Tutorials/KDE3 to KDE SC 4

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Note
This page is outdated and most issues noted (USB automount, etc) are no longer valid or solved in other ways. Feel free to add your few cents.


Contents


SC 4? What's that? The KDE community ships a large number of applications in core packages. They are known as the Software Compilation. For convenience, we shorten it to SC 4.

At first sight it looks as though a number of features that were valued in KDE3 are missing in KDE SC 4. In fact most of those features are available, but may well be approached differently. Imagine a "Road Closed" sign - you simply choose an alternative route. This is what has happened to several things, for a variety of reasons.

A particular case is of "missing features" from kcontrol to systemsettings. Some of the kcontrol settings related to specific applications. Those settings have therefore been moved to the application in question, rather than being in a general control panel.

Old friends, new ways

kcontrol no longer exists

KControl no longer exists. System Settings, which has the crossed tools icon, replaces it. By default it uses an icon view, arranged in groups. You may prefer to use the Configuration option (see the spanner/wrench icon) to change it to Classic Tree View.

Creating icons on the desktop

Using a Classic Desktop

In KDE SC 4 there are two modes of desktop, either of which may be the default in your distribution. You can change between them by right-clicking on the desktop, choosing Desktop Settings (some distros call it Appearance Settings) and choosing the Type -> Desktop (for those who like a clean, sparse desktop) or Folder View (which behaves much more like the KDE3 desktop).

A Different Approach

For functionality on a cleaner desktop, try using Desktop type, with a small folderview in the corner of your screen (it does scroll) to your data directories. A nice touch is that if you hover over a folder it does descend the directory tree, so you can open a file without needing to go through a file manager.
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In 4.4 you have to click the up-arrow to descend the tree.


Also, instead of using the menu to launch applications, try typing in the name (or part of the name or function) into krunner (either from alt+F2 or from the right-click (context) menu on the desktop). Krunner does fuzzy searching, so if you type in 'write' it will offer you the relevant applications you have installed, maybe kwrite, openoffice-writer, kword, or googledocs, and any related bookmarks, so you don't need to remember too accurately.

Or Drag'n'Drop?

You can drag an icon onto the desktop in Desktop type, as well as in Folderview type. You will be presented with options suited to the type of file. For instance, if you drop an image onto the desktop you are offered Previewer (which opens the file, giving you icons for the options to open it in a relevant application, or delete the file - move to trash), open in a PhotoFrame, or place an icon for it on the desktop. If you don't see the Previewer option you may need to install kdeplasma-addons.

Another function of drag-n-drop from Dolphin is to drag a folder to create a folderview. Remember that you can scale it to suit yourself, as you will have a scroll-bar. You can even descend through the tree of a folder just by hovering, so opening a single file is much quicker than opening a file manager to find it.

Automounting of USB devices

In KDE 3 you could choose to have usb devices mounted automatically upon plugin. In KDE SC 4 this is not the norm. You mount manually, either from the device notifier, by choosing an action, or by clicking on the device icon in Dolphin. From KDE SC 4.2 it has been possible to use an alternative device notifier plasmoid that does support automount functionality. You can read about it here

Alternative approach:

Advanced users may prefer to study the creation of usb device rules. Documentation can be found in the writing udev rules guide.

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Both these are temporary measures. Automounting may be restored in a later release.


Auto-hide Panels

To achieve this click on the plasma configurations icon (yellow curvy thing at the right hand side of the panel) and select configure panel. Then under more options enable "autohide". Manual hiding, as in KDE3, is currently not possible.

Move applets on the panel

In KDE SC 4 you have to bring up panel control (use the plasma toolbox icon, the yellow curvy thing at the right hand end of the panel). If you lock your widgets (or your distro does by default) you will first need to unlock widgets. This can be done from the right-click menu on the desktop. When your cursor moves over a widget (or plasmoid) it changes to a diamond shape. Use that cursor to drag each widget to its new place.

Finish by clicking on the X in a red circle on the configuration panel, and lock your widgets again if you wish, (right click menu, as before).

Show the application name instead of the description in the K - menu

KDE3 used to let you configure whether you wanted to see the application name (e.g. amarok) or the description (e.g. media player). KDE SC 4 always shows only the description and this makes it very hard to find applications.

If you use 'Kickoff Menu Style', you can easily find an application by typing the first few letters of its name in the "Search" line of the Application Launcher. Once you have found it you can choose to add it to Favorites or to add a launcher icon into the panel or on the desktop.

If you dislike the 'click on everything' style of Kickoff you may like to try Lancelot which has most of the advantages of Kickoff and some nice tricks of its own.

If you prefer the old K menu, then right click the K menu icon and choose Switch to Classic Menu Style. Now you can configure how to show applications in the menu: Right click on the K icon -> Application Launcher settings. Check the Show applications by name option, click OK. Done.

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Information
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This page was last modified on 17 May 2012, at 12:38. This page has been accessed 43,476 times. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 3.0 and the GNU Free Documentation License 1.2.
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