This week in Usability & Productivity, part 4

This was a big week for Usability & Productivity. Before I get to the list of improvements we landed, I’d like to make an exciting announcement: we’re scoping out the work to add FUSE support to KIO for remote locations like Samba shares. This should vastly improve the experience of interacting with files on Samba and FTP locations (among others) when using non-KDE software with KDE Plasma. No timelines or promises yet, but it’s now on our radar screens.

Anyway, let’s move onto the list of improvements this week. I think you’re going to like ’em!

  • The panel’s height is now shown in pixels when being changed, and can be minutely adjusted using the scroll wheel (KDE bug 372364)
  • Y axis labels for the network widget’s speed graph no longer overlap with the grid lines (KDE Phabricator revision D10183):
  • Spectacle’s Save button now remembers the most recently used save mode by default (KDE Phabricator revision D10153)
  • Spectacle’s Save button now defaults to showing “Save As” instead of “Save & Exit” (KDE bug 389614)
  • Spectacle now uses the correct icon for the “Export Image…” button, and now it also shows up properly when using the Breeze Dark theme (KDE bug 389775):
  • Dolphin no longer scrolls so quickly in icons mode when there are icons with really long/tall filenames (KDE Phabricator revision D10102)
  • A huge amount of work went into improving the speed of move and copy operations, especially for many small files (KDE bug 342056, KDE Phabricator revisions D10155, D10256, D10261, and D10282). More is still in the pipeline, too.
  • You can now put Dolphin’s Terminal pane on any part of the window, not just the top or bottom (KDE bug 362593):
  • Gwenview’s file rename dialog now excludes the filename extension from the initial selection (KDE Phabricator revision D9632)
  • When using Gwenview in Full Screen mode, showing the sidebar no longer moves part of the top toolbar (including the “exit Full Screen” button) out of view (KDE bug 387784)
  • Hitting the Escape key now exits Full Screen mode in Gwenview (KDE bug 305659)
  • When Gwenview is quit while in Full Screen mode, it no longer re-opens maximized (KDE Phabricator revision D10207)
  • Gwenview now lets you choose the ICC color rendering intent, rather than hardcoding “Perceptual” (KDE bug 359909):
  • Konsole gained the ability to blur the background when the window is transparent (KDE bugs 198175):
  • The standard KWin blur effect has been made blurrier by default (the blur strength is still user-configurable) to offer better out-of-the-box readability for things that use it, like the Application Dashboard (KDE phabricator revision D10180):
  • Text input in KRunner now always works on Wayland (KDE bug 385693)
  • The close button on Okular’s pop-up note annotation now uses the correct cursor (KDE bug 384381):
  • New Breeze icon for Emacs and better icon for Virtualbox (KDE Phabricator revision D10211 and KDE bug 384357):
  • Kate/KDevelop syntax highlighting now displays correctly for numeric literals with underscores in Python (KDE big 385422)
  • KSysGuard tabs now correctly show ampersand (&) characters (KDE bug 382512)
  • Many bug fixes for Discover

Yes folks, all of this happened in ONE WEEK! The volume of contributions is starting to accelerate, and we’re really firing on all cylinders these days. It’s the perfect time to get involved. You don’t need to be a programmer. We’ve got design tasks, bug triaging, promotion, the works! We’re aware that our wiki is a bit scattered and sparse, and we’re working on cleaning that up, too. Since it’s a wiki, please feel free to make improvements!

And there’s more coming, too. I wasn’t able to mention in this week’s status update quite a few exciting fixes that are still going through the review process.

This is an exciting time to be a KDE user or contributor. Feel the energy. Be part of something big. Cynicism and inactivity are easy, but ultimately not satisfying; this is the moment to rise above the pervasive malaise of our time. Climb aboard, and help us build something truly magnificent.

42 thoughts on “This week in Usability & Productivity, part 4

  1. So, it seems we get the kind of fixes we used to have in a year, but every week !
    How many people are currently taking part in this ?

    Again, so many fixes that will improve my (and my family’s) workflow and overall experience. Especially enthusiastic about the copy and kio related improvements, but there are quite a few other issues I already stumbled upon.

    So as every week : thank you so much & keep up the great work.
    The only thing I could do to help is trying. I’ll try to find some time.


  2. The “KDE bug 342056” link seems to be broken (it just has a bit of extra stuff at the start of the URL that isn’t needed). Thanks for keeping this up!


  3. Amazing. More than amazing.

    Thanks for creating these posts. We should all follow your example, and start blogging about updates on a weekly basis.

    Reminds me a bit of commit digest, just focused on the usability ‘papercuts’.


    1. Yeah, our users are loving it. In the beginning, I was mostly just describing things that were already happening, but for the past two weeks, I’ve detected a definite shift: people want to contribute and fix things to get mentioned in these weekly digests! It’s a great way to communicate our efforts to users.


  4. “Konsole gained the ability to blur the background when the window is transparent (KDE bugs 198175)”

    This is something I’ve been waiting for for years (without it ever being important enough to actually try to make it work). Thank you so much!


  5. Thank you very much for your weekly reports! And many thanks for the hard work of the developers/contributors. I use Plasma 5 and KDE applications for my daily work in the office and at home, and I like it very much. The small improvements are important.

    The blurring of Konsole window just remembers me of a question which I have since early KDE4 days, maybe someone knows the answer… the background of the panels of Plasma can get blurred, even the tooltips and dialogs (clock, volume, …) are blurred, but the plasmoids on the desktop not. Why? I use several plasmoids on the desktop and I think many of them would be better readable if the (transparent) background could get blurred. It also would be more consistent, even if the content is good readable with the default themes (Breeze and Breeze-Dark)


  6. The amount of usability fixes in a week is really impressive!

    I really enjoy this weekly usability post, thanks for the great job and for motivating the people!


    1. Isn’t it!? The progress is just phenomenal. And I can’t wait to mention your changes to the “Choose Application” window–hopefully next week. It’s so cool that I’m planning to show it with an animated gif.


  7. The bug fixes and small improvements are really important! I’m thankful for the acceleration and I think that this is exactly what KDE needs. This kind of polish will make it much more attractive. A user want to work, and not to work around, which happened to often in the past.


  8. It’s so wonderful to see such *long* time issues are actively being worked on. Fast and reliable remote file interaction is a critical feature for many of us. I’m in the process of setting up a media/backup server at home and the workarounds for this are really klugdy. Thank you so much.

    BTW, I’d love to know this hasn’t been abandoned (Populating file creation times):

    It’s admittedly not a huge problem for most, but I’d love to see it happen.

    Keep up the good work.


    1. Thanks! I’m really blown away by the response. The patch is definitely not abandoned; I’m planning to re-work it once I actually have Qt 5.10 to work with.


  9. I love the idea of actual FUSE mounts. That would make a lot of things easier.

    While I love KDE, it does happen often that I need to work with non-KDE, non-KIO-aware apps and actual mounts would be phenomenal for this.


  10. I just want to say big thank you, not only for this week’s achievement, but rather for the whole initiative. I think KDE is mostly suffering not from missing big features, but rather from absence of polish and this initiative is doing exactly that. One. Big. Thank you.

    And one quick question, all these changes are merged as you post them and will be delivered with next KDE Apps/Framework update, right?


    1. Thanks! It’s a big help getting so much support from the community.

      Some changes have been merged to master, which means they’ll show up in the next KDE Plasma/Apps/Frameworks update. Others made it into point releases. The bugzilla tickets usually have more information. We’re trying to get better about always populating the “fixed in” field to better communicate this information.


  11. That’s great news to hear about the kio-slaves. I hope special attention will be given to kio-mtp and kio-smb. Both give me more consternation that I would like, well frustration is the operative word.


    1. There is another thing now that I think about it, the get new stuff. It crashes a lot and doesn’t really matter if it’s get/searching new icons, themes, etc.

      Aside for those and I’m others can, have pointed out others it is nice to see the evolution of kde/plasma/applications/frameworks coming along as it has.


  12. Hey Nate, I was thinking about something. There’s IMHO a very big usability issue when using Mozilla apps (both Firefox & Thunderbird). Apart from the integration (file picker…), there’s a long standing files associations problem, as very frequently, the associations set in KDE are not respected by TB/FF. Most of the time you have to set them manually in the apps themselves ; sometimes, other “defaults” are offered. In my case, the default for PNG icons is Krita according to Mozilla apps while it’s actually Gwenview. Sometimes, it can lead to catastrophical results (like starting wine in a loop…) 🙂

    There are patches (from SUSE I think ?) in the Plasmazilla project but they trigger even bigger issues. It’s kinda broken and very frequently, it prevents files from being downloaded or selected via the file picker…

    Cheers !!!


    1. Yes, this is a longstanding issue. Unfortunately, it’s not something KDE can do. Firefox and Thunderbird could fix it themselves, or else distros could patch in the better functionality, but without those efforts, we’re stuck.


  13. I’m not sure if it’s a bug or a choice made (that’s why I’m writing it here instead of filing a bug), but when a Konsole attached to a Dolphin window is focused, the folder view seem focused too. There is no clue that when you’ll use the arrows, it won’t move your selection in the folder view.
    So my question is : shouldn’t the folder view be switched to defocused when the focus is in the attached Konsole ?


  14. I absolutely love these updates! I’m tempted to start contributing even with my lack of time and total distaste for C++. Maybe I should give QML a go or have a look at some of the design tasks.


    1. You can do it! I wasn’t a big fan of C++ either, but the KDE codebase is pretty nice, and is sure beats straight C, or perl (which is what I was used to). QML is really lovely though.


    2. And just contributing with ideas on how to solve a usability issue is also a great contribution. Some developers like to implement a feature, but don’t like to go through all the discussion on how to design the UI.


    3. What is best way to get involved on this regard? Not a coder but very fond of KDE and I want to see it continually get better!! urs


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