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LinuxPlanet: .comment: KDE3 Is Coming

Oct 11, 2001, 05:19 (43 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dennis E. Powell)
"...I didn't spend a world of time in the new desktop both due to a lack of time and the fact that there is a whole lot that I didn't like. The KDE splash screen has been replaced with a new one that doesn't quite work correctly -- the blinking icons are missing -- and about half the time the KDE desktop itself didn't start, though Kicker fired up and it was usable. On the occasions that the desktop did start, the background programs did not work, even the ones such as XPlanet that should work no matter what version of KDE is running, in that they're not KDE apps. Due, I suppose, to the new QT, Opera would no longer work, and Opera is one of those applications without which I cannot do. I do not know if Mosfet's wonderful liquid theme works with the KDE3 alpha; if I'd decided to stick with the alpha I would have tried to compile it against the new libraries to see if it does; it is also something I have come to require. (I do wish that the KDE folks and Mosfet could make peace so that this theme could be included in the standard distribution, along with Pixie, which I also very much miss.)

One of the most important of the new features isn't a KDE feature at all but a QT one: qtconfig. This is a nice GUI configurator that creates a ~/.qt directory that contains a single configuration file. One must use this utility to enable typeface anti-aliasing as well as the checkbox in the KDE Control Panel. (Even so, I never got anti-aliasing to work in the KDE3 alpha, which further precludes its permanent placement on my desktop.) The functioning of the applications in the alpha was spotty at best -- editing messages in KMail, for instance, is just awful, because the text handling isn't quite right. Many of the applications seemed to be straight ports, meaning that when they worked they were little different from their KDE-2.x counterparts. I saw no evidence of threading of applications, but I'm glad that the KDE people recommend configuring QT to use threads anyway, because this will prove a considerable boon to third-party application developers. The KMenu has resprouted that bar along its side that serves as a little KDE advertisement. I presume that it can be turned off; I have always thought it was a waste of space and code.

...Now. Please do not think for even a second that the above is any criticism of either the alpha or of those putting it together, because it isn't. It's not just an alpha, it's the very first alpha, and the fact that it built uneventfully is itself a remarkable accomplishment. Instead, my observations are merely to let you know before you go out and build it that it has not yet achieved a level of working new stuff to justify tolerating the stuff that's broken. It's important -- very important -- for us mere users to grab early versions and actually use them, day in and day out, for we then provide that many more eyes and that many more test machines. My point is that the KDE3 alpha isn't yet where that's likely to be a useful exercise."

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