some questions & more questions

spir denis.spir at
Tue Nov 17 14:49:20 GMT 2009

Le Mon, 16 Nov 2009 21:36:05 +0000 (UTC),
Duncan <1i5t5.duncan at> stated:

Thank you for all this meaningful information. Try to make the best use of it, but there are still some points unclear for me.

> spir posted on Sun, 15 Nov 2009 19:01:45 +0100 as excerpted:
> > Hello,
> > 
> > Recently switched to kde on ubuntu 9.04, mainly because I also intend to
> > switch to PCBSD in a short while. I'm happy with it, so, huge thanks to
> > all the people involved in this huge project for so long.
> Helpful hint:  Keep in mind that this is a kde list, not a distribution 
> specific list.  As such, most here probably have little idea what version 
> of kde comes with any particular distribution, especially if it's not 
> their own.  Thus, always mention the kde version you're running, in 
> addition to the distribution.  Since you mention kickoff, I know it's 
> kde4 something, but what specific version I'm not sure.

Right, didn't know about distribution specific kde lists.
Now, the issue for me is to find the kde version running on my computer. Package management says 5.28, but I know it's wrong. All system info progs I could find say nothing about kde version, including KInfoCenter itself.
Tried to find kde's home dir (in the hope to get some info there by watching text files), but could'nt succeed. Even "which kde" brings nothing, (not even an error message).
You may find me stupid, but it's a common issue with Linux distributions: not only one cannot chose where progs go installed, but there is absolutely no feedback about it (also, prog-related files get installed in many dirs, actually, which indeed complicates the issues when one needs to search for them).

> > Here are some kde newbie questions anyway:
> > 
> > 1. help
> > The help system does not match at all what I actually find in kde.
> > Probably outdated? Can someone confirm? Switched to english, same issue.
> Yes, the help system is outdated.  Many bits were outdated even on the 
> latest kde3, let alone kde4.  Someone else mentioned userbase.  
> Personally, I couldn't find much of help there, but that was some time 
> ago and I tend to think more like a sysadmin than an ordinary user, so 
> sometimes I have difficulty figuring out where to find stuff that 
> ordinary users don't seem to have a problem with, so there's a reasonable 
> chance that was just me.  YMMV.
> But you can always ask here. =:^)

This is strange for me. Kde has a great reputation of reliability. Kde 4 was out nearly 2 years ago and still ships with doc for kde3?
Can you imagine the jokes in the free software community if windows vista shipped with docs for xp?

> > 2. language
> > After switching to english in system settings, and rebooting, many
> > things still appear in precious language (fr); and some texts bits
> > suddenly are in catalan and even a few in german, too;-) (eg in kate).
> > This actually shows how incredibly smart kde design is, for these
> > languages are precisely the ones I can understand at best! I really
> > wonder about the AI algorithm behind such successful guesses.
> This one's a bit of a sensitive issue ATM between kde and (k)ubuntu.

All right. Not a major issue for me, as I can read anyway.

> > 3. kickoff modif + size
> Kickoff itself, while the default main kde menu applet, isn't the only 
> one, and isn't all that dynamic (not as context menu enabled, not as drag-
> n-drop enabled, etc), comparatively.  The other mature alternative is the 
> lancelot menu.  You can probably add it from the add widgets list.  
> (FWIW, KDE's desktop app is plasma, and its widgets are also referred to 
> as plasmoids.  So if you see a reference to plasmoids or the add 
> plasmoids list/menu, you know what the reference is.)  However, depending 
> on your work-style and chosen plasma theme, lancelot may or may not be 
> better for you, as it does work a bit differently.  But it's easy enough 
> to switch between them or even to keep buttons for both available, if you 
> choose to, once you know they're both available. =:^)
> Anyway, lancelot is a bit more dynamic in regard to drag-n-drop and 
> modification from within itself.  YMMV as they say, but it's certainly 
> worth trying.
Thank you, found lancelot and indeed better fits my needs.

> > 4. kickoff config save/restore
> > These a strange and very naughty bug (on my system) in kickoff config
> > utility: restoring previous state after an error actually resets the
> > original default menu (even if saved 10 times in between). So that all
> > changes from installation are lost & have to be remade from scratch.
> > Very bad --it's a penible job. (Don't reply it's a "feature", or I will
> > myself reply you speak like... ;-) (By the way, I couldn't apply to
> > kde's bug tracker. Tried twice, but never got to enter a password, nore
> > received any by mail.) So, can somenone tell me where the config is
> > saved (there is no possibility to define it, the save button does not
> > pop any menu), so that I have a chance to backup my config. I intend to
> > copy-save the default one for if ever, and replace it by my own
> > settings.
> You're talking about kmenuedit, and the "Restore to System Menu" option?


> If so, that's what it /does/, restore to the system menu, losing all user 
> customizations.
> If you simply want to restore to the previous saved state, simply exit 
> without saving, and restart kmenuedit if desired to start over again.  
> Don't use the restore to system menu option unless that's exactly what 
> you want to do, because that's exactly what it does.  "NOTABUG" =:^)

Right. I still think that by default "restore" should restore previously saved version, while restoring defaults should be distinct and more safe because dangerous (it's long and penible job to arrange the loads of menus). Maybe it's only me.

> > 5. amarok messes up files & folders
> > When trying to play an album, another one is played instead. Feedback
> > text shows the name of the album/folder I asked for, and the title of
> > the song/file actually played. Minirok never plays the album I ask for,
> > instead always the first songs of my collection, in alphabetic order.
> I gave up on amarok for kde4 (I used to use it with kde3), as they got 
> rid of all the features from the kde3 version I liked, and bloated it up 
> with a lot of (to me) "junk" that I hadn't the slightest need (or want) 
> of.[...]

Ok, went back to gnome's music player and all is fine.

> > 6. place icons on control panels
> > Is it possible to drag/place icons on a control panel? How can one chose
> > the place of or move icons once they are there (eg sent from kickoff)?
> > Is there a control panel layout utility? Tried all what I could imagine
> > without any success.
> Control panel?  You mean the various plasma panels (of which there's only 
> one by default, IIRC)?  Assuming so...

They are called control panels in the docs, but the doc is not ok...

> Anyway, I /think/ you're running 4.2.x and thus have the biggest 
> improvements, which came with 4.1 and 4.2.  Assuming so, first ensure 
> that widgets are unlocked (should be on most of the context menus, or on 
> the "cashew" configuration icon), then choose panel settings.  This 
> should invoke a second "configuration bar" "docked" to the panel.  From 
> here you can change the size of the panel, which edge it docks too, auto-
> hide, always visible, etc.  *PLUS*, with the config bar visible, you can 
> now hover over individual plasmoids on the panel and the pointer should 
> change into a 4-way arrow, indicating that you can now drag the 
> individual plasmoids around to different spots on the panel, or drag them 
> off the panel onto the desktop (or from the desktop to a panel), etc.  Do 
> note, however, that plasmoids have their own ideas about size, and may or 
> may not allow you to place and size them as you'd really like to, if you 
> had the necessary control.  Here, I discovered that in some cases, I had 
> better luck if I added another panel, resizing and positioning all those 
> on the same edge so they all fit, and moved some of the plasmoids to 
> different panels sized so the plasmoid(s) did what I wanted it/them to 
> do.  As I said, things are markedly better in the newer versions, tho not 
> perfect just yet.

Thank you, manage to do some things. The only bit I don't get is how to first put a widget/icon/plasmoid on a panel. When getting into config mode for a given panel, only icons that already are there can be touched; if I try to move eg an icon on the desktop to the panel, then the said panel escapes config mode at once.
The only manner I could find to first put ag an app laucheing icon there is to temporarily add a kickoff to the panel, then send the app laucher to the panel itself by right klicking it from inside kickoff and selecting "add to panel". Very complicated and inefficient, sure, there must be an easier way.
Why didn't the designer keep the (so nice) simple dragging available (also conversely to move an icon from panel to desktop, or to another panel). Was too easy? (i'm joking)

> > 7. ATI Radeon
> > Intended to activate the proprietary driver for my ATI radeon video
> > card, but the setup menu does not show any. Is it now automatic? Or is
> > there now a free driver for it? There used to be an entry in previous
> > versions of ubuntu.
> This would be a *buntu specific question.  It's not something kde deals 
> with.  Ask on the *buntu forums/lists.


> > 8. num lock
> > ... is again lost at startup (while properly set in BIOS). Had the same
> > issue is several ubuntu versions some time ago, then worked fine with
> > 9.04. Couldn't find any setting for that in kde.
> In kde 4.3.3 at least, it's in "The application formerly known as 
> kcontrol" (aka system settings), under computer administration, keyboard 
> and mouse, keyboard (that's the kcontrol widget), NumLock on KDE Startup.

Nothing like that by me. "keyboard and mouse" actually contains no setting at all about keyboard properly speaking! I get in there settings about mouse, joystick (so that the top-level should actually be renamed eg "user input") and key bindings.
Don't know where settings about key "speed" (repetition, etc) are gone.
I'll try to install the newest version kde 4.3.3 as soon as I can (also have major network connexion issues these days).

> > 9. power off
> > Clicking on any "switch off" icon, or activating it from  menu, actually
> > switches off the computer at once without popping any choice (restart,
> > etc...), while settings seem ok as far as I understand the doc (checked
> > both "confirm..." and "options"). Also, this action sometimes freezes
> > the system, need to to brutally hardware-power off.
> This might be a *buntu issue or an earlier kde4 issue.  I switched to 
> kde4 with 4.2.4, and it has always obeyed the config I had set here 
> (kcontrol, advanced user settings, session manager, on kde 4.3.3).
> Do note that there are also separate hotkey shortcuts for the "with 
> confirmation" and "without confirmation" actions.  If you're using the 
> shortcuts, you may need to either use the other one, or switch them 
> around so the one you want is activated by the shortcut you want.  
> (kcontrol, computer admin, keyboard and mouse, global keyboard shortcuts, 
> kde-component dropdown set to run command interface, again, as of 4.3.3.)

Well, actually noticed it works as expected when "leave" is activated from kickoff. But direct computer switch happens in any other case. Just need to know it, but consistent behaviour would be better.

> > 10. "activate by simple click"
> > Sorry for the trivial issue: cannot find this setting in kde.
> Again as of kde 4.3.3, again in kcontrol, computer admin, keyboard/mouse, 
> mouse, general tab, icons section, double- or single-click with various 
> sub-options.  

Yo, found this one, thank you.
> > 11. docs do not appear on the desktop -- mounting issue Docs I save on
> > the desktop never appear there. Have to find them through Dolphin.
> kde4 has an entirely new desktop paradigm.  The idea is that the desktop 
> shouldn't be a simple static view of some directory somewhere, but should 
> be much more dynamic, with various widgets (again, aka plasmoids) 
> appearing there with various information, etc.  This can certainly 
> include views on various directories, but it's not limited to that.  
> There's all sorts of different plasmoids to choose from, doing all sorts 
> of different things.  Add the ones you want.  Delete the ones you don't.  
> Go to and download more, if the ones that come shipped with 
> kde4 don't do what you want...
> One thing that's neat about this is that with the composite window 
> transparency effects, it's now possible to see a filtered view of the 
> desktop even thru a window or two.  Dynamic monitoring of various system 
> or other information on the desktop is therefore possible, even thru a 
> window, if desired.
> You can even configure multiple "activities", each with its own set of 
> desktop plasmoids, and switch between them.  Some people have a whole set 
> of plasmoids devoted to weather, for instance, and have a weather 
> activity, that shows all these weather plasmoids.  There's a web-comic 
> plasmoid, and several other plasmoids available that allow you to view a 
> web page or an image at a particular URL, so you can have a comics 
> activity, or setup things to display the "photo of the day" from various 
> sites.  There's all sorts of system monitor plasmoids available, so you 
> can monitor CPU activity and temps, fan speeds, battery life if on a 
> laptop, net speeds, wifi signal strength if wireless, etc, all using 
> different system monitor plasmoids, and some people have an activity 
> dedicated to that.
> What you're after is the folder view plasmoid.  Now, instead of just a 
> single view of a single directory, you can have multiple folder-view 
> plasmoids, each pointed at its own directory! =:^)
> All that said, some people just wanted their nice simple single directory 
> view back, and I believe it was 4.3.0 that reintroduced that as a 
> choice.  As of kde 4.3.3, right-click on the desktop and choose desktop 
> settings.  At the top, there's a type selector that defaults to desktop.  
> Change that to folderview and configure the directory it points to and 
> other settings as desired...

Great! I guess this will be very useful for me. (Actually, there was something similar in older versions of macos, which I discovered by a friend).

> > Also,
> > about dolphin, external devices randomly show or not, sometimes like if
> > empty or with their actual content. Do you have any hint about this
> > behaviour (really annoying when producing or restoring backup? I have to
> > try several times, especially with CDs.)
> There's a device notifier plasmoid that shows the recently plugged in 
> devices.  Clicking on one pops up a window with the various possible 
> actions, based on device type (this is configurable in kcontrol), using 
> information as presented by hal's detection.  If the device type is a 
> filesystem, it'll let you mount it, assuming there's no entry for it in 
> your fstab.  If there's an entry in fstab, hal should ignore it and let 
> it be handled the conventional way.
> The new filesystems appear as icons in dolphin's places.  If the 
> filesystem isn't mounted, clicking on one of the icons should mount it 
> and display that filesystem.
> But all this depends upon the proper functioning of various components, 
> including hal.  It's possible something's buggy.  It maybe the hal 
> shipped by *buntu, it may be kde, in which case a newer version may have 
> fixed it (I've not had issues with it here on gentoo, at least since kde 
> 4.3.0), etc.  It's also possible some of the variability you are 
> observing may be due to some of them being configured in fstab, so hal 
> ignores them, or due to the type of media plugged in, and whether hal 
> treats it as a filesystem or not, or other similar variables. (Example: 
> someone complained earlier because there was no choice to open an audio-
> CD in dolphin... that choice only appears when there's a real filesystem, 
> which an audio-CD doesn't have).

There is definitively something wrong here, for sure, because the behaviour is not consistent. Eg putting a CD may result in having matching icon (in dolphin's view) -- or not. And once opened the corresponding folder may or may show its content. Also, the CD's name is shown randomly (else I get cdrom*).

> > 12. help search
> > Does not even try to work (button is "drabbed").
> That would appear to be a *buntu issue.


> > 13. save whole config
> > Is there a way to save the whole kde config, so that I can restore it
> > all after a total system installation (because my filesystem is now a
> > real mess and I haven't enough space (*) where needed -- either I will
> > reinstall kubuntu from scratch or move to PCBSD).
> The user kde config is normally under ~/.kde, or sometimes ~/.kde4 or a 
> similar variant, depending on your distribution.  If you have /home as a 
> separate filesystem as in many installations, it's normally possible to 
> totally reinstall the "system" without touching user config, everything 
> in /home, at all.  Of course, if you have everything on the same 
> filesystem/partition, yeah, reinstalling will probably wipe it.
Thank you. I thought the same but (at least by me) ~/.kde is nearly empty, except for /share (which I wonder what may be used for, for there is no local network, not even a second user -- anyway).

Thank you again for all this valuable information,

* la vita e estrany *

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