This week in Usability & Productivity, part 35

For this week’s Usability & Productivity report, we’ve got oodles of goodies, including some new features, a whole bunch of visual improvements related thumbnail previews in Dolphin, the open/save panels, and desktop icons (i.e. Folder View), icon improvements throughout KDE apps when using a High DPI screen, and lots of other miscellaneous goodies! We haven’t forgotten about Samba, and another very important fix landed. There are more in the works, too. Have a look:

New Features


UI Polish & Improvement

Impressive stuff, huh? Just look at KDE’s momentum these days: improvements throughout the stack every week. We’re on a mission to make KDE Plasma and apps the pre-eminent desktop computing environment, and we’d like you help! Be a part of something big. Next week, your name could be in this list! Just check out, and find out how you can help be a part of something that really matters.

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.

36 thoughts on “This week in Usability & Productivity, part 35

  1. As always, thank you very much Nate and the whole KDE team! It’s great to see that KDE evolves continuously. Looking forward to getting involved as well in the future. 🙂


  2. When will the blur effect on the login screen be made optional?

    Forcing this upon users without an opt out is very Gnome-like, KDE normally does not do this.

    Everything else is going swimmingly.


    1. Thanks.

      The login / lock screen blur effect should be able to be disabled via a setting, in a similar way to the blur desktop effect can be enabled or disabled.


    2. It’s not that simple. The blur is done for readability reasons. While we could provide a setting to turn it off, this would inevitably mean that some people would turn it off and then complain that the white icons and text become unreadable with whatever background they use (especially if they use a slideshow background where the images are semi-unpredictable). That’s why we’re trying to come up with a design for the text and buttons that doesn’t require blur to be readable in the first place. Once we do this, then the blur will become optional eye candy, not a necessity for the design’s usability.


  3. There is a lack of consistency when it comes to labeling power options. Some places like KRunner/AppDash use Suspend to Disk/RAM whereas other places use Hibernate. Over the years I have seen KDE seem to swing between the two naming schemes I am not sure why.


    1. No, because it doesn’t happen on Fedora The color information on Fedora is correctly issued. Could be an error caused from the monitor driver? If you have the possibility, control the monitor driver on the system manager both on Fedora Plasma desktop and KDe Neon or Kubutnu. They appear named in different way. The question about mesa drivers which are limited to opengl 3.0?


  4. Someone posted your discussion on a forum:

    The thing that worries us, you are completely missing the point!

    After some time living with that login screen, I started to dislike the blur in it. Not the effect – that is completely fine and awesome. The blur itself on the login screen is just useless and disturbing.

    The thing is: blurring effect is great when you use it on mostly on a desktop, so when you want to shut down a system or log off. It’s because you see the sharp, beautiful desktop all the time and when you want to do the action, full screen blurred GUI looks awesome and is just a moment. Deepin DE is doing it perfectly.

    On SDDM, the first thing you want to do is to log in and then SDDM screen is gone. This causes the whole background to be not visible at all. It’s like: we have this beautiful login wallpaper but we cannot see it at all, because it gets blurred right away and then it’s gone.

    I absolutely can’t understand what was the issue with the old login screen. Everything is always perfectly visible and sharp on the wallpapers I chose and people have mostly the same experience. Unlike desktop wallpapers, login wallpaper is changed rarely so once a beautiful background is found, we want to enjoy it for a longer time. We won’t be bored so easily because we see it only for a short time, unlike the desktop. With the blur effect, it’s like we were stripped of that beautiful login experience, hence the negative feedback.

    And all that it took to fix it is to give us a simple on/off switch for the blur effect – it’s all we ask for. Those who, from unthinkable reason, want to put a wallpaper that disturbs SDDM UI, can use the blur but the rest of us should get the unblurred version.

    Also, the issue is that Plasma users are tinkerers and we like to have many options because this gives us choice and freedom. Introducing mandatory SDDM blur was like taking away a pice of that freedom and that stings.

    So again, I love the blur but not on SDDM, at least not without choice as it is now. I and many others feel strongly about it. It’s been some months since the feature showed up and I didn’t get used to it, I started to dislike it even more.


    1. By the way: blur on a lock screen is fine, although it would be nice to have also on/off switch, because not everyone will enjoy it.
      Again, blur on a desktop is not the same as the blur on login or lock screen, especially on login screen.


    2. I don’t think I’ve missed the point. The point is that people don’t like the blur on the login screen because it obscures the background, which for many people (myself included) was deliberately chosen to look pretty. I get it.

      The issue with the old login screen theme was that the white buttons and text could become unreadable with various backgrounds, such as a snowy landscape or a very visually busy image of any sort, really. I understand that *you* didn’t choose such an image, but many users (or distros!) did, and some of the default Plasma backgrounds were offenders too. We got bug reports. A lot of them. It was a problem we needed to solve, and the blur solved that problem.

      I understand that it introduced a different problem: now the pretty background you chose is blurred and darkened. Darn. I get it. It annoys me too. That’s precisely why I’m trying to move the discussion towards a way for us to remove the blur on the login screen. But to do that, we have to come up with an alternative method to make sure that the buttons and text are visible no matter what color or background you choose.

      It’s not as easy as “Just add an option!” First of all, that’s the designer’s lazy way out; we should fix the design so the option isn’t necessary. Second of all, the Breeze SDDM theme currently has no options, so we would need to add a lot of code just to gain that ability. It would actually be easier to just fix the design! That’s what we’re trying to do.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. I understand your points but a visibility issue with some users’ “snowy” background images should not be solved by obfuscating the background images for all users. IMHO that is poor and lazy design.

      A more elegant option could be to provide some sort of text color button toggle on the login screen itself rather than obfuscating the image entirely. The issue seems to be all about text color readability, rather than image color. You will never find a color that will be visible behind all possible images.

      KDE is all about choice, flexibility and options. The plethora of options is what makes Plasma what it is. Providing configurability on image blur or text color (or any other possible light image workaround) is not lazy, it is the KDE way.

      Forcing a blur solution without choice is unfortunately not the KDE way, but at least now we can understand that this was implemented with the right intent. We are also thankful that this sort of issue is able to be discussed within the community.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Thank you for the explanation.

      As the comment below pointed out, Plasma users are most happy if we have options. The design is important but with so many options we can never have the perfect solution and I don’t think that it’s a developers task to find one, at least not on Plasma. Just gives us options and tools and we design it the way we want.

      For Gnome where there are not so many options, you can focus more on design. Without the hassle of plethora options Gnome devs still can do a bad job in some areas, like GDM requiring some keystroke before being able to input password. That’s craziness! I can’t figure out how Gnome devs are not seeing this. For you guys, it’s obvious so SDDM is better designed from the start.
      On Plasma, there is always some setting that will clash with the design. For example, all transparency options will cause various issues with wallpaper of font colors. Plasma allows it and now it’s up to the user to choose settings that work. I would be mad if you – a developer, took a choice from me for the sake of excluding all potential problems. That’s a Gnome way, or at least how they perceive it. IMO they cause more issues than solve problems but that’s just my opinion and it’s irrelevant here.

      So simply put, some things exclude mutually. Plasma/KDE is more about choice and freedom. Sure, some will hate it because of it, some will point poor design choices (because they set something that doesn’t look right) but you can’t please everyone. Plasma users exactly love it for what others despise.

      You talk about design but users wish exactly that: “add an option”. No matter what you do with design, Plasma users won’t be happy either way. Give us a choice – Plasma users will be happy :D.

      However, I’m sad to hear that this seemingly simple solution isn’t really so simple to implement. So I think that design way may be only a temporary workaround toward the real solution – “having an option” way.
      We can already set images to SDDM and that’s awesome. Having few additional tweaks would be even more awesome. Granted, this isn’t an essential thing so we don’t have to have it right now, but it would be great to have it. Probably users won’t appreciate those, because we don’t understand how much works it required, as everything in Plasma, but we still enjoy it. Just see Gnome DM, it’s ugly and non-configurable. That alone can be a reason not to use Gnome ;). There are users who design mockups for it trying to create interest so Gnome developers would add something decent, the current state is a disaster. Plasma is in much better place, but I hope that Gnome won’t be the first having DM tweak options ;). DId you see those GDM proposals? They are stunning so maybe someday Gnome will have it.

      Back to the design, having a white font with black edges would help visibility. Would it look good? Probably not… but that has to be tested. I’m not a fan of color stripes as background for GUI, it would look rather bad, although… I’m not a designer so I may be wrong.

      SDDM themes like Maldives or Elraun won’t have this invisible UI problem but man, how ugly they look. If you did that, people would hate it and won’t let you in peace ;). Now as an option is fine, but having such design for Breeze, Breath or Andromeda (who mostly do the same) would be awful.

      Latte does its dynamic font color on a background and sometimes it helps, often it does not, so such solutions aren’t perfect either.

      Android also has dynamic colors and transparency for its panels and it works quite well but… there are wallpapers that make panel fonts invisible.

      So transparency comes with a load of design issues, but once you try it, it’s hard to go back to plain, non-transparent look. The whole SDDM UI design is based on UI is on a transparent layer before background so all the transparency problems happen here.

      Maybe there is a design that will somehow cope with that when still looking modern and nice but KDE is all about choice. The previous state was better because only some had issues with it and they were still free to change the background. Now nobody has any choice whatsoever and that is so upsetting about it. The fix became the bigger issue the previous problem IMO.

      Luckily, I’m confident this will be somehow resolved eventually. Maybe not right now but someday, because I know that Plasma/KDE devs are not stupidly stubborn with design decisions as Gnome ones (yeap, as you noticed I have a problem with Gnome, I liked it in the past but it was being destroyed with every version so now I’m at war with it ;P so ignore this). If something is not working, you guys are trying to change it for the better. And that is what is why I’m calm about it. I’m not happy with this SDDM blur but I’m not angered because I know it’s just a work in the process and you care to make it better every day.

      The whole blog of yours is a phenomenon and an incredible thing. Developers rarely want to have that kind of exposure and close relationship with the community.


    5. Luckily, I’m confident this will be somehow resolved eventually. Maybe not right now but someday, because I know that Plasma/KDE devs are not stupidly stubborn with design decisions

      Thanks for noticing. 🙂

      This issue will indeed be fixed, not to worry. Just to set expectations, it probably won’t be in Plasma 5.14 I’m afraid, since the feature freeze is in two days. But likely for 5.15!

      Liked by 1 person

    6. Ha, someone on Manjaro forum just posted a manual fix for the blurred SDDM:

      Line 104 (under WallpaperFader)
      visible: config.type == “image”
      change to
      visible: false

      Or change for any other SDDM theme you use. I haven’t tested it yet myself but I will.

      I don’t understand coding but if there is such an option in theme, why is it hard to make GUI setting that would change this qml file for each theme? We could have this under SDDM’s theme wallpaper selection. It’s a big, empty space anyway… ;).


  5. Can confirm the Manjaro solution works! No more blur.

    SDDM Breeze Login Screen:

    Edit /usr/share/sddm/themes/breeze/Main.qml
    Find WallpaperFader and make visible: false

    Breeze Lock Screren:
    Edit /usr/share/plasma/look-and-feel/org.kde.breeze.desktop/contents/lockscreen/LockScreenUi.qml
    Find WallpaperFader and make visible: false

    Wow. Two one line edits and blur is gone. Thank you Manjaro.


    1. There’s a chance this bug will be fixed with Plasma 5.14.0, which received some multi-monitor fixes. Can you test once the 5.14. bets is released in a few days?


  6. Hi, I have a problem with Discover and I tried with 2 different installations with the same result. Everytime I search the word “scan” it freezes, the cpu increase its percentage of use and Discover increase its memory usage reaching about 1 GB of use.
    Is a problem with my installation or is something wrong with Discover? I’m using KDE Neon 5.13.5 and all is up to date, thanks!


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