Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dolphin 2.1 and non-resizable places panel icons

Those who have tested or used KDE SC 4.9 will probably be very happy to have upgraded. In my experience, it is the most stable and high-performance KDE desktop I have ever used, even after only one bugfix release. Nothing is perfect, though, and while there is little to complain about here, I must admit I am one of those bugged by the new places panel on Dolphin.

In case you don't know, the masterminds behind Dolphin decided to remove the auto-resize functionality from the panel, a very neat and unique feature that would change the icons size depending on the width allowed to the panel. I always thought that was a great feature, because it allowed me to get the most of Dolphin on different machines with different screen sizes. As it currently is, Dolphin looks a bit ridiculous on my 22 inch display. With so much screen real state, one can easily make the places panel wider and get the most of the gorgeous Oxygen icon theme, all without any significant impact in terms of functionality.

Apparently, some people thought this behavior made no sense and actually made things worse, so it was logged as bug. The Dolphin developers probably felt the same, because they accepted it and changed the behavior to small folders that cannot be resized in any way, as shown below:

Click on image to enlarge

Here's an older version of Dolphin for comparison. The places panel on the left is expanded and its icons are automatically resized to the biggest possible size.

Click on image to enlarge

It seems that lots of people actually found the lost feature as cool as I did and have complained that it is now missing. The good news is that KDE developers will review this behavior and allow resizing back into Dolphin places panel come KDE SC 4.10. Here's the official line from one of them:

"It is planned to make the icon size configurable via the context menu in the future, but this is not possible during the 4.9.x cycle because of the string freeze. Some people will probably ask if we could bring the automatic resizing from KDE <= 4.8 back. I know that many users liked this feature, but others perceived it as a bug. I believe that an option to set the icon size using the context menu will suit everyone."

So there you have it, if you were missing the resizing feature, it will be back (sort of) come KDE SC 4.10. I wonder if auto-resize will ever make it back, but in the meantime, I am happy that some flexibility will be there for Dolphin users in this area.


  1. Hi Chema,

    could you please provide a picture, how 4.8 dolphin looked as well? Just for comparison.


  2. I have edited the article to add an older version of Dolphin for comparison. You will also notice that the settings button has changed, both in location and in terms of the icon they are using.

  3. It should be configurable, but I didn't like the auto-resize feature, and I prefer the small icon size that I'm seeing in KDE 4.9.1, Dolphin 2.1, in Sabayon 10.

    1. To each his own, of course, but I like flexibility and it is one of the main reasons I favor KDE as my main DE. I loved the auto-resize feature, but I can see others not liking it, so the flexibility to go one way or the other is perfect, I think.

      Unfortunately, the solution they are bringing in 4.10 is an in between compromise, I think. I would rather have the ability to turn auto-resize on and off, that would be awesome.

      Thanks for reading!