KDE’s Usability & Productivity initiative is now almost two years old, and I’ve been blogging weekly progress for a year and a half. So I thought it would be a good time to take stock of the situation: how far we’ve come, and what’s left to do. Let’s dive right in! Here’s a short list of some of the achievements we’ve accomplished:
- Full support for configuring mice and touchpads using the Libinput driver on both X11 and Wayland
- A brand new notification system with hugely improved usability for common workflows
- Better default text contrast and font rendering settings
- Massive, far-reaching user interface and performance improvements for Discover
- Huge user interface improvements to the open/save dialogs
- Many performance and reliability improvements for the Baloo file indexing service
- “Open Containing Folder” actions added throughout KDE apps
- A variety of usability-related bugfixes, new features, and user interface upgrades for Spectacle
- Typewriter/text box annotation tool in Okular
- Support for showing file creation dates
- Easy support for file tagging in Dolphin, and a more useful and comprehensible Places panel
- Slideshow wallpaper configuration that shows the actual images that will be a part of the slideshow
- Configurable grid size/maximum label width for files and folders on the desktop
- Better lock and login screens
- Consistent styles (grid views and centered form layouts) for settings windows throughout KDE software
- Simplified and more comprehensible user interface for many System Settings pages
- Bugfixing and user interface improvements throughout the whole software stack
It’s a lot of great stuff!
There’s still more to do, of course. KIO still doesn’t mount network locations locally, though that’s being actively worked on! Touchpad scrolling behavior has improved, but is still not consistent across all KDE apps and there’s no inertial scrolling yet. Samba sharing is improving, but still rough. Okular’s annotations are becoming more full-featured, compatible, and discoverable, yet more work is still needed. More System Settings pages still need to have their user interface overhauled. But are you seeing a pattern here!? Things are happening! The trajectory is really good! It’s unbelievable how many of the rough edges have gotten smoothed out over the past two years, and I feel super upbeat about the state of KDE’s software offering!
With this kind of ongoing work, KDE’s software moves ever closer to the day when I envision that it has become humanity’s preeminent computing platform. It will take time, but open-source software is immortal as long as people care about it. And the KDE community clearly does! So slowly but surely we continue, improving year by year as competitors stagnate, drop out, or are corrupted by the lures of money and power. It will be a KDE world.
I’d like to offer a congratulations to the incredible KDE community. This all is not my work… it’s yours! The passion that people feel for this stuff is amazing, and it’s not misplaced: more and more KDE software becoming best-in-class in its product category. The future is bright, very bright. Thanks again, everyone.
56 thoughts on “KDE Usability and Productivity: Are we there yet?”
Agreed! This is amazing work and I am so happy it is being done! Especially in regards to putting the user in control of defining their own workflow and visual experience – plenty of options and alternatives so everyone can feel at home. My next system will run KDE for sure!
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> stagnate, drop out, or are corrupted by the lures of money and power.
Don’t talk _that_ bad about your previous employer 😉
> This all is not my work…
Come on! Without your work, we would certainly be far more behind…
> incredible KDE community
Exactly! 🙂 Proud to be part of it! Let’s keep rocking the ice!
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Some items you may want to get on next: Make sure the “language auto-detection” is turned off by default or fixed so it doesn’t randomly say misspelled words are fine and correctly spelled words are wrong. That “feature” breaks spell-checking across all the KDE applications.
Working panel auto-hiding when utility windows are set to be always shown would also be nice. That’s a 8 year old bug. I’ve given up hope that it will be fixed ever. In the meantime there’s Xfce..
Can you tell me the bug reports tracking these issues? Thanks!
Congratulations indeed !!
Arguably the most vibrant community nowadays resonating with more & more souls over the world.
Been using strictly linux on my day by day for just a decade now… and “kinda” feel ashamed i only – finally – converted to KDE/Plasma since 5.10 and not before.
Don’t want to use any other DE right now ( take this from somebody that switched DEs & WMs several times a day… on a daily basis !! ) … finally found a DE i call “home” … and it just keep getting better & better & better & better ….
I’m so glad! The next step is to start contributing. 🙂
Thanks for your work on improving Plasma and KDE apps, and for blogging about it. I agree that Plasma is slicker than ever now! The influence of the VDG is clearly visible and it is a good thing that developers and designers can wok together effectively.
About KDE taking over personal computing, I have a less optimistic vision. It might become the best offer for traditional desktop paradigm. But my feeling is that the future of personal computing will be made out of a variety of devices (laptop, smartphone, vocal assistant, tv, VR set, etc…) working together, linked with (proprietary) cloud services and probably enhanced by AI in the future. And while PC is a very open platform, device manufacturers have no incentive to provide open hardware, and AI will be closed source software running in the cloud.
KDE is probably the most advanced free software on covering the device spectrum (with Plasma mobile, Plasma Media Center and KDE Connect) and on cloud services (with the collaboration with NextCloud). But I fear it will be more and more difficult for free software to follow these evolutions. Especially about AI, which is trained using the tremendous amount of data that can be collected by big corporations and which is more difficult to collect by free software developers. We have to invent new ways of providing the same level of service, with open standards and while protecting user privacy, and this will be a real challenge.
KDE 4, with Nepomuk, with activities, was very innovative. Even if these concepts were not very polished and didn’t deliver as much as expected, KDE was exploring new ideas. Plasma 5 is slick, but I feel it is only catching up with the competition, not proposing anything really innovative. I’d like to see KDE trying new things again, but maybe separately from Plasma Desktop. A “Plasma Lab” release, where various crazy new innovative features could be tested before being eventually integrated, would be very cool. Why not around how AI can improve user workflow.
Well, I’ve digressed a little… Good job on the Usability and Productivity Initiative !
I have a slightly different outlook. So many of the buzzword technologies of the day fizzle out and are abandoned once people realize that their popularity has arisen from novelty, advertising campaigns, or taking advantage of addictive tendencies rather than because they offered real value or improvement. So much of what’s “innovative” is actually really rough and unpolished, doesn’t live up to its promise, and creates new problems that require even further “innovation” to solve. A good deal of it gets discarded, which represents a colossal waste of money, human effort, and our planet’s resources.
I feel like it is morally, ethically, environmentally, and spiritually important to focus on what we all know we need rather than continually chasing innovation for its own sake. Only once we have the basics absolutely *nailed*, and we make made sure that our solutions have not caused new problems in the process, does it makes sense to cast our nets wider, IMO. And even once we do, we owe it to ourselves, our users, and the planet to learn from the mistakes of those who preceded us. When people learn from the mistakes of the path and conscientiously work in harmony to solve real problems, there is no limit to what they can accomplish, and no ethical problems arise from the output.
Thanks for your answer, very interesting outlook.
I do agree that innovation for the sake of innovation is harmful. I don’t think AI (machine learning to be more accurate) falls as a whole into this category. I believe it can be used to tackle real issues.
To be more specific, I was one of the few extensive users of activities a few years ago, and I think they were fulfilling (in a suboptimal way) an actual need of reaching more easily apps and resources in relationship with what you are doing. This is a field where I think machine learning can be useful in a user interface. Of course a lot of R&D is needed to tune it right. But if we find a good formula, I think it could be an improvement comparable to when indexing and search for apps and files was introduced (which most of us use today and probably a lot of people considered useless before it was introduced as they were perfectly fine with how it worked).
Anyways, I do appreciate what you are doing in KDE and thank you again for contributing to free software.
We all feel blessed and blissful by the sheer amount of work that has been poured upon KDE ecosystem both quality as well as quantity wise from all of you!!!
We all are fully indebted!!!
Me too! Isn’t it amazing!?
Nate, casual user/developer here. I’ve been following these weekly posts for half a year and love every one on them. Thank you so much for this. I’m very thankful for the the effort and dedication you have and I have no doubt that it improved not only plasma but the KDE community. (i see you posts shared on reddit, for example. I weekly reshare the posts in my university, etc).
Thank you so much once again.
You are so welcome! With your development experience, have you submitted any patches yet? If not, I’d love to help you get started! Check out https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved/development, and if you need a hand, don’t hesitate to contact me.
I do love Sundays!!
I get up and usally make my coffee.
Than I grab my slate and I read your blog.
Man, I do love it, what you guys did so far!!
I dive into the comment and source code sections, cause I am curious how you guys fixed the problem or how you accomplished that task.
I do love Sundays!!
I usually finish reading your blog post and wake up everybody to start the day!
Please keep up the work!!
I do try to get involve myself…
Thanks for your hard work!!
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We certainly plan to! Once The U&P initiative as a formal thing has wound down so that other goals can take their turns, I expect to continue these weekly reports. 🙂
I’ll add to the chorus of voices thanking you personally and the whole team. I am proud to be a Plasma user and proud to donate monthly to the project. The tone is set from leaders, and your emphasis on usability and continual improvement and refinement has taken KDE to a new level. Also, as others have said, I too do so look forward to Sundays :).
Additionally, I had an unnaturally joyful moment when reading about your upcoming focus on KDE scrolling (and inertial scrolling!!!). I think scrolling is perhaps the last big UI refinement lagging behind Chrome OS and iOS, and I had given up hope on ever seeing inertial scrolling on libinput after reading somewhere that its developers were perhaps against it. One of the greatest Chrome OS joys is the butter smooth inertial scrolling when surfing the web. If KDE can replicate that down the read, I mean, just wow.
Again, thank you, and from one busy professional to another, please do protect against burnout!
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Thank you so much for the kind words!
Bad touchpad scrolling is something that irritates me too. We just fixed one major bug recently: https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=381182. But as is obvious, there’s still a lot to do.
Libinput just leaves inertial scrolling up to the toolkit, which honestly isn’t a bad idea in principle. GTK does a really great job and its own scrollview supports inertial scrolling with libinput just fine. Try it out in some GNOME apps; the scroll behaviors there are great! Qt actually does support these same behaviors, but it seems like it only activates them for touchscreen scrolling but not touchpads for some reason. So it might be a simple matter of telling it in our global theme to use the touchscreen behavior for touchpads too. Or it might be more complicated than that (especially for QWidgets apps) Regardless, as you can see I’m not so well-versed in the details yet and I hope to do a deep dive into it sometime in the next few months to see if I can figure out how we improve the situation.
I’m very happy to see how much is KDE getting better. I use it every day and I’m always looking forward to see the newest changes when it finds its way to Kubuntu backports PPA. Thank you and thank all the amazing people for your work.
You’re very welcome!
I’ve only been a full time Linux and KDE user since about 2 years. And KDE has improved a lot and have definitely been experiencing KDE getting polished over that time. Its awesome! Thank you Nate, thank you all of the KDE community.
“Full support for configuring mice and touchpads using the Libinput driver on both X11 and Wayland.”
Will it be possible to configure mouse extra buttons ? Or change defaults, by example, change forward/backward to page up / page down ?
It is boring and not user friendly to keep using xbindkeys and xmodmap.
I agree, however those features would only work on X11 I believe. W try to develop features that work on Waylnd too.
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I want IN, im back to Linux after a couple of years! installed a couple of distros last month, now im thinking ill stick with KDE + OpenSuse. Ive got an honors in Computer Science. learnt c++ jave etc. Im loving KDE. But want to learn more and start fixing bugs etc, im following the getting involved process with building, getting the frameworks etc and trying to understand it all…
But theres a big gap, a huge barrier to entry i feel can be helped. One, documentation…it feels like seeing a bug, theres such a big knowledge gap before people can step in to get involved.
Documentation? it feels like somewhere somehow we should have a bug 101 hangout session. Seasoned developers, host a live session, pick 4 bugs, in different difficulty categories, beginner and intermediate etc, and take the people who want to help on a live session how to to get to it, compile fix debug, commit etc…
This might sound stupid but im trying to give you the newbies view on getting involved.
One thing I find helps a lot is to start with bug triaging (https://community.kde.org/Guidelines_and_HOWTOs/Bug_triaging). While doing this, you pick up a lot of technical information that can help you learn how to actually fix some of the bugs you find. But really the best way to gain familiarity is the same way you’d do it with any software: start reading the code and figure out how it works! The codebase is of really high quality in most KDE software so IMO it’s not that hard to understand. I’m not a software developer by background, and even I can submit technical patches! Try it and I bet you’ll find that it’s not so scary after all! 🙂
Great work! 🙂
By the way, will the “Productivity and Usability” posts continue?
But of course! Even once the initiative itself has been wound down or replaced with others, I intend to continue these posts, just with a different name (“Weekly KDE highlights”?)
Excellent work. Could you find time to look into the kdewallet password situation? When I reboot my laptop, I always have to enter my user password before WIFI will connect. This is a known network on a machine with no login password, so it should just connect. Also the dialog doesn’t make it clear if it is the user password, or WIFI password which is needed. This is literally the only thing preventing me from recommending Plasma to others. My configuration is Neon on a XPS13 with intel WiFi.
Yeah, this is annoying. It’s also partially your distro’s fault for not setting up KWallet properly, so please report it to them. The user password and wallet password have to match, and the pam_kwallet package needs to be installed. I know that Kubuntu does this automatically; not sure about other distros.
But yes, we can improve the UX in KWallet too even when distros have not configured things properly.
I installed libpam-kwallet-common and reset the password in kwallet manager, but the results are still the same. This is on KDE Neon, so it should be configured correctly there if anywhere. Ideally it would do it’s job without me even having to know it’s there. I realize your time is limited, is there someone better to ask about this?
I’d file a bug on Neon at bugs.kde.org. This should definitely work!
Thanks for looking into this!
The list is impressive but I’ve been following your productivity series from the start so I know there is so much more stuff. I wouldn’t even suspect so many things are being worked on or improved without your blog. It keeps me excited to use Plasma and I use it for almost 4 years now! Wow, how time flies.
Are we there yet? We are definitely closer but this path never ends and so many things still need to be taken care off. Baby Wougue on his YT channel showed, for example, a horrible bookmarking system in Dolphin and his is right, but on another hand, this was probably overlooked because most people don’t even know it’s there, we don’t use it so it stays horrible. I think he is grasping at a straw to look weak points of KDE because there are less and less of them with every week :D.
Still, it’s good to look on competition, see what they do better and improve it on our side to weaken their ammo ;). So there are bad bookmarks, theming may look nicer (which is worked on), samba may work better (which is worked on), hopefully, android connection through cable is fixed with 5.16, more and more people use high-resolution monitors so this is always a thing in progress, incoming Nvidia’s Wayland support is exciting. Discover still needs a lot of love – so far it’s functionality is being worked on, which is good, it needs it, but the UI is generally disfavourable and this isn’t an easy task. And there are many things I didn’t think at this moment but are on the line to get improved.
So, still a ton of things to do.
5.16 release is highly anticipated by me :). So many goodies are on the horizon and I know that many will come later. The feature is bright.
The bookmark system in Dolphin was actually just added, so the issues are probably because it’s very new. 🙂 It’s actually an old system, it’s just new that it’s been added to Dolphin. *Please* file bugs on it!
Thanks for these weekly updates Nate! I too enjoy reading them every Sunday. It is encouraging to see KDE progress reports like these, even although I use Debian so won’t get to use them for ages… 😀
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Thanks for all the work Nate and everybody else on the team. I really agree with Nate on (as I interpret it) the need for a basic non-experimental desktop that works very well and does not force the user in undesired paths (gnome). There are lots of people who need a normal desktop that is nice to look at and use, and works fast. For me you are moving 100% in the right direction. A computer is a multi-functional tool and should work like one, and not be a kind of fancy innovative work of art itself. The applications and internet is where it’s at, and the desktop should support this without getting in the way. So again congratulations!!
At this stage perhaps I can ask this question: Is there also a focus on making kde usable as a corporate desktop?
There are a few things that are important that keep on being problematic. Perhaps with relatively little effort we could make KDE ready for corporate adoption? I am thinking about FAST and seamless networking. Then the switching between wireless and wired (happens all the time in a company with laptops) freezes the desktop already for years, using okular on a big file in a NAS makes it crawl along, on local files on the SSD it is much quicker. NAS use cases are VERY important! And what about being able to really scale output when printing? Also seamless support for Libreoffice. All these little parts need to come together to make KDE a valid selection for a corporation (apart from availability of commercial support of course). Perhaps also the possibility to lock down configuration options for users? For me, the usability of KDE is (more than) good enough. Do I read your comments correctly if I say that you will now focus more on these basic use cases as well? I sometimes feel that GNOME is helped in this regard a lot by being adopted by REDHAT and now ubuntu, who make sure it will work very well. Is it even possible to compete with that? Things on GNOME just work (fast refresh on monitors, setting up all email accounts, fast network operations, …), but I do not like to use it. What are your thoughts here? I am relly curious if there is perhaps some roadmap available?
Yes, it’s a very important part of our focus, and one of the reasons why I included Okular in the U&P initiative. Print scaling is already implemented as of Okular 1.7. Other things are in progress or on the to do list. On the subject of networking freezes, I don’t experience that and I haven’t seen bug reports on it. Can you find or file one? Thanks
Hello Nate, I spent some time:
Could not find the old bug reports, so I tried it.
Good news: Switch between wired and wireless works a lot better than before!
Use case 1:
Using firefox watching youtube the network switches transparantly from wireless to wired and back
Use case 2:
Using VLC streaming a movie from SMB share when you plug in the wired cable
(use case: wireless too slow for HD movie)
After pluggin in the ethernet cable the movie is not streamed over wired but the wireless keeps being used. Disconnecting from wireless then causes the movie to hang. VLC needs to be restarted and the movie restarted. So this is not seamless but at least the desktop does not freeze anymore like it did in the past.
I intended scaling to a certain percentage as available on Windows in the printer driver, so you can force the margins outside of the page and print as close to the edge as possible. Very useful when printing music notation on A4 paper, while it was was intended for a bigger page than A4.
From januari 2012:
KIO very slow when copying from network through smb
This might cause the problems I experience with Okular being unusably slow over SMB.
Also I dare not use Dolphin to copy a lot of files, I need to use the command line for that.
It seems that for me the main problem are is samba / KIO related. Thanks for looking into all this, it is a great time to be using KDE software 🙂
Thanks for all the weekly update, as an KDE user in a rolling release distro is great to see (and to get hyped) the new features and fixes coming in weeks
Is there any work going in regard of GPU acceleration for Konsole? I see that terminal emulators as Alacritty and Kitty are really loved for that feature (but they are kinda featureless in other regard)
Are you thinking of giving your blog readers a dark theme? 🙂
In what way is Konsole under-performing with only the CPU, I wonder? I mean it’s not exactly a very graphically intensive app. 🙂
My preferred desktop environment. I think that it should improve on efficiency detecting and eliminating the useless tasks, the redundancies, the bottlenecks and so on.
I think that’s what we’re doing, no? 🙂
By the way, When will be available PLASMA 5.16?
Still can’t migrate to Wayland because of a lot of annoying bugs. For example:
Let me add another reason, which hinders me to migrate to Wayland: the lack of fractional scaling. 😦
I really hope that it will be introduced anytime soon! 🙂
Just amazing, KDE Community and KDE in general rocks!!
Thank you Nate and everyone in this fantastic community for allow me to enjoy this wonderful software, following actively the development, etc.
I really hope in two more years, the initiative will be much more advanced or even it won’t be necessary anymore, still i will actively follow the progress of KDE Software, of Nate and the community.
I really feel like i’m part of this great family that loves to make a great software.
A huge hug to everyone guys, you are spectacular ^^.
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I agree. This community is amazing!
Thank you Nate. That is exactly the right approach. Here my 2 cents.
1. Website – the website features a lot of filler content and all release PR sound the same. It is a mix of dull PR, corporate non-telling solutions websites and summer camp group foto. What you actually want is a more “gamified” web presence that encourages participation of new contributors. E.g. translation status. There is a page hidden in the web site that shows the translation status. Not very encouraging data btw. Or think of the krazy tools / EBN. Of course one needs to put as many automated tests as possible in the contributor envronment. There is also no campaign to get people to join the KDE association.
2. Cross-Plattform – while Cross-Plattform builds exist for many applications KDE fails to market them properly on the websites. E.g. why hasn’t Kate a significant higher market share under Windows? Port Builds are often outdated and lacking behind. But isn’t a Dolphin mac port the app that would make MacOSX usable for us? Automated check in continuous integration also here would improve portability. For KDE to conquer the desktop why not spread the KDE core apps cross-platform first. That might encourage others to use KDE Plasma. The all-at-once approach of the porting projects has failed. Let’s ensure the KDE core apps become sth like VLC. Okular, Kate, KDevelop, Dolphin, Krita should be top of the charts cross-platform.
3. Completeness indicators and Font Management: If you install a Font you want to know if it supports the features you need. When you are a German user it makes generally little sense to install fonts that do not support Umlaut characters. Your font management should get you aware and be intelligent. It should inform you about the supported features of the font. On the application side there is no way to conveniently manage fonts, e.g. by separating full features bread and butter fonts (“Brotschriften”) from font clutter that was installed on your system for whatever reason. Or to filter e.g. Sans, Serif, monospace fonts out and chose between highly Serif fonts only. When you install professional fonts its often 20 files. How is this processed? If you install an icon theme you want to get an idea how complete it is.Themes, nice, but why isn’t there an application to test and showcase themes in terms of completeness, ideally giving theme builders a score and making them aware of the cases where their designs would break.
4. Facebook. KDE does “kind of” not exist on Facebook compared to other, smaller Desktop environments where the users are quite passionate. I know there is a group with like 3500 users.
5. Something as Ubuntu Brainstrom once used to be. Again under the pretext of getting people involved.
6. Think about simple and neat services people actually love and spark joy. I need an Ebay sniper (Biet-o-matic works with Wine but that is a VB app). My GF always liked Desktop aquariums, my mum used to love the banner printing tools. If you have productivity apps People need great sample files e.g. for printing birthday cards. KDE once had these cool features as Desktop lemmings and the cat that was following your cursor. All this may sound riddiculous but it gives a human touch.
7. Thinking about everyday use cases. E.g. I have to sent a job application with CV and letter in one file. PDF handling particular PDF unite functionality, how does KDE assist that common case? E.G. my bluetooth head phones, how to make the support hassle free and nice.
I pretty much agree with all of your points, especially the “love and joy/human touch” element. A lot of this is best provided by 3rd-party apps though. I quite agree that LibreOffice needs better templates and drawing/desktop layout capabilities. Coming from the Apple world, I really miss Pages, which was able to create really amazing-looking documents so easily. LibreOffice is so clunky in comparison.
I would highly suggest getting involved. KDE needs ideas like yours! The website idea is well-times because it’s being actively worked on at the moment. Check out https://phabricator.kde.org/tag/website_developers/ and also https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved
I recently switch from Cinnamon to Kubuntu, and I have to say, it is MUCH more polished when I tried it back in 2016. I feel like the leadership and direction with this project has been spot on for the last few years. It’s also nice that this project is independent of Gnome which has been making changes that a lot of downstream spin-offs are constantly making efforts to reverse (notably Budgie and Cinnamon). All in all, there a lot of very nice features and much fewer paper-cuts, but I have experienced the following:
1: Difficulty in switching outputs to HDMI (Gnome does this seamlessly, you plug in the cable, and click on the sound icon, and an HDMI option pops up). To do this in Plasma, it takes 5-6 clicks which is extremely annoying if you frequently use a laptop to watch TV.
2: Skanlite does not have an option to scan multiple images to PDF. 95% of my scanning is multi-page documents. I basically downloaded gscan2pdf for this functionality. I know this is more a lack of features than a bug but it seems to be a pretty crucial feature for productivity in our hybrid paper-digital world.
3: Difficulty connecting to wireless networks when logging in (had to reconfigure it to store unencrypted passwords)
However some major thank-yous include:
1: Better support for flatpak/snaps in Discover (found this harder to manage in gnome)
2: Extremely easy to create a custom mime-type for Julia programs (doing this in gnome requires manual creation of files and images)
3: Much easier to connect to a WPA2 Enterprise network. It just worked like it does in Windows. Doing it in gnome required me to find the security certificate.
By the way, I made some typos at the beginning (which should be obvious) is that I meant that Plasma is much more polished THAN when I tried it in 2016.
As another “Papercut”, I had a hard time getting Kmail to work with all my gmail/outlook365 accounts. Gnome Evolution simply works better, but Evolution works well enough on Plasma (though I sometimes have to restart all Evolution processes) although I’ll probably switch to Mailspring when they get their calendar application up and running.
Glad you’re enjoying it!
1. Please file a bug! 🙂
2. Tracked with https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=299517. I just use SimpleScan for this. 😦
3. This is generally caused by your distro setting things up wrong, or using an old version of Plasma. Please file a bug.
Yeah, you’re right: SimpleScan usually works when skanlite is not.
Yeah, after doing some research on it, it looks like PDF support and even OCR was available in Kooka during the KDE3 days and Skanlite was apparently a very stripped-down version of it. There has been some effort to port it to KDE5 on Arch (I use KDE Neon). In some ways it seems that Kooka was analogous to gScan2pdf as Skanlite is analogous to SimpleScan. I just found Skanlite weirdly stripped down becuase KDE software is usually full-featured and powerful/fast (seriously, after using Disk Usage Analyzer and Brasero in Mint for years, I got gobsmacked by K3B and Filelight on speed).
Either way, I use gScan2pdf as it is faster and fuller-featured (although uglier) than SimpleScan. I don’t know if it would be better to simply port/rebrand Kooka and make it available in the repositories to keep power-users happy.