Understanding KDE Plasma – Using The Widgets

KDE is the second most popular open source window manager for operating systems like Linux and FreeBSD. It’s been around for years recently going to version 4.0. KDE 4 and beyond is much different that version 3 offering some features that no desktop interface has actually seen before. Without getting into the details of what people love or hate about the changes, KDE does have some new desktop features.

Traditionally your desktop has some icons, files, and folders on it. Generally the desktop that you see is also attached to a folder. If you edit the items on the desktop or desktop folder, the changes will be made in both locations. Almost any operating system or display you see has this basic concept.

KDE 4 changed this. Instead of having a traditional desktop there are widgets. Many desktops do have widgets but everything in KDE 4 is a widget. The idea is that you have complete control over the way you desktop works but adding, moving, and resizing widgets. You don’t have the traditional desktop with folders and files like you are using to on most systems.

If you miss having desktop icons, this is still possible. Add your desktop widget or any folder on your machine as a widget to the desktop. This type of widget will show the contents of that folder. If you have multiple folders on your machine you need quick access to, put them all on the desktop.

Besides folders your traditional widgets like clocks, calculators, rss feeds, blogs, twitter, and others are available.

One thing to note is that using a significant number of widgets can slow down a system. It’s a good idea to be using these to their full extent only on desktops and laptops that have extra resources. KDE 4 really isn’t a netbook based graphical interface and probably never will be.