Linux+: Linux X Window 07 – KDE Configuration


Jarret W. Buse

Linux+: Linux X Window 07 – KDE Configuration

With any desktop environment, there can be many components which can be configured. By configuring the environment, the look and feel can be manipulated to improve the user experience.

The older KDE3, the command was “kcontrol” to load the Control Center. With KDE4, the command is “systemsettings” from a terminal. The KDE System Settings is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 7-1.jpg


Some modification option areas are:

  • Common Appearance and Behavior
  • Workspace Appearance and Behavior
  • Network and Connectivity
  • Hardware
  • System Administration

Let's look at these one at a time. The Common Appearance and Behavior is used to manage the overall system look and feel. This option has seven areas to configure:

  1. Account Details – User and Password Accounts, Paths, Social Desktop, Web Shortcuts
  2. Application Appearance – Style, Color, Icons, Fonts, Emoticons
  3. Application and System Notifications – Manage Notifications, System Bell, Launch Feedback
  4. File Associations
  5. Locale – Country/Region and Language, Spell Checker
  6. Personal Information – Akonadi Resources Configuration
  7. Shortcuts and Gestures – Custom Shortcuts, Standard Keyboard Shortcuts, Global Keyboard Shortcuts

The Account Details configures settings for the current user. User and Password Accounts allows for configuring a user account and setting its password. Paths is for the default paths to the desktop, autostart folder, download path, etc. Social Desktop is used to connect an account to a social provider. The Web Shortcuts provide access to selected web sites when a search is performed in Konqueror.

The Application Appearance settings allow for the configuration of application windows. Style settings set the way the windows are styled. The Color options set the colors for the windows and the windows components. The Icons option sets the default icon sets to use in the environment. The Font options allows for the configuration of font styles and sizes to use within the environment. Emoticons set the icon for a specific key combination.

Within Application and System Notifications, these manage how notifications are handled. The option for Manage Notifications configures how notifications are handled when they occur. The System Bell option can be used to play a sound instead of a notification. The Launch Feedback option controls how feedback is given to the user, such as with moving cursors when the system is busy.

The File Associations option configures file associations for how certain files are handled by specific applications when opened.

The Locale option configures the language, number settings, money, calendar and other settings based on your country's preferences. An option for Spell Checker settings for the user's region can also be specified.

The Personal Information settings allow for personal information to be stored in the Akonadi Resource Configuration system. Here, personal information can be stored for contacts, calendar events, notes, alarm settings and more.

For the Workspace Appearance and Behavior section, it controls how the work environment looks and behaves for the user. This option may be the most modified for users. There are six sections:

  1. Desktop Effects
  2. Workspace Appearance – Window Decorations, Cursor Theme, Desktop Theme, Splash Screen
  3. Accessibility – Accessibility
  4. Default Applications
  5. Window Behavior – Task Switcher, Window Behavior, Kwin Scripts, Window Rules
  6. Workspace Behavior – Virtual Desktops, Screen Edges, Workspace

The Desktop Affects control how visual effects are handled for the desktop environment.

The Windows Decoration option allows the setting of how the windows title bar will look. The cursor Theme option configures the look of the cursor as well as the size. The Desktop Theme option sets the various colors and layouts of the desktop environment. The Splash Screen option specifies the splash screen used by KDE when starting after login.

Accessibility options are the settings made to help users with impairments interact with the system environment. Disabilities can include hearing loss and motion impairment.

The Default Applications option allows the changing of the main KDE applications. These include the Email Client, Text Editor, File Manager, Instant Messenger, Terminal Emulator, Web Browser and Window Manager.

Window Behavior allows for the configuration of the Task Switcher. The Task Switcher sets how window navigation is controlled. The Window Behavior sets how the user can interact with the windows, like window focus and moving. The KWin Scripts option sets KDE Scripts to be used as plugins. Window Rules are sets of specific rules for how windows are managed such as window size and position.

Workspace Behavior is used to manage various portions of the workspace. Virtual Desktop settings are used to specify the number of virtual desktops and how to switch between them. Screen Edges specify the active portions of the screen edge and what occurs when the mouse is placed on the spot. The Workspace option sets global settings for the Plasma Workspace.

For connecting to the Internet or a network, there is the Network and Connectivity section. This option is made up of three sections:

  1. Network Settings – Proxy, Connection Settings, Service Discovery
  2. SSL Preferences
  3. Sharing – Windows Shares

Under Network Settings, the Proxy options configures a Proxy Server to use
when connecting to the network. Connection Settings specifies
timeout values and FTP options. The Service Discovery option is a
list of Network Servers which are scanned to provide services.

SSL Preferences sets up SSL certificates for the system.
The Windows Shares option allows the configuration of which SMB systems
you can browse on the network.

The next option is called Hardware and is used to manage the system
hardware. The option is made up of six sections:

    • Device Actions
    • Display and Monitor – Screen Locker
    • Input Devices – Keyboard, Mouse, Joystick
    • Power Management – Energy Saving, Activity Settings, Advanced Settings
    • Removable Devices
    • Multimedia – Audio and Video Settings

The Device Actions are used to specify what happens when specific
hardware events occur. For example, if a disc is placed into the

The Screen Locker option is used to set what occurs after a set amount of
time when there is no keyboard or mouse activity. The desktop can be
locked, a widget executed or a screen saver run.

The Input Devices section allows for the configuration of the keyboard,
mouse and joystick when present. For example, the keyboard can be
used to set the initial status of the Num Lock key.

Energy Saving options can be used to configure how a system manages the
power settings when running on AC, Battery or a low battery setting.
Activity Setting options allow for the system to be configured to act
as if it were a specific power setting, such as always on AC Power.
The Advanced Settings let the specifics be controlled to specify when
the system is considered at Low Power.

Removable Devices sets how devices are handled when connected. USB devices can
be auto-mounted. Attached devices can also be set to auto-mount.

Multimedia settings are used to control Audio and Video settings on the system.

The last option is System Administration. These items deal more with the
settings an Administrator would modify and should not be needed too
often. There are three sections:

    • Date and Time
    • Font Management
    • Startup and Shutdown – Autostart, Grub2 Bootloader, Service Manager, Session Manager
The Date and Time section is used to set the system Date and Time as well
as allow the system to use a Network Time Server with the Network
Time Protocol (NTP). The Time Zone can also be set.

The Font Management item is used to install, manage and preview fonts.

The Startup and shutdown section handles what occurs during startup and
shutdown of the system. The Startup option allows a user to add
applications or scripts to start when the system starts. The Grub2
Bootloader allows settings made for Grub when it starts and loads a
specified OS with preferred settings. The option for Service Manager
allows the configuration of services which load at startup. Session
Management helps to manage the logout and login of the Session

At any time on any screen, the Defaults can be loaded to go back to the
originally installed settings. Use KDE and test these settings so
you understand them well.


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