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Ralsina.Me — Roberto Alsina's website

Innovative apps and features in KDE

I will be speak­ing about this sub­ject in 48 hours.

Here's the chal­lenge: post as a com­ment (if you see this in plan­etkde, you will have to click some­where to get to my page) de­scrib­ing your favourite in­no­va­tive un­usu­al and/or lit­tle known fea­ture in KDE!

In a few days, I will post the whole thing as a .swf file some­where so ev­ery­one can see it.

My goal is to make it daz­zling, fea­ture-­packed, and very fast. If I can get to 100 fea­tures in 1 hour, that's about right.

So, what is it?

Johan Thelin / 2006-04-04 00:01:

Why not demonstrate that one can get clipper to open Konqueror bu just selecting a link.

an anonymous coward / 2006-04-04 00:02:

Not really hidden, but directly saving to a webserver from your text editor is really, amazingly, great.

Chakie / 2006-04-04 00:02:

A favourite is:

Alt-F2 gg:something

which searches Google for something. So handy. Same goes for imdb:.

manyoso / 2006-04-04 00:03:

I think dataKiosk's searching features are very innovative, but then I'm biased ;)

The innovative thing is how it transforms common languages searches into SQL. It also has an advanced search feature that allows you to do JuK like searches, without knowing _any_ SQL whatsoever. Oh, and all of this and you can generate reports from these searches too.

an anonymous coward / 2006-04-04 00:04:

The ease of script-ability and customizability combined with the power of kiosk made kde the ultimate desktop for windows users in our sun-ray lab.

Marcus Camen / 2006-04-04 00:04:

Emacs like keybindings in kate, etc. Just hit to save a file. The neat thing is that you don't have to press the keys all at once but just like in emacs.

Eike Hein / 2006-04-04 00:05:

audiocd:/ is always a winner.

fromoze / 2006-04-04 00:06:

Just the little blue down-arrow of Kget :)

an anonymous coward / 2006-04-04 00:07:

konqueror automatic spelling checking

konqueror "filter by file type" on Tools menu

konqueror - split views and link them, and then lock one, very useful

fish kioslave

kioslaves in general ;)

svg desktop background

text to speech

John M. / 2006-04-04 00:07:

A couple of things I thought of:

a) Shared information between Kontact/Kopete. Seeing if a user is online when your read their email. Getting the persons picture in the address book to appear with the contact name.

b) Dcop makes it so easy to do stuff like this guy did.

c) While not included with base kde, amarok and its integration with services like audioscrobbler and musicbrainz.

an anonymous coward / 2006-04-04 00:08:


Henk Poley / 2006-04-04 00:09:

That you can use it 'just like MS Windows'. If you want to have it fastpaced it might be nice to have a slow part where you show some 'boring' things that work like everything else.

My favourite things are:

- Alt+F2 with typeahead suggestions (and being able to actually start most apps this way)

- The ftp://, sftp:// and fish:// kioslaves which enable you to load and save files from external machines

- Kontact (when it works.. was broken in some releases)

- Search bars in amaroK and Kontact apps (though the one in KMail is a slouch)

- KDE Configuration Assistant.

- Mac OS style menu-bar at the top.

oisch / 2006-04-04 00:09:

Archive Webpage in the Konqueror Tool Menu to make a website available offline.

Mouse Gestures available through the whole DE.

Amarok which fetches Covers, Lyrics, Wiki entries, submits Audioscrobbler data, etc

media:/ and media applet which allows per click mounting and detection of new devices

Jason / 2006-04-04 00:10:

Different wallpapers on different desktops. I know, it sounds stupid, but think about it: we're the only major desktop that offers this ability easily (AFAIK, even gnome doesn't allow it, unless you edit text config files). Windows and OSX don't even have multiple desktops!

Paweł Tkaczyk / 2006-04-04 00:11:

I posted about it on my blog a couple of days ago (unfortunately, in Polish) :)

When I open an AudioCD, there's no need to learn some ripping software - all the tracks are there in respective folders (OGG, WAV, FLAC). Just copy/paste them where you want them and the system takes care of the rest.

I was also amazed by amaroK's integration with web services - even for Polish artists I could see lyrics and album covers. Neat.

Jason / 2006-04-04 00:11:


konq previews in file tooltips

konq folder icons reflect contents

konq file size view mode

double-click titlebar to shade

kdialogs from shell scripts


kstars (shameless!)


jcurry / 2006-04-04 00:12:

* All the great KDE developers who put so much time into KDE. They are simply amazing! :)

* My beautiful KDE desktop, made possible by the great KDE styles available.

* The extreme usefulness of mouse gestures combined with the power of DCOP.

* Innovative (yes, innovative) thought put behind "new" efforts like Appeal and Plasma.

* The large and supportive community, and all the people who can make small contributions to make KDE even better.

Marc / 2006-04-04 00:13:

- Move the wheel over amarok icon, and you change the volume.

- ALT+F2: "gg:kde" and it searches kde on google.

- kcmshell background icons keyboard

- ksystraycmd theprogram puts theprogram in the systray

Icyfire / 2006-04-04 00:13:

Auto-Scrolling in Konqueror, load up a web page and hold shift and press down, the page will continuously scroll and you can hold shift and press up to make it scroll slower, and shift and down to make it go faster, you can also make it scroll upwards, a very nice feature. Also the ability to have Konqueror Auto-Refresh itself at intervals is great too.

stripe4 / 2006-04-04 00:14:

Add a child panel, add some applications and configure its settings: hide immediately after mouse cursor leaves the panel, slow hiding animation and make it expand as required to fit contents. This makes opening your favourite apps a snap - just position the mouse where the panel is hidden and click the appropriate icon (e.g. I keep it horizontal in top left corner where I least use the mouse). You can do this in Windows too but the default panels feel clumsy and to do this the proper way, you have to download a third party docker like Objectdock.

Ponto / 2006-04-04 00:15:

- Alt+F2 or Alt+F2 leo: reedem or Alt+F2 ggg: threads or Alt+F2 56*30

- Fish and audiocd

- Browse through tar.gz or tar.bz2 archives

- Use Latex in kopete

- Zip attachements in kmail

- Ctrl+Z in nearly every input widget

Daniel / 2006-04-04 00:16:

-Obviously all the kparts integration, opening a pdf ,video, images, etc, inside konqueror using their kparts (kpdf, kaffeine) . For me, this is the thing that impresses a lot of people, because they're not used to seeing this stuff outside windows.

-Showing the "Size view" (translating back from portuguese here) in konqueror. It's that special view which grafically shows the different sizes of content inside konqueror, with color, etc.

-Also the "Album view" for pictures.

-Password management with kwallet (I love it)

-Spelling inside web forms (veryyy nice thing, in my opinion, I'm using that as I write to correct some typos)

-System tray hiding of selected icons...

-Using kate to load an html file, and upload it back to server using it's interface.

-SuperKaramba! (Not in official kde, but very nice)

-Showing akregator

an anonymous coward / 2006-04-04 00:17:

when you write an email with the word "attachment" "attached" or derivatives, and you forget to attach any file, kmail reminds you to attach the file!

an anonymous coward / 2006-04-04 00:17:

The range of file types that have thumbnails and / or extended tooltip information is simply amazing. e.g. PDF and SVG thumbnails, extended tooltips for .sid files.

KPrinter having PDF as a default option is also one of those things you'd have to track down separately for other systems.

If I were a BOFH, I'd love Kiosk, no doubt.

Logical ordering of menus! All the Games appearing under "Games" seems so simple... yet other OSes menus seem to have programs all over the place.

You can do simple maths in the Alt-F2 box

Daniel / 2006-04-04 00:18:

-Also, kompose, kuake (a console that opens from the top with a shortcut, like the Quake console, very nice).

-Ability of klipper the keep an history and open on mouse cursor.

-Have a look in , lot's of nice apps.

-Also look for the net for kde tricks, I'm sure you'll find more stuff...

Larry / 2006-04-04 00:19:

Hm, where to begin. :-) I've got some listed in a recent blog entry of mine. (

In particular, I'd say:

- KIOSlaves, and the "all files are equal regardless of location" concept. Editing files on a local server, local PC, remote web server, remote SFTP server, all the same. Amazingly useful, particularly for servers that give you FTP-only access.

- Edge-docking. I never realized how important the fact that windows "jump" to line up their edges was until I went back to Windows and didn't have it. Awesome.

- The application suite. Juk, Kontact, Konqueror, all amazing applications in their own right. Juk and Kontact in particular are my best friends.

- As someone else mentioned, audiocd:/.

- I could go on, but I have to go out and I've taken up enough space already. :-)

td / 2006-04-04 00:19:

Some simple pleasures I always notice after using other some other desktops:

- Having the time *and* date on the kicker panel

- Being able to rename and create folders from right-click menu on Konqueror's folder tree view

- KWin's "keep above others" works with any window

- Every dialog box can be sensibly resized

Christoph Wiesen / 2006-04-04 00:20:

Haven't read all the other comments, but the feature coming to my mind at once is:

Mouse gestures.

Not the holy grail of innovation anymore (could've been if highlighted more at an earlier time), but one of the darn best 'hidden' features inside KDE. 'Hidden', because they are heavily underused and often even disabled :o

I see KIOSlaves mentioned in the above post - the easy of use of things like audiocd:/ really is innovative - but again, you kind of have to "know it's there"...

Well, innovation is such a strange word - you could consider the sheer power of Konqueror innovative as well - it's a great app for everyone dealing with files in any form.

illissius / 2006-04-04 00:21:

hm, ones not already mentioned...

- dcop plus korundum (ruby bindings) -> fun. I wrote something to query amaroK for its collection

and display everything in a listview in like 10-15 lines.

- adding your own custom places to remote:/, and then just typing eg remote:/mywebsite to open them.

- the sidebar in the file selector lets you add custom locations to it

- panel transparency

- scroll bar doing useful stuff in various places (taskbar, pager, clock, systray icons for things that have a volume, etc.)

- the insane flexibility of it all in general. I currently have everything set up with MacOS-style panels (including the menubar), Windows-esque keyboard shortcuts, and Opera-style mouse gestures.

- gtk-qt-engine letting you use Qt themes on GTK apps. not sure whether the awesome comes from Qt or GTK, but it's nice.

- complete themeability of everything... this is no big news to GNOME and KDE users and XP users who've discovered StyleXP (basically, XP also has global themeability, but MS chose to disable it), but could be to a lot of people.

- find-as-you-type in various places (kate with the plugin, konqueror, amaroK, etc.)

- file browser, terminal, etc. sidebars in kate

- the 'view:' panel in krusader (ok, I'm biased, I made it ;)

- panel hiding buttons

- all around solid apps I can't single out one feature from -- K3b, Krita, etc.

chris / 2006-04-04 00:22:

1. Using MultisynK (with irmcsync) konnector to sync adressbook from my bluetooth phone to KDE. very nice!

2. edit remote locations (default locations) in "save dialog" and add (Webdav,fish, or more)

illissius / 2006-04-04 00:22:

d'oh. s/scroll bar/scroll wheel

Thomas Zander / 2006-04-04 00:23:

What about typing things like "5*10+3" in the minicli.

Richard / 2006-04-04 00:24:

Network transparency in each and every kde

applications, judt awesome.

Anders Lund / 2006-04-04 00:25:

* The calculator in the prompt (ALT + F2)

* kates command line (F7 in kate or kwrite) with find, replace, goto, don't forget to show that it has history and built in help

Yves Glodt / 2006-04-04 00:25:

- "Copy to" and "Move to" in the RMB context menu in konqueror

- Move a window with ALT-Mouse

- smb:// (very practical mixed environments)

- All the protocols available in fileopen and save dialogs (fish://, ftp://, etc)

- man://

Michael Pyne / 2006-04-04 00:26:

Some of these aren't strictly KDE things, but I wanted to highlight:

* Middle-click to paste in apps. I wasn't used to it at first, but it's really grown on me.

* DCOP everywhere, along with other tools to make development easier, notably Ruby/Korundum.

* Every time I use Windows I notice that you can't resize nearly every window like you can in KDE. Even windows you can't size in KDE usually end up at a decent size even if you change the fonts.

* Windows has also taught me to appreciate what a good window manager can do. :)

* You can change the color scheme of your theme without having to change the theme. I had used GTK apps for awhile without realizing that GTK themes have the colors hardwired in.

* On that note... themeability. KDE with Plastik (or any of a dozen other themes) is the prettiest GUI I have ever looked at.

Inorog / 2006-04-04 00:27:

System Monitor kicker applet

Mixer kicker applet



latex formulae in kopete (like this:

$$alpha < beta$$)

Pieter / 2006-04-04 00:27:

the abillity to force the windows size and position of one partical window, even when other windows are placed automatic. other things you can do from the same menu is change the style of one particle window (for my kopete contactlist that is always open, i changed the window style to toolbar, wich gives a very tin bar).

och, the 'hidden' feature is when you click on the icon of the window (top-left) and select advanced/special windowsettings, or something like that becouse....

an other feature that I like very much is that KDE has been translated in so many languages and you can change them even at run time!


Inorog / 2006-04-04 00:28:

the history sidebar in konq

the extended info for bookmarks in the bookmark editor: first viewed/last viewed/times visited/status

Window specific settings in KControl/Desktop

Akregator integration in contextual menu of different types of rss streams.

The calendar widget obtained when clicking on the clock kicker applet.

The ability to (start a new|change to other existing) session directly from the current one (KMenu item or contextual kdesktop menu) - it's called "Switch User"

KSCD digital rendering of CDs (very useful when internal CD cable missing).

molnarcs / 2006-04-04 00:29:

KDE's excellent support for not just linux, but FreeBSD as well. I'm thinking of support (just browsing unfortunately) for the ports system via Kpackage for instance. Generally speaking, the fact the KDE is truly cross-platform.

The possibility to save to .pdf from everything that has a print option in he file menu.

Konsole's features, and the fact that it is easy on resources.

Kurt Pfeifle / 2006-04-04 00:30:

1. the kio_locate KIO slave. Let's you use a comfortable "locate:jpg sylvia" all *.jpg files with "sylvia" in their name. Works for Konqui as well as for the FileOpen dialog. Precondition: have an installed "locate" package. Not (yet) part of kdebase. See or⟨=en

2. use the scrollwheel to...

...change timezone in Kicker clock applet

...change tabs in Konqui or Konsole

...change active window in taskbar

...move viewport horizontally too

...change values of spinboxes or dropdowns

3. create a split Konqui window; connect with "fish:// to a remote host in one view, and with "webdavs://" to another remote host; drag and drop files between the two windows

4. show the "print:/manager", "man:/cupstestppd", "info:/sed", "media:/", "trash:/", "settings:/", "programs:/", "smb://" or many other KIO Slave methods.

5. Konqui and "gg:plasma kicker" will probably already be well know. But is Konqui and "wp:KDE" or "cpan:snmp" or "bug:99999" or "bugft:kprinter pdf" "en2de:marvellous" or "fm:freenx" or "qt:qprinter" or "py:python" or "sf:luma" or...

6. kpdf's smooth scrolling; kpdf's search function; kpdf's copy'n'paste (as text as well as as image -- where text formatting of f.e. tables are preserved, unlike Acrobat Reader).

matt / 2006-04-04 00:31:

Two biggies for me:

filelight - not core kde, but such a useful graphical representation of what's on a whole drive - great for cleaning out old crap.

kxdocker - again not core kde. An osx like dock, butgoes a whole lot further - functional applets inside the dock, and drag a file onto an icon, and it opens or performs some action on the file, and multiple applications in each icon - just use the mouse wheel to scroll through the applications.

Jakob Petsovits / 2006-04-04 00:31:

- Kopete's various plugins, from which "Text Effect" (L4m3r t4lk is funny) and "Now Listening" are quite presentable.

- Kolourpaint automatically moves a selection's contents without including the background color. That's not spectacular, but often saves manual lasso selection work.

- Can't live without it: Make a panel with, say, 20% width at the top of the screen and add application buttons to it. Then set a 1 second auto-hide timeout, and you have your most important apps right available when you move the mouse to the top of the screen (without cluttering the main panel or messing up KMenu).

an anonymous coward / 2006-04-04 00:32:

* konsole hability to monitor activity/silence + notifications and using 'last -f /var/log/somefile.log | grep someevent' for example

* being able to look at the calendar just by clicking in the clock (even if you're not the administrator!) without worrying of changing the system date.

* one can easily set any window to be always on top

Dhraakellian / 2006-04-04 00:33:

A couple kwin things:

* window snapping - it's already been mentioned, but yeah, neither gnome nor XP have it, and I do miss it when I'm not using KDE

* the ability to set kwin so that a window doesn't get raised when it gains focus except when it gains focus from a left-click. (useful for things like working in konsole while reading instructions in an overlapping browser window)

* probably not exclusive to kwin, but middle-click and right-click on the maximize button maximizing the window vertically and horizontally, respectively.

other stuff:

* kopete's unique (afaik) way of displaying metacontacts in the contact list.

* search tab in kcontrol. It's probably not the absolute best search ever, but it deserves more attention than it seems to get.

Leo S / 2006-04-04 00:33:

moving a window with ALT-LMB drag

resizing a window with ALT-RMB drag

being able to assign keyboard shortcuts to the windows key! This is important for windows users, where the windows key is monopolized by Windows itself.

Philip Rodrigues / 2006-04-04 00:34:

Wow! - so much cool stuff :-). If anyone feels like writing these little features up in a way that would be suitable for the ktips dialog, please send them to me (philip.rodrigues (at), and I'll work on adding them (as soon as my exams are done).

Ktips is a nice showcase for the useful and innovative features of KDE, and it's a shame that it hasn't received much attention in a long time. Let's remedy that.

Stefan / 2006-04-04 00:35:

well here are my specials... :-)

- quanta: simple upload. press right mouse button on page tab, upload current page.

- the great preview icons in konqueror not only gif jpeg tiff -- but sound and movies, too!



- highlight & paste with wheel button

- ALT-F2 type "gwe", get "gwenview" etc.

- Konqueror-file: select a jpeg, click right mouse button, go action --> rotate / convert to gif

- show some screensavers like world day/night in background

- konsole: open 5 tabs (ls, top, info, dmesg, dcop) go to tabs, scroll with mouse wheel, detatch a session, scroll in dmesg buffer

- kword: import a simple pdf, move some frames, change colors, then save/print it back to a new pdf file, show before/after in kpdf

Henk Poley / 2006-04-04 00:36:

Window shotcuts. I assign Ctrl+Alt+P to the Last.FM 'player' popup and it's visible when I want it.

Scroll wheel functionality of the KMix systembar icon is also very handy.

cies breijs / 2006-04-04 00:36:

all things i had in maind are allready mentioned... i think you got a nice response!

if you organise these tips and put them om a website you maybe just made another kicking feature of KDE, namely:

"many kicking KDE features can be learnt __here__" (where here is a link).

This talk should be given more often... i volunteer :)

good luck!


illissius / 2006-04-04 00:37:

"* the ability to set kwin so that a window doesn't get raised when it gains focus except when it gains focus from a left-click. (useful for things like working in konsole while reading instructions in an overlapping browser window)" --Dhraakellian

Oh, yes, that's a biggie I forgot to mention. I have it so it only gets raised with a titlebar or taskbar click.

Dhraakellian / 2006-04-04 00:38:

The fact that nearly every keyboard shortcut in KDE and KDE apps is easily configurable in kcontrol > Regional & Accessibility > Keyboard Shortcuts (or Settings > Configure Shortcuts in most kde apps)

dan / 2006-04-04 00:39:

-The KHotnewstuff in action, like getting new wallpapers, desktop themes, kstar catalogs.... etc...

- Transparency with Compositing in Xorg

Shulai / 2006-04-04 00:40:

I agree with most of the comments, specially about ioslaves (fish/sftp and audiocd rocks!)

But also I want to remember the great features of Kicker, specially KWeather and KNewsTicker.

PS: Roberto, please, besides an English movie, if possible do a Spanish one as well.

Shulai / 2006-04-04 00:40:

Also panels, tabs, profiles and all the goodies from Konqui!

A customer have a RedHat box in each office with an inhouse developed DB app. Then I was asked for a graphical FTP client for an employee who uses the app in the RH console (they usually use telnet from the Windows PCs in the LAN), so he can do his daily upload of data to the main office.

I limited to set a double panel Konqueror, with the local data folder at the left and the ftp folder at the right, save it as a profile and put an icon in his KDE desktop. Being able of doing this really got me a warm feeling :-)

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