Default Options Projects for KWin 4.9

For our next release I want to improve the default options of KWin. For me it is very difficult to find good default options as I have adjusted KWin to fit my personal needs very well, so I need your help.

If you have ideas for better default options please post them in our Wiki on the Default Options page. Everybody can participate, all you need is a 4.8 installation of the KDE Plasma Workspaces.

You can also use the Wiki page to comment on some suggested changes and best is if you are able to open a review request for your change 🙂

Just as a small reminder: if you want to help the KWin development team you can also checkout our ideas.

27 Replies to “Default Options Projects for KWin 4.9”

  1. I wonder if you could get more usefull data by setting up a page where people can upload their kwinrc, and then analysing the results. If a big proportion of users tweak a certain setting away from the default, you know you should think about changing that setting.

    1. that would only cover part of what I want to achieve. Consider changing the duration of an effect which might require setting a hidden config option. The one good comment explaining why 10 msec faster is important is much more valuable 🙂

  2. This is a great idea! What abou making a survey to get some input about user’s current default settings? (I wouldn’t base new defaults entirely on this survey data, but getting this data might be helpful in discussions about some defaults)

  3. I made few adjustments for default configuration

    1) Remove minimize, maximize and close buttons
    2) Add “Show on all desktops” button to left
    3) Double clicking title bar closes the window
    4) Mouse wheel up/down place window always under or top other windows
    5) Top left corner triggers KWin desktop effect “Grid desktop”. Top right “Show windows from current desktop”

    Why so?

    When window is minimized, it goes to task bar, and from there it is brought back visible. So it is logical that to get window to task bar, user needs to click it in there to get it active and minimized. So task bar is used to handle window visibility.

    Show all desktops button is little bit useless as user can place window to all desktops by right clicking it in desktop Grid mode but that button just removes the need to do so.

    Clicking a single small button in window decoration in corner is hard to close. People easily learn that they close window right away when they think they have stopped using window, just finding out later they are launching it again. So removing a visual tip to close window and make it double click triggers two things. A) Users hides windows more often and keep applications running later for quick access. B) Closing a window is much easier when you just double click tittle bar

    Mouse wheel is very little used feature for window decoration. And when it force window to stay under others or top others people have started to use it a lot. They like it when they can have KWrite or VLC top of other windows while working or placing a full screen window under everything else.

    Desktop top corners are easy to use, easier than bottom corners. And when having a Grid effect on top left, user can easily use virtual desktops and organize windows between them (or place window on all of them). And top right is even more easier than top left and when it shows all windows from current virtual desktop, it comes second nature for people to switch between windows. (This is someway little conflict with task bar as it could be used as well for that).

    And all previews and pop-up features are turn off from task panel and everything else.

    Oh, and if you want to maximize the window, you just use KWin feature to maximize window, use 50% of screen or 25% of screen size by dragging the window to top edge, side edges or side corner edges. It is very natural way to maximize and un-maximize.

    So KWin decoration stays empty, it is still important but no more it is actually used for controlling window so much.

    1. And forgot to mention that Alt+Tab use present mode (and desktop Grid mode use that as well so all windows are layoutted over desktops when Grid is triggered).

      No small lists, no pop-ups but just clean desktop.

    2. Don’t you dare removing min/max/close buttons! We are not gnome! Are they hurting you? If so remove them you’ve got choice but removing them by default will confuse “regular” users – trust me! I’m more like a power user and I use buttons or taskbar entry which ever is closer to mouse. There is no advantage of removing those buttons because title border will still be there taking space so what’s the point of having half useless title border?

    3. I keep the buttons in the titlebar: they are not in my way (the titlebar takes as much space with or without them) and sometimes I happily use them. I have at the left: “Menu” and “On all desktops” and at the right “Minimize”, “Maximize” and “Close”. I don’t use the other buttons: I never use “Shade” because “Minimize” is more usable (you can restore a minimized window by clicking on it in the taskbar, you don’t have to press Alt+Tab first to get the correct titlebar on top and then unshade it), I resize by dragging the window border, so no need for a “Resize” button.

      I also have “Desktop Grid” as the action on the top-left corner of the desktop: it shows all my desktops and also all my windows in the correct desktop, so I see everything I need to know. I have set “Meta+Tab” to “Present Windows”. Since “Present Windows” can be used with the keyboard, this allows me to switch between windows using only the keyboard and still having a better visual representation of the windows than “Alt+Tab”. I intentionally do not use “Present Windows” as the effect for the Task Switcher because the “Present Windows” look disappears immediately when releasing “Alt+Tab”: I like pressing “Meta+Tab”, releasing that key-combination and having a look at ease at all the windows in order to find the correct one to switch to. Personally, I don’t think it is necessary to change the current default Alt+Tab behaviour.

      Since I don’t use “Shade”, I have set the titlebar double-click action to “Maximize”. The titlebar mouse wheel action is set to “Switch to Window Tab to the Left/Right” (because this is the same behaviour as for tabs inside a window, and this is much easier than moving the mouse and clicking when you want to switch tabs) and I also have “Alt+Mouse wheel” set to the same action. I have “Display content in resizing windows” activated since my PC is fast enough and since it allows me to see how my window will look like (will it still be usable, will all labels still be readable, will all toolbar actions still be visible, …) before releasing the mouse button. I have “Display window geometry when moving or resizing” enabled, because I like to see that information.

  4. I’m looking on wiki page and I think we have little problem with this, people are to much forcing their way and forgot that default should be optimal for most of users i.e. make no specific things which you can customize – just make things that will make most of users easier:

    for example:

    BAD – Activate Desktop Change OSD and Desktop Grid on upper right screen edge – right top corner is so awfully wrong place to set as default shortcut to anything

    GOOD – Enable “Dim Screen for Administrator Mode” by default – this is usability and eye candy improvement for all (as long as pop-ups will be on top – kde has still issues with pop-ups being under other windows)

    PS from my part: Set default effects speed to fast instead of normal – I know this is subjective and effects look nice but it make whole desktop experience sluggish – you will hear people saying “wow kde 4.9 is fast!” 😉

    1. et default effects speed to fast instead of normal – I know this is subjective and effects look nice but it make whole desktop experience sluggish – you will hear people saying “wow kde 4.9 is fast!”

      If you think one effect is too slow, propose an update to the animation time used by this effect. Changing the global level is the wrong way to fix these things.

  5. I find that most people that use a clean KDE install that I show them complain that it feels slow and sluggish.

    Then I switch the Desktop Effects animation from “normal” to “faster” and they immediately say it’s much more snappy.

    This is especially the case with things that slide: sliding between desktops and sliding Plasma pop-ups come to mind.

    _I_ know that KDE is snappy and responsive, but it’s not a great first impression to be giving. I’m not sure how long “normal” speed animations take, but I think we should be aiming for closer to 150ms than 500ms for them to complete.

    Aditionally, I think it would be better for sliding animations to move very quickly when they start, then decelerate as they reach closer to the end of the animation. It would give a perception of speed and make the interface feel more natural than the exactly-the-same-speed-through-the-entire-animation stuff we have going on now.

    This has been my biggest nag for a long time because I’m basically tired of people saying KDE is slow because it looks slow by default.

    1. These are exactly the things I want to solve. Tell us which effects need a shorter animation, tell us which curve shape we should use. KWin ships more than 40 effects, we just cannot do it ourselves.

      1. I use the “Magic Lamp” effect to minimize windows with speed 400msecs. The standard “Minimize Animation” is fast enough, but when you want to see where in the taskbar the minimized window is located, then the animation is sometimes too fast. That’s why I use the “Magic Lamp” effect: it shows throughout the whole animation where in the taskbar the minimized window is.

        I disabled the “Fade” effect (which makes windows smoothly fade in and out when they are shown or hidden) because any speed is too slow (especially when showing windows, I’m less bothered with a slow animation on closing). When I am launching an application, I want to start using it right away, *any* delay is too much. The “Glide” effect is better, because it shows some action during the animation; the “Fade” effect, by simply fading, gives the impression of slowness. For the “Wobbly Windows” effect I use Stiffness=10, MoveFactor=10, Drag=85, AdvancedMode=false, MoveWobble=true, ResizeWobble=false. This allows for an animation that is fast enough, and I have disabled wobble when resizing because when activated, it is hard to see how the final window will look like until you actually release the mouse (and the wobbling finishes).

  6. When using panel autohide, the reappearing time should be longer, well, in reality it should be configurable, like the delay for the screen borders actions, instead of the current default behavior which makes it instantaneous. The fact of just passing your pointer for an instant by the lower border of your screen -or whichever border you have your panel(s)- and the panel suddenly appearing is a real pain in the ass, think that the text search box in most web browsers is on the lower border, the filter box in Dolphin too, the magnifying, and other buttons in Gwenview too, and the list could go on and on; so, it is almost inevitable that at least 3 or 4 times a day that you want to search some text in a web page/filter the content of a directory in Dolphin/using some tool/etc there it comes the «damn» panel only beacuse your pointer has touched for a tenth of second the lower border, and you have to move your pointer away, wait a little for the panel to hide again, and then go, again, carefully to that search box you really wanted from the beginning. It’s so damn annoying that I think it should be a priority in the default settings improvements.

    Nice initiative, BTW :), but wouldn’t it get more attention and collaboration in

    1. Indeed, a (user set) delay for the hidden panel(s) to come out would be a great benefit on my netbook. An alternative could be the panel to only pop up when accessing it in a specific place or after a click.

  7. great idea Martin! I would like to see a metacity-like window resizing effect when compositing is disabled: a simple colored rectangle, to avoid an excessive use of gpu; or, as alternative, a resizing effect showing just the window border(where is it in kde 4.8?). Would be pretty to see also a kde3/openbox/win98-like minimization effect when compositing is disabled.
    Thanks for your work.

    1. I’m sorry but this is about default options for current features, not about new features.

      And just to let you know: we concentrate the development efforts on compositing. Adding animations for non-composited environments is out of scope of what KWin aims at.

  8. yeah, but I think would be pretty cool see those features when compositing is disable, to provide a better (more beautiful/faster) user experience with older graphic card. I’m not a programmer, but I think that isn’t so much work, or not? 🙂

    1. I’m sorry but this is about default options for current features, not about new features. If you want to discuss new features please use, my blog post is not a location where I will consider to implement feature requests.

  9. How about changing the default shortcuts of desktop grid/toogle present windows (*)? Is it theoretically an option?
    I gave some explanations why I think it should be to the wiki discussion page.

      1. I am more reluctant to change keyboard bindings

        You are absolutly right. Such things have to be well-considered. But you know it isn’t that easy. There no list/database where to look at which shortcuts of popular kde/gtk progs already exists and which combinations are free to avoid conflicts. Because of this I’m feeling not in the position to give suggestion for good default shortcuts.
        Yeah, critique is much easier than giving a good alternative 😉

        1. Actually I think the suggested keybindings are better. But the cost on changing them is much higher than an option. Users have to learn, documentation in the Internet is outdated, etc. That’s why I wrote I am more reluctant to change them.

  10. keep above window control button is one of the great features that everyone i know who knows about it loves and uses very much..

    therefore it should be visible all the time.. there are 3 or more obvious ways to maximize a window but only one hidden option to “keep above” – IMHO this should be changed


  11. I always enable the magic lamp effect instead of minimize-animation/scale-in. Aside from being ‘pretty’ I prefer it because it’s a very different looking animation vs the closing effect, which makes it a visually unique indicator of what I’ve done.

    One option I would like to see added would be the ability to activate the desktop-grid by clicking the current desktop in the pager.

    Otherwise, when it comes to window-grouping, I always change the behavior so right-click dragging activates it, as using a mouse button seems more “natural” than using the wheel to click and drag. Oddly, because it disables the context-menu, it makes the window title-bar behave more like the window chrome, which doesn’t usually spawn a menu when right-clicked.

    Fantastic work on Kwin, Thank you.

  12. This is a video of Pantheon, the DE of ElementaryProject. I think could be a good idea for a new default Kwin effect.

    1. Thanks for your suggestion, but this is not about implementing new stuff but of fine tuning the existing stuff 🙂

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