[kde-linux] In KDE4, to set a different background for each of the multiple desktops

Duncan 1i5t5.duncan at cox.net
Wed Dec 23 11:46:18 UTC 2009

Stan Goodman posted on Wed, 23 Dec 2009 00:13:50 +0200 as excerpted:

> In KDE3 this was possible. The background-installation process is very
> similar in KDE4, but the result is that the same background is displayed
> in each of the desktops. Is this a new limitation, or am I missing
> something. I would be grateful for this information, and any other that
> will help me with the kind of desktop that I have had in the past, and
> would like to have again.

In 4.3 it's possible, but non-obvious.  From what I've read, 4.4 makes 
the process more discoverable as just one of the many plasma improvements 
that are said to be included.

The key in 4.3 is to realized that in kde4, the backgrounds are attached 
to activities, not desktops.  This is rather more obvious in multi-
monitor setups than it is otherwise, because each monitor gets a separate 
activity and therefore a separate background, but it quickly becomes 
obvious if you use multiple activities on a single monitor setup, as well.

Activities... are an interesting concept.  The idea is to be able to 
group a bunch of plasmoids into a single task appropriate activity, then 
switch activities when you switch tasks.  It /is/ a neat concept, but it 
/does/ take some getting used to.

Originally and as designed, activities were supposed to be entirely 
separate from virtual desktops, so there was no particular link between a 
virtual desktop and an activity, and therefore no particular link between 
a desktop and the background, since that's part of the activity, not part 
of the desktop.  However, as kde4 was more widely deployed, the 
developers realized that the virtual desktop metaphor was already 
embedded in people's heads and work-styles, while activities were new, 
and many many people strongly preferred that they be linked.  Thus, in 
4.3, a new option was added, different activity for each desktop.  
Unfortunately, in 4.3, this option was only available from the configure 
plasma menu, which only shows up when the activities are zoomed out, and 
activity zooming doesn't seem to be as natively intuitive as the 
developers had hoped.  In fact, it can be quite scary for some, if they 
don't know what's going on, so if it happened accidentally, they may be 
rather inclined to avoid the action that triggered it in the future.  Of 
course, that means people aren't as likely to discover the options behind 
zoomed activities, including this one.

So 4.4 makes that option (and others only accessible thru activity 
zooming in 4.3) more accessible from a number of other places.  (Since 
I'm not running the 4.4 betas yet, I've only read of it, I don't know the 
details.)  In fact, by ensuring that all zoomed-out-activity options are 
available elsewhere in the UI, 4.4 is said to do away with the necessity 
of zooming activities to get to them entirely, tho some people like the 
zooming, once they get used to it, and it should remain an option, 
perhaps like the desktop grid effect option.

Meanwhile, how does one access this in 4.3?  Simple.  Click on the 
desktop "cashew" (aka toolbox, that little plasma symbol), and select 
zoom out.  Now you have access to activity options such as creating new 
ones, etc.  On the popup menu that should appear at the top left, select 
plasma options, and a dialog should popup with a couple of... what else, 
plasma options. =:^)  One of these is the separate activity per desktop 
option that should enable what you're after.

Duncan - List replies preferred.   No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master."  Richard Stallman

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