applet looks decent.
RC2 is not identical to final and the final release source tarballs were last modified today.
KDE 3.3.0 seems to have been tagged for release in cvs for a few days now. I guess that’s where debian built it’s packages from.
Tags can be and are moved.
“We need to be faster and smaller, that’s for sure.”
Given how fast KDE is already, I’m glad to hear this goal is still here.
Imho, I we get instant (<< 0.2s) startup times for simple KDE apps (konsole etc.) there won’t be end to praises in reviews
its kde 3.3.0
yes its debian unstable (sid)
Yes, sir, it’s in here Just done my weekly upgrade and got surprise from mr santa Nice and smooth alright.
It is actually faster than 3.2 i dont know how they manage it but every release has gotten faster. I say this with no lie but you dont wait for kde apps to load they just load its freaking awesome.
“KDE is also a very user-friendly operating environment, perfect for beginners but designed with power and flexibility in mind. This means it gives newcomers room to grow.”
I think Staikos is making a really great point here. Often, it is argued that KDE suffers from too many features – here’s the reason it doesn’t. Obviously, some stuff needs to be seriously uncluttered, but I wholly believe KDE should continue to support the level of configurability and flexibility it does today, or even expand on it further.
Given KDE’s configurability, I think one thing it needs to evolve towards is allowing for customization to be done properly. Let me explain:
From the configuration point of view, there are basically three things that a user might want to configure:
1) What items appear in toolbars;
2) What items appear in menus;
3) What items appear in dialogs.
When people say “KDE is too cluttered” this is generally what is meant — there are too many things in the toolbars, too many things in the menus, and too many things in the dialogs. One very powerful aspect of KDE is that the first two items are completely configurable via XMLGUI. That means that if a user things there is too much clutter in the UI, they can change it. However, this approach has a number of practical limitations:
1) For users who like very simple UIs, it’s a lot of work. KDE tends to come with as many gadgets turned on as possible, so there is a lot to remove. Someone who only wants a few Konqueror toolbar buttons (my Konqueror has 4 buttons and a location bar — that’s it) has to do a lot more work than somebody who wants all their favorite actions right on the toolbar.
2) The tools for doing this configuration aren’t as good as they could be. The toolbar editor is cumbersome to use for doing lots of modifications, and no GUI exists to modify the menus.
3) The modifications are precarious. There is no way to package up and distribute a set of UI modifications as one does, say, a theme. When switching KDE versions, there is no good way to carry your modifications over to the next version, except to hope that keeping your existing .kde directory doesn’t break anything (for me, KDE 3.2 -> KDE 3.3 required deleting my .kde directory).
Number 3 in particular makes KDE’s extensive configurability useless for users who like simple UIs (like GNOME or BeOS). Requiring extensive customization to get to a simple UI defeats the purpose of having a simple UI! Now, I do think it would be possible to solve this problem in the same way KDE solves most problems — more technology. If customization to 1, 2, and 3 are allowed, and there are good GUI tools for doing so, and if a user can install a “UI theme” as easily as they install a widget theme, it would be easy for small groups of people to maintain UI themes that are appropriate for other users who share their tastes.
> There is no way to package up and distribute a set of UI modifications as one does, say, a theme.
Isn’t it possible to just pack the applications rc files into an archive and extract them at the target machine?
My guess would be that for example a konqueror.rc in .kde/share/apps/konqueror overrides konqueror.rc in KDEPREFIX/share/konqueror
The way that KDE comes with all the buttons displayed by default, all the extras on by default is reminiscent of Windows having all the services turned on by default, except where that leads to bad security, KDE’s problem leads to a cluttered looking UI. I’d MUCH rather have the default be VERY minimal, and be able to turn on everything I want from there. Start with a quiet classroom, and lets get louder as the discussion unfolds.
I agree that the toolbar customization in konqueror is a little less than intuitive. I like the firefox way of doing it.
But then again, its not that hard.. My konqueror has only 5 buttons and an address bar and took me about 10 min to get it there.
You may argue that it should be simple by default, but the problem is, I may want a different set of “simple” buttons than the Gnome team thinks I should. In fact, that is almost always the case so I need to be able to change it.
I wouldn’t have so much of a problem with KDE if it’s default interface was simplified so that I didn’t have to spend hours getting rid of all the clutter, and hunting through the gazillion control panels it has to find and disable or change certain things.
That’s why I stopped using KDE. GNOME’s default setup was pretty darn close to what I wanted, and most of my Apps are Gtk apps anyway. (Except the Qt apps I write and maintain ;D)
The new comer is usually overwhelmed by KDE’s numerous options and, more often, even confused by it. Cluttered interfaces aren’t welcoming or easy to navigate. And inundating users with an avalanche of options or information will reduce their productivity.
Light can cut through metal when it is focused (laser). KDE’s presentation layer needs more focus. I think as users, we are more productive when we do more with little, and not the other way round.
Sometimes it feels nice to launch an application and use it without wadding through configuration preferences, littered menus and intimidating interfaces. What’s further frustrating is that KDE proponents see this as a feature not a problem.
Oh well, I look forward to KDE version 4.
Mirrored.. Cause.. The bandwidth limit on that other site sucks.
The thing is, it took you 10 minutes to get it to look that way. If you’re a distributor or sysadmin, looking to make a simplified KDE UI for your users, that’s a lot of work to go through a dozen or two applications and do the customization. I’d guess a better interface could cut customization time in half, which would be more reasonable. However, that’s still way too much work for the end-user. I’d much rather have the ability to distribute pre-customized profiles, and have each end-user do the little tweeks he needs from there.
KDE3.3 is already in Debian unstable, I installed it today. My first impressions are very positive. It feels a little bit faster and snappier then KDE3.2. Especially KMail seems to be faster then the previous version which is very nice. Also some things are more polished like the virtual desktop pager which looks better now. Also the icons on the left side of the file requester look much better now if you chose small icons. There is also a new theme-manager. There are other details like if you try to close a tab in konqueror with some text typed in a form and you did not submit it, a requester pops up and asks you, if you really want to lose the text you just typed. Really good idea. I think the KDE developers really did a great job with this release.
Which applications need to be customized? Aside from Konqueror, I’ve never had to customize the toolbars of any other KDE applications. KMail is no more complicated than Outlook, and other KDE apps are about the same as their Windows counterparts.
The problem with too many options and clutter in KDE is usually confined to KControl and Konqueror.
While KMail might benefit from the updated KDE libs, KMail itself is still at 3.2.3 in Debian unstable.
I’m a language-oriented (rather than visual) person, so I tend to remove all but the most often-used and most easily-recognizable icons from my toolbars. To me, a shortcut or a menu entry is a lot quicker to access than a cryptic icon. In particular, I find the standard “new file,” “open file,” “close file,” “copy,” “paste,” icons to be completely useless. I’m also pretty anal about removing “ugly items.” This includes ugly icons (eg: Cervesia), and too-long menu entries (eg: “Preview in Embedded Advanced Text Editor” in Konqueror).
And when are we going to install themes without being a l337 machine?
Untar, unzip, compile, run, move, do that, do that… For me this is a piece of shit desktop…I mean, there are ppl that wants to run other themes then Plastic (which btw sux).
I can’t believe they left your post up, it’s clearly offensive to people who have put in man hours on KDE.
And you can theme it the same as any desktop. The compiling is because you are installing a program to draw widgets in ways that QT doesn’t support by default. There are a lot of theme engines for KDE, unlike gtk2 which probably has about 4 in common use.
You can simply install a new theme. And most dists package KDE with a LOT of themes, like 6 or 7.
Chill out, and quit freakin about about your theme and how you don’t like it. You should try using the previous default….*shudders*
“INSTALL: Download the content file and
unpack with “tar -xjf bk_subway_inside.tar.bz2”. Have a look at the README, run the install script “./install.sh” and change the desktop setting as descripted in the README.”
tar -xjf baghira.tar.bz2
./configure –prefix=`kde-config –prefix` –disable-debug [–enable-final]
(!!!BEGINNERS: the direction of the accents is _important_ (top-left to bottom-right), the rectangular brackets mean [this is optional] – don’t type them!!!)
and finally as root:
This is only 2 examples from kde.look.org.
and btw Chris, I don’t like the “defaults”
I wonder why I can just drag & drop themes.tar.gz to the “theme-manager” in gnome, but not in all mighty KDE?
You’re confused. Until KDE 3.3, there were no “themes” in KDE. There were widget styles and color schemes, both of which are seperate things. In GNOME, there are no color schemes, and a theme is a combination of a GTK+ engine (the same thing as a KDE widget style) and a specific color scheme. KDE 3.3 introduced a theme manager, which packages a widget style with a color scheme (and wallpaper and sounds, etc). KDE 3.3 can install themes just as easily as GNOME. To summerize:
1) KDE widget styles (the stuff you see on kdelook.org) are specified as code (except for pixmap themes, which are much less common in KDE than in GNOME). They have to be compiled, just like GTK+ engines need to be compiled.
2) In KDE < 3.3, the equivilent of a GNOME theme can be installed via the GUI by choosing a widget style and color scheme. Both GNOME and KDE require that the style engine already be compiled and installed for this to work.
2) In KDE > 3.3, a theme combining a widget style and color scheme can be installed via the GUI. Like GNOME themes, this requires the widget style to already be compiled and installed.
He said common use, not everyone that Gentoo has in an ebuild somewhere. Don’t be silly.
And how do we define common use? What is the most commonly used gtk engine? Your sources are welcome.
This isn’t gentoo specific. The links to the packages are clearly displayed. Any Linux user can visit the urls and install the theme engines whether or not he/she uses Gentoo.
Well, you could take the fact that I and several other Gnome users (since 1.4) that I know of have never even heard of half of those. The other problem with your list is you’re counting both GTK1 and GTK2 engines. Which is also rather silly. You’re obviously not a Gnome user.
Well, you could take the fact that I and several other Gnome users (since 1.4) that I know of have never even heard of half of those.
That’s irrelevant and unsubstantiated. I could equally say myself and several other GNOME users (since 1.4) that I know of have heard of most of those. I could also call that a fact.
The other problem with your list is you’re counting both GTK1 and GTK2 engines.
Which is also rather silly. You’re obviously not a Gnome user.
I am. I am also a KDE user.
Yes, I agree with Rayiner’s comments. I, too, am a language-oriented person and hence find myself generally preferring CLI to GUI, LaTeX to graphical DTP/WYSIWYG and so on. Fortunately, whilst Microsoft neglected people such as I with a very under-developed CLI in Win NT (not to mention the atrocious DOS command line), Linux retains flexibility.
When I do use GUIs, however, I have always found the best system to be that which was found in Lotus Smart Suite. That is, a floating palette, with a series of simple palettes that allowed for “live” updates of data. This eliminated both cryptic icons and the need for the tedious p[rocess of going through a menu, hunting for options in obscure dialogue boxes and finally clicking “Okay” before the formatting occurred. Under this, all changes occur in real time and can thus be quickly undone. Also, as there is no need to click “Okay” or exit dialogue boxes, many changes could be undertaken by simply going from tab to tab. Everything was in the one huge dialogue box. I would love to see this incorporated in KDE and, particularly, KOffice in the future, rather than following the tedious Microsoft way of doing everything. Does anyone have any practical objections to this suggestion?
— Rayiner Hashem
kiosktool is what you want. It allows you to create profiles that can be centrally stored and distributed via ssh. You configure everything once and only once. And then apply it to sets of users/groups/desktops.
As far as I can tell, kiosktool doesn’t allow you to edit arbitrary toolbars and menus, just some specific ones.
Rayiner Hashem said:
Yes, I agree with Rayiner’s comments.
Would the real Rayiner Hashem please stand up?
My name is David! I wrote the comments regarding Lotus Word Pro. Must have copied and pasted the wrong field into the form. My apologies to the real Rayiner!
“I’m also pretty anal about removing “ugly items.””
haha, me too. not long ago i just could not run kde because there were just too many ugliness issues that had to be solved. today, thanks to the great kde-artists, that problem is almost gone… almost, because there are still icons like Open new tab
An Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder this, isn’t it?
You could find the KDE 184.108.40.206 in the http://ftp.suse.com. THE rpms are for SUSE 9.0 and 9.1. Almost all of the RPMs are there. Even QT 3.3.3 is there.
True but just run kiosk.. you can lock down the desktop in 10 minutes, then distribute the cfg for the lock down to all other clients and done.. Not that much work, or tarball the .kde directory and distribute to every user and use that. It never takes long to make everything look the same in kde.
How to install KDE 3.2 or 3.3 on a Fedora Core 1 system?
I would like either to:
– have to download just one program, which in turn will download all the necessary stuff to upgrade my system.
– have to download one large archive containing all necessary packages.
Then I would like to click or type “install” and not have to worry about packages, upgrades, configuration, etc.
Surely that must exist ?
I’m not looking to lock-down the desktop. I’m looking to distribute customizations to menus and toolbars. As far as I can tell, Kiosk won’t let me do that. Also, distributing the .kde directory is a fragile solution. First, it overwrites the user’s existing configuration. Second, it’s not very robust in the face of differing KDE versions.
“Sometimes it feels nice to launch an application and use it without wadding through configuration preferences, littered menus and intimidating interfaces.”
Just because you CAN configure KDE to your hearts content, does not mean that you HAVE to configure it. And I fail to see how the interfaces are “intimidating”.
And to continue:
“The new comer is usually overwhelmed by KDE’s numerous options and, more often, even confused by it.”
You can’t speak for all users. Will some people be “overwhelmed” by KDE’s numerous options? Sure! But you might as well that some users will be underwhelmed at Gnomes lack of features and configurability.
FWIW: my wife uses KDE, and she’s a new user. And she was not “overwhelmed”. Saying that “new users are usually overwhelmed” is not a fact, it’s just an opinion with no facts backing it up.
> I’m looking to distribute customizations to menus
> and toolbars. As far as I can tell, Kiosk won’t
> let me do that.
“To restrict access to function the kdeglobals file should contain the
group “[KDE Action Restrictions]”, each action can then restricted by
adding “<action>=false”. E.g. to disable the action “shell_access” one
[KDE Action Restrictions][$i]
Actions that refer to menu and toolbar actions are prefixed with action/’ the
following standard actions are defined: […]
> Also, distributing the .kde
> directory is a fragile solution.
You don’t need to. Just read
instead of spreading nonsense.
For the last time, I’m not talking about lockdown! As far as I can tell, you cannot use kiosk to configure everything that you can via xmlgui. You can lock-down actions, but I don’t want to do that. I want to rearrange toolbars and menus. Eg: I might want to remove file_print from the toolbar, but I don’t want to prevent the user from going to Location->Print or using CTRL-P.
Kiosk is about distributing changes to functionality, and thus it opperates at the KAction layer. I’m talking about distributing changes to presentation, something that operates at the XMLGUI layer (which lies on top of the KActions layer). This sort of thing can be done by editing the relevent XMLGUI files, but there is no GUI for doing so and no way to distribute the changes without copying rc files around. Remember when Chris Lee distributed his modified version of the Konqueror right-click menu? I thought it was a great idea. However, it required overwriting one of your rc files with his, and wouldn’t scale well to large numbers of changes.
By Anonymous (IP: —.ipt.aol.com) – Posted on 2004-08-17 19:29:44
> KDE sucks
Ohhh geeeeeeeeeeeeee how cutie-cutie littl’ ALO – you made my day. Thank you for the endorphins.
Since I first started using Linux a little over two years ago, I tended to fluxuate between using GNOME and KDE. I always liked the superior features and configurability of KDE, and I always liked the relative cleanliness and simplicity of GNOME.
I still like and use both. But ever since I got KDE 3.2 with my Mandrake 10, I’ve been leaning heavily towards KDE, with it being my main preference. Here’s why:
1. Speed. KDE 3.2 is lightning fast, even on my 300MHz Thinkpad 600. It amazes me that KDE 3.3 is reportedly even faster.
2. Memory usage. KDE, with all of it’s features, configurations, and eye candy, still manages to mimimize memory usage. On average, KDE will use about 40-50 megs less memory than GNOME will on my system, with equal amount of apps running (or none at all).
One would think that with GNOME’s simple interface it would be less memory intensive. It’s not. It’s a memory hog. It’s got GTK+, Gnome libraries, Bonobo server, metacity server, and a bunch of other crap running in the background.
KDE, by contrast, has QT libs running, and less in terms of services.
3. Application framework. Hands down, QT/KDE is a much more productive, easy, and powerful development framework than GTK+/Gnome/bonobo/corba is.
4. Development tools. KDevelop, QT Designer, and KATE all run circles around Glade and GEdit (and optionally Anjuta, which doesn’t really work).
5. Apps. KDE has an app for everything you can think of. KDE is more than a desktop environment – it’s a complete (and I mean complete) application suite. GNOME has some nice apps (Epiphany, Gnumeric, Evolution, GIMP), but lacks many crucial apps that both technical and non-technical users want and need. KDE has it all.
6. Eye Candy and configurability. This is superfluous, but fun nonetheless. I can configure KDE to look practically anyway I want. I’ve even configured it to look similar to GNOME (with panel on top, and cleaned up icons). I’ve configured it to look like XP, and Mac. There are a bazillion desktop backgrounds. Lately, my favorite themes are Mandrake’s Galaxy, and Keramik.
7. Simplicity. GNOME is simple. But so is KDE. I’ve never had difficulty with KDE interfaces. I think the “clutter” criticism is overrated. I’ve taken away a lot of the default tool bar icons in Konqueror, but that’s about it for simplifying KDE. And there is a reason that all of the distros oriented towards desktop users, newbies, and Windows converts all default to KDE (or offer it exclusively) – it’s easy and looks great. Mandrake, SuSE, Linspire, Mepis, Knoppix, Xandros, and Lycoris all default to, or feature exclusively, KDE.
I like GNOME. I like it a lot. I think the Linux/FOSS world benefit greatly to have two major DE’s (and several others). I also think the GNOME/KDE flame wars are silly and useless. But for my money, KDE is eons ahead of GNOME, and I find it to be easier, more productive, more fun, and more powerful than GNOME will ever be.
[QUOTE]I like GNOME. I like it a lot. I think the Linux/FOSS world benefit greatly to have two major DE’s (and several others). I also think the GNOME/KDE flame wars are silly and useless. But for my money, KDE is eons ahead of GNOME, and I find it to be easier, more productive, more fun, and more powerful than GNOME will ever be..[/QUOTE]
So, basically you say it sux but you like it. Oh well if people could more feel like that about things…
@ rayiner you talk about spreading out rcs as a bad thing i find it good all cfgs are backed and anuything i setup i have my default preconfigured cfgs which i put in place for whatever the server is meant to do. Cuts configuration time in half.
When I said copying the .kde the rc files is exactly what i was talking about. I do agree with you it is too much of a pain in the ass to do to a preconfigured kde desktop.. But if you are starting with a blank canvas and want all users to have the same identical desktop then copying the .kde directory around would do it prefectly.
But yes i dont disagree with you configuration can be all over the place.. and can be quite disorganised. Making the control center better more organised would be great going the way of gnome imho is just plain bad. They could for example have a basic intermediate and advanced setting with basic as default which hides most of the options and when going to advanced everything is revealed, much like what gnome was doing in 1.4 shame they removed that because imho that was smart, but to resort to using a registry to tweak the desktop is just plain stupid, i know i could not be arsed with that sort of nonsense.
Actually, I think spread-out RC files are a fine thing (because there is a reason why it’s spread out). In any case, a user wanting a simplified configuration shouldn’t be required to mess with these files anyway. My comment is that distribution of pre-configured setups is not really robust, because it relies on overwriting existing configurations. This means that if the user starts with anything but the default configuration for the exact version for which the modifications were made, you could overwrite something important. This is precisely the reason people send code patches as diffs, instead of modified files.
“I want to rearrange toolbars and menus. Eg: I might want to remove file_print from the toolbar, but I don’t want to prevent the user from going to Location->Print or using CTRL-P.”
You can’t re-arrange menus (can you do that on ANY desktop for that matter?) but you CAN re-arrange toolbars! So I fail to see the problem here.
Actually, you can rearrange the menus if you’re willing to edit the xmlgui files directly.
So, basically you say it sux but you like it. Oh well if people could more feel like that about things…
So where did I say that anything sux???
I did point out aspects where I thought KDE was ahead of GNOME, but by no means did I say or imply that GNOME sucks.
I like GNOME for it’s simplicity. It has very comfortable, intuitive interfaces. The GNOME HIG is an excellent guideline for interface design.
But right now, I like KDE better, for the reasons I detailed in my original post.