Re: Full screen screws up desktop
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Renaud (Ron) Olgiati posted on Mon, 19 Mar 2012 19:58:31 -0300 as
> I have noticed that after playing some games (Pinball and Xlogical) in
> fullscreen, my desktop is all messed up with all the icons scrunched
> together on the LH side of the screen, as if I had done an Icon => Sort
> and this in spite of having the icons locked.
> Is there a way to avoid this ?
> KDE 4.6.5
You /do/ know that kde 4.6 is a year outdated, now, that many of the
issues it had have been addressed in 4.7 and now 4.8, and that 4.8 has
now had its first bugfix release, with 4.8.1 being current, right? It's
thus quite likely that the problem you're seeing has been fixed since
then, and in fact, I know that several similar plasma desktop (plasma-
desktop being the app that manages both the desktop and the panels) bugs
were fixed, tho of course you'd have to try a current 4.8 yourself to
know whether that specific one was fixed.
I think what's happening is that the full-screen games you're running are
forcing a different, probably lower, resolution. For example, if you're
running at a standard full-HD 16:9 widescreen resolution of 1920x1080 for
the normal desktop, it's likely that the games force an earlier standard
4:3 resolution of perhaps 1024x768 or even 800x600 or 640x480. The
plasma desktop is sensing the change and adjusting for it, thus making
the desktop say 1024x768 as well, causing the plasmoids (icons and
otherwise) on the desktop to realign. When you're done with the game, it
returns the resolution to your normal desktop resolution of (in our
example) 1920x1080, but unlike with the shrinkage, which forced plasma to
adjust plasmoid positions to compensate for the smaller desktop,
returning to a larger desktop doesn't trigger a return to the former
FWIW, I'm not much of a gamer here, tho I used to switch resolutions for
one game I play, but use OpenGL scaling to scale its window to the
desktop size instead, now days. Otherwise, I used to switch resolutions
in ordered to zoom in for graphics work, but use kde's desktop effects
zoom (also OpenGL scaling based, FWIW) for that most of the time too,
these days. It's just easier to leave the desktop at the native monitor
resolution and use opengl scaling...
But, I still do use resolution switching for some things occasionally,
and AFAIK, plasma back in 4.6 DID have some problems in this area, that
at least here, appear to be MUCH better in 4.8 (but I think that fix was
I actually have two monitors, full HD 1920x1080, stacked orientation for
1920x2160 desktop spread over both. For switching resolutions, I use a
script that invokes xrandr in such a way as to maintain the full
1920x2160 desktop size, while making the individual monitors resolutions
smaller viewports onto the larger still 1920x2160 "virtual" desktop.
Back in 4.6, IIRC, plasma would sense the resolution change and adjust
the plasma-desktop size to match, even tho the full sized "virtual"
desktop remained unchanged at 1920x2160. In 4.8 and I think 4.7, the
plasma desktop remains the same full "virtual" desktop size, with the
lower resolution monitors showing smaller pieces of that larger desktop,
zoomed in to match the current monitor resolution, an panning in the RandR
panning domain I configured via the xrandr call in the script.
Also, I think that plasma now saves a separate configuration for each
virtual desktop resolution, so if the resolution changes, it adjusts only
the first time a resolution is used, then uses the saved resolution from
then on. As such, when the resolution returned to normal, it would, I
believe, return to the saved config. However, I haven't actually tested
this myself, only seen it described in various bug reports now marked
fixed, etc, so I can't personally confirm this one.
So there have DEFINITELY been some bugfixes in that area since 4.6. If
your overall "virtual" resolution stays the same, I *KNOW* it works
better, or at least more as I would have expected, now. If the overall
virtual size changes with the monitor/viewport resolution, I THINK it
works better now as well, but that bit I haven't personally verified.
I've only personally verified the constant virtual size, changing viewport
Thus, the way to avoid it would seem to be to run something a bit more
current, in which those bugs have been addressed. =:^)
Alternatively, you can try either setting your desktop resolution to the
lower resolution used by the games, or configuring the games to use the
higher native desktop resolution. If the resolution doesn't change, the
problem shouldn't trigger.
There's one other /possible/ alternative, altho I'm not sure it'll work,
due again to other bugs, this time in activities, since plasma's
activities support is still evolving quite fast and was really rather
rudimentary in 4.6. The idea here is to use plasma's activities feature
to work around the issue. Configure a "games" activity without the usual
desktop plasmoids/icons/etc (you'd use the menu available from the little
"cashew" aka "toolbox" icon, to do this). Switch to it while you're
still in normal desktop resolution before starting your full-screen
game. When you're done with your game and have switched back to normal
desktop resolution, you can switch back to your normal desktop activity.
You MAY have to also press stop on the desktop activity after having
switched to the games activity, before switching resolutions, then start
the regular desktop activity again after switching back to normal
resolution, so the normal desktop activity isn't even running to see the
If it works, that should prevent your normal desktop activity from even
knowing about the other resolution, so it should remain fine. If it
doesn't... well... upgrade to a newer version in which many of these bugs
have been fixed.
Or just learn to live with it until your distro of choice upgrades to a
newer kde, probably with a distro upgrade.
Duncan - List replies preferred. No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
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