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Old 6th October 2008
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Question KDE4 - truly beautiful, except one little issue

I just updated my main workstation today to KDE4 along with some other software, and KDE4 is truly a work of art. The entire thing is really quite beautiful with one small problem.

It may be related to legacy KDE3 stuff in my home directory, but for some reason my systray clock is blinking and the second digit of the seconds is covered by what looks like junk when in seamonkey. Seamonkey is maximized in one of my virtual desktops. Moving the mouse over other virtual desktops looks incorrect as well (the highlighting it normally does over them is not correct in appearance, the actual weirdness is hard to explain). Once I change to another virtual desktop, such as an empty one, or one inhabited by a maximized ktorrent or konsole, everything is normal until my focus returns to seamonkey in its virtual desktop. I've tried with Firefox3 as well, and this issue only seems to occur with seamonkey (I prefer the seamonkey UI to the newer firefox UI).

I've seen a few other KDE4 users on here, has anyone else seen anything like this? I can't get a screenshot of it, as the problem goes away when I bring KSnapShot into focus.
Thanks!
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Old 7th October 2008
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I haven't noticed the "blinking clock" behavior and I don't use seamonkey. Can you elaborate on what you mean when you say the clock is blinking? I have both KDE3 and KDE4 installed and haven't noticed any issues with it other than the seconds lagging sometimes under load.

If you want to take a screenshot, use the "Snapshot Delay" feature in KSnapshot. Give yourself enough time to setup your desktop to where the problem arises, then it should snap it just as it is.
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Old 7th October 2008
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I've narrowed this issue down a little bit more, and found another. On this one:
By blinking, I mean the clock either becomes wholly transparent if translucency effects are turned OFF, or the second digit of the seconds becomes garbled if translucency effects are turned ON. Also, the virtual desktop selector does not become garbled when translucency effects are OFF.
I've also narrowed it down to find that it only occurs when my cursor focus is in certain places, and even then, it's unreliable at best - oftentimes, typing in a text input box on a web form, or in the URL bar, will trigger it, but it's flaky about triggering.

The second issue I've found is that after opening several browser windows, progressive windows are painted entirely black - they still accept input, and become normal when sized down, but I prefer my browsers maximized. They still behave normally when they are entirely black (clicking the un-maximize button works, even, as do other non-WM parts of the window.) This impacts firefox, seamonkey, etc. I have not tested opening many of the same type of windows in other applications, so it's hard to tell if it's mozilla-specific, or even perhaps GTK-specific. I'll muck with this a bit today and see if I can narrow it down.

Last edited by mdh; 7th October 2008 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 8th October 2008
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Another update:
This black window bug can occur with any sort of window, and not just root windows either - it just happened to the ktorrent window which pops up to allow one to select which files in a torrent to download. It's also happened when I opened a bunch of kpdf instances.
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Old 8th October 2008
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The black-window-bug (or BWB) has plagued nvidia users with compiz for a long time now. Basically, it happens when the video card runs out of memory when using the GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap extension.

While you haven't said what video card you are using, I'm going to guess that it's an nvidia card and that you are either using compiz or KDEs built-in compositor, correct?

Adam
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Old 8th October 2008
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When first researching this, I did see a bunch of stuff on the web about the beryl/compiz nvidia bug that caused a similar situation, but since I'm not using beryl/compiz, I didn't figure that it applied. I also saw a similar bug on the KDE bug tracker, but it is a fairly old entry and spoke of more recent nvidia drivers fixing the issue. I've asked the maintainer on that bug for some more information, since I couldn't find any more details on my own regarding that issue.

I'm running the latest (from ports) nvidia driver, which is version 173.14.12 with a GeForce 6200 PCIE16 card. With regards to the built-in compositor, I'm not entirely sure. I'm using KDE4.1.1 from ports, on a recent RELENG_7 system. KDE4 is set to use OpenGL, where the options are OpenGL or Xrender.

As far as the former issue goes, it doesn't seem to be related - no one else is mentioning it when talking about the nvidia black window bug, at least. Once I figure out what the fix is for the black window bug and apply it, I'll see if the first issue goes away...
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Old 8th October 2008
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Yeah, I can't comment on the first issue, but the second is definitely the notorious BWB. Just like compiz and beryl, the OpenGL backend for the KDE4 compositor uses GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap.

I'm not sure there really is a fix, per se. Generally, newer versions of the driver resolved that issue for *most* compiz/nvidia users. I know that in compiz, using the --indirect-rendering would often reduce the chances of hitting that bug in the driver, but I don't know if there's a way to force indirect rendering for kwin.
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Old 8th October 2008
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A brief summary of the information I've found so far on the "black windows bug" from around the web:

Someone having similar difficulties with KDE4 on Linux: http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=118778 (This links to a KDE bug tracker entry where the KDE devs blame nVidia and there's no real useful information as far as I can tell, but you may wish to check it out.)

Some proposed fixes for Compiz, which I've not tried, but plan to mess around with later: http://forum.compiz-fusion.org/showthread.php?t=1762


A fix for it (which stinks, since one ought to be able to enjoy their video card):

System Settings -> Desktop -> Desktop Effects: Un-click the checkbox for "Enable desktop effects"

Note: This doesn't fix the first bug I mention - may need to submit it to the KDE bug tracker and see what they say there, but getting a screencap of it doesn't seem possible, which makes life a bit harder...
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