KDE Usability & Productivity: Week 74

Week 74 in Usability & Productivity initiative is here!

Now that Plasma 5.16 is frozen and almost out the door, we’ve started turning our attentions to Plasma 5.17. One of the big features I’m pushing on is a visual evolution of the Breeze theme. The first component just landed: KWin-generated window borders are now off by default for the Breeze theme! Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to aim for a single pixel to to resize windows; there are virtual resize areas just the same size as the old window borders so the behavior is unchanged. It also has no effect on other themes, many of which have big, beautiful borders that stand out as part of the theme’s design. But Breeze is a minimalistic theme, and this is the first step towards modernizing the look and feel of KDE apps. We think you’re really going to love the final result!

In the meantime, take a look at all the other cool stuff that got done this week by KDE’s awesome contributors:

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 you find KDE software useful, consider making a donation to the KDE e.V. foundation.

55 thoughts on “KDE Usability & Productivity: Week 74

  1. Hi and thanks for the work you do.
    There are plans to improve the usability of the dolphin file manager when I click: copy> list> select file.
    To better understand, I had a video:

    I think in this case, on nautilus a better usability:

    Like

  2. finally, the breeze getting changed! since everybody seems excited it is being changed, does it mean noone really likes it? to me breeze kinda feels ‘sufficient’, so i would understand. i definitely change the icons immediately after installation

    why not implement *all* changes from that reddit screenshot of dolphin? this screenshot looks years ahead of kde design

    just a few opinions on this
    1. icons (papirus) look much better on that screenshot in all areas: sidebar, toolbar and the main content area.
    2. there is no that “plasma blue” color. this is huge improvement overall since it is not sterile, cold. grey might be boring, but it at least does not strain my eyes
    3. https://phabricator.kde.org/file/data/lylm5idplvowcxpkubfx/PHID-FILE-mpjyl6qpdc553wcfsqko/Sidebar.png on 2nd screenshot, search button had rounded corners. same thing should be maybe used on window decorations close, minimize and maximize buttons.

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    1. Hello,
      I don’t know which “reddit screenshot” you are talking about but I’m quite sure that a lot of people likes Breeze, even if it has some room for improvements of course. And I love the current icon set, nice and clean. It’s a hard task to find the balance to please everyone and I think that KDE peoples are doing a great job at it.
      Juste saying because your comment may sounds quite disheartening for those who are working on it 🙂

      Like

      1. I’m quite sure that a lot of people likes Breeze, even if it has some room for improvements of course

        That’s basically how I feel too. I think it’s great, it just can be made even greater! The goal is not to turn it into something fundamentally different, just to evolve it into greater consistency with own own design goals.

        Like

        1. and no need to turn it into something totally different, but papirus icons are much more clear and this is somehow missing in breeze. allow me to do a little analysis

          let’s take a look at that dolphin screenshot you posted in phabricator (comparing https://phabricator.kde.org/T10891 with https://phabricator.kde.org/T10891):
          – on the reddit screenshot it is clear which icon is dropdown menu, which icon is not. by default we cant know. breeze is inconsistent here.
          – breeze back/fwd arrow together look like a tag with missing content, on the reddit screenshot it is really clear that it is an arrow
          – “new” icon ,.. i’m not sure if this in the bottom right corner is a graphics glitch or what. if it didnt say i would have to look what is that “glitch” so i understand it
          – view mode looks more like checkers and not like icons/details whatever
          – terminal icon uses totally different style

          but to go a bit further here here is another screenshot https://imgur.com/gallery/2ZV1mwq, let’s see about the icons there
          – last month icon is not self explanatory. why would green mean last month and black today or yesterday? and the calendar itself is just a bunch of lines. usually it is designed with just one number inside like here https://www.123rf.com/photo_54049049_stock-vector-april-30-vector-flat-daily-calendar-icon-date-and-time-day-month-holiday-.html
          – documents icon actually means left-aligned in all text processors
          – images icon looks like scale bottom left corner when it is really small
          – today and yesterday cannot be distinguished here
          – icon of the hard-drive -> if it didnt say it was a harddrive, i would not know (you can assume if it has GB next to it, yes, but icon is the focus here)
          – again, those 3 icons for “icons, details and tree” are not self explanatory. the best one is the tree one
          – diamond on the window decorations? if we didnt learn on windows what does the middle button do, based on the icon you cannot understand it.

          also, i think i read somewhere (which i cant find) that ‘hollow’ icons are not good design principle. now i feel sorry i didnt save that explanation.

          anyhow, i think those were over simplified.

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      2. this screenshot https://phabricator.kde.org/T10891

        other icon set is usually found whenever someone posts a kde screenshot. this icon set is papirus. try to use it for some time (a week, two weeks), then come back to breeze.

        i really think kde needs an uplift, especially those transparent icons (sidebar in dolphin, in context menus…).

        Like

    2. > there is no that “plasma blue” color. this is huge improvement overall since it is not sterile, cold.
      > grey might be boring, but it at least does not strain my eyes

      So the Breeze theme should change because you personally don’t like to look at blue?

      Like

      1. yes, i want them to change it, but not because i dislike it.
        they should replace it not because of me, but because of ergonomy.

        1st search result for “eye strain color” on ddg
        https://www.allaboutvision.com/cvs/irritated.htm

        Quote:
        Color temperature. This is a technical term used to describe the spectrum of visible light emitted by a color display. Blue light is short-wavelength visible light that is associated with more eye strain than longer wavelength hues, such as orange and red. Reducing the color temperature of your display lowers the amount of blue light emitted by a color display for better long-term viewing comfort.

        It needs to be a pastel color to be ergonomically ok

        Like

        1. In case helpful, please know there’s a difference between display spectral emission, and chroma representation. For example, the sun emits quite a high level of spectral ‘blue light’, while its perceived colour appears quite warm.

          Like

  3. Besides all these nice design improvements, what we need to see in Plasma 5.17 are improvements for Wayland. The rendering glitches of Kwin really needs to be addressed! Multi monitor setups are are still a nightmare. And then there is SDDM, it claims since years that there will be Wayland support, patches are there but nothing happens anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed! I also currently have issues with using wayland at all because on AMD graphics cards running AMDGPU it has window focus issues which cause Xwayland applications to become unclickable and unsuable until it decides to refocus itself (meaning every click on an app has a chance of not doing anything. They did some work on it a few months back, but it only seems to have made the problem happen over a longer period of time 😦

      I’m also looking forward to the rewrite of the Wayland clipboard system they are doing so it wont be as buggy.

      Like

  4. Wow! Amazing improvements and new features! Thank all of you guys!

    Please consider using blur effect on new design of Breeze, for example on the top header bar, this will make it look slick and modern.

    Good luck with new design! Eagerly waiting to see what’s coming to Plasma 5.17 !

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Nate. Every time I see these posts, I feel like KDE Plasma is where I should be. I notice you mention contributing. I run Gnome Shell because there are some extremely limited tutorials and whatnot scattered around that might work as a stepping stone for someone like myself who has never contributed to Linux application development, to begin doing so. As limited as these are, things are worse on the KDE side; I can find next to nothing. What is the best place or method for me to begin developing or contributing?

    Keep up the posts, they do an effective job.

    Ross.

    Like

      1. Hey Nate,

        Is there a community I could join to maybe get tutored on contributing? I’ve always wanted to help out with some work on KDE but don’t have the executive skills to design and create my own program to contribute, so I’d probably want to help out with small tweaks just like the ones that make it into these posts every week.

        Like

  6. Incredible !
    Right now, my biggest issue is still the fractional scaling lines mentioned in Bug# 373232 – I still see this on various distributions (Manjaro, Kubu, Neon). Going to try a few things. Amazing work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In my opinion the current fractional scalling is just not up to par. Not only is it buggy as heck, with whole parts of plasma itself not scaling, but it doesn’t actually scale the applications unless they respect the GTK/QT scaling configurations. What we really need is the Wayland fractional scaling support that david edmundson was working on, like gnome has.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Overall, my experience with fractional scaling is that its pretty darn good on Plasma – a few snags (lines in Konsole), but the versions I’m running I haven’t seen any GTK scaling mishaps on the apps I use. For me the scaling on the Gnome based desktops I use is not so great – the current Gnome releases finally have manual fractional ability – but they seem to tax the CPU substantially in my scenarios. Awesome work by all the devs regardless

        Like

  7. Bunch of awesome fixes & improvements… this is my favorite sunday reading 🙂 .

    Somehting i feel it needs to be addressed :

    The Open/Save dialogs’ toolbar now has buttons to switch between Dolphin-style view modes – icons, Compact, and Details (Méven Car, KDE Frameworks 5.60)

    Unless this is fixed first :

    https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=404625

    people are going to find the weirdest and abnormal spacing everytime they have one single file with a long name ( not unusual these days… try any video file stating the complete title + date + director + video codec + audio codec + resolution + anything else ) anywhere .

    This doesn’t happen acrooss the multiple GTK based DEs, seems to be an exclusive and old flaw, which looks horrible already on icons view… and will be even worse with smaller dialog windows .

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  8. Hi Nate. I’d like to share an opinion of mine with you.

    For my liking, opening a new instance of an application is the most stupid behaviour that can be given to the middle click in the taskbar. I guess this was invented (in Windows?) to address the problem of open windows being grouped in the same place as the icon used to open a new one, which makes it impossible to open a new instance with a single left-click.

    The difference between Windows and Plasma 5 is that Plasma freely allows you to customize the behaviour of the middle-click. So what makes me outrageous in Windows feels like a good choice in Plasma 5, because even this is better than no default action (and closing a window where nobody expects it is not a good candidate for a default action).

    I’m a big fan of using middle-click to close windows. I have it enabled both in the taskbar and in titlebars. Quickly cleaning the screen by closing windows with a single middle click is one of the most satisfying UI/UX experiences I have ever had. I miss it so much on Windows. This becomes dangerous in web browsers, though, since website tabs are just a few pixels away from the titlebar, thus making it very easy to close the whole window by mistake. I’ve got no problem with this for now, since I use Falkon without borders.

    Which reminds me of one thing: do you remeber there being any open bug for window settings not working under Wayland? I have “No titlebar and frame” set to “Apply Initially”, but this makes no difference under Wayland. If there isn’t one, I’ll report it myself.

    Finally, I don’t know if you have read my last comment in https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=401937. You may want to check it out, since enabling Undo/Redo solves the issue and avoids having to make any decisions affecting the UI.

    Cheers!

    Like

  9. Hi Nate!
    Could you guys pls focus on resolving issues related to multi-monitor setups, like this one: https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=356225 ?
    In my case, I have a laptop with an external monitor connected via HDMI and set as primary. When I disconnect it, Plasma does not move panel, Latte and opened windows to laptop’s screen, so all windows become unavailable. This is especially disturbing when one has to go without wasting his time or when power cut happens, which makes such windows unreachable too.
    It happens on recent Plasma versions in KDE Neon (git), Manjaro and openSUSE Tumbleweed (however, the latter sometimes manages to move all external monitor content to laptop’s one correctly, but sometimes not.
    These problems are huge (IMHO). There should be a mechanism for tracking all connected displays, which must be configured to move everything from the disconnected monitor to new primary one.
    This happens with i915, nvidia and hybrid (Bumblebee) setups. Such a crazy problem, to my mind.

    Like

  10. A lot of changes, a lot of improvements and fixes but still stupid looking keyboard switching icon under wayland. A little but very annoying bug. When it will be fixed at last?

    Like

  11. Just upgraded PLASMA to 5.16 release, then rebooted the system, set Wayalnd and black screen. Nvidia card, dedicated drivers. So Wayland doesn’t work in Nvidia although it is stated by Nvidia and Kde developers that a patch to make it workable has been implemented. Or has something been missed in PLASMA 5.16?

    Like

          1. Truth is that KDe PLASMA is still not ready for Wayland, does it? I assume that the next task of KDe developers be the transition to wayland of all the stuff, that means to make the programs compliant with pure wayland writing them in wayland standard. So the next duty should be to rewrite programs. I uninstalled nvidia drivers so to use mesa drivers in order to verify if wayland environment is supported. The system crashes. I can only see the desktop for a while. So, KDe desktop is not ready for wayland… though long time has passed since KDe developers talked about wayland implementation. Users could be disappointed for lack of reliability.

            Like

  12. Really fantastic, as every week & every Sunday. My favorite moment of the day, without doubt.

    Waiting for the maintainer of the KDE Software of my distro packages Plasma 5.16 and after a few testing, releases as stable for everyone.

    I will try Wayland session after what Nate told me at other KDE Usability & Productivity a few weeks ago.

    Really hyped that the day finally arrived.

    Thank you very much to everyone who make all these possible. And special mention as every week to Nate, for the great work you do always.

    Bests to everyone mentioned above ^^.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. Only when people test the beta, which is why we have beta periods. 🙂

            I don’t own any NVIDIA hardware, so I couldn’t test it. I gather that you do, so you could have tested it out during the beta period. 😉 Maybe next time you can do that!

            Like

  13. The “Show Desktop” and “Minimize all” widgets now use a monochrome icon in the panel, matching all other default icons (Noah Davis, KDE Plasma 5.16.0) —–> It does not work for “minimize all”.

    Thanks for all your work!

    Like

  14. The “Show Desktop” and “Minimize all” widgets now use a monochrome icon in the panel, matching all other default icons (Noah Davis, KDE Plasma 5.16.0) —– > It does not work for “minimize all”.

    Thanks for your work!

    Like

  15. Hi Nate, what would you think about smaller volume/brightness OSDs by default, or maybe configurable?

    At the moment I have modified a .qml file with a patch I found around the ‘net. I’ll be able to provide more info this weekend since I have to track the patch again 🙂

    I don’t know how to attach a screenshot here to show you but I’ll try to do it in the next few days.

    Cheers!

    Like

      1. Oh, that might be where I got the patch from 🙂

        If the OSD is made configurable or separately themable, as discussed in that ticket, I’m all for it.

        Like

  16. Nate, the tests has to be done by the developers not the users because if the developers make errors able to damage hardware users suffers from it. Who pay for errors? You state that developers are not responsible of what they done. If it so KDe developers are not reliable. You don’t understand the severity of your affirmation.

    Like

    1. As far as I understand, there is no severity. Your hardware wasn’t destroyed, right? It’s just that the feature didn’t work as expected. Apparently there is something you need to do first to enable it. See https://www.reddit.com/r/kde/comments/bzs8xn/kde_plasma_516_wayland_on_nvidia/

      You are using Free Software. That means that you as the user have ultimate responsibility for your systems. The license explicitly states that the responsibility is yours, and that there is no warranty. If you want a warranty or guarantee or a QA process with responsibility that traces back to the vendor or developers, you need to pay for it, because providing those services is expensive. This is why desktops like RHEL exist; they add a paid support+warranty component on top of the Free Software base. Proprietary desktops like Windows and macOS have a similar model. Of course, you need to pay money for these! If you’re not paying money, then the responsibility is ultimately yours, not anyone else’s. This is as true for KDE as it is for GNOME, XFCE, ElementaryOS, and everyone else in the FOSS community.

      Like

      1. And, if I may add, developers are not the best testers either: they might not have the right (combination of) hardware to thorughly test every situation.

        That’s why most FOSS projects rely on power users as testers of pre-release versions of their software.

        (Sorry to jump in like this, I’m not even sure what the problem was but this “blame the developers” gets me going, especially when it’s people working on FOSS)

        Like

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