This week in Usability and Productivity

I’d like to highlight some fixes and features that landed in the past week for our Usability and Productivity initiative:

  • Dragging a Firefox tab to the desktop now detaches it properly (KDE bug 337711)
  • Right-clicking on Discover’s icon exposes a new action that allows you to go straight to the Updates page (KDE Phabricator revision D9637)
  • You can now hide the “Comment” field in Dolphin’s Information Panel (KDE bug 365620)
  • Dolphin’s Properties window now has a tab that shows the same file metadata that the Information Panel does, for people who would prefer to access the information that way (KDE bug 384194)
  • Okular’s dialog box for when a PDF wants to be opened full screen is now presented more naturally (KDE bug 388511)
  • Okular can now Print .djvu files (KDE bug 388514)
  • Discover now de-duplicates categories from Flatpak (KDE bug 388313)
  • Discover no longer lets you scroll beyond the boundaries with the PageUp/PageDown keys (KDE bug 388745)
  • Discover app lists are now more compact (KDE Phabricator revision D9833)

These improvements were landed by KDE Developers Kai Uwe Broulik, Albert Astals Cid, Aleix Pol, Michael Heidelbach, and myself. And that’s not all; the entire KDE community has been busy landing many more bugfixes and features too–more than I can keep track of!

I want to especially focus on the last Discover change I mentioned above. After my last post about Discover, we got a lot of user feedback that people wanted greater density and to be able to see more apps at once. We’ve executed on a part of that, and this is now what Discover looks like if you make the window narrow:

I bring this up to highlight that we really do listen to users. Your feedback matters and we hear it! If you enjoy the results of our efforts, please consider becoming a contributor yourself or donating to KDE! In particular, we would love more contributors for our Usability and Productivity initiative. If you’re interested, please feel free to work on any of these bugs. Here are some that should be relatively easy. Happy coding!

13 thoughts on “This week in Usability and Productivity

  1. Thank you all very much for the subtle improvements. To polish the desktop environment is more important than to introduce new feature as far as non-geek end-users are concerned as long as the DE is for daily use in stead of being a toy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would like to see some improvements in System Settings (especially the kwin kcm’s cause they are very technical but in general kwin is that much powerfull also default users could be interested into use the kcm’s.


    1. I echo that sentiment… the “Display and Monitor” -> Compositor is not very descriptive to someone coming from a different OS and who needs to troubleshoot their machine, which was my case.

      Where it says, “Rendering backend”, the option says “OpenGL 3.1”, “OpenGL 2.0”, and “Xrender”. Those are meaningless technological terms for most people, or even for experts from other machines! So if they said something like, “Latest drivers (OpenGL 3.1)”, “Default drivers (OpenGL 2.0)”, and “Compatibility drivers (Xrender)”, that would make more sense. Because otherwise, the poor user is going to feel afraid to change the setting or have to resort to some deep Googling to find out.

      In the Displays module, it would be more clear if the mouse cursor changed to the double-arrows cursor when hovering over the monitor to signal that it can be repositioned. I’ve had to tell people that otherwise they wouldn’t know that they can move the monitors around.


  3. How is AppStream support going? Do you expect it to work when Ubuntu 18.04 is released? KDE Neon would be based on 18.04 by then, will we finally see AppStream support? I just checked out Discover today and the progress is amazing. How about having Featured apps section? Editor’s Pick? Most downloaded? Highest rated?


    1. How is AppStream support going?

      Initial support has landed for snap, but it needs more work to allow all the various layers of snappy to use it. In other words, the work is all on Canonical’s side. I’m not sure if they’ll have it ready for 18.04 (but I hope so).

      How about having Featured apps section? Editor’s Pick? Most downloaded? Highest rated?

      The current Home screen actually does display Featured Apps, though it’s not so obvious, and I’ve submitted a patch to fix that. Displaying apps based on other sort criteria is tracked by


  4. Okular is a great program but has a lot of issues with epub and feature requests for pdf that this probably isn’t the forum for but I’ve one thing in terms of usability, could it come with all backends installed as default with option to remove or disable, I always find it a nuisance to search for the command to install to read a djvu file and I can never find all the formats like cbr cbz which it should support so I end up with peruse which I believe uses okular


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