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Ars Technica: Deep Inside KDE 3.2 318

binner writes "Ars Technica features an article 'Deep inside the K Desktop Environment 3.2' written by Datschge and Henrique Pinto. After introducing KDE and the project's structure the authors present some new applications of KDE 3.2. After that they explain the key KDE technologies KParts, DCOP, KIO, Kiosk and KXMLGUI and give examples for code reusage and an overview of efforts to integrate non-KDE applications. For developers Umbrello, Cervisia and Valgrind with KCachegrind are introduced and of course KDevelop 3.0. An examination of licenses precedes the positive conclusion."
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Ars Technica: Deep Inside KDE 3.2

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  • by Telex4 ( 265980 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @10:47AM (#8362425) Homepage
    This series of articles [newtolinux.org.uk] I wrote with a friend [slashdot.org] might also be of interest.

    It outlines some practical nicities that are a result of the technologies like KIO slaves mentioned in the Ars Technica piece, including:

    Managing web sites (handling content without an FTP application, web gallery creation)

    Extending Konqueror with view profiles (replace FTP/Samba applications with Konq, and browse Google easily)

    Using KPrinter in any app

    Enjoy :-)
  • I just read up on it from Ars, and it certainly looks interesting.

    I'm currently using Fluxbox, but at the moment I'm emerging kde...should take a good long time to compile everything...but I'm going to give it a run-through and kick the tires a bit.

    If I don't like it, there's always 'emerge -C kde'
    • by cozziewozzie ( 344246 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @10:53AM (#8362462)
      The best thing about KDE is not the window manager/panel, but the application framework, like the technologies discussed in the articles. If you don't like the feel of KDE, you can always run fluxbox, but use KDE apps like Quanta, Konqueror, KDevelop and the likes. I've done that with Afterstep and WindowMaker as I'm not a fan of KWin.
    • I'm with you (Score:2, Interesting)

      by bonch ( 38532 )
      I'm with you, I love the underlying technologies of KDE. But I dislike the desktop implementations of them.

      I always end up going back to Gnome because the interface is cleaner and more elegant. 2.6 is due out in March. I just run Gnome and run KDE apps inside Gnome when I need to. If I had to make a poor analogy, I would compare KDE to Windows and Gnome to MacOS--one has the wider support for technologies and applications, but the other actually feels like a GUI should.
    • You will never emerge -C kde - because who will then give you back several hrs of compilation (it took soooooo... long on FreeBSD 5.1 on single Athlon XP 2200+ machine with 512MB RAM)?
  • As a long time... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chris_Stankowitz ( 612232 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @10:49AM (#8362436)
    fan of gnome who always stayed away from kde and then evanutally dropped gnome in favor of fluxbox. I have to admit, that I tried the 3.2 release an I'm hooked. I will still run flux on machines that just can't hand;e KDE's needs but KDE has come a *very* long way. My suggestion to others now is to run kde if their machines are fast and flux if it is slow (like my old p3 500).
    • Re:As a long time... (Score:4, Informative)

      by 7-Vodka ( 195504 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @11:25AM (#8362711) Journal
      er... I run kde 3.2 on my p3-650 and it just FLIES.
      I wouldn't call a p3-500 a slow machine to run kde on.
    • by Psiren ( 6145 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @11:27AM (#8362731)
      I don't mean to be rude, but do you understand the difference between a desktop environment and a window manager? KDE is the former, Fluxbox the latter. They are two entirely different beasts. You can still run KDE or Gnome applications under any window manager. I run mine under Window Maker. To be fair, you're not the only one giving this sort of advice. I see it every time a Gnome or KDE story comes up, but it's annoyed me enough now that I just have to speak up.
    • Re:As a long time... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by clymere ( 605769 )
      Amen. Thats exactly what I do. Of course my "slow" machines are p1 200mghz, and my "fast" machine is a p3 500 mghz :) I've honestly seen very little performace difference between KDE on that P3 and on my 1.44Ghz Athalon XP. I can only assume that its because the P3 is loaded with about 328MB of ram. But my point remains: KDE is a a bit of a beast, but i don't think its anywhere near the resource hog that people seem to think it is.
    • Re:As a long time... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:08PM (#8363133)
      When I started using Linux (5 years ago) I gave KDE a shot and dropped it in favour of Gnome. Only a few weeks ago I tried KDE 3.2 rc1 and never went back.

      Interestingly I always thought that there would be no way for KDE to make it better than Gnome and I only tried it because my brothers nearly forced me to.

      I think the most striking feature in KDE was the wallet-manager. I just love the possibility to store everything with a masterpassword.

      And since K3B startet working with ATAPI drives (ie. without ide-scsi) I stopped using the command line for cd-burning as well. (You should also try the emovix feature of K3B: amazing!)

      There's one thing I really learned from the switch: I don't try to persuade my friends any longer to use the same DM as I use. (I don't like to admit that I was wrong ;)
  • Language bindings (Score:5, Informative)

    by tcopeland ( 32225 ) * <tomNO@SPAMthomasleecopeland.com> on Monday February 23, 2004 @10:50AM (#8362442) Homepage
    One of the nicer things about KDE is the plethora of language bindings [kde.org].

    There's another pointer to the Ruby bindings - and a place for feedback and such-like - here [rubyforge.org].
    • Not to sound like a troll, but this is a very weak area compared to the Gnome/GTK+ bindings to languages as infrequently-used and obscure as ML, OCAML and Haskell.

      Here's a list of GTK's bindings:
      http://www.gtk.org/bindings.html [gtk.org]

      KDE needs to improve here, and C++ needs a standardized ABI first. The ease of binding other languages to C is what gives GNOME a huge leap in this regard, and not much else.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:16PM (#8363223)
        Not to sound like a troll, but this is a very weak area compared to the Gnome/GTK+ bindings to languages as infrequently-used and obscure as ML, OCAML and Haskell.

        I can just imagine a GUI implemented in a purely functional language:

        Q: I tried to click on the button but nothing is happening? What's wrong?

        A: If we responded to user actions, would create side-effects in the program. We can't condone that.

  • kMCP? (Score:5, Funny)

    by UncleBiggims ( 526644 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @10:50AM (#8362444)
    Deep inside KDE sounds very TRONish. I was hoping for a detailed look at Master Control Program. Oh well, the article must have been posted by a NULL unit.

    Are you Corn Fed? [ebay.com]
    • Re:kMCP? (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Hmm, I was thinking more along the line of porn. VCA pictures has a "deep inside" series, IIRC.
    • Re:kMCP? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 23, 2004 @11:16AM (#8362645)
      I read aloud "Deep inside Katie", and this girl at the next station made a face at me.

      Using the library computers sucks. As does being homeless in general.
    • Re:kMCP? (Score:3, Funny)

      by taniwha ( 70410 )
      well as an old time (20 years ago now) MCP [gatech.edu] programmer - and KDE developer .... I never get the two confused
  • by rsidd ( 6328 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @10:54AM (#8362469)
    I've always used KDE on my laptop, but at work it was GNOME (sys ad's choice, and I didn't really care). But with KDE 3.2, I decided to install it in my home directory at work too, via konstruct. I hardly need any gnome/GTK applications any more, except the Gimp now and then. For web browsing konqueror is finally able to handle nearly everything I throw at it (thanks partly to Apple's help); for instant messaging I'm now using kopete rather than gaim---I find the interface nicer and the gaim people still haven't made a bugfix release after all those security holes were pointed out in January; and for most other stuff I'm still the text-terminal type anyway...

    The biggest thing for me is that KDE doesn't treat users like idiots. All the configuration options are out there if I want them, easily accessible via the menus. The GNOME people seem to have decided that ordinary users are too moronic to be allowed to configure the look and feel of their own desktops. That and all the gratuitous UI changes like exchanging the places of the OK and Cancel buttons.

    Besides, with the theme set to plastik/plastig I get the same look and feel in gtk apps even when I do need to use them. At last, a consistent unix desktop.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      The biggest thing for me is that KDE doesn't treat users like idiots. All the configuration options are out there if I want them, easily accessible via the menus.

      The super geek would say, that putting all the options in menus is in fact treating the user like an idiot. But that's definitely not you because

      I'm still the text-terminal type anyway


      The GNOME people seem to have decided that ordinary users are too moronic to be allowed to configure the look and feel of their own desktops

      No, they
      • But by only running Qt and GTK+ apps, you miss out on all the cool technologies described in this article, which are a part of KDE. You cannot save directly to an ftp/ssh/samba server from the Save As dialog, you cannot embed applications into each other, you cannot script your programs etc etc (GNOME has similar technology, pure Qt and GTK+ apps don't).

        XFCE4 doesn't have a web browser. Doesn't have an office suite. Doesn't have a chat client. If you want these things, you have to either run GNOME apps, KD
      • No, they pretty much assume if you're using linux you're so smart you don't need menus and you deal with your gtk+ themes.

        This is exactly the kind of thinking that is holding Linux back from its full potential. The average joe-6-pack end user is sick and tired of Windows, and wants to get away. However, the average end-user is not "so smart they don't need menus"

        It is only when developers (like the KDE team) start thinking of the average not-as-smart-as-you end user that Linux will truly flourish as
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I find a usability problem in kcalc (the calculator program). That is, I don't see an obvious way to compute the square root of a number. I know that the square root can be computed by raising a number to 0.5 but to many folks, this is not very obvious. I also know that one can use the INV function. Let the powers that be put a squre root button of the kcalc interface. I must say that kde3.2 has supprised me in that my text was "spell checked" as I was writing this text. It was a pleasant supprise indeed. T
      • I find a usability problem in kcalc (the calculator program). That is, I don't see an obvious way to compute the square root of a number.

        I see a Sqrt button rather prominently in mine, in all modes (basic, financial, scientific)... The "power" (x^y) is only available in scientifc though.

    • GUI Cleanliness (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DreadSpoon ( 653424 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @11:28AM (#8362739) Journal
      The GNOME changes have nothing to do with assuming users are idiots. They have to do with cleanliness. I'm a developer, and I understand what just about any GUI option you throw at me does, or am quite capable of figuring it out. That doesn't mean I want to wade thru page after page after page of options which have no relation to what I want to do to find the one option I'm looking for.

      The GNOME changes are not dumbed down, they're cleaner. Advanced users are still quite capable of changing a plethora of options, using advanced methods. Only the very commonly changed options are placed in the menues and config panels, which makes it dead easy for both novices *and* experienced users to tweak the common things.

      So far as the gatuitious UI changes, there are clear advantages to the way GNOME has chosen to do things. The dialog button order is a favorite thing of people who wish to bash GNOME, and thus serve as an excellent example. The new button order is *easier* on people both physically and mentally. (location of button wrt mouse movements, location wrt eye movements, etc.)

      Additionally, there are no "OK" buttons. If you find one, it's a bug. Which is great. If you see a dialog, what the hell does "OK" mean? You have to read the whole dialog. And deal with the fact that in some cases, "OK" is the safe option, while in others it's the dangerous option. Different apps would pop up dialogs with different OK/Cancel meanings for the same dialog action. (like quit without saving - does OK mean "OK, Save" or "OK, Quit" ?) GNOME solves the problem by mandating that you don't use OK, but put the actual action as the button label. "Save" or "Quit". Much, much harder to accidently click OK when you meant Cancel because the meanings for two apps are different.

      Granted, the last bit can be done even with the Windows/KDE button order (i.e. [Save] [Cancel] vs [Cancel] [Save]), which is something I really wish both Windows/KDE would do. The GNOME/Mac ordering however makes for consistent button location, however, since the "positive" (most commonly used) button is always in the same location in the dialog, which (as mentioned above) is both easier and more efficient physically and mentally, for both novice and experienced users. KDE having the ability to change button orders (as I've been told it does) is definitely cool; it would be great if they defaulted to the more human-friendly GNOME/Mac order, and let users who refused to learn switch back to the classic order.

      Lots of users and developers think the GNOME/Mac button order is "weird" because they're used to the Windows' way, but that kind of thinking doesn't ever foster improvements. Thankfully, GNOME, OS X, KDE, and most other modern desktops are willing to break the mold and do things differently, even at the risk of "confusing" users, for the sake of moving the GUI experience forward, and not keeping us all locked into Microsoft's (and others') design mistakes made a decade or more ago.

      I don't claim that GNOME has things perfect. Far from it. Simply explaining the reasoning behind certain 'controversial' changes. Hopefully useful. :)
      • They have to do with cleanliness. I'm a developer, and I understand what just about any GUI option you throw at me does, or am quite capable of figuring it out. That doesn't mean I want to wade thru page after page after page of options which have no relation to what I want to do to find the one option I'm looking for.

        So you save 30 seconds once (or how often do you configure your desktop?), but you lose configurability and flexibility.

        Doesn't sound like a good deal for me. I'd rather have the desktop b

      • Re:GUI Cleanliness (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Pxtl ( 151020 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:38PM (#8363504) Homepage
        Personally, I find apps that have options not available in the GUI to be personally offensive. Text files are not intuitive, they are generally poorly documented, and are a poor way to configure a program.

        If a feature is only available through modifying configuration files, I consider it incomplete.

        The problem is this: lets say I want to change a setting. I can
        a) search through the menus - hopefully I will find it before my third attempt or

        b) use a programmer style configuration. This involves
        - determining if it is in a text file or is a command line option
        - determining which text file it is in
        - determining what the name of the command/flag/whatever is
        - determining the form of its parameters
        - determining what its operational limits are

        where in a GUI system, that is all handled out front. The worst part is one of getting help. Where do I look for help on a config parameter? I can't just point and wait for the tooltip, or pop-open a context sensitive help system. I have to find where the developer has hidden the documentation.

        If its not available in some intuitive, context-documented options screen, then its not finished. I do not work for my applications - they work for me.

        IMHO, more focus on framework is needed. Make a configuration file system where for each option you simply describe a simple widget and its tooltip. Keep it super simple so developers would be encouraged to use it as it would be quick to describe a new variable. Then, just make all the little widgets appear in an "advanced options" menu. No layout, no struggling, just a giant scrollable list of widgets with pop-up documentation. That's what a modern config file should be. And make it work on a text file in the back-end so that power-users can do their thing.
        • Re:GUI Cleanliness (Score:5, Insightful)

          by the-matt-mobile ( 621817 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:56PM (#8365342)
          Personally, I find apps that have options not available in the GUI to be personally offensive. Text files are not intuitive, they are generally poorly documented, and are a poor way to configure a program.

          Wait a minute... do you run a *nix operating system or not then? Let me be the first to apologize on behalf of rc.conf for offending you.
        • Re:GUI Cleanliness (Score:4, Insightful)

          by spitzak ( 4019 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @03:35PM (#8365775) Homepage
          What might be really nice is to have the ability from the GUI to bring up a text editor and let the user edit the configuration as text. This could be a button that says "Edit the Configuration". If the text file does not exist yet the program should create it, and it should create it with a comment block for every option describing what it does and how to change it, perhaps with examples. One program that sort of does this now is Doxygen, which has the "default" config file imbedded inside it with extensive comments.

          Even failing this, it would help a huge amount if the programs would at least tell you from the GUI where the configuration file is.

          For advanced configuration, GUI is extremely limited. One of the most obvious problems is the inability to "comment out" setups and to refer to them when setting other parts, or recover them later. Copying more than one setting from one part to another is also often impossible, referring to one setting while making another is often impossible (on different tabs). Setups that repeat a bunch of settings an arbitrary number of times result in unweildy user interface. All of these are trivial in text-based interfaces. It seems any attempt to make a GUI for complex interfaces eventually devolves into a registry-editor style, which combines the worst problems with the GUI (no comments) with the worst problems of the text editor (no indication what values are legal at each point).

          I don't believe GUI configuration will ever really work. If you think about it, programming the computers is really a configuration (ie "configure it to edit MS Word documents"). If GUI configuration was possible, all programming could also be accomplished by pressing buttons and dragging images around.
      • by stilborne ( 85590 )
        since you brought up the button order issue, i'll continue the thought...

        changing the button order was probably one of the most irresponsible things the GNOME usability team has done. why? the usability improvements are nascent at best, the sort of improvement that has good theory behind it but in the real world matters only a little at best.

        what's more important than the GNOME's minor (if any) usability win is consistency, which you yourself mentioned. on the X11 platform those buttons have appeared in t
        • was the button order so broken as to warrant creating such a huge and obvious inconsistency? no, it wasn't.

          so please, don't bring up the button ordering issue in public again, especially not as a benefit. it's embarrassing to everyone who develops for the X11 environment.

          What's embarrassing is an ambiguous "OK" button. Apparently, you've NEVER actually sat a user down to use your software.

          I handle technical support for my company. We run Windows XP. There is no end of accidental closes, minimizing, c
      • Re:GUI Cleanliness (Score:5, Insightful)

        by firewrought ( 36952 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @01:42PM (#8364371)
        The new button order is *easier* on people both physically and mentally.

        Not when you've used KDE or Windows applications everyday for the past 7 years. There's this little thing called "backwards compatibility". While it's quite a pain for purist, it is sometimes worth it.

        You should listen to your users: people are getting mad about the button order thing for valid reasons. How would you like me sneaking into your house and swapping out your QWERTY keyboard for a Dvorak one? You might find it pretty d*mn frustrating, especially when I casually reply that "it's better".

        I'm all for moving the GUI experience forward, but only when "moving forward" is a meaningful experience, not an ad hoc piece of usability dogma that does not concern itself with feedback from real users.

  • by burgburgburg ( 574866 ) <splisken06NO@SPAMemail.com> on Monday February 23, 2004 @11:06AM (#8362563)
    "Deep Inside Katey Pt 3" had some of the hottest...oh, wait, I misheard. Never mind.
  • by proxima ( 165692 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @11:06AM (#8362567)
    I used the unofficial debs from kde.org to upgrade from 3.1.4 to 3.2. Some of my favorite changes:

    - Konqueror now has sane tabs - before they would have a scroll bar of sorts. I still sometimes instinctively keep only 3 or 4 tabs in Konqueror, while I'm used to several times that many in Mozilla.

    - KDEwallet, once I get it properly set up, could prove quite useful for managing passwords.

    - The ability to make one's taskbar transparent (I don't use this at the moment) and not the entire width of the screen (I do use this). Kicker as a whole is becoming more and more refined

    - The debs I got have some nice icons, making me want to keep my taskbar bigger instead of ~Win2k sized

    - I seem to notice a marginal speed increase. It's a nice trend that continues for recent KDE releases.

    And now for the bad news. Some things that appear broken with my Debian setup, but I will wait to confirm with a Fedora-based install to determine if it's a packaging or KDE problem.

    - One website that formerly rendered fine in Konqueror now doesn't use its pull down menus correctly. Probably a javascript issue that I haven't looked too closely at

    - KMail has been a little flakey with one of my higher-traffic POP accounts, but this may not be KMails fault, just a coincidence.

    - For whatever reason, my desktop occasionally gets switched to a Firefox virtual desktop I often keep open. Probably due to some javascript/focus thing with Firefox, but I hadn't noticed it before. Of course, somewhere along the line I upgraded Firefox, but I don't have the problem on a RH 8 system.

    - I was really looking forward to Juk. Unfortunately, while it appears to work fine for mp3/ogg files, my install will simply not play FLACs until I try playing an OGG or mp3 first. Even then the application has crashed on me, and I stopped trying to use it and went back to xmms. I'm _really_ trying to be rid of xmms (and use something semi-full screen, preferably qt based). noatun has also been somewhat unstable for me, but that's true of every version (I think it was a problem with one of the "skins" this time). I haven't spent enough time with these to really track things down, so YMMV.

    For me, the tabs in konqueror alone were worth the upgrade. The problems I listed above may very well be other applications or the packages, and none are showstoppers. After I get my new desktop set up (still haven't finalized a distro, could be Debian, Fedora, or Gentoo), I hope to be able to report any reproducible bugs.

    • I was,just like you, looking for a replacement for xmms, and I found it in amaroK [sourceforge.net] which is a nice audio player centered around a very good playlist editor.
    • The tabs in the new Konqueror are indeed much better than before, but still not as nice as the tabs in Mozilla.

      As with many KDE widgets (toolbars, the file list browser in konqueror), the tabs seem to flash a lot before settling down. Maybe it's my slow PII-233 processor, though it seems like KDE3.2 finally got the app load time down to a reasonable level even on this box, so I think the processor's not the problem.

      I think the problem with the Konqui tabs is that they are sized based on their label data,
    • by Merk ( 25521 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @08:02PM (#8368691) Homepage

      Then you'll love what is, for me, one of the killer features of KDE 3.2: prevention of focus stealing.

      Go to "Desktop", "Window Behaviour", "Advanced" and at the bottom there's an option "Focus stealing prevention level". I've set mine to 'high' and I love it. Never again will a popup in another application, window, or desktop mess with what I'm typing. This is especially important for me because I have to deal with a flaky mail server all the time, and at least once while I was typing this short message, it popped up a window saying "... the server may have gone down or there may be a network problem".

      Now I have a beef with the Mozilla/Thunderbird developers for such a stupid UI and way of dealing with transient network issues, but that's another topic.

  • killer app? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The_One_And_Only_Ice ( 662182 ) <andrew.baerg@gmail.com> on Monday February 23, 2004 @11:09AM (#8362592) Homepage
    I'm wondering if maybe kde might be or might become the killer app for Linux? I know that anyone who happens to glance at my 3.2 desktop always asks, "Wow, what's that?". It's no longer, "Hey is that a mac?" or "How did you get XP to look like that?". I think KDE has something going that no other desktop has. It has features that are all it's own, that aren't simply attempts at copying features of other desktops.
    • Re:killer app? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ebuck ( 585470 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @11:48AM (#8362952)
      Mabye KDE will be the killer app, and I'd be glad to see it happen.

      But sometimes I wonder if the killer app is still alive and well. Often the killer apps of the past were the programs that added functionality which was not present prior to their introduction or not popularized until one app broke critical mass.

      I can't recall a killer app that provided the same (or even slightly better) functionality as a popular pre-existing one. Mabye it's because it's late and I'm tired, or mabye the answer is so oboviously painful I can't see it.

      Feel free to point out the ones that shined who didn't create their niches.
    • Re:killer app? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by infiniti99 ( 219973 )
      KDE has been the killer app for Linux on the desktop since forever. It was, and still is, the default desktop environment on the majority of Linux distributions. When you read all these reviews about Linux distros, for the most part they are really reviewing KDE. It's what you see on the screen. To most people, KDE is Linux. Calling it a killer app is an understatement.
  • by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <ChristianHGross@nospAm.yahoo.ca> on Monday February 23, 2004 @11:11AM (#8362606)
    >>> For commercial development of closed source software, the licensing fees for Trolltech are generally accepted and favored among KDE developers since this ensures support for KDE/Qt in both ways: either someone contributes code to the open source community, or he pays the developers of Qt, both which directly benefit KDE in the end.

    The problem with the closed source software fees is that they are outrageous. Shareware developers need not apply, which happen to make the Windows platform what it is today. Shareware developers should not be underestimated in their importance.

    To get a license for both Windows and Linux for QT you would have to pay 2500 USD minimum. Gee for that I can get a universal subscript to MSDN, which gives me an IDE, OS, Office, Windows, Windows Server, etc,etc. And what do I get from Trolltech? And SDK! Gee, yippee...

    My point is that shareware developers are not against paying money. Contrary they would pay money, but reasonable amounts!
    • On the other hand... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @11:57AM (#8363020) Homepage
      ...I've found that most of the smaller tools, that are typically shareware in Windows, is GPL'd in Linux anyway.

      At least when it comes to hobby projects that grew into a "shareware" size project, it's very convienient to grab some GPL code here and there - and then you don't have much choice but to GPL it all, if you want others to use and enjoy it.

      Shareware makes Windows what it is today? Huh? If I look at my programs they're usually either a) Free (as in beer, not speech) or b) Full-blown commercial. What's shareware? Mirc and a few other, not much.

      Unless you count those that are "trial" or "evaluation" versions, but they are typically what I'd consider full-blown commercial, stuff like e.g. Paint Shop Pro doesn't strike me as standard "shareware". That'd be more like Mastersplitter or some such tool someone whipped up on a slow day.

      If anything, it is the lack of shareware that makes Linux what it is. Somewhere around there's this tool that'll do what you want, or reasonably close, and it's free. And you can tinker with it until it *does* what you want.

      What I really miss on Linux is the juggernaughts... when you *know* GIMP etc. just won't cut it, but there is no real powertool available, no matter what you're willing to pay.

      In addition, you can take the "the market knows best" position. Trolltech is a business, trying to maximize profits. Issuing shareware licences would cost them basicly nothing. Since any company would want free profit, why aren't they offering one? Either Trolltech is irrational, or there simply is no interest, no volume.

    • "Shareware developers need not apply, which happen to make the Windows platform what it is today."

      A big mess of losers who want you to pay $30 for their crappy half-day hack that's available free in any other OS, and where they've spent more effort on "antipiracy" measures than on the program itself?

      Traceroute? yep, that'll be $30 please.
      Text editor? yep, that'll be $30 please.
      Hex editor? yep, that'll be $30 please.
      Icon editor? yep, that'll be $30 please.
      Graphics converter? yep, that'll be $30 please.
  • KDE 3.2 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ianoo ( 711633 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @11:11AM (#8362610) Journal
    As a long time Gnome user, and as someone who will go on record as disliking Trolltech and their business model, I must say I am extremely impressed with KDE 3.2. Whilst I still think there is some tidying to go WRT options dialog boxes, this release strikes me as a massive leap forward. The new features and the improvements to Konqueror and the Kicker and so forth are really impressive. So much so, for the first time ever I spent the day working in KDE instead of Gnome and actually enjoyed it, rather than being constantly frustrated by inconsistencies and the general looks of the desktop.

    Plastik is the first theme I've seen that makes KDE really start to look like a professional desktop rather than a mish-mash of poorly concieved applications. The underlying framework (KParts, kioslaves) and QT have always been superior to Gnome's, that much I'll admit. I still think it's a shame that QT is licensed under the GPL rather than a BSD-style license, but I guess I'll live.

    I might even switch permanently if KDE 3.3 brings as many improvements.
    • Re:KDE 3.2 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bogie ( 31020 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @11:32AM (#8362777) Journal
      "and as someone who will go on record as disliking Trolltech and their business model,"

      But why did you dislike their business model in the first place? I mean they've bent over backwards for the OSS community and they've also produced some dam fine software. Want to write free software? QT is Free. Want to write closed source software? Pay for QT just like you do with your software tools in the win-32 world. Should Trolltech have busted their ass for the last 7 years for for Free just out of the goodness of their hearts? Why do you begrudge someone who wants to support OSS but also wants to be able to make a living? Do you just dislike any company who wants to market a product and make money? Geez.
      • Re:KDE 3.2 (Score:3, Insightful)

        by McDutchie ( 151611 )
        Should Trolltech have busted their ass for the last 7 years for for Free just out of the goodness of their hearts? Why do you begrudge someone who wants to support OSS but also wants to be able to make a living? Do you just dislike any company who wants to market a product and make money? Geez.

        Exactly right. And yet there are so many who call the GPL "anti-commerce"! Amazing.

      • Re:KDE 3.2 (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Ianoo ( 711633 )
        Erm... if I want to develop for Win32, I don't need to pay for the toolkit. I pay for the development environment (or not, there are plenty of free ones). You can create Win32 applications using GNU GCC.

        I just see that there's a fundamental difference between toolkits and kernels. If I develop an application for Linux, I can choose any license for said application. If I develop an application for Linux + QT, I must develop under the GPL. If I develop an application for Linux + GTK, I can choose any licen
        • Re:KDE 3.2 (Score:2, Informative)

          by RedK ( 112790 )

          If I develop an application for Linux + QT, I must develop under the GPL. If I develop an application for Linux + GTK, I can choose any license. Which is more "free"?

          QT is more free. The Freedom granted by the GPL is not to the developer (as in freedom to do what he wants with the code), but rather it is Freedom given to the code. The code, under GPL, will never be closed or unmodifiable. It will never serve the purpose of one entity. It will always be there to be used, modified and distributed. A

  • A nice feature (Score:5, Informative)

    by IceFox ( 18179 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @11:13AM (#8362628) Homepage
    Sense 3.1 a lot of applications have been ported to use the KConfig_XT system (more will be ported before 3.3). One of the great features of this is that if you go into an applications settings it only stores those settings that you actually change. This way your home directory doesn't get filled with a zillion 1K files that are nothing more then the default values because you happen to look at the settings one day. And if you change the settings back to default it will even remove the file! Also you will notice that the configure dialogs (that use KConfig_XT) look and feel the same. :)

    -Benjamin Meyer

    P.S. Along the same topic why the &%$* does Open Office make a .netscape and .netscape6 directories in every users home directory that happens to run it?
  • by RKone2 ( 720851 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @11:17AM (#8362654)
    Is it me, or are there way too many links in that article. Do we really need seperate links to the source code download, binaries download, release notes and system requirements pages?

    If someone has done a study on the most effective text to link ratio, I'm sure they'd find that this Ars article is about 10x higher.
  • KDE 3.2.1 (Score:5, Informative)

    by twener ( 603089 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @11:19AM (#8362666)
  • KDE, emacs, etc... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ebuck ( 585470 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @11:40AM (#8362885)
    One of the best and most unappreciated features of KDE is it's inherit troll value.

    I'm sorry to post such a blatantly inflammatory gripe, and please don't reply to it in kind. Just be aware that the whole KDE vs. Gnome conversation is quickly degrading to the same sort of drivel that existed in the vi vs. emacs, gui vs. cli, X vs. Y debates.

    Both KDE and Gnome are reasonably good programming environments (meaning I can program in both without requiring corrective surgery or extreme pain) and they both do a good job of managing, unifying, homogenizing, and (whatever) of the desktop.

    If they come from two licensing lineages, so be it. I'm not worried about the environment / license you are going to choose, I'm going to choose the one I feel most comfortable with and has licensing (at cost or otherwise) that allows me to use it as I need. I'll assume you will do the same.

    Less "better than Gnome!" or "worse than Gnome!" and more "it's really great that it has cleaned up feature X" please.

    I apologize for such a rant, thank you for putting up with it.
    • The problem with the KDE/GNOME split is that the two great programming frameworks are not compatible: GNOME apps cannot embed KDE apps other than through ugly hacks and vice versa. Communication between these apps is nonexistent. They look and act differently, etc etc.

      On the other hand, there has been great progress recently. Already, there is a GTK theme which uses Qt to do all the drawing, so all GTK apps automagically looks like KDE apps, with the currently selected KDE theme.

      Furthermore, the two deskt
  • There are quite a few programs that are officially not part of KDE but are excellent KDE based programs nevertheless. For example KPlayer [sourceforge.net] is a superb mplayer based media player I use on a daily basis, and I heard good things about Kaffeine as well (but that one is xine based).
  • Why no MDK rpm? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by haeger ( 85819 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @11:50AM (#8362966)
    What I can't figure out is why Mandrake hasn't put out a good rpm for this. It seems that almost every other distro has a package on the download page [kde.org].
    I find it interesting that Mandrake that is supposed to be one of the major players that supports KDE doesn't have a package there. Nor can I find it in PLF's [zarb.org] (Penguin Liberation Front) packages.

    Anyone know what's up with this?


    • I grabbed the SRPMs from kicker and compiled it on my mdk9.2 box. Not for the faint-of heart, I admit, but the end result is good.

      BTW, if you are not planning to use the version for multiple architectures, I suggest compiling with optimizations for the specific processor you are running it on. Compiling qt, kdelibs and kdebase with -mcpu=athlon -O3 (as opposed to -O2) has resulted in at least a 30% speedup on my box.

      You can automate this by changing the file /usr/lib/rpm/rmprc

      to change the optflags of th
    • Re:Why no MDK rpm? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Imperator ( 17614 )
      They're all in Cooker, because the Mandrake community is focused on 10.0 right now. Believe it or not, a KDE upgrade can break a lot of things in a distro. I'd rather the Mandrake KDE people worked on getting it right for the next version than on backporting it to a version that doesn't need it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    KDE - rad kool 1992 Acura Integra with huge wing, go-fast stripes, bumblebee muffler, NOS, tinted windows, butt-jiggling subwoofer

    Gnome - 1999 beige Toyota Camry sedan

    (*I drive a Camry and I use Gnome)
  • What a gyp! (Score:4, Funny)

    by sharkey ( 16670 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @11:53AM (#8362988)
    This installment in the series is NOT as good as the last "Deep Inside" [adultvideohub.com] volume I checked out.
  • With all the big talk about QT being GPL if you right GPL software it really isn't as free as it should be. You can not write GPL QT software for Windows! There is not GPL versionf of QT for the latest version of Windows.
    The other problem has to do with commercial software. The QT commercial product is pretty expensive. If Linux takes off on the desktop and KDE becomes the standard then every commerical developer will have to pay the Troll toll.
    KDE is a good desktop but I would really like to see it libera
  • What's next?

    GNOME - Pre-teen midgets gone wild XXX?

    Sorry, *tired*.
  • It may not be politicially correct, but it would be the best of both worlds.


    • politically correct? who cares =) over at kde-look.org you'll find several icon themes for KDE that originated in GNOME (now that we share a common icon spec, this will become trivial in the future) as well as several cross-desktop widget and window themes.
  • I must say I was 100% gnome forever... mostly because it just "looked and felt" better. I found myself switching to KDE when I reformatted (to get rid of windows for one and for all, not because I had to) since 3.2 was around the corner. And although I agree that integration is excellent, quality is amazing, and the "look&feel" has come a lon way, especially with plastik imho, the feel still isn't quite Gnome-ish (or Mac-ish, which is how I perceive Gnome). Also it was still a little bloated/slow on
    • by 10Ghz ( 453478 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:43PM (#8365148)
      Also it was still a little bloated/slow on my pretty nice laptop (Centrino 1.6Ghz)

      I run it on my 300Mhz P2-laptop and it's fast enough. I also tried it on my 1GHz P3 laptop, and it ran REALLY fast.

      It uses massive amounts of ram even when idle

      On my laptop, full-blown KDE-desktop with Kopete and Konsole uses about 50 megs of RAM (well, that's an estimate. Running CLI-only showed about 5 megs of RAM being used, adding Xfree, KDE and Konsole in to the mix, bumbed that figure to about 58megs. So I would say that KDE might be using under 50 megs of RAM, rest being used by Xfree Konsole and Kopete. I don't consider that to be that much)
  • noatun (Score:4, Interesting)

    by minus_273 ( 174041 ) <aaaaa&SPAM,yahoo,com> on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:57PM (#8363764) Journal
    atleast they got rid of noatun or whatever that crap that KDE media player was. Good god! was it awful.
    You dont know the pain of being a kde user and having to run XMMS!
    oh well i use itunes on OSX now :)
  • by zpok ( 604055 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @01:02PM (#8363808) Homepage
    About installation ease of use, I guess.

    I've read a lot about KDE and KOffice, enough to try and get it to work on my little Cube (mac). For a couple of weeks I've tried a number of approaches.
    - First, install Yellowdog on my main machine. No Go, unless they'll get the Boot from Firewire Disk problem resolved. I'm not convinced I have the skills to install this on my main computer on the main hard-drive.
    - Next: installing the OS X "native" alpha, which indeed installed nicely but managed to do exactly nothing.
    - Finally I've tried the X11/fink route which was very entertaining (if you're into that kind of mind-numbing fun) but in the end - despite following lots of advice I didn't really get from faq/help/manuals/fora, it managed to do just the same: nothing.

    Now why would I share this with a bunch of geeks who can do this with their eyes closed?

    Not to be humiliated by you, I'm already quite used to "you're stoopid, zat's ze problem" comments.

    But to make you aware that a no-nonsense/no command line/no "first install this, then that, then go through the manuals, then ask help" installer should be highest priority in every project that tries to bridge the gap between superhuman users and regular users.

    Of course I'm stupid. But I'm also quite adept on my own platform, I've been using it for the last 20 years (god, I'm old).

    Let's wrap this up and tell you what I'm now considering, and please remember that I'm not a regular patient. I'm one of those people who still wants to use something even after being told he's actually too stupid to even install it. The normal reaction - I think - would be to feel better about ones own OS and think less of the one that doesn't want to be friends with you.

    My next options are:
    - waiting a couple of months until I can safely install Yellowdog on a Tangerine iBook I still have here, but which is still needed as backup machine for me and my wife in case our computers blow up.
    - waiting a couple of months until the "native" darwin version of KOffice is out. I think they take installation ease of use very seriously. Although ultimately useless, the installation process was painless. That at least is pleasantly reassuring.

    What I'm not going to do: tinker and tinker until I get KOffice to work under the X11/Fink setup. It's just too much of a hassle. There's no joy, and in the end I already have everything I really *need* to enjoy my computer. Curiosity can kill some other cat.

    Rant over, have a nice day!
  • by polyp2000 ( 444682 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @01:05PM (#8363849) Homepage Journal
    i've been using kde3.2 for a while...

    Today this rather wonderful dialog popped up just after I clicked to send an email in Kmail...

    Attachments? [blackapology.com]

    Often its the little things that really make the difference.

    nick ..
    • by asteinberg ( 521580 ) <ari@steinberg.stanford@edu> on Monday February 23, 2004 @05:53PM (#8367367) Homepage
      That's awesome - I can definitely think of a few times it would have come in handy for me.

      Another new feature of 3.2 I'm surprised I haven't seen anyone here mention yet is the new hotkeys system. It is amazing in its flexibility - you can tell it to do anything from starting a program to performing a DCOP call to pressing a button in any open window in response to just about any type of input - a mouse gesture, a keyboard shortcut, a window opening up. For example, I used it to make mouse gestures to change tracks in XMMS. You can make the input "global" or "local" to any specific program (with the option to set it to only be triggered if a particular window has focus). My only complaint is that the new LIRC remote control setup doesn't integrate into this framework.

  • Well not entirely, but enough of one that it wont make such a difference in which one someone chooses. KDE has shown that it does do a supurb job with its applications. There are many window managers, but not all are actively maintained. It is nice to see KDE / GNOME being maintained and rather than the two arguing over which should be 'the' desktop, realizing that the whole purpose of the desktop is for the end user experience, and that working togeather in these ways it makes it a better experience fo
  • by caseih ( 160668 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @01:25PM (#8364128)
    I would love to see some of the lower-level KDE features made available to gnome through some kind of thunk layer. For example, blending gnome-vfs modules into the KIO subsystem, or blending KIO slaves into the Gnome VFS subsystem would be very very useful to me.

    Theming integration is also cool. Right now there is a gtk theme that uses the current KDE theme engine to draw the widgets. I would love to see a QT theme that uses the current GTK engine to draw widgets. Then a program like KDevelop might actually fit into my desktop.

    Another pipe dream that is slowly being worked on is a way to call methods on objects from the Gnome framework to the KDE framework and vice versa.
    • I would love to see some of the lower-level KDE features made available to gnome through some kind of thunk layer. For example, blending gnome-vfs modules into the KIO subsystem, or blending KIO slaves into the Gnome VFS subsystem would be very very useful to me.

      With fuse_kio [capzilla.net], you can mount any KIO slave directoy on the file system, making them available to GNOME applications as well as GNU command line programs and any other *nix app.

      Theming integration is also cool. Right now there is a gtk theme that

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