Kasperian Moving Parts

kinda like Batman, but with a wife and 3 kids

KDE 4.2 is flat out going to rock

| 37 Comments

That’s my prediction. Of course, the truth of the matter is that KDE 4.2 (trunk) flat out rocks today. Seriously. I have never been more excited about the Linux desktop than I am right now. And this, 2+ months out from our actual KDE 4.2 release. I’ve been running OpenSUSE 11 for a couple of months now, and thanks to the awesome nightly/weekly KDE 4.2/trunk packages, I’m thoroughly enjoying pretty-darned-bleeding-edge 4.2/trunk packages, but with half the carbs, and I am loving what I’m seeing! Recent KMail improvements are awesome. Plasma is getting more and more bullet-proof and gorgeous by the week. Kwin just keeps getting more and more stable and purty. Kdevelop4 and Kate are getting some SERIOUSLY cool enhancements and RAD-helping juju. Even our lowly KPilot has been getting some bugzilla lovin’ from yours truly lately, and I’m about half-way through porting the old memofile conduit to our groovy base conduit syncing goodness. Whereas a few months ago, I just could not use KDE4 as my main work environment (gots ta make a living too, don’tcha know!), I have long-since switched and am thrilled with what we have right now. (of course, BIG thanks to the Linux nVidia team for improving their X11 driver!!!)

I can just feel the momentum behind us, can’t you?

If this were a corporation, right about now, you’d expect to see some old dude get up in front of everybody, work himself into a frenzy, run around on stage (“developers, developers, developers”?), and try to get everybody motivated to keep pushing hard at making our software the most awesomest, bestest, most stablest thing you could ever want.

But we’re not a corporation (thank God!!).

And we don’t have an old, sweaty, balding dude to put up on stage and try to whip everybody into being motivated (also, thank God!).

We just have us. And that is the magic of Open Source. It is up to us to keep our momentum going, to not give up, to keep pushing ourselves harder, to keep improving our software stack, to keep squashing bugs, to try to have the best desktop environment possible.

So keep up the awesome work, everybody. You’re doing it right!! =:)

Author: Jason 'vanRijn' Kasper

My name is Jason 'vanRijn' Kasper. I am the ring leader of the amazing Kasper family. I am unashamedly a Christian Nerd. These are our stories....

37 Comments

  1. I like this post. Very enthosiastic πŸ™‚

    Will KPilot only support PalmOS devices?
    I still need a solution for WinMo.

  2. “But we’re not a corporation (thank God!!).”

    Do you have something againts corporations?

  3. Wow, now I’m excited! I hope PCLinuxOS decides to implement it in the upcoming 2009 release.

  4. Thanks for the enthusiasm, Jason!

    I’ve been waiting for 4.2 to be released before I make the jump from Hardy to Intrepid (I’m still on 3.5.10). Sounds like it will have been worth the wait!

  5. I just installed the nightly packages for Kubuntu Intrepid last night.

    Wow.

    It’s like I upgraded my laptop. The speed improvement to Kwin is palpable, even with the extra bling (MmmMmmm . . . cube) turned on.

    Hopefully it won’t be long before I can just switch to the nightlies full-time. Going back to 4.1.3 makes me kind of sad now. πŸ˜‰

  6. “and try to whip everybody into being motivated”

    Adriaan did a pretty good job on that in Belgium. πŸ™‚

  7. @Daniel: HAH! Yeah, I heard that!! Adriaan is awesome and I wish I could have seen the pink whip in action! =:)

    @Tom: Yeah, KPilot will always be a Palm-only solution. You might want to look at kitchensync to see if it is known to work with your particular mobile device?

    Everyone else, thanks for commenting! And yeah, like a couple of you have said, there are some MAJOR improvements in KDE 4.2 that still aren’t in KDE 4.1.x, and I honestly feel it’s right up there with KDE 3.5.10 as far as usefulness, stability, and performance. Plus, there’s just so much coolness, eye candy, and new functionality that it’s a HUGE step forward from anything I’ve seen on the desktop before.

  8. @Brian

    PCLinuxOS has elected to go with KDE 3.5.10 for this 2009 release. However, we will be most likely using KDE 4.2 packages in the repository to work on the next version….after the release, our attention will be turned to working on KDE 4.X and 4.2 makes sense πŸ™‚

    I’m excited as well about KDE 4.2….I think that this truly is the next generation of desktops for Linux…I feel that it will vault KDE into being the defacto standard for desktop choice.

  9. I use PcLinuxOs (Minime Version) with the latest kde4.2 compiled from trunk. It’s absolutly beautiful, quick, and for a regular user like me, has all the functions I need.

  10. Well, I’m happy that KDE 4.2 seems about to be “good” instead of just “passable”.

    I will postpone judgment until I actually have it running as a “finished” release under SuSE 11 because I’m absolutely not going to try and install it myself (I have spent too many hours coaxing a myriad of KDE 3.x .tgz files to work). But if it comes as a YAST-installable option, that’s Ok.

    Perhaps I’m a bit of a sourpuss because I have no use for bling or “gorgeous” plasma applications. I want a GUI that’s easily installable, snappy, doesn’t get in the way, always works, has good documentation (and works as documented) and has readable fonts. I won’t make myself popular perhaps, but for me the standard is MS Windows, and KDE 4.2 seems to be catching up.

    For better or worse there are lots of people like me. People who aren’t prepared to spend a lot of time installing their GUI, who don’t want to spend any time at all in a systematic attempt to learn it. End-users in a word.

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  12. you got me interested alright. Been see-sawing between Ubuntu and Kubuntu for too long now. πŸ™‚

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  14. A corporation gave us QT without it KDE would not be possible.

  15. I’m looking forward to using KDE 4.* but encounter some problems when I try each of the versions and return to 3.5.*:
    1. print manager not working…?
    2. inability to save session
    3. mad cpu consumption when auto-scrolling in Konqueror
    4. no keyboard shortcuts (e.g., ALT-G to quickly launch Konq)
    5. remembered panel layout
    6. panel autohide

    Does KDE 4.2 address these? If so, I’m psyched. If not, waiting for 4.3 I guess!

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  17. Still no desktop icons? All the MLP-speak in the world will not make up for removing these from the desktop. And, sorry, folder view does not cut it.

  18. @scott
    Since 4.1 you’ve been able to drag and drop any icon on the desktop to have the traditional looking desktop. Just make sure you “Unlock widgets” first (right click on desktop)

  19. How about just leaving it at “Sweaty”, and not “old” since many of the coders are now the age that Ballmer was when he made that “Developers” faux pas.

  20. “balmy” would also do. πŸ™‚ wat say?
    personally, i liked “monkey boy” πŸ˜€

  21. @Joseph Reagle:
    > 1. print manager not working…?

    printing support is improving … printing itself is still spotty in some apps, though.

    > 2. inability to save session

    qdbus org.kde.ksmserver /KSMserver saveCurrentSession

    it was in the Leave page of kickoff not long ago; i’ll have to go see what happened to that.

    > 3. mad cpu consumption when auto-scrolling in Konqueror

    depends on the definition of “mad” i suppose; it’s using 13-25% of CPU here when autoscrolling at different speed.

    > 4. no keyboard shortcuts (e.g., ALT-G to quickly launch Konq)

    works in 4.2 (just tested it by setting a shortcut in the menu editor)

    > 5. remembered panel layout

    working

    > 6. panel autohide

    yes (you don’t read my blog, do you? πŸ˜‰

    so … not a bad improvement, no? interestingly, you compared it only against what 3.5 had. you offered nothing about what 4 has that 3 didn’t. probably because you haven’t used it much, which is understandable give your complaints. but you are really selling kde4 short by quite a bit but comparing kde3 and kde4 as if kde4 was only a replacement for kde3.

    @Scott:
    > And, sorry, folder view does not cut it.

    really? why? have you tried the current version in trunk? please, give me good solid reasons.

  22. @Scott: i just realized that you may be living under the proverbial rock and have not caught on that you can run folderview full-screen. if that’s news to you, i suggest you actually try 4.2 and switch to Folderview in the desktop settings dialog (via the toolbox button in the upper right corner, or by right clicking on the desktop)

  23. I’m a long-time Gnome user who has been trying out KDE 4.1.x in Fedora 10 (I know it’s probably not the best distro for this). A couple of questions:

    – Will 4.2 have a weather plasmoid/applet/thingy? I’ve grown unexpectedly addicted to the one available for the Gnome panel.

    – Will there be an alternative to the Windows-style taskbar? Gnome has, as an alternative, a Mac-style drop-down list that can be put in the panel instead. I actually removed the taskbar in KDE 4.1.x and lived with Alt+Tab only. I think the taskbar is the worst piece of UI design ever (at least of the ones forced on as many people as it has been), and I have always wondered why anyone outside of Microsoft would put it into any desktop.

    – The activities/virtual desktops situation confused me pretty thoroughly. I understand that the activities are a work in progress. Will KDE have both in the long run? They seem like overlapping and mutually redundant concepts.

    – Is there a key shortcut for switching between virtual desktops? This is in fact a show stopper for me. Ctrl-Alt-Left / Ctrl-Alt-Right did not work and I could not find a setting for it in 4.1.x.

  24. @Joe: Heh. Okay, yeah, how about “sweaty and ridiculous”?

    @Aaron: Hiya! =:) And you made exactly my point! KDE 4.2 is not just “hey, KDE4 is finally good enough to use and it’s almost as good as 3.5.10… I guess I might as well finally start using KDE4 now”. KDE 4.2 (and this is months away from the actual release, still) is every bit as functional and stable for me as 3.5.10, but is SO much better in many ways than both 3.5.10 and 4.1.3. I’m sure there’s going to be many naysayers, but I really think people are going to be extremely pleased.

    @Scott: yeah, I also don’t get why you’re so opposed to having a nice folderview container on the desktop, or even several nice folderview containers. There have been several really good blog posts and even a few videos that show how much more flexible and functional this is than the old paradigm. But, if you absolutely must have it the old way, it’s just a mouse-click away.

    @Mike: Hey there! =:) Yeah, I mean no ill will, but I always run into weird problems with Fedora and tend to stay away from it. But to answer your questions…

    – We do have a weather applet right now, yes. But the cool thing is that we also have integration with Google Gadgets (or whatever they’re called) (and maybe even OS X Dashboard Widgets?), so you can use any of those in your KDE environment too. Mind you, I haven’t looked at doing this lately, and I believe it’s changed a bit since I last played with it, but the support is there.

    – I’m honestly not sure about the taskbar questions, sorry. I’m really content with the way the KDE 4.2 taskbar is working, so I’m not motivated to try and find a replacement. =:)

    – Activities… yeah, I still don’t claim to understand that. Workspaces/Desktops, though, are still the same model as we had in KDE 3.5. I don’t use activities myself. I have 8 virtual desktops and that fulfills my workspace needs just fine.

    – Key switching between desktops? Yeah, totally! I have Alt+X (where X in 1..8) bound to switch my desktops right now. And systemsettings > Keyboard & Mouse > Global Keyboard Shortcuts > KWin lets you set keybindings for desktop up/down/left/right/next/previous, etc., etc. About the only grumble I have in this category right now is the lack of the advanced keybindings that we had in 3.5.10 (chained, ala emacs, keybindings like “Alt+w,5” to send the current window to workspace 5), and for that I have my little bbkeys handling it for me, so not a huge deal.

    Anyway, thanks for commenting. I think you’ll be really impressed with KDE 4.2. =:)

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  26. Screen shots for 4.2 might actually help.

  27. @Mike: i’ll take up where Jason left off =)

    taskbar: actually, a lot of people like it. i know, tastes differ. that said, all the window listing, sorting, grouping, etc, etc stuff is in a library (libtaskmanager) so it wouldn’t be too hard to create something different. nobody has yet, but we’re only what, a little over 10 months into it here?

    activities: activities and virtual desktops are not really the same thing. virtual desktops are more space to put windows, separate applications, etc. activities are about creating groups of content (widgets, folders, whatever) for different tasks.

    activities and virtual desktops may compliment each other in that some people keep a different task on each virtual desktop; for them there might be a 1:1 mapping of activity desktop. not everyone works that way, however. and some may want to have an activity on all desktops, not use virtual desktops at all, or have an activity on multiple virtual desktops.

    the activity design allows for all of those workflows.

    moreover, activities allow us to add the concept of “context” that widgets can then listen to and change their behaviour if they so wish to.

    on a much more mundane level, activities allow us to cater to the whims of people who demand a traditional icons-on-desktop without that needing to intrude on other means of interaction.

    @Shane Kerns: actually, i don’t think screenshots do kde4 justice. it’s not a static desktop like it used to be. i mean, screenshots of it do look nice .. but it’s the experience of actually using it and all the little things that work together well, all the subtle animations, the fluidity of things … a screencast gets a lot closer.

  28. Thanks for this post. Its intresting and informative.

    I use opensuse 11, kde 4.1.3 (scared that 4.2.x could be hard to install, or hard to maintain).
    Recent week I got som amazing ugrades: (kde 4.1x updates almost each day here for me, and thats sweet)

    -“Bling” update: one of the graphic themes recently(crystal or something) just made it all more usable and more beautifull.
    -Session handling in konqueror, and konqueror got more options and fells faster

    The only things I feel i miss now is:
    -amarok4 working, because I am tired using it without sound (its looking much nicer than 3 already, I and did not like the remake…
    -possibility to change color on my taskbar (the updates this week made it transparent, and I could only fix the clock-colour
    -more plasmoids (way to hard to wait for them, need them now…..)

    Its hard to wait for 4.2.x, I read to much about it, and think I will switch soon if its easy to switch, and if it is stable.
    Noot looking forward for an update to 11.1 to, knowing it might be hassle, but knowing I will do it soon after having read to much about the new features…

  29. Thanks to Aaron and Jason for the replies.

    I’ve read descriptions of activities by Aaron and others before, and on paper it looks like a very good idea. In practice in KDE 4.1.x it seemed to me that there was another virtual desktop mechanism on top of the conventional one, but I only tried it briefly and as I understand the feature is not finished anyway.

    Now that you reminded me, I actually did find on my own the key shortcut to switch to desktop number X, but not the one to go to previous/next, for which Alt-Ctrl-Left/Right are burned into my peripheral nervous system. I just seemed to be incompatible with Alt-. Maybe I can visit a re-education camp.

    Another question: is there a way to set the desktop to use Emacs key shortcuts for text input in general? There is a setting in Gnome, although buried in gconf-editor. Once set, you can use e.g. Ctrl-K in the Firefox address field to kill the address from the cursor to the end of the line, which I do all the time. Emacs key combinations are also burned into my peripheral nervous system, and it is quite painful to keep hitting the commands in a system that does not support them (MS Word goes wild, for instance).

  30. @Aaron
    Using Neon 4.2 debs now
    1. printing seems OK now
    2. urd:/home/reagle> qdbus org.kde.ksmserver /KSMserver saveCurrentSession
    Interface ” not available in object /KSMserver at org.kde.ksmserver:
    org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.UnknownObject (No such object path ‘/KSMserver’)
    3. autoscroll uses 100% of one CPU on Mesa DRI Intel(R) 965G 4.1.3002 x86/MMX/SSE2
    4. How do I even edit the shortcuts in the new menu? Alt clicking on the KDE button shows panel options, but no KMenuEdit options? But, it does work when I call it from the command-line.
    5. Panel layout seems persistent.
    6. Panel auto-hide seems to work.

    So, it’s possible I will be able to happily use KDE 4.1! πŸ™‚

  31. Sorry – I’ll use KDE 4.x when openSUSE makes it the default install.

    I know other distros are doing this – Kubuntu for example – and they’re getting complaints. Supposedly partly this is because Canonical treats KDE as an after-thought and their implementation supposedly sucks.

    But I’m not a beta-tester. When KDE 4.x is feature complete and STABLE, I will use it – not before.

    I’ve got enough problems with Firefox 3.x still being a POS.

  32. I installed Kubuntu 8.10 on my laptop and finally got some mileage from my rt61 wlan. But I had to pay with the absence of kpilot, which I sorely miss. So what you are saying is that kpilot will again be included with the next Kubuntu update?

  33. Hi hans!

    You can (and should) install kdepim3-kpilot (iirc) in your KDE4 environment and that will give you KPilot. We will be including KPilot as part of KDE 4.2, yes, but it has received zero user testing, and I’m frankly a little concerned about that. You can install KPilot in the nightly/weekly KDE trunk/4.2 Kubuntu packages now, I think, and start testing it.

  34. Dude! Your little post had the effect Ballmer was only dreaming of when he ran around going “Developers, Developers, Developers!”. Nice post. It was such a joy to read because your enthusiasm for what you do shows. And its infectious πŸ™‚

    Any word on what Firefox looks like on KDE? Is there a way to make it fit in? Coz that’s my only complaint – I’ve tried to make it use a Qt theme, only to find it looks terrible. I want to show KDE off to my Windows friends, but I know they will try Firefox on it.

  35. Couple of points:

    1) 4.2 beta from project-neon debs installed and looking damn fine
    2) found a couple of bugs but the step forward from 4.1 is worth the niggles….

    Just wanted to say Well Done Guys for your work. This is gonna be hot hot hot ! ! !!

  36. Hi, Jason,
    I would gladly install kdepim3-kpilot as you suggest, or even try the kde 4.2 version, but I have no idea how, as Adept does not know about kpilot or kdepim(3). A few weeks ago I toyed with an older deb-package of kpilot, but it complained about the wrong bluetooth library, and I use Kubuntu and Adept because I lost enough time over the last ten years in the dependency hell.
    So what should I download to install kpilot in my intrepid ibex (updatted to kde4.2)?
    Paai

  37. I’m installing KDE 4.2 on my gentoo box, right now, and I can’t wait. I used KDE 4.0 when it came out and hated it, and the improvement to KDE 4.1 was crazy – if there’s that much improvement from 4.1 to 4.2, I … well, I dunno what I’ll do, but it’ll be spectacular and embarrassing.

    I’m especially looking forward to konqueror improvements. Konqueror and I have had a love-hate relationship since I first tried it. It’s crazy fast when there’s no javascript, but javascript seems to stab out its virtual eyes. I was completely dumbfounded by the ability to bind keyboard shortcuts to links, buttons, text areas, and the like, when I first found it, and the integrated search shortcuts are so much better than having a separate search bar.

    And yet, it doesn’t display gmail correctly, not to mention the fact that there’s no way to enable flash on a per-instance basis (like flashblock for firefox and opera).

    If what I’ve heard is correct and konqueror uses webkit in 4.2 (which I’m assuming it does, because I was told by portage that I needed “webkit” in my USE flags before I could install the 4.2 beta), then it’ll be that much closer to being my only web browser. I’ll still use firefox and/or opera for watching videos, because flash is currently permanently blocked in konqueror (and will be until I find a flashblock plugin), but I will be very happy.

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