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KDE GUI Software Upgrades Technology

KDE 4.7 – a First Look At Beta 1 264

A few days ago, the KDE project shipped the first beta of the upcoming 4.7 release. Reader dmbkiwi submits a link to a rundown of what 4.7 looks like, snipping from which: "Previously it was Gnome that was the steady plodder making minor incremental changes through the 2.x series, building stability and only adding minor features. However, with the recent releases of both Gnome Shell and the Unity desktop on Ubuntu, the Gnome/Ubuntu side of the desktop linux equation has made radical and controversial steps away from the well loved Gnome 2.x series, leaving KDE 4.x as the 'steady as she goes' option."
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KDE 4.7 – a First Look At Beta 1

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  • by elucido ( 870205 ) * on Saturday May 28, 2011 @03:51PM (#36275272)

    People who use KDE are typically coming from Windows so the default should look similar. However the good thing about linux is customizability. As long as we can customize it to look however we want most of us will be happy.

    Gnome and Ubuntu Unity have removed the linux edge of customizability. It's only a matter of time before I switch from Gnome 2x to KDE 4x. The next big step for Linux would be to take advantage of 3d rendering to improve functionality further. The zoom is something I use on a regular basis. Perhaps being able to flip windows(frames) and being able to write on the back of them would be a useful feature as well. There are plenty of ideas for functional eye candy but I think linux is at the point now where it shouldn't look towards Windows or OSX for new feature ideas, and it shouldn't try to fix an interface which isn't broken, it should just be adding new features and options, new eye candy which increases usability, and new more powerful abilities, such as intelligent agents that a user can program to automate certain tasks such as burning a DVD, searching several search engines to find certain information on certain topics, all of this could benefit from agent based AI.

    I suggested this to the linux community years ago and their excuse was there wasn't enough bandwidth. It's 2011. The majority of the country is broadband now. There is enough bandwidth to build an intelligent agent into KDE and if they wont do it then I might just go ahead and do it for them.

    (For anyone who doesn't know what an intelligent agent is, [] an agent is a robot, in this case multi-agent is multiple robots which search for and process specific information you tell it to. [] )

    The agents in a multi-agent system have several important characteristics:[4]
    Autonomy: the agents are at least partially autonomous

    Local views: no agent has a full global view of the system, or the system is too complex for an agent to make practical use of such knowledge

    Decentralization: there is no designated controlling agent (or the system is effectively reduced to a monolithic system)[5]
    Typically multi-agent systems research refers to software agents. However, the agents in a multi-agent system could equally well be robots,[6] humans or human teams. A multi-agent system may contain combined human-agent teams.

  • by elucido ( 870205 ) * on Saturday May 28, 2011 @04:03PM (#36275316)

    So I mentioned this in my previous post and I recognize some people don't know why or don't understand why this would be useful. So I'll give some examples of what agent based AI can do for those who don't know and how it could be implemented.

    To implement multi-agent based AI on linux first there would need to be a backend or a framework of some sort that would allow scripting languages such as python, ruby, and perl to connect to it. The framework or backend would have to be written in C for certain intense data processing tasks. The front end should allow programmers of all sort to write their own scripts in their favorite scripting languages to create robots. These robots should have the ability to automate system processes.

    For example I decide I need to do research on artificial intelligence because I don't know what it is, so I should be able to tell the robot to search Google, to find X amount of articles on artificial intelligence which meet certain criteria. This could be done using regular expressions. But of course this isn't all that I need to do. I have a to-do list for this specific robot related to the topic of AI, to download certain files from the net and install them, to then load up and use certain files to process certain data. All of this should be automated completely and should happen in the backround and it all should be related to the topic of AI.

    The news robot on the other hand I would program to act as an RSS feed, this robot would look not just at specific websites such as slashdot, but for specific articles on slashdot and present those articles along with research on certain keywords or buzzwords it thinks or suspects I know little about or wont understand.

    The log analyzer robot could analyze logs for me and highlight any potential redflags, and then if it finds them run through an automated process that I determine is best for dealing with these redflags.

    Each robot would be assigned to a task. Each robot should have the ability to do what the user could do, and it should be simple to show the robot or program the robot into doing it a number of very highly complex tasks.

    The problem with using computers is most of the stuff we do each day is just routine. Most of us fit into certain patterns. Robots would allow us to save time, we can leave the computer on all day or all night and it will do a number of boring clicks and boring tasks that take up a great deal of time. This saves time and increases productivity.

  • by billcopc ( 196330 ) <> on Saturday May 28, 2011 @04:13PM (#36275380) Homepage

    I still don't understand why KDE and Gnome are such big deals. Maybe I'm too Windows-centric, but what I expect from the GUI is simple: a launcher/taskbar widget, configurable window management and theming, and a handful of integrated utilities or configuration panels that govern common functionality among all apps (e.g. network shares, security defaults, notification prefs, video accel).

    Beyond that, the rest of KDE seems like truckloads of cruft to me. I find the bundled apps largely deficient in functionality and stability, they're like "store brand" knockoffs of specialized 3rd party apps. Rather than wasting so much effort on these bastard subprojects, why not deliver a solid API and widget library that allows 3rd parties to properly integrate with the look and feel ? Let the GUI people focus on building the GUI, and let the app people focus on apps.

    KDE 3.5 was fast, lean, maybe a little hard on the eyes but it did everything I needed without getting in the way. Everything since then has been a bad acid trip through OSX envy and good-old-fashioned programmer-designed atrocity. Just look at Windows 7, they pared it down from Vista to be as simple and efficient as Microsoft can be. Less baked-in functionality, but plenty of hooks to extend it IF AND WHEN NEEDED. Isn't that supposed to be the Unix way ?

  • by C0vardeAn0nim0 ( 232451 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @04:17PM (#36275406) Journal

    before someone mods me '-1 flamebait', let say a few things:

    1- NOT a gnome fanboy. i dislike gnome in all it's incarnations, always did.
    2- i use windowmaker. always have, always will
    3- i only had parts of KDE installed to use some of it's applications from inside wmaker (mostly K3B, koppete, ktorrent and dolphin)

    now, in the last two weeks i apt-get purged all things KDE4 from my system (kept only pana, a fork of amarok 1.4). the reason is that newer versions of KDE were starting to interfere with my way of doing things. what tipped the scale was keyboard configuration.

    you see, i don't use graphical login managers, i log from good old fashion console, then type "startx" by hand. i consider this a must, since i use debian unstable, so breakeage of because of updated kernel, ati drivers, etc sometimes happens. this means i have keyboard with swapped ctrl and caps lock, as well as locale (pt_BR) configured on the console. with wmaker i don't even need a keyboard section on xorg.conf, it just goes with what's configured on the console. that is, until you fire up a KDE app and it loads all those libraries. other thing that i had configured manually was CPU frequency management, so i don't run the risk of overheating the notebook when doing something CPU intensive on the console. i use userspace governor with kpowernowd and it works just fine.

    keyboard becomes all messed up, KDE insisted in changing the frequency governor to wathever it damn well pleased, not to mention taht the load time for all those libraries was atrocious, i had to wait some 20 to 30 seconds until kopete, bluetooth applet and power applet loaded.

    after i ditched everything, now i'm using XFE as file manager, pidgin for IM, gnome's bluetooth applet, xfburn and qbittorrent (a qt app. it doesn't load all the KDE libs like ktorrent). the result is faster load times for the GUI, less anoyance and no loss of functionality.

    if the KDE guys make their environment behave better when a KDE app is loaded from some other window manager, maybe i'll give it another shot. until there, it'll stay out of my computer. i have better things to do with my time than fight against misbehaved apps that try to wrestle control of my system out of me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 28, 2011 @04:34PM (#36275488)

    We don't need all of this 3D bullshit that you're proposing. We just need application developers to stop wasting screen space with stupid shit.

    For crying out loud, look at the goddamn KDE 4.7 beta 1 screenshots in the article! LOOK AT HOW MUCH WASTED SPACE THERE IS! In the screenshot of Dolphin, look at how shitting massive the icons are! If they were half the size, you could get twice as many shown at once, and still be able to see the thumbnail image just fine.

    Then there's all the wasted space to the right of the toolbars, and below the list of directories/places on the left side. In the "old days", we used to just put that shit in the menus, with it taking up very little space. But since menus aren't "trendy" these days, functionality that was conveniently hidden is now in-your-face and wasting a lot of screen real estate.

    Look at the other screenshot. Everywhere you look, there's space wasted. What the fuck is the point of buying increasingly-larger monitors every year if the application developers will just triple the size of their icons and the empty space between UI components every few years?

  • by sarhjinian ( 94086 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @05:00PM (#36275638)

    I'd agree. Interestingly, I'm finding this with GNOME 3: it's surviving the "three week" test pretty well so far. I think it's the "interface gets the hell out of the way" factor, too: you end up working with apps and documents, not fussing with settings.**

    The problem, if you can call it that, is that the distro of choice for GNOME3 (Fedora 15) makes it a little hard to get going out of the box. It's not by any means insurmountable, but it's a little harder than it should be as some things are missing entirely (an Office suite really ought to come preinstalled) and playing "find the repo/RPM" is a lot harder than "It's probably already there, and if not it's trivial to find a PPA" of Ubuntu.

    I'm interested to see what, if anything, the Linux Mint folks will make of GNOME 3, and it's unfortunate that Ubuntu isn't going this route. It really is a good DE, and it would benefit from Canonical's (former, traditional) user interface polish.

    ** I find myself fussing with settings a lot in KDE, and more often than I'd like in Ubuntu 11.04.

  • by fnj ( 64210 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @06:22PM (#36276134)

    I don't think KDE4 is overblown except in one respect. If you could just can that imbecilic desktop and replace it with a single simple folder view like in KDE3 and Gnome2, where you can put launchers and objects, KDE4 is basically perfect. Now, I haven't been able to figure out how to rip out that crippling piece of garbage from KDE, but I am sure the KDE team could easily add a single radio button to allow the user to just enable or disable it. It's like how they let you switch the start menu to the normal, useful "classic style," instead of the godawful new style which copies one of the most HATED and DESPISED "innovations" of Vista.

    In all other respects, I see no fundamental flaw with KDE4. I find it in no way mysteriously slower or more ponderous than KDE3. I am just perplexed when people claim this. Obviously, the first thing you do when you bring it up is completely turn off all the "desktop effects" horse shit, and then it works fine.

    And as far as I can see KDE has some wonderful apps. Kate, for example, is a superb multi-document text editor. Gnome has nothing remotely comparable. I know of no standalone one that is better. KDE Office would be a wonder if we weren't spoiled by Open Office, so I admit I don't use much of it. Obviously, I use Firefox instead of Konqueror (usually). But I see no way in which the KDE guys have built a less than first class API for 3rd partiesa to properly integrate with. If they won't do it, and instead use the GTK horror, it's hardly KDE's fault. KDE's is vastly superior in every way.

    Konsole is so many orders of magnitude better than Gnome terminal or anything else, that it is like the adults vs the kindergarten to compare them.

    If you really and truly want a bare desktop with no cruft at all, you just use Xfce or LXDE. But I must warn you that they have substandard "little things." The clock cannot be adequately customized. The other applets are similarly deficient. I suppose we could port forward all the superb Gnome2 applets if we had the energy, but gosh darn it, I just want to USE a desktop that is neither INSANE nor DEFICIENT as it is.

The absent ones are always at fault.