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Favorite KDE Tricks? 104

Nat asks: "Here I am, plowing along at work on an ancient machine, and thanking heavens for how much easier Open Source makes my life. In particular, I've ended up settling with KDE and its main tools due to its ability to be configured into a relatively fast and lightweight environment, despite its number of features and useful tricks. I have discovered a good few of those already, but would like to ask you guys for further illumination: what are your favorite KDE tricks?"
"I am personally very fond of multi-key shortcuts, which I base on the otherwise useless Windows key: Win-A for fast access to my most used applications, Win-W for all window management operations, and so on. I have other time-savers like: KIOs for upload, download and remote edition of files over SSH, and for access to locate queries from right within any file dialog. I have many more; but what are yours?

Conversely, what non-KDE tricks make your daily work easier and faster? What currently non-existing tricks would you like to see implemented? What are the worst time-wasters you've encountered?"
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Favorite KDE Tricks?

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  • i want (Score:4, Funny)

    by Blob Pet ( 86206 ) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:49PM (#15760919) Homepage
    a first post filter for konqueror
  • by glowworm ( 880177 ) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:03PM (#15760967) Journal
    Sure, multi-key shortcuts are nice but if you have too many of them they become harder to remember, especially those tasks you only do once a week.

    I have been using a program called Katupult [] for many months now. It provides the advantages of shortcuts to programs and bookmarks without the need to memorise anything.

    To execute this program you press your start key (Mine is Alt-Space) then you just start typing.

    Xine? Alt-Space x
    Firefox? Alt-Space f
    Konversation? Alt-Space ko
    Google? Alt-Space go
    Slashdot? Alt-Space sl

    Well, you get the idea. As you type an OSD box on the screen cycles through the choice for the letters you have typed. There is no setup, it calculates all the shortcuts dynamically. In a letter tie (say k) the more you type the more you drill down. I rarely have to type more than three characters for the most obscure program.
  • Yakuake (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Zygfryd ( 856098 )
    This little application completely removed my need for an app launching menu, a run dialog or a graphical file browser.
    It's a drop-down terminal supporting tabs, whenever I want to run something I just Win+` to bring it up and Shift+Up to open a new terminal tab.
  • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) * on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:49PM (#15761134) Homepage Journal
    xbindkeys is often used to do keyboard shortcuts under the X Window System. I used to use hotkeys (it has the OSD showing you what it's doing), but xbindkeys seems to be a bit more powerful.

    I usually like to get a good multimedia keyboard with extra keys and use xbindkeys-config to bind them to some command. It's been a bit tricky to find one where all of the buttons work as expected, though. I'm happy with the current Dell multimedia keyboard (SK-SK8135 , ~$22) - the volume/media keys are backlit, and they didn't do anything stupid with the layout (like tranpose the ins/home/pgup block like in their /last/ multimedia keyboard). On some of the older keyboard models I've tried (HP 5219, Antec K361), all the keycodes wouldn't register, and the "sleep" button (which I usually bind to 'xset dpms force suspend') would send two events for some reason and usually wake itself right back up again (the dell mm kbd doesn't have a sleep button at all though).

    I also have an X10 / ATi wireless usb remote that I've programmed some of the buttons on. Unfortunately, it has six buttons labelled 'a' through 'f' that just send those letters instead of keycodes, so it's hard to do anything with them.

    Anyway, sorry for throwing out mostly hardware suggestions :P
    • What is very cool is to get Skim and scim working. This is the input method for other languages - so you can type Chinese etc.

      But there is also a Latex input method. This means you can type, say, \theta in any app and get a unicode theta symbol. I use this daily in konversation (IRC client) to write math equations.

  • by tehlinux ( 896034 ) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:52PM (#15761144)
    I hate the fact that their apps all begin with the letter 'k.' What do they have against tab-completion anyway?
    • Amarok ends with "K", and it is one of the best KDE applications ever...
      • I loved amaroK right up until it ate a bunch of my flac files.

        Well, technically I deleted them, I guess. What happened is that amaroK started showing doubles of all my playlists (I create one for each album when I rip it). The second copy was an obviously corrupt version, usually with only odd or even numbered tracks. When I came across these annoyances, I deleted the corrupt playlist. After doing this for a while, I found that deleting the playlist actually deleted the media files as well, without near
        • You must have some weird version or configuration of Amarok. It does warn you before any file deletion, advising that its permanent.

          I do understand your conservative outlook, but Amarok finally got me to ditch XMMS - partly because the current version, 1.4, can be used to reorganize the files exactly as you'd like. And you can control when it does this.

          Frankly, I find Amarok to be like iTunes, only better. Yeah, musicbrainz and lyrics aren't that useful when you are looking at really obscure stuff - but the
          • It's possible that it did tell me that it was permanent, I don't recall exactly (this was 2-3 years ago). In the context I expected that deleting a playlist deleted just the playlist. I couldn't believe that it would actually delete the files that make up that playlist. Maybe I'll look at it again some time, but I don't normally do very sophisticated things with my music.

            Actually, the thing I really want is an Amarok-like interface that works well on a laptop with a small disk. I don't have space to cop
      • Beginning package names with a k is helpful in some package manager GUIs (notably YaST) because it allows for quick searching of KDE components and dependent apps to mark them for upgrading - yes, most package managers will pick up dependencies for you but then you have to approve each change, why not search for all packages beginning with 'k' and mark the kde apps for upgrade right from the get-go?

        Even from a tab completion point, it's not all that bad. So you have to type k first - it's not that bad. Just
        • Just add the kde debtag and you've found all the KDE programs available (on Debian and derivatives at least). Most KDE applications mention KDE in some way in the description, so searching for KDE is good enough most of the time as well.
    • As opposed to gnome which begins everything with a 'g'?
  • Focus management! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mad Merlin ( 837387 ) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:02PM (#15761180) Homepage

    One of my favourite things about KDE (or, more specifically, kwin) is the way it handles focus. In particular, it doesn't enforce that the window in focus must be the window on top. Using the default (at least they were default the last time I did a fresh install) KDE settings, scrolling the mousewheel can be used to change the the focus to the window you're scrolling in, but without changing it's z positioning. Furthermore, once you've given a window this state in this manner, you can interact with it normally without fear of it popping on top again, until you a) left click on the titlebar, or b) it loses focus (and then gains it again).

    While a similar effect is possible by using focus-follows-mouse, it also requires you to keep the mouse cursor inside the window you want to have focus, whereas with this method, the mouse cursor can be anywhere.

    In the same vein, the alt+(left|right) mouse button combos, which by default are mapped to moving and resizing a window, don't give a window focus either. Thus, you can move and resize any window without fear of it a) coming into focus or b) changing z order.

    • Sigh. Almost there. ALMOST... We are so close to recovering the GUI technology that existed in 1985 or so.

      Here's the idea: DON'T RAISE THE WINDOW WHEN THE USER CLICKS!!! The window should only raise if the user clicks the title bar or if the program does a raise() function.

      This was figured out in 1984 (read the X10 release notes where they removed the automatic raise that was in earlier versions of X). It was then lost in 1990 or so becase Windows did not do this and all the sheep blindly copied them. Since
      • Re:Focus management! (Score:5, Informative)

        by Mornelithe ( 83633 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @01:34AM (#15761955)
        Configure -> Desktop -> Window Behavior

                "Focus" tab:
                        Uncheck "Click raise active window"

                "Window Actions" tab:
                        Left button: Set to "Activate & Pass Click" instead of "Activate, Raise & Pass Click"

        • You are right about that, I think. I am force to use Gnome at work and it cannot be set to do this. All my tests indicate that KDE works better.

          What is really annoying is that I cannot assumme this because it is never the default. Especially because my software has to work on Windows as well. This bug seriously limits the ability to use multiple windows, the only way to make usable software is to not overlap the windows. The easiest way to do that is just to make a giant window and a "tiled" interface, like
          • I am force[d] to use Gnome at work

            Wow, think back 6 years. Who ever thought anyone would be saying something like *that*? Next thing you know we'll be compaining that Microsoft Word is unable to open up the OpenOffice documents that everyone is passing around in email.

            • Next thing you know we'll be compaining that Microsoft Word is unable to open up the OpenOffice documents that everyone is passing around in email.
              The people in the company I work for sometimes forget to save in Microsoft formats. So we do get those complaints.
          • Re:Focus management! (Score:3, Interesting)

            by theCoder ( 23772 )
            You certainly can set that preference in Gnome. Under the Window preferences, where it says "select windows when the mouse moves over them", there is an option "raise selected windows after an interval" (text is as appears in Gnome 2.14, but I know that this option goes as far back as Gnome 2.0, since that's what is shipped with the Solaris 9 I use at work).

            Still can't have different backgrounds for different virtual desktops (er, "workspaces") though. Not sure what's holding that simple option up.

            btw, un
            • This is one of many features which makes X (and most window managers running on it) so great - folks who HATE focus shifting automatically with just movement of the mouse can disable it, and folks who want it can turn it on, all without having to install unstable hacks like some other operating environments require.

              btw, under most circumstances, your software shouldn't be trying to dictate how it interacts with the other windows (such as calling raise() on all clicks). That is the domain of the window mana

              • If would be *EASY* for Gimp to implement this, *except for the fact that window managers raise on click!*.

                If the window manager did not raise on click, Gimp could easily raise the toolbars itself when you clicked in the document window (and raise the document if wanted, placing it below all the toolbars).

                But because of that damn window manager raising the clicked window, this is quite impossible, at least without a very annoying flickering effect, and on X you need to handle a whole lot of race conditions.
          • ...a program that *wants* click-to-top could easily get it by calling raise() on all clicks...

            I HATE such uppity software.

            acroread is a good example of a program that is damned hard to work with because it insists on raising itself, obscuring everything else, any time the mouse passes over any part of its window.

            I want software that obeys the instructions I have given it: only raise on titlebar-click; strict focus-follows-mouse. That's one of the reasons I dislike older netscape/mozilla/firefox

    • in a similar vein, one of my favorite features is middle clicking on the title bar to drop the window to the bottom. Extraordinarily useful. Even now, I'm dropping this post reply window to check my multiple (smaller) IM windows. Of course, this window still keeps focus, as you mentioned.
      Hash: SHA1

      I like to have my panel have a large taskbar --I happen to
      dislike grouping similar applications together, so I need more
      screen real estate for my 5 instances of Firefox (each with 12
      tabs), 7 instances of Kwrite, etc. I also want to have
      app-launching icons easily reached on the screen. But the panel
      doesn't have enough room to fit all this and still have a clock,
      pager, a systray, etc.

      So I put all my app-launching icons in another "child" panel,
      extending down from
      • I use the same layout for my panels. The one on the bottom is 2 high so that you can have 2 rows in the taskbar. On the right side I have vertical panel that houses a bunch of icons for quick launching all the applications I regularly use. I don't have it hidden though. I have a 19 inch flat panel, and find that I have more than enough screen real estate even with the extra space taken up on the side.
  • What are the worst time-wasters you've encountered?

    When I go to click on something in kmenu, if I miss it, I can't just move the cursor down and depress the mouse button on the program I actually wanted. All that happens is that kmenu disappears, and no app is launched.

    Oh, and the file manager takes about five seconds to launch on my machine. That's a pretty big time waster.

  • A KDE must-have (Score:3, Informative)

    by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:10PM (#15761204) Homepage Journal
    This is a must-have for any konqueror user.

    Are you fed up with those "smart key" tooltips that keep popping up in konqueror?

    edit ~/.kde/share/config/konquerorrc

    add this section:

    [Access Keys]

    Now konqueror will provide an enjoyable experience without those obnoxious tool tips. :)
  • I've got a Logitech Wireless Express keyboard/mouse with a few hardware "shortcut" keys (volume, e-mail, etc.) on my main machine – I've got a custom Xmodmap file to set up the keycodes, and then I've configured a couple KDE shortcuts for each of them... right now my e-mail button has been re-configured to play/pause in amaroK so I can, say, listen to the Rolling Stones while playing SuperTux; the "Home" button pulls up ~ in Konqueror; and "Back" is set up to lock the screen and pull up the screensave
  • Things I do (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bralkein ( 685733 ) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:23PM (#15761248)
    I have heard a few people here and there complain that Konqueror is of no use to them as a file manager, because it is only single-pane. One thing I never noticed until recently is that Konqueror can actually have as many panes as you like! This is really useful. I have set up the hotkeys for splitting the view panes so that Alt-S will split to the side, Alt-D will split down and Alt-X closes the currently-selected pane. Now, normally I like using single-pane, but sometimes two or more can be easier. Whenever I need that, I use the shortcuts to do that. For example, since I use Konqueror as my browser too, I can go to a website with some images or files that I want, split the pane in two, navigate to my home directory in one of the panes, then it is as simple as dragging and dropping the items I want from the website to the folder.

    For KDE apps that have functionality exposed via DCOP, you can tie mouse gestures or keyboard shortcuts to DCOP calls using the dialogue found in Control Centre->Regional & Accessibility->Input Actions. For applications you use regularly, this can be really useful. There is a DCOP browser you can use to explore the things that you can do with DCOP-enabled applications. Have a play with it and see what you can do. I personally use it for controlling Amarok. (an amazing app for anyone who hasn't used it BTW)

    Have you messed around with the storage media notification configuration? When this feature first appeared, I worried that it might be useless and annoying, all popping up dialogues when you insert a disc, but some of the stuff you can do with it is quite cool. For example, if you use an external hard drive to back up your data, you could add an option to do that on the notification. Then, when you plug the drive in, the notification will pop up, and all you need to do is choose the newly-created option to back up your data. The dialogue you can use to do all this is found in Control Centre->Peripherals.

    I hope some of these suggestions are of use to someone, and I also hope that nobody I know ever reads this post, as it is by far the most disgustingly nerdy thing I have ever written.
    • With Kubuntu, the shortcuts appear to be Ctrl+Shift+L to split Left/Right, Ctrl+Shift+T to split Top/Bottom, and Ctrl+Shift+R to close current view (no idea why they chose that).
    • I wrote wrote a shell script that I bound to my gf's multimedia keys, eg, the play key would run 'music play', which would issue the amarok dcop play command over ssh.

      Try doing that without dcop.

    • I have heard a few people here and there complain that Konqueror is of no use to them as a file manager, because it is only single-pane. One thing I never noticed until recently is that Konqueror can actually have as many panes as you like! This is really useful. I have set up the hotkeys for splitting the view panes so that Alt-S will split to the side, Alt-D will split down and Alt-X closes the currently-selected pane. Now, normally I like using single-pane, but sometimes two or more can be easier. Whene

  • "...[Thanking] heavens for how much easier Open Source makes my life"

    Well, for starters, how about thanking the devs and the contributors? I didn't see any diety/atmospheric condition among the them...

    My only advice for KDE users is to try out FluxBox, it just gets out of your way and let's you do exactly what you want to do. I know it's not what you asked,
  • by darkwhite ( 139802 ) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:48PM (#15761305)
    The cool part about KDE is that functionality by and large isn't hidden from the user. You just run the core desktop environment, mess around with the Control Center, open up a few invaluable apps (amarok, kate, kile, konqueror, kaffeine, kopete, kpdf, showimg... the list goes on), bind a few global keyboard shortcuts, and you're good to go. Everything works as expected, and is integrated to the bones.

    Just about the only trick I use that isn't in plain view is fish:// for opening directories and files over ssh. Works in editors too (edit files directly over ssh). There's a lot of fancy magic you can do with other kioslaves, but mostly either I don't have a use for them or they're too buggy to rely on.

    Also, ~/.kde/Autostart is the equivalent of the Windows Startup folder.

    Finally, you can skin GTK2 apps with your KDE theme with a GTK Qt theme engine (gtk-qt-engine).
    • Just about the only trick I use that isn't in plain view is fish:// for opening directories and files over ssh.

      Actually, that is in plain sight. From your desktop, open the System icon, go to Remote Places, and pick "Add a network folder". A wizard pops up asking you for the login details for WebDAV/FTP/Windows Network/SSH, etc, and it defaults to adding an icon for next time.

    • Also, if the ssh server has the sftp-server enabled then the kio-slave sftp:// is faster than fish://

      Also kde starts a ssh-identity server (key-ring) on login. Open any shell and you can add identities in the normal way (ssh-add), then you will never be prompted for passwords from any kde apps.
  • by gameforge ( 965493 ) on Friday July 21, 2006 @10:36PM (#15761449) Journal
    I own a Logitech Cordless MX Duo, which includes an MX700 wireless mouse with Internet buttons (forward/backward), as well as a wireless iTouch keyboard which has multimedia and Internet buttons everywhere. None of these buttons are recognized under Linux, with any of the distributions I've used (SuSE, Kubuntu, Gentoo, older RedHat (4.1+) and Slackware (3.0+)). I've had similar, older Logitech models with the same problem.

    While I don't much use the 'Shopping' button under Windows, I do use the multimedia buttons quite heavily. Thus, one of the little things that was keeping me on Windows [] was not having the very easy and convenient volume control & player controls. I use my soundcard as a preamp/mixer for a fairly nice stereo system with limited volume control. I also use my PC for DVD playing, TV, gaming and recording my guitar, so these buttons are more than convenient.

    Additionally, I could never get the Win key to behave exactly like it does under Windows.

    So, after lots of scripts and man page viewing, and some KDE control panel fussing and ALSA documentation reading, I've got it all glued together. The post ended up being huge, so I turned it into a journal entry:

    X/KDE/ALSA Trick [].

    I hope somebody finds this useful; it was a little more than trivial to put it all together. I realize this is more a series of general Linux/X tricks, but KDE is involved; and you did ask for non-KDE tricks as well.

    • I just have to say straight out:

      THANK YOU!

      I remember using xev back in '97 or something .. and have never used it since .. often trying to search for it. Always being frustrated that I didn't find it again. Getting those keycodes is just _nice_.

      And now .. I've got it again! :)

      Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! :)
  • ioslaves... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dr.Dubious DDQ ( 11968 ) on Friday July 21, 2006 @11:59PM (#15761705) Homepage

    Someone else already mentioned fish:// (remote filesystem access over ssh). the audiocd:// ioslave is nice as well - put in a music cd, type "audiocd:/" into konqueror, and you get a "virtual" directory of WAV, MP3, and Ogg-vorbis files. Drag and drop and it automatically encodes them to "real" mp3/ogg/wav files as desired.

    And, of course, k3b is one of the handiest GUI programs ever - normally my nerdly pride insists on using command line tools, but k3b is just too nice.

  • Time Zones Display (Score:3, Informative)

    by netsharc ( 195805 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @01:03AM (#15761889)
    I like KDE's clock with its built-in multiple world clocks display, practical if you have friends in different timezones. Use the scrollwheel over the clock to change the timezone, or just mouseover it to see the tooltip showing what time it is in all the zones you have. You can even put 2 or more clocks beside each other. :)
  • You insensitive clod!

    Oh... wait... I mean...

    NEENER NEENER! I don't have windows keys! La la la, I'm an insensitive clod!

    *hugs and dances with his model-M, best Xmas present Ever*
  • by EEPROMS ( 889169 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @02:59AM (#15762126)
    It's very common for people to complain that konqueror is slow, but there is a simple trick to speed it up

    Look up the top of Konqueror, click on Settings->Configure Konqueror

    Now on the right hand window were the icons are scroll right down to the bottom, look for a icon marked Performance, its rocket shaped one, right click on the icon.

    Now on the left side pane, turn on "Preload an Instance after KDE has started up"

    Set the pre loaded amount to "2"

    Regarding the memory section I have it set to "File Browsing Only"

    Click on "OK" or "Apply", thats it all done.
  • I quite like how in the desktop wallpaper selection screen it gives an option to download additional wallpapers from some server using it's convenient image preview interface. Lets you see a thumbnail and its rating so you can choose whether to download the actual image. Very cool.
  • by EsbenMoseHansen ( 731150 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @09:49AM (#15762741) Homepage

    I know it is bad form to promote what you have been heavily involved in but...

    Configure Klipper to store more than the few items which is the default. Somewhere in the 500-1000 should be a nice number.

    Now, when you need something you snipped a few days ago again, try ctrl-alt-v, write a bit (it's a regex, btw). Instant typeahead search in the clipboard history. I love it! :)

    Also, fullscreen apps, and making the panel wide, horizontal and coverable are nice tricks :)

  • ateway []

    While a little tricky to set up, this allows you to use all of the wonderful KIOSlaves inside *any* application (not just KDE apps) by mounting a gateway directory under FUSE. Want to edit a file over SSH or FTP in the GIMP without explictly copying it locally? No problem.
  • What are the worst time-wasters you've encountered?"

    kded has crashed... freeze freeze

    But the stability of KDE at work is most likely to blame on the poor choice of distribution, rather than on KDE itself.

    • "But the stability of KDE at work is most likely to blame on the poor choice of distribution, rather than on KDE itself."

      I would have to disagree and guess that KDE is to blame. Various components of KDE crash on me all the time in FreeBSD too. Though it was several years back, the last time I ran Linux on the desktop, I remember various KDE components dying frequently.
      • KDE is much improved these days.

        I too run KDE on FreeBSD (as well as Linux) and it very rarely crashes anymore (V3.4 under FreeBSD 6.1, and v3.5 under Kubuntu 6.06).

        I think in the earlier days there was much less effort put into making it run properly on FreeBSD also - it was more linux focused. But, things have improved :) KDE is my standard desktop whenever I'm working on a Linux/BSD box now :)

  • The same question was asked on the Gentoo forums some time back, and generated quite a long thread.

    See here []

  • I don't run Konqueror as root, because that is most unwise; as we all know. Occasionally I need to do something that my user permissions won't allow, like "chown" a file for example.

    To do this through knoqueror:

    1. Right click on the file
    2. Choose "Open With..."
    3. In the dialog box that pops up, type "kdesu chown username" (or "kdesu" and whatever other command you want) and hit {enter]
    4. A dialog box will pop up asking for the root password; type it in and press [enter]. All done!

    For me this is often a lot fa

  • As you asked about what should be implemented:
    In KDE on RHE3, when I use a shortcut to iconify all the window on the desktop, if one of my window is open on all the workspaces, it is iconified only on this workspace not on all the workspace, and the iconfication is only temporary if I switch workspace and come-back, the these window are opened again, grrr.

    Plus when I click on a window on the task bar which is already opened, KDE iconify it, I'd prefer KDE to put it on the front.
  • Can you effectively run fluxbox as the WM?

"The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception a neccessity." - Oscar Wilde