Kdenlive Appearance in Xfce

The KDE video editor Kdenlive is one of the best Linux video editors available for general users. I’ve used it for many versions both in KDE and other desktops like Xfce. Recently it was updated to version 15.12.2 in Fedora. One of the changes from the former 9.10 version was the conversion to Plasma 5 / QF5. This means it defaults to using the Breeze style.

Unfortunately Kdenlive doesn’t detect or use the GTK settings or even the QT5 setting. The style used is set within the application. I’m not sure why it does this but in my experience it is the only KDE application that does it.

I use a dark theme in Xfce and kdenlive looked way out of place. I tried to set it to use the GTK theme but that meant some elements were dark and some not. it looked a real mess. I needed to install the Breeze theme and then set Kdenlive to use Breeze Dark. ‘dnf install plasma-breeze’ is all I needed to do. Then select Breeze in Settings – Style and Breeze Dark in Theme and in that order too. It still isn’t exactly the same colours as other applications but it is close and that seems to be the best I can do.

KDE’s New Touchpad Settings

I’ve been testing KDE 4.14.3 on Korora 21 Beta over the last few days. As Korora 20 had the same version there is little difference between the two. However one change that is noticeable is the new configuration module for Touchpads. Korora 21 is based on Fedora 21 and so most, if not all, of this post applies to Fedora 21 too.

kdetouchpad

Although laptops and hence touchpads are very common, the options to configure them were very poor in the past. They worked but gave little choice in the set up. With the new module there are many more options for adjusting sensitivity. But there also some new options such as Palm Detection, and disable Touchpad while typing.

Another addition I particularly like is the option to disable the touchpad when a mouse is detected. This works well even with my Bluetooth mouse. There is even the option to ignore any detected advice. I guess this is for devices that may be incorrectly detected as a mouse.

KDE 4.14.3 may be one of the last versions of KDE4 as KDE’s Plasma 5 is out and will ultimately take KDE4’s place but for now the current version is great desktop.

 

Desktops, Drivers and Other Stuff

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve spent some time switching back and forward between Xfce (my preferred Desktop Environment) and KDE. I once ran KDE almost exclusively but for various reasons I’ve been using Xfce for the last couple of years.

One of the reasons was the frequency of KDE to lock up. It would just stop running. I have long suspected it was a graphics problem but had no proof. I have  a nVidia GT240 video card and had been using the open source nouveau driver. After a recent lock up I was forcing a shutdown when the screen filled with nouveau errors. Although I prefer to use open source drivers where possible I decided to install the nvidia drivers from RPMFusion using Korora’s PharLap application.

All went well with the installation and it did solve the lock up problems. Doing a bit of research I found an old bug which has been kept current. As far as I can see there has been no action on it. Anyhow problem solved and now I have working Xfce and KDE desktops and can and do switch between them as I feel like it.

Speaking of old bugs a long time I reported a problem with landscape printing and after much investigation by many people it was narrowed down to cups-filters and an update provided which fixed the problem. Now some months later those packages were updated and the problem returned. I commented on the bug and straight away another update was provided along with an apology. Well done Jiri Popelka. I tested and provided karma to the update so hopefully it is making its way through the update system now.

I’ve been testing installations on a uefi system the last couple of days. I was surprised how simple it was with Korora and so also with Fedora. More details later but if you want a linux system on an uefi computer either as a single installation or a dual boot Korora is the way to go.

Amarok Art

I have been using Conky to display the current track information from Amarok. This uses qdbus, the command qdbus org.kde.amarok /Player GetMetadata gives a great deal of information on the track including lyrics, artist, title etc. and the cover art. Search for amarok conky script and you will find lots of examples using this method. It was the cover art that gave me problems recently.

I haven’t used Amarok for a while as I tend to switch between Clementine and Amarok. When I started Amarok conky would show the track details but for many tracks it wouldn’t display the cover art even though it was displayed in Amarok. I searched for a while until I found the problem.

Looking at the output of the qdbus command I saw that sometimes the ‘arturl’ was a file in the music directory. This is where I have put covers that I downloaded manually or that came with the album. I would then use Amarok’s set custom cover screen so Amarok would display them. These lines in the qdbus output show illegal characters like ‘%’ that weren’t part of the filename. When it was a cover that Amarok had downloaded automatically it would be listed as a file in ~/.kde/share/.apps/amarok/. These files worked in Conky.

The answer was simple but time consuming. I used Amarok’s fetch cover option which would then display the custom cover I had previously set. I select it and then it works in Conky. There may be a better way but I haven’t found it yet. Hopefully I will only need to do it for one track from each album.

RIP Tilda, Long Live Tilda

UPDATE: Since I wrote this there has been some progress, although Tilda still isn’t available from the Fedora repos there has been some development work done on it. There is a new maintainer so go here for the latest details. You will need to build from source to have Tilda in current versions of Fedora or Korora but hopefully a new packager will emerge.

As many who have read this blog will know I’m a fan of drop down (aka quake style) terminals. I use Yakuake in KDE but in Xfce I’ve been using Tilda. I prefer its minimal style and features to the other options.

However when I installed Korora 19 I discovered that Tilda has been dropped from Fedora’s repos for 19 as it isn’t being currently maintained. In cases like this you have the choice of finding an alternative or building it yourself from source.

I found there is another way of installing Tilda in Korora or Fedora 19. Please note that this isn’t a procedure I would recommend for most packages but it works for Tilda. I ran Fedup on one of my systems but did a clean installation on another. Initially I didn’t notice the Tilda hadn’t been updated by fedup as it was still working. Only after I installed on the other system was the lack of Tilda noticed. I realised that packages from the older version still worked. So that was how I got it working in 19.

First we need a rpm file to install. That’s easy as I found the version for 18 works in 19. One way to obtain rpms is with RPM Search. I’ve used it before to back date when updates break something and yum history hasn’t worked. Go to here for a 64 bit file or here for an i686 one.

Now, as root, change to the directory where the downloaded file resides and run ‘yum localinstall packagename’, obviously replace packagename with the name of the file you downloaded. Yum will handle the dependency and install Tilda for you.

Problem solved, you now have Tilda in Korora or Fedora 19. Hopefully someone will step up and package it again in future version but as development has been slow I guess that’s not likely. See Tilda on github for details on the current state of development.

KDE 4.10

Fedora (and therefore Korora) has just received the update to KDE 4.10.1. THere are a number of improvements claimed for the new version including better stability.

This has been the improvement that I have noticed the most. I had been having issues with KDE locking up after a short time. THere was no discernible pattern to the lock ups so I had found a solution. To be honest I hadn’t tried too hard. I simply switched back to Xfce which was rock solid as always.

One change I’ve made to KDE is that I added the Daisy plasmoid as a Launcher panel. It is now included with Korora 18 and makes a nice addition.  It still needs some development as it is missing some features such as the ability to re-arrange icons but it is a nice addition.

KDE 4.10.1 is a recommended update for KDE users and if my experience is a guide it is worth the update.

Favourite Linux Applications

Below is a list of the applications I use regularly. I don’t claim they are the best but they are the ones I prefer. Many are KDE based but there are fewer of them than previously. I use both KDE and Xfce as my desktop environments. The apps that come with Xfce are pretty basic so I prefer alternatives.

One of the complaints I have about many of KDE’s apps it that they have been combined with KDEpim which means you can’t install single apps. If you don’t use Kmail and its brethren then I would avoid Blogilo and Kjots, both of which I have previously used.

Chrome / Chromium is my browser of choice. Not perfect, it doesn’t integrate into the desktop too well. But it is fast and has the main extensions I like.

Conky – just calling Conky a system monitor really understates what it can do. Conky can do so much that it requires its own post. Since it introduced real transparency it greatly reduced the problems running it under KDE. One of the first things I set up on a new installation.

Krusader – twin pane file manager. Dolphin is good especially with the split feature but I like the power and retro style of Krusader. I’ve tried others like Midnight Commander which is quite good but nothing comes close to Krusader.

Gimp – it is all you need to edit images. To work with raw files just add ufraw and ufraw-gimp.

Digikam – adds digital asset management aka photo organiser. Has editor which works better for raw images than ufraw but I prefer Gimp. Has export to almost anything you can think of.

Cups-pdf – while Koffice and LibreOffice can create PDFs adding cups-pdf allows you to create them from anything that can print.

Kdenlive – the most stable video editor under Linux. A good balance between power and ease of use. Not perfect but there is nothing better at the moment.

Tilda – a drop down terminal emulator. Makes accessing the terminal so easy and you can hide it and let it get on with what is doing. KDE provides Yakuake which has many options and is a great application.

LibreOffice – the most polished FOSS office suite there is. If only Base was up to the standard of the rest of the suite.

Clementine – what can I say, can’t work without some music. A good mix of features and performance.

Zim – note taker / desktop wiki. I used Kjots for a while but it was integrated into KDEPim which meant it was near impossible to sync it between 2 systems so I switched to Zim. Just as good maybe better but I don’t use all its features and it has fewer dependencies.

So that is it. There are other applications that I use from time to time which work well too, things like Yumex and VLC but the ones above are those I like and use nearly every day. They are all available in Kororaa, a couple require extra repos to be installed in Fedora though.

Kororaa 17 Released (Finally)

Chris Smart announced finally announced the release of Kororaa 17 today. It had been delayed by a couple of weeks waiting for enough mirrors to sync the iso’s but he obviously didn’t want to wait any longer. Full details can be found at the Kororaa site.

The new Cinnamon desktop is a great addition. As expected Kororaa 17 comes with all the extras that we come to expect. It is still based on the current Fedora and so has all the latest applications and access to one of the largest repos around. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.