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KDE Look and feel in system settings

Loreia
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Hi,

I registered just to share my thoughts on this matter. I did not figure out where to report this thing, as it is not a bug, and Google search for "kde feature request" points to bugs.kde.org. So, I figured to post it on official forum. Someone my notice it here.

Short summary:
KDE desktop "look and feel" options in system settings application are disorganized, hard to find, figure out and ultimately hard to use by a newbie KDE user.
Explanation: by "desktop" I mean everything that is displayed on the screen.

1. The problem:
When a new user installs say KUbuntu, he/she might decide that default look and feel of entire desktop is not *hot* and may decide to change default theme. In MS Windows and Gnome, a "theme" changes everything user sees on the screen (task bar, wallpaper, windows (applications) color, icons, shape, cursors and so on). Everything is chaged when users selects a "theme". After changing the "theme", user may tweak any individual option to his/her liking.

2. Current KDE solution:
Go to System settings, go to Application appearance, and change
Style / Colors / Icons / Fonts / Emoticons (this one is really puzzling, what does it do? why is it here?)
First thing user notices is that he only changed color of the window.
Taskbar and window frame are unaffected.

That will send our user hunting for options to change those settings.
Sure enough, he/she will discover Workspace appearance.
This is where users can set:
Window decorations / Cursor theme / Desktop theme / Splash screen
So, window (application) frame is now set. And unlike what icon might suggest "Desktop theme" changes color of taskbar, it does not set wallpaper.
Great, all set and done here. Where is the problem?

3. Problem with current KDE solution.
Users don't care or understand anything about "Application appearance" or "Workspace appearance". Users coming from systems where a "theme" changes everything they are looking at on the screen, will expect to find a similar option in KDE4. For most of them having to go through 10 different dialogs will be "a pain", "overwhelming" and so on. Especially, if those options are arbitrary split into two categories (which probably makes sense from programmer's point of view, but user just sees, and cares about, a desktop)

What such users expect (and what I find "logical") is to be able to set everything with one click, and then tweak individual options if necessary. KDE4 has many options to tweak individual options and is almost perfect in that regard, but in its current form it is forcing users to go through all those options. This is unnecessary and unproductive.

Another problem is more subtle.
By forcing me to select several different themes (window color theme, window shape theme, taskbar color theme, cursor theme, icons and so on), KDE4 is turning my desktop into an ugly monster of disjointed colors. The thing is, I am horrible in picking colors that match well. And even when I do my best, it still ends up looking horribly.
By not having a unified theme for entire desktop KDE 4 is forcing me to make my desktop *really" ugly whenever I touch Look and feel system settings. And just to rub some salt into the wound, there is no easy way to go back to default setting (well, I can go back opening the same 10 dialogs, but at this point I am scared even to touch the thing)

4. Finally: The solution
Unify all look and feel options in one folder in System settings, and provide a centralized option to change everything with a single theme.
In this way, I can benefit from work of talented artists at kde-look web page, as I will be able to download a theme that "a pro artist" created. And my desktop will be beautiful with a single mouse click.

Thank you for the patience in creating wonderful KDE software as well as your patience in reading this long post.

BR
Loreia

Last edited by Loreia on Sun Apr 08, 2012 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar scummos
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Hi,

+1, but don't make those "themes" the primary way to change the desktop appearance. Having the option to change everything is okay, but it should be an *option* and it should be easy to change the individual items. I don't want my wallpaper to change when I select another window decoration (like in windows, or gnome).
Also, +1 for merging workspace and application appearance. Distinguishing between those doesn't make any sense for non-plasma developers.

Greetings


ozjd
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While I like the idea of a single place to set all the appearance options I'm not a fan of one click to change everything. Using other DE's where the theme includes the colours makes me appreciate the KDE way. I have found a theme I like but not the colours. I need to edit the theme to change the colours. This doesn't happen in KDE, I can select the appearance and the colour scheme separately.
I certainly don't want my wallpaper changed if I change themes.
Loreia
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Hi guys,

thank you for your comments. I see I wasn't clear about one thing. Adding global themes should not affect the current way of setting local themes.
One way to solve the problem would be something like this:
1. rename current themes to "sub-themes" or "local themes" (for easier identification)
2. don't change anything in the way local themes are handled right now
3. add global themes as collection of local themes packed in a single file
4. add one more option in system settings named: change global theme
5. when users want to change a global theme, they will be presented with a dialog box where they will be able to select/unselect check boxes for each local theme

With global themes implemented as collection of local themes, impact on the system is minimal. People used on current way of will be able to continue using the same options as before, and new users will get their "one click to set all" option.

BR
Loreia
User avatar poomerang
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it is definitely a good idea.

but adding an option wouldn't be ideal, there are already so many that it would only be confusing.
I'd rather unify them all under some Appearance settings where one can both choose a all-in-one theme and tune single parts of it - colors etc.
that would be nice
User avatar jospoortvliet
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Agreed as well. Actually, long ago there was such a 'unified theme manager'. I guess it got lost in the move to the new KDE framework. I'd say this might be something for a brainstorm - it's certainly worth having and maybe somebody is interested in developing it...


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