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Is KDE 4.2 too shiny?

Posted in kde, opensuse by mschlander on 29/01/2009

Ever heard a beautiful woman, who also happens to be very intelligent, complain about not being taken seriously? KDE 4 seems to experience something similar. It appears that quite a lot of people simply can’t get past the sexy looks and appreciate the substance underneath (e.g. lots of powerful and highly configurable applications for users, excellent cross platform libraries and frameworks for developers, huge potential, great community.)

Since a lot of the KDE4 critics and the anti-eyecandy crowd in general care so much about how things look (do I have to point out the irony?), I thought I’d demonstrate how to make KDE 4.2 look like it’s ready to party like it’s 1999.

My KDE 4.2 before… My KDE 4.2 after…
bling 99

You can achieve the same in a couple of minutes, by following these simple steps:

  • Use Aya plasma theme (right click desktop -> appearance settings -> desktop theme
  • Folderview as your desktop activity (remove existing desktop widgets -> right click desktop -> appearance settings -> desktop acitivity type -> Folderview – this gives you traditional icons on the desktop)
  • Classic menu (right click menu icon -> switch to classic menu style)
  • Disable desktop effects (systemsetings -> desktop -> desktop effects)
  • Switch Qt widget style (systemsettings -> appearance -> style -> Windows – you might also want to consider Motif or Cleanlooks)
  • Switch windeco (systemsettings -> appearance Windows -> Redmond – kde2 or plastik might also be candidates)
  • Replace “Places” pane in Dolphin with Folder tree (press F9 -> press F7)
  • Switch to detailed view in Dolphin (Ctrl+2)
  • Disable taskbar tooltips and force tasks into two rows (right click taskbar -> uncheck “Show tooltips” -> check “Force row setting
  • Use a colour as background instead of an image (right click on desktop -> appearance settings -> Background image type -> Colour)

You can easily take it much further if you want, this is just a quick proof of concept. Maybe it’ll help some people to think more about the technology and less about the looks.

UPDATE: You might also find this tip useful:


8 Responses

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  1. Kevin said, on 29/01/2009 at 20:45

    Uh..ugly. But the performance (esp. scrolling) is still worse with older hardware.

  2. cb400f said, on 30/01/2009 at 8:22

    Thanks, that’s exactly what I wanted to show, that KDE 4.2 can easily be as ugly, boring and old school, as any other desktop to ever hit the market, if that’s your thing.

  3. microchip said, on 01/02/2009 at 15:37


    I’m curious about the weather plasmoid you have on the first screenshot. From where did you get it? I’ve tried different weather plasmoids but non offer weather outlook for more than two days like yours does. I’m currently using liquid weather (superkaramba) but I’d like to use a native plasmoid

  4. Ken said, on 13/03/2009 at 10:51

    @microchip: The plasmoid is called yaWP (yet another weather plasmoid.) Its the best of the lot that I have found. Search for yawp in your package manager. I have found it in openSUSE, Pardus, Chakra (Arch) and Kubuntu.

  5. Rich said, on 10/08/2009 at 21:43

    WOW. That’s exactly what I was looking for. I can use KDE again.

    Old school is right. I’ve been on the desktop since ’83 (IBM 3B2 300, Unix OS, with a (I think 20 meg) hard drive!!), and I just find the “new school” funky effects and visuals distracting. My computers are servants, not dancing girls.

    Seriously, you should really push this solution for the KDE4 haters.

  6. Slacker said, on 26/10/2009 at 21:31

    I agree with Rich… This is great. I absolutely can’t stand the new KDE setup. If I wanted vista I would run vista, they have copied everything even the frustrations.

    With this info I can now upgrade to kde 4 and finally let go of kde 3.5

    Thanks x 1000. Plasmoids annoy me

  7. Screw You said, on 07/12/2011 at 22:30

    I failed at the first step: Right click desktop -> NO SUCH THING AS APPEARANCE SETTINGS!!!!!

    The only thing I can change is the fucking background.

  8. […] is another post in the common complaints about kde […]

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