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What's Coming In KDE 4.4

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the starting-to-look-compelling dept.

KDE 423

buzzboy writes "If you're wondering what the folks over at KDE have been cooking up for the next major release, KDE 4.4, well, quite a bit as it turns out. In a lengthy interview, KDE core developer and spokesperson for the project Sebastian Kugler details the myriad changes that are coming with the 4.4 release — the fifth major release since KDE 4.0 debuted to much criticism nearly two years ago. The project has closed about 18,000 bugs over the past six months and the pace of development is snowballing. The 'heavy-lifting' in libraries and frameworks for 4.0 is now starting to pay off. Perhaps the biggest change is in the development of a semantic desktop. According to Kugler, 'If you tag an image in your image viewer, the tag becomes visible in your desktop search. That's how it should be, right?' There is also a picture gallery of KDE 4.4 (svn) screenshots so you can see what it will look like."

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Labelling. (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30128714)

It is a pity that KDE 4.0 wasn't really ready to be a 4.0 release, and the controversy wasn't wholly undeserved; but I've actually been pretty pleased at how KDE 4.X is shaping up.

Had prior 4.X releases been 3.9X releases, with 4.0 coming soon, I suspect that the mood would have been largely positive.

Re:Labelling. (4, Insightful)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30128744)

Except that you can't really label major API and design changes as a point release. It SHOULD have been 4.0_ALPHA_01, 4.0_BETA_01, and 4.0_PROD coming soon.

Re:Labelling. (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30128794)

Fair enough, that would certainly make more sense.(though I'm pretty sure that I have seen, from time to time, the "start at previous major version number, add .9, then asymptotically approach target major version number until you are ready" numbering scheme used. It isn't horribly ambiguous as long as releases of the previous major version number never made it as high as .8(as in the case of KDE, where 3.5 is the highest release of 3.X).

Re:Labelling. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30129640)

Reminds me of Windows 4.9 (ala Windows ME)

Re:Labelling. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30129176)

or KDE4 version 0.1

Re:Labelling. (2, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#30128848)

Yeah, I felt like all the jokes about people who buy a MS OS prior to the first SP1 being the "paying beta testers" would have been appropriate for KDE4.0 and 4.1, at least if they charged.

4.2 wasn't bad, and I actually *like* 4.3, I can easily set it up to do what I want/need easily.

My only worry is that... with 4.4 out, are we going to be subjected to KDE5.0 soon?

Re:Labelling. (4, Insightful)

Bralkein (685733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129134)

IMO a lot of the blame for the KDE 4.0 pain lies with the distros. So KDE 4.0 wasn't ready for prime time, too bad. So why the hell were certain distros inflicting it upon their users if it wasn't ready? Couldn't they have tested it, noticed that it wasn't ready, and waited before deploying it? I really don't know what they were thinking. My distro of choice (Arch Linux) waited til KDE4 was done before rolling it out, and Arch mainly aims to be on the bleeding edge most of the time. In fact I installed 4.0 anyway, because I wanted to try it out, but I really appreciated Arch's common sense in handling the matter. Not so for too many of the other distros though.

I don't think you need to be worrying about KDE 5.0 for a little while, but even if it does turn up sometime soon-ish, there's no reason why it needs to be as painful as 4.0. For example, the change from KDE 2 to KDE 3 was pretty smooth. Even if this hypothetical 5.0 release was a major change from the KDE 4 series, I would imagine that the KDE devs might learn from past mistakes (gasp!) and do things differently this time around.

Re:Labelling. (1)

lambent (234167) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129504)

As noted above, the problem really lies with the numbering scheme. Most distro maintainers knew that KDE 4.0 was completely unsuitable for anyone. However, the clamouring userbases only cared that 4 > 3, and as such, in general demanded that 4.0 be provided to them. And they got what they asked for.

Re:Labelling. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129584)

It's a problem with open vs closed mentalities. People are not used to the "release early, release often", as it's not very common with proprietary software.

Re:Labelling. (4, Interesting)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129734)

Not really a "distro" problem for me as I'm a FreeBSD user. I chose to install 3.x and 4.x simultaneously.

After putting a lot of effort into 4.0 for a week, I said "fuck it", and went back to 3. The same happened with 4.1.

I missed 4.2, and ended up with 4.3 on an Ubuntu Live CD I was experimenting with. My first thought was "Wow, they did some nice tweaks to this to make it play nice with Ubuntu. I wonder what it's like on FreeBSD?"

I went back and installed it on FreeBSD and it was just as nice as it was on Ubuntu.

I went back and found some 4.2 releases, and they didn't seem so bad either. My old 4.1 release still wasn't pleasant though.

Re:Labelling. (1, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129764)

IMO a lot of the blame for the KDE 4.0 pain lies with the distros.

Really?

IMO a think all of the blame lies with KDE. If it wasn't ready for prime time, then don't mark it as a release.

Re:Labelling. (3, Interesting)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129284)

4.2 wasn't bad, and I actually *like* 4.3, I can easily set it up to do what I want/need easily.

I *hate* it. At least the 3D stuff can be turned off now, but there's still a noticeable lag with keyboard input randomly. I mean, seriously. I have a 2x2,4 GHz processor and you tell me you can't display the key I pressed under 0,1 seconds?

Oh, and please don't try to find and animate every possible program on the run dialog until I actually finished typing the relevant part.

Re:Labelling. (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129496)

The 3D stuff could always be turned off. I have no input lag (on QT apps, i have a few lag spikes in firefox, but i don't know who to blame for that) on 1x2Ghz that is usually running at 800mhz, i suspect it's something to do w/ your graphics card, but then again im only running a Radeon Xpress 200M with radeon drivers.

Re:Labelling. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30129324)

The KDE team has already said that KDE5 will be a small API break, like KDE2 to KDE3. The whole point of the major changes between KDE3 and KDE4 was to have a modern framework that would last for years to come.

Re:Labelling. (2, Interesting)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129360)

4.2 wasn't bad, and I actually *like* 4.3, I can easily set it up to do what I want/need easily.

My only worry is that... with 4.4 out, are we going to be subjected to KDE5.0 soon?

I called it some time ago
4.4 = all 1st party tools pretty much finished, 3rd party tools there but not polished
4.5 = 3rd party tools good to go

then somebody will release dbus/kross/plasma malware and they will realise that the whole DE has to be redone from a security perspective!
5.0 = an entire re-write with some concept of security and threading (kross for example runs in the same thread as the parent app)
5.1 ....

6.0 = port to qt 5?

Re:Labelling. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30128948)

I wonder if 4.4 is going to be finally stable, or will it be 4.5 or 4.9.

4.3.3 is still broken in multiple ways.

Plasma crashes sometimes and still has troubles properly resizing and drawing its widgets.

Akonadi fails to start even on a pristine configuration, and its sophisticated "why can't I start" diagnosis fails to identify the problem. (I googled out that I had to comment out a line in its config file.)

Phonon works worse in 4.3 than it did in 4.2 for me. Its xine backend suddenly can't open my soundcard, while its gstreamer backend doesn't open vorbis files. (Other xine based programs work fine, gstreamer has all required plugins installed.)

KWin has a tendency to crash with compositing enabled (and more rarely without), on a geforce 7 series, which generally has worked rock solid for years.

Kopete crashes sometimes, Akregator used to crash in 4.2, haven't tested in 4.3 since I migrated to Liferea.

You could probably find a lot more warts, I don't use that many KDE apps. Bottomline is, even in 4.3 they still haven't gotten such basic functionality as a stable window manager and solid desktop widget drawing and resizing. Instead they're working on ever more features, ever more APIs and deamons that work as centralized points of failure...

Re:Labelling. (3, Insightful)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129136)

Question: Are you using Kubuntu? I tried it a bit on a friend's Ubuntu install, and it was utter garbage. Debian's KDE is infinitely better. I can't remember having Kopete or Akregator crash on me, and I use those all the time. KWin might crash when using compositing with poor drivers, but X.org is currently in a state of flux -- it was stable until my latest update.

Re:Labelling. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30129238)

Nope, gentoo x86_64. Without any fancy compiler flags, just -O2, -march and -g.

Re:Labelling. (1)

Neil Hodges (960909) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129430)

I'd consider a CFLAGS including -g to be "fancy." Adding the debug symbols can actually cause problems, at least in my experience.

Actually, if you don't disable strip, a lot of the debug symbols will be removed anyway.

Re:Labelling. (4, Insightful)

BlackCreek (1004083) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129302)

As a former user of Kubuntu and KDE, I agree with what you say: Kubuntu IMHO sucks.

I believe that that is big problem for KDE. Ubuntu has become the standard "easy and ready to use" Linux desktop. It is not perfect, it has a large share of problems but it has become the standard. As most new users will try out KDE through Kubuntu, and have a bad experience.

Add to that the KDE4 fiasco, and you get as a result KDE's popularity nowdays, a mere shadow of what it was years ago (when it was the preferred choice of more than 2/3 of the folks voting at LinuxJournal yearly poll).

Re:Labelling. (2, Insightful)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129794)

Yeah I kept hearding that so i went for a meander around debian and fedora and TBH i'm yet to see what people are talking about, there are differences but KDE in kubuntu is not significantly different from that in debian (kde3 vs kde3) or fedora (kde4 vs kde4).

I haven't run openSuse or mandriva yet so perhaps they are truly better but Debian's KDE is not significantly better and in fact lacked tweaks that had not made it upstream yet, so I'm starting to suspect it's just more generic ubuntu hate or as a result of ubuntu seeing more work on gnome, because I'm at a push to see any real difference.

Re:Labelling. (2, Insightful)

molnarcs (675885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129448)

It's completely useless to list all those problems without identifying the distribution you use... If it happens to be Kubuntu, well, no surprise there. But on Archlinux, I haven't seen any of the problems you mention, and I haven't seen user reports on the forums either. Most recently some of us had problems with the latest xorg+nvidia+kde4.3.3 ugprade, but it was solved in a few days...

That's the problem with posts like yours - all the evidence is anecdotal. Although I had the occasional (still, quite rare) kwin crashes in 4.2.x, I had none since I updated. No idea what the widget-resize problem is, everything's smooth as silk here. Sound works like a champ, I use xine (with pulse enabled), plays everything smoothly. I only have the gstreamer backend installed because it's needed by a DVD authoring app (devede I believe). I haven't had akonadi installed on my setup until about 10 days ago. Since than, it has been running without any problems..

On a final note, Arch's packages are pretty much vanilla packages, and they rock solid (no pun intended). There was a brief period during the xorg+nvidia+kde4.3.3 update (they all happened at the same time on arch) that caused problems for many users, specifically those who have nvidia cards.... but all problems have been solved in less then a week. Again, if KDE works fine here, works fine on Mandriva (at least that's what I heard), then your distro's implementation is to be blamed, not KDE...

Re:Labelling. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30129060)

You're absolutely right about there being quality problems with KDE up until 4.3. But keep in mind that even their most broken releases were still much, much better than GNOME.

GNOME has stagnated, and is on its deathbed. I mean, they're at release 2.28 for fuck's sake, and they only release every March and September. GNOME 2.0 was released in 2002! That was nearly 10 years ago! It's not an active project. It's just barely maintained.

GNOME 3 isn't supposed to be out until September 2010. That's quite a long time for a software project. And once it's released, it'll suffer from the problems that the early KDE 4.x releases did. A barely-stable release won't be available until September 2011 at the earliest, but more likely by September 2012.

On the other hand, the KDE devs have shown that they're willing to innovate and provide a much richer and useful desktop environment. Even if there are bumps along the way, it's clear that they're lightyears ahead of GNOME. And at this point, it doesn't look like GNOME has any chance of catching up.

Re:Labelling. (2, Interesting)

QCompson (675963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129248)

GNOME 3 isn't supposed to be out until September 2010. That's quite a long time for a software project. And once it's released, it'll suffer from the problems that the early KDE 4.x releases did. A barely-stable release won't be available until September 2011 at the earliest, but more likely by September 2012.

Oh please. The new gnome-shell is already usable and mostly stable. Just because the KDE team made their transition into a new release a massive trainwreck doesn't mean every software project will follow in their footsteps.

Gnome hasn't stagnated, it's a mature and stable desktop environment. Because of this, Gnome is often the preferred choice for enterprise desktops. KDE is obsessed with shiny objects and web 2.0 garbage, which is why it has taken so very long for the 4.X series to be merely usable.

I'm not claiming that KDE is down for the count, just that the desktop environments seem to have taken a different development strategy as of late.

Re:Labelling. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30129498)

Wrong. I built and installed GNOME 3 this past weekend, and it's nowhere near being comparable to even KDE 4.0. It's nowhere near as stable as you're making it out to be.

And you're wrong about it being the "preferred choice for enterprise desktops". That had nothing to do with quality or usability. That just had to do with it having a more corporate-friendly licensing scheme than KDE did, mainly because of Qt. So vendors like Sun and HP tried to adopt it. But since Nokia's acquisition of Trolltech, and their subsequent relicensing of Qt, that's no longer an issue.

And finally, you're wrong yet again about the direction KDE is taking. It's not about "shiny objects" or "Web 2.0", it's about them making better use of the hardware resources of modern systems. While some demos have been put together showing OpenGL-accelerated effects, the main benefit has been with the desktop being more responsive as a whole, due to better hardware acceleration.

KDE 4.3 is extremely responsive, while GNOME 2.28 on the same system is clearly less responsive.

Re:Labelling. (2, Interesting)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129682)

GNOME has stagnated, and is on its deathbed. I mean, they're at release 2.28 for fuck's sake, and they only release every March and September. GNOME 2.0 was released in 2002! That was nearly 10 years ago! It's not an active project. It's just barely maintained.

Ubuntu crowd would disagree. Project can only be declared dead if it has no users.

Slow release cycles are fine - as long as software delivers what users do expect. Though I'm personally Gnome hater, some folks are pretty happy about Ubuntu and its default UI.

On the other hand, the KDE devs have shown that they're willing to innovate and provide a much richer and useful desktop environment. Even if there are bumps along the way, it's clear that they're lightyears ahead of GNOME. And at this point, it doesn't look like GNOME has any chance of catching up.

"Much richer" in what way? And how do you define "useful desktop environment?"

Those are silly questions to ask of "desktop environment" whose sole purpose in life is to allow its user to browse for a file and to start application. Applications are the meat of the desktop, not the desktop environment.

N.B. Likewise most of early complains about KDE4 were "where the hell the applications for it?" - KDE4 might have been ready already in KDE 4.0 times, yet applications using KDE 4.0 were few and unstable.

its a pity people/distros cant read (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30129112)

Anyone paying attention knew that 4.0 WAS NOT ready for general use yet like children on Christmas eve, they couldnt wait.

But of course we are in the home of the 'cant be bothered to RTFA', so id have more chances explaining fellatio to Ellen Degeneres than to convince this lot to read something first.

The funniest thing is when 4.0 came out, you could still use v3.5 which was updated twice that same year but some people were sooooo incensed that 4.0 was exactly what it was (incomplete) that they decided to NOT to go back to 3.5 even though nothing stopped them from still using 3.5.

Its times like this you realize that people are idiots.

Re:its a pity people/distros cant read (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129588)

So, will the children be ready for general use by Boxing Day ?

You *do* know you're missing a comma that puts the sentence into a whole other context ?

Re:Labelling. (2, Insightful)

sim82 (836928) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129196)

The real problem was that most large distributions (fedora in my case) dropped KDE 3.5 support entirely as soon as 4.0 came out. This forced me to completly skip the FC9 release, and eventually to move on to a distribution without the continuous half-year release terror.

Re:Labelling. (4, Insightful)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129232)

I think they need to get away from the 4.x series, it's a great desktop now, but a lot of people still have a bad taste in their mouth from only having tried 4.0. Similarly to how Vista SP3 is called "Windows 7," KDE should abandon 4.x and jump on the 7 bandwagon (Windows 7, Intel i7) and release 4.4 as KDE7; possibly KDE8 just for good measure.

Disclaimer: I am aware that Vista SP3 is distinct from Windows 7.

Can we stop posting links to cio.com.au? (4, Insightful)

Jacques Chester (151652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30128724)

They have the trifecta of crummy website behaviour: excessive pagination, click-through ads and lazily regurgitating other people's content.

Re:Can we stop posting links to cio.com.au? (1)

CheeseTroll (696413) | more than 4 years ago | (#30128936)

Not to mention sloow, only to reward visitors with blurry screenshots.

Re:Can we stop posting links to cio.com.au? (1)

NervousWreck (1399445) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129214)

Second that. Sloooooooooooww.

Re:Can we stop posting links to cio.com.au? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30128978)

Not to mention the limited bandwidth of Australia.

Re:Can we stop posting links to cio.com.au? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30129066)

It's nothing to do with Australia's bandwidth and more to do with their host's. I live in Australia and this site is dreadfully slow for me as well. The page has been loading for two and a half minutes and so far just one thumbnail is visible aside from the limited text. The rest of the site is equally slow.

Re:Can we stop posting links to cio.com.au? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129262)

I wasn't implying that Australia's bandwidth was the only source of the problem. I'm just saying that if most clicks come from Canada, U.S.A. and Europe (given the current time), then it's all non-local bandwidth that must go overseas through what I guess must be a limited pipe compared to what we have in America.

Re:Can we stop posting links to cio.com.au? (3, Funny)

impaledsunset (1337701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30128996)

Don't worry, they are already slashdotted. That's what you get for requiring multiple requests to read a single article.

Re:Can we stop posting links to cio.com.au? (3, Interesting)

bcmm (768152) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129298)

I'm still waiting for the damn site to load, so lets all just read the KDE 4.4 Feature Plan [kde.org] instead.

Best quality, Best reputation , Best services,look (-1, Offtopic)

coolforsale136 (1680358) | more than 4 years ago | (#30128748)

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Re:Best quality, Best reputation , Best services,l (2, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129004)

Apart from modding offtopic, is there anything else we can do?

And no I won't read at a higher threshold because of moronic moderators who bury other people's opinions with troll and flamebait mods.

Re:Best quality, Best reputation , Best services,l (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30129100)

There is something you can do to prevent reading such posts again. Go find a cliff or a bridge somewhere, then take your entire fucktarded family. Have all of them jump off to their deaths, and after that jump to yours. You will have fulfilled you goal of not having to read such "filth" and everyone here at slashdot will never have to put up with whiny little fucktards like you and your fucktarded family whining while taking our precious O2 and pollutting the gene pool again.

Re:Best quality, Best reputation , Best services,l (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129326)

That, or Slashdot could add a new moderation choice: spam. Also make the spam count add up (i.e. don't prevent people from moderating someone spam just because he's already at -1, let the spam count add up).

If a spam moderation counter is above a certain value, editors could look it up, decide if it's real spam or not, and disable the account/warn the user his account has been taken over/whatever.

Re:Best quality, Best reputation , Best services,l (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129780)

I'd have suggested a URL blacklist, but it takes so long already to post a comment, I really don't want to make the process any longer.

Anyway, the site sucks. Have you read his "Rivacy Policy", perfect Engrish, and nothing whatsoever to do with privacy.

1. About product
All of our products are the best quality AAA quality,brand new in original box with retro card,paper work and certificate logo.Famous Branded Goods

2.what is the return policy?
after you receive the package,if there will be something badly damaged or wrong,take pictures for that,we will reship the good when you next time order or return you half of products money,because if you send back cost much in shiping,it is not reasonable.

3.Is this a legit website?
This is legit website,We are selling the items displayed on our website. We have sent many packages to different countries. we have many year business,we are serious to do business,we take the most safe payment, it is most safe way payment,we have own facory, we can promise our quality, please do not worry about that.

So they send you damaged goods, and then refund only half your money, because you will lose anyway by having to ship it back to the Chinese sweatshop yourself. Sounds like the perfect scam.

Best way to stop losers like this is post derogatory comments about his "business", and hope Google associates them with his website.

Re:Best quality, Best reputation , Best services,l (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30129416)

you dumb

Re:Best quality, Best reputation , Best services,l (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129368)

Add moddifiers to insightful, interesting and informative posts. I have a +2 on funny posts and Slashdot is a much more comical place as a result.

Manually semantic != semantic (4, Informative)

geschild (43455) | more than 4 years ago | (#30128754)

I saw a preview of the semantic desktop at the Open World Forum in Paris and I think it has the same down-fall as other initiatives: you need to tag most of it yourself.

Other people may be better at this than I am, but I can't even be bothered to tag my e-mails, let alone each and every file. Granted, this system does some 'auto-tagging' but to call it a semantic desktop because of that is a bit rich. YMMV and I like to be persuaded to look again.

Re:Manually semantic != semantic (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30128912)

It would nice if we could exchange tags -- I should be able to email a picture to you, with semantic information, and you should be able to use that information. Of course, the issue here is that sometimes you will send data that should have been kept private...

Re:Manually semantic != semantic (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30128930)

Don't you need manual before you can go automatic, this provides the framework for automatic tagging. With something like kross making it simple to add plugins (Python, Ruby, JavaScript and Java on the way?), it shouldn't be too hard to get the add automatic semantics (ofc the tricky part is writing generic auto-tagging code that works)

Re:Manually semantic != semantic (2, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129200)

Don't you need manual before you can go automatic

I think that's right. Many efforts at semantic "stuff" (on the web, on the desktop, ...) don't gain traction because of "chicken and egg" problems. No one wants to tag because it's useless; but it won't be useful until many things are tagged, so that a search returns useful results, and relationships between objects can be automatically discovered.

In this case, I agree that manual tagging is a necessary precursor to more automated tagging. Once the structures are in place, more and more pieces of software will be written (and/or plugins will be written) to add tags to files wherever possible. For instance text and word processors should be doing word frequency analysis and tagging with appropriate topics; code editors should tag with the language name; image editors should be doing crude image analysis and tagging (e.g. if it detects people in the image, this information should be saved somewhere; if the user applies red-eye correction, the location of the eyes/face should be recorded somewhere). Once this meta-data becomes more common, it's easy to see the utility. (e.g. Search: "A picture I edited last week that has three people in it...")

Even with manual tagging, the system can be fairly useful. You don't need to tag every single file for it to be useful: if you tag some group of files as "taxes 2009" then you'll be able to later find them, even if you haven't tagged much else. The main thing, as the summary mentions, is that tagging cannot be locked into a specific context. For instance the tagging in Apple's iPhoto is neat--but I quickly lost interest because I knew none of the tags would carry-over elsewhere. If I tag meticulously, I can search within iPhoto but nothing shows up in a desktop search using spotlight (at least the last time I checked; maybe they've since added that functionality?)... and the tags don't persist if I move the files to another system. For the user to feel like tagging is worthwhile, the tags have to be widely accessible, so that searching for them is actually useful.

Re:Manually semantic != semantic (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129128)

Barring the advent of AI, or at least uncannily clever automated systems, there really isn't much alternative to manual tagging(outside of a bunch of specific, though admittedly useful, special cases like facial recognition tagging for images, or origin tagging that makes it easy to distinguish between "files I received as email attachments" and "files I downloaded from the web" and the like).

In my (admittedly lay) opinion, what makes "semantic desktop" 'desktop' is the fact that there is some consideration given to making tagging data meaningfully useful across applications and the desktop environment, rather than just inside one particular application(as has historically been the case with MP3 player programs, photo organizers, and similar). Demanding that it solve this problem and somehow automatically tag the untagged seems unfairly dismissive of a useful incremental step.

What would be helpful, in terms of increasing the amount of already tagged stuff; but would open up a giant can of worms, partly in terms of legacy dealings, but mostly in terms of inadvertent information leakage or malicious tag pollution, would be making the transfer of tags along with the file they describe from system to system easy. ID3 tagging, for instance, is largely manual; but works quite well because, for any given MP3, the odds are pretty decent that somebody has bothered to do the legwork properly and the tags migrate with the file(because they are inside it) and files with proper tags are considered more desirable than those without. Were that state of affairs more general, there would be a lot more tagged files without much more work by any particular individual. Of course, given that many tags are far more sensitive or subjective than ID3 tags tend to be, some rather deep thinking would be in order to make that actually work properly.

Re:Manually semantic != semantic (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129198)

I saw a preview of the semantic desktop at the Open World Forum in Paris and I think it has the same down-fall as other initiatives: you need to tag most of it yourself.

Umm... so? Last I checked, you had to manually organize your various files, documents, etc, into folders, and given that tags are just a superset of the functionality provided by folders, I don't see why one wouldn't expect to have to do the same with tags.

Re:Manually semantic != semantic (2, Interesting)

dargaud (518470) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129478)

I DO NOT want semantic tags. The reason is simple: they are LOST when you copy or do anything with the files. If you have important info about the file: put it in the filename. Or inside the file (exif tags for images, ID3 tags for mp3s, etc). Or in a txt file with the same name next to it. The rest is no better than putting varnish on a turd: it works only as long as you don't get too close.

Re:Manually semantic != semantic (2, Interesting)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129610)

I DO NOT want semantic tags. The reason is simple: they are LOST when you copy or do anything with the files. If you have important info about the file: put it in the filename. Or inside the file (exif tags for images, ID3 tags for mp3s, etc). Or in a txt file with the same name next to it. The rest is no better than putting varnish on a turd: it works only as long as you don't get too close.

Maybe we should devise a method to attach arbitrary metadata directly to a file in a way that requires little to no modification of existing unix programs while also making it accessable to any program that can deal with files and directories.

Re:Manually semantic != semantic (2, Informative)

Gromgull (209379) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129774)

Actually, in KDE4 inotify is used to listen to file changes, so if you do move or copy a file, the annotations are moved along. Although - clearly it still breaks if you copy it to a USB key and move it a different computer, scp it, attach it to an email, etc.

Re:Manually semantic != semantic (1)

molnarcs (675885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129596)

I saw a preview of the semantic desktop at the Open World Forum in Paris and I think it has the same down-fall as other initiatives: you need to tag most of it yourself.

Not entirely true...Nepomuk works with three types of metadata. One is simple metadata stored in files (mp3 tags, timestamps, document texts - we can already search for that. The second is metadata created by the user - this is the one you're talking about. Now dolphin makes it extremely easy to tag files... basically you can assign 1-5 stars with a single click - of course this is something new, takes some time to get used to, but once you get into the habit of tagging your important files like that, it can become quite handy... But the most interesting part for nepomuk is metadata that is usually lost, yet can be still extremely useful:

The most interesting type of metadata is, however, the kind that cannot be extracted easily by an indexer and is not generated by the user manually. This includes for example the url of a file that is downloaded from the internet. Once saved on the local harddisk this information is lost. The same goes for the (rather popular) example of email attachments: Once an email attachment is saved to the local harddisk its connection to the email and with it the connection to the sender is lost. These are just two examples relating to the source of files. There are many more. http://nepomuk.kde.org/node/1 [kde.org]

Re:Manually semantic != semantic (2, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129826)

Well, I dunno. Training some kind of Bayesian algorithm seems to work well enough for spam filtering.

I think the real problem is knowing the significance of some piece of information to us will be *in the future*. As user interfaces become more "semantic", I doubt they will be as usable as a stable way of organizing data.

We can take a lesson from physical filing systems. There are really only three methods of file organization that make sense: alphabetical, chronological and by physical size (this sucker won't fit in the cabinet). I once worked for a guy who insisted on organizing the company files by category: Hot, medium, cool, cold, interested in product X, interested in product Y, vendors of A, vendors of B, related to project M. The problem is that these categories aren't stable or mutually exclusive. Some files would languish in "Hot" long after the prospects lost interest. Sometimes a cold prospect would become hot, but its file wasn't in cold because it fell into some other category. Every time you had to file something, you were faced with dilemma as to which of the many possible categories might apply.

What was worse is that he would come in on weekends and reorganize the files. Accounting went *nuts* because invoices would disappear from files and they had to guess where he might have put it. This demonstrates that the semantic significance of an artifact depends on its context (e.g., sales vs. accounts receivable, or current self vs. future self).

One function of a record keeping system is to impose some stability on information in a world that is constantly changing world. Semantic metadata is most welcome, but it's no good as a stable organizing principle for information.

Right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30128780)

> 'If you tag an image in your image viewer, the tag becomes visible in your desktop search. That's how it should be, right?'

Well, actually, I don't care either way. Just as long as it works, and works consistently.

Already slashdotted (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30128838)

I couldn't find a version on google cache. So here's the full text:

The final release of KDE 4.4 is due in early 2010, and not since the arrival of KDE 4.0 two years ago has an open source desktop environment been so highly anticipated by the free desktop community. Unlike the anti-climax that was the first KDE 4 release, however, KDE 4.4's developers say this new version will actually deliver on many of the original promises of this next-generation desktop environment -- and then some.

If maturity is the measure of a desktop environment then KDE 4.4 will have a lot to live up to, as it represents the fourth major release of the KDE 4 series.
Many small things that make the user's life easier have been done. . . Those changes might not be significant on their own, but they add up to a system that feels really well rounded
  -- Sebastian Kugler, KDE spokesperson

With the feature freeze for KDE 4.4 looming in November 2009 -- after which no new features will be added and only bugs will be fixed -- we decided to take a look at what KDE has in store to lift the free desktop to a new paradigm.

Features, updates and bug fixes

Like any major version increase, KDE 4.4 will include numerous feature enhancements, updates and bug fixes.

According to KDE's developers, 4.4 will have an immediate advantage over previous versions by leveraging the latest Qt 4.6 toolkit, which brings a new layout mechanism in QGraphicsView and improved performance, among many other additions. In fact, KDE 4.4.0 was delayed by two weeks until February 2010 to make it possible to release on top of Qt 4.6.

General enhancements include improved desktop search, better privilege escalation, remote controllable Plasma widgets and more polish to the existing code base.

KDE developer and spokesperson for the project, Sebastian Kugler, says it's difficult to determine exact numbers of features, but for 4.4 it would be a very high number.

"4.4 is a significant release that brings many new features. We have new applications, for example Blogilo, a local applications for writing blogs, allowing for offline editing of articles," Kugler says. "There's is a new network manager (living in the notification area right now, a plasmoid for it is planned for later). Also applications that are not directly shipped with KDE are maturing now. Amarok, Digikam, Konversation and all those applications that are well known from their KDE 3 version are now available in a KDE 4 version."

The desktop look-and-feel has also received a makeover. The new Air theme for the Plasma desktop shell is more polished and has added subtle animations to improve the user experience.

"Many small things that make the user's life easier have been done, sometimes something as small as giving feedback from the buttons in the quick launch area of the panel," Kugler says. "Those changes might not be significant on their own, but they add up to a system that feels really well rounded and well done."

A more visible development in Plasma is the new netbook interface, which will also debut as part of KDE 4.4. Plasma-Netbook will sport a mobile computer form-factor for desktop Plasma widgets.

Kugler says there are plenty of interesting changes behind the interface, too. KDE 4.4 will ship an authorization framework based on PolicyKit, so applications and the desktop can elevate privileges safely, and administrators can specify exactly what a specific user is allowed to do.

KDE's developers have also made the desktop more social and "connected". There is a Plasma applet that shows answers to questions from the KDE knowledge base, with the aim of making it easier for new users to find help.

KDE 4.4 will also make it possible to drag content from Web sites onto the desktop. For example, a picture can be dragged it from the Web browser onto the desktop and a Plasma applet showing this picture is added to the desktop where the file was dropped. The wallpaper can also be set this way or from any remote URL.

In addition to new features, Kugler says the KDE team has been busy fixing bugs and improving the overall quality of the existing code.

"We've closed about 18000 bugs over the past 6 months -- so if we match the bug fixing frenzy before 4.3 (I'm quite sure we will), we'll probably have about the same number, maybe we can even get it a bit higher," he says.

A growing community

If there's one thing the KDE 4 series has done for the project it was raise expectations and generate publicity. With version 4.4 now in the works, there has been no shortage of new contributors to the project. Some 300 new accounts were created for developers over the past year alone.

"We're seeing tremendous growth of the community, and the number of developers and contributors is steadily increasing," Kugler says. "Many sub-projects have grown from a one or two person show to a larger team of developers. So yes, KDE is growing and developing at a really nice pace."

"Will we continue to be able to grow? I hope so, it depends a lot on scalability though."

That scalability requirement involves a plan to move to the Git source code management system; however, a timeframe for the migration of the primary infrastructure and development process has yet to be established.

KDE4 development platform pays dividends

One of the reasons the KDE project decided to begin a new KDE 4 series was to completely overhaul and "modernize" the development libraries and APIs used by the higher-level applications.
According to Kugler, the libraries and frameworks delivered as part of the KDE 4 development platform are already "really paying off".

"We're seeing many great new applications, but also old and well-known candidates making use of all this," he says.

"We do have more in the pipeline, though. In KDE 4.4, the search and semantic desktop features will play a bigger role. There's a new search box integrated in Dolphin, the file manager, so you can search directly from that. In the background, it uses Nepomuk, so all the information in the desktop search index is actually stored across all applications."

"If you tag an image in your image viewer, the tag becomes visible in your desktop search. That's how it should be, right?"

On the frameworks side, 4.4 will introduce a new storage mechanism for the semantic desktop, based on Virtuoso. This should solve most of the performance problems experienced with the Nepomuk data store.

A new library dubbed "libattica" and the backend functionality for social computing have also been added to the main libraries for KDE 4.4. This means that every application will be able to access social desktop features transparently, without having to individually take care of necessities like authentication, different service providers and the REST protocol. Next, developers want to see more KDE apps integrate social desktop features.

When released in January 2008, KDE 4.0 received criticism for a release that did not have all the functionality of the previous KDE 3 series, but with 4.4 essentially being the "fifth generation" of the KDE 4 series, Kugler says the whole KDE 4 vision is finally coming together.

"I think KDE really is in a transition phase between re-implementing all those nice things users were used to already," Kugler says. "With KDE 4.3, we have pretty much caught up with the level of functionality we offered previously, built on top of the new KDE libraries."

"We did manage to do all that with much less complex user interfaces, so it might not seem as feature-rich as KDE 3, but it definitely matches its level, and goes beyond what we had in KDE 3 in many areas."

[That was pages 1 and 2. I couldn't get page 3 to load for me]

Kugler? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30128886)

Jesus Christ, even the developers' names...

Re:Kugler? (1)

katz (36161) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129404)

Some fans and groupies, too, apparently.

Hint for choosing default colors (1)

hansraj (458504) | more than 4 years ago | (#30128894)

Don't pick the ones that look like somebody threw up all over the screen!

Re:Hint for choosing default colors (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129000)

As much as i love KDE i have to say generic Grey goo everywhere looks retarded, fortunately, they ship a host of sane themes. I mean grey window decorations around a grey window, with all the widgets in pretty much the same grey, why not just render a grey screen and be done with it! I'm no designer but transparent black or light blue would look considerably better.

Re:Hint for choosing default colors (3, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129018)

The non-interactive elements need to blend in, so yes they have to look "boring" and grey is a neutral color. The widgets, on the other hand, should pop up a bit (not Fisher-Price, plastic toys Windows XP-style pop though), so they should have some color to it.

I can't see the screenshots, the website is already slashdotted.

Re:Hint for choosing default colors (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129304)

I would say that window decorations:
1) have to look nice, I know this is slashdot but if the default GUI looks ugly, normals will drop your DE without trying it out). A lot of people moved to around the time that emerald was released this wasn't a coincidence.
2) Are interactive elements, you drag/resize/maximise/shade a window using them. They also give import feedback as they indicate which window is active (this window should stand out)

example [wikipedia.org] , you can barely tell which window is focused. IMO KDE3 [wikipedia.org] had the window decorations right (for the time anyway), but if those are the default buttons (i never stuck with defaults and can't remember) then they needed serious work. I'm not sure what buttons should look like, but kde3=stand out too much and are too ugly, kde4=when not hovering over them are barely noticeable.

Full text (1, Redundant)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 4 years ago | (#30128898)

It was slashdotted, so:

The final release of KDE 4.4 is due in early 2010, and not since the arrival of KDE 4.0 two years ago has an open source desktop environment been so highly anticipated by the free desktop community. Unlike the anti-climax that was the first KDE 4 release, however, KDE 4.4's developers say this new version will actually deliver on many of the original promises of this next-generation desktop environment -- and then some.
If maturity is the measure of a desktop environment then KDE 4.4 will have a lot to live up to, as it represents the fourth major release of the KDE 4 series.
With the feature freeze for KDE 4.4 looming in November 2009 -- after which no new features will be added and only bugs will be fixed -- we decided to take a look at what KDE has in store to lift the free desktop to a new paradigm.

Features, updates and bug fixes

Like any major version increase, KDE 4.4 will include numerous feature enhancements, updates and bug fixes.

According to KDE's developers, 4.4 will have an immediate advantage over previous versions by leveraging the latest Qt 4.6 toolkit, which brings a new layout mechanism in QGraphicsView and improved performance, among many other additions. In fact, KDE 4.4.0 was delayed by two weeks until February 2010 to make it possible to release on top of Qt 4.6.

General enhancements include improved desktop search, better privilege escalation, remote controllable Plasma widgets and more polish to the existing code base.
KDE developer and spokesperson for the project, Sebastian Kugler, says it's difficult to determine exact numbers of features, but for 4.4 it would be a very high number.

"4.4 is a significant release that brings many new features. We have new applications, for example Blogilo, a local applications for writing blogs, allowing for offline editing of articles," Kugler says. "There's is a new network manager (living in the notification area right now, a plasmoid for it is planned for later). Also applications that are not directly shipped with KDE are maturing now. Amarok, Digikam, Konversation and all those applications that are well known from their KDE 3 version are now available in a KDE 4 version."

The desktop look-and-feel has also received a makeover. The new Air theme for the Plasma desktop shell is more polished and has added subtle animations to improve the user experience.

"Many small things that make the user's life easier have been done, sometimes something as small as giving feedback from the buttons in the quick launch area of the panel," Kugler says. "Those changes might not be significant on their own, but they add up to a system that feels really well rounded and well done."

A more visible development in Plasma is the new netbook interface, which will also debut as part of KDE 4.4. Plasma-Netbook will sport a mobile computer form-factor for desktop Plasma widgets.

Kugler says there are plenty of interesting changes behind the interface, too. KDE 4.4 will ship an authorization framework based on PolicyKit, so applications and the desktop can elevate privileges safely, and administrators can specify exactly what a specific user is allowed to do.

KDE's developers have also made the desktop more social and "connected". There is a Plasma applet that shows answers to questions from the KDE knowledge base, with the aim of making it easier for new users to find help.

KDE 4.4 will also make it possible to drag content from Web sites onto the desktop. For example, a picture can be dragged it from the Web browser onto the desktop and a Plasma applet showing this picture is added to the desktop where the file was dropped. The wallpaper can also be set this way or from any remote URL.

In addition to new features, Kugler says the KDE team has been busy fixing bugs and improving the overall quality of the existing code.

"We've closed about 18000 bugs over the past 6 months -- so if we match the bug fixing frenzy before 4.3 (I'm quite sure we will), we'll probably have about the same number, maybe we can even get it a bit higher," he says.

A growing community

If there's one thing the KDE 4 series has done for the project it was raise expectations and generate publicity. With version 4.4 now in the works, there has been no shortage of new contributors to the project. Some 300 new accounts were created for developers over the past year alone.

"We're seeing tremendous growth of the community, and the number of developers and contributors is steadily increasing," Kugler says. "Many sub-projects have grown from a one or two person show to a larger team of developers. So yes, KDE is growing and developing at a really nice pace."

"Will we continue to be able to grow? I hope so, it depends a lot on scalability though."

That scalability requirement involves a plan to move to the Git source code management system; however, a timeframe for the migration of the primary infrastructure and development process has yet to be established.

KDE4 development platform pays dividends

One of the reasons the KDE project decided to begin a new KDE 4 series was to completely overhaul and "modernize" the development libraries and APIs used by the higher-level applications.
According to Kugler, the libraries and frameworks delivered as part of the KDE 4 development platform are already "really paying off".

"We're seeing many great new applications, but also old and well-known candidates making use of all this," he says.

"We do have more in the pipeline, though. In KDE 4.4, the search and semantic desktop features will play a bigger role. There's a new search box integrated in Dolphin, the file manager, so you can search directly from that. In the background, it uses Nepomuk, so all the information in the desktop search index is actually stored across all applications."

"If you tag an image in your image viewer, the tag becomes visible in your desktop search. That's how it should be, right?"

On the frameworks side, 4.4 will introduce a new storage mechanism for the semantic desktop, based on Virtuoso. This should solve most of the performance problems experienced with the Nepomuk data store.

A new library dubbed "libattica" and the backend functionality for social computing have also been added to the main libraries for KDE 4.4. This means that every application will be able to access social desktop features transparently, without having to individually take care of necessities like authentication, different service providers and the REST protocol. Next, developers want to see more KDE apps integrate social desktop features.

When released in January 2008, KDE 4.0 received criticism for a release that did not have all the functionality of the previous KDE 3 series, but with 4.4 essentially being the "fifth generation" of the KDE 4 series, Kugler says the whole KDE 4 vision is finally coming together.

"I think KDE really is in a transition phase between re-implementing all those nice things users were used to already," Kugler says. "With KDE 4.3, we have pretty much caught up with the level of functionality we offered previously, built on top of the new KDE libraries."

"We did manage to do all that with much less complex user interfaces, so it might not seem as feature-rich as KDE 3, but it definitely matches its level, and goes beyond what we had in KDE 3 in many areas."

Whether full-feature parity between KDE 3 has been reached yet will be debated among the users for some time, but Kugler says the 4 series is now going beyond what was possible in KDE 3.

"We now have way more graphical capabilities, due to our compositing manager and the animation and graphics capabilities in Qt 4.6, the framework KDE 4.4 will be based on," he says.

"We do not expect users to have the latest and greatest machines though. KDE still runs well on low-end hardware and it nicely degrades to match what the machine is capable of. I think this is a very important thing, since not all machines out there support compositing and openGL (and maybe they never will)."

KDE 4’s default theme, Oxygen, is also getting new animation features. Graphic designer Nuno Pinheiro has added new effects for active-inactive transitions -- where the window appears more prominent when the mouse pointer is hovered over it -- and likewise for window buttons.

Web and communication technology continues to evolve

KDE has a long history of Web technology development, including the KHTML rendering engine (which became WebKit) and the Konqueror Web browser.
However, since KDE 4 arrived the project’s main browser offering has languished behind modern alternatives like Firefox, Safari and, more recently, Google's Chrome. Kugler says there will not be a new Web browser in KDE 4.4 because Konqueror is still based on KHTML.

"We did, however, have kdewebkit merged into KDE 4.4 just days ago," he says. "Those are the first bits of WebKit landing in KDE. There is also a KPart (a technology that allows components of applications to integrate in other applications) for WebKit which can just replace the KHTML KPart."

This KPart is a work in progress, and most likely won't make it into KDE 4.4 due to the last major blockage -- integration with KDE’s secure password store, KWallet.

On the communications side, KDE became popular for providing a rich suite of PIM and groupware applications under the Kontact umbrella. According to Kugler, the PIM applications shipped with KDE 4.3 were ports of their KDE 3 counterparts -- with a couple of years worth of bug fixes -- but in 4.4, the first applications using Akonadi, the new shared groupware cache, are due to arrive.

Akonadi uses plug-ins to push and pull data from various sources. It supports different e-mail protocols, groupware servers and file formats.

"[Akonadi] offers a standardized interface, including transparent caching, to applications that want to integrate this data," Kugler says, adding this feature is "already available".

"For KDE 4.4, we'll have our address book rewritten on top of Akonadi as well as our calendar. KDE 4.5 will see the port to Akonadi completed with all relevant applications, including Kontact, on top of Akonadi."

Kugler sees the Akonadi port as being quite advanced, but the developers prefer to take another release cycle to make sure the migration goes smoothly and that Kontact-Akonadi is "rock stable" when users get it.

KDE 4.4 is scheduled for release on February 9, 2010.

Tags? It's called meta-data. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30128962)

Why call it tags when everybody else calls that meta-data?

Oh right, Microsoft and Apple are saying meta-data, and you guys are so obsessed with your hatred of these companies that you call it tags instead.

Re:Tags? It's called meta-data. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30129086)

Pretty much all web services use "tag", so you don't have much of a case -- it's a good thing you added the insults to hide that obvious fact.

Re:Tags? It's called meta-data. (2, Informative)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129818)

Tags are one specific type of metadata, intended for a narrow range of uses.

Sure (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 4 years ago | (#30128990)

Oh yeah, and I really believe that they'll fix all annoyances I have had with KDE 4. I'm a happy KDE 3.5 user. They screwed KDE 4 BY DESIGN, so I suppose the bugs they'll fix now again are just some bugs of fancy unneeded things, and not UI problems with important base components, such as the file manager, the terrible not useful search function of Kate (with its different search term per file instead of sharing them), the extremely hard way to drag a box with the mouse around files in the file manager, etc..., there were so many glitches, I worked with KDE 4 for 2 months, but switched back to 3.5 almost exactly a year ago and probably forgot most of the things that made me angry back then. Oh yes, here's another one: the inability to make two rows of taskbar at the bottom.

Re:Sure (3, Informative)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129150)

Oh yes, here's another one: the inability to make two rows of taskbar at the bottom.

Actually, I think this is possible now. Although, I agree that the rest of KDE4 makes me not want to use it either so I can't confirm at the moment. I do go back to it every now and again to check it out and see what's new. Unfortunately, it doesn't work well with remote desktop programs like vnc or freenx so I can't confirm that multi-row taskbar at the moment.

Wait, here [ubuntuforums.org] we go:

When you configure your panel ( Right Click on the Panel bar-->Arrangement->Size-->"Custom" ) so that the size is less than 34 pixels, it will display as a single row.

When it is more than 34 pixels but less than 52 pixels, it will display as a double row. When it is greater than 52 pixels, it will display as a triple row.

(You can also choose "Tiny" or "Small" and it will be a single row, whereas "Normal" will display as a double row, and "Large" will display as a triple row.)

System Activity feedback (5, Interesting)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129006)

I work on the "System Activity" thing (pops up if you press ctrl-esc. Like Task Manager). It's hard to get feedback about it.

So if you're a KDE user and use this, let me know what you think, how you find it, suggest any improvements/features etc. UI designers, code documenters etc also welcome to give feedback :-)

I often see people posting about how KDE/Gnome never listen to UI designers, Usability people, etc. But I've personally never had any feedback or bug reports about that sort of thing, ever. So do feel free to file such bugs - us developers are listening.

Re:System Activity feedback (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129062)

I stopped using it a long time ago, because it tended to accumulate errors over time. I have been using top for a long time now.

Re:System Activity feedback (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30129148)

Hey, try htop, it's much better.

Re:System Activity feedback (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30129118)

Wasn't even aware that such thing existed. Maybe I am old school, but if my box feels unresponsive, I open 'top' in a terminal... Will take a look when I get home, where I have a KDE4.something running (Debian Squeeze).

Re:System Activity feedback (1)

hierofalcon (1233282) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129202)

I wasn't aware it existed, but tried it and it seemed modestly useful.

It looked like it had most of the needed options. I almost always am working in a konsole window though, so htop is what I usually use.

I would think an option in the kill process screen to select the signal to send would be the one item I missed most. I usually prefer to send SIGHUP or SIGTERM to allow a graceful shutdown rather than kill. This is particularly useful for the ever present mysqld daemon that starts for things like Amarok or kopete or whatever it is that keep NFS shares mounted long after the user has signed off. artsd is also frequently one that needs to get shot.

Ask and thou shalt receive...

Re:System Activity feedback (1)

Mike_01_01 (693309) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129308)

Not sure if this has been fixed yet, but I'm using KDE 4.3.1 and I've never been able to sort the columns in that 'thing'. I'd probably use it a lot more if I could sort, but instead end up falling back on opening up htop in a konsole.

Re:System Activity feedback (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30129346)

1. Please add "What's this" help entries to your widgets.
2. Find a way to cram in an "About" button if you want some feedback. There is no easy way for the user to find out who the developer is and how to get in touch with you.
3. megabyte and gigabyte units for the memory usage might help make it a bit more readable
4. Otherwise: great work. ;-)

Re:System Activity feedback (1)

thepotoo (829391) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129834)

+1 for displaying megabyte/gigabyte.

Also, if it would be possible to display total memory usage, and CPU usage on each core that would be cool. Graphs for CPU and memory usage over time (total) would also be nifty (I know there's a plasma applet for that, but I'd prefer to see it integrated with system activity).

Is there any way to show network and disk usage (read/writes)? IANA programmer, but if that would be possible it would be awesome. I suspect that a lot of the slowdown I'm seeing comes from the hard drive or network, not CPU/RAM.

Although, really, its quite a fine little tool. I use it on occasion, but since KDE has been pretty stable recently, I find myself using it less and less.

Seriously, 10/10 good job.

Re:System Activity feedback (1)

Lemming Mark (849014) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129372)

I use it occasionally and I like it. I particularly like the graphic improvements in the task list, such as the integrated bar graphs. I used to find that it took too long to appear to really be useful but - for some reason - it's really quite responsive on this system now, so that's better. I used to find it confusing that it resembled the system monitor app so closely and yet I couldn't add sheets to it, etc. It now looks like it's own app, so I think that's an improvement. I suppose it might be nice if there was an option / command to jump me to the full system monitor (or a configurable so that that would appear on Ctrl-Esc instead, I guess).

But generally I think the task manager thingy has improved a lot for KDE4 and I really like it - nice work!

KDE is really heading in the right direction but (2, Interesting)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129026)

they'll run out of version numbers in the 4.x series before the series reaches its full potential. I'm really looking forward to using 4.4 but, since it will be the first release that really starts developing the ideas that KDE wanted to implement in the 4 series, the .4 increment seems a bit high. Still, 4.3 already does what Windows 7 and OSX only hint at moving towards so 4.4 will be interesting.

Re:KDE is really heading in the right direction bu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30129186)

Really?

Last piece (4, Interesting)

molnarcs (675885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129080)

KDE 4.3.3 is brilliant, stable, feature rich ... there is one last piece missing: printing options. I've been happy with KDE 4.2.x except for this last piece. I often have to pring select pages from long pdf documents, and for now, I can only do it one-by-one, can't define arbitrary pages or multiple page ranges. That's going to be fixed in KDE 4.4.

Also, the semantic desktop concept is shaping up nicely. I was weary of enabling nepomuksearch with strigi, because in the early 4.x releases they were extremely buggy. Then I went ahead with 4.3.3 (on Arch), and now strigi seem to work fine. It uses minimal resources, indexing is automatically switched off when you switch to powersaving mode (useful on a laptop), otherwise CPU usage is barely noticable. It still uses a shitload of memory, but with KDE 4.x you have plenty to spare. I have 2 Gb in my laptop, and without nepomuk/strigi memory usage after startup is 15%. That includes all the daemons necessary for a modern desktop (including cups), 2 desktops with different wallpapers and widgets, wicd. After running it for days without reboot, memory usage stabilized around 30% including ktorrent running in the background. After I started using nepomuk, that number icreased by around 20% - still pretty lean considering what it does. Which reminds me, nepomuk (on my setting at least) works in dolphin (just start typing in the searchbar), not in the normal Find files option accessible from KMenu.

Re:Last piece (2, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129414)

After I started using nepomuk, that number icreased by around 20% - still pretty lean considering what it does.

What on earth can it be doing such that 400MB of RAM is justified? AFAICT, it's nothing more than a glorified metadata database. Sounds like the precise opposite of "lean" to me...

Re:Last piece (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30129486)

Yeah but it still won't properly set up my Panasync S110 monitor. Xorg issue or not, I hate installing a KDE desktop only to be greeted by 640 x 480 or 1024 x 768...

Re:Last piece (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30129550)

I'm assuming by weary you meant wary?

Re:Last piece (2, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129670)

I often have to pring select pages from long pdf documents, and for now, I can only do it one-by-one, can't define arbitrary pages or multiple page ranges. That's going to be fixed in KDE 4.4.

That is strange. I am running KDE 4.3 on Debian Squeeze, and that option is there. I use it printing documents from Okular all the time. The printing does have many other issues though. It doesn't have even/odd page option so I can do manual duplexing, and setting page margins has me completely befuddled. When I print a document from Kwrite it doesn't have any margin settings of it's own - and the margin settings for the printer (which I am told are really there to define the unprintable areas for the printer) reset to the defaults each time I change them.

My biggest problem with KDE 4.3 is the fact that SSL is completely broken. I've stopped using Konqueror altogether because of this, and it causes annoyances in KMail as well. I can't believe they released with a bug that serious.

18,000 bugs?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30129106)

They closed 18,000 bugs?!? Seems too much, to me...

Re:18,000 bugs?!? (1)

Erik Hensema (12898) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129796)

Probably just tickets. They're often confused with bugs.

What I miss, What I want. (1)

Icegryphon (715550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129204)

When you could just add the list of images to Kview from the Command prompt.
(i.e. kview *.jpg)
Poof, they would be loaded into the Slideshow for Kview.

Re:What I miss, What I want. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129546)

It can't? That's lame.

feh 3. You can even do "feh -D 5 *.jpg" to define a time delay between automatically changing slides.

Please: No More Vertical Text (5, Insightful)

iamnotaclown (169747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129210)

Dear KDE devs,

Please rethink the vertical text [tinypic.com] that has infected KDE4 like so much ringworm. It's hard to read, hard to use, and completely unnecessary. Also, please stop aping Windows Vista and 7. Or at least stop copying their bad ideas.

Thanks.

Video thumbnails in dolphin/konqueror? (2, Insightful)

QCompson (675963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129338)

Will this basic file-manager feature be available in 4.4? And no, I don't want to install mplayerthumbs; it's horribly slow and CPU intensive. It should be integrated into the file manager like nautilus and explorer.

Every time it is thousands of bugs... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30129418)

Since KDE 4.2, they claim that "now" it is ready for general consumption, but at each new version they still claim to have fixed thousands of bugs.

If that 18000 number is to believed, doesn't that imply that 4.3 was a horribly buggy release?

The metadata problem (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129422)

At one point there was a very promising idea [archive.org] for a universal metadata storage system that would free metadata from a particular program and make it available to every part of the OS.

Too bad the main programmer had some personal problems and couldn't finish the job...

Re:The metadata problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30129776)

You mean he came to his senses???

Network Manager + Hidden ESSID (1)

Lusixhan (1491267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129570)

Have they fixed the maddening inability of plasma-widget-network-manager to connect to a hidden wireless ESSID? [launchpad.net] Maybe this is just a Kubuntu problem, but since 9.04 (7 months ago) the KDE network manager has had issues off and on connecting to non-visible ESSIDs, even after explicitly giving it the name. It's especially frustrating because GNOME's network manager has no such issue, so it's not a driver problem.

White Screen of Death (1)

mrpacmanjel (38218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129634)

Has the "white/black" screen of death been fixed yet?

I currently run Slackware 12.2 & 13 on my laptop (ati r300 graphics card).
Although all the KDE (4.3.2) apps work, when I start the KDE environment I get the splash screen then....a blank white screen appears instead!

As far as I understand if Phonon (or plasmoids?) has *any* issues (e.g. compositing, missing libraries) it freaks out on shows a white screen. It just seems a bit "brittle"!

Got me completely stumped and stops me from using KDE. I've used Gnome for many years and just wanted to try something different - not to mention that Gnome switched over to pulseaudio and depreciated the "Volume" applet - wtf?.

I've tried every fix I can Google but still the same thing.

I think KDE 4 has come a long way and generally really impressed with it.
Gnome 3 is due next year and I get the impression that the "re-design" seems a bit muddled.

KDE for Windows (4, Informative)

KDEnut (1673932) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129662)

I also love the windows port they're doing: http://windows.kde.org/ [kde.org] Works great for those who're stuck on windows boxes at work.

What about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30129766)

What about...
  - manual duplex printing?
  - (fully) working bookmarklets?
  - kate plugins?
and many of the other useful features that KDE 3 had that were ditched by the developers so they could spend more time on things like making the trashcan on the desktop resizable/rotatable?

KDE4 =~ Vista (0, Flamebait)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 4 years ago | (#30129784)

Actually, worse than Vista, more like a bastard stepchild of Vista and OS X 10.0 (aka the paid beta)... Have missing features from 3.5 finally been implemented in 4.x? Last time I touched it (4.2 IIRC) it was still buggy as hell and almost all the stuff I had known from 3.5 was gone. Heck, can kpanels (or whatever they are) stretch across xinerama/twinview screens yet?

BTW, has KDE4 finally gotten the useful 'run command' in whatever they call kpanel now? One that hooks into konqueror shortcuts so you can fire off URLs, man pages, shortcutted searches, commands, etc? At this point I'm limping along with deskbar-applet but it's not nearly as good.

ps: Missing features are not wishlist items. They are bugs.

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