[HOWTO] (Python Plasmoids – Part 1) Write Hello World Plasma Applet in Python

I am new to KDE and I have come to like the plasmoids on the Desktop. They can be used to display information (eg. Weather, Time, News) or can be used to carry out some tasks (upload images/text to web, check mail etc) easily.

I don’t have any experience of Plasmoid development. I have decided to learn to write Plasmoids. I have moderate knowledge of Python.. I am learning Plasmoid development in Python and will be posting my experience. Feel free to learn with me or correct me if I am wrong.

I will be using Fedora 14 with KDE 4.5 for all my development and testing. However, other distros with any sub-version of KDE 4 should work fine. I will be citing all the references and where you can learn more.

I will be using Kwrite and KDevelop to develop plasmoids. However, you can pick any editor of choice.

For Hello World plasmoid, create a directory called hello anywhere you want. Also, create the following directory structure inside hello:

├── contents
│   └── code

The directory structure must be as shown above. or the plasmoid will not work.

Now, we will need a metadata for the plasmoid. This metadata file will contain the name, version, author-name, type of plasmoids and other information about the plasmoid. It should be inside the plasmoid directory (i.e. inside hello in this case). Here is my sample of metadata.desktop.

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Hello World
Comment=A Basic Hello World Example


Most of the fields are self-explanatory and to learn about the fields and other choices, see here.

As we have specified in X-Plasma-MainScript field in metadata.desktop, we will now create the file hello/contents/code/main.py. Note that you can use any filename for main.py but you will have to change in metadata.desktop accordingly.

The following is the very basic main.py which does absolutely nothing:

from PyQt4.QtCore import *
from PyQt4.QtGui import *
from PyKDE4.plasma import Plasma
from PyKDE4 import plasmascript
class MainApplet(plasmascript.Applet):
    def __init__(self,parent,args=None):
def CreateApplet(parent):
    return MainApplet(parent)

If the above plasmoid is run, you will see no output at all, just an empty plasmoid.
To run it, cd to the directory where you created the hello directory and run the following:

plasmoidviewer hello

If everything goes right, you will be able to see something like the following:

If any error occurs, you can see the output in the terminal to see whats wrong and hopefully fix it.

After running the application, lets analyse what we have done here.

Line 1-4 are import statements. If you are familiar with Python, you must be familiar with them. They are basically statements which tells the interpretor where to look for the functions and classes used in the program. Those are the minimum ones you will need for your Python plasmoids to work.

Lines 6-8 define a class derived from plasmascript.Applet. There must be at least one such class for your plasmoid to work. The name of the class may be anything you like. The class’ __init__ function initializes just the same function of base class which is to say it does nothing at all. While developing plasmoids later, you may want to do some stuff even prior to initialization of plasmoid. That stuff goes in this function.

There must be yet another function Createapplet() which must take 1 argument “parent” and pass it as initializer for the object of class derived from plasmascript.Applet and return the object. This function is in lines 10-11.

We have returned the Applet object as it is without modifications. We will now add some stuff to the Applet object before returning. In this tutorial, we will just add a label saying “Hello World”. To add a label however, we need to have a layout. So,we set a layout and then add a label on top of it.
To do that, we will be using init() method which is called after the applet is initialized and added. Here is the new code for main.py:

from PyQt4.QtCore import *
from PyQt4.QtGui import *
from PyKDE4.plasma import Plasma
from PyKDE4 import plasmascript

class MainApplet(plasmascript.Applet):
    def __init__(self,parent,args=None):
    def init(self):
        layout=QGraphicsLinearLayout(Qt.Vertical, self.applet)
        label = Plasma.Label(self.applet)
        label.setText("Hello World")
def CreateApplet(parent):
    return MainApplet(parent)

The added code is the init() from line 10-15. First, a variable layout is set as QGraphicsLinearLayout(). This takes two arguments, one is the parent and the other is either Qt.Vertical or Qt.Horizontal. This layout orientation parameter decides whether the added items (if there are more than one) are arranged vertically or horizontally.

In line 12, a new Plasma.Label object is created. It takes in parent as the constructor argument. Other plasma widgets are available here. There is no Python specific documents as of now but the C++ documents work fine and it is easy to figure out how to use it in Python.

In line 13, we use a method setText() of Plasma.Label to set the text of the label and in the next line, we add the item to the layout we created earlier. Finally, in line 15 we set the layout we created as the label for the current applet.

When done testing, you may want to install the plasmoid to see how it looks on the desktop. To do that, you must zip it install it using plasmapkg. Change to hello/ directory and run the following to zip it to hello.zip:

zip -r ../hello.zip ./

Now, run the following to install it:

plasmapkg -i hello.zip

Now, you can add the plasmoid to your desktop. To remove it, just run:

plasmapkg -r hello

Here is what we have at the end:


This is a simple tutorial from a newbie to create Plasmoids in Python. However, we did not do any useful work with it. In the next tutorial, I will try to cover my experience creating something useful.



[HOWTO] Install Oxygen-transparent and make your KDE Desktop look awesome in Fedora 14

Oxygen-transparent is a modification of KDE Oxygen-style to add cool transparency. It was supposed to be merged to KDE 4.6, but the idea has been dropped due to issues with the theme. However, it can be installed in KDE 4.5 and 4.6 currently. I am using KDE 4.5 in Fedora 14 and here is how I got it installed.

However, before installing, do note what the developer has to say:
– this will erase your current oxygen installation;
– this will likely be erased by any future update of oxygen by your distribution packages;
– again, this is experimental

Having said that, lets continue.

Installing Build Dependencies
Run the following command as root to install build dependencies. To run as root, type “su” followed by your password and then enter the following.

yum install kdebase-workspace-devel kdelibs-devel subversion libXrender-devel libX11-devel gcc-c++ cmake gcc wget

Getting The Helper Script
To make the installation easy developer HugoPereira has written a script available at KDE-Look.org. Download and save the script to an empty directory and make it executable.

To download the currently available version of the script, you can run the following commands:

mkdir /tmp/oxygen-transparent
cd /tmp/oxygen-transparent
wget http://kde-look.org/CONTENT/content-files/127752-oxygen-setup.pl --output-document=oxygen-setup.pl
chmod +x oxygen-setup.pl

Running The Helper Script
You can run the helper script (as root or any normal user) by typing in the following:


The script will download the latest sources from svn, then runs cmake and compiles the code locally.

If the compilation is successful, you should get a mesage:

— done

type “cd build; make install” (as root, or using sudo) to install.
report problems to “hugo[at-the-rate]oxygen-icons.org”.

Run the following as root and the new theme should be installed:

cd build; make install

That should install the modified oxygen theme.

Log out and log back in to see the changes in effect. Also, after logging back in, you can configure the theme by running oxygen-settings (Alt+F2 and type in oxygen-settings). Open up “System Settings”> “Application Appearance” and press “Configure” to adjust transparency values.

Hope this helps.

[HOWTO] Move controls (maximize, minimize, close) to the left in KDE 4

I have used Ubuntu Lucid since its early alpha stages to the final and then continued using it until lately. I am used to having title bar control buttons (i.e. maximize, minimize, close) on the left side of the window. I recently moved to Fedora 14 KDE Edition and was having problems with the control buttons. So, I moved them to the left. Here is how it is done.

Right click on the title bar and select “Configure Window Behaviour”.

Click on “Window Decorations” in the left pane.

Click on “Configure Buttons” and you should see your current title structure. Drag around to get the following configuration.

Hope this helps.

[HOWTO] Enable MP3/AVI/MPEG/FLV and other audio/video formats playable in Fedora 14

I just installed Fedora 14 KDE Spin and like many other Linux distros, it does not play MP3, MPEG and several other formats by default. To enable playback of these proprietary formats, you must install non-free codecs. To get those, I installed the Livna and RPM Fusion repos by clicking the following links and opening each with KPackageKit:
RPM Fusion Free
RPM Fusion Non-Free

Wait for them to be installed and when done search KPackageKit for SMplayer and VLC. For audio playback, you can install a great KDE Audio Player known as Amarok. You can play almost any format with VLC but you might want to keep another player handy for playback. To enable almost any media support for Amarok and SMplayer, you must install gstreamer-plugins-bad and gstreamer-plugins-ugly and xine-lib-extras-freeworld.

Hope this helps.