KDE4 User Review : better than expected !!!

I have been waiting for KDE4 for a while already.... And now it has gotten much closer to the goal and it's time for a real survival test... Due to my old computer slightly lacking horsepower, I recently switched from Gentoo to Ubuntu. tried Gnome for a little while but wasn't for me, really. Then I installed kubuntu-desktop and followed the quick steps shown on [kubuntu.org](http://www.kubuntu.org/announcements/kde4-rc2.php) about [KDE4 rc2](http://dot.kde.org/1197405276/). Really easy install... From KDE 3.5.8 I could already see many applications in the menu which had got duplicate for their KDE4 counterpart letting me try them from within my desktop. but on the early morning of December 26th, without knowing if it would work at all, I decided to give the already installed KDE4 a try. Without expecting much it shine onto my screen promptly. Fired up, I am looking at what is to become the next best and most popular desktop on the planet. Let see what Santa-san has in store... read on for more details ...
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hey it launched... and quickly... I'd have to shut it off and launch it again to check the speed for sure but I did not wait so much that I cared. First thing I notice is the top-right corner which contains a config tool icon, letting me add plasmoids easily. I tried them all. there is a nice little collection so far, nothing too fancy but nothing crashed at least. The "Button" plasmoid, a launcher button does not seems to work. it only shows a file icon of a binary file. But overall, I can say Plasma already works wonderfully. The quick access to the calendar isn't there yet. But what I can see if a very solid platform with endless possibilities, I can't wait to learn how to customize my new shiny desktop. ![Plasma - Plasmoids](/files/2-kde4-plasmoids.png) Second thing I notice : The new beautiful widget sets. they aren't Plastik or Keramik anymore. It's Oxygen, Oh god that every button and scrollbar are pretty. One thing I like a bit less, is the background of the panel at the bottom. That gray and wide border just does not cut it. But I know for sure it will be uber easy to change very soon. ![Plasma - mouseover](/files/3-kde4-plasmoids-mouseover.png) These buttons appears on mouseover. Now that good news and bad news never comes alone, I realize that I forgot to backup my ~/.kde folder and I might not be able to run KDE3 again with this user. Don't do the same mistake as me, and backup your user's config or user KDE4 under a separate user. (clock ticking...) After giving a quick look at my home directory, it seems like KDE4 applications have created their config and stuff under ~/.kde4, leaving my ~/.kde intact. I don't know for sure but it really seems like so. Therefore, everything is great. What a wonderfully stable and fast first experience. Now I understand why they call it a RC2 release. It definitely ain't Beta anymore. I can feel the release coming soon by seeing how stable this desktop is. Now more in details about what I personally use... I recently started learning to play Go and for some strange reason, when I was starting qGo under KDE 3.5.8, I had no sound: I did not care that much to investigate into the problem, but here that I launch it under KDE4 and ItJustWorks(tm). Wow. Kompose, which I use as an application switcher under KDE3 works just as fine under KDE4. The Add applet tool to add plasmoid onto the desktop is really easy to use and while I could not find a place to click on the panel to add a pager to it, I discovered I could simply drag-n-drop an plasmoid from the add-applet dialog to the panel and Voila! ItJustWorks(tm) I recently had to switch to pidgin because I cannot type japanese in Qt applications (please help) and it made me discover a little annoying bug. No GTK+ apps with a systray can run on KDE4 yet. Apparently caused with missing argb implementation in GTK+. (ain't exact but just to make the story short ...) There is bug ticket in both team's bugzilla so, things should get fix soon. In the mean time, don't be surprise if you see an error like this one.
somekool@somekool-laptop:~/packages/kload$ pidgin
The program 'pidgin' received an X Window System error.
This probably reflects a bug in the program.
The error was 'BadMatch (invalid parameter attributes)'.
  (Details: serial 373 error_code 8 request_code 2 minor_code 0)
  (Note to programmers: normally, X errors are reported asynchronously;
   that is, you will receive the error a while after causing it.
   To debug your program, run it with the --sync command line
   option to change this behavior. You can then get a meaningful
   backtrace from your debugger if you break on the gdk_x_error() function.)
somekool@somekool-laptop:~/packages/kload$
But that bug made me discover something very cool about KDE4. See, in order to track if the problem was related with kwin or plasma, someone on IRC made my relogin using the "failsafe" option which does not load any windowmanager or anything but an xterm. from the xterm, I manually lunched kwin-kde4 and then pidgin. Worked !!! Then I launch plasma-kde4 and BAM! pidgin crashed. So that tells me two things. One. the problem is definitely with plasma, more precisely the systray applet. TWO and the best... KDE4 can pretty much be run by launching these two program only. I suppose there is more under the hood when you launch the default startkde BUT ... think about it how this desktop has gotten much lighter. kwin and plasma and that is pretty much it. Anyone looking for a minimalistic, yet powerful desktop. KDE is in the HOUSE ! Add to that the huge optimization Trolltech have included in Qt4, this desktop is gonna be faster than a silk made and turbo propulsed rocket. How wonderful. ![Alt-F2 (krunner)](/files/4-kde4-alt-f2.png) The Alt-F2 krunner application has totally been redesigned. The black is a little too much and makes labels unreadable here. But Oh that I love this new button "Show system activity" its like launching top in a nice GUI window, but it is much slicker, smaller and faster than the kde3 counterpart ksysgard. unbelievably awesome job. And how the process are easily sorted for the user to see the apps they care about... Wow. ![System Activity](/files/10-kde4-system-activity.png) I have been a heavy user of the ALT-F2 feature since early KDE1. I even believe I had a more rudimentary equivalent on the same hotkey under WindowMaker back in the days I was only running kmail and kfm from within WindowMaker. But even though KDE4 pushed the bar even further, their own new competitor might change my mind. The redesign K-Menu is awesome. I never liked the Windows(tm)-ish K-Menu but now look for yourself... ![KDE4 Application Launcher - Search](/files/5-kde4-app-launcher-search-cropped.png) KDE4 Application Launcher - Search feature ! yé ! ![KDE4 Application Launcher - Applications library](/files/6-kde4-app-launcher-applications-cropped.png) KDE4 Application Launcher - Applications library ![KDE4 Application Launcher - My Computer](/files/7-kde4-app-launcher-computer-cropped.png) KDE4 Application Launcher - My Computer ![KDE4 Application Launcher - Recent](/files/8-kde4-app-launcher-recently-cropped.png) KDE4 Application Launcher - Recent ![KDE4 Application Launcher - Shutdown](/files/9-kde4-app-launcher-leave-cropped.png) KDE4 Application Launcher - Shutdown And finaly, the most awaited Konsole with Split view. Unfortunately, tabs are mirrored on each split views. So it ain't like 4 konsole tiled. I hope it changes in the final release. That's about it. I have been running KDE4 RC2 for close to a week now, without a serious glitch. I am looking forward redesigning this panel to suit my taste. Conclusion, what do I see is something totally new yet built on the powerful base kde is known for. There is not that many and that fancy plasma applet yet but one can clearly see how the plateform is ready for the world to develop upon. Cheers to KDE and lets make 2008 the year of KDE on the User desktops and Business workstations. Not to forget the 400th anniversary of the oldest city in North America (Québec city). Please visit us and happy coding.

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Posted in , | Posted on 31 Dec 2007 12:00by somekool |

Des passionnés des logiciels libres de la région de Québec (Journée porte ouverte Linux)

Le samedi 1er décembre prochain, le groupe [Linuq](http://www.linuq.org) organise une journée "Porte ouverte à Linux". Au cours de cette journée, ses membres feront des démonstrations des logiciels libres répondant à presque tous les besoins domestiques et démontreront qu'ils ne demandent pas plus d'expertise que les logiciels propriétaires classiques. Mieux, ils vous montreront que tous ces logiciels peuvent s'installer en quelques instants et gratuitement avec une distribution Linux. Il en existe de nombreuses, mais les plus facilement utilisables sont les distributions Mandriva, OpenSUSE et Ubuntu. Encore mieux, ils se proposent à vous aider à installer une de ces distributions dans votre ordinateur (inscription requise sur [www.linuq.org](http://www.linuq.org/index.php?id=104)). Les logiciels libres ont pris un essor extraordinaire depuis 15 ans dans tous les domaines, que ce soit Internet qui n'existerait tout simplement pas sans les logiciels libres (le contrôle du trafic est assuré par des logiciels libres, les centaines de milliers d'ordinateurs de Google fonctionnent avec du logiciel libre, les deux tiers des sites web utilisent essentiellement du logiciel libre, ...), plus près de nous, le plus puissant ordinateur du gouvernement du Québec fonctionne sous Linux. Les logiciels libres offrent de nombreux avantages: évidemment ils sont gratuits (sans piratage!), mais aussi ils sont très sécuritaires (à l'abri des virus), légers (pas besoin d'un ordinateur dernier cri), compatibles avec les formats de fichier habituels (texte, image ou son), faciles à utiliser, durables (ils ne vous forcent pas à changer quand vous n'en n'avez pas besoin), à la pointe de la technologie. Ils sont à nous tous, que nous ayons ou pas participé à leur écriture. Pourquoi organisent-ils cette journée? Ils le font pour diverses raisons, certains par fraternité, d'autres parce qu'ils aiment bricoler leurs logiciels et partager leur passion, mais tous parce qu'ils trouvent normal de « redonner un peu à la communauté ». La plupart d'entre eux n'utilisent que des logiciels libres, du moins quand ils ont le choix. La journée se déroule de 9 heures à 17 heures au locaux 2325 et 2327 du Pavillon Palasis-Prince de l'Université Laval. Il est à noter que le stationnement est gratuit la fin de semaine. Pour faire installer sur son ordinateur, une inscription est requise en remplissant le formulaire sur le site web [www.linuq.org](http://www.linuq.org/index.php?id=108).

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Posted in , | Posted on 24 Nov 2007 13:28by somekool |

reading ext2 and ext3 filesystem under microsoft windows xp

I just made a small discovery last night. I already knew about ext2fs but it was not really stable, rather incompatible and as far as I remember, read-only. So, rather useless. Now there is something I would call "new". [ext2IFS](http://www.fs-driver.org/). IFS for Installable FileSystem. it is simply wonderful. and for anyone using windows who needs access to their ext2/3 partitions, try this one out. As you already know. your data is the most important part of computing. and with all open source software, I recommend reading all the documentation. in this case, it is all shown during the install process. please read it or don't cry when something happen.

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Posted in , | Posted on 05 Sep 2007 14:47by somekool |

That is a lot of reading ...

To follow my last post. Here is the list of interesting articles I fall upon today. As I already said. Today has been a very rewarding day for finding interesting articles. So, here it comes. I will not place them in order of preference but instead I will try to place them in order of accessibility (less geek to the geekiest) [The police to start analyzing our urine through the sewers](http://science.slashdot.org/science/07/08/22/2225225.shtml). That's the cherry on the sundae. If they bring their sample extraction device all the way to our houses. Not only they will be able to know who use what drugs but also what other consumer products we use. Then use the data for marketing purposes. That's the beginning of real privacy violation. And people worry about computers? [Get Rich Slowly](http://www.foldedspace.org/weblog/2005/04/get_rich_slowly.html). No comments, excellent reading. And this article really makes me believe again that [justbudget](http://justbudget.com) is totally appropriate and does help in financial Independence. Plasma VS LCD HTTV [comparison](http://apcmag.com/hdtv) Computing article ... lots of good points. last page is Linux Kernel stuff only, kinda technical. But the first two pages are interesting to anyone curious about computer history. [It brings a fresh point of view on the truth](http://apcmag.com/node/6735/). Linux lovers be careful. I knew XOrg had great optimization needs but this article simply make me wish I had something better than Linux to run [my favorite desktop environment](http://kde.org/). Call me ignorant but I don't even understand how a project like a free browser might need a CEO. This article explains it all. How is Mozilla Firefox making $US55million a year? [(and much more...)](http://apcmag.com/6054/firefox_ceo_speaks_out) [More Linux related articles](http://apcmag.com/kernelknowledge) from [apcmag](http://apcmag.com). I think today was the first time I was visiting their site and one of the reason I am blogging about it today is to make sure I will visit them again. And finally the article that brought me to their site. The [Linus Torvalds Interview on Linux 3.0](http://apcmag.com/7012/linus_torvalds_talks_about).

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Posted in , , , | Posted on 23 Aug 2007 03:13by somekool |

optimize Gentoo with tmpfs

Today has been a very rewarding day for finding interesting articles. Apart from the articles that I will mentioned in my next article here is one for my readers who runs the Gentoo operating system. [http://apcmag.com/6636/Gentoo tip for the love of tmpfs](http://apcmag.com/6636/gentoo_tip_for_the_love_of_tmpfs) Basically the idea is to mount a virtual file-system over the directory that stores temporary files used during compilation of new software (/var/tmp/portage). As most you you might know, Gentoo includes a system that automatically compile and install software for you. The great part is that it is very easy to use, the down part however is that it sometimes takes hours to install a certain software. The Hard Drive being the slowest part in the equation has just to be removed. To try it out simply add this line to your /etc/fstab file and mount it as root or reboot.
none /var/tmp/portage tmpfs size=212M,nr_inodes=1M 0 0
You might also want to kill the content for the directory before, as it most probably contains lost of useless data which would then be hidden behind the mount.
rm -fr /var/tmp/portage ; mkdir /var/tmp/portage
Now the guy in the article use a 1412M sized tmpfs virtual partition on a 2G of RAM system. I really wonder how this would work on a 512MB RAM system. It might just swap all the time removing the whole idea. So I'm not sure this tricks helps people who really needs help. (the people with regular hardware) What I really would like to understand is how the tmpfs kernel module know when to delete or not a file from the memory. I'd be afraid that it kills some .o out of the memory before the full compilation comes to an end. Or that it keeps all these temporary files in memory for hours after the compilation is done. I'd like to understand the magic. For more Linux related article, checkout their [Kernel Knowledge page](http://apcmag.com/kernelknowledge/) Update: Then later I found in the comment it is useless to add an extra tmpfs as Gentoo always have one enabled. And I Quote .... "You can always do this by using the existing tmpfs, /dev/shm. /dev/shm will allocate up to 1/2 of your system RAM for tmpfs and it should already exist. To use it change/add the following three lines to your gentoo /etc/make.conf file:"
PORTAGE_TMPFS="/dev/shm"
PORTAGE_TMPDIR="/dev/shm"
BUILD_PREFIX="/dev/shm"
Good luck in your trials. And please post comments on your experimentations.

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Posted in , , | Posted on 23 Aug 2007 02:38by somekool |

Internet speedtest

# Wireless # # Cable # # Conclusion # My wireless router([BLW-HPMM](http://www.planex.net/product/wireless/blw-hpmm.htm)) and my wireless card([SMC2835W](http://www.smc.com/index.cfm?event=viewProduct&localeCode=EN_USA&cid=5&scid=&pid=573)) are very good ;)

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Posted in , | Posted on 04 Apr 2007 22:25by somekool |

Trying out KDE4

So I wanted to have a sneak preview at KDE4 and also have the development environment ready in case I find some time to fool around. So I compiled KDE on my gentoo system. I simply followed the various instruction found on the [developer website](http://developer.kde.org/build/trunk.html). I created a kdefour user. Installed cmake and Qt 4.2.2 normally using gentoo portage system. and from kdelibs into the user home directory. that's what my .bash_profile looks like
kdefour@krypton ~/usr/build $ cat ~/.bash_profile
# /etc/skel/.bash_profile

# This file is sourced by bash for login shells.  The following line
# runs your .bashrc and is recommended by the bash info pages.
[[ -f ~/.bashrc ]] && . ~/.bashrc
export YACC='byacc -d'
#export QTDIR=$HOME/usr/qt
export QTDIR=/usr
export KDEDIR=$HOME/usr/kde
export CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=debugfull
export PATH=$HOME/bin:$HOME/unsermake:$QTDIR/bin:$KDEDIR/bin:$PATH
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$QTDIR/lib:$KDEDIR/lib:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH
function cmakekde { cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=$KDEDIR \
-DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=debugfull $@ && make VERBOSE=1 && make install
}

kdefour@krypton ~/usr/build $            
and I created myself a small rebuild script
kdefour@krypton ~/usr/build $ cat rebuild
#!/bin/sh

source ~/.bash_profile

modules="kdelibs kdepimlibs kdebase koffice kdegames"
modules="koffice kdeutils kdenetwork kdemultimedia kdepim"
build_dir="/home/kdefour/usr/build/"
src_dir="/home/kdefour/usr/src/"

for i in $modules
do
        echo $i
        #echo $build_dir$i
        #rm -fr $i
        mkdir -p $build_dir$i
        if [ -d $src_dir$i ]
        then
                (cd $src_dir$i; svn up)
        else
                svn co svn://anonsvn.kde.org/home/kde/trunk/KDE/$i $src_dir$i
        fi
        cd $build_dir$i
        time cmakekde $src_dir$i
        if [ $? -ne 0 ]
        then
                cd -
                echo $?
                break
        fi
        cd -
done

kdefour@krypton ~/usr/build $     
and here is a small screenshot for the curious [kde4 snapshot 1](/files/kde4-snapshot1.png)

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Posted in , | Posted on 16 Feb 2007 21:24by somekool |

How to not being forced to XOrg 7.1 on Gentoo

If you are like me, you like system that works and you care much more about the latest version of KDE than the latest version of XOrg. especially when updating KDE is pain-less and bug-free while XOrg means talking with God, backup-ing your Mother and what not. So I wanted to be able to run
emerge -avUNt world
like everyone else, while staying on XOrg 6.9 Like you might know, the recent portage are not forcing us to do the update. you cannot run 'emerge world' without upgrading. and upgrading is far from being easy. While preventing portage from forcing is not as easy as it sound. It is not that hard. thanks to /etc/portage system. here is how to do it. * first add the following lines in **/etc/portage/package.mask**

### I dont want to update X
>=x11-base/xorg-x11-7.0
>=app-doc/doxygen-1.4.5
>=media-gfx/imagemagick-6.2.5.6
>=x11-libs/qt-4.1.4-r1
>=media-gfx/graphviz-1.16-r2
>=app-office/openoffice-bin-2.0.3
>=media-libs/libsdl-1.2.8-r2
x11-libs/libXScrnSaver
### END
* then add the following line in **/etc/portage/package.unmask**
<x11-base/xorg-x11-7.0
after that you might get 1 or 2 more problem. I remember I also had to modify an ebuild and remove a useless dependency on a package. if it does not work for you. please comment below. I'm gonna help you to go through it and I'll update this post for a more accurate information. have a nice day.

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Posted in , , , | Posted on 17 Nov 2006 07:20by somekool |

Le logiciel libre au gouvernement du quebec

Apparemment il y aurait des efforts de la part du Gouvernement du Quebec en regards avec l'OpenSource. C'est dure de dire a qu'elle point ils sont serieux et jusqu'ou il se renderont. Mais deja, cest un debut. Et tres apprecier, du moins en ce qui me concerne. Idealement, nous verrons de plus en plus de projet de ce genre et plus d'aide sera apporter au monde du logiciel libre. Lequel a son tour aidera le monde entier, encore plus que deja. [reference](http://www.logiciel-libre.gouv.qc.ca/index.php?id=2)

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Posted in , , | Posted on 23 Oct 2006 05:10by somekool |

KDE has turned 10, lets celebrate

[KDE](http://kde.org), the world famous open source desktop environment is now [10 years](http://events.kde.org/10years/) old. WOW. [Matthias Ettrich's 14th October 1996 announcement](http://www.kde.org/announcements/announcement.php) [original post](http://groups.google.com/group/de.comp.os.linux.misc/msg/cb4b2d67ffc3ffce) It's the great moment for KDE right now, KDE 3.5.5 just got released. The most powerful and stable release ever. and KDE 4 is just around the corner. [KDE4 Beta Packages already available for Mac OS X](http://ranger.users.finkproject.org/kde/index.php/Home) and for [Linux](http://dot.kde.org/1158239585/) I think its a great time to watch [screenshots](http://www.kde.org/screenshots/) and try it out ([Kubuntu](http://kubuntu.org/), [Sabayon](http://www.sabayonlinux.org/)) and [get](http://www-devel.kde.org/getinvolved/) [involved](http://www.kde.org/jobs/) KDE Happy 10 years and we wish you another good 10 years. omedeto & gambatte

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Posted in , , , | Posted on 13 Oct 2006 22:25by somekool |

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