Why KDE4 is called KDE?

Draciron Smith draciron at gmail.com
Thu Dec 10 06:35:53 GMT 2009

On Wed, Dec 9, 2009 at 5:52 PM, Duncan <1i5t5.duncan at cox.net> wrote:
> Draciron Smith posted on Wed, 09 Dec 2009 11:50:56 -0600 as excerpted:
> It's easy enough to add an app to the menu.  Simply right click on the
> menu icon, choose menu editor, find where you want to put the app, and
> fill in the details, the exact same way one could do it in kde3.  If you

Wrong you can only add items which are ALREADY in the menu. For
example I always install Firefox from a tarball since I want security
patches as soon as they happen sometimes.  Old way was I just edited
the icon/path and it was all good. A simple right click and browse too
the file and if I needed too edit the command line to be passed too

New system if it's not in the menu you can't add it. You can't add
console apps period, old system you could run a console app, have
multiple versions of the same software and run them from different
icons,  you could pass on command line parms to apps and even have
multiple icons for the same item but different command lines and
different names for it.

> prefer the manual way, you can edit the text files or drop the pre-made
> *.desktop file in the appropriate location and run kbuildsycoca.  Adding
> firefox or a script shouldn't be /that/ difficult doing that, I did it
> all the time in kde3 (with kde4 I decided to keep the default menu, in
> most respects, tho I do have a few of my own entries as well) and I've
> /no/ idea where the claim that you have to create your own code to do it,
> just to add a script to the menu, came from.

That's a whole lot of effort for something that was REALLY simple to
do in KDE 3.x. Something that took seconds now takes lot of time and
STILL doesn't cover many of the issues such as multiple command line
parms for same version, multiple versions of same software and console

> If you'd asked...

Actually I did ask.

>> KDE 4 says this is how your going to use your desktop like it or not.
>> Folks are responding with a loud and clear NOT.
>> It's not going away either. Think about it. If folks wanted a hard to
>> customize desktop manager why change off the default Gnome

> I've found it quite easy to customize, barring significant remaining
> bugs, some of which (multi-key global hotkey, I ended up scripting my own
> solution) might not be fixed for awhile.

The panel and how you work however is badly broken and minus key
functionality. That is a huge part of the customization involved with
a desktop. Gnome, and I think even XFCE can change global shortcuts
though individual apps should always override the system default or
you may accidentally cause untold havoc to files you are working on in
some apps. GIMP shortcuts really don't apply too a text editors
functionality which doesn't apply too something like Ardour where your
editing sound files.  Any shortcut key which overrides the apps
shortcuts is in my opinion going to cause more trouble than it solves.

> KDE's still generally easy to customize, arguably easier than GNOME, one
> of the reasons I stuck with it.  To be fair, I'd have stuck with kde3 for
> awhile longer until more of the bugs on kde4 got worked out, had I a
> choice, but Gentoo dropped it because upstream kde was dropping it.

A number of distros are dropping KDE actually. Knoppix just switched
away from KDE.

> That's my /my/ complaint.  There shouldn't have been that support gap
> that kde left.  They should have kept kde3 supported until kde4 provided
> parallel functionality -- with at least close to parallel lack of
> functionality-show-stopper bugs.  But in general, kde's still very
> customizable, tho it has taken it some time to get back in stride and
> still isn't ready for normal use, IMO.  By 4.4 (February) it should be
> close.  By 4.5 (August), the prediction (mine and others) is it will be.
> Unfortunately kde's trying to claim it is now, and has been since 4.2,
> and that's just crazy.  *IF* one believes them, then yes, kde4 sucks,
> isn't as customizable and won't be, etc, but the evidence suggests
> otherwise.

I've given you and the list DOZENS of examples of lost functionality.
Sometimes crucial sometimes just nice to have things. They add up to a
major loss of functionality and customization.

>> The reason is the appeal of KDE has been that strong, an appeal
>> based not on colors or functionless eye candy like the plasmoid. Come on
>> you could lock your panel going back to what KDE 2? IT was a right click
>> away.  Aside from locking your desktop what function does the plasmoid
>> server other than eye candy? It's no faster to log out using the
>> plasmoid than the menu. If your in such a hurry you can just drop the
>> logout applet onto the panel.  Me I log out and reboot a few times a
>> year once I have everything the way I like it. Only for security updates
>> to the kernel usually will I reboot unless I'm on a laptop.
> Plasmoid server?  I'm afraid I can't parse the kde-point part of that
> paragraph very well, so perhaps my response is off, but...
> The leave plasmoid is simply one of many choices, available for those who
> want them.  Personally, I don't use the leave/logout on the menu,
> either.  I simply use the global hotkey. (Ctrl-Alt-Del is custom-assigned
> to logout without waiting, I hate that 30 second logout wait!  What was
> that about customizations?  That I can change those hotkey assignments is
> functionality I take for granted and kde would indeed not be kde to me
> without it, but it's there.)

Even quicker from a console window actually that's how I shut down
most of the time anyway.  You do back my point that the plasmoid
offers little in the way of functionality.

> Actually, I don't tend to use the menu itself much at all, one of the
> reasons I decided it wasn't worth seriously customizing this time
> around.  I have hotkey launchers configured for everything I use
> regularly, generally use krunner for less frequently used apps I know the
> name of (kruler, for example, and BTW I use kcalc far less frequently now
> due to the krunner integrated math solver functionality, but it's another
> I'd likely run from krunner otherwise), and only use the menu when I
> can't remember the exact name of the app or to browse what choices I have
> in games I've not tried yet, or something.

Something short and with a known name like Kcalc I just run from a
console window. I don't use it often enough too include it on the
panel and I always have console windows open so just quicker to run it
from there than find it in a menu.  Hotkeys don't work for me as I run
such a wide variety of applications that any hotkey I chose would
conflict with dozens of applications I use on a frequent basis.  Since
I use so many memorizing so many shortcuts would be nearly impossible
also. I'd have to take a cheat sheet too the side of my computer and
too be honest I could launch them almost as fast from the console if I
knew the exact name of the app.

That brings me too a gripe I've long had about KDE. The inability to
see what the root app is in a menu item. The name in the menu often
has no correspondance at all to the executable's name which can be
frustrating at times.

> But the point is that all the plasmoids can exist on either a panel or
> the desktop, and with the choices as shipped and the *HUGE* number of
> choices available at kde-look, there's a LOT of customizability
> available, **FAR** more than with kde3.  If you want a blank desktop, run
> it that way. Want a whole desktop activity dedicated to weather apps?
> Well, there's weather plasmoids galore at kdelook.  You got it!  Want a
> desktop filled with icons all of files in the same directory?  No
> problem!  Want a desktop with several directories shown?  That's possible
> too!

Those were all things you could do with KDE 3.x and I did do. Though
customizing a plasmoid specific too a desktop is enticing. Still for
example if I've got a DBA desktop I'd need a whole lot more than one
plasmoid to cover it. I'd need  a plasmoid for every major RDBMS
system I was supporting and the related apps.

How to customize and build your own plasmoid is not obvious. I'm going
to look into it but I suspect it's going to take a great deal of work
to replicate something done very simply in KDE 3.x.

> What's great is that with activities (which can now be linked to virtual
> desktops or separate, as they are by default) you aren't even limited to
> a single desktop.  You can configure multiple activities, each for
> different tasks.  Not that everyone will use that, I don't, tho who
> knows, maybe I will in the future, but it's there for those who want
> something like that.  Customizability at its best! =:^)

An activity is?

When you say virtual desktop you mean the desktops like the default
1-4 most distros start you off with or are you talking about a virtual
desktop as one you rotate through those 1-4 default desktops?

A task is what? A group of activities as defined by what? A desktop
specific group of actions? A group of apps?

> As far as eye candy, one person's eye candy may be another's essential
> feature, especially after they've used it for awhile.  System monitoring
> is an example.  A lot of folks used superkaramba system monitoring in
> kde3, but I used the ksysguard kicker applet.  Well, now it has become

Kyssguard can be handy, I often temporarily add it too the panel when
I'm experiencing something strange that isn't showing up in the logs.
Gives me a reference point to hunt down what's going on by what apps
are eating up the mem/cpu time.

When I think of monitoring I think of something like Big Brother. I
always have some sort of network monitoring/heartbeat  going on for
any servers I am supporting. I usually devote a desktop purely to SSH
connections and such monitoring plus any sort of other network wide
admin utils I use for that network.  Might be something as simple as
atop to monitor performance on an apache server or might be full scale
monitoring with disk space, CPU usage, user activity  and such.

> It /did/ take me awhile to find and configure yasp-scripted, but I sent
> the author my scripts and he's shipping them with yasp-scripted, now (in
> addition to his own general sample script), so the latter bit should be
> far easier for others.
> Thus, even where kde4 doesn't provide the same functionality directly,
> its configurability means that others can and ultimately do provide most
> of it, or you can do so yourself, if desired, as I ended up doing for
> both system monitoring and global hotkey functionality (the latter
> because global-multi-key hotkeys no longer function correctly in kde4,
> due to an upstream, presumably qt4, limitation).
>> I've dared a couple people to name improvements in KDE 4 and none
>> have taken that dare.
> I did, above.  kde4 is actually much more customizable and thus much more
> flexible than kde3.  That's a big improvement. =:^)

DIsagree. You point out that it's possible through great effort such
as writing software to add items to the menu as an improvement. It's
not. Plasmids which can do xyz which you could do yourself though if
they can be desktop specific that would be ONE improvement. I'd love
to have desktop specific menus and panel shortcuts.

One problem is you add a click to use a plasmoid compared to something
on the panel. At least one click actually. Might only take a second,
but when you do it 100 times a day, that's 100 extra seconds a day to
do the same thing. In that's an hour and a half of your life lost per
week compared to KDE 3.x and panel shortcuts to achieve the same thing
just for that one app you click on 100 times a day. Over a month
that's 6 hours, in a year that's 3 days of your life lost too
unnecessary clicking.  Every day of life is precious. That's 3 days
too many in my opinion. If I could have desktop specific panels I
could add 15 or so apps to each and be in hog heaven. I'd rarely have
to go too the menus and would save hours every week. That to me would
be a whole lot more useful. So instead of a plasmoid being super
imposed how about a plasmoid that modifies the desktop panel? THAT
would be useful. At least as long as it didn't take some massive
effort to configure and build a plasmoid. So far I've seen no tools to
construct or edit a plasmoid.

SuperKarumba has been around for some time and I've used it on KDE 3.x
systems, pretty sure when I first tried it I was using KDE 2.x or
maybe even KDE 1.x. That's not an improvement.

I had dedicated desktops in KDE 3.x and below. I could even name
desktops, something I can no longer do. That's neither new and it's
far more difficult to customize a desktop now than it was. You can't
even specify a background anymore for a desktop.

As such it's still a net gain of zero configurability over KDE 3.x.

>> The new menu is useless if you have hundreds of
>> apps it'll take you a week to get to the ones at the end. The old menu
>> made it easy to get too an app. At worst you were a few clicks away from
>> anything installed in your menus.
> So change back to the old style menu, if you want.  It's customizable!

I did, my point is how long until the old style menu is no longer supported?

> =:^)  (Again, that's in that right-click on the menu icon menu, that you
> seem to have missed.  But it's also available from the add widget dialog,
> and you can add one, or many, wherever you want! =:^)  Like I said, I

That is neither new nor are all the old widgits still in KDE. Lots are
missing though few I used. I've already added widgits. First thing I
did was add the old menu, change the clock and a few other things.

> don't use the main menu that much here, but I do use the "classic" menu
> as well, configured only to show two things, bookmarks, and the applets
> from "the application formerly known and kcontrol", now known generically
> as system settings, even tho it's not /system/ settings it's dealing

Actually many of the things in system settings are not accessable ONLY
from system settings. That is a big time waster and makes you hunt
stuff that used to be easily to get too and modify. That is not an
improvement it is a downgrade and just a new name on kcontrol with a
new layout, one which I honestly don't think improved anything.

> with, so much as kde settings, so the kcontrol moniker was far more
> accurate and far less generic, thus being much more useful.  Anyway,
> bookmarks and individual kcontrol applets, are both a launch away on the
> classic menu plasmoid I have sitting right beside the kickoff plasmoid,
> on my menu launcher panel.  (That same panel, a small one set to auto-
> hide, has two other plasmoids as well, the device notifier, and the quick-
> access folder-view replacement plasmoid from kde-look.  FWIW there's also
> a more powerful device-notifier replacement available on kde-look, tho
> I've not needed it.  What was it I said about customizability?  It's all
> there!)

No it's not there. You can't add many apps too the panel at all,
period. You lost the ability to place the Panel where you wanted, lost
customizations on desktops once availible, and the net gain is still
unclear too me. You speak of plasmids like they were applets. KDE has
had applets since at least KDE 2 maybe always. I'm still not seeing
how you gain any customization from slapping those onto your screen
opposed too the KDE 3x method of right click and set the same
settings. Nothing you've described couldn't be done just as easily in
KDE 3.x but without occupying screen real estate.  Somehow my plasmids
fell off my taskbar this install. Not sure how or why but I'm happy.
Got one scrolled off the edge of the screen too the right and another
of unknown purpose plopped up in the right hand corner, at least I
think it's still there, havent' seen it since I logged in LOL.   What
you are suggesting is I put more plasmids I'll never see again on my
desktop for what purpose?  I can't even drag and drop the things where
I want them. They anchor and far as I can tell there's no way to move
them where I want them or make them go away. Best place for one to
live that I'd actually ever see is far left hand corner just above the
panel. That's one of the few areas of my screen I ever see on a
constant basis.

Me personally I don't use shortcuts but I could see where somebody
would miss them dearly. Instead of having along the edges they have to
eat up panel real estate with deskviews which I'm still quite fuzzy
about how they operate. Apparently from what I gather if you want a
deskview you need to first create it, then you need to create symbolic
links too the items you want in the desktview, you cannot point it at
a living dir, as such new files have to be manually added afterwards.
Seems like a pain to me. Old style you just create a shortcut too the
dir and all is good LOL. This would I think be rather important to
people who use file managers like Dolphin. I use krusader and have it
heavily bookmarked in short order so in seconds I can get too any
commonly used dir.  So I don't see that as an improvement unless there
is functionality I'm not understanding and ways to do things like auto
create symbolic links into that deskview based on existing dirs.  The
concept has promise in that you can focus on a subset of documents in
a repsository dir of docs for a specific project. Saying that this
replaces shortcuts however is just not true. While I personally don't
use them I can see why many folks are hollering about shortcuts.

> Or change out the menu for a different one.  Lancelot is a mature
> replacement, with (IIRC it's called) Raptor coming as well, tho at a
> somewhat slower development pace, as I think it's depending on the
> semantic desktop functionality that's not yet fully functional in kde4
> yet

There are many good IRC clients. Been doing IRC since the late 90s.
Not quite sure how this applies to anything.

> You're missing the best of its functionality.  Both kickoff and krunner
> have search and auto-complete functionality.  No need to run the app from
> a konsole or other CLI unless you want to.  Simply type the first few
> letters of the app name into the search box and it'll find the apps in
> kickoff, or auto-complete for you in krunner! =:^)

I'm not missing the point. I'd have NO IDEA what the name of the app
that changed resolution was. The console window has great autocomplete
and if it's in your path it'll autocomplete it. I don't want to
autocomplete something I use 20 times a day. I want a simple icon I
control to run it. If not I'll run it from the console window instead.
At least with the console window I get feedback from the app and err
msgs you'd never otherwise see appear.

My point is I don't know the names of many apps I run. Don't even know
the first 2 letters. Some I could eaisly run like Krename or Krusader.
Others are not so easy and if your running say 2 versions of Firefox
on same machine or even if you have older versions you don't run but
just haven't gotten around to deleting yet, which one is it going to
choose?  Does it follow the which command?  Do I really need to add
the entire world to my path so that Krunner can find the apps I'm
looking for? That too me is a security flaw. I don't want many apps in
the path. Makes a hacker's job a little easier if they are. I don't
want spurious dirs in my path either. More chances of apps
conflicting. I specify exactly the app I want in the icon when I
create it, or would if KDE 4 still had that functioanlity.  Your
talking a bout a huge increase in the amount of time and effort to run
the same apps compared to what was availible in KDE 3.x.

> Really, the menu isn't the most efficient way to access apps around.
> Certainly not if you have hundreds of them installed.  The improvements
> in kickoff and the krunner replacement for the kde3 run dialog, are both
> designed to mitigate that inefficiency.  But being kde, and being

Again with thousands not hundreds, just hundreds in a given section.
No it's not. Lets start with just K, I'll have hundreds alone that
start with k, maybe 1,000 or more. Then lets go to kr, well that might
limit to 300 or so. Kr and a vowel might get me down to 2 or 3.  That
isn't saving me any time. The opposite actually and far easier to go
with a console window, then again that means I need to actually know
the name of what I'm looking for and spell it correctly.

I'll concede menus are not a great way of doing things. Just the best
so far devised. I'll applaud efforts for trying to find a better way
but I don't see krunner as a better way for what I do. Sure if I only
had a dozen things installed and ran only a few of those on a frequent
basis I could see where that'd be useful. I tried Krunner way back in
KDE 2.x I think. Never really seemed very useful.

Duncan try this instead. Open up a console window and do exactly the
same thing then add a space and & after the command that comes up. Use
it for a bit and look at the feedback your getting back from the app.
I think you'll find running them from a console window in some cases
is preferable to krunner. Some apps you won't get much in the way of
feedback unless something goes wrong.  Then again that's usually the
only time I run apps from the console if I'm sitting at the computer
I'm running them on. I run lots of apps from SSH tunnels but that's
neither here nor there and there are those who'd critcize me for
wasting bandwidth using an X app where a console app would suffice.

> customizable as kde has a reputation for, there's other alternatives,
> quick-launch bars, hotkey launching (my preferred alternative, tho I
> admit they crippled it in kde4 due to that bug, and I've had to script a
> partial solution of my own to replace the missing functionality from
> kde3, but that's a bug, hopefully eventually to be fixed), and
> replacement menus including the classic menu, for those that just want a
> menu they can use.

That's the thing the whole KDE UI is crippled in version 4. Much of it
by intentional design.

> --
> 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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