Kubuntu Simplify KDE - get rid of hassle popups, konqueror fixes, better kicker menus, kwallet setup, and have a usable download dialogue.


Kubuntu Breezy made a successful start at simplifying some of the user interface problems which have been in KDE for far too long. We should continue to make changes to improve usability in dapper.


Do not redesign KDE, but make small changes where they obviously improve usability without reducing the experience for most users.



The Konqueror profile was simplified in Breezy. Some users miss the ability to split windows. Although this is available through a right click menu on the status bar for those who know where to look it may be appropriate to add it back as a sub-menu.

Konqueror's Settings menu has 5 configure options, that should be removed to 2, Configure Web Browser and Configure File Manager, which should bring up dialogues containing the relevant modules.

The file actions in Konqueror's right click menu should be reviewed to remove duplication, currently there are two entries for viewing tar files. There is also none for sending by e-mail, we should add an action to do this which will use the users preferred e-mail client.


The order of the panel should be k-menu, system menu, Konqueror, Kontact, taskbar, system tray, desktop pager, clock, wastebin. The right hand hiding arrow will be removed. Removing the hiding button and moving the wastebin to the right allows for drag onto the corner. Moving the desktop pager to the right gives a separation of menus/apps, taskbar, other.

System settings should be removed from the system menu as this is duplicated in the k-menu.

The system menu should contain the contents of Storage Media and Remote Places for easier access to disks and shares.

The switch user menu in the K-Menu should be changed to a dialogue which shows the current logins and a button to start a new session and (probably further in the future) shows a list of users and a password box to let you do the actual login there.

KLaptopDaemon should have its usability reviewed. The left and right click menus should be the same as each other.


There should be no tip of the day or first run dialogues without very good reason. Splash screen should also be avoided. Kontact still has tip if the day which should be turned off by default. We will consider removing the Amarok splash screen.

K3B start screen should show Burn CD ISO and Burn DVD ISO as default options.

KWallet's first run wizard is big and scary, it should be scaled down to just asking for a password (or better yet make kwallet use the user's system password). We will investigate best security practice to see if extending the timeout for kwallet is feasable, as constant popups asking for passwords are annoying.

Simplifying dialogue box strings depends on Rosetta support for Kubuntu, but the switch user dialogue and Konqueror's save password dialogue are obvious candidates.

kdemultimedia-kappfinder-data should be removed from the desktop seed, as this brings in kappfinder.

The file transfer dialogue was changed in breezy from lots of windows to only one. The dialogue should be improved so all the data is visible within the window at one time, with a progress bar to view the status of the download.

To get user feedback on changes we should post any changes to forums and ask for people to test daily CDs. We should setup a usability forum, to ask community members to raise issues with the KDE UI, to comment on positive/negative UI designs, which are different from KDE Default UI design.


Most KDE applications are easy to change for these issues and so far most changes have been made in kubuntu-default-settings rather than as direct patches to the application.

Improving the look of the file transfer dialogue is not trivial because of limitations of QListView which does not easily support adding arbitrary widgets. Investigate how adept managed it.

Outstanding issues

There is a bug in the loading of Konqueror's XML-GUI file which stop overloaded files being opened on session resume. This means we could not make the simplification changes in kubuntu-default-settings but also had to change kdebase. This makes it harder fo users to switch back to the traditional Konqueror layout. This should be fixed for those users who like their old layout.

Importance of this project

I think that this project is a very important one. Simplifying and improving KDE's UI should be one of the basic goals of Kubuntu.

I read the KDE usability list for some time now, and what I have been taught is that it takes a long time to implement UI changes even if they are necessary. The developers are very reluctant at changing almost anything.

So through this project we can improve some aspects of KDE's UI more efficiently. Then we can review the changes and if they are widely accepted by the community we will pass them to the KDE project.

YanisKekatos, Thu Apr 27 20:46:21 EEST 2006

Reviewer Comments

MarkShuttleworth 05/11/05: Nicely put, specific goals and projects. Approved!

KubuntuSimplifyKDE (last edited 2008-08-06 16:13:44 by localhost)