This week in KDE: building up to something big

We’ve got some really big things planned and in progress for Plasma 5.18 and Frameworks, and work proceeds smoothly. None of it is quite done yet, but we did land a number of nice bugfixes and user interface polish for issues that have been irritating people for years…and mere days! Have a look:

New Features

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

User Interface Improvements

How You Can Help

Do you like to categorize things? So do I! Then why not try your hand at triaging bugs? KDE’s faithful users file about 25 of them every day, and they all need to be looked at, categorized, moved to the correct products, marked appropriately, closed if the issue has already been fixed–in short, triaged. It’s fun and easy and can be done in 5-minute spurts during boring periods of the day. Triaging bugs is a super helpful way to relieve some of the developers’ burdens if you’re not a developer yourself–developers vastly prefer writing code and fixing bugs to triaging them! For more information, check out https://community.kde.org/Guidelines_and_HOWTOs/Bug_triaging!

More generally, have a look at https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved and find out more ways to help be part of a project that really matters. Each contributor makes a huge difference in KDE; you are not a number or a cog in a machine! You don’t have to already be a programmer, either. 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.

59 thoughts on “This week in KDE: building up to something big

    1. Don’t expect a lot from the Klunky Desktop Environment team, one day they will get it right but this day is not today. Not tomorrow either. Not the day after. Forget it, they will never fix their UI.

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      1. That attitude is uncalled for. It’s very rude of you to comment on a KDE blog and mock KDE developer efforts. If you don’t want to use KDE, that’s okay, but there’s no reason to try and hurt a volunteer community.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Hi, Nate.

    First of all thanks to all KDE developers and you, doing great things.

    I would like to make a suggestion for the KDE Plasma desktop. Let’s have a scenario like this; Now let’s put a picture on my desktop (try to do it in the same way as “Screen Locking” and “Login Screen (SDDM)”); I have to select “Configure Desktop” and “Wallpaper” and an image Then I have to re-select the same image from “System Settings” “Workspace Behavior” “Screen Locking” “Appearance”. And finally; “Login Screen (SDDM)” “Theme” “Background” “Load from file” should choose the same thing again.

    There must be an easier way to do this. My suggestion is that when we change the wallpaper, KDE Plasma recommends that the user select the image; “Screen Locking” is a question that asks if you want to use the “Login Screen (SDDM)”. Or the combination of the windows that do these three different things in one place. (“Wallpaper,” “Screen Locking”, “Login Screen (SDDM)”)

    I hope I can explain the problem well.

    Yours truly.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Everybody is very interested, it’s just technically challenging to do, because the login screen does not have access to read files in your home directory where the image you’re using as a wallpaper is located. In addition, the login screen currently does not support slideshow wallpapers and other types of non-image wallpapers, so support needs to be added there first, in addition to solving the problem of how to give it access to the files in question without opening a huge security hole.

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          1. That video appears to be unavailable. Regardless, I don’t know, I’d have to look at the code (thank goodness it’s all open-source).

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          2. I don’t understand why, and I felt like I was doing spam. I am very very sorry 😦

            The video I wanted to link to was found on YouTube, searching for “YouTube on Ubuntu 19.10 – GNOME 3.34: New Background Settings! [WIP]”.

            Again, I’m so sorry.

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          3. No worries. Anyway, yes, I do know that GNOME has this feature now. I suspect they just do the easy thing and copy the user’s wallpaper into a systemwide location that GDM can see (though I need to find the code and check). This is the easiest case, but it doesn’t support the full range of wallpaper types that Plasma allows: slideshows, picture of the day, fancy QML effects, arbitrary wallpaper plugins from store.kde.org, etc. We need a solution that supports all of those, which is trickier.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. Can it be made by using groups and then make the DM and the tools that show any wallpapers be in the same group so the DM would have access to them in all times?

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          5. I don’t think so. That would require giving all parent folders that group too, which amounts to giving SDDM access to your whole home directory, which is a significant security risk.

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          6. What about creating a user group that has a folder in /home (like a general user) where one can import pictures to, and new users get added to that group by default?

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          7. Hate to double-post, but there was no button and I wanted to add a thought:

            A sym-link reference directory in each user’s Pictures directory to their own private directory in the communal root located in home with exclusive permissions could solve any privacy issues on others seeing their images or w.e

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          8. It’s not a bad idea but it requires educating the user about the different locations, and it’s also a no-go until we finally finally FINALLY land the patches that let you write to root-owned locations in Dolphin while running as a non-root user.

            Like I said, it’s a challenging problem to solve. 🙂 If it were easy, it would have been done ages ago.

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    1. Wouldn’t the easiest way be to just add all those options in the right-click context menu of an image file? Kinda like they do it in Windows yes.. But it’s very natural/logical to assume that right-clicking an image would present such items. To me, at least. I don’t need things to be different from how windows works just for the sake of doing things differently, I need them to be easy and functional. I am weird that way. I am also old.

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    1. Nate, is there a good reason why language files are managed via subversion but not git?

      Also the whole docs (https://l10n.kde.org/docs) seem to be pretty outdated: It talks about the KDE4 framework, about lokalize 2.0 (!sic), etc.

      And personally I miss a good overview about the concept about how to become involved, like:

      0) Create a KDE account
      1) Download the PO translations file from …
      2) Install Lokalize
      3) Open the translation files, change and upload them
      4) Who reviews translation suggestions and how to review them?

      Maybe it’s just me, but it doesn’t seem clear to me at all and for now I give up to find the relevant information in the pile up of (partly outdated) descriptions. 😦

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      1. It’s historical, and the translation teams can be a bit change-averse because what they already have works for them. To be honest, I try not to involve myself.

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        1. At least the documentation could be simplified, written more clearly, a step-by-step explanation could be added and with all that it should be updated to the current status quo.

          That would make it way easier for new comers in the future. 🙂

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        2. I added myself to the PL lang mailing list and there is a drama around it. Users hate it and want it to change but the devs are stubbornly claiming it’s better anyway. Someone from different dev team chimed in and ORDERED to change it and this pissed the devs off, and they refused to change it. This was unpleasant discussion and now it’s quiet. In the effect, nothing is happening.

          I also tried to discuss it for the reverse change but since I’m an outsider, my voice seem not to carry any weight.

          The problem is, only few persons are involved, and they hold all the power and no one knows how to even help with language support. Since all the heavy work is on the shoulders of the very few people (1-2 persons) then they hold the right to make all decision.

          I tried to educate myself how it all works but the whole system is so antiquated that I just can’t get it. I have no time to figure it out, it just takes too much effort and it’s all user unfriednly.

          So unless the whole language packs development won’t switch to modern platforms, such issues will remain.

          So this is a mess and if the involved persons will be unable to do their work (no matter how we judge it, they still made a lot of good, heavy work in the past), the package lang support will simply die off and Plasma will start loosing its translation accuracy with every release. The situation is very bad and requires a heavy intervention (moving to the new git based platform) but that also carries a big risk of antagonizing heavy submitters and loosing them, but on other hand, it creates opportunity for the new blood.

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    2. I went over this comment section and i saw a comment about ‘Zaniechaj’ translation that bothered me as well for a while but decided not to spam here – so i went on bugs.kde.org and voted for that bug. But after i saw what they did (don’t know when but it’s a recent change i think) with translation of locking and unlocking on the desktop to ‘uwiąż’ and unlocking to ‘odwiąż’ (witch roughly translates to tie or to bind) my blood just boiled over and changed my mind.. You can ‘uwiązać krowe na łancuchu’ witch translates you can tie a tie a cow on a chain, FFS something has to be done with this. People doing those changes should be banned or at least reprimanded.

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      1. Nate, DO NOT IGNORE COMMUNITY!

        I’m highly educated person with MSc and believe me, this “translator” guy is sabotaging KDE. Big Fat Warning from me before he does more damage. Then is like “I told you” but its too late. If 100s of people tell you he is sabotaging, then please listen to them. His post are just simply trolling. Instead of translating properly he wasted half a day on trolling people. Similar issue was with the “sound” pop with the “tick” in the Volume Control (English version). Looked like the line beside it was a sabotage.

        Summery:

        Save=Zapisz
        Discard=Odrzuc
        Cancel=Anuluj

        Lock- the guy “translated it” to “tie it up”
        Unlock – the guy “translated it” to “untie it”

        IF THIS NOT CONSTITUTES AS A BAN, I DON”T KNOW WHAT IS. INTERVENTION YOU HAVE A SABOTAGE!!!!

        And if Plasma goes “mobile” this long nonsense of a joke on button will brake GUI. Its all to some extent laughable, but your ignorance makes the troll sabotager a winner. Very sad you ignore the community

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  2. Hey there Nate and all the other KDE wizards, nice work AS USUAL =) Sitting here having my morning coffee and reading about this new great stuff is my Sunday morning routine now heheee.. I got this crazee and revolutionary, very nitpicky and unnecessary, idea when I saw the monochrome icon for the “Show Desktop” widget: What if there were 3 more of those icons? One with the “taskbar” line on the left, one with it on the right and finally (yes you know it..) on the top. So for example, when someone puts his/her taskbar (is that what it’s called in KDE..hmm..?) on the left side of the screen the icon would match the desktop setup. Now how cool would THAT be? I KNOW!!!!!!!! Oh and I haven’t tested this, so if that revolutionary idea of mine is already done, forget everything I just wrote. …I need more coffee. Thanks again for everything you amazing people do! I’m way more excited for Plasma 5.18 than christmas, geeez I’m getting old..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Grouping can now be turned off for the Icons-Only Task Manager if you want (Björn Feber, Plasma 5.18.0):
    This was already possible: right-click an icon of which the program is active, in the pop-up menu choose More Actions, then switch On (or off) Allow this program to be grouped.

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  4. Nice improvements to the Night Color page, but I’m thinking of two more things that can be improved here:
    1. In the case where I have my computer connected to both my monitor and my TV, I am ok with this feature to change the colors of my monitor because is the screen that I stay closer to, but if I decide to watch a movie, which I will naturally put it on the TV since it’s bigger I don’t want the colors of the TV to be changed so the movie looks a bit weird. I could turn of the night color feature for the moment, but I don’t want to do this extra step all the time and there were cases in the past where I had to do something on the computer while I put a movie on the TV for someone else to watch, so both displays were used at the same time.
    So it would be very nice if there would be a way on Night Color or Display Configuration page to specify for which display should this feature work when it’s active.
    2. In the case where I use Virtualbox with a machine displayed as fullscreen and I don’t want to colors from that machine to be changed or the guest OS already has something like this feature, imagine that I install Kubuntu again in the virtual machine and enable Night color there also, I havent tried it yet, but I thing the effect will be double.
    Or play a movie on my monitor, but I don’t want the movie colors changed.
    So this is a bit similar with number 1, but in this case it would be nice to have a way to automatically turn off Night Color on a per program level like for VLC or other video players.

    I find annoying the open in tabs feature of Dolphin since I prefer to work with side-by-side windows or one maximized with split windows active and use some drag-and-drop action to copy or move files. Also it’s easier to drag the title of the window to one edge of the screen for quick resize the way I want it. I can’t do that with tabs.
    For me tabs are ok for web browser, but bad for file managers.
    But thanks for replying to the other guy who asked how to change this. Now I know too.
    Anyway, congrats to all KDE developers and thank you very much for your hard work!

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    1. It sounds like you could benefit from a quick way to turn off Night Color. You’re in luck: a system Tray applet is under construction and should land in Plasma 5.18. Then you’ll be able to turn it off with one click whenever it’s on and you want it off.

      You can turn off Dolphin’s “open new folders in tabs” feature in Dolphin Settings window > Startup > Uncheck “Open new folders in tabs”. We made it disable-able exactly for people like you who prefer separate windows rather than tabs. Apparently the setting is not very discoverable. Any suggestions regarding why you couldn’t find it and what we could do to make it easier to discover?

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  5. Nice updates. Is there a way to get unread mail count in Thunderbird in KDE Task Manager? Similar tot he way Telegram has in your screenshot.

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      1. Is there a way to get quick task when right clicking on Thunderbird. I can currently do that in GNOME and was also able to do that in Unity. For example right clicking would give me options to compose a new message.

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        1. All that’s required here is support for it in thunderbird’s .desktop file. Probably the distro you were using was patching this in. What’s nice is that Plasma has full support for it, just like GNOME. You might ask that distro’s packagers to submit their change upstream so everyone can benefit from it.

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  6. Many new, awesome improvements as always :).

    However, when it comes to Night Color, I tried it, and I was very disappointed, because the very rapid color change. It was like a slap in my face. Redshift is making the color change gradual, smooth and there is proper setting for that.

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    1. Huh, that’s not expected; it’s supposed to fade in and out over an extended period of time according to the sunrise and unset times when in automatic or location mode; when in timing mode, you enter the transition duration yourself.

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  7. Hey Nate, what an impressive bunch of fixes this week! Thanks, looking forward to seeing all these in Manjaro.

    I’m here to report/suggest a couple of things to fix/implement:
    1. Since 19.12 apps update Dolphin search is kinda broken. Earlier I used to to the following to navigate to /etc/mkinitcpio.conf: open /etc in Dolphin, start typing “mk” and the selection moved to mkinitcpio.d folder, I hit down arrow, started typing “mk” again, and here I was, having mkinitcpio.conf selected. Now whatever I do Dolphin highlights only the first file or folder beginning with the typed letters. This is a proposal for a fix.
    2. Another thing I’ve stumbled upon recently is the difference between how Gnome and KDE acts when the brightness is decreased to the minimum. I always thought it is a different on a distro level, but having installed Plasma on Ubuntu I’ve found out the brightness level in Plasma behaves the same way as in Manjaro’s Plasma I have also installed. Long story short: decreasing brightness in Gnome ends up in a minimum level, which still allows reading text in the dark, while in Plasma screen turns black completely. I find it not handy especially for laptops that don’t have keyboard backlight. This is a suggestion for an improvement.

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    1. As a conter argument, i love that you can turn off the screen. For exemple when watching a movie on a hdmi tv i don’t like to close the laptop screen because I like to have acces to the keyboard (play/pause, sound, …)

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      1. How that could be comfortable? I’m just trying to imagine your scenario: so you have a long, looong HDMI cable (because otherwise you gonna be forced to watch a movie too close to your TV), which long enough to be loose and don’t be an obstacle for your family members moving around (they always move I’m telling you).Is it your use-case, really? I just hardly believe that.

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        1. Yes it is better to have a dlna server, but i don’t yet =).
          I also use this fonctionnality (full black) when i download stuff or do night calculation (pc in the bedroom).

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  8. Another great week for the KDE Community and KDE Software, as always!!

    Seriously guys, Plasma 5.18 LTS looks really nice, week after week, with the improvements made, (the improvements yet to come), the new features, of course, the same goes for the KDE Applications & KDE Frameworks too, as always, pretty impressive.

    Thank you very much for making this amazing software a reality.

    A huge hug to everyone ^^.

    Liked by 1 person

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