Linux Workshop: KDE 4 and Programming Tips

February 25, 2009



  • Linux distribution - a suite of packaged together software that is designed to run on a Linux kernel
  • X window system (aka X or X11) - the software system that provides a graphical user interface (GUI) in Linux systems (but can also run on Mac and Windows)
  • Desktop environment - software system that provides window management (maximizing/minimizing, resizing, closing, etc), icons, menus, and mouse interaction; in Linux, these run on top of the X window system

Ubuntu and Kubuntu

Ubuntu is one such Linux distribution that has become popular in the past few years. It's based on another Linux distribution called Debian. It differs from Debian in that it has a predictable release schedule (once every 6 months). There are many variants or flavors of Ubuntu that install slightly different sets of software applications. Some of the variants include: Kubuntu, Edubuntu, and Xubuntu.

In our department, we mostly use Kubuntu. The main difference between Kubuntu and Ubuntu is that it uses KDE as its default desktop environment instead of GNOME. Of the computers running Kubuntu in our department, all but a few are running KDE version 3.

KDE 3 vs. KDE 4

KDE 4 was released in January 2008. Beginning with the April 2008 release (codenamed Hardy Heron), Kubuntu started including KDE version 4 as an optional alternative to KDE 3. With the October 2008 release, however, KDE 4 is now the default desktop environment. KDE 4 has many differences from version 3. For starters, KDE 4 is cross-platform. So you could run it on your Windows machine if you really wanted to.


The KDE 4 Desktop looks something like this. The main difference you'll notice is that icons aren't directly on your desktop anymore. Instead, they're inside of a widget. This particular widget is called Folder View. KDE 4 comes with lots of different widgets that you can put on your desktop, including sticky notes, dictionary word of the day, picture frame, comic strips, and more. Here's a screenshot with some extra widgets.

Application launcher (KMenu)

The KMenu has also undergone some changes. When you click on the KDE icon on the left side of your taskbar, you now will see something like this:


Initially you'll see a list of favorite applications. If you want to see the menu of applications, you can click on the Applications tab:


You can favorite an application by right clicking on its icon and clicking on the Add to Favorites option.


KDE 4's version of krunner is now somewhat like Quicksilver on a Mac:


You can access krunner by pressing Alt+F2.
Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size DateSorted ascending Who Comment
kde4-desktop.pngpng kde4-desktop.png manage 1848.0 K 24 Feb 2009 - 14:19 JeremyStephens  
kde4-widgets.pngpng kde4-widgets.png manage 1541.1 K 24 Feb 2009 - 15:21 JeremyStephens  
kde4-launcher-applications.pngpng kde4-launcher-applications.png manage 240.1 K 24 Feb 2009 - 15:34 JeremyStephens  
kde4-launcher-favorites.pngpng kde4-launcher-favorites.png manage 235.7 K 24 Feb 2009 - 15:34 JeremyStephens  
kde4-krunner.pngpng kde4-krunner.png manage 158.6 K 25 Feb 2009 - 10:16 JeremyStephens  
kde4-programming.pdfpdf kde4-programming.pdf manage 2054.7 K 25 Feb 2009 - 13:09 JeremyStephens  
Topic revision: r5 - 25 Feb 2009, JeremyStephens

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