This week in Usability & Productivity, part 23

Howdy folks! This has been a bit of a light week for KDE’s Usability and Productivity initiative, probably because everyone’s basking in the warm glow of a well-received release: KDE Plasma 5.13 came out on Tuesday and is getting great reviews!

Don’t worry, we’ve got lots of great stuff queued up though.


UI Polish & Improvement

  • The Libinput-backend Mouse and Touchpad System Settings pages received a visual and usability overhaul (Furkan Tokac, KDE Plasma 5.14):

  • Discover’s Updates page is now clearer about what version is being upgraded (me: Nate Graham, KDE Plasma 5.14):
  • Scrollbars in Konsole are now overlay style and disappear entirely when the view isn’t scrollable, e.g. with a full-screen CLI program like top (Tomaz Canabrava and Alex Nemeth, KDE Applications 18.08.0)

See all the names of people who worked hard to make the computing world a better place? That could be you next week! Getting involved isn’t all that tough, and there’s lots of support available. Give it a try today! It’s easy and fun and important.

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20 thoughts on “This week in Usability & Productivity, part 23

  1. Even though there weren’t many fixes this week, I want to say I continue to be impressed by the efforts of the community. 5.13 is looking nice on my computer – especially Discover has improved a lot visually. Keep up the good work!

    One question: will fixes that make it into stable (5.12) also make it into 5.13.x?


  2. Nice, new mouse and pad settings look very promising. Some already complained about the lack of mouse settings features in the Plasma 5.13 but it looks that many of them are coming back :).

    Plasma 5.13 and KDE Framework 5.47 is there and with it – tons of bugs that usually come with new features. Is there a plan to focus and polish this new release before working on new things?

    Here is a thread about most noticeable Plasma 5.13.0 issues on Arch side (or at least bugs that are striking from average user perspective):

    Also, the new icons setting page is somewhat confusing. Try to find QUICKLY La Capitaine theme on this picture:

    The better design would be to have list of icons sets with the preview on the side rather then have it all at once… Eyes are hurting when you look at it.

    Also I don’t understand why font names are grayed out on the font settings page. This looks hardly readable and confusing (as if something was blocked):


    1. The font issue is already fixed and will be released with a bugfix update.

      We’re aware of the bugs and working to fix them. I know it’s unfortunately been a bit of a buggy release and we’re seeing how we can correct this in the future.


    2. Good to hear that you’re discussing options. Perhaps prolonging the beta phase would be a realistic option?
      After using 5.13 a bit more I encounter quite a few bugs; I guess it’s a disadvantage of wanting the latest and greatest. On the other hand, new users (if they’re testing for instance Neon) might be put off.


    3. Thank you! I’m happy to hear that font issue is taken care of.
      I submitted few bugs myself and they already have a patch. Other issues that I saw also have patches. Yay!

      As I remember, Plasma 5.12 which was intended to be LTS was also very buggy at the beginning (like: broken update script which resulted with broken shortcuts). I also remember that the issues were fixed relatively quickly and I see the same pace here. Awesome!

      Every time so massive changes are done, bugs are natural and I guess that is why cutting edge users are for, to test and give feedback. Prolonging testing phase probably wouldn’t help that much, since most bugs are discovered in real life systems who have incredible variety of differentiation so releasing software in the wild is the best way to have real feedback.

      I guess the only way to improve testing phase would be to get more users having installed beta products. Even most Arch users usually have to wait for official release and Neon Developer Edition has old, LTS base so some issues won’t be detectable there. In theory we could find a way to testing or development repos but on a daily basis we still want to have functional systems and those who do hardcore testing usually have special machines for it which lack of variety and real life customization.
      I’m afraid there is no easy solution here. Besides Plasma developers are doing a fine job with fixing things quite quickly so I that’s the next best thing we could have.

      Thanks to all developers who are working hard to make Plasma more and more awesome place. Don’t let bugs discourage you. They are part of the process! 😀


    4. Ultimately, brave rolling release users are essentially the QA team. In an ideal world, that wouldn’t be the case, but here we are.

      What I would like to see is for the rolling release distros to be simultaneously more aggressive about offering beta versions to brave users, and also offer more conservative users the chance to hold back updates for a month or more. This way, people who love bleeding-edge software could act as QA for the formal beta releases in exchange for getting new versions first, and then less adventurous users would only receive updates on their machines after a long period of time, within which hopefully all the egregious bugs have been ironed out.

      Manjaro kind of does this already for the latter case, but I’m not aware of any way to be optionally offered beta releases as soon as they’re out if you so choose. That would be awesome.


  3. It’s fantastic to read the changes each sunday. By the way, i’d like to propose adding a shortcut to create a file just like the create folder one.


  4. Any idea when 5.13 will be available in the kubuntu backports ppa?

    suggestion for a short blog post : talk about the new blur effects introduced in 5.13 and show how to use it effectively. the main reason people are dying to get their hands on plasma 5.13 is because of the blur effects.


    1. Not a bad idea! Once all the bugs are worked out, I hope we can turn it on by default in a future release.

      No ETA on 5.13 in the Backports PPA. It’s being worked on though.


  5. I’m sorry that I’m writing it here, but its about: “The Libinput-backend Mouse and Touchpad System Settings pages”:
    Why distance between marker and marker description is different in Mouse and Touchpad settings?


    1. Ah, I see: the spacing between the checkbox and its label is different between the two. This was, at the time, an issue in the Kirigami framework that has already been fixed in the code, and which will be released with KDE Frameworks 5.48.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m not sure, that this is a right place, but I have to ask. What happened with scrollbars in Firefox? I remember how much i liked those in times of Plasma 5.9. They were just beautiful and now it hurts me to look at them… Weirdly slim, with blank space at the top and bottom instead of those nice arrows, with huge padding by the sides… What happened? How can I get the old ones? 😦


    1. I believe there’s already a fix for this in the code, or in progress. In terms of width, they should match the width of scrollbars in KDE software. If they don’t, that’s a bug.


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