About the Frame-Rate of Hardware-Accelerated Animations.

One of the subjects which I’ve posted about before, is that in the case of typical hardware-accelerated animations, the frame-rate, which some people just know as ‘the FPS of the animation’, is actually lower than the refresh-rate of the monitor.

Well, if the user is running Plasma 5 as his desktop-manager – which is Linux-based – then he can open ‘System Settings -> Desktop Behaviour -> Desktop Effects’, and he will see a list of available compositing effects, that would all be hardware-accelerated, and under the section of ‘Tools’, there is an effect named ‘Show FPS’. Enabling that effect, and then clicking on ‘Apply’, will cause a piece of OSD information to display, that actually shows the frame-rate. The user will notice that it does not equal the refresh rate of his monitor.

But there is a catch to this. Often, the rendering software will place an upper limit on the frame-rate. Frame-rates actually higher than the refresh rate of the display device accomplish no useful purpose, and there used to be a simple, command-line test which Linux users could run, which was called ‘glxgears’. This would display a very simple animation, of a red, a green and a blue gear, rotating smoothly. In very early versions of this test-program, a frame-rate of something unreasonable, such as 2000 or maybe even 5000 FPS might result, which simply represents a waste of GPU power. The gears would still rotate at the same, correct apparent speed, but each frame-cycle would be fewer than 1 millisecond apart on average. Therefore, more-recent versions of this test-program will cap the frame-rate at the refresh rate of the monitor, and the gears will display as rotating at the same, smooth speed.

Dirk

 

An update on how to use Latte-Dock.

One of the features which I have posted about recently, is the Plasma 5 add-on called ‘Latte-Dock’. Specifically I wrote, How the user can install version 0.6.0 of this add-on, if it isn’t in the package repositories. What I had also written was, that a safe practice in using Latte-Dock would be, to keep the default Plasma 5 application-launcher in his panel, as a back-up, so that he will always have an application-launcher to click on, even if Latte-Dock crashes.

Well since then I have learned that a more avant-garde way exists to use Latte-Dock, which is, to place the default application-launcher onto the dock as well. This can easily be done because the default application launcher is a widget like any other, which can be dragged to this dock. As an additional detail, a method exists to get v0.6.0 of Latte-Dock to open the application launcher, by just pressing the Super Key, assuming that it has been added to the dock. The instructions I’ve just linked to do not count for later versions of Latte-Dock because those versions already have a check-box in their GUI, which does the same thing.

Hence, I’ve decided to be more progressive in my test-setup for Latte-Dock, and have also placed my only application-launcher onto this dock:

Screenshot_20190329_070015

There is one detail which the reader should note however. I have kept one quick-launcher in the upper-left-hand corner of the screen, in the Plasma panel: The launcher that restarts Latte-Dock from the GUI with one click. The reason I have kept this safeguard is the observation that Latte-Dock can still crash from time to time, which means that the user would be without an application launcher, until he or she gets to restart the dock.

But this way, the layout of that desktop is even more different from the Windows-like layout – common to Plasma 5 and KDE 4 – than it only was a few days ago.

Dirk

 

Yet another 3rd-Party, as in KDE-Store, Widget, that can help us Personalize the Linux Experience.

One of the subjects which I’ve been writing about is, that in principle, it’s possible to create a Linux, Plasma 5.8 (+) workspace, that resembles an OS/X computer somewhat, in that at least it has a dock. Well if one sets about to do that seriously, then one is also looking for ways to keep the total number of applets on that dock to a minimum, while giving the fastest possible access to all the features which we have a computer for.

Well one tool which can help users accomplish that, is The Places Widget, from the KDE Store. Don’t worry, the widgets available at this ‘store’ don’t cost any money, and if the reader doesn’t have a Linux computer, which happens to be running ‘KDE 4′ or ‘Plasma 5′ as its desktop manager, then there is no point to read any further, because nothing in the KDE Store could ever be of any interest otherwise.

But this one widget has a surprisingly simple premise: The user can define ‘Places’, a set of URIs or locations, within the Dolphin File Browser, that have always existed unobtrusively within Plasma 5. They include a collection of local and remote Folders, a collection of ‘timeline:/’ URIs which must first be Added to Places, a collection of Searches (…), and the current set of Connected Devices:

Screenshot_20190326_184606

Then, once the user has done that, the widget in question can be added to a Plasma 5.6 (+) Panel, so that when clicked on once, a fly-out opens, that gives access to all the defined ‘Places’ with one more click:

Screenshot_20190326_184726

Why does this interest me? Because, while the developer first intended for this widget to be added to the Panel of a regular Plasma 5 desktop, it can be added just as easily to the ‘Latte-Dock’, that I wrote about in the earlier posting linked to above. In fact, I’ve made it part of my recent test-project, to set up an OS/X -like desktop on the computer I name ‘Phosphene’…

Continue reading Yet another 3rd-Party, as in KDE-Store, Widget, that can help us Personalize the Linux Experience.

How to Bring Back those Sticky Notes!

KDE 4 and Plasma 5.x have had it as a common feature, that if we middle-click with our mouse-wheel ‘anywhere on the desktop’, a Sticky Note appears, which we don’t even need an installed application to manage. Firstly I need to explain why I was not aware of this feature before. The reason is my custom, to Lock the Widgets of my Desktops as soon as possible, after modifying them. With the widgets locked, this behaviour does not take place because the sticky note in question is an additional widget each time…

Screenshot_20190325_215803

But during a recent project, I had a desktop environment in which the widgets were unlocked all the time, so that eventually, I middle-clicked on the mouse button accidentally, and faced the popular dilemma of how to delete the sticky notes created, and eventually, of how to keep them from re-appearing. The way to delete each individual note, at least on my computers, is to hold down the left mouse-button along the inside, of the right border of the widget in question, until a side-bar pops out, that allows widgets to be moved, resized and deleted, as of Plasma 5…

Screenshot_20190325_215827

The thing to do next is, to release the left mouse-button, and to move the mouse-pointer quickly, to the red ‘X’ button that has just appeared at the bottom of the side-bar, and then to left-click that once.

To prevent the behaviour from taking place again, it’s necessary to right-click on an empty part of the desktop, so that the usual context-menu appears, and then to left-click on “Configure Desktop” (under Plasma 5). Then, one can modify the “Mouse Actions” that appear there, so that the action to middle-click the mouse-wheel, is either deleted, or no longer specifies To Paste.

So I hurriedly disabled this feature before realizing that in this one specific situation, it might actually be useful to me. The reason for that is the fact that my usual note-taking application, “Tomboy”, creates redundant icons and window-place-holders, on a desktop manager where I’d like for there to be as few window-icons as possible. Additionally, on this setup, I wouldn’t be syncing my Tomboy application, which is a main reason otherwise to be using Tomboy.

What I did next was to re-assign the function to the middle-mouse-click, To Paste, and then to hope that I had restored the original feature. But what I found instead, in the immediate term, was that middle-clicking with the mouse wheel, no longer brought back the sticky notes -creation. So the next question which raced through my mind was, ‘Have I deleted a detail in the configuration, which is difficult to restore? Does that Mouse Action require more than just To paste? Help! Help! I can’t get the nuisance back, even though I no longer think it’s a nuisance!’

BTW, This is not a question which most people ask, so there are few if any Web-pages that answer this question…

Continue reading How to Bring Back those Sticky Notes!