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Posts Tagged ‘KDE’

There are many great disc burning apps for Ubuntu, but (just like in Windows) you may find not every one does everything you need. In Windows, you may have found a lack of support for burning ISO images (in Ubuntu, you just right-click and choose “Burn to disc“), but in Ubuntu and its siblings the feature nearly every one of them is missing is the ability to burn a VIDEO_TS folder to a playable disc.

With some, there just is no option for a proper movie DVD, and don’t be too surprised if those that do give you one playable on your computer, but not in the DVD player in the lounge. That’s where K3b comes in.

When you click the More actions… button, choose “New Video DVD Project” from the menu that appears.

You can then just drag and drop the VIDEO_TS folder into the blank project (or browse via the pane above).

You can then double-click the label (“K3b data project“) and enter your own disc label (the old name will be selected so just type away).

When you’re ready to proceed with the burning, insert a blank DVD and click the Burn button. When the dialogue appears, you may want to uncheck the default option of “Verify written data” before proceeding, as when the disc is burned the process will only be 50% through, since it will then scan the disc to verify the data. You may also want to check that “Simulate” is not enabled too, as that will force it to do a test-run before actually burning. Note that any changes you make will become the default, so you won’t have to manually do so again.

You can also choose how many copies you want, lower the burning speed if you’re spitting out coasters, and “Only create image” to “burn” the movie project to an ISO image for burning later. Once you’re ready to burn your DVD, click the Burn button.

You can view the progress via the “Writing Video DVD” dialogue, or just look to the progress bar at the top of your screen.

That’s it! Your movie disc will be watchable in any DVD player.

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Click here for all K3b tips

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Dolphin became the default file manager when KDE went to 4.0, so Kubuntu users already know what a great program it is (unless they preferred to stick with the previous default file manager, Konqueror). While Ubuntu‘s desktop environment, Gnome, has certainly stepped up of late when it comes to visual effects, screenlets and the like, KDE has always been about “bells and whistles”. And while Gnome can end up looking pretty stunning, the same can’t be said about its default file manager, Nautilus, which is about as plain as they come.

Dolphin, on the other hand, has the little niceties one would expect of a KDE file manager, like animated folder icons, and a lot more. There is an easy to access zoom slider for thumbnails, and has some pretty unique “views”. You can customise it in ways you could only dream of in Nautilus or Thunar, like not only add extra panes, but also move them where you like, and resize them to your needs.

If you look at the above pic, you’ll see that you can add a Folders (“tree”) pane and put it above the Information pane on the right (you could put it under Places, of course, but why not save that for shortcuts). Also, you can add a Terminal to the bottom, so whatever folder you’re in, you can just type commands without having to open a terminal in each folder (or continually change paths).

The views are Icons (like the same in Nautilus, but smaller, and just the icon, no preview),Details (your standard row-by-row format with information next to each file), Columns (starts off with 2 columns, and every sub-folder you click on opens another), Preview (turns your icons into thumbnails, and folders will show previews of pics inside), andSplit (gives you 2 columns you can browse with).

When you are inSplit mode, you can look at the beginning and end of a large folder at the same time, or use the second column to browse another folder or drive. The Columns mode offers another interesting and useful way of browsing, so you certainly have a few choices in ways to browse.

Some things to note are that with Dolphin, like other KDE file managers, the default is to treat a single-click as a double-click. This can confuse Gnome users, as even slowly clicking a file will open it. All you need to do to select a file is click the green + that appears in the top left corner when you hover your cursor, and it will select it. But if you’re selecting a file simply to know the filesize, like you would in Nautilus, then you don’t need to, as that information will appear in the status bar and the Information pane simply by hovering your cursor over the file.

Not only that, but if you are in Icons view, hovering over picture files will show the preview in the Information pane. In Preview mode, another nice feature is that when you hover your mouse cursor over a folder, its preview thumbnail will cycle through other pictures in the folder (which you can see in the second pic, as the selected folder looks different from the preview in the Information pane).

So there are some great reasons to try out Dolphin. There’s a lot more you can do to customise its interface, and if the single-click/double-click issue ends up annoying you, then don’t worry, you can change the setting to what you’re used to. You can change that and other default settings via Settings > Configure Dolphin.

While Dolphin needs certain KDE libraries, etc, to function, any such dependencies will be installed with the program into your Ubuntu/Gnome system. Mark it for installation in Synaptic, or enter in a terminal:

sudo apt-get install dolphin

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When looking around for more programs to install, you may hear of great KDE (K Desktop Environment) apps, and be wondering if you need to be running Kubuntu to use them. The answer is that while these apps do indeed need parts of KDE to function, those dependencies can be automatically fulfilled via your package manager, Synaptic.

So you need not have installed KDE as a backup desktop environment, as those programs will just install needed KDE libraries and programs/commands they depend on. Or more accurately, Synaptic will take care of that. And don’t worry about KDE system files interfering with Gnome, as they are quite separate, and they will only ever be called upon by those KDE programs when needed.

As you’ll note in Synaptic, those programs will be listed as KDE apps, but nonetheless can be installed into Gnome. And they’re easy to find, as the majority actually start with K. So don’t be shy to try a few out, as some will be so good they’ll replace apps you currently use, and others will end your search for an app for a particular task. Just note that occasionally there might be a few minor issues, like parts of programs not displaying properly, but these can be easily resolved.

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The 4.x incarnation of KDE is still pretty much in its infancy, so there are still bugs to be ironed out, especially when it comes to running them in Ubuntu‘s default desktop environment, Gnome. I’ve noticed bits and pieces of programs don’t always display properly, like when I click on an alarm task in KAlarm to edit it. Basically, the box pops up, but all I can see is the charcoal KDE4 background, and clicking around in it does nothing.

But I found if I maximise it, suddenly everything appears, then I can then restore the dialogue box to its proper size (not that I really need to), and then proceed with the task. So if you get the same thing happening with a KDE4 app in Gnome, try maximising it to see if it makes a difference.

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When you install either Ubuntu, Kubuntu or Xubuntu, you end up with either Gnome, KDE or Xfce (respectively) as the desktop environment. You only get one choice, but you can easily add one or more of the other desktop environments to your system later. You might be wondering if there are any drawbacks in doing this, so hopefully this will ease your worries.

Basically, the only drawback is that each system requires updates, which might be an issue for those with small download limits. For Ubuntu users, Xfce updates are infrequent and usually quite tiny, but KDE updates are usually larger than those for Gnome, as often more system packages get updated each time, and fairly frequently.

Other than that, your different desktop environments should co-exist in peace, and any “problems” will be minor, like the icons on your Ubuntu desktop being in a different order when you log into KDE. The panels and menus will be different, and some things will work differently, but that’s to be expected, and you’ll have fun learning your way around.

And while most of us are quite happy using one desktop environment, with the majority choosing Gnome, there is an upside to having more than one. You can use it as a backup desktop if things go wrong, and not have to log into Windows or Mac OS to Google for answers. Also, because you are logged into your Ubuntu system regardless of what desktop environment you’re in, you can edit system files or whatever needs to be done, without having to use a Live CD or other tool to be able to get at them (since you can’t via Windows).

Or if you suspect it was a buggy update, and one likely to have had a flood of bug reports from users, you can even sit back and use another desktop for a while and see what happens. After all, you should still be able to use most if not all your Gnome apps without issue in KDE, and updates to Gnome will still come in and get installed. From experience I can tell you it can be as little as 2 days before a bunch of system package updates are rushed out, and once installed you’re logging into Gnome again without a problem.

If you’re a “tinkerer”, and have gotten yourself into spots of bother messing with your system – and are likely to do so again – this option is a lot easier than using a Live CD each time. If you’d like to cut down on hard drive space used and downloads for updates, install Xfce, as it is quite minimalist. One thing to keep in mind though if considering this is that Xfce actually draws a lot from GTK – basically parts of Gnome – so there is at least a slight possibility that if you’ve messed up a part of Gnome it needs, Xfce won’t load either. So if you want to play it safe, and don’t mind sacrificing a little disk space and bandwidth, install KDE as your backup desktop. Or if you want ot play it really safe like me, have all three!

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If KAlarm has begun crashing on loading, try entering kalarm & in the terminal and hopefully it will open fine. If it does, exit the program properly (ie: don’t just close the terminal), which you can do by right-clicking its icon in the system tray. Then restart KAlarm via its launcher and, with luck, it should now load without issue.

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Did this information make your day? Did it rescue you from hours of headache? Then please consider making a donation via PayPal, to buy me a donut, beer, or some fish’n’chips for my time and effort! Many thanks!

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