Fwd: Re: Dolphin config in Kubuntu

Jonathan Riddell jriddell at ubuntu.com
Wed Jul 14 14:54:57 BST 2010

----- Forwarded message from Peter Penz <peter.penz19 at gmail.com> -----

From: Peter Penz <peter.penz19 at gmail.com>

Hi Jonathan,

thanks for contacting me, as it's very interesting for me to get some 
background infos why some distributions change the default settings.

On Wednesday 14 July 2010 14:16:58 you wrote:
> Hi Peter
> I'd like to make a few config changes to Dolphin in Kubuntu for our
> next release.
> Firstly, turn on file previews by default.  Since Dolphin seems to
> detect between local and remote files now that stops it being a
> problem downloading large remote files.  Is there a reason this isn't
> on by default?  There doesn't seem to be a way to change this globally
> without patching the code unfortunately.

Personally I'd recommend not to turn on previews by default, because of 3 

1. From my point of view having a preview makes only sense when having a quite 
large icon size. When turning previews automatically on (and hence having 
large icons), a lot of space is wasted, as except for images there are rare 
cases where a preview really brings some benefit. From the bug reports/e-mails 
I got, the general tendency is that most people want to have as many icons 
visible as possible and some consider even the default size of 32 x 32 as too 
big ;-) Instead I'd recommend, that (if possible) KUbuntu just adds a 
.directory folder to the ~/Pictures, so that previews are automatically turned 
on only for the pictures folder (or for other folders where it makes sense).

2. Performance. Even just for local files, enabling previews slows down the 
performance a lot. This is even the case if no previews will be generated at 
all, as the MIME type of each file must be determined to know whether a 
preview should get generated. The worst case scenario is turning on previews 
for /usr/bin: To get the MIME type, the content of all files must be read... 
Just try to go into large (> 1000 items) directories with enabled and disabled 
preview as comparison.

3. (maybe no good reason) No other file manager has previews turned on per 
default for all directories. When I have to do decisions like this, I always 
look how competitors do it. If I do something different, then I'd really need 
to be convinced that doing it different is better for the targeted audience. 
If I'm not 100 % sure, I do it like the competitors as they probably had some 
good reasons for this. I'm also not aware of any other distribution that 
turned on previews for Dolphin per default.

It's of course on you to decide :-)

Regarding changing it globally without touching code: It would be possible by 
adding a corresponding .directory file into 
.kde/share/apps/dolphin/view_properties/global. To get the .directory file: 
Just use a view in Dolphin that matches your defaults and take the .directory 
file from there.

> Secondly turn off the search toolbar by default.  We are turning off
> Nepomuk Strigi indexing by default so this follows. Have you
> considered having it show the search toolbar based on whether Nepomuk
> Strigi indexing is turned on?

Yes, I thought about this already but I could not manage to do it for KDE SC 
4.5 :-( For KDE SC 4.6 I have some plans to fix this in a (hopefully) very 
nice way (I plan to improve the search interface a lot and plan to make it 
work partly also when having no Nepomuk/Strigi). So yes: This should be turned 
off per default.

> Finally turn on the information panel by default, it's just too useful
> not to.

I've changed the default to a turned off information panel recently, as from 
my point of view it does not add much useful information without 
Nepomuk/Strigi, but wastes a lot space. If you open Dolphin the first time 
with enabled Information Panel, you get a very small area for your files (as 
the default size must be small enough to be OK for smaller displays). The 
enabled information panel has been criticized lately (if I remember correctly 
it was triggered by one of Jos' blogs) and that's why I turned it off per 

Of course my default settings might be worth to be discussed, but I'm 
collecting Dolphin input for several years now and try to provide proper 
defaults for Dolphin's target group (http://dolphin.kde.org/philosophy.html). 
Personally I work with different defaults (e. g. details view as default, 
inline renaming, ...).

I'd consider the searchbar-stuff as bug, the Information Panel thing worth to 
be discussed, but I'd strongly propose not to turn on previews per default :-)


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