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 😦

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