A look at KDE 4.4 (4.3.73) On Mandriva Cooker

November 12, 2009

So this morning I came to my computer and had a special surprise after rebooting. KDE 4 wouldn’t start up. I remembered that yesterday I had ran some updates and knowing I’m running Mandriva cooker I knew something must be up, like an important update. So after a another update and another reboot I found everything to be okay. Well Kinda. Things seemed at times a little bit snappier, but a little more unstable. So I checked my KDE version and sure enough I was running an unstable version of KDE 4. That’s no surprise as I know I am running cooker. What was a surprise are the little changes I have found so far in KDE 4.4 versus KDE 4.3.

KDE 4.4 new Add Widget Dialog

KDE 4.4 new Add Widget Dialog

Adding Widgets Dialog

First I will talk about the most obvious change if you’re a plasma fan. That’s the way widgets are now added to the desktop and the panel. What once was a small list window has now been plasmafied into more of a dashboard look and feel dialog. A check mark on the plasmoid icon now represents if the plasmoid is running or not. There also doesn’t seem to be a option to close the plasmoid within the new dialog box. One must actually interact with the plasmoid itself to close it out. However you can uninstall plasmoids from the dialog as one could before. The dialog also has the same organization features as the old dialog. Plasmoids are placed into categories and one can still search with the search entry field on the top left of the dialog.

Mouse Guestures added to Desktop Settings

Mouse Plugins added to Desktop Settings

Mouse Plugins In Desktop Settings Dialog

An interesting new addition (at least for me) was mouse plugins in the Desktop settings dialog. Back when I was running Compiz-Fusion there was various key combinations (including mouse buttons) you could assign. Up until now such functionality was not present in KDE 4 or was hard to find. Now it’s found. One can now assign keys and mouse buttons to different functions like, switching windows, switching activities and even switching the desktops using the cool cube effect, which for me is hours of entertainment. It is my hope that in the future not only will you be able to utilize the mouse buttons but mouse gestures.

Window Navagation in Configure Window Dialog

Window Navigation in Configure Window Dialog

Window Navigation in Configure Window Dialog

A new addition added to the Configure Window dialog is Window Navigation. In this module one can set the keyboard shortcuts to navigate through windows and choose the kwin effect that will be used. However, the effect drop down menu seems like a after thought added to this module. As everything in this module is for configuring the behavior of the window switching tool when the “no effect” option in the drop down is being used. There’s also other locations in KDE to select what effect to use when switching through windows, but this is the only module with the depth of options for the “no effect” default. These options include changing the way the windows will be listed, by use or by how they’re stacked. The Configure Layout button allows you to change the size and layout of the switch window dialog when windows are listed. They can be listed horizontally, vertically or tabular. One can also decide if they would like to include the application icon in the list or just text.

Aurorae is a built in window decoration engine

Aurorae is a built in window decoration engine

Aurorae

Aurorae (in case you didn’t know) is a built in window decoration engine. For those who have used emerald themes with Compiz you will find this to be similar. Aurorae allows users to create there own kwin decoration themes (via SVG images) and submit them to KDE-Look.org and of course if it’s submitted to KDE-Look.org there’s a get new themes option in the module to download user submitted themes. There’s already quite a few themes that have been done. Some pretty nice and some are just not my taste, but the options are there for everyone. No longer is one tied to installing a distribution package to get a different looking window theme. Now beautifying (or unbeautifying) your desktop is just a few clicks away. I can see much more themes coming as KDE 4.4 goes stable.

So this is what I have noticed my first day of using KDE 4.4 (4.3.73) things are still a little unstable and many options are still redundant and in different places. There’s a few things I didn’t cover because I haven’t really had time to test them just yet. One being the remote plasmoid function. If you’re running KDE unstable also and see something really neat that I didn’t cover feel free to post and I’ll add it too the article with a screen shot if supplied. I’m sure as KDE 4.4 becomes more stable we’ll, as always, see more stability and things getting even more slick (if that’s possible). Here’s to another great release. I can’t wait till February. 🙂 Thanks for reading.

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One Response to “A look at KDE 4.4 (4.3.73) On Mandriva Cooker”

  1. Fri13 Says:

    I am just downloading the Mandriva Dual image to install it another partition than this 2010 system. Then I upgrade the new installation to cooker to test these out. I have used cooker from 2008.1 > 2009.0 > 2009.1 > 2010 and now I wanted to have system for a while. But it can change if I like the cooker release now. =)


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