Experiences with the Oxygen Style

June 29, 2007 at 10:08 am | Posted in KDE | 2 Comments

A few words before I rant (just a little) about the new oxygen style. I do like the working aspects of it, that is the tabbars, the hover-effect on the menubar. The Scrollbars look good, so it is on the right track IMHO. Still I’m a bit worried about its quality on older or not 100% supported hardware, so here’s what I’ve got when trying the oxygen style.

First of all I think I should explain my graphics hardware, because I can’t judge which problems come from the style and which might be problems of my graphics driver. I’m working on a laptop here, which has a Radeon Mobility 9200. I’m using the open source radeon driver, because the proprietary one is a) not open source and b) is the worst piece of driver I’ve ever tested. Seriously, its crashing X11 more often then it boots it up. Also noteworthy is that I’m running Xinerama here, not with the MergedFB mode, but with plain X11 Xinerama, the reason for this is simply that I couldn’t get MergedFB to work reliably and to provide the resolution I want – CRT with 1400×1050 and Laptop with 1680×1050.

Thats for the basics. Now I present to you 2 screenshots which show how the style looks here on the above mentioned hardware:

Oxygen Style with Default Settings Oxygen Style with Usable background

Now the first picture shows you what I get when just selecting Oxygen as style on a clean user account. The problems here are that my graphics driver doesn’t implement certain XRender functionality and unfortunately the style currently can’t detect that and switch to a more usable background mode. For the second picture I switched to the horizontal gradient version (IIRC), everything else is still default.

Things that are wrong: The handle of Splitters, the Scrollbar knobs – that is the up-knob when the scrollbar is at the top and vice versa, The dockwidgets detach and close buttons are broken. The vertical header of the CVS toolview on the bottom is not vertical, the text on the vertical bars of the right toolviews is flipped (maybe thats intentional, but if it is its still broken for me) and last but not least: The lineedit in the Filemanager has the same background as the windows which is really wrong. I also noticed heavy flickering when opening a menu and then moving the cursor along the menu bar, what flickers is the combobox on top of the central area.

So what I’m currently most concerned about is that KDE4.0 will ship with this style and more than just 2% of our users will end up with something like the first picture. I guess part of the problem is that the people working on the style have state-of-the-art graphics stuff in their machine’s and use proprietary drivers. Both of which is fine, but IMHO is not what the majority of KDE users can be expected to have. So please, everyone with not-that-decent hardware or strange graphics setup (like Xinerama seems to pose a problem, according to Thomas), test the new style and report errors you find to Thomas L├╝bking or Casper Boemann so we don’t screw the KDE 4.0 experience just because of the default style.

So to conclude: Yes, the style is still beta quality, but I’m not convinced it can fixed properly until the 4.0 release. Sure its still some months, but this thing needs much more testing then it currently gets.

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