This week in KDE: Plasma 5.17 approaches

Lots of great backend work happened this week which is very important, but not terribly flashy. And most of the in-progress work I alluded to last week hasn’t landed yet. So I’m afraid the user-visible changes will have to be a bit light this week. But fear not! For Plasma 5.17 is undergoing its last rounds of final polish and bugfixing before the release next week, and work churns along on lots of great stuff slated for Plasma 5.18 and the next apps versions!

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

User Interface Improvements

How You Can Help

Check out https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved and find out ways to 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!

Finally, consider making a tax-deductible donation to the KDE e.V. foundation.

91 thoughts on “This week in KDE: Plasma 5.17 approaches

  1. The Plasma Audio Volume applet still doesn’t have a setting so you can have the application tab first, which is the reason i need to install kmix or the windows7mixer applet which aren’t suggested as an alternative

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      1. IIRC a bug did get filed, and there was a patch to make it remember the last-used tab, but it didn’t go anywhere. 😦 I’ll see if I can dig it up.

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  2. Hello and thanks for the highlights!

    Not related to this post, but just a daily-build feedback:
    for some reason kwin fails in plasmax11_dev and plasmawayland_dev sessions when logging out from regular Plasma session and trying to log in to dev one. `kwin_x11 –replace &` worked a week ago but now it fails as well. It works after reboot.
    Also external display doesn’t get detected in dev sessions. Some kscreen error. Reboot doesn’t help in this case.

    Manjaro unstable (pretty much the same as Arch).

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    1. Also external display doesn’t get detected in dev sessions

      Are you getting an error about no backends detected or something like that? because I see that too. Can you make it go away by manually launching ~/kde/usr/lib/libexec/kf5/kscreen_backend_launcher? If so, please file a bug against KScreen. I was assuming this was a local problem with my installation! The maintainer will want to know that it’s more widespread.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, “No kscreen backend found. Please check your kscreen installation”.
        As to your suggestion,

        $ ./kscreen_backend_launcher
        kscreen.xrandr: Connected output 67 to CRTC 63
        kscreen.xrandr: Connected output 68 to CRTC 64
        kscreen.xcb.helper: Detected XRandR 1.6
        kscreen.xcb.helper: Event Base: 89
        kscreen.xcb.helper: Event Error: 147

        is all I get but there’s no change, I mean displays stay mirrored and kscreen backend error still exist.

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  3. Hey Nate,

    Thanks again for the update and thanks to all the devs!
    Hopefully the fix for “The Plasma Audio Volume applet and its System Settings page” solves the issue I have with the text writing over the top of the adjustment bars.

    re: bug report Bug 412542
    – I have listed all the apps, 27 in total, that do not work.

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  4. Maybe I don’t understand the issue but I like to be able to move a maximized window by grabbing it by the top bar, for example to move it to the other screen (when dual screening) or to move it to the side for side by side comparison with another window. Will it still be possible with this change ?

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      1. Correct, this is for fullscreen windows only, not maximized windows. And I have it on good authority that you can still move fullscreen windows from screen to screen with alt-drag (which I didn’t even know about, but is really cool).

        Liked by 1 person

        1. And will the App Dashboard ever stop being a full-featured window that you can move to workspaces, shows up in Alt-Tab, etc.. It is funny and cool, but not acceptable behavior and it screams “duct tape and prayers is what keeps this together”. I believe it has been filed as an issue for years. I am not annoyed, but it would be a HUGE step towards the maturity of Plasma.

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          1. Yeah, it basically was cobbled together with duct tape and prayers for its initial release lol. I agree with you and I have high hopes for it to be improved in the near future though!

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    1. If you use latte as a panel with the proper widgets : Window AppMenu, Window Title and Window Buttons you can basically drag maximized windows from the title or menu area. If using Plasma’s panel, this is limited to title area only.

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    2. It is possible with Breeze application style: Systemsettings – Application style – Breeze settings – Window’s drag mode.

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  5. Regarding Discover offering to repair when used for offline updates, can you please give more information on HOW Discover can be used for offline updates? We have made a simple zenity frontend for caching /var/cache/apt/archives to a USB stick and generating a package list, then using another utility for setting the sources.list to this USB drive, so that we can distribute updates offline. But it is nice if a user could use a gui frontend for actually doing the installs or updates. Synaptic works in this regard, but having Discover available also would be great!

    https://sites.google.com/site/wastalinux/wasta-applications/wasta-offline

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    1. That’s a great question, but I’m afraid I don’t know the answer myself. My impression is that it’s still an in-development feature. Your use case is something that is going to be explicitly supported, and it’s been requested by various distros in the past, which is why it’s being implemented now.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Also, is there any tool or plan for a tool to save and restore desktop layout configs? I like the look of your panel in some of the screenshots, for example, and would really value a utility to set a system default that would override the defaults for our users, and give them a simple way to swap between different layouts.

    Sort of like Mate Tweak provides, or xfce panel switcher or what we have done with cinnamon so far:

    https://sites.google.com/site/wastalinux/wasta-applications/wasta-layout

    In this case, wasta-layout relies on dconf settings that can be set at a system level or a user level to override defaults. Not sure if KDE / Plasma offers a way to do this? Is this an “enterprise level” feature request?

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        1. Sorry hit “post” too quickly. I am wondering what type of approach would be used to set a customized system-wide default? Maybe it could place the config files in /etc/xdg for example?

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      1. Re:W10, I would love to see this widget get upstreamed too https://github.com/Zren/plasma-applet-tiledmenu

        But I have a feeling that it would need some heavy cleanup. Not only because it’s very complex for the amount of funcionality but because I’ve been using it daily on wayland for months and I can see the small glitches and some problems like it being behind the task bar even on fs.

        I can’t remember the exact details, I was going to submit a patch but gave up because to fix what I wanted like consistent text cutout, multiline text size and icons would require changing half the code. And mimicking W10’s behavior like esc clearing search text instead of closing the widget. Some other minor stuff i forgot.

        Don’t get me wrong I really like this widget but to upstream it it would probably be better to scrutinize it first.

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  7. I hope I can still grab fullscreen windows to move them to a different monitor. That feature alone is the most important feature for me.
    I have the windows key as a meta and it is awesome, saved me from so many headache situations, and it works great.

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    1. That’s the “I’m disabled!” appearance. If we did that, it would discourage people from hovering or clicking on it, because it would look like it can’t be interacted with.

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      1. I see, then how about making just the “star” lighter? That’s what throws me off a bit, it looks like its activated too since it’s the same as the other one.

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          1. Hmm, in that video the “e” and “v” in “Device” have moved, like a BUG got in there right between them =)

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          2. In this video around 0:02, when switching the Default Device from ”Speaker (Den speaker)” to ”Speakers (Built-in Audio Ana..)” the light blue background isn’t added, but later in the video it’s added. Is this the intended behavior or a bug?

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  8. Regarding the systemtray icon fix, I think you meant Keepass2 rather than KeepassX? The bug report also mentions Keepass2 but not KeepassX.

    Keepass2 is a mono application and uses legacy tray icon, while KeeppassX is a Qt application with proper tray icon.

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  9. With Plasm 5.17 in mind we think: it will be better. And almost always it’s. But not with 5.17. There’s one long awaiting future: night colors in kwin_x11, but in many machines Wayland session is not awailable anymore. Unfortunetly.

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      1. Yes, of course: there’s Night Color on X11 in Plasma 5.17. And freakly speaking, Plasma 5.17 is better then 5.16. One of the biggest problem is with wayland session. There’s regression. Just not working anymore. X11 session is ok.

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        1. This usually happens when Qt has a new release and kwin was not complied with it. Happened to me again after upgrading to Qt 5.17 beta on Arch Linux, but half a day later the new build was available in kde-unstable and now Wayland works again.

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          1. Sorry, but I know about this. Plasma 5.17 on Wayland not works. On Qt5.13, Qt5.14, with KWin rebuilded etc. Only black screen.

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  10. Is it at all possible to make Spectacle scaling-aware, for the lack of a better word..? On my HD laptop I have to use a scaling of 1.2 for everything to look “not-tiny” on the screen, but when I take screenshots of my amazing and gorgeous KDE system to impress the chicks, the screenshots are of course blurry and unusable.

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          1. Now that would be uncharted territory for me. I didn’t even know it’s a bug since spectacle is just taking a screenshot of a desktop with a 1.2 scale like it should. I was kinda hoping there could be some future implementation that could trick/fool spectacle to take an unscaled screenshot so it would look correct on other HD monitors too, if that makes any sense =) Now, to take the screenshot I want to show I would first have to scale back to 1.0, restart and then take my shot. Too much of a hassle. Not even sure if that’s possible to implement.. The real problem actually being the 14″ HD screen tbh..

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          2. Well it’s blurry and ugly when I watch it on the laptop screen which already upscales stuff so then the picture viewer upscales it even more. On other monitors it’s larger and somewhat crispy yeah, 1.2 like expected. I just want it to be exactly what I see on the small HD screen. Dorky yeah I know, hey spectacle take a shot of this 1.2 but automagically make it it 1.0, thank you =)

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          3. Can you upload a screenshot that Spectacle is taking so I can look at it? It’s starting to sound like the issue is with the viewer app instead.

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          1. These images look amazing to me when viewed in Gwenview. I would suggest that Spectacle is doing the right thing and you should report a but to the qView developer.

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  11. I think it would be better if discover didn’t try to merge different installations in one place, for example using Kubuntu, looking for Gimp, there will be an option that is both the .deb and Flatpak versions, but another option will also appear. which is for Snap only.

    It would be more interesting to present in the search result the 3 separate and a symbol that indicates whether it is native to the distribution, flatpak or snap and preferably the version of the program in each version.

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  12. Still the desktop it’s heavy on resources.. CPU and ram as hell.. you’re making a desktop for i9 desktops.. try to develop your environment on India or any country with low resources

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    1. This is the second time you’ve left an inflammatory comment like this. Please offer evidence or rephrase your criticism in a constructive way, or else I will be forced to delete future such comments.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. So.. you will use censorship to stop bad reviews? Good step as open source project.. Maybe you could work as employee for China government

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        1. 1. Your comment isn’t a bad review, it’s an unsubstantiated rant. I’m asking you to back it up with facts.

          2. This blog is private property; censorship is something that only governments can do.

          3. In general I don’t tolerate jerks. Don’t act like one, and you’re welcome here. Otherwise you’re not. This is a good rule to follow in your own life too, not just online.

          Liked by 2 people

    2. Here in Ethiopia I will wager that our internet, power availability, and availability of quality hardware are *MUCH LOWER* than in India, and Plasma is rocking! Core 2 Duo machines from approx 2009-2010 still are quite snappy.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Nate,

    I was wondering if anyone has looked at the first login experience of a fresh Plasma desktop. I see regularly that window sizes get fixed, for example (I recall how many windows are tiny tiny!) and things like that. A thing I haven’t seen is the KWallet popup asking about blowfish and GPG – that’s really something that should never ever be asked from an user, certainly not forced upon them, as 99% will only know blowfish as the actual fish… The 1% that knows about this and cares about it can set it up themselves 😉

    This is doubly annoying for non-Plasma users as for example users of our Nextcloud client on GNOME will get asked this question the first time they fire up our client – not exactly a great first-time-KDE/Qt experience, we even get bug reports about it as nobody knows what to do with it. Clicking the dialog away is of course also not good… 😦

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    1. Yeah, this is something that’s slowly improving. I’ve been working on the window sizes, for example. But the KWallet situation is just horrible, I agree. Thankfully many distros fix this for users by setting up a wallet by default (and if yours doesn’t, go bug them to), but we definitely need to fix the awful, user-hostile wizard for users of distros that do not.

      See https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=333137 and https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=353960.

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      1. Thanks for the reply. Yeah, many distro’s don’t do this and let’s be honest, if we all agree that a distro has to make a change to give users a decent user experience, KDE does something wrong… I’d say just use blowfish by default, don’t ever show this dialog. Advanced users can go to kwallet and change it.

        Esp given that it bothers non-KDE users who use a single KDE app, making it even less appetizing to do so. It is things like this that give KDE such a bad reputation – forcing users to answer technical questions that 1. none understand and 2. are not needed.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. We’ve had this for literally over a decade, asking a question almost no user can answer and that doesn’t need to be asked… It is rather sad that such a thing is left to the distributions. It’s a huge, unneeded barrier – honestly, any app that starts with a technical question to the user has already failed from a usability pov. But I don’t think you or anyone disagree on that 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  14. The problem is sort of solved with the update of the main Plasma to 5.17. I guess the issue was related to rewritten display settings kcm, 5.16.5 and 5.17.80 differ too much, 5.17 and 5.17.80 not.

    Kwin still crashes though.

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  15. Great week, like always.

    With now, i can finally get rid of Redshift on my parent’s laptop, which can’t run Wayland at all and just configure it on Night Color. But i still miss some of the configuration that Redshift with the Plasma widget offers (configuration options to change the brightness, the color temperature, configure when it’s working the software turning the screen color to red, etc). It’s something, at least, so i can now uninstall from that kind of non Wayland compatible systems, the disturbing Redshift, with all the depedencies, at least, geoclue, also the Plasma Redshift widget, so thanks :).

    I think that the Window Rules work a little bit better under Wayland now, with Plasma 5.17, i will check it out and update, but at least the rule to open all the windows maximized, it looks to work fine now, so that’s another great fact ;).

    Only the fact that with the arrival of Plasma 5.17, it’s now broken the virtual remote input (now both of them, at Plasma 5.16.5, it was just the remote keyboard input), under Wayland session, i don’t know why, but now the virtual remote mouse doesn’t work.

    As always, i would like to deeply thank to everyone who makes all these amazing software possible. And special thanks to Nate, cause you sum this up, deliver it to us and keep us up to date, so, as always, you rock.

    A huge hug to everyone mentioned above ^^.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. 5.16 worked really great. Now after updating to 5.17 I was greeted with crash after second reboot, and third reboot was noticeable slower than 5.16. Yeah 5.17 brings many improvements, so enthusiastically greeted there and here, but no one had noticed that it got some hidden crap-injection. Today I understood why my plasma-neon slowed down and crashes at the start, and CPU fan non stop spins… also this unbearable high temperature (anyone, remember those in some previous iterations of KDE?). I launched `top` to see what is eating my CPU cycles and guess what – that terrible crapware – baloo had returned. Yes that little shit, which I had to disable half year ago to be able to use the computer. I disabled it and had forgot how to do it. And now I need again to waste my time to search how to disable that terrible piece of crap.
    Dear KDE developers, you do a lot of great stuff, but single incidents like these leaves very bad taste. KDE with baloo, included by default, sucks. Well, I should be sincere and need to admit that the little crap is a notch better than previously, it uses only 50% of CPU cycle (previously 100%), but for me it is too much. Laptop is hot, and with baloo it can be used only as table top. Oh well, I think finally my ass is kicked to search for more user friendly DE (customizable, and keeping in check with user). I have this itch to try tiling DE, Finally I got pretext to go and try something else.

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    1. Today I had changed my mind. The baloo is not a notch better, it is much worse than was ever before. It should be just simply soaked with gasoline and burn in fire!
      So my experience today: I still had no time to find out how to disable that crap at startup, and for now I was disabling it at file indexer config (which is only temporary, after reboot baloo starts it continues it shitwork again). And so I started computer, was doing some work, and forgot to disable baloo… and had to go away from keyboard for half an hour. After I came back I found that I can’t save my files because there is no more space on the disk (what? 25Gb of disk free space vanished) Most of things in kde stopped working (krunner would crash). Luckily Filelight is written properly and needs no disk space to startup in such urgent situation. I had found that those gigabytes are filled with single file – .xsession-errors.
      Of course forget the kate in opening such hue file. Luckily view at cli worked, I seek’ed the end of the file and I saw that file is filled ad infinitum with this:

      org.kde.baloo.engine: PostingDB::put MDB_BAD_TXN: Transaction must abort, has a child, or is invalid
      org.kde.baloo.engine: PositionDB::put MDB_BAD_TXN: Transaction must abort, has a child, or is invalid

      Dear KDE developers You should decide: either You want to have users or You want to have baloo. I have 15 year experience in linux, and was using mostly KDE (until it didn’t brake), then after some pause I was trying again and returning to KDE, wishful thinking that outstanding bugs are fixed away. And I was really happy with plasma 5 up till now (in clean Plasma neon distro, which was coming without baloo pre-installed), but this update to 5.17 tells me that you are not eager to learn from the past mistakes, and want to repeat the cycle. No I am not going to open bug report as You are not going to fix this, you will do the same as previously hiding behind political (-y correct) reasons, “because someone put its private time in creating that shit, and so it is sacred”. You know burglars and all kind of criminals put even more time in their work, but should we respect someone due to spent time in job and not according to the final result and benefits to the society? I am sure that Baloo will be tried to be fixed instead of being burned completely as dead-end. And so that’s it – goodbye KDE, it was pleasure all those years, but You had become something dangerous to my computing and I need to move to something sane and stable. Maybe it wont be so shiny, but I like to have peace in mind that after updates and restart of computer I will not get complete Armageddon.

      Like

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