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

Stan Goodman stan.goodman at hashkedim.com
Wed Dec 23 18:09:03 UTC 2009

At 19:18:18 on Wednesday Wednesday 23 December 2009, James Loughner 
<jwrl at suddenlink.net> wrote:
> I'm confused at what you are calling shower curtains??

Sorry about that. It was my annoyance coming through, and nobody on the 
list needs to know about that.

> I run Suse 11.2.
> I think what you are calling shower curtains are folder views. ie a
> plasmoid (widget) that shows a view into a directory. If so just click
> the cashew at the top right select unlock now you should see a tool bar
> at the side of the widget. there you can move rotate, resize, configure
> or remove the widget.

Right you are. I will continue to examine that facility, which I currently 
regard as useless FOR ME. Perhaps I will stumble on a way they can help 
me. But I doubt it. My real complaint is that there doesn't seem to have 
been any interest at KDE in whether the bulk of users needs or wants 
them, and this complication was dumped on everyone unawares, with no 
thought of a Plan-B for those who would prefer to opt out.

> You can add widgets including folder views by selecting add from the
> cashew's menu once the it is unlocked.Locking locks the widgets in
> place. You can bring the widgets to the foreground by the show
> dashboard control.

Different Strokes for Different Folks. I believe in that fervently. That 
is harder for a user to implement in a radically different Desktop.

> I find KDE 4 much much better and more flexibly then 3.5. Once I found
> the cashew all else was pretty intuitive just read the selections on
> the menus and setup screens. You can have a activity set up to do
> program development on one graphics on another multimedia on another
> etc. switching "desktops" is actually just switching activities. In 3.5
> the desktop was the same for all "desktops" just different backgrounds.
> With KDE 4.x each "desktop" can be unique for it's activity.

It doesn't look like a cashew to me, but that isn't what we are talking 
about. For that matter, the word "Plasma" already has a meaning, with 
which it is difficult to connect with anything I see in KDE4.

> My 2 cents...
...is worth as much as anyone else's.

> Jim
> On 12/23/2009 08:52 AM, Stan Goodman wrote:
> > At 13:46:18 on Wednesday Wednesday 23 December 2009, Duncan
> >
> > <1i5t5.duncan at cox.net> wrote:
> >> 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.
> >
> > I've given it a shot. For the benefit of any other readers, I should
> > mention that what you have written as 'elect "Plasma Options"' Should
> > read 'select Configure Plasma" (no doubt a simple typo). Then, after
> > selecting "Separate activity per desktop", six distinct shower
> > curtains popped up, all without any identification, so that one
> > doesn't know after performing an "Activity" which desktop he has
> > Acted upon. That can't be right.
> >
> > Leaving that aside, I assumed that now, in each shower curtain, I
> > must click MB2 to choose and install a background image. But in fact
> > that click does nothing. I fiddled around a bit, which caused one of
> > the six windows to occupy the entire screen, after which more
> > fiddling made it small again, but there were only four of them, not
> > six as before. Now it was possible to MB2 on any one of the four, and
> > set a background. I felt rewarded for 4 out of 6. But I didn't know
> > how to find the remaining two, nor how to return to normal
> > (non-"Activity") operation, so I rebooted.
> >
> > What I have now is three (not four) virtual desktops with presentable
> > backgrounds, and three with the default background (Bubbly
> > Chartreuse). The shower curtain appears only on desktop #1, which is
> > good, but I would like to dump  it too. And I would like to take
> > another crack at setting a good background on the three that don't
> > have one.
> >
> > My question at this point is: Should I begin the process again from
> > scratch according to your directions? Or is there a way to bring up
> > the former set of Activities as it was, with six windows? I ask
> > because I don't know if I am leaving two (or three) Activities in
> > existence but uncompleted, that may come back to bite me in the
> > future.
> >
> > But it it is going to leave me with shower curtains on each desktop,
> > I don't think I'm interested. Can I hide them in some way, and go
> > about my business in the way I have until now enjoyed?
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Stan Goodman
Qiryat Tiv'on

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