Bug 248264 - Kcalc modes are awful
Summary: Kcalc modes are awful
Alias: None
Product: kcalc
Classification: Applications
Component: general (show other bugs)
Version: unspecified
Platform: Mandriva RPMs Linux
: NOR wishlist
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: Evan Teran
: 338879 (view as bug list)
Depends on:
Reported: 2010-08-18 16:52 UTC by Michał Walenciak
Modified: 2021-03-09 19:05 UTC (History)
10 users (show)

See Also:
Latest Commit:
Version Fixed In:

universal mode (3.52 KB, patch)
2011-01-21 00:27 UTC, Sergey
Universal mode for kcalc 4.6.3 (3.57 KB, patch)
2011-07-18 13:31 UTC, Jaromir Smrcek

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Description Michał Walenciak 2010-08-18 16:52:03 UTC
Version:           unspecified (using KDE 4.5.0) 
OS:                Linux

What happend do kcalc in kde4.5? I have to switch between modes? Imho it's very very bad idea. Please undo it or add some option to return to previous behaviour.

Reproducible: Always

Actual Results:  
I have to switch between modes.

Expected Results:  
I want to "turn on all" and be happy
Comment 1 Alejandro Lorenzo 2010-10-12 22:02:25 UTC
I completely Agree... this "modes" stuff is really getting in the way i use the calculator.
Comment 2 Rafal Lalik 2010-10-20 15:28:57 UTC
I confirm and contribute to the request for restoration of old good schema of mods configuring.
Comment 3 Arno Rehn 2010-11-08 18:26:28 UTC
Count me in... Please bring back the "Show all" option where you simply see everything. Much more pleasant to work with.
Comment 4 Arno Rehn 2010-11-08 18:27:01 UTC
*** This bug has been confirmed by popular vote. ***
Comment 5 Błażej Szczygieł 2010-12-15 23:26:57 UTC
KCalc with "Show all" option was more convenient and easier to use!
Comment 6 Sergey 2011-01-21 00:27:03 UTC
Created attachment 56263 [details]
universal mode

Kcalc Modes appeared in rev 1123284, which references a bug 229539, which asked for "simple" calculator.
Before that each button set could be shown/hidden separately since KDE 3.2, that feature was first referenced in bug 36236, which... asked for "simple" calculator.
Before that there were... modes (just two of them: trigonometry and statistic).

Personally I would prefer previous version of kcalc with separate configuration for each button set, since it was more flexible. But if there are reasons to implement "Modes" - attached patch adds a "Universal Mode", an equivalent to the old "Show All" button, which most people here ask for.

Patch was generated against KDE 4.5 branch.
Comment 7 manolis 2011-02-04 22:01:43 UTC
Destroyed really the usage of this calculator. Switching "modes" all the time is really annoying.
Also where are the inverse functions gone? (like arcsin or inverse of x^2=1/x
Comment 8 Martin Samek 2011-02-10 00:33:45 UTC
Yes, I also agree. Kcalc modes is bloody annoying crap. Using Kcalc with this "super feature" is pain. Why there is no All Mode/Button? Who came with this nonsense?
Comment 9 Martin Samek 2011-02-10 00:35:10 UTC
I can't believe that so simple app as Kcalc is, could be so crippled.
Comment 10 Jan Seiffert 2011-05-31 02:40:40 UTC
Count me in.

My Distro moved to 4.6 recently and now i have to deal with this regression.
It i annoying as hell. I need programmer mode and scientific mode at the same time when dealing with µController.
If the programmer mode would at least save the enabled/disabled setting of the bit view when switching modes...
Comment 11 Jaromir Smrcek 2011-07-18 12:39:26 UTC
Is this real? Are we REMOVING features in new versions now? How can such simple app as calculator get WORSE? Sorry Mr. Developer but this is just plain stupid, having no "all mode"...
Comment 12 Jaromir Smrcek 2011-07-18 13:31:27 UTC
Created attachment 61960 [details]
Universal mode for kcalc 4.6.3
Comment 13 eike.krumbacher 2011-11-19 15:29:48 UTC

I think, I am the one to blame on this. 

When I introduced modes, I thought of having an easy calculator, which shows just those things, which are needed at a time. Such a calculator needs space on the desktop and some things were broken in these days. For example: Someone tries do do sin(x) together with binary number and such things. 

Modes were an easy way out. You can select what you want to do. But you cannot have all of this at the same time as you can't with your real calculator on your table. The modes invented are the modes, my table calculator uses too. A little bit different of course, but similar. 

Someone asked for calculation with time, it's one of the whishes. How can we distinguish  between calculating with time, with degrees or just floating numbers? For me, the way out of coming soon bug reports like "When I press sin(x) after entering 6 o'clock in the morning, kcalc does not show my tea time" is just: A mode to calculate with time. You then  enter 6 o'clock, but you can't press sin(x) then. 

I really hope, you can see the advantages of modes. If not, please lets discuss this issue on kde-utile mailing list.
Comment 14 Jan Seiffert 2011-11-19 21:12:19 UTC
> I thought of having an easy calculator

Why? Why does everything has to be easy?
And when we are talking easy, why not only two modes?
simple and all.

> needs space on the desktop


> with your real calculator on your table

That's my calculator on the table:
But it needs batteries...

> How can we distinguish  between calculating with time, with degrees or just floating numbers

Not with modes, this solution is totally ... inadequate
Sneak peek from the TI-92:
(1*_gm*25*_cm)/(1*_hr^2) = 19.2901e-12*_N
Units, or simple Numbers with all the ambiguities.

Comment 15 Alejandro Lorenzo 2013-02-27 10:56:16 UTC
Is there a planned change in the way kcalc operates ? Or ii is just "Leave me alone,  i want it to work this way by the developer" ?
Comment 16 Alejandro Lorenzo 2013-11-18 14:01:50 UTC
Care to comment?
Comment 17 Evan Teran 2013-11-18 15:50:11 UTC
Hey guys,

I am the current maintainer of kcalc. I can see that there are some very strong opinions on this matter, and of course we would like to implement what is best for the most users. There are some things which I think are worth discussing.

1. Modes help in de-conflicting keyboard shortcuts which happen to be used more than one, but in different contexts. (There have  been several bug reports in the past involving broken accelerator keys in different locales, I'd rather not re-introduce those).

2. As mentioned, modes create the ability to introduce more novel ways of using the calculator. While these novel modes don't exist yet, the ability to have "Date/Time Mode", we can have "Currency Mode", etc is interesting and possibly very useful in the long run.

3. Modes help in reducing UI clutter by hiding operations which are irrelevant in the current mode.

4. The modes concept is frustrating for users who used to have a "Show All" option. I truly understand that, I found it jarring when I first saw it, but have since become used to it.

4. Switching back and forth between modes is a strange paradigm for certain operations. For example, perhaps I want to investigate IEEE floats using the "bit editor" in "Numerical System Mode". But then want to use that result in actual floating point operations... Now i have to switch modes to "Science Mode". That is, to say the least... annoying.

I will investigate the best way to offer the best solution to the most users. We may be able to have a "Kitchen Sink" mode, but at the very least, we need to first ensure that all accelerators are unique in all translations first to avoid point #1.
Comment 18 Alejandro Lorenzo 2013-11-18 17:41:01 UTC
1.- A typical keyboard has 104 keys of which 3 are modifier keys; 4 sometimes. I found it difficult to believe that there are not enough keys to assure unique keyboard shortcuts with that. Besides, my HP49G+ manages to make a lot more than Kcalc with only 51 keys.

2.- It is great to open new ways of using kcalc. But what about we mutilate kcalc usability whenever we are ready to implement such wonderful modes?  It's been three years since this bug was opened and we still have to see such "Time" or "Currency" modes. In the meantime, kcalc is pretty annoying once you want to make non-trivial operations.

3.- Agreed, by being annoying as hell. Don't know if it is a good trade-off.

4.- It IS frustrating. The desktop calculator being  frustrating is not very normal, is it?. 
And as i said, i am pretty used to a HP49G+, which is by far more frustrating in theory, Yet, kcalc manages to annoy me MORE than the monster the HP is .

5.- Come on, it is a calculator. If you need to show the base change or the Atan function, you probably know what all those funny buttons do.
Comment 19 Evan Teran 2013-11-18 19:00:40 UTC
So, you're argument while reasonable isn't entirely fair. I'll explain why.

Firstly, Convention will pre-reserve many combinations. For example, "Ctrl+C" should pretty much always mean copy (at least in my locale). Anything else would be confusing and surprising to the users. But even more importantly, most of the 104 keys and related combinations won't make sense for any given operation. Certainly a keyboard shortcut like "Ctrl+Shift+P" would be next to worthless for exponentiation. I think you'll find that unique, sensical shortcuts are much harder to come up with. Then we need to do that for every locale!

This is what I would personally consider to be the biggest blocker for creating an "Everything Mode". And is simply not something that I can do alone, I don't have the linguistic know how to ensure that it is correct, unique and meaningful in every supported language.

So, here's my current position. I am happy to seriously look into adding a mode which simply displays everything. I agree with you that there is a non-trivial number of users that would benefit from this, so of course it is worth trying to do! But as a prerequisite, I would require that every accelerator key combination is both unique and meaningful in every supported locale. We also need to be very careful about breakage in this regard. We can't break an accelerator which is very commonly used as that will aggravate even more users than this bug :-P.
Comment 20 Jaromir Smrcek 2013-11-18 19:54:47 UTC
I see this bug is going the "kde-way". Change something because of being more "orthogonal" (or whatever an let the normal user suffer for it.

You are right in wanting to have modes, prevent shortcut collisions, etc. But does a user really care about that? Doesn't the normal user just click on the buttons with a mouse?

This is just like the old "send with Alt+S in Kopete", yeah KDE uses Alt for Menu navigation and shortcuts then do not work properly. I have been using PC for 20 years now and NEVER used alt+ menu access apart from DOS. See the resemblance?

Although you are right in the "logical" way, most people (apparently) do not care, they rather have full calculator mode without proper shortcuts than the other way around.
Comment 21 Evan Teran 2013-11-18 21:41:18 UTC

You make a reasonable point. It is not my intention to "lawyer" what you said, because I believe that I know what you are saying. Which I think essentially boils down to: "It's not good to be 'technically' correct if it negatively effects most users".

I don't disagree with that concept. In fact, I find it to be a very practical stance.

However, I have to look at the big picture. While there is a lot of passion with regard to this bug, in the grand scheme of things I have no way of knowing if 9 people talking on a bug list is representative of most users. I honestly don't know if this effects most users negatively, if it does, they have not been particularly vocal.

I think that it is worth at least attempting to do it the "logically correct" way, and if that doesn't seem workable, then perhaps some minor breakage is reasonable and we can look at reevaluating the requirements and goals.
Comment 22 Jaromir Smrcek 2013-11-19 10:26:45 UTC
@Evan sure, I do get your point of the big picture. 

Of course evaluation is necessary, it's just that after a few years of nothing we get "will need to evaluate" ;)

Anyway, if the change would introduce shortcut problems, how about having an option that only people that know what they are doing, i.e. are able to look through doc/help/google can use? An option not present in the menu, but only in the config file that enables the universal mode comes to mind.
Comment 23 Christoph Feck 2014-09-07 23:22:31 UTC
*** Bug 338879 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 24 Justin Zobel 2021-03-09 03:53:44 UTC
Thank you for the bug report.

As this report hasn't seen any changes in 5 years or more, we ask if you can please confirm that the issue still persists.

If this bug is no longer persisting or relevant please change the status to resolved.
Comment 25 Beco 2021-03-09 15:07:19 UTC
The bug I filed ( Bug 338879 ) was marked as solved as duplicate of this one and closed.

I write down a short version of the request I made there in hope this one stays open. Thanks.


Feature request:

Create a new mode on Settings Menu, to allow all bottoms to show.
Show all bottoms, such as: 
Group 1: hyp, sin, cos, tan, log, ln
Group 2: mod, 1/x, x!, x^2, x^y, x^3, x*10^y
Group 3: n, mea, sigma_n, med, dat, cst
Group 4: and, or, xor, lsh, rsh, cmp
Group 5: a, b, c, d, e, f

Select bottoms:
Group a: deg, rad, grad
Group b: hex, dec, oct, bin

Additional info: 
* also add a sqrt() bottom, (probably best on group 2).

Thanks for your attention to this "bug" (Feature request).

Comment 26 Jan Seiffert 2021-03-09 19:05:05 UTC
Running atm version 20.08.3

The basic problem still persists.
Kcalc still has this restrictive mode interface and no "show all"-mode or something like that.
If one needs functions from different modes one is out of luck.

Esp. since some settings are not saved between switching modes (say you have logic and hex view, switch to scientific, do something, back to logic you are at decimal again, degree and radians is saved...).

And yes, where is the sqrt button? Ahh, i found it, after 5 Years. Hidden behind shift.
Was the factorial button more important? Maybe in statistics mode, but not scientific mode. So please remind me: Wheren't modes supposed to group your most needed keys for that mode?
Labelling the buttons how keyboards (esp. calculator keyboards) normally show secondary functions could help.

Or even better: give us all the buttons if one chooses to do so. A computer/software is not that restricted what an economical amount of buttons is like a real physical entity.