Latte-Dock 0.6.0 Tested

One of the facts about Linux that may not be very popular with some computing enthusiasts is that the mainstream Desktop Managers – ‘KDE’, ‘Plasma’, ‘Unity’, ‘GNOME’, ‘LXDE’, etc., are different from each other, are sometimes similar to a Windows-layout – especially KDE / Plasma – but are not very similar to a MacIntosh, OS/X layout. Yet, efforts have existed to create OS/X -like desktop managers for Linux, and one of the more recent projects is “Latte-Dock“.

What makes Latte-Dock different from otherwise similar projects such as “Cairo-Dock”, is that Latte-Dock assumes that we have Plasma installed, which must be of at least version 5.8, and does not conflict with the fact that we do. And the fact that my Debian / Stretch computer, which I name ‘Phosphene’, is not even a Ubuntu computer, did not prevent me from installing Latte-Dock 0.6.0. Latte-Dock does not start unless the user starts it, and the way I go about testing such software is, that I create additional users on the computer in question, as if I was going to allow a guest to share my computer, so that in the user-space of the additional accounts, personal settings can activate Latte-Dock.

One of the ways in which Debian, Plasma 5 -based computers are strong, is in allowing the user to create more than one graphical log-in, to more than one virtual session, between which we can switch by clicking <Ctrl>+<Alt>+<F8>, or, back to the first virtual session, with <Ctrl>+<Alt>+<F7>… So my auxiliary user-identity is installed with this desktop manager, that’s designed to be similar to OS/X, at least in its appearance.

Screenshot_20190324_134908

I think that this is nice software, with two major flaws:

  1. On ‘Phosphene’, if I select the settings either to Preview Windows (of open applications, as the mouse passes over the dock-icons), or to Highlight those windows, these settings cause the Dock to die. This is not tragic, because when running Latte-Dock, we still have at least one Plasma-Panel active, along the top of the screen, from which we can still choose applications to run, or from which we can drag application-icons to the Dock. (:1)  This means that when the Dock has in fact crashed, I can simply have a Favourite Application -icon ready, to restart it. But the down-side with this could be, that it makes the application look bad, when in fact the culprit just seems to be, the fact that my graphics card is not strong enough to display these previewed or highlighted windows. And Latte-Dock is extremely GPU-intensive.
  2. With Plasma 5.8 as the limiting factor, there appears to be no way to get a Global Application Menu working. Such applets do exist as software-projects for higher versions of Plasma than 5.8, but it cannot seem to be achieved for version 5.8 . So the OS/X experience is not 100% complete.

But if I respect these two limitations, that may not even be the fault of the Devs, I find this to be an interesting and stable piece of software.

(Updated 3/27/2019, 21h35 … )

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Re-Establishing the Use of my Wacom Tablet, After the Reinstall.

One of the subjects which I had posted about before was, that on the computer I was naming ‘Plato’, with Debian / Stretch and Plasma 5.8 installed, I was able to configure a Wacom (sketching) Tablet, using a specialized shell-script, but also using the ‘xsetwacom’ command because Wacom Tablets are especially Linux-friendly, enough so to have their own packages in the repositories.

The real status of that project was, that earlier Linux builds had used an input library in connection with their X-server, that is being replaced with a newer input library, and that the availability of settings in the Plasma 5 Settings Panel was lacking because a new module required re-coding. Hence, ‘Plato’ had no relevant settings module, for which reason I needed to use my own script to configure the tablet.

What has happened in the meantime is, that I’ve had to reinstall the O/S on that computer, after which it is now named ‘Phosphene’, and that I’m reestablishing capabilities which I had already established earlier, including eventually to use my Wacom Tablet again. And as I clicked on my custom script, I found that I was no longer able to disable “Finger Touch” because such a sub-device is no longer registered with the ‘xsetwacom’ command.

Continue reading Re-Establishing the Use of my Wacom Tablet, After the Reinstall.

KColorChooser Doesn’t Save Palette.

I was recently exploring a 2D Video Editing application, which has as one of its Effects, a Chroma-Key Effect, that will turn all the pixels in a given video-clip transparent, the colours of which are sufficiently close to a chosen, Key-Colour. And one of the simplest ways to configure this effect would have been, to open a colour-choosing dialog, and then to use a kind of eyedropper-tool, to pick the colour directly from the preview window of the Editing Application itself. But there was a glitch.

Because I have compositing enabled, and because the colour-choosing dialog fails to override this one behaviour of the compositor, as soon as the dialog opens, the rest of the screen is dimmed. And what that also means is, colours which I may choose from anywhere on the display won’t match the colours within the clip, that are to be made transparent.

And so the next place to look for a solution, might be, to install another application, such as ‘KColorChooser’, which has been programmed so that, even with compositing still running, the screen won’t be dimmed while it’s to be choosing a colour from that screen. But then I found that this application will save the chosen colour to its palette just fine, but that palette will not appear in any other program, nor within KColorChooser, the next time I open this helper-app. Therefore, colours must be transferred from one application to another, by saving their hex-codes to the clipboard.

There happens to be a way to simplify this task under Plasma 5.8, without having to install yet another application. With the full set of widgets to choose from, there is a bundled widget actually called “Color Picker”. The way to add it to our desktop is first, to Unlock the widgets, then, to pick Add Widget, then, to drag the widget in question from the widget selection bar, into the Quick-Launcher corner of the Panel. Even though globally, we may drag widgets to anywhere on an appropriately-unlocked desktop, this one is meant to be dragged into the Panel.

Screenshot_20190225_121204

 

And so, with this additional quick-launcher, it’s possible to pick colours from the display, before the display gets dimmed, due to a window grabbing the foreground. Fortunately, this tool also copies the chosen colour’s code onto the clipboard as soon as we do that (unless we’ve changed a setting), and because the tool has not really quit, what it has copied to the clipboard will also stay there, for the main (in this case, video-editor) application to use. That main application only needs to support HTML/Hex colour-codes being pasted into its colour choosing field.

And, the quick-launcher’s second icon, from the two-icon set, opens a history of previously-picked colours, from which we may select one instead of doing so from the screen.

Tada!

Dirk

 

Issues in getting ‘kdeconnect’ to browse the Android phone’s file system.

One Plasma 5 application which I’m a fan of, is the ‘kdeconnect’ application, which, if The corresponding Android app is installed on a smart-phone or tablet, allows synchronizing data and use between the phone, and our desktop environment.

Here is what the widget looks like on the Linux computer’s desktop, when it’s showing no notifications from the phone:

Screenshot_20190216_125813

(It has the capacity to display notifications which appear on the phone, but on the Linux desktop, as well as numerous other capabilities.)

Under Plasma 5.8, most of what it has to offer works out-of-the-box. But there has been one issue, when trying to browse the phone or tablet’s file system, from the desktop, and which is a known issue. This does not work out-of-the-box. I know why it does not.

What ‘kdeconnect’ will do from the client, which is the desktop, is use an ssh-mount to mount the file system of the phone or tablet, virtually, on the Linux computer, after which that virtual file-system can be read from and written to, on the Linux computer. In order for this to work, the app on the phone needs to act as a file-server, and as far as I can tell, the Android app does so without flaw.

(Updated 3/27/2019, 7h40 … )

Continue reading Issues in getting ‘kdeconnect’ to browse the Android phone’s file system.