Being a KDE user has its ups and downs. The ups are that its beautiful, has a very wide and usable range of applications, updates often for bugfixes, and is generally very customizable. The downs are a few – with the Firefox+GTK integration being one of them. It makes your browser look UGLY! Of course, there are Qt-friendly browsers like Opera and Konqueror, even Arora, but these hardly work well with many sites, especially those of Google (Wave, for example). I’m not gonna delve into that subject, since this post is about using Firefox on KDE 4 (version 4.3.x).
You might have heard of the GTK engine that themes for Qt, known as gtk-engine-qt on most distributions (or with -kde4 suffix, if thats how they’ve integrated). This helps all GTK applications look great on KDE by providing *near* native look and feel. So I install that and smile, happy that my entire K Desktop is as I want it – dark, without gloss and perfectly usable with certain plasma widgets. That is until I notice my Firefox simply does not close itself when asked to, and hangs instead.
At first one would think its due to a plugin, or an extension, probably something added on that is causing it to hang when its supposed to terminate. Even the KB article at Mozillazine supports that fact. Perhaps its a popular reason, but I tried and it didn’t solve the issue for me. I jumped a few steps out of frustration and went on to move my .mozilla directory to a different name, just to see if it was a profile-related issue, and it still refused to close, driving me mad having to `killall firefox` it each time since it always hung at exit. So I switched to Opera and used it with horrible colors – Pages appeared normally as they would be rendered but the forms and other things just didn’t go well with my dark color scheme (Eclipse), making it appear like the image below, unreadable and thus untypable upon.
Unreadable, Unseeable - The form elements as they appear in my Opera (While using a dark color scheme in the DE)
The browser’s great otherwise, its fast and very customizable, but I couldn’t make any changes to these colors. I suppose one can achieve it by writing their own userstyle.css file but that is too much work. Used Opera until today, when I finally found this (pretty old) bug in the gtk-engine-qt project tracker. Uninstalled gtk-engine-qt and lo, all was normal again, closed fine and opened fine. Re-installed all plugins and extensions, and said bye-bye to Opera.
All I now miss is a native-looking dark theme with Oxygen icons, as my K Desktop contains. I’m making do with the Black Stratini theme as of now, it’s beautiful but I like the Oxygen icons better. 440 words for just the choice of browser on a dark theme, tch.