Duncan 1i5t5.duncan at cox.net
Tue Mar 8 04:05:10 GMT 2011

gene heskett posted on Sun, 06 Mar 2011 17:13:52 -0500 as excerpted:

> Greetings;
> pclos called it awesome when it was finished installing 224 packages
> worth of it early this morning.
> Uncle, uncle!  Uncle!!!  I.O.W., I give up.
> Where can I find a tut that tells me how to setup a task manager that
> sticks to all of the 10 workspaces I have?  Workspaces 2-10 seem to be
> ok, and are all clones. but workspace one has a mind of its own.  If I
> add a task manager on workspace 1, then its incomplete, and sitting on
> top of the task manager on all other workspaces.

Workspace?  Do you mean virtual desktop (in the normal X sense, as used in 
kde3), or kde4/plasma activity, or...?  Maybe you mean both, which would 
mean activities in this case, since it's possible (tho not recommended, 
the feature was added by popular demand but doesn't really fit the vision 
of the plasma devs) to link them, such that every virtual desktop has its 
own activity.  (The checkbox for that option is in kcontrol, called system-
settings even tho it's mostly user-specific kde-only settings that have 
little to do with system global settings, workspace appearance and 
behavior, workspace behavior, virtual desktops applet, desktops tab, 
different widgets for each desktop checkbox.)

FWIW, plasma is pretty nice and very fancy, with lots of widgets both 
included and on kdelook, to be added if desired.  However, it has also 
been one of the biggest source of complaints with kde4, for a number of 
reasons, including the fact that unlike many other kde components which 
were pretty much ported from kde3/qt3, plasma was built from scratch, and 
was rather more immature than the rest of kde4 in the early days.  To this 
day it has a lot of flash and glitz, but at least thru 4.5 (and apparently 
with 4.6 for you at least), continued to suffer from major bugs and 
instabilities that given its place as the kde4 desktop, have continued to 
be a drag on "it-just-works" style usability.

To get your head around the general ideas, you'll probably want to spend 
some time reading userbase (on the kde site) and ASegio's back-blog.  
(ASegio is the plasma lead developer.)

Meanwhile, plasmoids are the individual widgets, each menu, clock, system 
tray, task manager, etc.  Activities control the desktop but not the 
panels, which appear on all desktops.  Plasmoids, including the task 
manager plasmoid you're apparently having problems with, can be placed on 
either the desktop (in a particular activity), or on a panel.

Based on your description and how plasma is /supposed/ to work, I'm 
guessing that you have it set to link virtual desktops with activities 
(different widgets for each is checked), and the task managers on the 
desktops (thus, in activities), but activity/desktop one doesn't have 
one.  You then add one there, but to a panel, which because panels aren't 
activity controlled but global, now appears in that panel, which is 
positioned on top of the task manager plasmoid in the activity (on the 
desktop) in all the other workspaces.

Now, I don't personally use a task manager plasmoid here, preferring to 
use the grid effect (desktop effects kcontrol applet, middle tab), alt-tab 
(which I have set to the flip effect), or the cube effect, for switching 
desktops (I have only a single activity setup... so it appears on all 
desktops) or windows, depending on my mood (tho I usually use alt-tab).  
As a result, I don't have a lot of specific experience with the task 
manager plasmoid, since I removed it pretty fast.  However, some plasmoids 
behave differently on the desktop (in an activity) then they do in a 
panel, so that might be what you're referring to as "incomplete".  Also, 
from what I've read, there's quite some configuration possible with the 
task manager plasmoid, and it's possible the one you're adding is setup 
differently by default, only showing what's on that virtual desktop, for 
instance, or grouping windows, so it appears incomplete, but it's only 
because it's not configured the same as the other, or as I said, possibly 
because you're comparing the task managers on the desktop to one in a 

> And 2, I have no volume control (its wide, ear blasting, open)
> regardless of what I assign the master volume to in kmix?  The audio
> system (no pulse in pclos) also complains about missing audio devices as
> if something else has grabbed the important ones.  I does this as soon
> as I'm logged in, and long before it has applied whatever screen
> settings it may,  or may not have remembered.  I've set video stuff up 3
> times so far, but all it seems to remember is some defaults that are far
> from complete.

FWIW, kde4 uses phonon as its audio system.  phonon in turn uses one of 
several possible backends.  The original backend was the xine backend, 
phonon-xine, and it remains the default in many distributions, despite the 
fact that the phonon devs ran into technical issues with it and now 
consider it deprecated.

The one that seems to be getting the most work and is recommended going 
forward is the vlc backend, phonon-vlc.  There's also the gstreamer 
backend, phonon-gstreamer, which may well work best with distributions 
that default to gnome, since that's a gnome-related technology.

FWIW, based both on my experience and that of someone else who posted here 
with similar "disappearing device" issues, I recommend that you try 
phonon-vlc.  If you have vlc already installed, the phonon-vlc backend 
shouldn't even pull a lot of additional dependencies, tho it might if you 
don't have vlc installed yet.  But for both me and the other guy who I 
recommended try it, the vlc backend cured the problems.  It would seem 
that the "disappearing device" issue is a common one on phonon-xine, but 
I've never seen a report of it on phonon-vlc.  YMMV of course, but that's 
what worked for both me and the other person that posted with the problem.

> Obviously I am not doing something right, so where is the tutorial, one
> that assumes you are starting from a blank screen except for the cashew
> in the upper right corner.  Or even without that if possible.

I don't believe there's any that start that bare, in part because plasma-
desktop itself doesn't start that bare by default.

FWIW, it's possible that's why you didn't get any replies before this... 
what you were asking just seemed overwhelming.  I know that's why I didn't 
answer it the first time around.  PCLinuxOS is considered a reasonably 
good KDE distribution and I expected that you'd probably ask on their user 
help forums/groups/lists/channels/whatever, eventually.  (FWIW, I'm a 
Gentooer, here.)  But after work tonite I took a second look and decided I 
might be able to help, after all, if I ignored the request for a tutorial 
that isn't likely to exist and broke down the rest of it into smaller, 
easier to reply to, pieces.

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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