Welcome KDE apps back onto your GNOME desktop

An interesting trend I've noticed over the years is the thought process of how users install applications. Most of the time, a KDE user installing an application won't care what the application uses or what desktop it is designed for. They just simply install the application, use it, and get on with life.

The thoughts are different with the average GNOME user, however. A lot of times, when installing software, many GNOME users check to make sure the application was made for GNOME (GTK) before installing it. Why? In most cases, it is because the application will look different and won't fit in with the others on their system.

Qt Default Look

And with good reason. A bad looking interface is enough to pull anyone away from an application. Obviously, these Qt applications will look fine on KDE, but it's time to bring the love over to the GNOME desktop.

Qt 3


While there is no way to match a Qt3 theme exactly to your GTK theme, there are ways to tweak it to make it look presentable. One of these methods is by installing the QtCurve theme for KDE, which gives applications a more "GTK" look and feel. (If you really want to take it far, there is also a version of QtCurve for GTK.)

Qt3 with QtCurve

Once you install QtCurve, you could edit some configuration files to make the theme take effect, but the easiest (and most complete) way is to simply install kcontrol. Yes, that means bringing in a bunch of KDE dependencies, but don't worry, we'll fix that later.

Run kcontrol, either from Alt+F2 or in a terminal, and expand Appearance & Themes on the left sidebar. First, open the Style dialog. Under Widget Style, select QtCurve from the dropdown menu. You can also select another Qt theme if you think it more closely resembeles your GTK theme.

Next up are the icons. In the same section (Appearance & Themes), visit the Icons panel. Select Tango from the list, and finally hit Apply. Your KDE applications should now look almost the same as everything else on your system.

But, we're not done. Unless you want your system menu to be cluttered with a bunch of KControl options, you'll want to remove it (and extra dependencies, if any). Okay, now you're done, unless you want to configure Qt4 applications. If you do, continue on down.

Qt 4 and KDE 4


Qt4 with GTK

Thankfully, Trolltech saw the lack of integration from Qt 3. While a theme is available to integrate GTK apps into KDE, the reverse never existed. With the introduction of QGtkStyle, GNOME users will be able to enjoy KDE applications on their system and never feel out of place. QGtkStyle is not available for any distribution yet, but you are free to download the source and configure it using the same instructions as above, except by using qtconfig instead of kcontrol.

That's all you'll need for a nicer, better integrating desktop. It may be a bit of a pain to set up, but the end experience is worth it. Enjoy.

Avatar for jacob Jacob Peddicord - http://jacob.peddicord.net/

Jacob is a web developer, student, and programmer from Ohio. He is a staff member at the Ubuntu Forums and is most likely a fanboy of the distribution. He loves to write in code and words, play video games, and rant about topics most would have abandoned long ago. Jacob uses GNOME and is never seen running stable software, much to the demise of his laptop.

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Discussion: Welcome KDE apps back onto your GNOME desktop

  1. mic (guest)

    # Posted on 31 May 2008 at 10:42 PM

    gnome and the way to mono and moonlight.

    might as well make it looks like vista :D



  2. ANovak (guest)

    # Posted on 01 June 2008 at 02:17 PM

    This is very cool from Qt developers. It is just another thing which makes Qt even better choice then GTK. Qt is already a lot more powerful and with this it now also integrates better with more desktop environemnts.



  3. John (guest)

    # Posted on 03 June 2008 at 12:48 PM

    "In most cases, it is because the application will look different and won’t fit in with the others on their system."

    In my case is about speed (first load time). In case of KDE apps. running on GNOME, the problem is that when I start them the first time it take a lot of time to load. That is my problem (not the look; the look is fine).

    I know that KDE apps. running on KDE don't have this problem because most of the libs. are already loaded but...



  4. Toby Haynes (guest)

    # Posted on 03 June 2008 at 01:55 PM

    If you are seeing long loading times when you first start a program, you should consider using the "preload" service. This is an adaptive read-ahead daemon that learns your usage patterns and loads up the file caches as appropriate. I've found this cuts the start time for OpenOffice.org in half and I'm fairly certain that's not the only app that has benefitted.

    There's an article on it at http://www.techthrob.com/tech/preload.php

    Obviously this doesn't help if your system is tight on memory before you load anything.



  5. Kevin Dean (guest)

    # Posted on 03 June 2008 at 04:36 PM

    As a Gnome user myself (primarily) I have to disagree. I install the best applications for the job, which means Ktorrent sits alongside my Gnome apps, and k3b makes it feel as if it's not alone.

    As a former KDE user, I think you're also overlooking one of (until VERY recently) KDE's strengths, the qt-gtk-engine. This allowed GTK widgets to render as Qt widgets, making "Gnome applications" like GIMP and Exaile fit right in place visually in KDE.

    As of Qt 4.4, however, this balance has shifted. Trolltech introduced QtGtkStyle, which allows Qt apps to render using GTK. There's no reason users of either Gnome OR KDE must confirm to a single theme in order to have a desktop that's visually consistant or pleasing.



  6. jet (guest)

    # Posted on 04 June 2008 at 02:10 AM

    Another problem - printers: GTK apps know noting about configured printers in KDE



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