Plasma has a brand-new way to edit and customize widgets and panels: a global “edit mode” that can be entered using the context menu for the desktop and panel, or pressing-and-holding on the desktop with a touchscreen. While in this mode, widgets and panels are editable and movable. This solves a number of problems and yields the following improvements:
- The Desktop toolbox (that little hamburger menu in the corner of the screen that nobody liked) is now gone forever!
- The modes are now much clearer, with “Locked” mode being a mostly hidden thing for system administrators.
- The panel toolbox button (the “two sliders” icon at the end of your panel) is now hidden unless you’re in the global edit mode, which means that the bottom-right-most pixel of the screen can be used to trigger the Present Windows widget, or any other widget you put at the very end of a panel.
- Editing widget size and position is much faster while in this new edit mode.
- The panel context menu has been made more useful, and now displays more panel-related actions.
Here’s a video of it in action:
This work was mostly done by Marco Martin, with assistance from Björn Feber, and ideas from many others in the KDE VDG. The remaining rough edges will be polished before the release of Plasma 5.18 (which is an LTS release, let us not forget). Overall I find it to be a huge improvement!
But wait, there’s more! Much, much more…
(Other) New Features
- Toolbar items in Kirigami-based apps now respond dynamically to the amount of space available: when there’s lots of horizontal space, they all appear with icons and full text. As the amount of space decreases, they lose their text and then move into an overflow menu on the right-hand size of the window (Arjen Hiemstra, Frameworks 5.64):
Bugfixes & Performance Improvements
- Fixed a common crash with wallpaper slideshows which could even crash your lock screen (David Redondo, Plasma 5.17.1)
- KRunner no longer crashes when used to switch to an open window (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.17.1)
- The System Settings Mouse page’s “Flat” acceleration settings really actually finally works now! (Mirai Komachi, Plasma 5.17.1)
- System Settings no longer displays empty items on the home page for pages that aren’t installed (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.17.1)
- In the System Settings Display Configuration page, the visualizations of each connected screen is now larger and more usable when more than one screen is connected, and text within them is no longer elided (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.17.1)
- Widgets on the desktop no longer lose their positions when an additional display is connected (Marco Martin, Plasma 5.17.2)
- KRunner’s default shortcut now works again for new installs (Fabian Vogt, Plasma 5.17.2)
- The Minimize All widget now correctly un-minimizes windows that it’s minimized (Vlad Zagorodniy, Plasma 5.17.2)
- The System Settings Window Decorations page no longer has a broken layout when using wordy languages like German or Brazilian Portuguese (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.17.2)
- Fixed keyboard input when screen sharing on Wayland (Jan Grulich, Plasma 5.18.0)
- The System Tray now correctly displays special “I need attention” icons for apps (such as Konversation) that have defined them (Konrad Materka, Plasma 5.18.0)
- The System Settings Night Color page now shows units for the “Transition Duration” setting (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.18.0):
- When you use the “Get New [thing]” functionality on the various System Settings pages, subsequent searches for a different thing from a different page no longer display items from the first search (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Frameworks 5.64)
- The icon used on the “Get new [thing]” buttons now imply downloading rather than marking something as a favorite (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.64):
- Konsole no longer leaves behind potentially large files in the system’s temp folder when it crashes or is quit by the system when shutting down or restarting (Mariusz Glebocki, Konsole 19.12.0)
- Dolphin now selects the correct file when using keyboard type-ahead and selecting a previously-selected file (Méven Car, Dolphin 19.12.0)
User Interface Improvements
- Spinboxes in the Audio Volume applet’s settings window, Weather widget’s settings window, and various System Settings pages now let you enter numbers using the keyboard so you don’t need to go insane manually clicking on the tiny arrows to change the values (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.17.1)
- Discover’s search field is now focused by default, so you can search as soon as the program opens (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.18.0)
- In the System Settings Display Configuration page, it’s now more obvious that screens can be dragged around to re-arrange them (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.18.0):
- The System Settings Night Color page now displays explanatory labels below the color temperature slider so you know what it will do (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.18.0):
- Discover now shows each item’s category in search and browse lists (me: Nate Graham, 5.18.0):
- The System Settings Night Color page now has an explanatory label to help you understand what it does (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.18.0):
- List headers in QWidgets-based apps and System Settings pages now look the same as they do in the newer QML-based software (David Redondo, Plasma 5.18):
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!