Tip of the day: Hack your dashboard
June 2, 2010
So I have switched to KDE SC 4.5 Beta 1 on my production systems now. This is about the perfect time to play with the system a bit. And looking at my mostly empty Plasma dashboard, I figured that the Search & Launch interface (as known from Plasma netbook) would fit in there quite well.
Looking around, there is no configuration interface to configure the dashboard (apart from the “Show desktop widgets” vs. “Show an independent widget set” option), but the code reveals that the dashboard is just another containment, so one should be able to replace it. And yes, there is a way to do so:
- Set the aforementioned option (which you find in System Settings in the workspace options) to “Show an independent widget set”.
- Run “kquitapp plasma-desktop” (e.g. from KRunner) to shutdown Plasma. I had to do this multiple times because Plasma restarted automatically (which IMO should not happen with kquitapp).
- Open plasma-desktop-appletsrc in a text editor. If you do not know where to look for this file, use the following command in a terminal to find it:
kde4-config --path config --locate plasma-desktop-appletsrc
- Now search for the line “Plugin=desktopDashboard”, and change it into “Plugin=sal” if you want the Search & Launch interface on the dashboard. For the folder view, use “Plugin=folderview”. For the newspaper activity, use “Plugin=newspaper”.
- Save and restart plasma-desktop (e.g. by typing this into KRunner).
There are some usability glitches, though, because Search&Launch was not exactly prepared for this usecase: For example, I’m badly missing keyboard navigation features.
P.S. There’s a feature request on b.k.o to make configuring this easier. Vote on it if you like this.