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Mouse Cursors

Cursor themes can be chosen in the KDE control panel:

Control Panel >
    Peripherals >
        Mouse Section>
            Cursor Theme Tab

Themes can be found at the KDE-Look X Cursor Section.

Themes and Styles

QT and KDE apps can look much better if there is a nice widget style installed. Check out the KDE-Look Theme/Style Section to see what styles are available. To get a list of the available KDE themes in portage, you'll have to leaf through the X11 Themes Section of Gentoo's Package Database.

You can then install and setup the desired style in Control Center (under Appearence and Themes -> Style).

If you're really adventurous, you can check out Baghira, which is a complete theming engine crafted to look like Mac OSX. It can have it's own customized themes and can look like near any version of the OS. You'll have to unmask it in /etc/portage/package.keywords first, then simply

emerge baghira

More information is available at the Baghira website.

Kwin Window Decorations

Kwin window decorations are responsible for drawing window titles and borders. A good kwin theme can make KDE look much better. Like styles, many Kwin window decorations can be found on KDE-Look and in portage. Type

emerge -S kwin

to see what Kwin window decorations are available through portage.

Enhanced Task Switcher

You have several options if you want a very nice task switcher:

Komposé is a KDE based application which uses new features of X.Org like XDamage and XComposite to render actual window screenshots. You can use these to select your active window. It is available in portage:

emerge kompose

3dDesktop is an OpenGL based desktop switcher which does not select individual applications, but only desktops. However, it looks very nice and is a great way to show off to your friends :) It's also available in portage:

emerge 3ddesktop

As 3dDesktop defaults to a Gnome configuration, you'll need to start it with the --kde3 switch. To get it started with KDE automatically, you'll have to add a startup script to ~/.kde/Autostart

File: ~/.kde/Autostart/3ddesktop
3ddesk --acquire

Then give it proper permissions:

chmod +x ~/.kde/Autostart/3ddesktop

Then you just need to bind a key to execute /usr/bin/3ddesk you can do this from the Control Center or just type in the console /usr/bin/3ddesk and enjoy

Desktop Widgets

Similar to OSX Dashboard or Gnome's gDesklets, KDE has Superkaramba Themes. This program is built into KDE 3.5 and higher and is accessible from the Utilities > Desktop menu. Otherwise, you'll have to emerge it:

emerge kde-base/superkaramba

Please note that x11-misc/superkaramba and x11-misc/karamba are deprecated.

Kicker Replacements

Think kicker is ugly? There's a few things you can do about it.

MacOSXBar is a Superkaramba theme available at KDE-Look.

KSmoothDock is another OSX style kicker replacement which is available through portage.

emerge ksmoothdock

If you're really adventurous, you could try a Plasma (formerly Slick|er) alpha build. This is the new kicker for KDE 4. More information is available at the Plasma Website.

KXDocker is another nice replacement that follows the OSX idea. It goes beyond the normal "application starter" as it also shows running tasks much like its OSX counterpart. It is in portage, however it's not yet set as "stable" so those running "unstable/testing" need to add some things to thier "/etc/portage/package.keywords" file. Below are the reqirements as of this writing. AS ALWAYS, use unstable packages at your own risk.

File: /etc/portage/package.keywords
kde-misc/kxdocker ~*
kde-misc/kxdocker-thememanager ~*
kde-misc/kxdocker-resources ~*
kde-misc/kxdocker-taskmanager ~*
kde-misc/kxdocker-i18n ~*
kde-misc/kxdocker-mountmanager ~*
kde-misc/kxdocker-trayiconlogger ~*
kde-misc/kxdocker-configurator ~*
kde-misc/kxdocker-dcop ~*

After that you just have to install it.

emerge kxdocker

OpenOffice will attempt to use either native KDE or Gnome themes depending on your USE flags. Make sure that when you emerge that your KDE USE flag is set in /etc/make.conf:

File: /etc/make.conf
USE="kde ..."

GTK Application Themes

You can install a GTK theme engine that will use QT styles for your GTK applications.

emerge x11-themes/gtk-engines-qt

A new option will appear in your control center under Appearance and Themes which you'll need to configure for the styles to take effect.

Slightly Blurry Fonts

I found that with the default install of KDE, some of the fonts were slightly blurry, and looked generally ugly. This issue can be resolved by enabling sub-pixel hinting. Go to Settings->Appearance & Themes->Fonts, make sure that anti-aliasing is enabled (if not, your fonts would have looked seriously ugly!). Then click configure, turn on sub-pixel hinting and set the hinting style to full. You will have to close and reopen program for the fonts to be rendered using the new settings.

External Links

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Last modified: Sat, 06 Sep 2008 15:48:00 +0000 Hits: 31,510