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Computer Mad Science: Classic Style KDE Menu (Shows That We CAN...)

Posted 01-20-2012 at 03:35 AM by rainbowsally
Updated 08-06-2014 at 10:36 AM by rainbowsally

Computer Mad Science: Classic Style KDE Menu (Shows That We CAN...)

I don't necessarily think the old menu style is better than the new one, but what if I wanted a screen shot that showed that we can create retro apps and "reto"fit them into the KDE menus, with a proper (and perhaps new) heirarchy so we can run them from either style menu.

First let's take a look at the Science/Mathematics/XMaxima menu as it appears in the old-style menus.

This clearly shows the menu heirarchy which is not so visible in the new KDE menus.

XMaxima is NOT a KDE application. If anything it's an X or a tcl/tk application.

It's compiled from scratch and the icons and menus are all added for KDE by creating icons and desktop files that contain all the info KDE needs to construct the menus.

But for our present purposes...

Let's take a peek at how to switch to the "Classic Menu" style if you have no right-click selection on your main menu to do that for you. (On my current system, only root has this ability.)

What's Going On Under The Hood

Understand that most or all of your KDE settings are stored in the /var folders until the session closes, as which time the items in your folder are updated. (On Kubuntu, at least at times, it seems that a full reboot is required, not just a logout/login.)

And we don't want to do ANY "superuser" stuff yet. Not until we get our feet wet with some relatively safe experiments. So let's see how we can manually change an item in the hidden folders in our HOME which is analogous to the Windows Registry, but is MUCH less dangerous to mess with!

[For one, even if you bolixed up your whole HOME folder, the system would still boot, other users could still login and run and they'd never notice your HOME was haywire. Not so with the Windows registry, but... FOR THIS REASON, TURNING *OFF* AUTOMATIC LOGIN IS HIGHLE RECOMMENDED, for the intrepid experimenter. ...And maybe even any-old-body. If you auto-login to a busted HOME, you're pretty much stuck in an endless dysfunctional loop until you find a way in that won't try to go into that HOME folder with the busted window manager(s) settings. This can really bite you in openSUSE. fpr example, if you use LXDE to change certain desktop settings and then login with kde. You MIGHT have to reinstall. (Clue: "compiz" is the WRONG window manager for kde.)]

The file we want to modify for our experiment in "Computer Mad Science" is in this folder.


With the utilities created so far in this blog we could type
browse ~/.kde4
to open the folder in konqueror (or???) and then copy the entire 'share' folder to 'share-bak'.

The exact file we want to modify is in

The name of the file is

Browse into the config folder and look around to get your bearings and then open that file and look for this line:

We'll change that to
"Simple", no? :-)

There are several ways to set this as the current config, but for now let's try changing that and then logging in in a second session (to use the new setting) and the close the previous session, to "set" the new one.

Here's the steps involved.
Lock the Screen.
Switch user.
Login as the same user again.
Verify that the menu is now the "Classic Style".
You can switch back and forth between these two sessions with the Alt-Ctrl-F7 and Alt-Ctrl-F8 keys.

[Careful here! Pay attention to what these keys do so you don't try this with a non-existent session and get stuck in a terminal you can't get out of without rebooting or playing complicated games with various runlevels.]

If you want to keep the Classic Style menu, switch to the first session and log out of it.

If you want to revert, log out of the new session instead, and undo the changes to that file (if that's even necessary).

Note: There was a way to force kde to reparse and load the system configs in kde3 using dcop
calls but I haven't tried this or looked into it yet for kde4.

Does kde4 even have 'dcop' calls anymore?

If anyone knows the magical incantation for kde4, feel free to post it here.

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  1. Old Comment
    For what it's worth, KAlgebra is a very nice application and does somewhat the same thing XMaxima does, but it just feels like peeking through a keyhole compared to XMaxima. At least to me, it does.

    XMaxima is RETRO! But it's an outstanding piece of software.

    It's complicated to compile (due to depenedencies that are also now supposedly obsolete) so that may not be what I end up using as an example of how to get these things to show in the menus correctly.

    But I'll post something, provided the winds remain favorable.

    Stay tuned. :-)
    Posted 01-20-2012 at 03:46 AM by rainbowsally rainbowsally is offline
    Updated 01-20-2012 at 03:48 AM by rainbowsally


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