This week in KDE: so many bugfixes

Though Plasma 5.20 was overall a very smooth release, we spent a lot of time fixing some of the bugs we missed, as well as some older ones in Frameworks and apps too. It may not be very sexy, but bugs are what drive users crazy, and we want them fixed! So, fix them we did. 🙂 Maybe not all of them, but some of them–as many as we could. And we’ll keep on doing it too!

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Connecting to another device using fish:// URLs now works when the target device doesn’t have Perl installed (Alexander Akulich, Dolphin 20.08.3

Right-clicking on the same link in Konsole multiple times no longer results in some of the context menu’s items being duplicated (Carlos Alves, Konsole 20.08.3)

Fast scrolling in Okular by holding down the shift key while scrolling now works again (me: Nate Graham, Okular 1.11.3)

Okular once again correctly changes the cursor back to a grabby hand after clicking on a link inside a document (David Hurka, Okular 1.11.3)

Ark can now extract archives into folders with tabs in their names (Jan Paul Batrina, Ark 20.12)

In a Plasma Wayland session, the ALt+Tab Task Switcher is no longer mis-rendered as a big black box after you switch from one visual style to another (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.20.1)

Plasma no longer spikes the CPU when a task inside a grouped Task Manager task changes its title very frequently (Hoang Vu, Plasma 5.20.1)

Fixed multiple crashes and freezes in System Settings relating to using or switching away from the Activities page (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.20.2)

Tilde expansion in KRunner now works again (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.20.2)

The screen chooser OSD no longer has a broken layout with awkward empty space on the right side (Carson Black, Plasma 5.21)

Fixed a common crash when installing or updating themes using Discover or one of the Get New [Thing] windows (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Frameworks 5.76)

The file opensave dialogs once again correctly handle file names which include the “#” character (Ahmad Samir, Frameworks 5.76)

Kirigami-based apps now correctly lay out their sidebars on the right when using reversed/RTL mode (Marco Martin, Frameworks 5.76)

Fixed a memory leak in Kate and other KTextEditor-based apps (Milian Wolff, Frameworks 5.76)

Screenshots taken in a Plasma Wayland session are now correctly copied to the clipboard when desired (David Edmundson, Qt 5.15.2)

User Interface Improvements

When Dolphin is is launched showing any previously-viewed locations that are no longer available, now those views display your home folder instead of an error message (me: Nate Graham, Dolphin 20.12)

When any of Dolphin’s open tabs or views are displaying a location inside a just-removed disk, they immediately switch to displaying your home folder instead of the now-inaccessible location (me: Nate Graham, Dolphin 20.12)

The Kickoff Application Launcher now shows all the same search that KRunner shows, and the list of enabled plugins the KRunner page in System Settings now affects both of them (which means that we should probably change it back to its old name “Plasma Search” as its current name “KRunner” is no longer strictly accurate) (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.21)

On the desktop, the rubberband/selection marquee/”drag a box effect”/whatever you happen to call it now fades out smoothly instead of just disappearing abruptly (Carson Black, Plasma 5.21):

The Places panel in Dolphin, the file dialogs, and various other places now include entries for your Music, Pictures, and Videos folders by default (Claudius Ellsel, Frameworks 5.76)

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.

Inside KDE: leadership and long-term planning

Based on my post about KDE’s anarchic organization and the micro-not-macro nature of my This Week in KDE series, you would be forgiven for having the impression that KDE is directionless and has no leadership or long-term planning capabilities. In fact the opposite is true, and I’d like to talk a bit about that today, since this information may not be obvious to users and the wider community.

Now, since KDE is so vast, I can only provide my personal perspective based on the projects I’m most heavily involved in: the VDG, Plasma, and a few apps.

Overall direction

First of all, you might be surprised to hear that the KDE e.V. board of directors does not act as a technical or strategic leadership body. This is in fact by design; their role is to support the individual project teams (which provide their own leadership) with infrastructural, financial, and legal support. Instead, there are two sources of cross-project planning and leadership in KDE:

  • We democratize long-term planning by allowing the community itself to vote every two years on three goals to prioritize. Members of the kde-community and various developer mailing lists are eligible to vote, so sign up for the kde-community mailing list if you’re not already a subscriber! The current set of long-term goals are Consistency, Wayland, and Apps, following the last set which were Onboarding, Usability & Productivity, and Privacy. These are cross-project goals. There’s no formal mandate to follow them, but project leaders are expected to take them into account. The idea is basically to understand which things are most important to the KDE community as a whole. We’ve done two rounds of this now and I think it’s been quite successful.
  • Additional coordination and strategic planning is provided by members of the KDE Gardening Team, which is essentially our version of upper and middle management. Anyone who cares about the global state of all KDE software and KDE as a community is welcome to join or participate.

On a personal level, I’m a member of the Gardening Team, and my overarching goal is to help KDE get our software shipped by default on hardware all over the world. I have given two Akademy presentations on the subject–one in 2018 and one in 2020–detailing the process I think we can follow to get there. Everything I work on is designed to further this strategic goal.

Small or narrowly scoped projects

Some individual KDE projects use the maintainer model (sometimes known as the “benevolent dictator for life” model). Leadership and planning are easy: the maintainer does it all. This generally works fine for small or focused projects like apps. Many of KDE’s apps follow this model with great success–such as Krita, Kdenlive, Dolphin, Konsole, and so on. A wise maintainer listens to the input of others and changes his or her mind when presented with reasonable alternative perspectives, but ultimately that person makes the call. If you don’t like the call, tough. It’s their project, not yours.

Broadly scoped projects

Projects that touch everything, either from the top (UI side) or the bottom (technical infrastructure side) tend to have a lot of interested parties and stakeholders because of how their activity affects others. Some examples within KDE would be Frameworks, Plasma, KWin, and the VDG.

The maintainer model is often not used for these projects. Instead, an alternative model commonly arises, which I’ll call the “council of elders”: 3-5 of the most active and respected contributors who have strong viewpoints or leadership tendencies will organically emerge to govern the project.

A project’s council of elders is collectively responsible for its long-term priorities and technical direction. Decisions are made on the consensus model, with agreement required from all elders before any kind of potentially controversial action is taken. Sometimes this can take a long time! Discussions are generally public and take the form of status and sync-up meetings, ongoing discussions in the relevant chat channels, Phabricator tasks, and mailing lists. However some of these discussions do take place behind closed doors. For example, when my employer Blue Systems is sponsoring some bit of work and the people working on it are a part of some project’s council of elders, the initial planning for it often takes place inside Blue Systems-specific venues. However it typically moves upstream as soon as practical, once the work is suitable for initial public consumption. And I think the best development and planning happen in the open.

Maintainer vs council of elders

An advantage of the maintainer model is that one person is clearly in charge and has the final say, avoiding endless debate and allowing high speed of decision-making. However even if a project has a humble maintainer with good collaboration skills (such a person is worth their weight in gold), they’re still only one person. People can lose interest, burn out, or die–the notorious “bus factor” of a project. Or the maintainer can simply take the software in a direction that you don’t like. Relying on software steered by a single individual requires trust that none of these things will happen.

The council of elders model solves these problems with its power sharing arrangement. In so doing, it gains the ability to survive the loss of any given elder and provides stability and continuity for 3rd parties who would rely on it. The project does gives up a measure of speed and decisiveness in decision-making as a consequence. However there’s no reason why a council of elders has to fall prey to squabbling. In my experience it only happens if any of the elders in the council disagree with the others but take a “my way or the highway” approach rather than reaching for compromise or admitting that they may simply be wrong.

It’s natural for people–including any of the elders themselves!–to sometimes feel frustrated with the council’s lower speed of decision-making compared to a sole maintainer. But everyone appreciates the immortality that the council provides to the project and its resistance to the problems of a tyrannical or negligent maintainer. For these reasons, there’s but slow but natural drift from the maintainer model to the council of elders model as projects mature over time, especially for software used as a base for other software.

Does it work?

KDE doesn’t lack for strategic long-term goals and direction, so I think that part can be pretty solidly marked as a success. As for tactical leadership and direction within and between individual projects, I also think things are pretty rosy overall. KDE’s maintainer-led projects generally have excellent maintainers. The variety of KDE apps using this model model is a testament to how successful it can be with a high-quality maintainer–especially our professional-class apps like Krita. And in my opinion, KDE’s council of elders projects also have very good leadership today. I think you can see this in the successful roll-out or ongoing progress of various multi-year initiatives:

I could go on; there are tons of long-term projects being worked on behind the scenes. My blog posts may actually be hiding this, because I tend to blog only about the user-visible elements once they’re finally merged. In reality, large projects are often started months or years before the final UI piece of the puzzle is fitted into place. If people are interested, I can try to blog more about the foundational stuff too–or at least encourage others to do so, as this is not my area of expertise. 🙂

Now, has everything been perfectly smooth? No. Are there problems? Yes. Have some things moved too slowly? Certainly. Such is life! And I’ll talk about those things in a future post, because I do think that we can improve upon the way we do things in various ways. But overall, I think KDE’s long-term planning abilities are pretty impressive, especially for a mostly volunteer community!

This week in KDE: Plasma 5.20 released, and looking forwards

We released Plasma 5.20 this week and I think our QA generally paid off–it seems to have been one of the smoothest releases I can remember despite all of the changes! That said, Neon experienced some packaging issues that affected users on the release day, which we’re investigating, and we’ll figure out how to make sure this doesn’t happen again. those issues have all been fixed now, so it should be safe to upgrade, if you haven’t done so yet. And of course we spent a lot of time fixing the few regressions in Plasma 5.20 that did manage to slip through, but also working on the next versions!

New Features

Elisa now lets you change the color scheme of the app independent of the systemwide color scheme (George Florea Bănuș, Elisa 20.12):

Elisa now lets you choose which view to display when the app launches (Matthieu Gallien, Elisa 20.12)

Ark now supports archives with zstd compression (Alexey Ivanov, Ark 20.12)

The System Tray config window’s Entries page now displays configure buttons for individual configurable applets, so you can configure them from one place (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.21):

KRunner can now use DuckDuckGo-style “bangs” to invoke web shortcuts. For example, instead of typing “wiki: battleship” to search Wikipedia for an article called “Battleship”, you can also now type “battleship !wiki” or “battleship!wiki” (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.21)

System Settings now displays the same set of frequently-used items that are shown on the home screen in the app’s context menu in the Task Manager and Kickoff/Kicker/Application Dashboard/SimpleMenu etc. (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.21):

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

When accessing a large Samba share, Dolphin no longer sometimes displays only part of the contents (Harald Sitter, Dolphin 20.08.3)

Gwenview no longer sometimes displays the thumbnail strip in a second window when using recent versions of of Qt (Yichao Yu, Gwenview 20.08.3)

Clicking in Okular’s scroll track to scroll the view no longer causes the scrollbar to become de-synced when scrolling over the main view itself using a mouse wheel or touchpad or click-and-drag or touchscreen gesture (David Hurka, Okular 1.11.3)

Elisa’s “Now Playing” view no longer displays an erroneous “Nothing is playing” message when there is in fact something playing, but that thing only has a title and no other metadata (Fabian Baumanis, Elisa 20.12)

Fixed a case where the kactivitymanagerd daemon could crash over and over again (Ivan Čukić, Plasma 5.20.1)

Blurred and partially transparent Breeze theme menus are no longer sometimes affected by a weird graphical glitch that causes the background to look ugly (Andreas Haratzis, Plasma 5.20.1)

In a Wayland session, windows that were closed when in a maximized state now re-open in the same maximized state (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.20.1)

In a Wayland session, deliberately killing XWayland also no longer crashes the whole session (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.20.1)

In a Wayland session, the cursor is no longer sometimes oddly clipped (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.20.1)

The hamburger menu for individual applications in the Audio Volume applet now works again, and the relevant System Settings page once again shows the correct output for a multi-output device in the device’s output combobox (David Redondo, Plasma 5.20.1)

Non-removable devices displayed in the Disks & Devices applet no longer let you try to unmount them and instead display a button to open them with the file manager (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.20.1)

Tooltips for pinned Icons-Only Task Manager apps all of whose windows are on another virtual desktop are no longer visually corrupted (Arjen Hiemstra, Plasma 5.20.1)

The notification popup’s circular timeout indicator is once again correctly positioned when using a HiDPI scale factor (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.20.1)

24px thick panels no longer have the wrong size and spacing for System Tray items (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.20.1)

The properties window for the trash now indicates the correct amount of free space when using the trash’s “Unlimited” size option (Ahmad Samir, Frameworks 5.75)

Slider handles in Plasma no longer have blurry outlines (David Redondo, Frameworks 5.76)

Discover’s sidebar header no longer sometimes partially covers up the first few items in the sidebar list (Carson Black, Frameworks 5.76)

User Interface Improvements

When using Dolphin’s “remember previous window state” feature, opening Dolphin with a specific location when it’s closed now causes the resulting window to append the newly-opened location to the set of tabs in the old window, rather than replacing them (me: Nate Graham, Dolphin 20.12)

Hovering the cursor over a tab in Dolphin now displays a tooltip with the full path (Tolu Schr, Dolphin 20.12)

Dolphin’s context menu now shows the “Open With…” menu items even for empty directories, as we found some legitimate use cases for this (me: Nate Graham, Dolphin 20.12)

The Media Player applet now uses a tab bar in the footer to let you quickly choose which of the available audio streams it’s controlling (Ismael Asensio, Plasma 5.21):

KRuner now closes if you hit the return or enter key while the text field has no text in it (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.21)

When you try to create a folder that already exists in the open/save dialogs, now it will just take you right there, instead of showing an error message (Ahmad Samir, Frameworks 5.76)

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 5.20 is nigh

We spent a ton of time this week polishing up Plasma 5.20 and fixing the last few regressions that were reported during the beta period. Hopefully this release should be much smoother and more stable than the last few have been! We’ve really been trying to up our QA game lately. And of course, we’re already looking to the next version, and new features are starting to land…

New Features

Gwenview now has an option to not auto-play videos in browse mode (Madhav Kanbur, Gwenview 20.12)

On Wayland, KWin now supports the “iGPU multi-monitor” feature and therefore allows you to simultaneously drive multiple monitors from both a dedicated and internal Intel GPU! (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.21)

KRunner now has an optional “keep open” feature which causes it to stay open when focus is lost, just like how the System Tray and Clock popups can (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.21):

Plasma will now display a notification when your network connection becomes flaky and you’re about to lose internet access (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.21):

Text fields in Kirigami and QML-based desktop apps now display appropriate context menus when you right-click on them (Yeah yeah yeah I know, it’s 2020 and we’re only now getting this… but still, now we have it!) (Devin Lin, Frameworks 5.75):

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Krfb now saves and remembers user settings such as settings “Enable desktop sharing”, “Enable Unattended Access” and “Password” (Alexey Min, Krfb 20.08.2)

Mounting an ISO image using the ISO mounter Dolphin plugin now results in it actually being mounted if you have automounting globally disabled (Kwon-Young Choi, Dolphin 20.12)

Spectacle’s background mode now auto-saves images as expected when that option is set in the settings window (Antonio Prcela, Spectacle 20.12)

Partition Manager now recognizes devices without a partition table (Andrius Štikonas, Partition Manager 4.2.0)

KWin no longer sometimes crashes when exiting or re-launching (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.20)

Plasma no longer sometimes leaks memory and crashes when exiting or re-launching (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.20)

Pinned Icons-Only Task Manager apps no longer randomly jump around when any of the apps come from Flatpak, Snap, Steam, or have a URL scheme beginning with “preferred://", as two of the four default items do (Eike Hein, Plasma 5.20)

Fixed the initialization of dmabuf textures in KWin on Wayland, which in practical terms should ensure that videos played Firefox no longer sometimes display garbage instead of the video (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.20)

The functionality in the System Settings Shortcuts page to import an existing shortcut scheme now works again (David Redondo, Plasma 5.20)

The Disks & Devices applet no longer ever shows the “Remove All” button when there are any non-removable devices in the list (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.20)

Events in the event list on the Digital Clock pop-up are no longer all scrunched up together (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.20)

KRunner is now more responsive to typed text on Wayland (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.20)

Dragging a webp or tiff image onto the desktop now shows the option to set the image as the current wallpaper, just like it already does for images in other formats (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.20)

Plasma’s System Monitor widgets no longer leak memory (Arjen Hiemstra, Frameworks 5.75)

When a Plasma Vault is in an error state, its System Tray icon no longer disappears (Alexander Stippich, Frameworks 5.75)

Discover should no longer sometimes crash when canceling the password dialog (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Frameworks 5.75)

KDE Neon now adds the Flathub repo to Discover by default (Harald Sitter, in the next update)

User Interface Improvements

Dolphin no longer bugs you with an “are you sure you want to close multiple tabs?” dialog when you’re using its (on by default) “remember window state” feature (me: Nate Graham, Dolphin 20.08.2)

Plasma 5.20’s new feature to smoothly animate brightness changes is now only enabled when your screen exposes enough levels of brightness to make it look good (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.20)

The System Settings Window Decorations page now supports the “Highlight Changed Settings” feature (Benjamin Port, Plasma 5.21)

The background highlight effect for Task Manager items now extends to the edges of the panel (Niccolò Venerandi, Plasma 5.21):

When selecting new properties in the System Settings Windows Rules page, the property selection sheet now closes immediately after you’ve used it to select a property so you can immediately configure it (Ismael Asensio, Plasma 5.21)

After installing a 3rd-party applet which adds a System Tray item, the item now appears in the System Tray immediately, without having to restart Plasma (Konrad Materka, Plasma 5.21)

System Settings pages now have perfectly consistent margins on all sides (Ismael Asensio and me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.20 and Frameworks 5.75)

System Settings now has a unified titlebar/header appearance when using a compatible color scheme (i.e. one of the ones used in the Breeze Evolution work, like the new Breeze Light and Breeze Dark color schemes) (Marco Martin, Frameworks 5.75):

And yes, we know that it’s slightly ridiculous to have the text “Shortcuts” shown four times in close proximity lol

ToolButtons in Kirigami and QML-based desktop apps now visually indicate when they have keyboard focus (Arjen Hiemstra, Frameworks 5.76)

Applets which have been given a keyboard shortcut to make them activate will now deactivate when that shortcut is pressed again (…except for the System Tray, which needs extra work that’s coming soon) (Alexander Lohnau, Frameworks 5.76)

Red subtitle text for almost-full devices in the Disks & Devices System Tray applet is now more readable (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.76)

Comboboxes in Kirigami and other QML-based desktop apps which have enough items to be scrollable now draw the scrollbar part using the correct color (George Florea Bănuș, Frameworks 5.76)

Editable comboboxes in Plasma and Plasma applets now close their popups when clicking outside of then (Chris Holland, Frameworks 5.76)

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: Breeze Evolution work starts landing

Pieces of our much-awaited Breeze Evolution UI refresh have begun landing this week! Now windows, Plasma pop-ups, and notifications have a distinctly colored visually separated “tools area” at the top, window shadows become smaller for inactive windows, and sidebars in settings windows are using all-colorful icons!

These improvements have been developed by Carson Black, Noah Davis, Niccolò Venerandi, Lindsay Roberts, and me: Nate Graham–aided greatly by the rest of the KDE VDG team! Watch this space for more to come. Plasma 5.21 is going to be the release where all of this stuff gets shipped, and I’m very excited about it! 🙂

Now keep in mind this is pretty early in the Plasma 5.21 dev cycle, so before the release, there may be tweaks and adjustments to the final appearance of anything I post here.

And also, that’s not even the half of it! All sorts of other cool stuff was done as well:

New Features

Kate’s file browser now has an “Open with” menu item in its context menu (Mario Aichinger, Kate 20.12):

Filelight now has a feature to save the current view as an SVG file (Martin Tobias Holmedahl Sandsmark, Filelight 20.12):

KWin’s Wayland virtual keyboard support now works for GTK apps! (Bhushan Shah, Plasma 5.21)

System Settings’ “Highlight Changed Settings” feature now works for the KWin window management pages too (Cyril Rossi, Plasma 5.21)

The Elisa music player now has a fancy new website, courtesy of Anubhav Choudhary, Nikunj Goyal, and Carl Schwan!

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Gwenview’s photo importer no longer hangs when you try to exit it (Gwenview 20.08.2)

Okular’s “Page Up/Down overlap” setting now works again (Kishore Gopalakrishnan, Okular 1.11.2)

When using an automatic document feeder to scan with Skanlite, it’s no longer possible to select multiple capture areas, since this concept only makes sense when using a flatbed scanner (Kåre Särs, Skanlite 20.12)

Dolphin now be interacted with using a Wacom tablet pen (Steffen Hartlieb, Dolphin 20.12)

Ark’s “Save As…” menu item has been renamed to “Save Copy As…” to reflect what it will actually do (Elvis Angelaccio, Ark 20.12)

KWin no longer crashes when activating a hotcorner with the mouse, and then continuing to push the mouse into the hotcorner after it’s been activated (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.18.6)

The “Switch user” action which has been missing from Kickoff and Kicker is now back (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.20)

Fixed a case where Plasma could crash while editing the settings of system monitor widgets (David Redondo, Plasma 5.20)

Fixed a very odd case where Plasma could crash when scrolling on the desktop when due to the number of virtual desktops being incorrectly reported as 1 instead of some number higher than 1 (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.20)

Discover no longer displays an incorrect number of packages to update under certain circumstances (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.20)

When not using the “Fade Popups” KWin effect, the shadows of context menus no longer briefly remain visible after the context menus are closed (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.20)

On Wayland, context menus on the desktop and throughout Plasma now close when they’re supposed to (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.20)

On Wayland, Task Manager tooltip window thumbnails are no longer overlapped by the app’s icon (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.20)

On Wayland, pressing Ctrl+Alt+Esc twice no longer results in the “Click a window to kill it” message being re-positioned into the top-left corner of the screen (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.20)

Toolbar buttons that open menus now always display the correct color for the downward-pointing arrow that indicates this (David Redondo, Plasma 5.20)

The window-specific KWin Rules dialog is now properly translated (Albert Astals Cid, Plasma 5.20)

Discover no longer shows translation errors for updatable packages whose version numbers are missing for some reason (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.21)

Trashing files on external disks now uses the trash folder for that disk rather than usually first copying the files to the trash folder on the root volume (David Faure, Frameworks 5.75)

When KDE app windows are allowed to restore their prior positions when re-opened, opening new instances of already-open apps no longer causes the existing windows to be completely covered up; instead, the window manager is allowed to position these windows (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.75)

Discover no longer sometimes crashes when trying to update certain add-ons from store.kde.org (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Frameworks 5.75)

Discover no longer silently fails to update certain addons from store.kde.org (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Frameworks 5.75)

The distinct header area throughout various Plasma applets is once again visible when using the Breeze Dark Plasma theme (not the default Breeze Plasma theme with a dark color scheme; the actual Breeze Dark Plasma theme) (Harald Sitter and me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.75)

The setting for making a scrollview jump directly to the clicked position in the scroll track now applies to scrollviews in QML-based desktop software as well (Bharadwaj Raju, Frameworks 5.75)

Lokalize’s main window now displays correctly on Wayland (Albert Astals Cid, Frameworks 5.75)

Tooltips throughout Plasma once again have the correct visual appearance (only people using the Plasma 5.20 beta ever saw the regression, hopefully) (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.75)

Labels for list items in the timezone chooser view (as well as other lists using the CheckDelegate QtQuickControls2 item) now use the correct text color when the checkbox is checked (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.75)

User Interface Improvements

Kate’s config dialog now uses a nice pretty icon-style sidebar like most other KDE apps do (Christoph Cullmann, Kate 20.12):

Overhauled the visuals of the Nextcloud and Owncloud wizards in the System Settings Online Accounts page (Nicolas Fella, Kaccounts-integration 20.12)

Elisa’s Configure Shortcuts window no longer shows empty columns for non-existent global shortcuts (me: Nate Graham, Elisa 20.12):

I am also investigating doing this for all apps, in a more central and intelligent way. See https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=427129

The Info Center Samba Status page has received a fancy visual overhaul (Harald Sitter, Plasma 5.20):

The Spellcheck plugin is now activated by default in KRunner. You can invoke it by typing “spell [misspelled word]” (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.21)

Navigation-style sidebars in Discover and other Kirigami apps now look more like the one in System Settings, bring them into consistency with one another (me: Nalate Graham, Frameworks 5.75)

The animations for the System Tray highlight and Kickoff Application Launcher’s tab switching are now more responsive (Andy Salerno, Frameworks 5.75)

Form layout user interfaces no longer have an awkward left indent when in narrow mode (Devin Lin, Frameworks 5.75):

Left: before right: after

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: fixing up Plasma 5.20

We spent a lot of this week polishing up Plasma 5.20 and fixing bugs you’ve all found in the release. Thanks very much too all the people who have been testing it and reporting bugs! It’s very helpful. As a reminder, you can find distros shipping the beta here: https://community.kde.org/Plasma/Live_Images

New Features

Okular’s animated smooth scrolling feature can now be totally disabled in the app itself (me: Nate Graham)

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Kate’s File menu no longer ever loses menu items after closing a tab (Christoph Cullmann, Kate 20.08.2)

Okular’s editable forms are no longer mis-rendered when inertially scrolling (Kezi Olio, Okular 1.11.2)

When your scanner can almost but not quite fit a particular page size, Skanlite will now display the option to scan to that page size anyway (e.g. 215mm wide scan beds now give you the option to scan using the US Letter page size) (Kåre Särs, libksane 20.12)

The text of Elisa’s keyboard shortcuts are now translated properly (Nikunj Goyal, Elisa 20.12)

Clearing the clipboard history on Wayland no longer crashes Plasma (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.20)

Improved the Plasma SVG cache heuristics such that various things which might sometimes be invisible after upgrading Plasma now show up like they’re supposed to (Arjen Hiemstra, Plasma 5.20)

On Wayland, clicking on a Task Manager entry while that entry’s tooltip is visible no longer crashes Plasma (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.20)

On Wayland, clicking on a Task Manager thumbnail now activates that window, as you would expect (Marco Martin, Plasma 5.20)

On Wayland, the window stacking order is now always correct (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.20)

Auto-hidden panels now have an animated show/hide effect again (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.20)

The hover effect for titlebar buttons in GTK headerbar apps once again appears when it should (Mikhail Zolotukhin, Plasma 5.20

The names of the System Settings and Info Center apps are now translated properly (Alexander Potashev, Plasma 5.20)

The Plasma Emoji input window now always shows nice colorful emojis even if the distro’s fontconfig files are kind of messed up (Yunhe Guo, Plasma 5.20)

The little arrow in a System Settings list items for a top-level category will no longer appear if the category’s existence is obfuscated because it has only a single item, in which case System Settings automatically takes you to the child item (David Redondo, Plasma 5.20)

Shortcuts for switching to particular Activities now work again when set from the relevant System Settings page (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.20)

Plasma applet configuration windows now always display the correct sidebar appearance (David Redondo, Plasma 5.20)

On Wayland, context menus now always have shadows, as expected (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.20)

Breeze buttons now display the correct colors when using certain non-default color schemes (Carson Black, Plasma 5.20)

Improved how KWin detects fully opaque windows, which will allow it to do less work by not rendering anything that’s entirely covered up by them (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.21)

You’re no longer annoyingly asked whether you want to execute non-executable script files when you try to open them (Ahmad Samir, Frameworks 5.75)

It’s once again possible to enter shortcuts in the System Settings Shortcuts page that use the Alt Key when the Alt+something shortcut that you’re defining would otherwise trigger an action on the shortcut entry page itself! (David Edmundson, Frameworks 5.75)

Apps which show an “Are you sure you want to close multiple documents?” dialog when you quit while multiple documents are open will no longer do so if the app is quit as a part of the normal shutdown sequence when session saving is in use (Allen Sandfield Jensen, Frameworks 5.75)

User avatars in the Kickoff Application Launcher and the new System Settings Users page are no longer blurry (Carson Black, Frameworks 5.75)

Button icons on the login and lock screens are no longer mis-colored (Noah Davis, Frameworks 5.75)

User Interface Improvements

Pressing the Esc key in Gwenview while in full screen view now leaves full screen view the first time you press it, instead of first going back to browse mode (Michael Augaitis, Gwenview 20.12)

Elisa now has keyboard shortcuts to go back and forward by track while in the app itself (Ctrl+left arrow and Ctrl+right arrow) (Nikunj Goyal, Elisa 20.12)

Newly-generated thumbnail preview images will no longer longer embed mostly-transparent mimetype icons in the bottom-right corner, which were super confusing (Stefan Brüns, Dolphin 20.12)

Scrollbars in GTK apps using the Breeze GTK theme are now the correct width (Carson Black, Plasma 5.20)

After changing the charge limit on your battery, you’re only shown a message saying, “You may need to re-connect your charger” if it’s currently plugged in (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.20)

System Settings and Info Center now have a “Report Bug…” menu item in their hamburger menus (David Redondo, Plasma 5.20)

The System Activity window (the thing that appears when you press Ctrl+Esc) now has correct margins (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.20)

KRunner’s settings page now uses more accurate text for its new positioning modes feature (me: Ne Graham, Plasma 5.20)

Info Center now has a fancy new Network Interfaces page (Carl Schwan, Plasma 5.21)

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: everything happened

This was a pretty huge week for KDE. Apparently people had a lot of pent-up work, because right after Akademy finished last week, the floodgates started opening! Amazing stuff has been landing left and right every day this week! Some highlights are touch support in Dolphin, user-configurable per-view sort ordering in Elisa, optional Systemd startup, tons of Okular scrolling improvements, and much, much, much more.

Oh and meet Plasma 5.20’s beautiful new wallpaper, Shell:

Big thanks to Lucas Andrade for this beautiful wallpaper!

New Features

Dolphin now has full touch support! (Steffen Hartlieb, Dolphin 20.12)

Elisa now lets you sort each view by whatever criteria you want, and defaults to sorting albums by year (Matthieu Gallien, Elisa 20.12)

Konsole now has a “focus follows mouse” feature for its split views that you can turn on to automatically focus the split view that the cursor passes over (Luc Dufresne, Konsole 20.12)

For those of you who liked Kate’s previous tab behavior–where it shows a limited number of tabs and automatically orders them according to recency of access in the sidebar–you can now use it again (Christoph Cullmann, Kate 20.12)

Spectacle now has command-line arguments to include or exclude window decorations or the cursor, overriding whatever is defined in the config file (Nazer Kalinowski, Spectacle 20.12)

Filelight now offers you an easy way to exclude a folder from further indexing (Efe Çiftci, Filelight 20.12):

Plasma now optionally uses Systemd for startup (when Systemd is available), which brings numerous benefits such as faster startup and load times, no more odd race conditions during startup causing weird bugs, better session cleanup on logout ending the possibility of logout hangs, better logging of what’s going on, the possibility of using slices and cgroups to improve responsiveness and clarity in system monitoring apps, and much more. It’s a very exciting change! This is currently optional and off by default, but it will eventually be turned on by default (only where available of course) once the remaining kinks are worked out. (David Edmundson, 5.21)

The System Settings Shortcuts page now also shows you which shortcuts have been changed from their defaults when using the “Highlight changed settings” feature (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21)

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

When scrolling in Okular with a finger on the touchscreen or a mouse drag with the Browse tool, the view no longer “sticks” slightly for the first few pixels of movement (Kezi Olio, Okular 1.11.2)

Okular no longer crashes when trying to open malformed PDF documents with the same digital signature on multiple pages (Albert Astals Cid, Okular 1.11.2)

Middle-clicking on a tab in Kate now closes it again (Christoph Cullmann, Kate 20.08.2)

In Kate’s “Save modified documents” dialog, the Cancel button is now focused by default as it should be (Alexander Lohnau, Kate 20.12)

When annotating a document in Okular, the annotation tool’s tooltip no longer gets mistakenly painted over the document in certain circumstances (Pedro Arthur Pinheiro Rosa Duarte, Okular 20.12)

Partition Manager now correctly modifies the /etc/fstab file after you make changes (Andrius Štikonas, Partition Manager 4.2.0)

The Ctrl+d shortcut no longer unexpectedly moves selected desktop items to the trash (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.18.6 and 5.20)

Improved the graphics performance on Wayland (Gang Wu, Plasma 5.20)

It’s now possible to drag windows on Wayland from their empty areas, just like on X11 (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.20)

Discover no longer crashes when you visit its Settings page immediately after launching the app (Arjen Hiemstra, Frameworks 5.75 or Plasma 5.20, whichever one you get first)

Running a VNC server inside a Plasma session no longer crashes the Plasma session (Fabian Vogt, Plasma 5.20)

On Wayland, Plasma no longer sometimes crashes when you hover the cursor over an auto-hide Panel (Andreas Haratzis, Plasma 5.20)

Open and Save dialogs can now open and save files containing double quotes in their names (Andreas Bontozoglou, Frameworks 5.75)

It’s once again possible to set custom shortcuts that use the Tab key (David Edmundson, Frameworks 5.75)

Updating icon themes installed using the Get New Icons window now works (Alexander Lohnau, Frameworks 5.75)

Saving a file with a name that begins with a colon no longer causes the file to be saved to the base level of your home folder rather than wherever it is what you actually tried to save it to (Ahmad Samir, Frameworks 5.75)

User Interface Improvements

Single-line text in Elisa’s list-style views is now vertically centered as expected (me: Nate Graham, Elisa 20.08.2)

Elisa’s playlist sidebar now turns into a collapsible drawer on mobile or with a very narrow window, which means it’s no longer ever accessible (Stef Lep, Elisa 20.12)

Okular’s recently-added smooth scrolling animated transitions now respect the global animation speed multiplier, which means that people who hate animations and have then turned off globally now don’t have to live with the animated scrolling effects in Okular any longer. We still plan to add an off switch in Okular itself for people who want to disable smooth scrolling in just Okular or are using Okular on non-Plasma platforms (me: Nate Graham, Okular 20.12)

Discover now provides feedback on Arch-based distros when there is a dependency problem preventing updates from being installed (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.20)

KRunner now prioritizes apps higher than System Settings pages in the results view when there are matches for both (Harald Sitter, Plasma 5.20)

When you try to assign a shortcut on the System Settings Shortcuts page that’s already used, you’re now warned immediately rather than only when you click the “Apply” button (David Redondo, Plasma 5.20)

System Settings’ sidebar view now displays little arrows for list items which are top-level categories containing other items (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.20)

You can now middle-click on the Night Color applet to toggle the feature on and off (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.20)

The Battery applet now shows the brightness percentage (Eugene Popov, Plasma 5.20)

VPN-related notifications and network authentication dialogs now use clearer and more consistent terminology (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21)

It’s now possible to configure a keyboard shortcut in Kate to paste the text that was last selected by the mouse (usually you middle-click to paste this text) (Jonathan Poelen, Frameworks 5.75)

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: Akademy makes the magic happen

This week we attended a virtual version of KDE’s yearly Akademy conference! If you missed it, there are tons of videos available on the KDE Community YouTube channel. The organizers did a truly amazing job, and it was really truly close to the fun and productivity of an in-person event. Many things were decided, projects un-stuck, and exciting long-term plans made, from which we will all be benefiting soon enough. 🙂 But we didn’t let a grueling week-long conference stop us from making your favorite software even better!

New Features

KDE now has a totally fancy all brand new development website for teaching people how to write apps that integrate well in Plasma! (Carl Schwan, already deployed on the website!)

Okular now has a command-line option to let you open a document on a specific page (e.g. okular /path/to/file.pdf#page=3) (Michael Weghorn, Okular 1.12)

If your hardware supports it, Plasma now allows you to configure a charge limit lower than 100% for your battery, to preserve its lifespan (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.20)

The text view in Kate, KDevelop, and other KTextEditor-based apps now respects the active systemwide color scheme! (Christoph Cullmann, Frameworks 5.75)

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Fixed a bug in Spectacle that could cause graphical corruption in screenshots for one of the screens of a multi-monitor high DPI screen setup (Méven Car, Spectacle 20.08.2)

Fixed a bug that could cause Konsole to occasionally crash when selecting or pasting text while holding down the shift key (Martin Tobias Holmdahl Sandsmark, Konsole 20.08.2)

Fixed a bug in Dolphin that could cause drag-and-drop of files into Audacious or other apps to not work (Elvis Angelaccio, Dolphin 20.08.2)

Fixed a bug in Elisa that could cause the “Empty playlist” placeholder message to still be partially visible when the playlist is hidden (Ismael Asensio, Elisa 20.08.2)

Okular’s smooth scrolling effect for the PageUp/PageDown keys no longer blocks faster scrolling by holding down the PageUp/PageDown keys or pressing them in rapid succession and now applies when searching backwards too (Kishore Gopalakrishnan, Okular 1.11.2)

Due to the above fix, Okular’s smooth scrolling has been re-enabled for the mouse wheel and arrow keys because it’s not so annoying anymore (me: Nate Graham, Okular 1.11.2)

Fixed a bug in Okular that could cause visual artifacts when scrolling after creating and selecting an annotation (Havid Hurka, Okular 20.12)

Discover is now faster to launch (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.20)

KRunner no longer loses the first few keys when invoked by typing while the desktop is focused (Piotr Henryk Dabrowski, Plasma 5.20)

KRunner is now faster to launch using its global keyboard shortcut, making it less likely to lose the first few keys you type (David Redondo, Plasma 5.20)

Substantially improved the speed and responsiveness of large and complicated QML-based apps (Marco Martin, Frameworks 5.75)

Fixed a strange bug that could cause Kate to fail to change the font size after adjusting the systemwide color scheme (Christoph Cullmann, Frameworks 5.75)

User Interface Improvements

Okular now will soon use the same date-based versioning convention used by most other KDE apps! This means the next major version will be Okular 20.12, not Okular 1.12 (Albert Astals Cid, Okular 20.12)

When using a global menu or an in-titlebar menu button, Elisa’s menu is more typical in structure and organization (Carson Black, Elisa 20.12)

The thing in Plasma that everyone calls “edit mode” is now actually referred to using that wording in the user interface (Plasma 5.20, me: Nate Graham)

It’s now possible to create folders on the desktop using the standard keyboard shortcut (F10) (Domenico Panella, Plasma 5.20)

All of Discover’s overlay sheets are now horizontally centered in the window, rather than some of them being horizontally centered only in the right view (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.20)

When you make an app full screen, there’s now a nice animated transition just like when a window is maximized (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.20)

There is now a little separator line between the navigation buttons and the breadcrumbs, for views/toolbars that have both (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.75)

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: Annotations in Spectacle

This week we landed a feature you’ve been waiting a long time for: Annotations in Spectacle! Nicolas Fella implemented it and it will be available in Spectacle 20.12. There are a few bugs and rough edgs remaining, but we should have them smoothed out in time for the release in a few months. Thanks Nicolas!

Other New Features

The System Settings Bluetooth pages have been merged together into a single fancy new QML-based page with a much better user interface (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.20)

KRunner now retains the previously-visible text when closed and re-opened, so you can return super easily to the prior search if it was still relevant. If you find this annoying, you can turn it off, of course. 🙂 (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.20)

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Improved the speed and performance of generating thumbnail previews for files and folders (Stefan Brüns, Dolphin 20.12)

Konsole is now quite a bit faster to launch (Martin Tobias Holmedahl Sandsmark, Konsole 20.12)

KRunner is now more reliable when performing mathematical calculations with long numbers when using a locale that assigns periods to separate the thousands (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.20)

The System Settings KWin Scripts page now refreshes its view after a script is uninstalled (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.20)

Canceling installing a new SDDM login screen theme no longer results in an empty dialog box mysteriously popping up (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.20)

Fixed a bug that could prevent widgets installed using the “Get New [Thing]” window to not be updateable in Discover (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.20)

Typing a path in the URL navigators throughout KDE software now automatically appends slashes to the end of the current folder name, as it did before (Noah Davis, Frameworks 5.74)

It’s once again possible to set global shortcuts that use symbols that must be accessed by holding down the shift key (e.g. Meta+! or Meta+&) (Jan Paul Batrina, Frameworks 5.74)

Opening the Tags location (tags:/) in Dolphin no longer eats up a ton of system resources while generating thumbnail preview images (Stefan Brüns, Frameworks 5.74)

Newly-installed or uninstalled items in the “Get New [Thing]” Window now appear or disappear as expected when a filter is applied (Alexander Lohnau, Frameworks 5.74)

User Interface Improvements

The artist and album text in Elisa’s Now Playing view is now clickable and will take you to the page for the clicked-upon artist or album (Stef Lep, Elisa 20.12)

Elisa’s remaining tracks indicator no longer changes the layout of the header area when it appears and disappears, and it smoothly fades in and out when doing so (Shantanu Tuschar, Elisa 20.12)

Dolphin’s “Open Terminal” feature now works on Windows (Alexander Lohnau, Dolphin 20.12)

The default size of Konsole’s main window has been increased a bit (Claudius Ellsel, Konsole 20.12)

The “Configure Desktop” menu item has been moved to the top of the menu and renamed “Configure Desktop and Wallpaper…” to help show you that it’s how you go about changing the wallpaper (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.20)

Yes I know this menu is pretty huge. 🙂 Simplifying it a bit is something we’re going to be working on soon.

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.