This week in KDE: Major bugfixing and screen recording in Spectacle

The team is in full-on bugfixing mode and we’re knocking out issues left and right in preparation for the Plasma 5.27 final release! I bet everyone reading can find at least one fix for a bug that’s annoyed them at some point, because we have a few big ones here! We want this to be the best, most stable, most awesome Plasma 5 release ever, so folks are happy with it for 8 months or longer before Plasma 6 drops.

We did manage to sneak in some feature work too (you know us!) including screen recording for Spectacle! Check it out:

New Features

Spectacle now includes video recording on Wayland! (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Spectacle 23.04. Link):

Spectacle main window showing a tab bar on the right with the tabs "Screenshot" and "Recording", demonstrating the new screen recording functionality

OpenConnect VPNs now support double-authentication mode using SAML authentication (Rahul Rameshbabu, Plasma 6.0, Link)

By default, the tooltips for all of our various clock widgets now show seconds, just in case you need to see them quickly, but don’t want the overhead of manually turning on the display of settings. This is also configurable, of course! (Alessio Bonfiglio, Plasma 6.0. Link 1 and link 2)

When you’re using the Unsplash Picture of the Day wallpaper plugin, you can now choose to only show results from the “Cyber” category (David Elliott, Plasma 6.0. Link):

Plasma desktop wit wallpaper depicting a  turquoise colored sci-fi subway station from Unsplash's "cyber-world", with Plasma's configuration window open in front of it demonstrating how to configure Plasma to show these kinds of wallpapers

User Interface Improvements

When you have the filter bar open in Dolphin and it’s filtering the view, clicking on a Places panel for the current view entry now resets the filter and shows you everything (Serg Podtynnyi, Dolphin 23.04. Link)

Spectacle’s “Capture the current pop-up only” checkbox is no longer present on Wayland, because it doesn’t do anything there (me: Nate Graham, Spectacle 23.04. Link)

System Settings’ Icons page now shows a “Help” button that takes you to the documentation for it (Natalie Clarius, Plasma 5.27. Link)

It’s now possible to delete Global Themes right from the grid view in System Settings, without having to go into the “Get New Global Themes…” window to do it, just like in most other System Settings pages for choosing visual theming options (Fushan Wen, Plasma 6.0 Link)

Scrolling over scrollbars (not dragging them; actually scrolling over them) now works consistently in QtQuick-based apps. And they also look better when using a right-to-left language, to! (Ivan Tkachenko, Frameworks 5.103. Link 1 and link 2)

Significant Bugfixes

(This is a curated list of e.g. HI and VHI priority bugs, Wayland showstoppers, major regressions, Plasma 5.27 beta bugs, etc.)

Spectacle FINALLY no longer includes itself in screenshots taken without a 1-second or longer delay using the main window (David Redondo, Spectacle 23.04. Link)

Under certain circumstances, Discover no longer always crashes on launch unless its cache folder (~/.cache/discover) is empty (Fabian Vogt, Plasma 5.24.8. Link)

KWin can no longer sometimes crash when you rapidly resize a quick-tiled window adjacent to another quick-tiled window (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Fixed a recent regression in the Plasma Wayland session that could cause GTK apps to succeed at sending clipboard data to Plasma only once and then fail on all subsequent times (David Redondo, Plasma 5.27. Link)

GTK4 apps are no longer double-scaled when using screen scaling (Luca Bacci, Plasma 5.27. Link)

When you’ve set up a window rule that wants to move a window to a screen location that doesn’t exist (e.g. because that location is on another screen that’s no longer connected), it will no longer be moved to an offscreen location where it’s open but inaccessible; instead the rule simply doesn’t execute at all until the location it wants to move the window to exists again (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.27. Link)

When an app requests that the system inhibit the system from going to sleep–and only from going to sleep–Plasma no longer inappropriately inhibits screen locking too (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.27. Link)

In the Plasma Wayland session, fixed another bug that could cause you to be unable to choose a screen resolution other than your screen’s native resolution (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.27. Link)

In the Plasma Wayland session, GTK2 apps minimized to their System Tray icon can now be restored (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Fixed a variety of subtle bugs in desktop widget positioning, so your widgets should FINALLY no longer move slightly every time you start the system (Marco Martin, Plasma 5.27. Link)

In the Notifications widget, the “show more” text FINALLY no longer ever overlaps other notifications in the history (Marco Martin, Plasma 5.27. Link)

If you’ve resized the Kickoff Application Launcher’s popup, searching in it no longer sometimes resets it to the default size (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link)

After installing a new font, clicking on the “OK” button for the “job’s finished” message now makes it go away as expected (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link)

The entire system will no longer sometimes (but especially when using the Btrfs filesystem) hang while Flatpak apps are installed or updated (David Redondo, Frameworks 5.103. Link)

Fixed a whole buttload of weird, random-seeming clipboard issues in the Plasma Wayland session (David Redondo, Frameworks 5.103. Link 1, link 2, link 3, and link 4)

Other bug-related information of interest:

Automation & Systematization

Added UI tests to the Kirigami.Avatar component to make sure it always works as expected when clicked or tapped (Ivan Tkachenko, Frameworks 5.103. Link)

…And everything else

This blog only covers the tip of the iceberg! If you’re hungry for more, check out https://planet.kde.org, where you can find more news from other KDE contributors.

How You Can Help

Please test the Plasma 5.27 beta! Bug reports filed against the beta version (5.26.90) get looked at and prioritized. It really helps. And of course, if you’re a developer, fixing those bugs is massively impactful too. You might also want to check out our 15-Minute Bug Initiative. Working on these issues makes a big difference quickly!

Otherwise, visit https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved to discover ways to be part of a project that really matters. Each contributor makes a huge difference in KDE; you are not a number or a cog in a machine! You don’t have to already be a programmer, either. I wasn’t when I got started. Try it, you’ll like it! We don’t bite!

And finally, KDE can’t work without financial support, so consider making a donation today!

This week in KDE: The best Plasma 5 version ever

Plasma 5 has officially branched for the beta version of its 5.27 release. Go check out the announcement and test out the beta! You’ll probably have noticed the number of 15-minute and very high priority Plasma bugs creeping up, and during this 3-week beta period, we’re going to be focusing on those to ensure that 5.27’s release is as bug-free as possible. Beyond that, Plasma 5.27 will continue to get periodic bugfix releases until and a bit beyond the release of Plasma 6, which we are very much hoping to have ready by late this year! Exciting times.

New Features

The Digital Clock widget’s ever-growing list of alternate calendars now includes the Islamic Astronomical and Umm al-Qura calendars (Fushan Wen, Plasma 6. Link)

Wallpaper creators can now define a custom accent color for their wallpaper that will be automatically used when the user is using the “Wallpaper from accent color” feature, rather than letting the system calculate an accent color automatically (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link)

You can now enter Do Not Disturb mode using the command line by running kde-inhibit --notifications (Jakub Nowak, Plasma 5.27. Link)

User Interface Improvements

High-resolution album art in Elisa is now sharper and better-looking when using scaling (me: Nate Graham, Elisa 22.12.2. Link)

KWin now tries its best to force the smoothest animations by default (the balance of smoothness vs latency is user-configurable) which improves performance on integrated Intel GPUs in the Plasma Wayland session (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.27. Link)

In the Plasma Calculator widget, you can now copy the output or delete a digit with the backspace key (Martin Frueh, Plasma 5.27. Link 1 and link 2)

The Plasma Calculator widget no longer appears as a search result in KRunner, Kickoff, and Overview where activating it would open it in a standalone window, which made people believe that it was the default calculator app or confused them regarding why two calculators were installed (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link)

System Settings’ Shortcuts and Flatpak Permissions pages now use our more modern frameless style (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link 1 and link 2):

  • System Settings "Shortcuts" page showing frameless style
  • System Settings "Flatpak Permissions" page showing frameless style

The Window List widget now displays appropriate fallback icons when the active app’s own icon is invalid, or when the Plasma Desktop is active (Guilherme Marçal Silva, Plasma 5.27. Link)

In the System Tray configuration window, some items no longer have “(Automatic load)” added after their names, which we realized was an implementation detail that didn’t communicate anything important to the user (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Throughout QtWidgets-based KDE apps, tooltips can no longer display the same text twice (once for the normal tooltip text, and again for the “What’s this” expanded text prompt) (Joshua Goins, Frameworks 5.103. Link)

Significant Bugfixes

(This is a curated list of e.g. HI and VHI priority bugs, Wayland showstoppers, major regressions, etc.)

Fixed a way that KWin could crash when closing one instance of a multi-instance app while the “Dim Inactive” effect is enabled (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Implemented an older version of the Wayland text-input protocol in KWin, which makes input methods work in Chromium and Electron apps (Xuetian Weng, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Basic sticky keys support is now implemented in the Plasma Wayland session! More will follow soon (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.27 Link)

Fixed various recently-introduced visual glitches affecting Panel and System Tray icons, including some tray icons of Qt6 apps constantly flickering. Also fixed the autotest covering this to actually work so it won’t regress again! (Arjen Hiemstra, Frameworks 5.103. Link 1 and link 2)

Other bug-related information of interest:

Automation & Systematization

Add a user interface test for the Digital Clock’s calendar popup, to make sure all of its buttons work as expected (Marco Martin, Plasma 5.27. Link)

…And everything else

This blog only covers the tip of the iceberg! If you’re hungry for more, check out https://planet.kde.org, where you can find more news from other KDE contributors.

How You Can Help

If you’re a developer, check out our 15-Minute Bug Initiative. Working on these issues makes a big difference quickly!

Otherwise, visit https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved to discover ways to be part of a project that really matters. Each contributor makes a huge difference in KDE; you are not a number or a cog in a machine! You don’t have to already be a programmer, either. I wasn’t when I got started. Try it, you’ll like it! We don’t bite!

And finally, KDE can’t work without financial support, so consider making a donation today!

This week in KDE: Well just look at all these pictures!

This one is pretty juicy in the eye candy department as we ramp up in the new year! Check out all this goodness:

New Features

You can now show the Hebrew Calendar in your Digital Clock popup’s calendar if you want (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link):

Plasma Digital Clock widget's popup showing time zones and Hebrew calendar

KRunner (and other Search interfaces that use KRunner under the hood, like Kickoff and Overview) can now convert between different units of measurement for fabric weights (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 6.0. Link):

KRunner showing conversion from 170 grams per square meter to 5.013 ounces per square yard

User Interface Improvements

After considering user feedback, Spectacle now only remembers the last-used rectangular region box until it’s quit, rather than always (Bharadwaj Raju, Spectacle 22.12.2. Link)

Elisa’s header area can now be manually resized so it takes up less space, or even collapsed completely to create a very clean and compact appearance (Arkadiusz Guzinski, Elisa 23.04. Link):

Elisa main window with collapsed header bar

Elisa’s “Frequently Played” view is now a simple list of songs arranges by play count, rather than using a complicated time-based heuristic that was not clear and made the contents look random. And its sort order buttons now work properly, too (Jack Hill, Elisa 23.04. Link 1 and link 2)

Discover now helps you out when you do a search in a category page for something not in that category (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link):

Discover main window showing a search for firefox on the games page, with a placeholder message saying 'firefox was not found in the games category' and a button to search everywhere

As requested by commenters last week, the “Add Command” entry dialog on the Shortcuts page now has a button you can use to find a script file on disk, so you don’t need to manually type its path (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link):

Add Command window showing "Choose" button beside text field

When using a “Picture of the Day” wallpaper, there’s now a little warning for providers that might use NSFW images as their pictures of the day (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link):

Plasma wallpaper chooser window showing Wikimedia picture of the day provider with a warning tooltip that says, "This wallpaper provider does not filter out images that may be sensitive or objectionable. Use caution if these images will be displayed in public."

The System Tray’s configuration window now has a search field to make it easier for you to find the icon you want to configure (Ivan Tkachenko, Plasma 5.27. Link):

System Tray configuration window showing search field with "Discord" text in it and System Tray icon for Discord visible in the filtered view below

The Task Manager now defaults to showing a maximum of one row/column, so it will never randomly squash into a two-row/column layout when you don’t expect it. This is configurable and you can still set whatever maximum number of rows/columns you like, of course (Felipe Kinoshita, Plasma 5.27. Link)

On System Settings’ Window Switcher page, the “Highlight changed Settings” feature now shows changes to the keyboard shortcuts, and changing those shortcuts now comes into effect only after clicking the “Apply” button (Ismael Asensio, Plasma 5.27. Link 1 and link 2)

Un-sandboxed remote desktop apps now have access to the same screen choosing and permission system that sandboxed apps do, so they can show a better UI with the user more in control (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.27. Link)

The Display Configuration widget now appears in the System Tray by default–inactive when you only have one screen or you have a multi-monitor desktop setup, and active when you have a laptop with one or more external screens connected. This makes it easier to quickly change those screens’ settings if needed (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link 1 and link 2):

Plasma System Tray full of icons with the "Display Configuration" icon highlighted

Significant Bugfixes

(This is a curated list of e.g. HI and VHI priority bugs, Wayland showstoppers, major regressions, etc.)

Type-ahead in Dolphin no longer inappropriately enters Selection Mode if one of the typed characters is a space (Felix Ernst, Dolphin 22.12.2. Link)

Gwenview once again shows always previews for RAW image files that it has support for (Mirco Miranda, Gwenview 22.12.2. Link)

Fixed one of the most common random-seeming crashes in KWin (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Made various improvements to the notification activation infrastructure in the Plasma Wayland session, with the net effect that windows from apps which properly implement the activation protocol (e.g. NeoChat and Telegram) will get raised when you click on one of the notifications they’ve sent (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Fixed a bug that could cause KWin to freeze when resizing certain windows in the Plasma Wayland session (Philipp Sieweck, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Setting the system language to European Portuguese once again makes the system display text in European Portuguese, rather than a mix of European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese (Han Young, Plasma 5.27. Link)

When you put more than one panel on a screen edge, UI elements that are displayed touching those panels now touch the thickest one, rather than being offset by the combined total of all panels’ thickness (Niccolò Venerandi, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Fixed a whole mess of issues in System Monitor that could cause NVIDIA GPUs to stop showing data after a recent driver update (David Redondo, Plasma 5.27. Link 1, link 2 and link 3)

When closing your laptop’s lid, if its backlit keyboard isn’t set up to turn itself off in the firmware, Plasma now does to ensure that power and battery life aren’t wasted (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Page titles in Kirigami-based apps should no longer sometimes randomly become elided way too early (Ivan Tkachenko, Frameworks 5.103. Link)

Other bug-related information of interest:

Automation & Systematization

Added autotests for window-related actions in the Task Manager widgets (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Fixed a bunch of autotests in Plasma that were, embarrassingly enough, perpetually broken, And also made it mandatory to for tests to pass so this doesn’t happen again for the plasma-desktop and kpipewire git repos (David Edmundson and Marco Martin, Plasma 5.27. Link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4, link 5, and link 6)

Changes not in KDE that affect KDE

Fixed a recent regression in the AMD GPU driver that could cause Plasma to freeze when a notification was received until the notification was hovered with the cursor (Xaver Hugl, The next Mesa version. Link)

…And everything else

This blog only covers the tip of the iceberg! If you’re hungry for more, check out https://planet.kde.org, where you can find more news from other KDE contributors.

How You Can Help

If you’re a developer, check out our 15-Minute Bug Initiative. Working on these issues makes a big difference quickly!

Otherwise, visit https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved to discover ways to be part of a project that really matters. Each contributor makes a huge difference in KDE; you are not a number or a cog in a machine! You don’t have to already be a programmer, either. I wasn’t when I got started. Try it, you’ll like it! We don’t bite!

And finally, KDE can’t work without financial support, so consider making a donation today!

This week in KDE: big UI improvements!

New Features

In KolourPaint, you can now choose the quality level when saving an image in the AVIF, HEIF, and HEIC file formats (me: nate Graham, KolourPaint 23.04. Link)

In the Media Player widget, you can now swipe up/down to change the volume, and left/right to change the playback position (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link)

User Interface Improvements

Elisa now includes a few more popular radio stations by default (Someone going by the pseudonym “fanick1”, Elisa 23.04. Link)

System Settings’ Shortcuts page now features a significantly more obvious and useful UI for adding custom commands! (Bharadwaj Raju, Plasma 5.27. Link):

System Settings’ Launch Feedback page is no more, and everything on it has been moved into a popup accessible from the Cursors page, with an actual explanation of what the settings do (Fushan Wen and Janet Blackquill, Plasma 5.27. Link 1, link 2, and link 3):

The “Highlight Changed Settings” button that currently lives on a footer in the System Settings sidebar has been moved to the hamburger menu to streamline the UI (Alexander Wilms, Plasma 5.27. Link)

When pasting links into a Notes widget using the standard Paste action, they are now pasted as clickable links by default. And if you want to remove formatting, there’s a new context menu item for that too! (Martin Frueh, Plasma 5.27. Link 1 and link 2)

You can now move a single window to another activity using the titlebar context menu (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.27. Link)

While in Touch Mode, the global Edit Mode toolbar now lets you open the full desktop context menu too, so nothing in there is ever totally inaccessible when using a touch device (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link 1 and link 2)

The standard set of Home/End/PageUp/PageDown navigation keys now work as expected in the Clipboard widget’s list view (Tom Warnke, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Kickoff now shows separators added in KMenuEdit (Sergey Katunin, Plasma 5.27. Link):

On a very small screen, Kickoff now switches to a more compact layout so it doesn’t gobble up all of the screen space while open (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link)

When you paste a full file path into the directory chooser field of an Open dialog instead of the file path field, it now opens the file, as you probably were wanting it to do (Fushan Wen, Frameworks 5.102. Link)

Significant Bugfixes

(This is a curated list of e.g. HI and VHI priority bugs, Wayland showstoppers, major regressions, etc.)

It’s now possible to set a manual Night Color activation time later than 19:00 (Martin Frueh, Plasma 5.26.5. Link)

Windows activated by other apps that happen to be on a different virtual desktop don’t move between virtual desktops anymore, unless configured specifically to do so in System Settings (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Other bug-related information of interest:

Automation & Systematization

There’s now a nice new page on develop.kde.org about packaging your KDE app using Flatpak (Thiago Sueto, link)

There’s also a major update to the KXmlGui tutorial (Thiago Sueto, link)

All links on develop.kde.org are now checked by a continuous integration runner for reachability, so that broken links will get noticed and fixed promptly (Alessio Mattiazi, link)

Added a bunch of autotests for KRunner’s date & time functionality (Natalie Clarius, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Other

NeoChat is now available on the Microsoft store! And this version has end-to-end encryption enabled by default, in case you were wondering. 🙂 (Ingo Klöcker and the NeoChat devs. Link)

…And everything else

This blog only covers the tip of the iceberg! If you’re hungry for more, check out https://planet.kde.org, where you can find more news from other KDE contributors.

How You Can Help

If you’re a developer, check out our 15-Minute Bug Initiative. Working on these issues makes a big difference quickly!

Otherwise, visit https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved to discover ways to be part of a project that really matters. Each contributor makes a huge difference in KDE; you are not a number or a cog in a machine! You don’t have to already be a programmer, either. I wasn’t when I got started. Try it, you’ll like it! We don’t bite!

And finally, KDE can’t work without financial support, so consider making a donation today!

Highlights from 2022

2022 is over, and it’s time to recap! Like in previous years, this isn’t in any way, shape, or form a list of everything that happened in KDE; it’s just an overview of the big things I noticed or was involved with. More is always available at https://planet.kde.org!

Roadmap items

Many but not all of the items I was hoping for from my 2022 roadmap are finished now.

While we didn’t get a new style for Breeze icons or inertial scrolling everywhere, we did get the merged “Formats and Languages” KCM and a major overhaul for multi-monitor support to make it all finally work properly. “The Wayland session can completely replace the X11 session” is a bit fuzzier, but I can tell you that it’s done so for me! I only ever use the X11 session for occasionally testing merge requests. This doesn’t mean it’s there for everyone, of course. But it got ever closer in 2022. And finally, the 15-minute bug initiative was a big success! We didn’t fix every one of the 142 bugs classified as “15-minute bugs” in 2022, but we did fix 95 of them! That’s a pretty good rate. We’ll keep up the focus on these quality-of-life issues in 2023, too.

Hardware Partnerships

Linux hardware vendor Tuxedo Computers started shipping Plasma by default on all of their machines, a huge win for everyone!

KFocus, makers of Kubuntu-based hardware, added some new machines to their line-up–all shipping KDE Plasma and apps by default, of course!

Slimbook released a new version of their KDE Slimbook laptop, the best yet!

Finally, the Steam Deck became a smash hit, selling over a million devices worldwide and introducing so many people to the world of KDE!

So overall it was a pretty good year for getting KDE software into more people’s hands through hardware. But there is still so much more to do. We need to get more big names here, like Dell, Lenovo, and HP!

Akademy

For the first time in a few years, we had a real, in-person Akademy. Hallelujah! It was so wonderful to reconnect with KDE folks in person. You can see videos of the sessions and talks here. And here’s my talk.

In addition, I ran for a seat on the KDE e.V. board of directors and was elected!

Professionalizing KDE

KDE has done incredibly well over its 26-year history as primarily a volunteer organization. But there was always a dirty little secret: some of the most prominent contributors along the way have been sponsored to work on KDE in a quiet way. In the same way that Red Hat quietly funds the work of a lot of GNOME people, a lot of KDE people over the years have been sponsored by Nokia, KDAB, the city of Munich, Blue Systems, Valve, and other institutions in KDE’s orbit.

And this is great! It’s a very good sign when outside companies that derive value from KDE software pay to make it even better. But it also means they’ve been paying to make it better for their use cases, their pet projects, their areas of interest.

What’s always been missing was a cadre of paid professionals to work on KDE from a big picture perspective–people who are from the KDE community, and paid by the KDE community; people who can make a living as professionals working on KDE software from a community perspective.

Well, no longer! KDE e.V. has started hiring engineers for technical positions this year, beginning with a packaging engineer. We’re working through the process of hiring a software engineer at the moment, and we have an open position for an integration engineer too.

This is big stuff! Paid professionals in the employ of KDE e.V. can counterbalance and augment the work paid for by 3rd-parties, ensuring a healthy mix, so that KDE’s future and direction can remain in the hands of KDE. It can help to ensure a certain amount of continuity of technical knowledge, so that more people get to stay in KDE once their life circumstances change to reflect a different balance of free time and monetary needs. And of course, none of this in any way diminishes the volunteer efforts the remain the backbone of KDE! On the contrary, volunteers–who by nature come and go as life circumstances and interests dictate–can really benefit from a stable core of paid professionals to interact with.

This isn’t cheap, though. If you want to help the initiative succeed and expand, please make a donation–preferably a recurring one! 🙂 If you already have, tell your buddies, your family members, your boss, anyone you know who uses and enjoys KDE software!

New Goals

This year, KDE did a third round of goal-picking, cementing this process as a key part of KDE’s culture. The three goals chosen were “KDE For All” (accessibility), “Sustainable Software”, and “Automate And Systematize Internal Processes”–three very important goals! You can see more here.

Infrastructure

This year, Bugzilla got a re-organization to make it easier for normal people to figure out where to submit a bug report:

KDE also got a better donation and fundraising platform, powered by Donorbox. This makes it much simpler for people to donate to KDE e.V.:

Finally–and this is quite new–there’s a new forum powered by Discourse in the works, currently being beta-tested and rolled out at https://discuss.kde.org. Exciting times!

Qt 6

This year KDE contributors spent an enormous amount of time porting KDE software to Qt 6, the latest version of the Qt toolkit. This is unsexy work, so I didn’t blog about it. But it’s critically important, so thanks to everyone involved! And the work is now more than half done, with most common software and nearly all of Plasma already done; you can see the progress here.

Wayland

The Wayland session made enormous progress. Slimbook started shipping their new KDE Slimbook laptops with Wayland by default, following Fedora KDE 34 switching doing the same in late 2021. Our list of showstoppers continues to shrink, and new issues added to it are or notably less bad then the ones they replace. There are discussions about defaulting to Wayland in Plasma 6 next year, either for the inaugural release or one of the ones soon after it. The future really is here! And if you’re tempted to grumble, “well, Wayland still doesn’t work for me for $REASON,” please do it in a bug report so developers can fix it!

Plasma

It was a big year for Plasma! Among many other changes, we got custom window tiling layouts; massive stability improvements for multi-monitor workflows; Wayland fractional scaling; non-blurry scaled XWayland apps; a UI overhaul for Discover; many KRunner UX improvements; mouse button re-binding; resizable Panel popups; finger-following touchpad gestures on Wayland; support for alternate calendars such as the Chinese lunar calendar and Islamic civil calendar; picking-and-choosing what you want to apply from Global Themes; accent color generated from wallpaper’s dominant color; and full-window tinting with the accent color.

Plus a lot more, of course! You can see everything in the Plasma release announcements, found at https://kde.org/announcements.

Apps

KDE has so many apps that I really can’t possibly do them justice here! Nevertheless, here’s an extremely small assortment:

Dolphin got a new Selection Mode, a new (optional) list view selection style, the ability to browse iOS devices using their native afc:// protocol, an eject button in the sidebar list items of ejectable/unmountable volumes.

Okular got a welcome screen, a new Breeze icon that better matches the original, a UI overhaul for its sidebar.

Gwenview gained feature to annotate images and edit their brightness, contrast, and gamma.

Kate and KWrite got welcome screens, KHamburgerMenu support, searchable settings windows, keyboard macro support, and even more massive UX and feature improvements of all kinds due to an influx of new contributors and a higher tempo of regular development work.

Konsole got Sixel support, adopted KHamburgerMenu, added a plugin to save and restore text snippets, and moved its tab bar to the top of the view by default.

Spectacle was ported to Kirigami and now lets you annotate in Rectangular Region mode.

Filelight was ported to Kirigami and gained a sidebar.

Ark got a welcome screen, KHamburgerMenu support, and overhauled toolbar contents.

Elisa gained support for displaying auto-scrolling lyrics from songs using embedded LRC lyrics, .pls playlists, a real Full Screen mode, and improved presentation in Artists view, touchscreen UX improvements and overhauled playlist styling

NeoChat got encrypted chat support and a boatload of features and UI improvements!

Many QtWidgets apps adopted KHamburgerMenu for a streamlined presentation


Well that’s all for now, folks. Happy new year and let’s do awesome things in 2023!

This week in KDE: end-of-year goodies

Welp, 2022 draws to a close, but KDE never sleeps, and its developers have managed to whip up some new years’ treats for everyone!

New Features

Info Center can now show you OpenCL info on its own new dedicated page, if you have the clinfo utility installed (Linus Dierheimer, Plasma 5.27. Link)

In the Plasma Wayland session, KWin now sends along pen tilt and rotation events to apps (Joshua Goins, Plasma 5.27. Link)

User Interface Improvements

The way KRunner displays information about time zones has been substantially improved, making it easier to parse the output, and fixing a couple of bugs (Natalie Clarius, Plasma 5.27. Link):

When Night Color hasn’t been turned on yet, clicking on its System Tray icon now takes you directly to its System Settings page where you can turn it on and set it up to your liking (Guilherme Marçal Silva, Plasma 5.27. Link)

A few pages in System Settings are starting to use a new way of organizing logical sections, which hopefully should make things easier to find (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link 1 and link 2):

When using the default Sidebar view, System Settings sidebar items no longer show tooltips on hover, since this information is not very useful and gets in the way a lot (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Discover now presents details for system updates when using the “Offline Updates” feature in a better way (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link):

Typing a space while searching in the Overview effect now always actually enters a space character, instead of activating the highlighted window when a window that matches the search term (Niklas Stephanblome, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Critical notifications no longer appear in the Overview, Present Windows, and Desktop Grid effects (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.26.5. Link)

You can now configure the Task Manager to show window previews when you click on a grouped task even if you’ve disabled the feature to always show window previews when hovering over tasks (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Significant Bugfixes

(This is a curated list of e.g. HI and VHI priority bugs, Wayland showstoppers, major regressions, etc.)

Using KDE Connect to transfer files over 2 GB in size is now possible (Adrian Thiele, Frameworks 5.102. Link)

The “Always use Touch Mode” setting now persists after a reboot (Fushan Wen, Frameworks 5.102. Link)

Fixed a case where KWin could crash in the Plasma Wayland session when connecting a laptop to a docking station (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.26.5. Link)

Other bug-related information of interest:

Automation & Systematization

Added an autotest to test for weird character handling in wallpaper file paths, after it broke again and we fixed it (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link)

There’s now a bot that announces relevant data about Plasma bugs in the Plasma chatroom every day (Justin Zobel):

…And everything else

This blog only covers the tip of the iceberg! If you’re hungry for more, check out https://planet.kde.org, where you can find more news from other KDE contributors.

How You Can Help

Thanks so much for helping KDE reach its goal during the end-of-year fundraiser! In fact, we’ve smashed through it, currently raising over 23,000€ of the 20k we were shooting for. Every little bit helps, especially given KDE e.V’s ambitious hiring goals. We can’t reach and sustain them without you, so thanks a ton, everyone!

If you’re a developer, check out our 15-Minute Bug Initiative. Working on these issues makes a big difference quickly!

Otherwise, visit https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved to discover ways to be part of a project that really matters. Each contributor makes a huge difference in KDE; you are not a number or a cog in a machine! You don’t have to already be a programmer, either. I wasn’t when I got started. Try it, you’ll like it! We don’t bite!

This week in KDE: Holiday features

This is a light week as KDE contributors have been taking well-deserved breaks during this holiday season. Nevertheless, all was not quiet and many nice improvements and bugfixes were merged!

New Features

In the Plasma Wayland session, you can now zoom in and out on images in Gwenview using pinch gestures on your touchpad! (Bharadwaj Raju and Carl Schwan, Gwenview 23.04. Link)

Kate and KWrite now have options to always open each file in its own window, rather than tabs of one window (Christoph Cullmann, Kate & KWrite 23.04. Link)

Elisa now supports creating and opening .pls playlist files (Marius Pa, Elisa 23.04. Link)

When you try to use a VPN type whose plugins are not installed, the notification that tells you this now offers you the opportunity to install them (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.27. Link)

It’s now possible to configure the Color Picker widget to display up to 9 color preview dots for quick use (in case you didn’t know, you can drag colors out of them and onto something else), or none at all if you don’t use them because you use the widget as just a way to get color code values into your clipboard (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link):

User Interface Improvements

Okular’s sidebar has been ported to use QDockWidget, which makes it able to be relocated to other sides of the window or un-docked to become a free-floating window (Eugene Popov, Okular 23.04. Link)

When configuring a VPN fails because plasma-nm was compiled without support for any of its optional plugins that provide this functionality, the notification warning you about it now includes a button to report a bug that will take you to your distribution’s bug tracker, because they’re the source of the issue (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Significant Bugfixes

(This is a curated list of e.g. HI and VHI priority bugs, Wayland showstoppers, major regressions, etc.)

When permanently deleting a file, the “Delete permanently” button once again has keyboard focus by default (Felix Ernst, Dolphin 22.12.1. Link)

In the Plasma Wayland session, after KWin has restarted for any reason, session-ending actions such as Log Out, Restart, And Shut Down now work (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.27. Link)

The Persian and Indian national calendars now show their correct month names (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link 1 and link 2)

Other bug-related information of interest:

Automation & Systematization

Added some more autotests for the Baloo file indexing service (Albert Astals Cid, Frameworks 5.102. Link)

After once again fixing a bug with symlinked files for wallpaper slideshows not appearing, added an autotest to make sure it doesn’t happen again (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.26.5. Link)

…And Everything Else

This blog only covers the tip of the iceberg! If you’re hungry for more, check out https://planet.kde.org, where you can find more news from other KDE contributors.

2022 Fundraiser

KDE’s end-of-year fundraiser is in full swing and we’re close! As of the time of writing, we’re at a hair over 17,000€, out of the 20,000€ goal. So please consider making a donation!

But guess what! Veteran KDE contributor Albert Astals Cid is offering to match 10% of people’s donations until the end of the year or the goal is reached; how cool is that!? Thanks so much, Albert!

To take advantage of this, after you make your donation here, email aacid@kde.org with your name/email and CC kde-ev-board@kde.org. And then go tell Albert on his blog what a cool guy he is!

We can do it!

Other Ways To Help

If you’re a developer, check out our 15-Minute Bug Initiative. Working on these issues makes a big difference quickly!

Otherwise, visit https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved to discover ways to be part of a project that really matters. Each contributor makes a huge difference in KDE; you are not a number or a cog in a machine! You don’t have to already be a programmer, either. I wasn’t when I got started. Try it, you’ll like it! We don’t bite!

This week in KDE: Wayland fractional scaling! Oh, and we also fixed multi-screen

This week is a twofer! We have the long-awaited Wayland fractional scaling support, and the equally long-awaited ultimate fix for Plasma’s multi-screen woes! Let’s take them one at a time:

Wayland Fractional Scaling

The Wayland protocol for fractional scaling was finally merged last week. Kenny Levinsen proposed the protocol itself, and this week, the KDE and Qt implementations for Plasma 5.27 which have been done by David Edmundson were merged. Thanks a lot, everyone!

“What does this do?” you might ask. It allows the Qt toolkit to turn on its pre-existing fractional scaling support on Wayland that it always had on X11. No more rendering to an integer size and then scaling down! This should result in Qt apps that are scaled to anything other than 100%, 200%, or 300% scale having better performance, less visual blurriness, and lower power usage.

What about GTK apps? They’ll reap the same benefit once GTK also gains fractional scaling support and implements the protocol. Until then, GTK apps will continue to use the less efficient upscale+downscale method for fractional scale factors.

When is it coming? Well, KWin already has support in Plasma 5.27. Support in Qt is only in Qt 6 right now, meaning we won’t reap the benefits until Plasma 6. There’s a chance it could be backported to KDE’s Qt 5.15 patch collection, though. Stay tuned!

Fixing Multi-Screen

Multi-screen is a complicated beast because it touches so many parts of the software stack. Ultimately most of our problems arose from the use of connector IDs to identify screens and map Plasma desktops and panels (“containments”) to screens. This worked poorly, because connector IDs can and do change under various circumstances. As a result, things often became a scrambled mess, with the behavior either being random, or consistently wrong.

That’s all changed. You can read the details here. In a nutshell, we now use an index-based system, with index numbers bound very tightly to Plasma containments, but index numbers themselves being able to move between screens based on how many screens there are. So for example, when screen 1 with your Plasma desktop and panel becomes unavailable, a new screen becomes screen 1, and the Plasma desktop and panel bound move over to it.

This new system should result in vastly greater stability, reliability, and predictability with respect to how screens are enabled and disabled, positioned, and what Plasma desktops and panels they show. It fixes notorious bugs like Plasma containments being randomly moved around or lost and desktops sometimes losing their wallpapers, widgets, and icon settings. It also makes arrangements of screen layouts and Plasma containments stable across the Plasma X11 and Wayland sessions. Big stuff.

Now, let’s set expectations a bit: this doesn’t mean that literally every multi-screen bug is now fixed. Rather, it brings us a new platform that isn’t broken by design, upon which we can fix bugs without introducing new ones in the process. So now multi-screen can truly become even more reliable over time, rather than juggling a rotating whack-a-mole assortment of bugs from one release to the next. The work was done by Marco Martin, Ivan Tkachenko, Xaver Hugl, and David Edmundson. It will land in Plasma 5.27. Thanks a lot, guys!

Other New Features

You can now reverse the ordering of tasks in the Plasma Task Manager widget on vertical panels, to complement existing support on horizontal panels (Tanbir Jishan, Plasma 5.27. Link)

In the Plasma Wayland session, you can now allow XWayland using apps to snoop on the keypresses made in native Wayland apps, mimicking how things work on X11. This is required by some XWayland-using apps, such as Discord for its push-to-talk feature. Doing this reduces security, so it’s off by default and has various different on levels so you can choose for yourself the balance of security and support for legacy apps (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.27. Link):

It’s now possible to use a modifier key (e.g. the Meta key) as the shortcut key when using the key input chooser to assign shortcuts to actions. This will allow us to replace the weird old modifier key handling in KWin and let you simply assign modifier keys to things like Kickoff and Overview directly. That’s not ready yet but will be coming soon! (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.27 and Frameworks 5.102. Link 1, link 2, and link 3)

Discover now has a SteamOS backend, so it can perform system updates on Steam Deck devices from within desktop mode (Jeremy Whiting, Plasma 5.27, but possibly backported to SteamOS itself sooner. Link)

User Interface Improvements

Spectacle’s sidebar now uses pushbuttons to let you take a new screenshot, replacing the old two-stage UI wherein you would first have to choose a capture mode and then click the “Take New Screenshot” button. The new workflow should be much faster! (Noah Davis, Spectacle 23.04. Link):

Spectacle’s new annotations system once again draws drop shadows behind your annotations by default, just like the old one did (Marco Martin, Spectacle 23.04. Link)

KRunner no longer matches apps’ executable names, as this caused too many false positives when searching for unrelated things (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.27. Link)

The User Feedback slider on System Settings’ Quick Settings page has been removed, because as of Plasma 5.27, you’ll have the opportunity to choose to share telemetry data with KDE developers–or not–in the new welcome wizard app (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link)

On System Settings’ Desktop Session page, the “Offer Shutdown Options” option has been removed, because we found that it actually didn’t do anything anymore after all the changes of the past few years (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Adding new virtual desktops now increases the number given to the new desktop, instead of naming all new desktops “New Desktop” (Thenujan Sandramohan, Plasma 5.27. Link)

When changing indexing settings that require a reboot to take effect on System Settings’ File Search page, it will now present you with a message informing you of this, with a big friendly button you can click on to reboot immediately (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link):

When creating window rules and trying to match windows by their window class, the page will now give you a comprehensible error message when you target a window that doesn’t have a window class (Ismael Asensio, Plasma 5.27. Link):

Significant Bugfixes

(This is a curated list of e.g. HI and VHI priority bugs, Wayland showstoppers, major regressions, etc.)

Disabling middle-click paste in the Plasma Wayland session no longer makes it impossible to select text in some GTK apps or causes them to crash (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.26.5. Link)

In the Plasma Wayland session, external screens now work when using various ARM-powered devices (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.26.5. Link)

When Discover installs updates for an add-on from store.kde.org that needs to present an error message or question as part of the update process, or tries to do so because the update failed, Discover now shows this to you instead of silently eating it and leaving it wondering why things aren’t working (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.27. Link)

The Blend Changes KWin effect no longer triggers while the foreground window is fullscreen, so when you’re using the “Accent color from wallpaper” setting and a slideshow wallpaper, you’ll no longer, for example, experience brief choppiness while watching a full-screen video when the wallpaper changes (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.26.5. Link)

Disabling and re-enabling the top-left-most screen no longer causes it to become mirrored to the screen to the right of it after being re-enabled (Ivan Tkachenko, Plasma 5.27. Link)

The “Add Rule” dialog in System Settings’ Firewall page now works properly for the ufw firewall (Paul Worall, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Other bug-related information of interest:

Automation & Systematization

We now have a whole framework for performing automated GUI tests using the accessibility API, which exercises both at once for double-whammy of a win! This has been rolled out for a start with the calculator widget (Harald Sitter, Plasma 5.27. Link) And don’t be shy, write your own! Here’s the documentation.

Added a basic autotest for Activities (Alexander Kuznetsov, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Dependency metadata for what kde code kdesrc-build needs to compile for any given thing you tell it to build is now auto-generated from each repo’s continuous integration system metadata! (Nicolas Fella, right now. Link)

develop.kde.org now has a tutorial on writing advanced Plasma widgets that use C++ backend code (Chris Holland, Link)

2022 Fundraiser

KDE’s year-end fundraiser is halfway done! We’re more than halfway to the goal, but progress has slowed quite a bit. If you haven’t donated yet, please consider doing so! With all the hiring KDE e.V. has been doing, we need to significantly ramp up fundraising to keep up the pace to avoid getting into the red. Every little bit helps!

…And everything else

This blog only covers the tip of the iceberg! If you’re hungry for more, check out https://planet.kde.org, where you can find more news from other KDE contributors.

How You Can Help

If you’re a developer, check out our 15-Minute Bug Initiative. Working on these issues makes a big difference quickly! Otherwise, have a look at https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved to discover ways to be part of a project that really matters. Each contributor makes a huge difference in KDE; you are not a number or a cog in a machine! You don’t have to already be a programmer, either. I wasn’t when I got started. Try it, you’ll like it! We don’t bite!

Finally, consider making a tax-deductible donation to the KDE e.V. foundation.

This week in KDE: New Spectacle

This week Spectacle’s user interface was rewritten in QML, which makes it easier to develop going forward and will enable us to add screen recording functionality to the app, which is coming! But that’s not all… in the process we integrated the annotations feature into the Rectangular Region selector, so you can select a screen region and immediately start annotating it! The Rectangular Region selector UI is also hugely more responsive. Overall this work was also able to fix 12 bug reports in the bug tracker, in addition to the important architectural and UI improvements.

Thanks very much to Noah Davis and Marco Martin who have been hard at work on this for quite a while! It will land in Spectacle 23.04.

Other New Features

There are now KWin actions for “Move window one screen to the left/right/up/down” that you can use and assign keyboard shortcuts to, if your personal workflow requires it (Natalie Clarius, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Other User Interface Improvements

The Bluetooth widget’s tooltip now shows the battery status for any connected device that are able to report battery information (Ivan Tkachenko, Plasma 5.27. Link):

The Battery and Brightness and Media Player widgets’ tooltips now indicate that you can do something by scrolling over them. This should be all of them! (me: Nate Graham and Nicolai Weitkemper, Plasma 5.27. Link 1 and link 2)

The System Tray config window’s list of applets has been made fully keyboard-navigable and accessible (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link)

The estimated time remaining before your battery runs out is now smoothed, so it won’t jarringly jump up or down in response to momentary spikes or dips in power usage (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Scrolling over a Media Player widget to adjust the volume of the app playing media now raises or lowers it in increments equal to the global scroll step that’s configurable in System Settings, rather than having its own private setting for this (Bharadwaj Raju, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Side drawers in Kirigami-based apps can now also be closed by using the Escape key or clicking in an empty dimmed area of the view (Matej Starc, Frameworks 5.102. Link)

Significant Bugfixes

(This is a curated list of e.g. HI and VHI priority bugs, Wayland showstoppers, major regressions, etc.)

When Plasma- Browser Integration is installed, the Media Player no longer shows two sets of playback controls (Bharadwaj Raju, Plasma 5.27. Link)

In the Plasma Wayland session, several subtle paste-related issues have been fixed, including panel widgets having a delay before closing after a file is copied in Dolphin and then Dolphin is closed, and also text copied by interacting with the Clipboard widget itself being unable to be pasted into text fields in Plasma widgets (David Redondo, Frameworks 5.102. Link 1 and link 2)

When you remove a widget and then reboot the system or restart plasmashell while the “Undo removing this widget?” notification is still visible, the widget is now gone as expected when Plasma starts up again (Marco Martin, Frameworks 5.102. Link)

Other bug-related information of interest:

Automation & Systematization

Our Bugzilla bot now automatically marks bugs with the “wishlist” severity if the author forgot to do so themselves, but did prefix the title with various keywords like “feature request”, “wishlist”, and the like (me: Nate Graham. Link)

Added an autotest to ensure that the Plasma desktop’s wallpaper size remains correct after screen resolutions change, after it regressed and we fixed it (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link)

…And everything else

This blog only covers the tip of the iceberg! If you’re hungry for more, check out https://planet.kde.org, where you can find more news from other KDE contributors.

How You Can Help

KDE’s end-of-year fundraiser is in full swing, so please consider making a donation! We’re halfway to our goal of 20,000€ with 3 weeks left to go. Help us get all the way there so we can continue to ramp up technical hiring!

If you’re a developer, check out our 15-Minute Bug Initiative. Working on these issues makes a big difference quickly!

Otherwise, visit https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved to discover ways to be part of a project that really matters. Each contributor makes a huge difference in KDE; you are not a number or a cog in a machine! You don’t have to already be a programmer, either. I wasn’t when I got started. Try it, you’ll like it! We don’t bite!

Status of the 15-Minute Bug Initiative

It’s been almost a year since I announced the 15-Minute Bug Initiative for Plasma. In a nutshell, this initiative proposed to identify and prioritize fixing bugs you can find “within the first 15-minutes of using the system” that make Plasma look bad and feel fundamentally unstable and broken.

This initiative has been a huge success so far! We started out with 100 bugs, and 11 months later we’re down to 47! But it’s even better than that; more bugs were added to the list over time as new issues were discovered (or created as a result of regressions), so the fact that we’re at 47 today means that a lot more than 53 bugs have been fixed. How many more? Well, the total list of 15-minute bugs fixed stands at 95 today!

This means that in total, there have been 142 15-minute bugs, and we’ve fixed 95 of them, for a fix rate of 67%. That’s not too shabby!

There’s more to do, of course. The remaining 47 bugs are some of the more challenging ones, and many are quite egregiously bad. I expect the fix rate to slow as the list is reduced mostly to issues beyond the capabilities or time budgets of volunteers. That’s one of the reasons why the KDE e.V. is looking to hire a Software Platform Engineer; in addition to other responsibilities, the person we select will be working on some of these bugs. Hiring someone technically skilled enough to consistently fix these complex bugs won’t be cheap, and if you’d like to help KDE sustainably afford that cost, please consider donating to our end-of-year fundraiser! It really does help. Thanks for being awesome!