Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dolphin Features for KDE 4.2

The feature freeze for KDE 4.2 starts on the November the 17th. Time again for a summary of the features that made it into Dolphin since KDE 4.1...

Improved zooming support. It's now possible for all view modes (icons, details, columns) to adjust the zoom level from 16 x 16 pixels to 256 x 256 pixels. Like in Gwenview a zoom slider is offered in the status bar:

It is still possible to configure having the volume space information like known from previous Dolphin versions.

Tooltips show previews:

Improved URL navigator. It is configurable whether the URL navigator shows short paths (a path "/home/peter/docs/pictures" is replaced by a places name like e. g. "My Pictures"):

or always the full path:

Information panel speed improvements
. Even if a slow Nepomuk backend is used, the Information Panel won't block Dolphin anymore when doing selections or opening folders.

Automatically open folders when dropping items

Triggering of items behaves like in KDE 3 for the details view
. Only the icon and name act as target area, not the whole width of the name column.

Drag and drop support in combination with tabs

Special thanks go to Simon St. James which contributed the tooltip- and detail view-features.


SSJ said...

Also thanks to Laurens Vanhove whose very first patch greatly improved my initial crude attempt at Previews-In-Tooltips, and Peter for the huge amount of time he spent helping me in my goal of re-instating as many KDE3 file management features as I can :)

Would-be developers - if you're on the fence about coming swimming with the Dolphins, I recommend you just dive on in - the water's lovely :)

Anonymous said...

There is one thing in breadcrumb widget that makes it unusable for me.
I like the breadcrumb, but i dont like to 'click-browse'.so i just enter the url all the time.I think there should be an option called 'Switch back to breadcrumb automatically' so when i enter the adress in url and press enter it goes back to breadcrumb mode automatically.
(and yes, i know about alt+enter shortcut.but thats not usefull.i dont want to press an extra shortcut everytime i enter an url)

(Dolphin is really nice though,thanks for working on it)

Anonymous said...

I think Dolphin is the most consistent and most user-friendly app in KDE. Furthermore I do like the friendly atmosphere on bugs.kde for all bugs assigned to dolphin. Thanks for that!

Anonymous said...

does dolphin show the preview only for common image files like jpg, gif and png or also stuff like psd and svg?

SSJ said...

@Anonymous #2:

It should show previews for whatever KDE has a thumbnailer for which includes (at least) SVG. I don't know if KDE can or can't handle PSD, though :)

Anonymous said...

@ssj: gwenview (at least the one included with kde3.5) is able to show thumbs and previews of the psd files :) (not so good for some of them, but it's better than nothing)

Anonymous said...

Though I'm pretty sure I've said it before, I'll gladly say it again:

The improvements that constantly go into dolphin and awesome! It's just great so see one of the already good apps in KDE4 become so much better and better each release. Thanks for that.

Like someone already mentioned one thing that is especially great about dolphin is the helpful and friendly environment that surrounds it (, this blog here and so on). I realize it's hard sometimes, but I hope this spreads to some other parts of KDE as well!

Leo S said...

Nice. Looks great, especially the "only select on name" feature.

About the large tooltips, can we please have a way to turn them off? Although they are sometimes nice, I find that when navigating files with the mouse, the huge tooltips become annoying. If not in the GUI config, perhaps as a config file option?

SSJ said...

@Leo S:

The tooltips can be turned off via Settings -> Configure Dolphin -> View Modes -> Show tooltips. There's currently no way to disable previews, however.

Anonymous said...

Is there/will there be a way to preview RAW images? No I haven't searched or filed a bug report. I just started thinking about it last night.

Anonymous said...


Hey, I am currently learning C++ and Python .. and I would love to learn how development on Dolphin goes.

Is there a place among the dolphins for a newbie? :)

If so .. how and where do I start?

scroogie said...

Great work! It's really nice to have you and Dolphin in KDE. I'm sure Dolphin will have won over the hearts of all fans of Konqueror or other file managers very soon!

SSJ said...


I was a Qt/ KDE newbie when I started with Dolphin (though I knew C++), so I'd say yes :)

Generally speaking, you should pick a bug that bothers you, try and fix it, and contact Peter with your fix :)

Or if you're missing a feature, run it past Peter and if he's happy to have it included, get hacking on it! This is how I started - I really missed the auto-expand-folders-if-you-drag-over them feature from KDE3, so this is the first thing I started working on.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Drag and drop support in combination with tabs - this is what I missed the most in Dolphin.
Along with the fixed tooltip-bugs, that were pretty anoying, this could be a great version of dolphin!
Can't wait for the release of KDE 4.2

thank you a lot for your efforts

Anonymous said...

I have a feature question/request (because I can't seem to find or enable it): does dolphin show the dimensions of the currently selected image anywhere?

It would be grand if it would! (Perhaps in the status bar or in the 'additional information' panel.)

If this question's old, I shall apologise.

P.s.: I just love what you're doing with KDE 4.

P.p.s.: And thank goodness you're using C++'s native features instead of tweaking C into something it is not... (Phew, I just had to speak my mind. Sorry for spreading flames though.)

SSJ said...

@last anonymous:

I'm *fairly* sure this occurs further down the stack with the kfile plugins, which I think is the domain of strigi-ish things.

I'm sure Jos van den Oever blogged about it a while back and stated that this would be a good Junior Job, but I can't find that particular blog, now :/

Here's the bug report so you can follow it:

Unknown said...

@all: Thanks for the nice comments!

> does dolphin show the dimensions
> of the currently selected image
> anywhere?

Not yet, but it is on the TODO-list. Originally I wanted to have this feature ready for 4.2, but I fear it's too late in the meantime :-(

Anonymous said...

First I want to thank you for your effort to make Dolphin such a great Filemanager.

I just had an idea to improve the filter. Ofter I just type something in the filter bar and get the file or folder I was seeking. The problem is, when I enter a folder that matches the filter it seems that the folder is empty. It takes a while until I notice, that there are no files that matches the filter and then I delete the filter and can see the file again.
Would it be possible to gray the files out that don't match the filter or even better to change the view to a group view with two groups. The one would be the group with the matches and the other one with the files that don't match.
What do you think? If you like it, would it be hard to implement and get it into 4.2?


Zayed said...

I have two problems with dolphin in compare with nautilus:

- it is very slow when I open a folder contains 100O pictures.

- it can not preview flash video

I use kde 4.1.2

Unknown said...

> I have two problems with dolphin in
> compare with nautilus:
> - it is very slow when I open a
> folder contains 100O pictures.

Do you mean that the image previews are generated slow or does it take a lot of time until the directory is opened at all? If it's the latter, than it might be related to the Information Panel and the used Nepomuk backend. This has been fixed in KDE 4.2.

There is also a big difference if the previews are already in the disk cache or if they must be created first by reading the original files.

> - it can not preview flash video

Dolphin does not create previews itself, it uses the available preview plugins. I'm not sure whether a flash plugin is available already for KDE...

> Would it be possible to gray
> the files out that don't match
> the filter or even better to
> change the view to a group view
> with two groups.

Thanks for the suggestion. Technically it would be possible, but it is not straight forward. For KDE 4.2 it is already too late (the soft feature freeze is already valid). But I agree that the filterbar is far from perfect yet and there is a lot of room for improvements.

Alexis Menard said...

@Zayed : Yes i noticed the same behavior Dolphin is really slow to generate the preview.

The thing is that Gwenview when you browse a folder is very fast. Mmm

I think it's a bit annoying for end users. Other OS do better. In all cases it's a good work dolphin is still a powerful filemanager.


scroogie said...

Zayed: do you mean jpegs? i posted a patch to kde-core-devel some weeks ago, which uses libjpeg instead of Qt to thumbnail jpegs, which speeds things up a bit. I don't think it was commited though. The point is that thumbnails get created in the thumbnail KIO slave, so it's a kdebase issue, not a Dolphin issue per se. JPEG2000 is even worse, although it's an embedded image format, so you actually only have to read the first couple kb to create a thumbnail.
It should only be slow the first time you open the folder though, because thumbnails should be cached.

scroogie said...

darktears: this is because gwenview uses it's own thumbnail code instead of the kioslave. I don't think that is an option for Dolphin. We should rather improve the slave, imho.

Alexis Menard said...

oki that explain, aurelien gateau if you listening us, please have a look in the kio. lol

So you mean qt is very slow, if you have a test case i will take a look with our graphics guys...

Zayed said...

@ Peter Penz

The problem is in generation of preview (iconic mode) once it is done, dolphin is very fast.

Anonymous said...

wow, i think this takes care of all my issues with dolphin in kde 4.1.
great work, guys. thank you.

Janne said...

There were comments regarding Nepomuk. I might be stupid, but I have a question regarding it: How do I actually USE it?

I can tag and rate files right in Dolphin. What benefit does that give me? What does it do if I rate soe folder with 4 stars while other folder gets only 1 star? Can I use Nepomuk to search files (like using Spotlihgt in OS X)? If so, where?

Nepomuk is supposed to show me connections between different files (who sent what files as attachments etc.). Does that work yet?

Is there a "Nepomuk for utter dummies"-document somewhere? It's surely needed because I keep on reading comments about it, but I never see any documents on how to actually USE it.

scroogie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
scroogie said...

No, Qt actually has a quite nice transformation code, but in the case of JPEG, thumbnailing pictures by first loading the whole image to memory and then applying the scaling transformation is bound to be slow for small resolution levels, because you get similar results by just decoding parts of the DCT coefficients, without any subsequent scaling. It has different behaviour regarding blurring resp. grain, but you can tweak it by e.g. decoding it to a lower resolution and scaling it up a bit afterwards.
JPEG2000 is different in that regard, because it's coefficients are already hierarchical (see multiresolution analysis), so it's actually optimal for thumbnail extraction.

Anonymous said...


there is a RAW thumbnailer in playground/graphics


Alexey Sergeev said...

Tooltips need artwork. They are ugly for now.. sorry.

zephirum said...

Great to see Dolphin becoming more and more customisable and visual-space conscious for us people with a tiny screen.

I would love to see ways to maximise the viewing space and minimise the toolbars, for example, putting the URL bar next to the navigation buttons a la Firefox.

At the moment, there are still quite a lot of blank spaces (top right) left unused and the toolbars stack on top of each other taking up the top half of the screen. With a smaller viewing space for files, I find it hard to scan for files while scrolling, especially with such small space to view it.

It's nice to see KDE working on a lot of neat eye candies, but I think there are still some usability-customisation required. I'd laugh in my sleep the day that happens.

Anonymous said...

Hi, one thing I'd really love is a real find-as-you-type as in Firefox, i.e. by just writing when the file manager window has focus (or optionally by typing a "/" before), it should select the next file that has the entered string as a substring. A lot of file managers (e.g. Nautilus, Konqueror in KDE 3) do something like this but only when the String is at the beginning of the file name. But I'd like to be able to also search for substrings.

This is not the same as the filter bar as it's quicker, just for finding a single file and the view doesn't get changed (except for scrolling if it is needed). Also I can execute that file directly by hitting ENTER.

I'm a programmer and might be able to help implementing this. However I have never done anything with QT, let alone KDE so I'd need infos on where to start.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter!

About the first screenshot; what do you think about making the distance betwen the upper side of the first icon line and the lower border of the "root > home > ..." a bit bigger?

At least for me, they are too close.

Thanks for all your work.


Unknown said...

> what do you think about making
> the distance betwen the upper
> side of the first icon line and
> the lower border of the
> "root > home > ..." a bit bigger?

I agree, it's very close in this screenshot. I'll have a look on this...

> I would love to see ways to
> maximise the viewing space and
> minimise the toolbars, for
> example, putting the URL bar
> next to the navigation buttons
> a la Firefox.

Putthing the URL bar beside toolbars is not planned in Dolphin, as the URL bar is part of the view: When the view is split, two URL bars are shown. Also when using tabs, then the URL bar is part of the tab itself... Wouldn't it be sufficient for you putting the text of the toolbars to the right or turning off the text completely?

@Alexei Sergeyev:
> Tooltips need artwork.
> They are ugly for now.. sorry.

I fully agree :-)

> i posted a patch to
> kde-core-devel some
> weeks ago, which uses
> libjpeg instead of Qt
> to thumbnail jpegs, which
> speeds things up a bit.
> I don't think it was commited
> though.

I'll take care during this week that the patch gets committed :-)

Anonymous said...

"Triggering of items behaves like in KDE 3 for the details view. "

Peter, I can't understand the rational behind this decision, a part from retrocompatibility. A larger target area is (almost) always good, what are the problem in this case?
The rest of the features are very good enhancements :)

SSJ said...


The current method makes selecting files with the rubber band very awkward - you have to start the drag all the way to the right of the name column, otherwise you just end up dragging files around :)

See e.g. and

Unknown said...

> "Triggering of items behaves
> like in KDE 3 for the details
> view. " Peter, I can't understand
> the rational behind this decision,
> a part from retrocompatibility. A
> larger target area is (almost)
> always good, what are the problem
> in this case?

I got a lot of reports that people had problems using the rubberband correctly. It was not obvious that the whole name column acts as trigger. The reason why Dolphin for KDE 4.0 and 4.1 used the whole name column as trigger where only because Qt4.x does not offer the old approach anymore per default. It took us (especially Simon) quite some efforts to bypass this restriction.

Unknown said...

@ssj: wow, we answered vide's question in parallel exactly in the same minute ;-)

SSJ said...


Spooky :o)

zephirum said...

@ Peter
Thanks for the advice, I'm planning on trying the new Kubuntu and I'll see how the cutomisation goes.

PS: In:

It wouldn't hurt to have the items closer together without using up so much visual space right? I know it's customisable, but it just seems like something that ought to be useful for everyone. I'm probably comparing Dolpin with MS Windows file explorer too much, but I think it's a design element that's good to have. Cheers.

Arani Bhattacharya said...

Konqueror allowed us to launch the shell from any folder. Is it possible to add the same feature to Dolphin?

Unknown said...

@arani: Technically this is possible already since KDE 4.0. It just requires having a service menu for this (see for details; also offers a lot of service menus for download). So this is something that is not under direct control of Dolphin...

Anonymous said...

I would like a single middle click to act as a double click like in KDE 3. And left button double click to execute. You will do this. Believe me!

Unknown said...


Nice work with Dolphin. It looks good to have a preview size slider, but it will not be a better to create one icon in toolbar and after clicking on this icon rollout menu appear and there will be a slider with icons (small, medium, big, biggest, ...) like explorer in Vista? Or you can add this icon before bar with remaining space? I use that progress bar more times than changing preview size.


Anonymous said...

This is probably not the place to ask, but is there an "Up" (parent directory) button on Dolphin anymore? I find my file management is often crippled without it; it was available as an option in previous versions but I can't seem to find it anymore.

Unknown said...

@zak: yes, an up-button is available. Just go into Settings->Configure Toolbars and move the "Up" action into the toolbar :-)

Anonymous said...

Some features of Konqueror kde3 are still laking.

- you have to do double clic on the mouse middle button to open a directory in a new tabs where a simple clic should be enough (already mentionned)

- a lot of keyboard shortcuts are missing, like the one to duplicate a tab (ctr-alt D on my computer with KDE3)

- with the detailed aborescent view the navigation with the keyboard could be ameliorate. For example the left arrow is inactive in the arborescent view unless the focus is on the directory name. I'm not sure I'm clear. Just look how it works with Konqueror under kde3.

I hope this features will be added soon in Dolphin.

Anonymous said...

I started using kde 4.1 lately and I impressed with it overall and with dolphin specially. Still, I am bothered by two things:

1. The icons of the places panel are too large for my taste. I want to be able to control their size. The only way I can make them smaller is to decrease the width of the places panel.

2. I like to be able to control the background color of the places panel and make it white.

I know that there are a lot of features that are more important than those, but I hope they will make it into dolphin in the future.

Unknown said...

As someone posted upper: tooltips looks ugly.

They look like in KDE3 times. You used tooltip colors from actual scheme and customized tooltip box (rounded corners)?

In 5 minutes i created this mockup:

It isnt finished yet, but i mean it look much better. If you want, contact me and we can talk about this and find good solution.

Unknown said...

@Milan: thanks for the mockup! Yes, this looks a lot better :-) BTW: I've improved the look of the tooltips already in trunk. The tooltips still use the color defined in the color scheme (= currently blue in Oxygen), but don't look like in KDE3 anymore. What's still missing is a slightly transparent background like in your mockup, I'm not sure whether I can do this until KDE 4.2 but let's see...

Unknown said...


I know that problem is global in KDE4 tooltips. KDE4 tooltip now
stayed little aside from oxygen designers eyes :)

Yesterday i talked little with Nino Pinheiro about tooltips redesign. It will not be in KDE 4.2, because now is in feature
freeze and this design depend on some features that may be added into new
version of QT. Redesign look real in KDE 4.3.

I dont have KDE4 from svn. May you post a screen from actual tooltip in

Thank you


Unknown said...

@Milan: great the Nuno takes care for the tooltips in KDE 4.3 :-)

> I dont have KDE4 from svn. May
> you post a screen from actual
> tooltip in dolphin?

I'll post one shot during the next days :-)

Unknown said...

> great the Nuno takes care for the tooltips in KDE 4.3 :-)

It isnt 100% sure, we talked only about possibilities.
But i mean that 4.3 release will be a good release aimed at details, and tooltip is detail (in contrast with other KDE4 problems)

Ill be happy too if it will be in 4.3.

> I'll post one shot during the next days :-)

Ill be waiting ;-) Thanks

Anonymous said...

just noticed Dolphin auto scrolls the folder view right and left to make sure as much of the folder names are visible.

I like!

my thanks to everyone working on kde, keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Hi, nice work! Do you have any plans to add picture-folder-preview with pictures or videos into them (at least when with large icons), like xp and vista does?
It will more user-friendly by image-collectors like me to do so gwenview and dolphin, so don't will open it to see what are in them.

sromero said...


I wanted to "suggest" an enhancement for Dolphin, so I thought that this blog would be the fastest way to communicate my idea and see if Dolphin's "crew" finds it interesting.

I plan to report this to both Dolphin and Nautilus developers.

First, sorry for my poor english, I'm spanish and I don't speak english in a regular basis.

Here it is:

Idea: Copy/Move operations should be queued under some circunstances.

I think that a very nice enhancement could be done to copy/move operations when using the file explorer. When a copy/move operation is in progress, new copy/move operations should be QUEUE instead of executed in some circunstances, such as:

- Copy/Move source is the same as any copy/move operation currently being executed.
- Copy/Move destination is the same as any copy/move operation currently being executed.

Think in those situations:

- You're copying a big file from a DVDROM (call it "copy source 1"). You continue browsing the DVD, and you want to copy more big files. You select one and drag it to the destination. Then, as the "copy 1" is still in progress, the CDROM starts to "spin" moving from "copy source 1" to "copy source 2".

- You're copying big files to a local HDD drive and you plan to leave the computer "copying" while you do some extra things away from the computer. All files are not in the same source folder, so you can't just "select" all simultaneously. You drag & drop the first one (which starts copying) and you move to another folder to drag & drop another file. Then, the disk header of the local drive you're copying the files to starts moving between the 2 destination sectors in the drive. If destination drive uses FAT/FAT32 fs, filesystem can get fragmented. And the time neded to copy both files gets larger that the sum of the times needed to copy both files separately (due to disk header movement).

The ideal when using the GUI of a file explorer for all those situations should be:

- First file is copied inmediately (source1 -> dest1) .
- When you draw the second, third, ... file, if source == source1 or dest == dest1, the copy/move operation would be queued and delayed until the first operation ends. If source and destination are different then the copy/move operation can be done simultaneously with the current active operation.
- Queued operations would appear in the screen just like any active operation, in a message box similar to current copy dialogs, but status bar would show a test like " Queue ", and would include a button to unqueue and execute them if the user wants to.
- All this behaviour could be configured as an option in "Preferences" ([X] Queue I/O operations using the same source or destination than active operations).

I do really think that the above behaviour would be very interesting and would solve lots of slowdowns and problems when copy from/to CD, DVD, flash drives, USB disks or even local harddrives.

Anonymous said...


I just tried KDE 4 again and stumbled upon a minor annoyance concerning splitview: I really like d3lphin in KDE3 and one reason is, that compared to konqueror it tries to do a specific task right instead of being as general as possible, so in the case of splitview in konqueror you can split the page several times and therefor to close a view you have to select it first. The behaviour of d3lphin in this case is IMHO much better: I hit one key (F3) to split the view and if I don't need the second view anymore, I hit the key again and close the view THAT I DON'T NEED. Now the behaviour of dolphin obviously has changed at some time and the active view is being closed like in konqueror. Maybe its just me, but typically i want to close the inactive view, so it's cumbersome to first activate it and then hit close instead of hitting just one shortcut.

Anonymous said...

Very very good work!
Thank you and thanks to all Dolphin's developers! :-)

Anonymous said...

I need List view in Dolphin

Unknown said...

> I need List view in Dolphin

This is already supported. Just go into the settings and configure the alignment for the icons view.

Unknown said...

Hello all, I actually really like dolphin, but there is one single problem that keep me back to konqueror, every file operation (copy,cut,paste even opening/click on file) is seems soooo slooww... and when i do right click i must wait -ranged from 1 to 3 minutes- just to see the context menu... :( i actually googling on it and didn't find any usefull tips or how to. how can i fix this? i use kubuntu 8.10 with kde 4.1 installed btw. thx for any response and sorry for my bad english.

Unknown said...

@rizky: This seems to be a local issue in your installation... Dolphin and Konqueror in KDE 4 use 1:1 the same code for copying and the context menu. What might help is that you try to rename your .kde4 and .kde directory temporary (attention: don't delete those directories, e. g. KMail stores all e-mails inside them) and start KDE. If this works, I'd suggest to copy the settings of those applications you are using (e. g. KMail) back from your renamed .kde4 directory to your new .kde3 directory.

Also a possible root cause might be Strigi/Nepomuk. Try to turn off the Information Panel in Dolphin and check whether the performance improves. If this is the case, then please turn off Strigi/Nepomuk in the system settings.

Hope this helps :-)

Unknown said...

Thx Peter Penz, disabling the Information Panel is working for me... darn... i really like that panel :( and it's so sad it should go... will it get fixed on 4.2? i've even try adding: Option "MigrationHeuristic" "greedy" on xorg.conf, it fixed for a while, but it break the desktop cuz all my system tray have same icon :p but thx for the suggestion... it's my luck that i get this suggestion here... :D what a happy day...

Unknown said...

> will it get fixed on 4.2?

Dependent on the used backend for Nepomuk it works already in KDE 4.1, but there where definitly performance issues in KDE 4.1 too even when using a faster backend.

In Dolphin for KDE 4.2 the getting of the meta data is done by a separate thread. So even if the backend is really as slow as in your case (which seems to be unacceptable slow...), Dolphin won't be blocked anymore.

However I did not face such an issue in 4.2, so it seems that improvements have been done here :-)

Anonymous said...

Great work all round. Very impressed.

I'd also like to make a couple of suggestions. Re the filter bar, it would be great if the filter text automatically cleared after navigating to a different folder.

Will you be able to sort by ranking in the future?

Anonymous said...

I like the slider for sizing, however I would like to be able to change it to get my Device Useage/free space stats back instead.

wouldn't mind being able to disable previews completely either.

and an option change 'launch' to a double click. this is THE most annoying part of trying to move a file in double pane view, always launching everything :-/

Anonymous said...

Would you add some quick way to access audiocd-kioslave(audiocd:/) such as in the "Places" bar?

Really missed this feature...

Anonymous said...

Hi Dolphin Team!
I don't like the KDE4 Dolphin. I remember times when it was possible to edit files or open folders as root. I miss this feature!
Also the time has come to insert the function to go back and forward with the additional mouse buttons (like in Firefox etc.).

I hope to find all this features in the next version of Dolphin!

- Still a Linux Newby ^^

แอร์ said...

I don't know if KDE can or can't handle PSD, though