ChaniBlog











{January 8, 2009}   faith of the heart

it’s been a long road
getting from there to here
it’s been a long time
but our time is finally near…

I never really got into the show (probably something to do with moving out and not having a TV) but I loved the theme song for Enterprise. it popped up on my playlist today, and got me thinking… with kde 4.2, our time is finallly near. :) time for us to no longer look to the past, but to the future instead. Plasma now has just about all the features kickoff had in kde 3.5, plus a bunch of stuff kicker could never do. I’m sure there are a few odds and ends to round up still (the biggest being contextmenu plugins, iirc) but those will come easily, and we can shift our focus to plasma’s future. finally, we can return to reinventing the desktop, pulling it out of its decade-long slumber and creating new, better ways of interacting with our computers. we’ve provided a classic experience for people who are fine with that (if they’re not happy now they never will be), now we can get back to making something awesome for all the people the classic desktop does *not* work well for. :)

So, what will the future bring? In february we’ll be meeting again to make some plans. aaron emailed plasma-devel the other day with some of the things he plans to work on – a design studio, jolie stuff, media centre stuff, security, js binding improvements and more. I’m hoping to help with the javascript and security myself, but there are plenty of other things I’d like to see happen.

I’m hoping for more use of Activities, with plasmoids that are aware of what activity they’re in and become more useful… maybe some openid coolness, which will open up more doors to who-knows-what… export and import of containments, so that you can have stuff you don’t always want running but don’t want the hassle of setting up from scratch repeatedly (I can see that making testing a lot less painful)… a smarter taskbar… another wave of useful little plasmoids…

and we’ll see plenty of cooler things that i can’t imagine, I’m sure ;)

on the less-shiny side of things, I hope to see some work on a dbus interface and keyboard interaction. imagine pulling up krunner and resizing a plasmoid (or panel) to be exactly 42 pixels tall… most people don’t care, but I know there’s an OCD minority that would love such control. ;) and there are more practical applications of keyboard interaction – imagine binding a keyboard shortcut to a specific containment, so that you could view it instantly (either a desktop or a panel containment – think autohidden panels and “ohshitthebossiscoming” activities ;) ).

of course, remember that none of these are promises. they’re just the ideas and hopes of one developer – a developer spending far too much time on homework instead of kde these days. :/ so I really can’t say how many of these things will happen for 4.3, or even 4.4 – we’ll have to wait until a more concrete feature plan appears.

still, with the crazy pace of plasma development, you can be sure that lots of stuff is going to happen, and it’s going to keep getting better and better. :) whatever 4.3 brings, it’s going to be fucking awesome. :)



Fri13 says:

When you know you are geek? When you reconize the sci-fi series theme song from lyrics and you know you really suck always when it is about music and lyrics.

Enterprise is bretty good series, not a best but… enjoyable…
Well, at least the theme song is _great_

What, are we codenaming KDE 4.2 as “Enterprise”? ;-) (why not such name for 4.3?)



James Spencer says:

While catchy, it was also one of the most widely derided theme songs in Sci-fi TV history. (For the most widely derided Trek of all time.) Using it in conjunction with KDE 4 is kind of like gift wrapping a carton rotten eggs and handing it to trolls… It is kind of the ultimate in ‘low hanging fruit’ for drawing (largely) false parallels.



DjDarkman says:

“on the less-shiny side of things, I hope to see some work on a dbus interface and keyboard interaction. imagine pulling up krunner and resizing a plasmoid (or panel) to be exactly 42 pixels tall… most people don’t care, but I know there’s an OCD minority that would love such control. ;) and there are more practical applications of keyboard interaction – imagine binding a keyboard shortcut to a specific containment, so that you could view it instantly (either a desktop or a panel containment – think autohidden panels and “ohshitthebossiscoming” activities ;) ).”

Making widgets(like the systray) freely placeable on the panel(like in KDE 3) would be another feature that the “minority” would love.



Kishore says:

@ DjDarkman:
Unless i misunderstand you.. you can already do that! You can move the systray to be placed anywhere on the panel.



robbat2 says:

Heya

I need to return your books that I hung onto while you went to China, since I’m moving house this month. Tell me some time that’s good, and I’ll drop by.



Yagami says:

you are spot on one things :

* making it easier to pin point resizing plasmoids. maybe showing the geometry while resizing it would be nice

* i have been testing activities binded to virtual desktops since aaron put it on svn , and if you dont mess with it too much is stable ( like zoom out and switch manually ). one problem is that with alot of virtual desktops (and activities ) plasma and the whole desktop becames really slow.

one problem is that although for example for a music activity i only need a desktop, for internet activities i could use more. i really would like to use a system of multi desktops per activity, with an activity then having its own set of virtual desktops. ( like how enlightenment D16 worked )

* for the systray , it would be nice if the notify icon could always be there, but worked diferently : when new notifications , it would animate , like the kopete systray when new messages, and if one would hide the notifications ( not close it ) it would show the number of notifications hidden ( like the kmail systray showing how many unread emails you have )

well , some ideas.

to me what ruins it most is the virtual desktop thing. i would really like to have activities like multi desktops and each activity with 4 or less desktops.



Raul says:

I like Yagami’s idea of several virtual desktops inside an activity. I have been thinking about that possibility for a while and I think it makes a lot of sense



Jeffery says:

“but I know there’s an OCD minority that would love such control. ;)”
I am definitely a member of that minority… Bring on the tweakability! :D The ridiculous (but great) amount of things that can be configured down to the last detail in KDE is a large part of what made me switch from GNOME. And the best part is, if you don’t want to tweak things, your user experience isn’t degraded in any way; it’s good for everyong.



Dan says:

I did my yearly attempt at KDE, this time with 4.1.

It, er, failed. My twitter post on it:

Annual KDE attempt: resize panel caused fucked icons; changing colours caused 1px white border on widgets; sound system crashed. 4.1 == FAIL



Aaron Seigo says:

@”Making widgets(like the systray) freely placeable on the panel”

they have been since 4.1: open the Panel Settings (click the toolbox button on the right end of the panel, or right click somewhere and select Panel Settings) then click on any widget and drag it around.

@Yagami: “i really would like to use a system of multi desktops per activity,”

this will eventually be possible with per-desktop-views, which is an experimental (hidden configuration) option in 4.2. right now it’s still one-desktop-per-containment, but i plan on extending that over time to allow multiple desktops per containment.

@Jeffery: “if you don’t want to tweak things, your user experience isn’t degraded in any way”

that’s not really true at all. if the options are hidden, your experience isn’t degraded (though the tweaker’s experiene is); if the options don’t introduce bugs or slow development on more useful things done, your experience isn’t degraded.

every option comes at a cost. so while we’re making things really quite flexible, we’re doing it in slightly different ways from how we have in the past to keep the cost within reason.

this does mean that some of the more bizzarro options from past kde’s may disappear.

@Dan: so .. you re-post your twitter about 4.1 that nobody but your friends cared about the first time around to a blog post about 4.2 / 4.3. now, you don’t use kde, yet you not only read our blogs you post to them with odd, off topic tripe. i .. don’t ….. get …… it.



Jeffery says:

@Aaron: I think you misunderstood me. I was commenting on the fact that KDE /can/ be configured so much, but that almost no configuration is needed to make it useful. For example, I can tweak the heck out of it, and enjoy it, but Joe User will be able to get everything he needs out of it without delving into it. The configurability is /there/, but not forced on you; it works out of the box, and it works well. I think you and the rest of the KDE team have done a great job of adding an enormous amount of flexibility, without letting it get in the way.



Dan says:

@aaron Didn’t realize I had raised such ire. In fact, I had forgotten about those posts from far back regarding my experiences with 4.1. Thing is, I want to love KDE. It takes risks where Gnome stagnates . Just irks me that I have continuing usage issues with it.

Anyhow, I continue to read and post ’cause I’m mightily impressed by Chani’s drive and love to following along.



Yagami says:

@aseigo :

if you just make one activity have more desktops, in the end it will just mean alot of virtual desktops. (and having to navigate through alot of virtual desktops )

having multi desktops, could mean alot of activities but just 2 or 4 virtual desktops. (making navigation much easier, and virtual desktop effects much faster )

about the per-desktop-views, i have been using it since you first blogged about it and introduced it in svn. it works quite well if i dont mess around alot.



Dave T says:

“@”Making widgets(like the systray) freely placeable on the panel”

they have been since 4.1: open the Panel Settings (click the toolbox button on the right end of the panel, or right click somewhere and select Panel Settings) then click on any widget and drag it around.”

I’m on 4.1 and it doesn’t work for me either but I figure it must be a build issue if it works for most people (Kubuntu). I can move around all the other items AOK and on all the other items a Tudor style decoration appears with four points however on the system tray only the north-south points appear (although that doesn’t remain for long) and clicking on it to move it around activates the system tray item instead.

I’ve never reported the bug because I’ve never tried before, I don’t particularily want to move it now but I thought it was worth mentioning.



Dave Taylor says:

I have tested it on 4.2 and it exhibits the same symptoms – you just have to be really precise not to drag it from an item otherwise it will activate that items menu. I shall have a look at KDE bugs for this one.



Dave Taylor says:

Aaron, you already know it doesn’t work and denied knowledge, granted though it isn’t something you can deal with as it is caused by a problem out of your remit:

Bug: 177705


this is due to the xembed fd.o icons. as these disappear from usage, this
problem will go away as well. ways of “fixing” this will end up with other
annoyances/oddnesses, so it’s not something we’ll be working on addressing.



Chani says:

huh. I thought that systray thing was fixed too… but I just tested and yes, you have to grab it by a non-icon part. I used the little expand-arrow, it’s easy to grab.



Damjan says:

>>> whatever 4.3 brings, it’s going to be fucking awesome. <<<

sorry to be negative, but this reminds me of Microsoft.. it’s always the *next* version that will be awesome (ie include WinFS).



Chani says:

well, it’s hard to be enthusiastic about a version I’ve been using for nearly 6 months now. in plasma terms, 4.2 will probably feel ancient to us a couple of weeks after its release. we really should have a shorter development cycle for plasma.



Chani says:

that said, 4.2’s plasma is still pretty cool. :) every week or two I actually look at it (as opposed to using it without really thinking) and think “eeee! shiny!!” :)



Damjan says:

I guess KDE is comming to the point in its development (maybe the whole 4 series) when a separate evolution is needed for its components.

For ex. maybe I’d like to experiment with latest plasma features, but certanly would not like experimental KMail or Konsole (which are my main productivity apps). But currently I don’t have that option. I must get everything in a single package.



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