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KDE 4 to Support Apple Dashboard Widgets 373

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the apple-setting-accidental-standards dept.
Ryan writes to tell us Applexnet is reporting that Zack Rusin, a lead developer of KDE, has confirmed that KDE 4 will be able to run and display Dashboard widgets similar to Mac OS X 10.4. From the article: "Basically, this means that a layer (similar in some ways to layers in Adobe Photoshop) in the KDE desktop could function the same way that Dashboard does in Mac OS X. Widgets themselves are not inherently difficult to write nor properly interpret, since they are usually just HTML and Javascript (although Cocoa code can be included, the developer's skills permitting). Furthermore, since Konqueror and Safari share very nearly the same rendering engine, KHTML and WebKit, this too will simplify the process."
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KDE 4 to Support Apple Dashboard Widgets

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  • by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday January 02, 2006 @01:55PM (#14379388) Homepage Journal

    Konfabulator?

  • by hahafaha (844574) * <lgrinberg@gmail.com> on Monday January 02, 2006 @01:57PM (#14379409)
    Apple already took a lot from UNIX. It pretty much *is* UNIX. Perhaps it will lend something to KDE.

    Most UNIX-people use Apple because it still is UNIX but with a better GUI. Perhaps KDE will convince Apple to make the GUI Free Software.

    Or maybe Apple will just sue the socks off of the KDE project.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      None of the UNIX people I know use MacOSX. And I personally think the UI is awful.
    • It will never happen. Apple needs OSX to be able to be in the market place. Apple, while making money off of the hardware will need OSX, especially since going to the Intel platform to make it different. If they opened it up to white box computers no one would buy Apple hardware, and they would soon be stuck with just iPods and iBooks and Powerbooks. The cannot do this, for it would kill the company.
      • The early powerpc clones almost killed apple. Another quarter and Jobs would not need to save the company since it would already would have been dead.

        Sometimes whats best for consumers is not best for the companies who make the products. Software is used to create lockin and artificial high barriers to entry to jerk up prices. Bill Gates discovered this and Apple does the same with tying its hardware and software together.
      • they would soon be stuck with just iPods and iBooks and Powerbooks. The cannot do this, for it would kill the company.

        I don't think they would die. There's no sense them giving up their desktop division while it's making money, but they could survive perfectly well on the other lines you mention.

      • I too doubt Apple will go open source with their GUI system. I think that's a longer shot than Apple selling the OS to work on generic computers, though I would like that, I would buy several licences if they did such.
      • Considering that *most* computer sales are laptops, it may well be a good thing to F/OSS their OS... you would get *real* support for branded hardware, and OSS community support for other hardware... Honestly, it's the *only* way I would trust apple to have an OS for non-apple hardware is an OpenSource license, considering what happened the last time they allowed 3rd party vendor licensing.

        I really like OSX 10.4, and would really like more support, the intel move will help this a little. Open-Sourcing t
        • Considering that *most* computer sales are laptops

          This is wrong. Most computer sales are desktops. The WSJ had an article about that very issue a few months ago. The absolute number of desktops purchased is far higher than the number of laptops. It is true, though, that laptop sales are increasing faster as a percentage than desktop sales, and at sometime in the future they may pass desktop sales. It's also true that the laptop/desktop split changes if you consider the amount of money spent in dollar terms

    • Most UNIX-people use Apple because it still is UNIX but with a better GUI. Perhaps KDE will convince Apple to make the GUI Free Software.

      And don't forget about the ability to run commercial applications such as MS Office and Photoshop. I believe Macs are preferred to a standard Linux or BSD desktop configuration mainly because of mainstream application and hardware support; the GUI just makes the experience more worthwhile.

      • Well, you can run MOST of office. There's no Outlook or MS Access, which prevents Macs from being used in many corporate environments. It looks like Entourage can finally work with an Exchange server, which may eliminate a barrier to Mac adoption in the corporate world.
      • And don't forget about the ability to run commercial applications such as MS Office and Photoshop.


        Those are proprietary applications.
        Specifically desktop proprietary applications.

        Mysql _is_ a commercial application.
        SuSE _is_ a commercial software distribution.
        Lots of free software packages are for commercial used, distributed and supported commercially.
        Open office, Netscape, etc. all have commercial support available.
        The difference is proprietary against free.
        Or open source against closed source, if you car
      • And don't forget about the ability to run commercial applications such as MS Office and Photoshop.

        That's what Crossover Office is for.
    • While I think Apple open sourcing Mac OS X is a pipe dream and unrealistic, I do think it would be more realistic and nice if they offered more interoperability with KDE. Perhaps more in the vein of offering it as an alternative desktop shell right off the bat in a future OS X release.
    • by Eil (82413) on Monday January 02, 2006 @03:24PM (#14379939) Homepage Journal
      Perhaps it will lend something to KDE.

      They already do. Safari is descendant of Konqueror and contribute (perhaps inefficiently) their patches back to KDE. However, since this is KDE's own effort to reproduce Dashboard from scratch (Dashboard isn't open source even if many of its components are), Apple has no reason or incentive to contribute any of their work on Dashboard to KDE.

      Most UNIX-people use Apple because it still is UNIX but with a better GUI.

      This needs to be qualified a little better because the a large number (most likely the majority) of "UNIX-people" are still happily using a non-Apple Unix. For example, I use KDE and don't see that changing anytime soon because KDE is, for me, a much more powerful UI environment than OS X. Most of my geek friends and co-workers are in the same boat, though some are considering Powerbooks for the occasional on-the-road work.

      Perhaps KDE will convince Apple to make the GUI Free Software.

      Not going to happen and literally everyone at Apple has said as much. The simple, elegant OS X GUI is Apple's trump card. It is the main reason to buy a Mac. If they give that away, then anyone on the planet can implement it and Mac sales go down the tube. Sure, there are many reasons to buy a Mac but the OS is definitely the biggie. This is why Apple is putting so much effort into making sure that OS X does not run (easily) on plain Intel boxes.

      Or maybe Apple will just sue the socks off of the KDE project.

      I don't see how that's possible unless Apple went patent-squatting on the desktop widget engine idea. Dashboard may be the most popular implementation, but it was hardly [wikipedia.org] the first [wikipedia.org] to exist.
    • Most UNIX-people use Apple because it still is UNIX but with a better GUI. Perhaps KDE will convince Apple to make the GUI Free Software.

      Threby making sure that people won't have to use Mac OS X anymore?


      Or maybe Apple will just sue the socks off of the KDE project.

      And why would they do that?

    • Most UNIX-people use Apple because it still is UNIX but with a better GUI.

      Uh, no.

      "Most UNIX-people" use Apple because the Apple desktop users outnumbered other unix desktop users, so when Apple switched to unix, they instantly became the #1 desktop unix brand. You're swapping cause and effect.

      True, there are some people who moved from other unices to Apple, and if so, great; they went with what they liked, but don't make it sound like the entire unix world moved en masse to Apple when OS X came out.

      Al
    • I think this is a Marketing legend.

      Mac OS X is great for some people. But you need to justify the prize. And when you are a Unix geek you have to justify your switch to a GUI system. So here post-marketing takes place. You bought it and they give you a reason why: Because it is Unix (?!)

      I think for most Apple users this is no reason to use or buy a Mac.

      Because for Apple users it is irrelevant whether Mac OS X is build on foosys or Unix. When you run a C64 emulator on Linux which is distributed as a game con
  • Memory Usage (Score:5, Informative)

    by Arctic Fox (105204) on Monday January 02, 2006 @01:59PM (#14379418) Homepage Journal
    Hopefully, they'll find some way to knock down the memory usage. A couple of widgets (weather, stocks, iCal) were killing my 1Gb Powerbook.

    I switched to the ex-Konfabulator, Yahoo! Widgets and now my PB doesn't seem to thrash as much. That, and I've added a number of additional widgets.

    • They already did. OS X 10.4.0 had a large memory leak in its XML HTTP fetch implementation. This was corrected in a patch some time ago.

    • Hmm .. I've got a 1GB PowerBook running 10.4.3 (latest) and I'm not seeing what you're seeing with more apps running than that. Fire up activity viewer and select System Memory. What's the value of the Green (free) slice of the pie? Also, what does it show as for the Page out value? This increments since your last reboot. Mine is 0. If yours is higher than that, then you've definitely experienced memory exhaustion at some stage.

  • Exciting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BrenBren (940202) on Monday January 02, 2006 @02:00PM (#14379422) Journal
    I think this is a great idea. Right off the bat, there will be lots of Widgets available.

    The Apple community will also benefit, because there are probably a lot of people in the Linux community that will write new Widgets that haven't been thought of (or thought necessary) by the Apple programming community.

    I, for one, welcome our new Widget overlords.
    • Re:Exciting (Score:5, Informative)

      by mblase (200735) on Monday January 02, 2006 @02:18PM (#14379540)
      I think this is a great idea. Right off the bat, there will be lots of Widgets available.

      No, there won't. The headline is misleading. Read carefully:
      ...the upcoming KDE 4 will be able to run and display Dashboard widgets much in the same way that Mac OS X 10.4 can.... I'm planning to add full OSX Dashboard compatibility layer for Plasma....Basically, this means that a layer (similar in some ways to layers in Adobe Photoshop) in the KDE desktop could function the same way that Dashboard does in Mac OS X.
      Furthermore, keep in mind that a not insignificant number of OS X widgets interact specifically with OS X apps like iTunes. Obviously, only internet-based widgets (like Google lookups) could be cross-platform.
      • I am really scratching my head on all these posts. Are they implying more or a Mac-to-linux wine emulation type deal? Or are they implying that one day a linux installation will have the option of a Gnome/KDE/Mac interface?

        • Re:Exciting (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bonzoesc (155812)
          Mac widgets are basically tiny HTML/Javascript applications, with the option of using native code and certain JS functions to access system stuff normal web pages shouldn't.

          They're rendered and run by WebCore (derived from KHTML), so adding them to KDE is simply getting KHTML to support transparent windows and the extra JS stuff. Getting them to run the widgets with native code parts probably won't ever be a priority.
    • It's success will probably hinge on its execution. Many people dislike Dashboard widgets existing in a seperate desktop layer than the rest of the OS. The KDE implementation would be wise to allow a desktop-centric Dashboard widget manager like Amnesty [mesadynamics.com] for OS X.
    • Re:Exciting (Score:3, Funny)

      by rampant mac (561036)
      "[...] there are probably a lot of people in the Linux community that will write new Widgets that haven't been thought of (or thought necessary)"

      I can't wait to download the 324 widgets that will allow me to control XMMS, each just a little bit different from the last.

  • I was writing notes down and being ready to write my own widget dashboard for kde. Someone beat me to it.

    I know about gdesklets but it seems a little unstable at the moment.
    • by 10Ghz (453478)
      There already is a "widget dashboard" for KDE, has been for a long time. It's called SuperKaramba.
  • Am I the only one (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Keruo (771880) on Monday January 02, 2006 @02:07PM (#14379465)
    who thinks this is rather bad idea?
    Why do we need to bind the browser this deep to the GUI?
    Haven't we learned anything about bad design from microsoft and IE5?
    I mean something like this [slashdot.org].
    • by AntiOrganic (650691) on Monday January 02, 2006 @02:19PM (#14379546) Homepage
      Can you explain to me, from an accomplished software engineer's perspective, what's so bad about modular components that can be reused in multiple applications?

      The problem with Internet Explorer was never that it was coupled too deeply into the file manager and it was therefore buggy and insecure, and only someone with no clue whatsoever would tell you that. Internet Explorer is problematic because it has multiple zones with different security settings, and as history has shown, it's very, very easy to trick Internet Explorer into thinking that a script executing from the Internet zone is actually in the Local Computer zone, and thereby able to overwrite files, instantiate arbitrary ActiveX/COM components, and do all manners of naughty things that it shouldn't be able to.
      • The title read:

        "Malicious Web Pages Can Install Dashboard Widgets". It was about Safari and OS/X, *NOT* about MS-IE.
      • I'd rather quote [slashdot.org].. these widgets have almost the same braindead design as ActiveX/COM.
        I don't want any invisible modular components on my desktop, that randomly install stuff on my computer(even if it's only the limited widget dir) or throw pictures at me, but hey, if Bonzi Buddy is your friend, go ahead.
      • . Internet Explorer is problematic because it has multiple zones with different security settings,

        That's also true of Apple Safari & WebKit. IE has a special "no sandbox" zone for ActiveDesktop widgets, and Apple has a special "no sandbox" zone for Dashboard widgets.

        Now, it could be impossible to "trick" Safari into the wrong zone, so this won't be a problem. But the overall architecture is nearly identical.
    • Yes, we learned that the OS should not attempt to read the user's mind. Apple fixed that problem by not installing software without the user's consent.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 02, 2006 @02:09PM (#14379479)
    Apple users looking to exploit the availibility of more games that Linux provides may now consider switching.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 02, 2006 @02:12PM (#14379496)
    I think this is great. KDE is a wonderful, powerful, flexible, full featured desktop enviornment. I currently run KDE 3.4.3 on a P3-450 laptop with 256mb of ram and it runs great.

    Do I think that KDE 4 will also run great on that hardware? I'll be honest, I have my doubts, but that is fine. I have seen how the KDE team did a great job of optimising the KDE 3.x series. Every release got faster and smaller (in memory). Still, if I need to get more ram, I'll do that.

    For people that want to run a computer with less ram, or can't afford any more: Don't run KDE! You can run blackbox, fluxbox, IceWM, twm, and many more!

    GNU/Linux/*NIX/OSS/Free Software is all about choices, so PLEASE don't sit around complaining about bloat (or anything else, for that matter.) Make sugestions. Make contributions. Enjoy the amazing bevy of free software!!
  • by jbellis (142590) <jonathan AT carnageblender DOT com> on Monday January 02, 2006 @02:13PM (#14379509) Homepage
    That's just apple's workaround for "we think virtual desktops are too complicated." No need to impose that on KDE.
    • By layer, they're referring to a rendering layer.

      I think the intention is to allow more dynamic desktop environments by putting multiple layers in your view. For example, Desktop Background -> water effect -> Widgets -> Desktop Icons -> App windows.

    • by Smurf (7981)
      That's just apple's workaround for "we think virtual desktops are too complicated." No need to impose that on KDE.


      It seems you are confusing Dashboard [apple.com] with Exposé [apple.com].
    • The widgets on KDE live on the "normal" desktop (just look at how SuperKaramba works today). The widgets on OS X live on "separate" desktop. So they will work differently, even though the widgets themselves will be the same.
      • No they don't. Dashboard is just an overlay of html.

        To put widgets on the desktop:
        In Terminal.app
        defaults write com.apple.dashboard devmode YES
        log out and back in again OR kill the Dock, either way works.

        hit F12 (or the key you use to activate dashboard)
        click and hold the widget you prefer while still holding down
        hit F12 again to move dashboard out of the way.

        Voila! Dashboard widget on your regular desktop.
    • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Monday January 02, 2006 @03:43PM (#14380051)
      That's just apple's workaround for "we think virtual desktops are too complicated." No need to impose that on KDE.

      That's just your workaround for explaining Apple's more elegant solution to the problem...

  • I'm not sure there is a more useless feature in all of OSX. Some widget thingy that does not fit in with the UI and I have to actually leave my working desktop in able to use? Why don't dashboard widgets a) get bounded by a normal window and b) follow the same window stacking rules as every other application?

    Turning the dashboard off lest I accidentally trigger it is my first priority on OSX - even before installing quicksilver.
  • by romiir (874939)
    If I recall correctly, the original code of the machintosh OS came from BSD 3... (Before they modifyed it extensively for commercial release) Now Opensource is taking the apple standard? This is interesting. Maby Microsoft will see this and include dashboard widgets for windows? It would be nice for once to be able to write something and run it on every os, not just Mac and Linux or Windows and Linux.
  • Not "most" widgets (Score:3, Informative)

    by saddino (183491) on Monday January 02, 2006 @02:29PM (#14379609)
    KDE's runtime will be able to run most widgets designed for Dashboard. Also, KDE's runtime will be limited in that it will not be able to run widgets properly that use AppleScript or Cocoa in some way.

    Those two statements are contradictory. Most widgets for Dashboard, especially for those that anyone considers useful, use Applescript and/or Cocoa. So in fact, KDE will be limited to only the simplest of widgets. Not much of a feature, IMHO.
    • Most widgets for Dashboard, especially for those that anyone considers useful, use Applescript and/or Cocoa. So in fact, KDE will be limited to only the simplest of widgets. Not much of a feature, IMHO.

      I don't know if this is generally true... for instance, I have running on my dashboard:

      - calculator
      - calendar
      - weather
      - weather doppler satellite image
      - 4 webcams
      - Buzztracker widget
      - Akamai News usage widget
      - SysStat
      - Google Maps widget
      - Wikipedia widget
      - an armillary widget

      ... and as far as

  • RAM-hogging pleasure (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kitzilla (266382) <paperfrog&gmail,com> on Monday January 02, 2006 @02:39PM (#14379664) Homepage Journal
    So now KDE users can enjoy the same RAM-hogging pleasure afforded us OS X users by an array of useless, bloated widgets. Now THAT is progress! ;-)
  • Superkaramba (Score:2, Interesting)

    by biscon (942763)
    As only mentioned by one poster earlier. Isn't superkaramba an older implementation of the same idea? im curious since everyone seems to give apple credit for the concept.
    • Re:Superkaramba (Score:5, Interesting)

      by 10Ghz (453478) on Monday January 02, 2006 @04:08PM (#14380172)
      SuperKaramba, Kicker and the Desktop are going to be merged in to one coherent whole in KDE4 called Plasma. These widgets and related technologies will be part of Plasma. So, in KDE3.x, we use SuperKaramba to handle widgets like these. In KDE4, it will be handled by Plasma.
  • by Shazow (263582) <[andrey.petrov] [at] [shazow.net]> on Monday January 02, 2006 @03:56PM (#14380118) Homepage
    Just to set the record straight, there already exists something like this for Linux (and, more specifically, KDE). In fact, there are two major branches in development for such widgets:

    1. The fancy branch (since sometime in 2003):
    SuperKaramba [sourceforge.net], which spawned from the plain Karamba [efd.lth.se].

    2. The non-fancy minimalistic branch (since god knows when - probably early 2004):
    Conky [sourceforge.net], which spawned from the even less fancy Torsmo [sourceforge.net].

    - shazow
  • Check out gdesklets for gnome. There are all sorts of widgets for the desktop, including starterBar, which is much like the animated icons at the bottom of the screen on OS X.
  • by dangitman (862676) on Monday January 02, 2006 @06:04PM (#14380760)
    iNames just make iMe want to iPoke my iOut with an iFork.

    K-Names make me want to K-rush my K-cranium in a trash K-ompactor.

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