KDE Gripe Du Jour

So this sure doesn’t make sense.
I like pushing my desktop around a bunch, seeing what it can do, what it can’t do. To me this is the way good software gets made. Use it, try to do what you want to do with it, find out where it fails. The trick in this approach is avoiding the “I want it to do what {XXX} application does, and do it JUST THAT WAY!” – that will ultimately result in failure. The question you should ask is “What am I trying to accomplish, and how would I do that with this tool?”
Today’s puzzlement was born of humble beginnings. I wanted to change the ‘new mail’ notification sound that Thunderbird uses. Simple enough, eh?


Off to Thunderbirds Preferences menu, notifications, advanced, New Mail Sound, Browse, and I get… a file open dialog box. An unfamiliar one – it sort of looks like the Gnome one, but it’s definately not the KDE one, and I begin to get a sinking feeling in my stomach.
desktop-thunderbirdSee, the Open File Dialog that Firefox and Thunderbird uses is, to me, one of the most painful tools I’ve ever had the displeasure to use. Don’t believe me? Note that opening that dialog revealed… no files. Just a list of bookmarks. I could click on the bookmarks, and get a list, okay, fine, Unix filesystems are long and complex, I’ll just type in my directory.
Typing into the Location field “/home/dbs/…” and I’m already lost. The dialog box auto-completes for me, but does not HIGHLIGHT the remaining text. As soon as I typed /ho, it filled in ‘/home’ and put the cursor after the e. So what I ended up with was ‘/homeome’. Backed up a few spaces, put the slash in the right place, typed ‘dbs’ but it was too smart for me, and now I had ‘/home/dbsbs’. GRRRRRRR.
Okay, fine. I know that Firefox and Thunderbird are designed to run on just about every platform on the planet. I suppose some portability problems are to be expected. Although OpenOffice has a fantastic hook that says “Use the native dialog boxes for filesystem access”, which allows OpenOffice to use KDE KIOSlaves, which is awesome). I wonder how long until the Mozilla folks implement this.
So, browsing for sounds in Thunderbird is not going to happen. Lets use Konqueror to browse the filesystem and find some nice sounds. Good idea, eh?
And so we hit the next problem. I can find no way to preview a sound in Konqueror. I can browse the directories, find files, and see the sound files, but I can’t play them. I can open them in Amaroq (interrupting my Radio Paradise stream. No way, Jose!). If I double-click on the .wav file, Audacity opens, which, as I’ve mentioned before, refuses to play things via ALSA.
Alas, I was relegated to opening a shell, moving to the directory of choice, and simply typing ‘aplay Filename.wav’ and listening to the result.
Why doesn’t Konqueror have the ability to preview a sound clip, and why doesn’t Mozilla implement the native file open dialog?

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A wandering geek. Toys, shiny things, pursuits and distractions.

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One thought on “KDE Gripe Du Jour

  1. interesting. When i do the same thing, I do get the Gnome native file-selection dialog. Which I seem to recall you having some frustrations with, but it’s a massive improvement over the previous attempt. It also doesn’t have the problem with the location bar, as it doesn’t have one.

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