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KDE Traffic #8 For 27 Apr 2001

By Aaron J. Seigo

Table Of Contents


Welcome to KC KDE! It was yet another high energy week for the KDE developers who ensured that the CVS trees were kept busy with a continual flow of updates. In particular, a flurry of work on Konqueror aimed at closing bug reports, refining the parsers and general optimization were definitely noticeable. But Konqi wasn't the only thing getting a healthy dosage of attention. The kde games library saw heavy development, as did the kdepim module, kmail, kicker and the window decorations engine in kwin. The kdeinstaller project saw good progress, and a brand new module was added to the KDE CVS. In all, it was a very exciting week.

In response to this continual and impressive effort, appreciative users often write in with words of praise and encouragement (along with suggestions and bug reports too, of course ;-). This week, before summarizing the email traffic between the KDE developers, here are two emails from users that highlight the progress KDE is making from their perspective:

Richard Bos wrote:

I would like to thank Michael Goffioul for his development work this week on kdeprinter to make it possible to print from kde with an external program via the standard kde printer tabs/dialog! This is a big step forward to be able to introduce kde into cooperations were a proprietary printing system is being used. For the first time since I use kde in the office (since a year or so) I've been able to print from knode and konqueror, oh wow :)))

Stefan Frings wrote:

I like to thank you for the excellent work of your Konqueror programmer team.

Konqueror became a very good file and web browser. The now working support of java and javascript makes it to a full replacement for netscape. It was a very good idea to support netscape plugins for video and audio.

Konqueror is fast and not too large for my notebook (Amd K6-2 366, 96MB Ram). All other new web-browsers (Internet Explorer 5.5, Netscape 6, StarOffice) are not useful on my "old" Notebook....Your work is very important for the silent war for Linux and KDE against Microsoft. I think that KDE has the power to replace Windows in about 2 Years. Actually most commercial Application developers do not like Linux and they say that Linux is unprofessional and only a toy of computer freaks. But I think that Linux is much better than linux since it has KDE.

And now, without further ado ... the weekly development discussion summaries:

1. New Calendar Library

17 Apr 2001 - 18 Apr 2001 (5 posts) Archive Link: "Moving low-level calendaring code to own library"

Topics: KDE PIM

People: Cornelius Schumacher

Cornelius Schumacher posted to the kde-pim list saying:

A while ago we discussed moving the lower level calendaring code from KOrganizer to an own library. Since KOrganizer now more or less cleanly separates the GUI code from the calendar data classes it would be a good opportunity to make this move now.

I would create a new directory libkcal in the kdepim module and move the following classes to this lib: Attendee, Calendar, CalendarLocal, CalFilter, DummyScheduler, Event, ICalFormat, IMIPScheduler, Incidence, IncidenceVisitor, Journal, KOAlarm, KOException, KOErrorFormat, KORecurrence, QDateList, ScheduleMessage, Scheduler, Todo, VCalDrag, VCalFormat. All the classes would be enclosed in a new namespace "KCal".

This split would create a library with a nice C++ interface to handle vCalendar and iCalendar data. It could be useful for all applications, which operate on such data like KOrganizer, KPilot, Kandy or command line tools for manipulating calendaring data. Another application could be a calendar server implementation.

libkcal quietly appeared in CVS shortly thereafter opening the way for greater code reuse and cooperation within KDE.

2. New and Improved Filtering in KMail

16 Apr 2001 - 18 Apr 2001 (8 posts) Archive Link: "[PATCH] filter changes - part I"

Topics: KMail, Filters

People: Marc Mutz

Marc Mutz has been working on improving the message filtering in KMail. He posted a patch that does just that and included the following description with it:

I've finished the first part of the KMail filter extension and cleanup of the accociated dialog. The patch was made from the modified 2.1.1 against the 2.1.1 release, but I've checked that it applies cleanly against current HEAD cvs.

What this patch does:

  1. Make a nice KMSearchPatternEdit in the KMFilterDlg (cf. the screenshot I sent to this list a while ago)
  2. Lift the Two-rules limit. You can now have up to eight rules by default. If you need more, you only need to increase FILTER_MAX_RULES in kmsearchpattern.h (up to a maximum of 26, see below)
  3. The filter config format has been slightly modified: It now has a new key 'rules', that gives the number of rules in that filter. If this key is not present, the KMSearchPattern::readConfig assumes a legacy config and converts the operators 'ignore' and 'unless' accordingly. The third rule is saved as (fieldC/funcC/contentsC) and so on.
  4. Incorporate Don's additions to kmfilter{dlg,mgr}.{h,cpp}. Don, could you have a look. This is the single point that I didn't test, but then I've only made the changes I've done to KMFilterDlg::slotBtnNew to createFilter().

Marc noted that there were a few known issues with the patch but that it was ready to be tested thoroughly by those who live on the bleeding edge of KMail. The new filtering should appear in KMail with KDE 2.2 if all goes well with testing.

3. Configuration File Upgrading Mechanism

18 Apr 2001 (4 posts) Archive Link: "NEW: kconf_update, a framework for updating configuration files."

Topics: KConfig

People: Waldo Bastian

Waldo Bastian committed a new bit of code to help manage configuration files as the programs they are associated with get upgraded. He explained the problem and his solution saying,

kconf_update is a tool designed to update config files. Over time applications sometimes need to rearrange the way configuration options are stored. Since such an update shouldn't influence the configuration options that the user has selected, the application must take care that the options stored in the old way will still be honoured.

What used to happen is that the application looks up both the old and the new configuration option and then decides which one to use. This method has several drawbacks:

kconf_update addresses these problems by offering a framework to update configuration files without adding code to the application itself.

Applications can install so called "update files" under $KDEDIR/share/apps/kconf_update. An update file has ".upd" as extension and contains instructions for transferring/converting configuration information from one place to another.

Updating the configuration happens automatically, either when KDE gets started or when kded detects a new update file in the above mentionmed location.

Update files are seperated into sections. Each section has an Id. When a section describing a configuration change has been applied, the Id will be stored in the file "kconf_updaterc". This information is used to make sure that a configuration update is only performed once.

If you overwrite an existing update file with a new version that contains a new section, only the update instructions from this extra section will be performed.

Hopefully this will help programmers manage the files associated with their KDE applications more effectively. Some developers started experimenting with the new capabilities as soon as it was available in CVS.

4. New CVS Module: kdeaddons

18 Apr 2001 - 20 Apr 2001 (17 posts) Archive Link: "Are there any plans to create a CVS module for plugins ?"

Topics: CVS

People: Cullmann ChristophDavid Faure

More and more of the core KDE2 applications have plugin interfaces. While this is great news for the users in terms of extensibility, it also means that there are more and more areas in CVS that contain plugins alongside the actual programs. This situation prompted Cullmann Christoph to say, " Kate supports now plugins too (like konqueror). Wouldn't it be a good idea to add a cvs module kdeextra or kdeplugins for konqueror (which are located at kdenonbeta) kate and any other plugins (perhaps extra kcontrol center modules )?" David Faure voiced his support for this proposal by saying, " I support this idea. For distribution CDs it doesn't make any difference (will all be there), for users with cheap and fast bandwidth neither, but for users with expensive and slow bandwidth.. or for the gnome users that want to try out Konqueror :), it can allow get the minimum without getting everything."

After several others wrote in their support for such a new CVS module and some discussion as to what to call it, a new module was created called kdeaddons. Once it was available for commits, several plugins for Konqueror, Kate and Noatun were imported into the new module. Additional KControl plugins and kioslaves that may not be appropriate for inclusion in the core KDE modules may also appear in the kdeaddons module in the future.

5. Organizing KDE Games

19 Apr 2001 - 21 Apr 2001 (5 posts) Archive Link: "[Kde-games-devel] applnk for Games"

Topics: KDE-Games

People: Rob Kaper

On the topic of KDE games, Rob Kaper asked: " the KDE games listed on are sorted by type (cardgames, boardgames, etc). Does anyone object to making the same categorization in the panel menu?" He noted that there are currently 26 games included with KDE which makes the menu listing long and disorderly. After a general agreement on this Rob made the changes to allow an organized presentation in the KDE menus.

6. New Konsole Configuration Capabilities

20 Apr 2001 (20 posts) Archive Link: "KCM Konsole"

Topics: Konsole

People: Andrea Rizzi

Andrea Rizzi announced a new KControl module for Konsole this week saying: " in the last few days I wrote a kcmkonsole module. It allows th user to set all the options that appear with the RMB menu on konsole and also contains a Schema Editor (see bug #11328). Are also planned a "session editor" and a "keyboard map" editor." After much discussion that centered around where to put this new module and what exactly it should configure, the new module made its way into kdebase and appears in the Personalization category in the KControl Center. This is a welcome addition to the KControl which should allow users to get the most out of the impressively flexible KDE terminal application.

7. Missing Pieces in the KDE Printing Puzzle

20 Apr 2001 - 22 Apr 2001 (9 posts) Archive Link: "printing"

Topics: Printing

People: Ferdinand GassauerLars Knoll

As one component in a large system evolves and becomes more polished it often has the affect of highlighting previously unnoticeable flaws and shortcomings in other areas of the system. The printing facilities in KDE have been no exception, as Ferdinand Gassauer noted in an email to the kde-devel list where he said:

Now we have an excellent kprinter :-)) Next what we need is an excellent html and pdf printer driver. Just want to summarize the many bugs and wishes concerning this topic:

In response to this Lars Knoll said, " They definetively need some work. Problem was up to now, that nobody really cared about them. I did some work on the khtml driver, but never got to really finish it. I picked up some of the issues lately however." Lars also noted the solutions to the various issues that Ferdinand laid out in his original email and noted that they were fairly simple. In fact, some of these issues will be addressed for the 2.2 release.

8. Font Installer for KDE2

22 Apr 2001 - 23 Apr 2001 (7 posts) Archive Link: "Font Installer KControl Module"

Topics: Fonts

People: Craig DrummondHetz Ben HamoWaldo BastianTorsten Rahnantialias

Since the introduction of antialiased fonts perhaps one of the most often requested features for KDE2 has been a font installer and manager. Craig Drummond has stepped up to the plate on this issue as explained by his email in which he said:

I'm planning on creating a KControl module for installing fonts(TrueType, Type1, Speedo, and Bitmap), and for configuring Ghostscript (and StarOffice) to use these.

Previously I wrote a program called KFontinst to do this - and I plan to reuse the majority of the code from this - however, I've also started work on a completely new GUI for it (which would become the basis of the KControl module). This new GUI is based on some Adobe Type Manager screenshots that were emailed to me.

Please have a look at and let me know what you think of my idea.

Hetz Ben Hamo replied saying, " It looks good, But don't forget about XFree 4 which has its own True Type support built in which means you don't need font server. Also, don't forget to let people add fonts server (xset command) and refreshing fonts (xset fp rehash).." Waldo Bastian also chimed in saying, "Coolness, when you're done I'll add support for fonts to the theme manager! Can you make it so that people have the option of installing fonts either system-wide or for that user only? (I assume you need to install system wide in order for ghostscript to find them... but maybe not)"

Torsten Rahn was impressed by the screenshots Craig provided, but also had some constructive criticism of the proposed layouts. Torsten explained his thoughts saying, " It looks very good and well-thought-through. Still Acrobat Font Manager isn't really targeted towards the average newbie/user who _only_ wants to install a new font and doesn't really want to know anything about the internals. In Mac OS (X)/Windows etc. installing fonts is as easy as copying all fonts to _ONE_ font-folder (or to press only one Install-button) without needing to worry about anything else. The dialog ... is much more complex for a newbie because there are much more controls on the default-interface he has to take care of (and new users always think that they could hit the wrong button and everything explodes - therefore one has to guide them step-by-step). I just talked to one of our artists here at SuSE what he thinks about the screenshot above and he said "Oh, looks almost exactly like the font-installer Corel is using" - "Do you think that a newbie could figure out how it works?" - "No, I needed almost a day until I found out how it works"." Torsten then proceeded to offer several suggestions for improvements. Some general discussion followed with other ideas for tweaks and improvements. We look forward to seeing the finished product.

9. Possible Integration of KNode and KMail?

21 Apr 2001 - 27 Apr 2001 (10 posts) Archive Link: "Re: Bug#24532: integration of kmail with knode"

Topics: KMail, Merging, Code Reuse

People: Alan ChandlerDon SandersMarc Mutz

A request was added to the bug tracking software asking for KMail and KNode to be merged into one application. The initial response to this request was questioning how appropriate it would be, to which Alan Chandler replied saying, " Because its useful. I too have been thinking about this - I am currently using Agent (not the free version, but the one that integrates news and mail) on top of Wine which does this. There are some things in news readers which would also go very nicely with a mail package used primarily (as in my case) for mailing list traffic rather than individiual mails. Agent has some disadvantages (non hierarchical folders and lack of automatic old mail purge) which because its not open source I can't do anything about." Alan proceeded to outline how he uses other applications that do both news and email to show how useful it can be.

Don Sanders wrote in support of the concept as well saying, " Personally I'm ok with the concept of merging KMail and KNode, but in my opinion the merged application should be a new third application, the old standalone applications should continue to be supported too, some people prefer seperate tools. If I was to try to create a merged application I would just take the code from KMail and KNode, temporarily fork them, make a new application, then finally work out the best way how to merge the changes back into original trees. The final step will require discussion with us."

Marc Mutz offerred his take on the situation saying:

Basic newsgroup support in KMail would be very much welcomed from my side. News is indeed not much different from mail (the format is very similar) and now that kmail handles IMAP, even the difference 'email is stored locally, news on a server' is moot.

A very uneducated guess from my side is that KNode and KMail share approx. 90% of the GUI, 50% of other code (PGP, transport, folder handling,...) and 80% of config options. From a code-reuse POV it's rediculous for them to be different applications, so they could as well be merged into a 'KMessenger'.

Also, both apps could benefit from the merge: KMail's mailing list support could benefit from KNode in that both mailing lists and newsgroups are presented identically in the GUI (like making an 'unsubscribe' action for mailing lists that determines with a litte magic the ml sofware used and does the right thing). Just an example. KNode would benefit from the PR KMail generates. Anybody noticed how the traffic on this list is on par with that on kfm-devel for the last days?

Discussion on various implementation details ensued. Will KNode and KMail become one? Its anyone's best guess at this point though the developer sentiment seems to be favorable towards the concept.

10. KMix Volume Control Enhancement

24 Apr 2001 (6 posts) Archive Link: "KMix in System Tray"

Topics: Audio, UI

People: Preston Brown

From the "Small But Welcome Additions" department comes this announcement from Preston Brown: " I have added support in KMix for popping up a master volume control right next to the speaker icon in the system tray on a single left click, and showing/hiding the full mixer on double click. Right mouse button brings up the context menu, as it did before."







Sharon And Joy

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