4.6.95 (4.7-rc2)

Duncan 1i5t5.duncan at cox.net
Tue Jul 12 13:48:52 BST 2011

Seems kde4 is now stable enough I can start trying the pre-releases.  I 
decided to start cautiously with 4.7, and only installed the last rc 
before full release later this month.  I finished building and installing 
a few hours ago and have been playing with it (and testing some other 
stuff too) since then.

Looks good so far! =:^)  I don't see a whole lot different, but that's 
far better than being greeted by show-stopper bugs at this stage, for 

One difference I've noticed so far is that the desktop effects kcontrol 
module has been reworked... IMO for the better.  On the general tab, in 
the activation section at the top, instead of having a direct suspend 
button, it has a checkbox for enabling desktop effects at startup, and 
the keyboard shortcut setting for toggling the effect.

This is far better for a couple reasons.  First, it's far easier to have 
effects off until turned on, now, for those who find effects either very 
slow or worse yet, rather unstable on their systems.  Presumably off 
until turned on will be the default for newly setup kde users now, so 
people can leave effects off by default until they /know/ they're stable.

Second, by having the button here be the keyboard shortcut to toggle 
effects, instead of a an effect toggle button itself, users will discover 
and be encouraged to start using the keyboard shortcut far faster, and 
will be far more likely to use it to toggle effects when that's all they 
want to do, instead of bothering to open the whole kcontrol effects 
module, as I guess many were doing, because they hadn't discovered the 
effects toggle keyboard shortcut, yet.

The advanced tab has been reworked a bit as well, removing the XRender 
options entirely, tho it's still a compositing type option.  The 
remaining options are split into general (keep window thumbnails and 
scale method options) and Opengl (direct rendering, OpenGL 2 shaders, and 
VSync).  I'm trying to remember; I think the shaders option /might/ be 
new for kde 4.7.

The all effects tab has the same basic list, but again I'm trying to 
remember; I think they added the descriptions under each feature at some 
point, but I don't remember whether that was in 4.6 or is new for 4.7.

I believe they rearranged the kcontrol module layout a bit more, keeping 
the same main categories, but moving some stuff around within them a bit, 
so now I have five entries under common appearance and behavior, account 
details, instead of the three I think were there before.  Web shortcuts I 
believe are new there, and either kde wallet or social desktop, the other 
one was there before I think but I don't remember which it was.

There's I believe a new control module, SSL preferences, under network 
and connectivity.  That has been some time in coming and was something I 
myself had criticized KDE for, because as it was, there was no GUI method 
to enable/disable/add/remove SSL certificates, if for instance some were 
found to be compromised and needed revoked, as has been the case with a 
number of certificates recently.  I could not understand how kde folks 
could even BEGIN to call kde ready for ordinary use, when that meant 
people doing Internet banking and shopping with konqueror, yet there was 
no way to revoke certificates, etc.  That's fine for a beta, but it 
wasn't acceptable for ordinary use.  So it's great to see it not only 
supported now, but in such a highly visible place, right in kcontrol. =:^)

Plasma has some changes too.  There's a couple (sort of) new activity 
templates, and some default activities are added to the activity list, 
now.  The two sort-of new activity templates are photo activity, which is 
a normal desktop activity but with photoframe and folderview plasmoids 
(plus see below), and a desktop icons activity, which is a folderview 
desktop.  When an activity is started, a dialog pops up with what can be 
a list of apps that are associated with that activity.  The photo 
activity, for instance, defaults to gwenview and digikam.  There's two 
buttons at the bottom of the dialog, run selected apps, run none, and 
checkboxes for selecting individual apps from the list.

I haven't yet figured out how to setup the apps that show up in the 
template, but maybe it's part of selecting which activity an app belongs 
to, on the window menu along with the desktops entry if there's more than 
one activity configured.  (The activities window menu entry was there in 
4.6, but didn't yet do a lot.  To date I've had just a single activity 
configured, but I intend to play around a bit with it now that the 
functionality is getting a bit richer.)

The plasma default wallpaper remains the same as 4.6, Horos, tho I've not 
run the pre-releases before; it's possible they're saving the new one for 
a last second surprise update.

That's what I've noticed so far...  Oh, they changed the scrollbar thumb 
default color, too.  Before, it was often too close to the same color as 
the scrollbar background and could be hard to see, depending on how good 
a monitor you had and what its gamma settings were.  Now, it's apparently 
based of an entirely different setting.  I haven't figured out for sure 
what it's based on now, but it's definitely different, as it was blue 
here before, as is most of my trim and backgrounds, and is brown, now, as 
is the view text (light) and alternate background (dark).  The scrollbar 
thumb is dark brown, here, like most of my role alternate backgrounds, so 
it's probably one of those, now.

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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