plasma search in application launcher?

Kristian Rink kawazu428 at
Thu Sep 27 07:22:40 BST 2018

Hi again;

actually, is this still a public, "active" list, by the way? Thought it 
would be sort of a KDE user forum / support channel but it looks like 
we're the only ones communicating in here. Nevertheless:

On 9/26/18 10:08 PM, Duncan wrote:
> FWIW, the biggest problem I had identifying krunner in my first up-thread
> reply wasn't "proper" name confusion, but rather, a different generic
> name than I expected coupled with a different keyboard shortcut.  "Run
> dialogs" aka "open dialogs" are reasonably well known and universal terms
> due to their long history and broad implementation across many
> platforms. 

Yeah. That's something I noticed as well. It's both good and bad, as far 
as I am concerned. The usual "glossary" issue, or maybe then again also 
just users (= my :) ) fault for getting started head-first without 
reading documentation. Then again, actually that's sort of how I would 
do things anyway on a desktop environment in 2018. Here, same as with 
the "search window", I guess a load of potential confusion arises from 
seeing or looking for desktop and interaction metaphors we got used to 
if using computers for a while. Desktop. Search window, ... . For 
"search window", it gets a bit maybe more confusing given that the thing 
I toggle using ALT+F2 actually has the default text "search..." in it. ;)

> So I'm not sure where alt-tab to open the run/open dialog (krunner) came
> from unless you or your distro customized it, but I would have expected
> alt-space or alt-F2 for that, and between the alt-tab pointing to the
> window switcher for me, and the fact that I'm not used to the run/open
> dialog being called the search window, I was uncertain what you were
> referring to, tho the functionality described sure appeared to match
> krunner aka the run dialog aka the open dialog, now with a new-to-me aka
> added, the search dialog/window.

Well that, apparently, is solely to blame to my dumbness of not being 
able to write what I actually mean, in this situation. Of course it's 
ALT+SPACE, on my device, as well. ALT+TAB indeed opens the window 
switcher. So this one's completely on me, sorry for the mess-up. :| I 
should be more careful.

[System settings]
>> On the other side however: Current Linux desktop "System Settings" also
>> *do* have system aspects in it (such as WLAN, Bluetooth, Printer
>> configuration and the like, or the systemd addin for configuring system
>> services). Maybe there's a gap here, too, between functionality and
>> actual user expectation - but that seems increasingly off-topic here I
>> guess. ;)
> FWIW I covered the actual system settings found there bit with the "it's
> the kde-based config UI for them", as opposed to the CLI or gnome or
> whatever config UI for them...

Yes. That's how I see it, too. It's a config UI for things. But while I 
still do quite an amount of my daily work and "human/computer 
interactions" using the terminal, I still want to have this choice of 
using either a GUI or, say, a CLI interface to things. I always hated it 
when, back then on an earlier Debian installation, I always *had* to 
launch a terminal or to fiddle with the command-line openvpn to connect 
to our corporate VPN. It worked, but it repeatedly got into my way and 
just "felt" strange on a graphical desktop. For these purposes I like 
wicd or NetworkManager; I don't want to think too much about all this. 
Likewise, talking about configuration, I never really understood why I 
should have a GUI based program that requires interaction with text 
based configuration files in order to set it up right (and eventually a 
manual restart to actually apply any settings changed). I know it's a 
matter of taste, and I also know a load of people who are perfectly fine 
with this, but, well, I'm not. ;) If, in example, on a desktop I want to 
be the task bar on top not on the bottom, I want to be able to "drag" it 
there (using mouse or touchpad) rather than opening a config file, write 
something such as "taskbar_position: bottom" and restart my desktop.

["Intended behaviour"]
> Indeed, to the extent that there's an "intended" way, the kde devs try to
> make that the default.  But arguably (and I believe as it should be)
> they're more concerned with making the default a functional lowest common
> denominator usable by all, not seriously objectionable but perhaps not
> ideal for most either, that can function "well enough" until the
> individual user figures out what they want and gets around to changing
> the config appropriately, then they are about defining some single
> "intended-to-be-perfect-for-everyone" way, because arguably that's simply
> not possible.

Well..... To be completely honest, I am trying to figure out where KDE 
stands, when it comes to this. ;) I see two different issues: Yes, of 
course it's not possible to make a desktop that is "perfect for 
everyone" out of the box (except maybe you're Apple and you are 
"perfect" for everyone using your technology because simply people 
*believe* what you do is right, no matter what it is).

But: Throughout the last two decades, I have seen quite a load of FLOSS 
desktop applications that used right this understanding to completely 
give up and not even remotely think about usability, interface 
guidelines and all those things at all. That's, like, "you can't make it 
right for everyone so make it in a way that everyone has to configure it 
to be usable". I see that the GNOME and Elementary guys are spending 
quite some time trying to be useful for a "non-technical" target group. 
KDE (using the Neon distribution by the way), right now, seems to be 
pretty much targeted at users who have prior experience with the 
look-and-feel and interaction ideas found in Windows. Which is okay if 
it serves as a basic design and conceptual foundation.

>> Wow that *is* quite a workaround. :) I'm at some point amazed however to
>> see you even made the switch to post-KDE3 rather than following the
>> "former" KDE3 crowd to using and maintaining Trinity as a desktop
>> environment.
> Fortunately or unfortunately, trinity was a bit late to the party for
> that.  By the time it really got going, kde 4.5 was out, and I'm on
> record as saying 4.5 is what /should/ have been 4.0, with 4.2 and earlier
> being alpha previews, 4.3 being beta, and 4.4 the rcs.  In fact, 4.5 was
> not only what should have arguably been 4.0, but 4.6 was actually much
> worse than 4.5 due to konqueror bugs and the kdepim stuff jumping the
> akonadi shark and not stabilizing again until far later, possibly 4.9 or
> 4.10.  

I guess I know what you mean. I made an attempt in late 2012 / early 
2013, for the last time, to go "fully KDE" (including using KDE-only 
applications for web browsing, e-mail and the like). At some point I 
moved back to XFCE I guess, and I wrote a longer rant on that here:

Bottom line, back then, was: KDE is astoundingly ambitious (in example I 
always really liked the things they tried to accomplish using akonadi, 
nepomuk and all that integrations), but in a load of things the whole 
desktop felt heavy, half-baked and incomplete back then. And this was 
even rather late, KDE 4.10 I guess; I continuously have been playing 
around with KDE before that and the 4.10 release was the first one in 
quite a while I felt comfortable with installing on a day-to-day working 
laptop. Actually, this has been the second try for me to move to KDE. 
The first one happened literally ages ago, I guess it was Chemnitz Linux 
Tag 2000 or 2001 when I had longer and very inspiring chats with some of 
the folks hosting the KDE booth back there (Eva Brucherseifer and a few 
others I remember), and they introduced me kparts, the kioslave 
framework and some of the lower-level stuff in KDE 2.x. Back then I was 
astounded by how far this design approach went; yet in a day-to-day 
work, already KDE 2.x wasn't really something I got used to. Plus, also 
back then I had some applications that where GTK/GNOME based and for 
which there were no usable KDE equivalents, and GTK/KDE integration 
really sucked back then. That's something that has incredibly much 
improved recently. Right now I use KDE as my desktop, a bunch of KDE 
tools where I can (dolphin, gwenview/digikam, kwrite, okular, ...) while 
I keep applications we're internally using (Firefox, Thunderbird, ...) 
without having them feel "strange" on a KDE desktop anymore. That feels 
good, too. :)

> It took me three months to switch, during which I first read the 600+
> page Running Linux nearly cover-to-cover in ordered to get the
> understanding I was previously lacking, then started what I knew had to
> be a permanent switch, with the goal being to establish myself as a power
> user reasonably on par with the level I had on MS after nearly a decade,
> because I /knew/ that was the only way I'd actually stick with it.  Keep
> in mind that I had been a VB-pro level programmer on MS, had run the IE4/
> OE4 thru 5.5 betas and was active enough in the MS newsgroups that at one
> point I was considering MSMVP (tho that didn't last long as I began
> investigating Linux about the same time), and had an MS desktop
> sufficiently customized with various apps and utilities including some of
> my own that a number of people said they initially had trouble believing
> I was running MS.

Cool. I have seen very few people with such a background who actually 
dared to make a switch to Linux (or even cared enough to take a closer 
look). Personally, I moved to Linux all along 1996, 1997, being in my 
junior years at university. Had a Wintel box running Window 95 at home 
and got in touch with HP-UX and Solaris at the university. Wanted 
something like that at home too. Got hold of a Linux installation medium 
that came with a load of documentation, the GNU Manifesto being one of 
them. For whichever reason that's one of the things I started reading 
and found myself agreeing with a lot of things in there. A lot of my 
interest in Linux in the years to follow arose from the GNU and Software 
Libre idea.

Spent several days completely trashing my Windows installation, cleaning 
my hard drive, installing the system and reading through numerous HOWTOs 
to get most of my hardware (soundcard, ...) to work again. This sort of 
got my enthusiasm started, in many ways: On Windows 95, I had many 
situations when the system just would fail for no obvious reasons, where 
apparently re-installing was the only solution. Even early Linux 
installations apparently only crashed for one reason: Me doing something 
stupid. I learnt a load about the system, learnt to write shell and perl 
scripts and used Linux for everything at some point. Yes I did have 
Windows 95/98 and Windows NT 4.0 dual boots on my device back then, also 
because I needed to look into both and understand how they work in some 
ways but at some point, I just removed them and didn't feel like 
something was missing.

Yet, there are and were things I didn't manage to completely understand. 
Window managers were one of them: I wasn't sure why, later, early SuSE 
installations came with roughly two dozens of window managers out of the 
box - but they just looked a bit different and didn't really seem to 
offer any features that made them stand out, while at the same time 
something like a fully-featured desktop environment was missing. It all 
seemed like a lot of people enjoyed re-inventing the same wheel over and 
over again while no one felt the need or inspiration to do more than 
that. That's how I got interested in GNOME and KDE when they appeared. 
They seemed to have a vision to get the Linux desktop a bit further also 
in terms of features totally common on the Windows or Apple world and 
not completely stupid in itself (such as graphical file managers or 
somewhat homogenous dialog windows across applications for opening / 
saving files, ... - something that didn't work at all back then with 
applications being a mix of GTK, Tk, Motif/Lesstif and pure xlib at 
worst). From that point of view, things *do* have changed throughout the 

> Reading that, I can suggest looking into the "application dashboard"
> plasmoid alternative to the "application launcher".  The application
> dashboard is a full-screen alternative that I believe (having never used
> gnome and its dash) to be plasma's dash parallel.

I have apparently installed this and played around with it for a while, 
but it doesn't work well for me, mostly for two reasons: Indeed it is 
way too clumsy on a "larger" screen and I didn't manage to tweak it in 
example by making fonts and icons smaller. And it doesn't seem to behave 
similar to plasma-search in allowing to switch to already open/running 
applications. It seems an interesting approach, but it's not for me.

> One thing that recently changed for me, with the upgrade to the 4k/65-
> inch, was that with the 1280x1080 standardized-size konsole, browser,
> etc, windows, allowing six standard-size windows in a 3x2 grid without
> overlap, is that for the first time in my life, I feel like I have more
> screen space than I actually need or can make efficient use of.  The six
> unoverlapped working windows on the 4K is a **HUGE** change from the two
> smaller 960x1080 windows I could fit on the full-HD, and it makes
> **MUCH** more of a difference than I expected it to.
Wow I *can* imagine this is more than enough space to work with. 
Actually, my setup is *way* more limited. In the office I'm using a 
dual-monitor setup running a what I think is 24" monitor at 1920x1080 as 
primary display and the laptop internal display (1600x900) as secondary, 
at times. On the road and at home, I only use the laptop display. Given 
that, I mostly use windows in full-screen and have multiple windows on 
the same workspace just in a very few situations (like merging code in 
editors or comparing different configuration files on different hosts 
using different remote screen sessions). This setup is somewhat small 
but for most of my situations it works well as, having been working with 
laptops for quite a while now, most of my workflows are accustomed to 
having "small" screens. Still however I guess I will upgrade my hardware 
at least in next year, the laptop display could be better in many 
respects. :)

[Cross-platform development]
> FWIW as you mention cross-platform...  It's worth noting that just as qt5
> is modular these days and you can pick and choose only the modules
> necessary for the functionality you need, so kde-frameworks-5 is designed
> with the same goal in mind.  Additionally, being built on qt5, the
> frameworks functionality tends to compliment it nicely, so it's possible
> to just choose the framework(s) necessary for that extra bit of
> functionality that qt itself doesn't have.

I am on my way looking into this, right now. Got to work through a 
couple of tutorials and make myself comfortable with the tools and 
processes and see how it works, both for building applications and for 
getting them out to the actual users. I mentioned we have a strong Java 
background, as well as some applications on top of desktop Java (JavaFX) 
which is bit of a mess and even more getting difficult with Oracle doing 
dumb things to Java licensing and product strategy. However for that I 
need a better option *and* to convince my team to have a look at it, 
which also brings some tooling and documentation requirements. Curious 
to see how it will play out. :)


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