Alain Mouette posted on Mon, 27 Aug 2012 11:45:42 -0300 as excerpted:
The problem is that after TWO days trying (that for the last time
alone), I could not make Plasma work in any relyable way. So I gave up.
tha was on a brand new Lenovo Notebook, no OpenGL at the time.
I can sympathize! While I do have plasma working well for me now, it
took quite some time to get to that state, and plasma was the biggest
reason I (one among many) didn't consider kde4 ready for ordinary use
until 4.5 or so.
Unfortunately it's still causing problems for a lot of people, tho many
others have like me, learned to live and work "the plasma way" when
necessary to avoid problems, and thus don't see the problem any more, in
part because they (subconsciously in large part) simply learned not to do
the things that plasma doesn't like.
BUT KDE4 programs are very good, It dosn't look like being made by the
same team!!! Dolphin is the best navigator in existence today!
I am using Dolphim, Konsole, Kwrite, Kate on Gnome+Debian6 and it runs
While I haven't switched to gnome, I HAVE definitely curtailed my
previous use of kde. Also, I'm on gentoo and thus have (and took) the
option to build kde without semantic desktop support (simply turning it
off at runtime doesn't get the same result), so what's left is far faster
and more stable. Of course that meant switching away from kde solutions
for anything kdepim related, kmail and akregator here, to something else,
claws-mail, here, since they now depend on akonadi which is intertwined
with semantic desktop, but it was well worth it!
What I want to do is just What I had on old KDE3:
*) When I open a program (dolphin/kate/konsole) as root, the backgroud
is red *) when I open a remote server the background is in distinct
colors, like green, yellow, blue, etc..
That practice did save my ass many times avoing *mistakes* (yes I do
On KDE3 I had a combination of profiles and setups to that purpose!!!
Is there a way to achieve that? I have seen a feature request on
background and it is labeled a preposterous WONT...
AFAIK it's possible to set that up on kde4, but the process does
involve jumping thru a few hoops, as they say.
First, let's reviewing and expanding the territory already covered up-
thread, now that I know you're running kde apps on a non-kde desktop.
KDE's dependencies are setup such that even if you're not running a kde
desktop, you still should have the basic (formerly and more accurately
known as) "kcontrol" functionality. Under kde4, however, it's no longer
called "kcontrol", but instead, the horribly inaccurate "systemsettings",
despite the settings (with a few exceptions) not being "system-wide" at
all, but specific to a particular user's kde config.
So whatever desktop you run, unless your distro screwed with the actual
name of the executable itself (I couldn't blame them in this case, given
the impossibly general and horribly inaccurate default name), you SHOULD
still have access to kde settings by running "systemsettings" from the
run dialog of whatever desktop you happen to be running.
Of course, that will get you your standard user settings.
To get the root user settings, you have several options which may or may
not all work on your distro and installation, but they all boil down to
running "systemsettings" as the root user, instead of your normal user.
Note that depending on how your distro is setup, your user may need to be
in a particular group (admin or wheel are common) to be allowed to run
something as root, and/or there may be polkit policies configured to
allow/deny various as-root actions from your user and/or from X. But if
you can run dolphin, etc, as root at all, obviously you're configured to
allow at least SOME of this, and you may have to run systemsettings using
a similar mechanism.
* If your desktop environment provides a native way to run an app as
root, you can use it.
* If it doesn't, or if you prefer, "kdesu" or "kdesudo" might be
available to you. (AFAIK kdesu is the kde default, but kdesudo is an
alternative that's shipped by some distros as their preferred default.)
You can prepend them to the command you wish to run as root, in this case
systemsettings, and assuming they're configured appropriately for your
distro, that should popup a dialog asking for password (would be roots
for kdesu, yours for kdesudo), etc, before running the appended program
* I've not actually tried this since I run kde as my desktop, but since
krunner, the kde run dialog, is its own separate app, in theory, you
should be able to run it from a non-kde desktop as well. If that works,
you can use krunner's options to "run as a different user", entering root
and the password (your user's or root's depending on how your distro is
* If your distro is configured with a root login account at all (in
general meaning, it has password set for root, some distros ship with
this off by default but you can of course set your own root password and
otherwise change the config to allow it if necessary), you should be able
to actually login and run an X desktop session as root, and run
systemsettings from there.
However you run it, you'd simply set the same color settings as root that
you would as a normal user, but would of course choose your desired red
background, etc, instead of the normal colors you'd use.
Meanwhile, it's worth noting that the "kde desktop" isn't monolithic.
It's comprised of a number of component apps. As such, it's quite
possible both to run individual kde desktop components (kwin, krunner,
plasma-desktop or plasma-netbook, etc) in an otherwise non-kde desktop,
AND to substitute non-kde components for the kde defaults on an otherwise
In fact, back when I first switched to kde4 from kde3, this is exactly
what I had to do. The kde4 desktop (this was 4.2 era, and things were
buggy as an active anthill!) was all but unworkable in its original
config, but by switching to and configuring a single kde4 component at a
time on my originally kde3 desktop, I was able to isolate each
component's behavior and configure it to something acceptable, before
going onto the next. After I got each one configured and working as
desired, I'd start using it in place of the kde3 version, so what started
as a kde3 desktop gradually turned into a kde4 desktop, as I ran more and
more kde4 components and less and less kde3 components.
What I'm getting at is this: It's QUITE possible to replace plasma with
some other desktop shell, but otherwise run a kde environment (I'd call
it a "kde desktop", but without plasma... "desktop" doesn't quite fit any
more, so "kde environment" it is!).
I've never used it myself, but I've seen some rather decent reviews of
the still qt4-based "razor desktop", sometimes seen as "qt-razor
desktop". This was started by someone who quite like you, was fedup with
plasma, and wanted something that would actually WORK on his hardware,
unlike plasma, which he found way too buggy and bloated, to the point of
From what I've read, razor is designed as a much lighter desktop
alternative, fully independent from kde. Run as such, it'd be the qt4
version of xfce or lxde (which are gtk based). But the default desktop
looks very much like a very simple and bare plasma desktop, and being qt4
based, it should blend in very well with an otherwise kde4 environment,
and I've a rather strong feeling that's how a lot of folks run it, as a
desktop-shell replacement for plasma, mixing and matching kde apps/
components and razor apps/components as desired. If I'd read about it
about two years earlier, before I got plasma working reasonably well for
me, I'd have *VERY* likely done exactly that myself, running razor-
desktop as a replacement for plasma-desktop, but with an otherwise
generally kde desktop environment. But by the time I DID read about it,
plasma was working quite well for me and I was enjoying the use of
various plasmoids I'd downloaded from kde-look, etc, so I stayed with
But I'd definitely recommend that you look into razor, as it might very
well be the qt-based and kde compatible replacement for plasma, that
you're looking for!
 I say "AFAIK", because I basically don't run anything kde as root at
all; I do all my sysadmin activity from the command line or a semi-gui
like mc in the text console, either konsole or a full text VC. FWIW mc,
aka midnight commander, is an EXCELLENT "sysadmin mode" file manager in
the long tradition of text-based dual-pane "commander style semi-gui file
manager", that I'd have a rather difficult time doing without! Thus, I
basically don't run anything X based as root at all, so it's "AFAIK", not
based on first-hand personal experience.
Here's the google I just did on it. Looks like it's razor-qt, not
qt-razor, but anyway... The desktop homepage appears to be the first
link, but there's links to reviews, youtube videos, its qt-apps.org
(qt-apps.org is part of the same opendesktop.org family as kde-look.org,
kde-apps.org, gnome-look.org, etc. If you're familiar with one, you'll
likely instantly recognize the same style on all the others and may well
already know how useful they can be for finding extensions, utilities,
themes, etc, to fill out a desktop both appearance and utility-wise. And
of course kde4 has heavily integrated kde-look into kde itself, with the
"get new X" feature found in many kde4 apps. That razor-qt is featured
there just raised it yet another notch on my respect index! =:^)