[kde-linux] Debian 5.0, KDE: getting konqueror to open links from kmail in the background (and not interfere with other behaviors)

Randy Kramer rhkramer at gmail.com
Tue Apr 7 13:06:55 UTC 2009

On Tuesday 07 April 2009 08:22:01 am Randy Kramer wrote:
> I didn't realize they had that policy (even though I might have read
> it ;-)--sounds like my decision is made--take it to a Debian mail
> list, and, then, if necessary, file a Debian bug.

For the record, I've sent a post to the debian-user at lists.debian.org 
with my question, revised somewhat, hopefully (I know) to make the 
question clearer, and with a new subject:

Subject: KDE: Clicking a link in kmail brings konqueror to the 
foreground (with focus), unlike the behavior on my old Mandriva2006 

(Aside: I've done a fair amount of googling, reading documentation, 
experimenting (which includes comparing settings on my old Mandriva2006 
installation to my new Debian 5.0 installation), and even asking on a 
kde mail list (kde-linux at kde.org) with no good results so far.  Also, 
this is slightly rephrased from the question on that  list--I hope it 
makes it more clear.)

Background and (some) details:

On my recently retired Mandriva2006 system (replaced with a Debian 5.0 
installation using KDE), when I clicked a link in kmail (and there was 
an instance of konqueror open on the same desktop), the link would open 
in a new tab of the existing konqueror instance *and leave that 
instance of konqueror in the background* (i.e., behind kmail, with 
kmail maintaining the focus).

In Debian 5.0, I can't get the same behavior without other adverse 
effects.  To be more specific, clicking a link in kmail:

   * will open the link in a new tab in the existing konqueror (this is 
good) (this was not the behavior as delivered, but required changing 
only a few fairly obvious configuration settings for konqueror)

   * but this will bring konqueror to the foreground, with the focus, 
obscuring kmail (this is bad, not what I prefer, and not the behavior I 
had on Mandriva2006) and requiring me to do things to restore kmail to 
the foreground and get the focus back to kmail.  

(I do have a workaround which is to keep konqueror mostly offscreen so 
just a corner of konqueror becomes visible when it comes to the 
foreground, I can then reclick in kmail to regain the focus and 
continue reading email--I'd prefer not to have to use this workaround.)

I have found at least one way to solve the problem for kmail, but that 
causes other problems for the overall system.  The primary way I've 
found is to adjust the "focus stealing prevention" for windows (in 
general) from the "low" setting (the default as installed setting) 
to "high" ("normal" didn't quite do the job).  Some of the adverse 
effects from doing this included:

   * various popups, like authorization dialogs in konqueror and other 
things (kcontrol) now pop under the "parent" window--thus they are not 
   * the Run Command dialog (called by <alt><F2>) doesn't get the focus 
when it pops up unless by chance it pops up over the current location 
of the mouse pointer

I also experimented with "Windows Specific Settings" but didn't make 
much progress there--some of the behaviors seemed counterintuitive or 
buggy (for example, iirc, if I got a Window to "keep below" I could 
never get it above the other windows on that screen (desktop), and vice 
versa) .  

In addition, on my Mandriva 2006 system there were no Windows specific 
settings for konqueror or kmail--the only Windows specific settings 
were for, darn, I think it was gjots (the little notetaking application 
that uses ccrypt).

Mandriva2006 used KDE 3.4.2. with konqueror 3.4.2 and, iirc, kmail 

The Question(s):

So, my first question is, does anybody using Debian 5.0 (KDE) have the 
behavior I desire, that is, that clicking on a link in kmail brings up 
the link in a new tab in an instance of konqueror on the same desktop 
(this part does work for me) while leaving that instance of konqueror 
in the background (this is the part that does not work for me, the real 
heart of the question).

If so, does it do so without any of the adverse effects I described 
above (causing popups to pop under, or the Run Command to not get the 
focus if the mouse pointer is not within the boundaries of the Run 
Command popup).

If so, my next (i.e., future) questions will relate to how you got that 

If not, I wonder what has changed between KDE 3.4.2 and Debian's KDE 
3.5.10/3.5.9.  (And, could it be "fixed". ;-)

BTW, I should mention that, to the best of my recollection, the behavior 
I described for kmail and konqueror on Mandriva2006 was the as 
installed / default behavior, although that was several years ago and I 
may have forgotten something.


Randy Kramer
I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I created a video 
instead.--with apologies to Cicero, et.al.

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