Igor Ljubuncic of Dedoimedo is at it again, and has just published a list of high-profile KDE Plasma bugs and papercuts. As a Plasma fan, his intention is to call attention rather than criticize, and I’ve put together a response for every issue he raised. For the full list, scroll down.
Here’s the thing: reporting issues is important. QA is important. Raising awareness of problems is important. But as you’ll see from the list below, nearly every legitimate issue that Igor brings up is already known and tracked in Bugzilla. Many are already fixed, in fact.
The problem is lack of resources, not lack of awareness of issues. Fixing bugs requires developers. And we need more in order to fix them all at the rapid pace that our users expect. We know about the bugs. We want to fix the bugs. But we need your help to do it!
The best way is to start submitting some patches. You don’t even need to know any programming! Here is a non-programming patch I submitted just today, for example. A lot of my patches are utterly trivial in nature, like this one or this one. These are easy fixes; low-hanging fruit. Anyone with some technical knowledge can get started today! There’s a ton of support.
If you want to help propel KDE to the great heights it’s capable of, climb on board!
And now, for the full list, if you dare:
- [C] Widget button on the left side is too close to the desktop folders.
Will be fixed soon: https://phabricator.kde.org/D10563
- [C] Widgets list always opens on the left side, regardless of the button placement.
This isn’t a bug. The widget list can be opened from multiple interfaces; if it always followed the Desktop Toolbox, it would just be inconsistent with something else. Still, we may be able to make some usability improvements: https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=390575
- [C] Wireless icon (when not connected) is too pale and may be mistaken for a gap in the system area in the panel.
Already fixed; see https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=384018
- [C] When connecting to a Wireless network, the user may be prompted for password twice, which is probably related to the KDEWallet service.
See https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=387502. This is mostly up to distros; most of them don’t configure KWallet properly. Kubuntu already does for the actual user account, but doesn’t for the live session. But it will soon; see https://phabricator.kde.org/T7981
- [F] When you add/pin applications to the task manager, the menu auto-closes. This is annoying and distracting if you want to add more than one icon at a time.
- [F] Menu session end buttons all have the same result, regardless of what you click on. Whether you choose suspend, reboot or shutdown, you still have a 30-sec timeout screen with the same options presented again. A confirmation is nice, but it should also correlate to the chosen action. Clicking suspend or reboot and then choosing shutdown a few seconds later negates the first choice.
It already does; the action you chose is the one that’s selected in the confirmation screen.
- [C] The system menu does not differentiate between several versions of the same application, if installed. For example, the standard repo and the snap version of VLC 3.0 both show exactly the same, and the only way to tell them apart is by the icon (lower-res for the snap), or alternatively, by launching the program to check which version it is.
- [F] The order of different versions of the same application as listed in the system menu changes based on usage/launches.
That’s a feature, not a bug. For an app list based on frequency of use, you should expect each version of an app to appear separately and have its own ordering. If you didn’t care about them being separate, you wouldn’t install multiple versions of the same app.
- [C] Panel height resize is done using a drag/slider rather than a precise input value. Both options ought to exist, so that both methods can be used. Hand sliding, especially without an external mouse pointer, is tedious and inaccurate.
Improved with https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=372364. Further improvements possible.
- [C] Brightness slider does not go all the way to the right on the 100% mark.
Already fixed, a long time ago (Igor even blogged about it having been fixed!). Must have been using a distro with an old version of Plasma, or a defective theme.
- [C] The clipboard in the system area, after you copy media files, does not have a perfect vertical alignment, leading to the bottom-most line to be partially obscured (cropped).
Not a bug; this is how all scrollable lists work everywhere. Perfect alignment is impossible when the list can be filled with arbitrarily-sized content.
- [F] Default font color is too pale – insufficient contrast; should be black.
Already almost fixed. See https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=381288
- [F] Default font size is too small (10pt).
- [C] Default font anti-aliasing settings are sub-optimal in all tests I have performed, including different laptops, with Intel and Nvidia graphics. The system defaults should be set to RGB and slight hinting.
- [F] Spectacle does not have an option to remove/disable shadows when taking a screenshot of an active window area. The shadow size also depends on the selected theme – and may be impacted by compositing, which can lead to inconsistent results. It is also not apparent whether there are shadows in created screenshots or not while they are being taken.
- [F] Spectacle usage model is complicated – Save & Exit is the same button that opens the preferences menu, and it is not immediately apparent this is the case. It also makes no sense to place the two under the same hierarchy element.
- [C] System settings menu opens at a “wrong” default size, leading to category labels text breaking over multiple lines.
- [C] System settings category labels are too pale – and barely visible.
- [F] The installation of new themes, icons and other decoration is vague and broken. Sometimes, there are multiple install options that do not clearly signify to the user what they’re installing, and these installations often fail due to misconfigured third-party resources. Even when installed, decorations may not show up in relevant lists due to unlisted incompatibilities. It may take a full session restart (log out, log in) to see the effects of newly applied decorations.
A known issue. This is a big task, too big for a Bugzilla ticket. But it’s on our radar screens.
- [F] System customization should include a backup and restore-to-defaults options, including a desktop/system wide configuration, as well as individual options. This may also be realized as preview function, so the users can see what the new theme/decoration will do before it is applied.
- [F] Discover shows no screenshots and no rating for selected programs.
No screenshots: Not Discover’s fault; it’s up to app developers to properly advertise their work, or packagers to bail them out and do it for them. We can’t do anything about this in Discover. See https://pointieststick.wordpress.com/2018/01/27/how-to-make-an-app-look-good-in-discover/ As a workaround, use Flathub instead of your distro’s packages wherever possible; they care about good packaging and make sure that app listings look good.
No ratings: See https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=389601
- [F] Discover sources management remains confusing and insufficient – no way to change locality/priority of listed distributions, no way to search or install proprietary software.
You already can change the priority of different backends. Changing priority of individual repos within a backend is tracked with https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=388921
- [F] In the sources view, Discover has a scrollbar that obscures the list of repos and also partially blocks the UI itself.
Already fixed: https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=389602
- [F] Discover seemingly keeps on checking for updates, even though the action is not happening and/or it should have completed already.
This is very distro-specific, and we haven’t seen it in quite a while with recent versions of Discover. Anyone who sees this should file a bug! Just complaining about it isn’t enough; we need for people who experience it to file bugs!. If you want to be QA, then you have to be willing to use the appropriate channels to report issues, or else it’s just noise. See https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved/Bug_Reporting
- [F] Discover search results are broken; programs that can be found using the command-line package manager utility do not show in the UI when the same search string is used.
Discover is not a package manager. By design, it only shows packages with AppStream metadata. The goal is that users shouldn’t ever need to do manual package management. If anything ever doesn’t show up in Discover that should, this is the your distro’s fault, but you can help us fix it!
- [F] It is difficult to find the option to configure/enable the desktop session restart (X kill), normally activated by the Ctrl + Alt + Backspace combo. There are no less than three different options to configure and use keyboard shortcuts. You have normal and advanced settings, but then you also have the hardware configuration, and it’s the last one that you actually need for this.
This is an advanced feature that shouldn’t be required for normal users during normal use; why would we want to make it more prominent?
- [C] Dolphin requires drag ‘n’ drop to add shortcuts to the sidebar; an (easily discoverable) menu option would be preferable, especially for network shares.
It’s right there in the right-click context menu:
- [C] There’s no easy way to quickly remove/hide entries in the Dolphin sidebar, except by removing the entire category.
Sure there is:
- [C] The list of devices in Dolphin seems random – devices should include both label, device name and size through a configurable setting, and there should be an option to allow the user to sort the devices based on their preference.
- [F] In Dolphin, copying files to Samba shares will result in their timestamp being updated to the current mark. This is most significant when working with pictures.
- [C] No way to add URL shortcuts by drag ‘n’ drop from browsers; no favicons are used as shortcut icons.
This works just fine. Could use some usability polish, though: https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=389600
- [C] No way to add an existing URL shortcut (on the desktop) to the task manager. Launched program/site via the shortcut defaults to the browser application icon.
- [C] The panel clock is too big – full height – while the rest of the system area icons are smaller. The use of the alternative gadget Event Calendar helps, but this should be a customizable option in Plasma defaults.
Already fixed; see https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=375969
- [F] KDE Connect only works with Android devices.
This is caused by limitations in the kinds of software allowed on iOS.
[F] iPhone/iOS devices will not be auto-mounted in Dolphin; you may need to use a manual configuration to identify and mount them.
Never seen this; my iPhone works fine. A detailed bug report would be helpful here.
- [F] The mount prompt in the system area (regardless of the device/phone/camera) type is vague. It offers several mount options, associated with programs, but it does not identify the mount protocol, e.g. MTP or PTP. This only becomes apparent after the device has been mounted and presented in the file manager.
Not a bug; the mount protocol is (or should be) irrelevant to a normal user. No other OS includes this kind of super technical information there.
- [F] There is no umount option for phones or cameras in Dolphin.
Already fixed: https://phabricator.kde.org/D8348
- [F] Media playback (music and video) from Samba shares does not work well. There is no unified approach to how the remote filesystems should be treated, and it is up to individual applications to handle authentication and playback.
- [C] Not all media players have system integration, and/or some have their individual icons + media playback button in the system area.
This is entirely up to those media players to conform to the MPRIS spec. Blame them, not us.
- [F] Accessibility options are vaguely defined or executed. They should be available out of the box and configured for immediate use, including the lock and login screens.
A legitimate concern. We will investigate this.
- [F] Open file dialogs for different applications behave in different ways, including how directory trees and files are displayed. Often, paths and names are truncated, and there’s no standard display method.
These are most often Qt bugs, but still a priority in my list.
The above issues are high-profile and will earn their fixers a lot of praise, and will likely be featured here. So go on and fix some bugs! It’s easier than you think.