This week in KDE: a little bit of everything

Fixing up Plasma 5.21 continues, and we also did a lot of UI polishing this week:

New Features

A Task manager can now be configured to not cause its hidden panel to become visible when one of its apps or tasks receives a “needs attention” status (Michael Moon, Plasma 5.22)

You can now apply global themes, color schemes, cursor themes, plasma themes, and wallpapers from the command-line, using some fancy new CLI tools with names like plasma-apply-colorscheme (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Plasma 5.22)

KDE apps now support the HEIF and HEIC image formats (Daniel Novomeský, Frameworks 5.80)

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Spectacle’s compression quality setting can now be set to 100% (Natsumi Higa, Spectacle 20.12.3)

Having kio-fuse installed no longer breaks KRunner’s ability to display man: and info: URLs in your web browser (Fabian Vogt, kio-fuse 5.0.1)

The KWin window manager no longer sometimes crashes in the Plasma Wayland session when you copy something in an XWayland app and immediately paste it in a native Wayland app (Jan Blackquill, Plasma 5.21.1)

Plasma no longer sometimes crashes when closing the Audio Volume applet (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21.1)

The new Plasma System Monitor app no longer crashes on close when a custom page was open (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21.1)

System Settings no longer crashes when you open and close the new Firewall page twice (Tomaz Canabrava, Plasma 5.21.1)

KRunner can once again execute executable script files (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.21.1)

You can once again delete or disable unwanted fonts from the System Settings Font Management page (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21.1)

The Network Speed widget finally finally finally works again! (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21.1)

The screen selection OSD once again works with keyboard navigation (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.21.1)

The Lock/Logout applet can once again be configured to not show the “Shut Down” action (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21.1)

The headers on System Settings pages are now horizontally aligned with the header over the sidebar (Ismael Asensio, Plasma 5.21.1)

Scrolling all the way to the bottom of any app list in Discover no longer causes a spurious “Loading more stuff…” indicator to appear at the bottom (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.21.1)

Key repeat is really actually finally re-enabled by default again now. Sorry about this. 😦 (Jan Blackquill and David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21.2)

System Settings no longer crashes when clearing the history from the Activities page (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21.2)

Screens in the System Settings Display Configuration page are once again draggable (Marco Martin, Plasma 5.21.2)

In the System Settings Icons page, the bottom row of buttons now moves buttons that can’t fit into the available space into an overflow menu, which is useful on Plasma Mobile in particular (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Plasma 5.21.2):

Kickoff’s section headers which consist of more than just a single letter are no longer all caps (sorry for causing this regression) (Mikel Johnson, Plasma 5.21.2)

System Tray icons in very very thin panels should no longer be slightly blurry (Niccolò Venerandi, Plasma 5.21.2)

Virtual keyboards no longer cover Plasma panels when they’re visible (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.22)

Renaming an image file to have the same name that another also-renamed file used to have no longer causes the newly-renamed file to display the wrong thumbnail (Méven Car, Frameworks 5.80)

The Baloo file indexer no longer tries to index Ninja build files (Peter Eszalri, Frameworks 5.80)

Closing a “Get new [thing]” window no longer causes the view in the window that created it to scroll up to the top, if it was scrolled to a different position (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Frameworks 5.80)

In the “Get new [thing]” dialogs, the icon in the top-left corner of each item indicating its status (installed, updatable, etc) no longer gets slightly cut off on the left side (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Frameworks 5.80)

User Interface Improvements

NeoChat 1.1 is out with tons and tone of improvements! Sorry I haven’t been keeping up with them here. You can see it all over at Carl’s blog.

Konsole’s text reflow feature now works better for users of the zsh shell (Carlos Alves, Konsole 21.04)

Dolphin is now a bit faster to display thumbnail previews (Méven Car, Dolphin 21.04)

When using a color scheme without Header colors (e.g. the old Breeze color scheme), a line is no longer drawn between an app’s toolbar and the main content area (Various people, Plasma 5.21.1)

GTK headerbar apps now display minimize/maximize/etc buttons that match the rest of your apps even when you’re using an Aurorae window decoration theme (Alois Wohlschlager, Plasma 5.21.2)

Discover’s search for Flatpak apps now more heavily weights title matches and higher user ratings (Aleix Pol Gonzales, Plasma 5.22):

Discover now makes it clearer in the search and browse lists when an app comes from a non-default backend (Aleix Pol Gonzalez and me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.22):

Discover’s compact/mobile view now makes it clear on the home page when there are updates available (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Plasma 5.22):

When there is only one audio device available, you can hover your cursor over its generic name in the Plasma Audio Volume applet to see its full name, just in case you forgot which device was connected (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.22):

Notifications that inform you of some kind of file operation with a known destination URL now always display an “Open containing folder” button (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.22)

Spinboxes in QML-based software will now send newly-changed values to the app immediately rather than requiring that you hit the return/enter key or de-focus the control (David Redondo, Frameworks 5.80)

When a sidebar is collapsed in a Kirigami app, that app’s toolbar content now moves with buttery smoothness (Marco Martin, Frameworks 5.80)

Web presence

Carl Schwan overhauled api.kde.org and online Kirigami documentation: https://carlschwan.eu/2021/02/26/documentation-improvements-in-kde/

Niccolò Venerandi published video number three in his video series about how to make a Plasma theme:

How You Can Help

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: Plasma 5.21 is finally here!

This week we released Plasma 5.21 and have been hard at work fixing the bugs you fine folks have found with it. 🙂 Frankly I’m pretty exhausted after a long week so let’s just get right into it:

New Features

Kate now lets you perform basic git operations from within the app, such as viewing diffs, staging, committing, and stashing! (Waqar Ahmed, Kate 21.04)

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Ark no longer asks for confirmation twice when you update a file in an archive (Jan Paul Batrina, Ark 21.04)

Keyboard repeat is no longer disabled (Jan Blackquill, Plasma 5.21.1, and most distros have already rolled it out early)

The Task Manager once again allows you to run non-distro-provided executable programs you’ve pinned to it (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.21.1)

The Plasma Wayland session no longer crashes on login when using an Nvidia Optimus laptop (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.21.1)

Trying to log out no longer sometimes just fails (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21.1)

The fancy new Plasma System Monitor app introduced with Plasma 5.21 no longer crashes on launch when not using the optional Systemd startup feature (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21.1)

Hard Disk Activity widgets now display the correct information again (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21.1)

Clicking on a screenshot in Discover now displays the correct one (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.21.1)

The Kickoff Application Launcher now works with a stylus (Mikel Johnson, Plasma 5.21.1)

Plasma no longer takes a long time to load when the splash screen is disabled when using the optional Systemd startup feature (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21.1)

The KWin window manager regains an option to disable screen tearing protection and maximize the refresh rate irrespective of what the GPU says (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.21.1)

The back arrow in System Settings’ sidebar header no longer looks wrong when using a non-Breeze icon theme (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21.1)

Syncing your user settings to the SDDM login screen now actually causes non-default font settings to take effect there, at least when using SDDM 0.19 or later (Filip Fila and David Redondo, Plasma 5.21.1)

Section headers in the new Kickoff menu’s “All Applications” category are no longer lowercase when the first item in that section begins with a lowercase letter (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21.1)

Your wobbly windows once again wobble correctly (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.21.1)

Vertical and horizontal maximization now works in the Plasma Wayland session (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.22)

System Settings’ Window Rules page now enabled its “Apply” button as soon as you change anything, not when you move to something else (Ismael Asensio, Plasma 5.22)

KTextEditor-based apps no longer crash when you clear all of their bookmarks (Christoph Cullmann, Frameworks 5.80)

Plasma no longer crashes when you install a Windows app using WINE (Kai Uwe Broulik, Frameworks 5.80)

The buttons on either side of KRunner’s text field no longer display glitchy tooltips when no search results are visible (Noah Davis, Frameworks 5.80)

System Settings now arranges the columns in the correct order when using a right-to-left language and a large window size (Marco Martin, Frameworks 5.80)

Grid views in System Settings and elsewhere no longer display irritating misalignment for adjacent items where one has a subtitle and the other does not (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.80):

The Baloo file indexer no longer tries to index .swp swap files (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.80)

User Interface Improvements

Discover no longer truncates reviews shown on app pages (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21.1)

The System Settings Boot Splash page now uses the nicer new-style Get New [Thing] dialog (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.22)

How You Can Help

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: Plasma 5.21 approaches!

There are just a few days left before Plasma 5.21 is released, so get ready! And check out all this cool stuff too. Train doesn’t stop!

New Features

Kate’s project plugin now offers you the ability to switch git branches right there in the main UI (Waqar Ahmed, Kate 21.04):

Plasma’s Audio Volume applet now offers you the opportunity to change a device’s audio profile right there in the applet, without having to go elsewhere (Kai Use Broulik, Plasma 5.22):

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Kate no longer sometimes creates a new document when closing tabs with a middle-click (Jan Paul Batrina,c Kate 21.04)

Dolphin no longer crashes when viewing large folders in Tree view (Felix Ernst, Dolphin 21.04)

QML-based apps that override the theme no longer crash when that theme is Breeze (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21)

Neither Plasma nor the whole session will crash when dragging a file over a Task Manager entry in the Plasma Wayland session (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21)

Fixed a bug that could cause widgets to sometimes be irremovable from a panel (Niccolò Venerandi, Plasma 5.21)

Non-Task-Manager panel applets once again respect Fitts’ law regarding their click targets (Niccolò Venerandi, Plasma 5.21)

The buttons in Plasma’s “new screen connected” OSD once again work (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21)

KRunner’s Locations runner now works again (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.21)

Plasma no longer sometimes crashes when deleting an activity (Willyanto, Plasma 5.21)

Disk monitoring widgets now show the correct information for current throughput and no longer display “Total Uploaded” when they should be displaying “Upload Rate” (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21)

Discover is now substantially faster to launch (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.21)

Fedora’s Anaconda installer now works in the Plasma Wayland session (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.21)

Discover no longer sometimes shows bogus extra sources in its “Sources” menu when viewing the details page for a Flatpak app (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.21)

KWin now detects hot-plugged VR headsets (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.21)

Reducing the screen brightness to the lowest level such that it turns off the backlight no longer causes the backlight to flicker back on for a moment before turning off again (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.21)

Scrollbars in Breeze-GTK-themed GTK apps no longer display stepper arrows when they shouldn’t (Jan Blackquill, Plasma 5.21)

Discover’s “Write a review” sheet is no longer almost unusably narrow (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21.1)

It’s now possible to immediately apply newly-downloaded wallpapers whose names include a space (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Frameworks 5.79)

When comparing two files in the move/copy overwrite dialog, size differences larger than 2 GiB are no longer erroneously described as being 16 EiB (!!!) (Méven Car, Frameworks 5.80)

Konsole no longer crashes when searching for new appearance settings using the Get New [thing] dialog (Alexander Lohnau, Frameworks 5.80)

Slightly improved the launch speed of all Kirigami-using apps (Arjen Hiemstra, Frameworks 5.80)

The few remaining settings pages that open in standalone windows now look good again (Ismael Asensio and me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.80):

User Interface Improvements

Gwenview now allows you to change the quality/compression level for other lossy image formats, such as WEBP, AVIF, HEIF, and HEIC (me: Nate Graham, Gwenview 21.04)

Kate now enables by default the feature to cut or copy the current line when nothing is selected and you use the cut or copy action (Alexander Lohnau, Kate 21.04)

Resizing Dolphin’s window now re-arranges the icons using a single smooth animation, not a weird two-part animation (Felix Ernst, Dolphin 21.04)

Hitting the escape key while in Okular’s full-screen view now returns to the windowed view (Michael Augaitis, Okular 21.04)

The new Wayland-specific keyboard layout applet now has text that scales with the thickness of the panel it’s located on (Andrey Butirsky, Plasma 5.21)

System Settings’ Window Decorations page now uses the fancy shiny new QML-based Get New [thing] window instead of the old funky QWidgets one (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.22)

System Settings’ Virtual Desktops page now supports the “Highlight changed settings” feature (Cyril Rossi, Plasma 5.22)

You can now configure the Disks & Devices applet to play a sound when a device can be safely removed (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.22)

Web Presence (ooh, let’s try out a new section)

Carl Schwan overhauled Kate’s website to use our fancy modern new theme:

Niccolò Venerandi published part two in his video series about how to create a plasma theme:

Leszek Lesner published a video about kio-fuse, which makes it easier to interact with remote files:

How You Can Help

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.

The FOSS honor culture

Tux with rocket launcher, taken from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tux_Born_to_Frag.jpg

In the real world, anthropologists often make a distinction between Honor cultures and Law cultures:

  • Honor cultures emphasize the idea of “honor”–whose modern analogue might be “reputation”–to encourage pro-social behavior and fulfillment of contracts. You gain or lose honor/reputation based on the above, but you can also lose it when challenged by others, which necessitates often brutal and violent action to regain it. Historically, Honor cultures have often arisen in areas with little law enforcement or central authority; order is thus personally enforced.
  • Law cultures by contrast ensure order by having a broad and well-defined set of rules with a central authority that punishes rulebreaking. Everybody knows the rules, and knows that they will be punished for breaking them, often severely. In Law cultures, order is centrally enforced; people are free to trust one another and act pro-socially as much as possible because their safety is backstopped by the promise and threat of centralized consequences when rules are broken.

Honor cultures today are often considered primitive and backwards, while Law cultures are considered civilized and advanced. There’s a pretty logical reason for this: real-world Honor cultures have tended to evolve brutal and violent methods of regaining lost honor, including dueling, kidnapping, forced marriage, “honor killings”, and family blood feuds. The ordinariness of brutality in Honor cultures tends to push away the gentle and intellectual when migration opportunities exist, so they are weak and poor in a world where power and wealth come from knowledge. Thus Law cultures are ascendant today, and Honor cultures are on the wane… except in one notable area: the internet.

On the internet, there is no real central authority to punish rule-breakers, and there isn’t even a codified set of rules! Each website is basically someone’s private property, and personal behavior on that virtual property requires adherence to the owner’s rules. It’s up to the owners to police their domains, ensure standards of conduct, personally punish violators, maintain their own community reputation, and so on. Is this sounding familiar yet? The internet has evolved a pseudo Honor culture to maintain a semblance of order!

And FOSS communities, being largely digital in nature, follow suit. Though we do occasionally meet up in person, within the physical boundaries of Law cultures (or at least we will again once the global pandemic is over), most FOSS interactions happen online, where the tenets of Honor culture are more applicable.

Now, there’s one major difference between internet Honor culture and physical Honor culture: you can’t kidnap or murder someone over the internet, so regaining your lost honor or repairing an impugned reputation has to be non-violent! It doesn’t have to be pleasant–a jerk may deploy an invective-filled rant, a troll campaign, or a denial-of-service attack–but it can’t physically harm or kill anyone. This removes the most objectionable aspect of traditional, real-world Honor cultures.

It’s worth noting that in the FOSS world, our competitors are closed-source software corporations, which generally operate physically and according to the rules of Law culture: “perform this task or get punished”; “obey the hierarchy to ensure your career path”; “here is your financial bonus for good performance”; and so on. And like real-world Honor vs Law cultures, the FOSS world tends unfortunately to be weaker and poorer than the closed-source one. Earning a living doing FOSS development is a common struggle. And our market share is much lower even though our output is generally better, and always more trustworthy over the long term. Overall, our internet Honor culture causes us to fit less well into the rest of the Law-culture world of rules, laws, financial instruments and hierarchies: corporations effortlessly partner, merge, hire, fire, invest, divest, buy, and sell using legal instruments, while in the FOSS world, these activities generally take place in the realm of the personal, and therefore happen much more slowly, if at all.

However the most successful FOSS projects are supported by Law-culture institutions to help bridge the gap: Firefox has the Mozilla corporation; KDE has the KDE e.V., Blender has the Blender Foundation, and so on. In the same way that a corporation existing in a democracy can be internally a dictatorship, a FOSS community in a Law culture can be internally an Honor culture. Thus internet-based FOSS Honor cultures may avoid being destroyed and retain our cultural distinctiveness and effectiveness in the face of real-world Law cultures.

I wonder if over time we will be pushed into becoming more of a Law culture to maintain and expand our competitiveness with the closed-source world, or whether our Law-culture institutions will prove a sufficient interface and allow us to remain internally an Honor culture. Food for thought, at least.

If you were hoping for a tidy conclusion, I’m afraid I have to disappoint you: this blog post is mostly a random idle musing. 🙂

(Header image taken from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tux_Born_to_Frag.jpg)

This week in KDE: KWin gains direct scan-out, and Gwenview gets a lot of love

Plasma 5.21 is almost here, but we’ve already fixed almost all the issues found during the beta and are hard at work on the next big thing! This includes some very juicy morsels…

New Features

You can now open a folder in Kate’s “Project” view by passing it as a command-line parameter (e.g. kate ~/path/to/some/folder) (Alexander Lohnau, Kate 21.04)

In Gwenview, it’s now possible to disable the “bird’s eye view” in the bottom-right corner when zoomed in on an image (Madhav Kanbur, Gwenview 21.04)

in the Plasma Wayland session, KWin now does direct scan-out for fullscreen views (e.g. games), which should improve performance and reduce latency (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.22)

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Gwenview no longer exhibits a variety of visual artifacts when panning and zooming in on an image when using a High DPI scale factor (Vlad Zahorodnii, Gwenview 20.12.2)

Gwenview’s JPEG quality chooser now works again (Madhav Kanbur, Gwenview 20.12.3)

Gwenview now uses a newer OpenGL drawing view, which makes hardware-accelerated transitions work on Wayland and fixes various other bugs and glitches (Madhav Kanbur, Gwenview 20.12.3)

The new Breeze theme changes no longer make the 3rd-party Cantata app (and potentially others) crash on launch, and also no longer produce a light-colored line directly below the intended dark one that separates a window’s “Tools Area” (titlebar, menubar, toolbar) from the rest of the window (Jan Blackquill, Plasma 5.21)

KRunner’s matching has been restored to its former glory: it no longer prioritizes multi-word sub-string matches over single-word exact matches, and just has more accurate matching in general (Harald Sitter, Plasma 5.21)

Fixed screen rendering for multi-GPU output in the Plasma Wayland session (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.21)

Firefox now updates its view correctly in the Plasma Wayland session (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.21)

People using weak Intel GPUs no longer suffer diminished performance and smoothness both in general, and specifically with Firefox scrolling (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.21)

Menu items in GTK-based apps are no longer too tall (Jan Blackquill, Plasma 5.21)

Files which contain non-ASCII characters can now always be opened (Tusooa Zhu, Frameworks 5.79)

Dolphin no longer crashes when you skip moving or copying multiple files in quick succession during a large move or copy operation (Ahmad Samir, Frameworks 5.79)

KDE apps which were closed while maximized now always re-open maximized, and if they were later un-maximized and closed, they will re-open un-maximized (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.79)

User Interface Improvements

The “Start a Slideshow” menu item in Dolphin’s context menu now only appears if the selection includes more than one image or a folder with more than one image in it (Méven Car, Gwenview 21.04)

You can now mute and unmute the microphone by clicking on its System Tray indicator with a left click, in addition to a middle-click (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.21)

You can now double- or triple-click in a notification to select text as you can in other text views, which is useful for quickly selecting and copying the text of a one-time code sent to you from a website that’s displayed as a notification through the magic of KDE Connect forwarding text messages to your computer (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.22)

Notifications for file operations now display the destination as a clickable link, so you can jump right there if you want to (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.22):

The System Tray’s animations are now more spatially consistent, swooshing the view in the opposite direction from the icon you clicked on. On a vertical panel, a cross-fade is used instead because a vertical swoosh would look really weird. (Jan Blackquill, Plasma 5.22)

Telegram’s system tray icon now uses correct colors and respects your color scheme (Rocket Aaron, Frameworks 5.79):

The Present Windows effect can now activate when only one window is open (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.22)

The Get New [thing] windows now have a streamlined sorting and filtering UI (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Frameworks 5.79):

Ratings for items in the Get New [thing] windows now display a number to correspond to the stars (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Frameworks 5.79):

Oh And One More Thing

KDE Consistency goal leader Niccolò Venerandi has produced a beautiful video showing people the basics of making Plasma themes! Check it out:

How You Can Help

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: Getting ready for Plasma 5.21

We spent the week largely working on polishing up Plasma 5.21 and fixing all the bugs you folks found in the beta! Or internal QA seems to be improving because there don’t seem to be as many this time around, and we’ve already got most of them fixed. Hallelujah! So hopefully 5.21 should be a fairly smooth release. Famous last words, eh?

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Fixed a case where Elisa could crash when moving to the next song (Matthieu Gallien, Elisa 20.12.2)

Spectacle no longer secretly stays running in the background if you cancel taking a rectangular region screenshot using the global shortcut (Meta+Shift+PrintScreen by default) (Antonio Prcela, Spectacle 20.12.2)

Pressing the Escape key in Konsole while the search field is visible now only closes it if it’s currently focused (Anton Maminov, Konsole 21.04)

The new Breeze Light color scheme is now applied to new user accounts as expected (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21)

The new System Settings Login page now lets you change the wallpaper as expected and remembers the session you selected when using auto-login (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21)

Wallpapers added to the list of available wallpapers can once again be removed (Cyril Rossi, Plasma 5.21)

Searching on Discover’s “Installed” page once again works (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.21)

Your old system monitor applets on panels now get correctly migrated to the new ones rather than disappearing (Marco Martin, Plasma 5.21)

Top- and right-positioned panels can now be resized by dragging in the direction you want to resize towards (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21)

Changing your Global Theme to one with a different color scheme now immediately updates the colors of GTK apps too, not just Qt or KDE apps (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21)

System Settings’ home page now lets you use the keyboard to open any of the pages in the “Frequently used” list (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21)

Authentication dialogs now work properly when using the optional Systemd Startup feature (Rex Dieter, Plasma 5.21)

The Plasma Wayland session now opens the correct number of kwin_wayland processes (one, lol) when using the optional Systemd startup feature (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21)

GTK4 apps no longer still display window shadows when maximized (Jan Blackquill, Plasma 5.21)

There is no longer an odd one-pixel horizontal line at the top of the screen while viewing full-screen content in SMPlayer and LibreOffice and probably various other apps too, when using the new Breeze widget theme (Jan Blackquill, Plasma 5.21)

Task Manager window thumbnails for Firefox are no longer sometimes blank in the Plasma Wayland session (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.21)

Context menus for panel applets no longer bizarrely appear as a tiny standalone window in the Plasma Wayland session (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21)

Middle-clicking the desktop to add a sticky mote with the clipboard contents now works again (Marco Martin, Plasma 5.21)

Really long monitor names can no longer blow up the layout of System Settings’ Display Configuration page (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21)

Plasma no longer freezes if you edit the .desktop file of a running program (David Redondo, Frameworks 5.79)

The Baloo file indexing service now properly indexes files in hidden folders if you’ve told it to do so (Stefan Brüns, Frameworks 5.79)

Okular’s search bar once again closes when you hit the Escape key (Albert Astals Cid, Frameworks 5.79)

The icon for Kickoff in Plasma’s “Alternatives” panel now reflects its new appearance (Frameworks 5.79)

User Interface Improvements

Gwenview’s inline video player now displays the current and remaining time next to the timeline (Madhav Kanbur, Gwenview 21.04):

When Kate’s embedded terminal panel is open, it now switches directories properly when a new document is opened (Jan Paul Batrina, Kate 21.04)

Restored the “scroll to switch displayed time zone” feature of the Digital Clock (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21):

The new Kickoff no longer switches between the “Applications” and “Places” tabs on hover by default; you need to click (Noah Davis, Plasma 5.21)

The new Kickoff now has a “Configure” button visible in the main UI (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21):

The Info Center app can now tell you whether you’re using X11 or Wayland (Méven Car, Plasma 5.22)

Desktop widget handles are now much more legible, especially when using a dark color scheme and a dark or visually busy wallpaper (Marco Martin, Plasma 5.22):

Plasma’s Audio Volume applet now remembers the last tab you were looking at even after Plasma or the computer are restarted (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.22)

Comboboxes in QML-based apps now change the displayed item at an appropriate speed when scrolling over them using a touchpad (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.79)

System Settings pages with grid views now adhere to the standard appearance style for hovered grid items (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.79)

How You Can Help

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.

On Stewardship

What’s going on with GameStop right now got me thinking about the relevance to what we do in KDE.

For those not closely following it, here’s what’s happening: a small army of individual investors has purchased as many shares of the GameStop company as possible, calling the bluff of several large hedge funds that bet against GameStop by selling borrowed shares, mistakenly borrowing more shares than actually exist. Oops. A lot of these individual investors used a popular trading app named Robinhood, which it turns out is controlled by one of the companies betting against GameStop. So yesterday, Robinhood prohibited buying more GameStop shares, only selling. This drove the price lower and allowed some of the hedge funds to get out at a lower price than they otherwise would have had to accept, and reduced the value of Robinhood’s own users’ GameStop shares.

The people using Robinhood–whose name seems pretty ironic in retrospect–believed they could trust its owners to be good stewards of their money and investment desires, but this turned out to be false: when the owners were caught between serving their users and serving themselves, they chose the latter.

It got me thinking about platform stewardship. When things are going well, it’s easy to be a good steward. The challenge arrives when your own interests, money, or feelings are imperiled by doing the right thing for the people counting on your wise maintainership of the platform. If you let your own desires get in the way, people will start to distrust you and leave your platform.

In KDE, we also have a platform that people depend on, and trust us to be good stewards of. By and large we don’t have the same potential financial conflicts of interest, but others are possible when it comes to our feelings and other personal interests: we might want see ourselves as kings of a little digital kingdom, or want the software to reflect our own preferences rather than those of our users, or whatever.

In the interest of remaining wise stewards of our platform, we must always resist these desires. Not only are they selfish, but they are ultimately short-sighted and would lead to us losing users and credibility. By and large I think KDE community members already do a great job of this! And that’s a good thing, because the bigger we grow, the more important we will become, and the more frequent these potential conflicts of interest will become. In the face of these challenges, we must retain our culture of stewardship, and I feel fairly confident that we will!

Full disclosure: I own a symbolic one share of GameStop. It was not purchased using Robinhood. 🙂

This week in KDE: the Plasma 5.21 beta is here!

Well folks, you finally have a chance to test out Plasma 5.21, in beta form! Please do install it and find all the bugs we missed. Bug reports have already started pouring in, and we’ll fix them as fast as we can in the next month. 🙂

But check out what else we did this week:

New Features

Kate now has a searchable HUD-style command palette that lets you trigger menu items with super speed! It’s activated using the Ctrl+Alt+I shortcut, and we’re investigating adding it to other KDE apps as well in the form of a re-usable framework component. (Waqar Ahmed, Kate 21.04):

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Spectacle is once again able to take rectangular region screenshots on triple-screen setups (Franz Baumgärtner, Spectacle 20.12.2)

Okular’s Open dialog once again defaults to “All files” in its file type filter when run on non-Plasma desktops (Albert Astals Cid, Okular 20.12.2)

Dolphin now correctly reports the number of files present on other disks not using standard Linux filesystems, such as NTFS (Ilia Kats, Dolphin 20.12.2)

The “Add Network Folder” action is once again visible in Dolphin for people using Frameworks 5.78 or later–albeit it now lives in the toolbar, rather than in the view (Norbert Preining, Dolphin 20.12.2)

When you turn off Konsole’s “Remember window size” feature, that now works again (me: Nate Graham, Konsole 20.12.2)

The System Settings Fonts page no longer shows blank previews for the anti-aliasing styles when using the proprietary Nvidia driver (Yaroslav Sidlovsky, Plasma 5.21)

Discover now handles the situation where you’re installing an add-on that requires you to select a specific file from among a set of options, just like the standalone “get new [thing]” dialog (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Plasma 5.21)

Plasma’s support for the Pulse Connect Secure VPN type now works (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21)

Discover is now a bit faster to launch and uses less memory (still a lot, but less than before at least) (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.21)

It’s now possible to unset global shortcuts set for activating Plasma applets (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21)

While the “Get new Plasma Widgets” window is open, attempting to open it again now re-focuses the existing one rather than opening a second one (Willyanto, Plasma 5.21)

Fixed an uncommon crash in System Settings’ Shortcuts page (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21)

When waking up a sleeping laptop that has a touchscreen, KWin no longer pretends that a finger is being held down on the touchscreen until you really do touch it at least once yourself (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.21)

In the Plasma Wayland session, windows no longer try to snap to OSDs and notifications (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.21)

The System Tray’s back button now reverses itself correctly when using an RTL language (Jan Blackquill, Plasma 5.21)

Filenames in the Breeze-themed GTK folder dialog are now readable, especially when using a dark color scheme (Jan Blackquill, Plasma 5.21)

Undoing the deletion of a file or folder can no longer unexpectedly overwrite an existing item that has the same name as the undeleted item (David Faure, Frameworks 5.79)

System Settings no longer crashes when you navigate to the Screen Locking page’s “Appearance” sub-page and then navigate away (Nicolas Fella, Frameworks 5.79)

Okular and potentially other KDE apps too can once again open files accessed from a web browser (i.e. https://www.example.org/my_awesome_file.pdf) using their “Open” dialogs (Albert Astals Cid, Frameworks 5.79)

When you open a file accessed from a web browser in a KDE app and then show the Open dialog again, it no longer tries to show you the file’s parent website (Albert Astals Cid, Frameworks 5.79)

System Tray applets that feature expanding lists of actions no longer sometimes have some of the actions clipped out of the view when using non-default fonts or font sizes (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.79)

User Interface Improvements

Dolphin’s “Copy file path” action has had its shortcut changed to Ctrl+Alt+C so as not to conflict with the “Copy” action in the embedded terminal panel, whose shortcut is Ctrl+Shift+C (Someone going by the pseudonym “The Imp”, Dolphin 20.12.2)

Gwenview’s titlebar now shows the path to the currently-viewed location while in Browse mode (Antonio Prcela, Gwenview 21.04)

When using the systemwide Double-Click mode, you can now rename files on the desktop by clicking on the label of an already-selected item, just like in Dolphin (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21)

Plasma no longer ever sends a pointless notification when you create a link to a file somewhere else (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.21)

Rotated widgets are no longer jaggy and aliased (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21):

The Edit Mode toolbar now includes a link to the System Settings Global Themes page (someone going by the pseudonym “Wael CH”, Plasma 5.21):

System Settings’ Desktop Effects and Background Services pages now support the “Highlight changed settings” feature (Cyril Rossi, Plasma 5.21)

The icons used for screen rotation in System Settings’ Display & Monitor page are now clearer (someone going by the pseudonym “Wael CH”, Plasma 5.21):

Breeze theme monochrome icons now stay monochrome when using scale factors greater than 200% (Kai Uwe Broulik, Frameworks 5.79)

How You Can Help

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: text reflow in Konsole!

This week a huge new feature landed in Konsole: it now reflows the text when you resize the window! This feature can be turned off if you don’t like it, but comes on by default. It works really well. Thanks very much to Carlos Alves and Tomaz Canabrava for this work! It will be released in Konsole 21.04.

Other New Features

Gwenview now lets you optionally use a solid black color while in full screen view (Antonio Prcela, Gwenview 21.04):

Dolphin now lets you configure whether newly-opened tabs go at the end of the tab bar, or after the current tab (Anthony Fieroni, Dolphin 21.04):

Ark now supports ARJ archives (Natsumi Higa, Ark 21.04)

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Spectacle now lets you change the default screenshot file format when using a non-English language (Nicolas Fella, Spectacle 20.12.2)

Elisa no longer crashes when you enqueue a song accessed using the filesystem browser view (Matthieu Gallien, Elisa 20.12.2)

Adding radio streams in Elisa now works again (Sven Marquardt, Elisa 20.12.2)

Elisa’s “Show current track” button once again works (me: Nate Graham, Elisa 20.12.2)

The “Apply” button of Elisa’s settings window now activates and deactivates at the correct times (Matthieu Gallien, Elisa 21.04)

When using a vertical panel, the date displayed below the clock no longer sometimes becomes huge (Marco Martin, Plasma 5.21)

Plasma no longer freezes when an app sends many notifications in quick succession (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.21)

Fixed various issues with Breeze theme context menu borders sometimes being invisible or pure black (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21)

The Global Menu applet now updates properly when focus is changed to or from a GTK app (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21)

When pulling up the virtual keyboard on the login or lock screen, the password field now remains focused, so the characters you type no longer disappear into the void without manually re-focusing it first (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21)

After enabling any calendar plugins in the Digital Clock, the calendar panel now appears instantly, rather than requiring Plasma to be restarted first (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.21)

Discover’s sidebar header no longer sometimes overlaps the contents after resizing the window (Marco Martin, Plasma 5.21)

Fixed a case where a newly-created panel could be placed on the wrong screen in a multi-screen setup (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.21)

KRunner once again parses and interprets hexadecimal input correctly (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.21)

Country code labels in System Settings’ Keyboard page are now legible when using a light color scheme with a Dark Plasma theme (or the reverse) (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21)

Aborting a change in System Setting’ Users page by canceling the authentication dialog no longer causes the changes to be applied anyway (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.21)

KDE Connect no longer sometimes crashes when it gets spammed with notifications (Nicolas Fella, Frameworks 5.79)

Kirigami icons in apps now consume a bit less memory, which will appreciably reduce memory usage for apps that have a lot of icons (David Edmundson, Frameworks 5.79)

User Interface Improvements

Dolphin now lets you decompress multiple archive files at a time via the context menu item (Elvis Angelaccio, Ark 20.12.2)

Ark’s preview window now closes when you hit the default “close window” shortcut (typically Ctrl+W) (Méven Car, Ark 21.04)

Ctrl+clicking on a Places panel item in Dolphin now opens it in a new tab (Kai Uwe Broulik, Dolphin 21.04)

System Settings’ Login Screen (SDDM) page has been rewritten which fixes a bunch of bugs and makes it look nicer and more consistent (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21):

It’s now possible to drag QML-based apps from empty areas of their headers and backgrounds, just like QWidgets-based apps (Marco Martin, Frameworks 5.79 with Plasma 5.21)

Plasma’s “microphone is being used” indicator now tells you which microphone is being used in its tooltip (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.21)

System Settings’ Default Applications page now supports the “Highlight default settings” feature (Cyril Rossi, Plasma 5.21)

The Global Menu applet now respects Fitts’ law by allowing you to slide your cursor from one menu to another one on the row of pixels that is touching the screen edge (Jan Blackquill, Plasma 5.21)

System Settings’ Splash Screen page now lives in the Appearance category (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21):

The “Get new Plasma Widgets” dialog now uses the much nicer new-style version (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.21):

KDE apps no longer show Docker volumes in their Places panels (Méven Car, Frameworks 5.79)

How You Can Help

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 KWin compositing, new Kickoff, new recording level visualization!

This week KWin’s compositing code was almost totally rewritten! It should broadly reduce latency throughout all compositing operations, and also adds a user-facing control in the System Settings Compositing page so people can choose for themselves whether they prefer lower latency or smoother animations. In addition, it brings support for mixed-refresh-rate display setups on Wayland, e.g. one 144Hz screen and one 60Hz screen! This very exciting work was completed by Vlad Zahorodnii and will land in Plasma 5.21.

But that’s not all: Plasma also got a brand new Kickoff menu, which was rewritten from the ground up and fixes more than two thirds of the open issues in the bug tracker! It features a double-pane UI with better keyboard, mouse, touch, and accessibility, RTL support, an alphabetical “All Applications” view, a grid-style favorites view, power actions visible by default with labels, and much more. Here it is:

I’d like to offer a big thanks to Mikel Johnson for this excellent contribution, which will also land in Plasma 5.21. People who liked the old Kickoff can download it from store.kde.org using the “Get new widgets” button in the “Add Widgets” panel. Search for “Legacy Kickoff”.

But there’s one more really big cool thing: The Plasma Audio Volume applet now has a little visualizer for the current recording level and output volume!

Gone are the days of being embarrassed during a meeting because your microphone is muted or way too sensitive. This lovely improvement was contributed by David Edmundson and David Redondo, and also lands in Plasma 5.21.

But that’s not all:

Other New Features

Konsole now lets you select which text editor is opened when you Ctrl+click on a text file to open it (Ahmad Samir, Konsole 21.04):

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Kate can now open files beginning with a colon from the command line (Ahmad Samir, Kate 21.04)

Right-clicking on an ISO image in Dolphin no longer imposes such a long delay before the context menu appears (Kai Uwe Broulik, Dolphin 21.04)

Dolphin’s in-toolbar breadcrumbs bar/URL navigator is now sized correctly the first time you open Dolphin (Felix Ernst, Dolphin 21.04)

Filelight now shows the correct amount of free space on a disk (Jakob Erzar, Filelight 21.04)

Filelight’s tooltip is now positioned correctly in multi-screen setups (Teemu Patana, Filelight 21.04)

The screen locker no longer sometimes consumes 100% of the CPU’s resources (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.18.7 and 5.21)

The Folder View applet now has a sane layout when used on a vertical panel greater than 50px thick (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.18.7 and 5.21)

Fixed one of the most common ways that Plasma could crash when interacting with screen-related settings (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21)

When Discover and the Emoji picker are already open but unfocused, activating them via their System Tray icons or global shortcuts now raise the existing windows properly (David Edmundson and me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21)

Fixed the Network Speed Widget for people who were seeing that it didn’t work properly for them some of the time (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21)

The “Get new [thing]” dialog now shows recently-installed content properly when you activate its “Installed” filter (Alexander Lohnau, Frameworks 5.79)

User Interface Improvements

Opening and closing split views in Dolphin is now animated (Felix Ernst, Dolphin 21.04):

Kate’s “Quick Open” panel now supports fuzzy matching (Waqar Ahmed, Kate 21.04)

Notifications about items moved to the trash no longer give you the option to open the item, because that’s just silly (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.21)

After you click on the “Connect” button in the Plasma network list, the inline password field no longer runs away from you if the list is re-ordered (Bharadwaj Raju, Plasma 5.21)

System Settings’ KWin Scripts and Accessibility pages now respect the “Highlight changed settings” feature (Cyril Rossi, Plasma 5.21)

The Maximize and Fullscreen animations now use the standard animation easing curve (in/out cubic) (Alex Rosca, Plasma 5.21):

When setting up a KWin window rule, the default value for each newly-added property is now “Apply initially”, not “Do not affect” (Michael Tunnell, Plasma 5.21)

The clipboard applet now closes when you select a history entry with the keyboard, same as when you do so using the mouse (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21)

Dolphin and other KDE apps now display thumbnail previews for ancient .ANI animated windows cursor files (Kai Uwe Broulik, Frameworks 5.79)

How You Can Help

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.