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Thread: Getting Around In KDE 4.3 ...

  1. #1
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    Default Getting Around In KDE 4.3 ...

    is a major accomplishment. I've been using Linux since year 2000, and I have to say, while the KDE developers seem to have eliminated most of the bugs and irritations, this is still far from intuitive.

    See this thread for an example. Removing Desktop Icons - openSUSE Forums

    So far, here's what I've accomplished:

    1. Installed OS 11.2 from the live CD. I accidentally (accidentally!) clicked the "close" icon on one of the plasma dashboard thingies and it disappeared. Took FOREVER to get something like it back, but the text was ugly (instead of just "Firefox," the label had become "Firefox.Desktop").

    Memo to KDE developers: you should never, ever, EVER, allow the user to click something right on the main desktop that doesn't offer a quick, easy "undo" or "return to default." That's unacceptable.

    2. I decided to do a full OS 11.2 NET install. My desktop looked nice, and (to me pleased surprise) NVidia drivers installed without a hitch, but configuring the desktop the way I like is still completely non-intuitive.

    Example: in the upper right corner, I right clicked on the thingy and accidentally selected something that made all desktop wallpapers go away, the dashboard went away. The menu when I click in the upper right corner now contains two items: "Add Widgets" and "Desktop Settings" (which brings up a nearly-useless dialog that simply lets you set the wallpaper). No way to get back. I have no idea how to restore the orginal menu and the dashboard.

    By the way ... I assume that I'm talking about the "Dashboard." That's the semi-transparent box-thingie in the upper left of the screen with a Mozilla icon, a Suse Help icon, and a few others. One other wonderful feature about KDE 4.3 is that it DOESN'T EVEN TELL YOU THE NAME OF THE BOX/WIDGET/Whatever you're looking at. It's just ASSUMED that you know.

    It's beautiful. And as usual, the help files are incomplete, there are almost no screen captures or images that might let me know if, in fact, I am actually referring to the "Dashboard" or something else entirely (the "Transparent Quick Launcher In The Middle Of The Screen?(tm)").

    Repeat note to KDE developers: if a user can click a simple "Close" or "do this" on the desktop, without ANY WARNINGS, without any, "are you sure you want to do this," and without ANY clear way to get back to the default behavior, that's unacceptable. I'm speaking as someone who has written tons of software for end users, both command line and GUI. You just don't release software in which the end user could kill himself without any warning. You just DON'T DO IT.

    Now that I'm through ranting (pant, pant ... sorry ) ... can anyone point me to a clearly-written, logical, easy-to-follow explanation of just how this new KDE 4.3 desktop is supposed to actually work? Or must I do a separarate Web search on each thing that I want to do (ex., have separate wallpapers for each desktop), sift through conflicting advice, and then see what happens? ? ??

    It's a beautiful thing.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Getting Around In KDE 4.3 ...

    You just don't release software in which the end user could kill himself without any warning. You just DON'T DO IT.
    I do not disagree with your statements: I have found that KDE 4 lacks fundamental documentation or help for basic Desktop operations, terminology and "common" tasks.

    However, I disagree with your judgement: you should know better if you've been using Linux since 2000 than to point fingers at developers. A developer is not a tester nor a documenter and never will be.

    Instead, what I would like to see is the content for the link on the Desktop for "getting started with KDE" to be about 10x bigger and 100x better. Wouldn't it be cool if the user can read about all those basic tasks, perhaps even with a couple of flash presentations?

    I would have no problem helping out there too. If someone can point me to where to start with that.

    @smpoole7: maybe you should join in and help too. I'm sure you'll agree that better documentation and testing would have prevented your frustration. Or do you believe that should be done by "other people"? It's free, remember?
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Getting Around In KDE 4.3 ...

    Quote Originally Posted by twelveeighty View Post
    I do not disagree with your statements: I have found that KDE 4 lacks fundamental documentation or help for basic Desktop operations, terminology and "common" tasks.

    However, I disagree with your judgement: you should know better if you've been using Linux since 2000 than to point fingers at developers. A developer is not a tester nor a documenter and never will be.
    I should have put more smileys in my post to warn people that I was being a curmudgeon. (It's something I'm very good at -- and just for record, I'm as likely to criticize myself as I am anyone else.)

    As for your statement, being a developer, I most assuredly DO point fingers. (Even though one or two will always be curled back, pointing at ME.) One of the problems with F/OSS is that we have so many brilliant coders ... who only want to code. They don't often watch end users actually operate their software in real-life conditions. They release these brilliantly-written, bleeding-edge software packages that result in help forums all over the Web being flooded with cries for, "Help!!"

    More to the point, they should realize that software is not ready to release (except as clearly-labled "beta" or even "alpha") until is *HAS* been documented well enough that the average user can enjoy it. Yes, this is subjective; but I think most people would agree that it's very disheartening to click on help and see, "TBD" or "NEED TO FIX," instead of something useful.

    Let me repeat that: this is PRECISELY where I disagree with many F/OSS project managers. The software should continue to carry the "alpha" or "beta" warning/label until it has been documented. It's insane to release a package to the general public with docs that are filled with "TBD!" pages.

    As for me joining in and helping, I've done so in the past and will be glad to do so in the future. But I can't write documentation for something until I understand it.

    I'm not alone in this frustration. I thank the Lord for great forums like this one, but in the instant case (re: KDE being poorly documented) I did a web search on "plasma missing in KDE" and found all sorts of hits all over the Web. There were all sorts of different suggestions for how to fix it, too -- some of which apparently worked for some users, but not all, and none of which helped me.

    I probably should have put this in the Rants section.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Getting Around In KDE 4.3 ...

    Unfortunately i can't find any documentation on KDE at all (unless you want the tech specs ), as far as "end-user" doc's go It's very lacking indeed. Maybe we should put together a wiki post to guide people around .

    As to answer your question about the "Dashboard" it's actually the "Folder View" widget I think your talking about, to get it to appear again is easy (although undocumented so not that easy rofl).

    The process to get it back..

    1) Right Click Desktop (on the context menu if you have Lock Widgets enabled disable it) and select "Add Widget"

    2) Scroll down till you find one that says "Folder View" and click that to display it, you should now have the window back but it wont appear like the default one just yet (it has the .desktop links).

    3) Move your cursor over the Window on the desktop, at the side you will see a "movement bar" it has a "wrench" icon in it click on that.

    4) On the list you will have 3 item's the one we want is "Location" it should be selected by default, on the right hand side mark "Show Desktop Folder" (it should appear like it did at first now ).

    5) To make sure you dont delete it again right click on the desktop, mouse over "Lock Widgets" and click.

    Job done , you can add and remove all the widgets the same way and most of them have the "wrench" to change settings. A little circle to spin the widget and a Box at the top to resize it.

    As for the different wallpaper on seperate desktops.

    Click the little "Cashew nut" in the top right hand of the screen (if it's not there right click the desktop goto desktop settings and make sure "Desktop" is selected and not "Folder View" or "Plain Desktop") then select "Configure Plasma" and select "Different Activity for each desktop". Then you will be able to switch desktops, right click to bring up the desktop setting's and change your background.

    Most of the stuff in the new KDE 4.x is done through the "cashew nut", nearly all the setting's are there.

    Hope that help's a little.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Getting Around In KDE 4.3 ...

    Click the little "Cashew nut" in the top right hand of the screen (if it's not there right click the desktop goto desktop settings and make sure "Desktop" is selected and not "Folder View" or "Plain Desktop") then select "Configure Plasma" and select "Different Activity for each desktop". Then you will be able to switch desktops, right click to bring up the desktop setting's and change your background.
    @Zoialord: how do you "undo" that again? How do you go back to the "out of the box" setting"?
    Desk: AMD Phenom II X4 945 8GB RAM Radeon HD 3300 Arch Linux Xfce 4.8
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Getting Around In KDE 4.3 ...

    The software should continue to carry the "alpha" or "beta" warning/label until it has been documented. It's insane to release a package to the general public with docs that are filled with "TBD!" pages.
    I agree 100% with that statement, but isn't it simply a matter of resources? If there are no documentation/help writers out there, you will never be out of beta...?
    Desk: AMD Phenom II X4 945 8GB RAM Radeon HD 3300 Arch Linux Xfce 4.8
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Getting Around In KDE 4.3 ...

    Just repeat the step's but rather than "Check" the box "Uncheck" it. (Word of warning though, I've noticed a bit in 4.3.4 that it can cause Plasma to crash, if it does log out and back in or use ctrl+alt+backspace, backspace to force the X server to restart.)

    The whole config for Plasma imo is a little daunting at time's. Although from what I've seen of KDE SC 4.4 they have moved a lot of the control's around to much better and more "correct" places.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Getting Around In KDE 4.3 ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Zoialord View Post
    Unfortunately i can't find any documentation on KDE at all (unless you want the tech specs ), as far as "end-user" doc's go It's very lacking indeed. Maybe we should put together a wiki post to guide people around .
    Start > Favourites > Help

    Root > user > share > doc > kde > HTML > en

    http://www.novell.com/documentation/opensuse112/

    Novell Doc: Quick Start Manuals - Quick Start Manuals

    Novell Doc: KDE User Guide - KDE User Guide

    http://docs.kde.org/stable/en/kdebas.../userguide.pdf

    Seek and ye shalt find.
    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Getting Around In KDE 4.3 ...

    Zoialord, thanks for that.

    cygnuslodge, I looked through the KDE User Guide; it leaves a lot of stuff out.

    I am still amazed that you can click the "close" button on the Desktop Folder (at least I know what to call it now!) and it disappears. I figured out how to bring it back up, but it's ugly. Still working on that.

    twelveeighty,

    I agree 100% with that statement, but isn't it simply a matter of resources? If there are no documentation/help writers out there, you will never be out of beta...?
    ... that's exactly right. That's preferable to calling something "stable release" and having documentation that's filled with "TBD." At least the "beta" moniker provides some warning.

    What I was saying above, and stand by, is that brilliant programmers like to ... program. As a general rule, they don't even like commenting their code (speaking as someone who's tried to work behind some of them). When it comes to actually documenting their Work Of Art(tm), they don't have the time or interest.

    The problem with asking the community to document the package is that the community won't really understand it until the developers explain it to them. It's the ol' Catch 22 thingie.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Getting Around In KDE 4.3 ...



    Here is another Doc link you may want to check out


    The Plasma Handbook


    It isn't muck clearer than any of the other docs but it adds a bit more
    "I too am struggling with this plasma thing

    Good Luck

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