Here’s another big week for KDE’s Usability and Productivity initiative. We’re getting ready for the release of KDE Applications 18.08–the second of our three yearly Applications releases. As the numbers in the version suggest, it will be released in August of 2018, about a month from now. As such, there’s been a lot of focus on new features and polish for core KDE apps such as Dolphin, Gwenview, Konsole, and Spectacle. We’re also ramping up our work for KDE Plasma 5.14, which is scheduled for release in October.
To learn more about KDE’s software release schedule, check out https://community.kde.org/Schedules. To learn more about what we did last week, keep reading!
- The System Monitor now has a handy “Tools” menu button that shows useful system tools (Gregor Mi, KDE Plasma 5.14.0):
- In Gwenview, you can now use the F key to toggle between the Fit, Fill, and 100% zoom modes (Peter Mühlenpfordt, KDE Applications 18.08.0)
- In Spectacle, it’s now possible to use the keyboard to create and adjust the selection rectangle in Rectangular Region mode (KDE Applications 18.08.0, Scott Harvey)
- Blurred backgrounds behind context menus on the Desktop no longer look corrupted (David Edmundson, KDE Plasma 5.14.0)
- The Application preference chooser now shows apps’ icons in the app list (Kai Uwe Broulik, KDE Plasma 5.14.0):
- Fixed a bug that could cause the screen edges and corners to not be hit properly when the cursor is traveling at high speed when using Wayland (Vlad Zagorodniy, KDE Plasma 5.13.4)
- Worked around a Qt 5.11 regression that could cause KDE apps to lose their menu bars, toolbars, and panels (Mladen Milinkovic, KDE Frameworks 5.49)
- System Settings no longer displays the “Ambiguous shortcut!” dialog when you try to quit it using the Ctrl+Q shortcut (Marco Martin, KDE Frameworks 5.49)
- Buttons in newly-written System Settings pages no longer display incorrect text instead of their accelerators in certain circumstances (Marco Martin, KDE Frameworks 5.49)
- Fixed a few memory leaks in Dolphin (David Hallas and Jaime Torres, KDE Applications 18.08.0 and KDE Frameworks 5.49)
- Dolphin’s selection marker now looks crisp and sharp in high DPI mode (Kai Uwe Broulik, KDE Applications 18.08.0):
- Konsole no longer hangs when processing very large stderr output (Martin Sandsmark, KDE Applications 18.08.0)
- Improved the CSS support in Kate, KDevelop, and any other app using the KTextEditor framework (Jonathan Poelen, KDE Frameworks 5.49)
UI Polish & Improvement
- Plasma now uses a trash icon for any action that will remove a widget or a panel, making it harder to accidentally remove something when all you want to do is close a menu instead (me: Nate Graham, KDE Plasma 5.14.0):
- Plasma’s panel widget editing menu received a visual and usability overhaul (me: Nate Graham, KDE Plasma 5.14.0):
- Labels for icons on the desktop now perfectly align to the pixel grid, improving text rendering when using a non-integer systemwide scale factor (Kai Uwe Broulik, KDE Plasma 5.12.7):
- Plasma now uses a “broom style” icon for features that clear history (me: Nate Graham, KDE Plasma 5.14.0):
- Tweaked the new shadows to reduce the size and darkness of the bottom edge’s shadow in response to user feedback (Vlad Zagorodniy, KDE Plasma 5.14.0):
- Improved the layout and presentation of controls in Discover’s Update Notifier Plasmoid (me: Nate Graham, KDE Plasma 5.14.0):
- When sorting apps in Discover by release date, Discover now shows more recently released apps first rather than last (Aleix Pol, KDE Plasma 5.13.4)
- The Get Hot New Stuff download window now defaults to sorting content by rating (me: Nate Graham, KDE Frameworks 5.49)
- Konsole tabs are now harder to accidentally detach, and faster to accurately re-order (Tomaz Canabrava, KDE Applications 18.12.0
- Gwenview now zooms in to the cursor position when using zoom keyboard shortcuts (Peter Mühlenpfordt, KDE Applications 18.08.0)
Wanna be a part of this? Of course you do, because you want to make a difference, and you want to help make the world’s best free operating system even better. It’s more important than ever. So hop on over to https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved! There’s room for everyone, and you don’t even need to be a programmer! I’d never written a line of C++ or QML before getting started in the KDE community. You can do it!
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. Also consider making a donation to the KDE e.V. foundation.
31 thoughts on “This week in Usability & Productivity, part 28”
Good job as always
Keep get better
I was wondering could we make icons on panels just rearranged by press ctrl+ mouse click then move them like macos !!
We can drag and drop them anyway. Why having additional step to enable it instead intuitive drag and drop behaviour?
Unless you are talking about systray area? Plasma panel or latte panel have own logic as to how to rearrange it (systray, clock). Systray icons alone can be only hidden and not moved. I guess I wouldn’t mind having an option to rearrange them (media, keyboard, wifi, vault, clipboard, sound, notifications). Never thought about that. I tweak so many things but that one was always ok for me and never felt need to change it, but still, wouldn’t mind to be able to. It’s not essential thou.
I like macs design but some of their behavior solutions are counter intuitive and shouldn’t be copied. I like that I can make Plasma look like a mac but some things behave still like on windows (minimizing, closing programs, etc.).
Y can DND them on edit mode only and u lock your widget then it’s 3 steps action but what mean there the original panel with widget locks got it now
I hope I explained well
In macOS, this is needed because there’s no visible interface to re-order Menu Extras (the macOS equivalent). We have a visible method, so while a shortcut to re-order without entering panel edit mode might be a nice accelerator, it’s far less necessary than it is on macOS.
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Have donated in the past and will donate again. You are all amazing! It’s exceptional leadership and teamwork that make KDE & Plasma what it is, and this is a change that’s really become apparent in the last year in terms of the attitude towards “users” – changing from “I do this work for my own benefit as a developer” to “how can I make other (regular) peoples lives better”. I’m glad to say you _are_ making other peoples lives better, and for that I’m thankful. Keep up the great work!
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Thank you so much for the kind words as well as the donation! I’m glad it’s obvious. I very much want to encourage the attitude to be that we’re doing this for our users rather than just ourselves. If all goes well, both parties should benefit. 🙂
Awesome work as always!
I have one issue I would like to ask for, maybe you could influence it a bit: https://github.com/sddm/sddm/issues/440
That’s been a big drawback for a long time compared to Gnome/GDM: First of all the display manager is missing proper Wayland and secondly it starts Xorg as root which is a imho a big security concern.
Looking at the bugs on github work in this direction has gone stale for a long time, could there be done something to revive this?
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Great work from everyone as always. I think the panel widget editing menu is a great change!
However panel editing in general really needs an overhaul. I’ve found it to be hugely confusing to newcomers. It’s one of the best features of Plasma but it requires way too many clicks to do anything and the discoverability is very poor (Unlocking Widgets, going to panel Settings, figurign out how to add and then move widgets).
I much prefer the XFCE4 method: https://docs.xfce.org/xfce/xfce4-panel/preferences
Random video showing the panel editing feature: https://youtu.be/a1ozmjcgpHA?t=266
Do you have any thougths on it?
Yes, we’re working to make panel editing a bit more intuitive. One thing about Plasma’s panel editing interface as opposed to XFCE’s is that you directly manipulate the widgets, rather than re-ordering representations of the in some list view somewhere.
Xfce panel and applets may seem more intuitive at first but on the long run it’s bothersome to move them around. I think that neither one or the second way of doing things is perfect and both have cons and pros. I like plasma’s doing of things better (it gives more freedom) but I remember times where I struggled to comprehend how it works. Now it seems silly. Customizing panel is logical and obvious and yet… this was hard at the beginning so I do admit that some things lack of intuitiveness. However, I don’t want Plasma to become less functional for the quest of simplifying things. That seems to be a pattern in some DEs… Finding the right solution where UI is intuitive and yet packed with features is hard and compromise is never perfect. We already have examples of simplified UIs to a fault (when things are even less intuitive…) so let’s not drag Plasma into that place.
What I’m saying, this has to be considered carefully.
Thanks Nate for those awesome reports!!!
I would like to bring the following issue to your attention . When plugging in an HDMI cable to output a video to a TV, it’s always a pain to click through the settings dialog in order to change the device profile.
I think, especially for the average user, it would be much simpler if volume control applet (plasma-pa) would show all plugged in devices + internal speakers by default.
Another user mentioned earlier to keep the sound muted, even when a new device is plugged in; That could be elegantly solved by introducing a “Silence Mode”, similar to the “Airplane Mode” of the network manager.
I guess everyone who uses a laptop in a lecture or in a library would greatly benefit from that.
What do you think?
The audio issue is one we’re aware of, and there are some technical impediments to fixing it. Thankfully, work on solving those problems is actively underway. See https://phabricator.kde.org/T9091
That’s great news!
BTW here’s a simple mock up of the silence mode I thought of 🙂
What about adding the button next to the volume text to avoid an extra line?
Am I understanding that your keyboard doesn’t have a mute key on it? Mine does, so that’s what I use to gain this functionality
My Thinkpad has a mute key and I use it, but consider the following situation:
The internal speakers are not muted and no music/video/sound is playing.
You decide to listen music or watch a video and to not disturb anyone around you, you plugin your headphones.
You may mute the sound now, but once you unplug your head phone, your internal speakers will play loud as they were not muted before, since their mute state was cached.
You cannot easily access the setting to mute all outputs as long as your headphones are plugged in.
Of course you could have muted the internal speakers before the head phones are plugged in, but there’s always the chance that you forget about doing it.
To workaround that and make it foolproof, I would find a “library mode” pretty handy. I hope that sounds convincing.
Sounds sensible to me. Please feel free to propose that as a feature on bugs.kde.org! File it against the “plasma-pa” product.
Done: https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=396835 🙂
So many useful fixes & improvements !
Other KDE users : did you notice KAlgebra suddenly stopped working ? (results are not displayed anymore) Or is it just me ? I use it as it’s handier than the regular calculator 🙂
@Nate : as you are kinda in charge of Kubuntu too… There was a HUGE bug occuring with Kwin & nvidia users that was apparently fixed a couple days ago in the 390.x and 397.x series of drivers. It would make the panel freeze when starting apps that suspend compositing. (happened every day on my setup). –> do you think Kubuntu could include this upgrade — I guess it doesn’t correspond to the usual ubuntu policy, but this is a massive bug for KDE users (and doesn’t affect Gnome).
To be more accurate, it was fixed in 390.77 (https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=NVIDIA-390.77-Linux-Driver) or 390.67 https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=NVIDIA-390.67-Linux-Released and some recent 396.xx (not 397, typo).
I’ll see what I can do. What’s the URL of the Bugzilla ticket?
I love how you guys continuously improve the KDE experience! As someone who frequently has to play tech support for relatives and with win 10 forcing updates and pegging 100% disk usage, I installed the KDE flavor of manjaro since they’d be more familiar with the interface and 90% of their tasks are just browsing the internet anyway. I found a usability issue that can be improved. It is not entirely intuitive to add other keyboard layouts. I know you guys mentioned improving the system settings categories and wonder if this is on your radar. As it is now, there are:
-and input devices >keyboard layouts > add layout.
It would make sense to either bundle them together, or at least put in a descriptor as to what each category does or why one would change one setting and not the other, for example it seems like adding another keyboard layout would be under “language packages” and not on the lower half of the keyboard layout panel.
Yes, we’re aware that this is not very intuitive. We’re in the middle of fixing the keyboard layout issue right now, in fact. Others will be forthcoming.
More improvements for a great DE!! 🙂
Thanks a lot for that!
Another report translated in spanish:
didn’t know where to report this weird system settings behavior
It’s under openSUSE Tumpleweed. Don’t know if it’s reproducible in other operating systems…
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Yeah, I can reproduce it on Manjaro KDE (on different icons and theme) so it’s a proper bug to report. Send a link here and I will join to the bug report.
can’t you, please, open a bug?
I don’t have an account to report bugs…
Time to create one. 🙂
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Yep! I did it!! 🙂
Here you have:
I don’t know what happened to my comment, but I can also reproduce it under Slackware64 current, Plasma 5.13.2, Frameworks 5.47, Applications 18.04.2
I created a bug report referencing this post: https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=396942