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Leading and Bleeding with XFree86 4.0 and KDE 2 Beta - page 6

An Installation Overview

  • May 15, 2000
  • By Scott Courtney

I've only been running it for about eight hours as I write this, but so far there have been zero crashes of KDE as a whole. I've seen some applications refuse to start, or start then die with no message, but KDE itself seems relatively stable. There is no doubt, however, that this is beta level code and not a final release. Not all of the features that are shown on the menus are implemented yet, and some of what's there doesn't work right--or at all. Even the compile process, if you watched it carefully, issued warning messages about "really ugly hacks" and other TODO items that need to be fixed before the release date.

Konqueror, the built-in browser that can do local files and directories as well as Web and FTP sites, has been much improved in this beta. I used it to visit some web sites with fairly complex layout and frames, and I haven't yet seen a problem. The alpha version that I tested previously crashed a lot; so far the beta has not crashed at all. Figure 1 shows Konqueror viewing a local directory and the LinuxPlanet home page; the Task Manager and a couple of menus are also shown. Note the attractive marble texturing, one of several themes that are part of the distribution.

One problem that pervades my installation of KDE is that it is unable to view JPEG files. GIF and PNG work fine, but not JPEG. I don't blame the KDE team for this--I probably did something wrong during installation, or I need to update my libjpeg files. I'll work on this soon, because it's a real headache for Web access.

KDE 2 adds numerous graphical tools and toys. I haven't had a chance to look them all over yet, but Figure 2 shows KFractal, KPaint, and Katalog. Katalog is a thumbnailing tool for organizing images, and I'm looking forward to seeing what it will do in its released version. It looks as if it might be pretty useful for organizing clip art or other Web graphics. I couldn't get the Icon Editor to load, unfortunately.

The new system information tools, shown in Figure 3, provide detailed data on the processor, memory, X server, interrupts, I/O, and other details. I especially liked the memory graph. There is also an applet that runs in the KPanel and shows a live bargraph of memory and swap usage. The partition information wouldn't work for me; I don't think it's implemented yet, judging from the message that popped up.

Figure 4 shows some of the configuration dialogs for the desktop, KPanel, and the screen savers. I don't have the OpenGL support loaded yet, so not all of the screen savers would work for me. (Of course, that's not a KDE bug, and I know what I need to do to fix the problem.)

Kontrol, the KDE customizer, has many dialog panels available for controlling just about everything in the desktop environment. Not all of the features are implemented yet, but there are already a lot that are working. Figure 5 shows the font-selection dialog.

Finally, here's my old friend, KMail, in Figure 6. showing its main screen and the "Identity" configuration dialog. Guess what? The SMTP send now works perfectly! So, though I had to fight a lot of alligators to get here, the swamp is at last drained and dry, so to speak. One feature I really like in the new KMail is the ability to define multiple identities within a single Linux user account. That's very handy for people who need different taglines and reply-to addresses for business and personal use, for example.


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