This week in Usability and Productivity, part 2

This is your weekly status update for the KDE community’s progress in the Usability and Productivity initiative. KDE contributors have been busy, and here’s a sampling of features, improvements, and bugfixes relevant to the initiative that KDE developers landed over the past week-and-a-half (subsequent reports will be weekly, but I wrote the first one in the middle of a week):

  • KIO file copy speed (e.g. in Dolphin) is now 4.5x faster (KDE bug 384561)
  • Fixed a layout glitch in Open & Save file picker dialogs (KDE bug 352776)
  • KMail gained the ability to badge its Task Manager app icon with the count of unread emails (KDE Phabricator revision D9841)
  • Notification badges on Task Manager app icons now show up in Task Manager tooltips, too (KDE Phabricator revision D9825) and look better for huge numbers (KDE Phabricator revision D9827):
  • The Audio Volume widget now looks good with Dark themes (KDE bug 388766)
  • KSysGuard’s CPU column now has a pretty little CPU use graph in the background for each process (KDE Phabricator revision D9689):
  • Every KDE app’s “Settings > Configure [app]” menu item now has a universally consistent keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+Shift+Comma (KDE Phabricator revision D8296)
  • The PDF thumbnailer is able to generate thumbnails in Dolphin for more types of PDFs (KDE bug 388288)
  • Dates are no longer formatted like numbers (i.e. as “2,018”) in some places in Dolphin (KDE Phabricator revision D9887)
  • The menu you get when right-clicking on KAddressBook’s icon now includes a “New Contact…” item (KDE Phabricator revision D9926)
  • Dolphin’s main view now properly regains focus after you close the inline terminal pane (KDE bug 298467)
  • Window titlebar buttons now show tooltips (KDE bug 383040)
  • Plasma’s notifications no longer leak memory when created (KDE bug 389132)
  • Baloo indexer now actually excludes directories that are marked as excluded from indexing (KDE bug 362226)
  • A whole class of app crashes caused by typing or deleting characters in search fields using Qt QML components (such as in Discover and System Settings) was traced to a Qt bug–and KDE developer Aleix Pol has submitted a patch!

There’s also been a ton of work in Discover, particularly in Snap and Flatpak support. You can read about it here.

If any of this seems cool or useful, consider helping us out by becoming a KDE contributor yourself. If donating time isn’t your cup of tea, we always appreciate donations of money, too. We can’t do this without your support!

41 thoughts on “This week in Usability and Productivity, part 2

    1. Thanks, Martin! I intend to keep doing a new post every week. One way to help out would be to CC me on Bugzilla tickets or Phabricator revisions that you think are relevant to this effort and or that you’d like to have highlighted. I currently browse through these manually, but can miss things.


    2. Me too. @Nate: Please keep it up. And in fact, feel free to provide more technical details. For instance the stating of /etc/localtime was really interesting and may also be relevant for other developers. But since these details are not mentioned, this info is kind of lost to most developers.

      In any case, your work is pretty cool and very much appreciated (I am a KDE dev myself since 2004). It is always nice to see that contributions do make a big difference.


    3. Thanks! My intention is to keep this on the less technical side to maintain approachability, but I always link to the bug reports or Phabricator revisions so people who want to know all the technical details can dive in.

      The copy speed issue was fun, and it was good to get a patch so quickly! I’m hoping someone can likewise figure out


    4. Oh, and another thing: you could additionally also write a dot story about usability and productivity. This way you reach an even broader audience 🙂


  1. Agreed with Nate. This kind of post is awesome.
    And this kind of _work_ is amazing as well. Polish and usability work is much needed.


  2. Wow, as a simple & dumb (bug looong term) user, I’m absolutely delighted. Those are stellar fixes / improvements beneficial for everyone. Just among this weekly list, there are several things that bogged me but that I couldn’t put my finger on.


  3. I have a couple of usability issues I would like to see fixed, but I’m not sure if they are already known, so I’ll write them here :
    – The KDE taskbar doesn’t go to the most down left pixel. See
    – Dolphin has the same 3 lines scroll speed, whether in list mode (which is normal) or in icons mode. But in icon mode, it means that a tick of the wheel scroll the whole screen, which is not correct behavior.

    That’s all from me 🙂


    1. No hotcorner set up, and no KWin screen edge (BTW, I use OpenBox as a WM). In my screenshot, you can see at the bottom left a bit of blue of the background image, but you can see it also at the top of the taskbar, looking like the taskbar as minimal rounded corner (it’s hard to see the light blue against the white of the window above, zooming helps).

      Thanks for the link of the bug for Dolphin (and for your comment there) 🙂


    2. What theme are you using? Is that standard Breeze and a standard panel, or are they something else?

      Does the problem go away if you temporarily switch back to KWin?


    3. Breeze Dark, with Breeze component. All standard. I don’t think I modified something I shouldn’t, but I may have missed something.

      I tried to switch to KWin to see if it changed something. It didn’t.
      (BTW, before, we could change WM in the settings. Now, I spent 10 minutes looking for the option, before giving up and doing “kwin –replace”)
      I tried to move the taskbar while using KWin, and this happened : (it does the same in OpenBox). I can’t get closer to the bottom of the screen. The only solution (I’ve found, at least) is to kill and restart plasmashell (just in case you can’t see it, it’s the line at the bottom, showing the background)


  4. Hi Nate, I’m writing from Plasma 5.12!!! I love it ❤

    I've a question, what do you know about the patch fixing crashes caused by typing or deleting characters in search fields using Qt QML components (such as in Discover and System Settings)?

    This is the only problem that I have when using the new plasma, see you! Congrats for your work!!!


    1. Great, I’m so happy you like it! A lot of love and care went into the process, so it’s nice to see it paying off. 🙂

      Where possible, we are working around the problem you mention in our own apps. We’ve already fixed discover, and a patch for System Settings just went in today. But take a look at the Qt patch: it’s winding its way through the review process! Once it’s in, distros will have to either provide a new version of Qt, or cherry-pick the fix into their own version.


    1. Thank you for the PERFECT bug report! That’s a thorny Qt issue that we’re aware of. There’s a patch to fix Qt, but we’re trying to work around it on our side, too. Thanks for reporting it!


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