KDE4 Desktop revisited

August 29, 2007 at 9:05 pm | Posted in KDE | Comments Off

I don’t like those small comment fields for comments, so I’m posting another (and the last for the time being) blog about the KDE4 desktop as kind-of answer to Aaron and Sebastian.

I don’t have the menu problem in xinerama mode, just that apps don’t start on the screen where the mouse is. The oxygen kwin style doesn’t show the active window as it seems. Unfortunately my radeon card and the driver don’t provide proper XComposite support so I can’t make any use of the new kwin effects :(

So what I was left with was a krunner that didn’t work after some time and no plasma applets as they still dwell in playground (which I can’t build due to space constraints). I can run kde3 apps from konsole, but I’ve got nothing but wallpaper desktop :(

Anyway, Aaron I promise I’ll try to use the KDE4 desktop more often in the next months until the release and then I’ll do my judgement wether I’ll switch to it or not. I’ll also try harder to really use it and not just trying this and that and being disappointed if it doesn’t work.

Where’s the KDE4 Desktop?

August 27, 2007 at 2:36 pm | Posted in KDE | 32 Comments

Before I come to the content please bear in mind: This is just my personal impressions from the 10/15 minutes I played with the current KDE4 desktop yesterday. I’m completely aware that there’s still 2 months of work happening and that KDE 4.0 is not primarily targeted at the broad user base that KDE4 is. Also I only have kdebase,kdesdk and kdevelop checked out, so I can’t say how the other modules are..

Still I think the Desktop is not in the shape I would’ve liked to see it for the 4.0 release. We do have a desktop with a wallpaper and this desktop-widget-thingie. First thing I noticed after trying the analog clock example is that the drop-down box is not xinerama aware. That is the widget itself is on the second screen (have them side by side) in the top-left corner, but the content of the box appears on the first in the top-left corner (2nd is left of 1st). Another thing is that the clock is somehow cropped when I switch from Desktop to one of the panel-types, it seems as if there’s some leftover from the round shape of the analog clock thats covering the left parts of the digital display.

Then tried to run some kde4 apps, kate, kwrite, umbrello and kdevelop crash a second after the start (but that also happens when started from a kde3 session, not sure whats going on here). So I tried the konsole, that one works :) And I know konsole is in quite good shape already. The launcher is cool as well, I really like the new Ui and they way to show the alternatives matching the input.

Next thing to try was the kcontrol replacement – systemsettings. And I was pretty dissappointed. Not by the new UI, but that there were only about a handful of icons for the various parts, that needs vast improvement before a release to the public. (And yes I know our artists work their ass off). I do like the new categorization and the cleaner interface (although the treeview from kcontrol isn’t much of a problem for me either, though sometimes settings I’d group together are splattered over different modules). The dialog-ish way of presenting the modules fits quite well too. I tried (among one or two others) the kwin settings stuff, first bad error: The dialog is too small and gets a vertical scrollbar. Which makes 2 Scrollbars side by side in the effects tab – very bad I think. I tried to enable some of the effects, but without any documentation (should be in the about box or a separate Help thing, or did I just miss something here?) its hard to find out how they could work. I guess most don’t work anyway because on radeon Xinerama and things like Composite/XRender and Co don’t play well (and I couldn’t find out how to get a 2 screen wide desktop without Xinerama and without the radeon MergedFB thing).

Last but not least: The style (the widget style, not the kwin style) doesn’t play well with the upper-left-corner desktop widget, the widget is completely useless with it I can’t see any of its widgets when oxygen is activated it seems to be all see-through. I know oxygen is not done yet and there’s still plenty of work (which I unfortunately can’t help with currently) there but this was really surprising as its based of plastik nowadays and I didn’t see such extreme glitches with standard apps (read kdevelop/kate/kwrite).

So thats for that, I can’t see myself “eating the kde dogfood” before 4.1 at the moment – at least not unless there’s some major improvement in the next 2 months :(

SoC Finals

August 22, 2007 at 4:54 pm | Posted in GSoC, KDevelop | Comments Off

So coding for SoC ended 2 days ago and the KDevelop Python support suceeded :)

Piyush didn’t finish everything as was originally planned due to some difficulties he had while diving into the kdevelop language support. Still we have code highlighting on top of what kate already does, which highlights functions, classes and arguments.  Interested people can find a screenshot on his blog.

For me it was a quite interesting experience, I probably spent too much time mentoring (although Piyush probably thinks different :) but the outcome is quite good. I would never have had the energy to work that much on the python support all on my own and Piyush will continue to work on it, which is really great and shows the success as well – thats what GSoC is about after all, acquiring new people for open source projects.

Vacation

August 22, 2007 at 4:47 pm | Posted in Real life | Comments Off

First I planned to write a blog entry for each day of my vacation, but soon enough it turned out to be too much work and I don’t really have any pics ready for publishing yet.

So just a short impression: I was in norway for the 4th time, again with my whole family (including my and my brothers girlfriend) and we had a great time. Weather wasn’t as nice as we hoped, but it was ok most of the time.

We took the ferry from Hirtshals/Denmark to Langesund/Norway on both ways, that means a 10 hour drive from the ferry to the town where we rented a house: Eidsvåg. The evening of the arrival we didn’t do much except unpacking, taking a shower and making plans for monday.

On monday we did a short trip to the next larger town, Sunndalsøra. Clouds where hanging deep so we couldn’t see much from the surrounding mountains, but it still was a nice walk (and shopping, I forgot my belt, contact lens cleaning fluid and my house shoes at home) around the town and river.

On tuesday we planned to go to Trondheim, because the weather was supposed to be sunny there. It was sunny most of the time and I recognized quite some places (did I mention that I’ve been in the same area 10 years ago with my parents?). We walked to the cathedral, up to the fortress and also talking a walk to the former fish market hall.

On Wednesday we went to a stave church and on to andalsness, from where we visited the “trollstigen” a steep, narrow road up a mountain with 180 degree turns. The really interesting thing here is normally when busses go up and down, those need the whole street in the turns, but we didn’t have any that day. It wasn’t the best weather, but it didn’t rain. On the top there’s a walkway along the border of the mountain top. Also did a short stop at some snow, which is a kinda cool thing for us people that seldomly have snow in winter…

Thursday was a round-trip from Eidsvåg to Molde and along the atlantic route to Kristiansund. Molde was quite nice, really sunny weather and warm. The atlantic route bridges are cool even the second time, the first bridge goes up and directly around the corner so from further away it looks like the cars drive up the road and then fall from it into the ocean. 10 years ago we had a house in Bremsnes a town right across from Kristiansund, but unfortunately we couldn’t find the road to it again and we didn’t really want to go hunting for it. So we took the ferry to Kristiansund and a walk around the city. The old resteraunt we ate in once or twice was closed down, but I think other than that the city didn’t change that much. Had a quite good pizza (and took the rest with us) later and went home.

For friday we did a short trip so we had time in the afternoon to pack things up as we needed to leave early on saturday (remember, 10 hour drive and the ferry leaves at 7pm). We opted to go to Mardalsfossen a large waterfall south of Eidsvåg (supposedly its the 4th largest in the world – 297 free fall), finding Mardal and the parking spot was easy enough and the weather was still ok. The hard part was walking up to the waterfall, its a pretty steep walk and it takes you at leas 30 minutes if you hurry up much. However it was paying off (we needed about an hour with stops here and there to take photos), really cool and pretty wet as well at the bottom of the fall :) But then also the weather changed to rainy and I’m not sure how much water was from the fall spray.

The drive back is also worth a note because we basically got no sleep. After the 10 hour drive, we tried to get not bored while sitting on the ferry, playing cards, eating something and so on. And after that we started the drive home (that is from 1am to 6:30am). While the drive in norway wasn’t a real problem, also because I changed 2 times with my girlfriend, the drive home was pretty hard. One problem of course sleepiness (yeah to coffee :), but more importantly because my girlfriend couldn’t drive anymore, she was too tired, and slept right next to me. Still made it home safe and quickly enough.

Wow, pretty long blog still and no photos :( I’ll post them as soon as I’ve got a collection ready. It was really a great vacation and gave me back some energy (most of which I lost while catching up with mail and stuff :)

Plans for QMake Manager

August 7, 2007 at 2:35 pm | Posted in KDevelop | 4 Comments

Maybe its a good idea to explain why the KDev4 QMake Manager will support all these undocumented features, before announcing that it does so? Well to late for the “before” thing, but nevertheless here are my plans:

    • Support for reading and understanding of most of QMake’s features, this includes but is not limited to: the undocumented features listed on the site I posted in the previous blog, support for self-defined functions via newTestFunction and Co, support for self-defined features.
    • Provide a simple GUI to change some of QMake’s variables to support simple projects. This will be limited to adding/removing files and dirs, changing the template and possibly the target and adding/removing libraries and include dirs
    • Provide a language support part for the QMake scripting language to help people write advanced QMake project files.

      The reasoning for 2 is 3 and vice versa. The work on KDevelop3′s QMake Manager clearly showed one fact: Buildsystems such as QMake, CMake or autotools are just too complex to provide a GUI that covers each and every aspect. In particular writing the buildsystem files back to disk without interfering with existing formatting and content is close to impossible.

      So I decided (well inspired by talks with Matt Rogers who is working on CMake support AFAIK in the same direction), that I’d rather help people write complicated QMake project files with things like extended syntax highlighting, “code completion” (yes I’m aiming to have a list of possible functions to use and include argument hints for those) and also code navigation and refactoring (as far as support for that gets into kdevelop/kdevplatform). For the beginner users there will still be some GUI (not sure how that will look, don’t have any mockups yet), so they can easily setup some simple projects, including build libraries and having subdirs as well as linking to external libraries. I think most of the things from the first 3 or 4 tabs in the existing QMake manager will be supported in a GUI.

      So thats it for my plans so far, comments welcome of course :)

      QMake Progress

      August 6, 2007 at 1:03 pm | Posted in KDevelop | Comments Off

      I’m progressing quite well with the new parser and the somewhat fixed AST. KDevelop’s QMake Manager can now read the mkspecs including following include() directives (no resolving of variables yet though). It doesn’t use that information yet, however adding that will come shortly (hopefully after my vacation next week.

      The manager can now also recognize some more variables to create targets, files and subdirectory entries in the project tree, including some undocumented QMake features (more info about those features here: http://wiki.qtcentre.org/index.php?title=Undocumented_qmake). I also adapted the tree layout to match that of the newly-resurrected CMake manager, which groups targets under subdirectories and then groups the files according to the targets.

      On other news KDevelop’s GrepView was ported from KDevelop3 by Dukju Ahn, I recently changed the dialog to use a .ui file for the layout and did some cleanups in the plugin. I also fixed up the environment settings stuff (mostly complete, but I’d like to make the environment widget itself also KConfigXT compatible), so plugins don’t have to write a ton of code to use the rather simple combobox which is used to select the environment in which external processes should be run.

      On windows there didn’t happen much in the past, well except maybe that the application wizard now works and one can create new KDevelop4 projects on windows as well.

      And my SoC student also works his ass off to bring the python support in a usable shape. Unfortunately its much more work than he and myself thought so I’m not yet sure how much will be done in the SoC project. I’m looking forward though to having some extended highlighting for class and function declarations.

      Again a thankful goodbye to Dukju Ahn who’s not able to contribute to KDevelop4 anymore, you were a big help in getting KDevelop4 in a somewhat useful state.

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