This week in Usability & Productivity, part 54

This week in KDE’s Usability & Productivity initiative, something big landed: virtual desktop support on Wayland, accompanied by a shiny new user interface for the X11 version too. Eike Hein, Marco Martin, and the rest of the Plasma hackers have been working on this literally for months and I think they deserves a round of applause! It was a truly enormous amount of work, but now we can benefit for years to come. 🙂

We’ve also kicked off the Plasma 5.15 beta period. Here’s how you can test it with KDE Neon or Kubuntu.

Bug reports have already started to come in and we’re fixing them as fast as possible to ensure a smooth release next month on February 12th!

New Features

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

User Interface Improvements

Next week, your name could be in this list! Not sure how? Just ask! I’ve helped mentor a number of new contributors recently and I’d love to help you, too! You can also check out https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved, and find out how you can help be a part of something that really matters. You don’t have to already be a programmer. I wasn’t when I got started. Try it, you’ll like it! We don’t bite!

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.

27 thoughts on “This week in Usability & Productivity, part 54

  1. thank You! especially for work on 403271. if i may add my two cents – there is no way to know the right time for china, as it only states „china”, while they have 5 time zones in there. what’s weird about it, is that under „Date & Time” preferences dialog one can see there are 4 time zones – including beijing, however typing „time beijing” doesn’t give any result.

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    1. This is a general problem for countries that span more than one time zone. It’s even worse for Russia! Please file a bug against KRunner.

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    2. Hello from China 🙂 (well only a visitor)

      China only has one timezone now, though there is an unofficial one to the far west which is 2 hours behind.

      See these resources:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_in_China
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_time_zones_of_China

      The latter will mention the 5 time zones China had in the past, but it’s no longer the case anymore. The 4 timezones you’re seeing in `Date & Time` is correct, Beijing time is for all of China(aka CST), Urumqi/Xinjiang time is only used in the far west by an ethnic group there, in parallel with CST. Macau and Hong Kong have some history where they were not part of China for a bit, when sovereignty was transferred back to China, they were permitted to keep authority over their time, but to date have aligned with CST.

      I could be a bit wrong here, but as far as I understand it the above is correct. So nothing wrong on KDE’s end here, it’s portrayed correctly for modern times. I take it you’re not from/in China?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome news!
    Virtual desktops on Wayland is a big thing, but I’m still waiting for global menus… So no Wayland testing for me yet.
    I’m also pleased to see bulk unmount icon. My external device has two partitions and those are treated separately (because of different file systems) and I had to repeat unmount action. Now it’s just one click. Super :).

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  3. Would love to try Wayland, but as an NVIDIA owner there’s nothing there for me to get excited about. Wish the KDE devs would just add NVIDIA support. (I’m aware of the quasi-religious war on why they don’t want to.)

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  4. Awesome work as every week Nate.
    Really great, maybe it’s just a silly new feature, but the one that allows you configure the Digital Clock date format has been disturbing me since i started on GNU/Linux and Plasma, i really prefer use hyphens to slashes, to separate day, month and year, and this was impossible on Plasma, a DE full featured and full of options natively, so i’m really grateful to KDE for this.
    I can’t wait to have Plasma 5.15 on my system.
    Bests ^^.

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  5. Very much appreciating the work being done on fractional scaling and looking forward more like it, with “core” apps like gwenview or even dolphin’s menu bar still rendering poorly the road ahead seems long.

    In fact, everything that appears to be handling pixels manually (all the kdegames, clementine’s currently playing track/volume control, …) seems to be unaware of the upscaling. Is there any way to tackle this issue/behaviour at the Qt level once and for all instead of patching every app under the sun and ultimately ending-up with a mixed bag of “apps with more code, harder to maintain, and old, ugly-looking apps”?

    Anyway, thumbs up for the relentless good work!

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    1. Not really, or at least not without upscaling (which would result in pixellation) or downscaling from a 2x or 3x version (which would introduce massive performance issues with weak graphics hardware, and would require changes to apps anyway). Sometimes the hardest road is the best one. 🙂

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      1. Thanks for the answer!
        I am completely new to this topic, but it would seem at first that the app in question would only need to be passed a canvas of the exact same dimensions as the viewport as rendered on screen (with fractional upscaling applied) to be able to draw at 1:1 the physical pixel, and hence look “sharp” for any upscaling value…
        The app itself wouldn’t even need to be aware that it’s being scaled-up, and only rely on the canvas Width and Height properties.

        Sorry if I am asking the obvious 🙂

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        1. “(with fractional upscaling applied)” is the part that makes the app look ugly. 🙂 For an app that does no custom drawing and uses all native QWidgets or QtQuickControls2 controls, this works fine. But for any app that doesn’t meet those criteria (i.e.most of them) you need app-specific changes. Sometimes it’s as simple as porting a QtQuickControls1 layout to use QtQuickControls2 (such as with https://phabricator.kde.org/D18411), which does have native support. But that counts as making app-specific changes. 🙂

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          1. By “with fractional upscaling applied” I didn’t mean “interpolated so it looks either blocky or blurry”, I meant “if the original viewport is 100×50px, with a fractional scaling of 1.5, it would become 150×75px”.

            Then the app that was drawing a polygon from [(0,0),(getWidth,0),(getWidth,getHeight)] would look good by default,
            The apps using magic constants are the issue, but even there, I could see the painter API doing something smart and transforming those into the scaled-up coordinates equivalent (it’s all vectors, after all).

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  6. Impressive. I am happy to see custom date format finally introduced for clock widget, as well as some Wayland improvements.

    So, an integration of IME (D14796) is not going to make it in Plasma 5.15? Sad, that looked very promising.

    BTW I installed Neon git stable in dual boot with my main distro (Manjaro) to see and test it. What I noticed so far: hibernation is available as an option in Neon’s logout dialogue (right click -> leave) in live environment, but the installed system has no such option (swap is active of course). Kickoff menu on panel has this option and it works with no issues, it’s just a logout dialogue thing. The same is true for Manjaro btw (5.14).

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  7. So, an integration of IME (D14796) is not going to make it in Plasma 5.15? Sad, that looked very promising.

    Yes, I’m disappointed too. I hope we can get it into shape for 5.16.

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    1. To be more precise: I imagine on could choose in the settings between the grid approach plasma uses now and the dynamic list approach you can see in Gnome Shell. That way everyone could benefit.

      Liked by 1 person

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