Tutorials/KDE3 to KDE SC 4

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At first sight it looks as though a number of features that were valued in KDE3 are missing in KDE4. In fact most of those features are available, but may well be approached differently. Seeing 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, rather than being in a general control panel.

Old friends, new ways

kcontrol no longer exists

kcontrol no longer exists. Systemsettings, 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 to change it to Classic Tree View.

Creating icons on the desktop

Using a Classic Desktop

In KDE 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 from Desktop (for those who like a clean, sparse desktop) and 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, and 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 application 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 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 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.

Im-status-message-edit.png Note Both these are temporary measures. Automounting should be restored from KDE 4.4

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.

Move applets on the panel

In KDE4 you have to bring up panel control (use the plasma 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 cursur 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 plasmoids 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). KDE4 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.


Kbluetooth is in active development. Version 0.4 is due for release very soon.

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