This week in Usability & Productivity, part 12

Welcome to week 12 in Usability & Productivity! Despite all the awesome improvements I’m about to share, there are EVEN MORE that I wasn’t able to announce this week because they’re not quite done yet! But In the coming weeks, some very nice fixes and improvements are going to land. Without further ado…


New Features

  • Mouse settings now fully support using libinput as the backend (KDE bug 350688, Implemented in KDE Plasma 5.13, authored by Roman Gilg):
    Keep in mind that this this user interface is rough and will be substantially refined before Plasma 5.13 is released!
  • Hidden files on Windows partitions are now properly marked as hidden (and are no longer visible by default) when viewed in Dolphin (KDE bug 171537, implemented in KDE Frameworks 5.45, authored by Roman Inflianskas)


  • Fixed a few bugs that could cause Spectacle’s Rectangular Region selection box to jump around (KDE Phabricator revisions D11598 and D11704, fixed in Spectacle 18.04.0, authored by Tao Guo)
  • Fixed a bug causing the Shift+Home/End keyboard shortcuts to not work while editing the name of a file or folder on the Desktop (KDE bug 392318, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.12.4, authored by Kai Uwe Broulik)
  • Fixed a bug that could cause Plasma to lock up when an app updates its window’s title very rapidly (KDE bug 365317, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.13.0, authored by David Edmundson)
  • Fixed a bug causing the weather widget’s BBC source to not fetch data after the BBC changed the URL on us (KDE Bug 392510, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.12.4, authored by Friedrich Kossebau)

UI Polish & Improvements

  • In Open/Save dialogs, the context menu’s “Show Containing Folder” action now highlights and scrolls to the selected files in the window that appears (KDE bug 392330, improved in KDE Frameworks 5.45, authored by me, Nate Graham)
  • Kdenlive icons now look good in HiDPI mode (KDE bug 390104, improved in KDE Applications 18.04.0, authored by Andrew Crouthamel)
  • Improved the look of Task Manager tooltip previews (KDE bug 390457, improved in KDE Frameworks 5.45, authored by Fredrik Höglund):
    Before and after
  • Made it slightly easier to figure out how to change the wallpaper by adding a wallpapery icon to the “Configure Desktop” menu items (KDE Phabricator revision D11253, improved in KDE Plasma 5.13, authored by me, Nate Graham):
  • Icons and text in Dolphin’s Places panel are now always perfectly aligned with one another with any font and size, including the common Noto Sans 11 (KDE bug 390771, improved in KDE Applications 18.08.0, authored by Scott Harvey)
  • Improved the appearance of the category and subcategory headers in System Settings (KDE bug 392340, improved in KDE Plasma 5.12.4, authored by me, Nate Graham):
  • The logout screen’s buttons are now more readable against a dark background (KDE bug 382264, improved in KDE Plasma 5.12.4, authored by Radek Hušek):
    Stay tuned, because this should get even better in the near future…

Every week, you can see the omissions being remedied and the papercuts being healed one by one. We’re on a mission to make KDE Plasma the best graphical desktop on planet Earth. There’s a lot of ground to make up, and we need your help! Climb on board and be a part of something truly magnificent.

If my efforts to perform, guide, and document this work seem useful and you’d like to see more of them, then consider becoming a patron on Patreon, LiberaPay, or PayPal.

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17 thoughts on “This week in Usability & Productivity, part 12

  1. Great progress again!

    1) When I set the tiling shortcuts : meta+left for tile left and meta+right for tile right, it works fine. But when I tile an already tiled window eg- tile+left twice on the same window, it changes dimensions to something like tile left bottom. In gnome, tiling left the second time does not change the window dimensions. Any way to set this behavior in plasma?

    2) In Ubuntu 17.10 the meta+up maximizes the window and meta+down un-maximizes the window. Eg- If I opened a terminal in AxB resolution, meta+up makes the window occupy the full screen and meta+down makes it occupy the original resolution. I was able to set the meta+up shortcut to work properly, any idea how to make the meta+down shortcut work as described?

    3) Regarding the touchpad working properly on kde neon but not on kubuntu 17.10 (I mentioned it in a previous thread), are the kde neon devs including some additional packages to get it to work properly? I tried the kubuntu 18.04 beta as well and it had the same issue. If you or any devs could talk to the neon devs over irc and ask them what black magic they are including in their iso it would be great. Same for suspend/resume as well.

    Thank you for documenting your progress.


    1. 1) That’s a bug that was fixed for Plasma 5.12, I think. What plasma version are you using?

      2) There’s no need for a second shortcut, just hit Meta + up again. These shortcuts are toggles.

      3) The best thing to do is to submit a bug report. I’m not aware of any other people with the issue, so unless you submit a bug report, we’re not going to be able to fix it. Can you please file one here? Make sure to add the “Kubuntu” tag.


    2. Just my 2 cents ad point 2: Intuitively I would expect this to not work like a toggle with the shortcut given it involves _directional_ keys, so meta+up for maximizing (titlebar moves _up_), and meta+down (titlebar moves _down_), at least in the more common cases, feels more natural. I understand the corresponding button in the titlebar does behave like a toggle, so it makes sense in that way, but having it work with meta+down for unmaximizing should work by default too IMHO.


    1. Yes, in fact I’m mentoring a Google Summer of Code student who plans to implement these features!


    1. I was about to comment the same exact thing. I wish more software was this clear and engaging.


  2. I have trouble seeing the networkmanager icon in the panel using breeze when I’m not connected, as it’s almost white.


  3. I’m not sure if this is the right place to ask, but I’ve been thinking about this for a while now.
    I use KDE on my laptop. It’s an older model from 2014 with one of the first 4k screens. It has the integrated intel graphics and a discrete amd gpu. Normally the dgpu doesn’t turn on, and the intel gpu struggles with displaying data at that resolution. I have tweaked the UI for hi-dpi settings, but obviously everything is still running in 4k, normally I do not want to lower the resolution.
    1) What is your opinion on how useful it is to dynamically change resolution of the screen using a 2x scalar (4k to 1080p, so UI stays consistent) to reduce power use when on battery and automatically kick in higher resolution when an application benefits from it? A use case I see is for Okular and Gwenview where looking at images and documents at higher resolution is appreciated, and also when working with two windows side by side. If only one window is used, the benefits are not as clear for running at 4k. This could in theory, be beneficial to lower end systems as well by running the UI at lower resolutions but keeping other elements in “focus”. Thinking of something along the lines of HiAlgo Boost tech.
    2)Ease of switching between igpu and dgpu in general. While not strictly KDE – how does this happen or get configured per application? When I used to use windows, it used to cause a lot of headaches for older games – the dgpu would never kick in despite being “configured” by the driver resulting in sub optimal performance. According to my research this is a common problem for amd enduro and nvidia optimus laptops. Of the 3 layers (kernel,KDE,WINE) which is responsible for triggering the switch? This is a messy area with all MUXless systems.


    1. Thanks for your comment! To be honest, the proposal for #1 sounds so fiddly and complicated that I’m not sure that the benefits would outweigh the drawbacks and effort required. #2 is something we definitely know that we have to improve.


  4. Very minor issue in kubuntu, using Plasma 5.13.
    In the backgrounds setting there’s the option to add a blurred edge to non-full-screen images. I don’t like this, but it’s an option so all is good in the world….except that the option is ignored every time I log in. I have to go to desktop settings click “blurred edges” then click “solid colour” (sorry, at work so don’t have exact wording to hand) then apply. Now I’ve got my black edges back…until I log out and back in again.
    No biggie, just thought I’d let you know.


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