This week in KDE: Converging towards something special

Plasma has gained its first user of the new notification inline reply feature in 5.18: Telegram Desktop!

Big thanks to Kai Uwe Broulik for venturing forth to contribute a patch to Telegram that made this possible.

Next up, we have a winner for the Plasma 5.18 wallpaper competition: the elegant and soothing Volna, by Nikita Babin!

Let’s all give a round of applause to Nikita for his incredible contribution which will be seen for years to come!

And one more thing: thanks to Niccolò Venerandi, the kde.org website now has a page showing where you can buy devices with Plasma and KDE apps pre-installed!

This is a great way for people and institutions to buy a complete product featuring the end-to-end KDE software experience without having to manually install an OS or worry about hardware compatibility.

As if that weren’t enough, here’s the usual assortment of new features, bugfixes, and UI improvements:

New Features

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

User Interface Improvements

How You Can Help

Please test the Plasma 5.18 beta release! You can find out how here. If you find bugs, file them–especially if they are regressions from Plasma 5.17. We want to get as much testing, bug filing, and bugfixing as possible during the one-month beta period so that the official release is as smooth as possible.

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.

51 thoughts on “This week in KDE: Converging towards something special

  1. I like the new polygon wallpaper. Nate, do you know how Nikita made it? Which tools she used besides her creativity and her talent? 🙂

    Like

    1. Hi there! Author of Volna here. Glad you like the wallpaper 🙂 I used blender to make the scene, rendered the image and edited the final image a bit afterwards to add color accents.

      Like

  2. > no longer has a pointless and unused “Defaults” button (Méven Car, Plasma 5.18 and 5.19)

    Are there any news regarding that pointless and unused “?” button on window title bars?

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    1. If you see it, that means it is in fact used for at least one user interface element in the window. Unfortunately, it isn’t very useful unless the feature is implemented for close to 100% of UI elements. The last time I started a conversation about this, most people were generally supportive of removing the button even for these windows, but a few people dissented and we were unable to achieve consensus. I’ll try again: https://phabricator.kde.org/T12599

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Nate!
    I noticed a small bug.
    When using “taskbar (icons only)” and the option “show tooltips” is enabled, file transfer between applications sometimes does not work correctly. This happens when a tooltip appears.
    If you disable the option – everything works perfectly.

    Do you think it’s worth describing it on bugs.kde.org?

    Thanks for your work!

    Like

    1. Hi,

      I think the “taskbar” and “show tooltips” option should be completely overhauled. She behaves randomly inconsistently. An example of this discrepancy is “ergonomic.code”. Sometimes the “show tooltips” disappear by itself when you hover over the window icon, and sometimes it doesn’t accept clicks. As I said, I do not do them all the time, I have difficulty proving them because they are things happening randomly.

      Like

  4. Hi Nate!

    Regarding Nikita Babin. It’s him, not her. Nikita is a male name in Russia.

    Regarding everything else: awesome as always, especially Kai’s work. Can’t wait to receive these goodies down the pipe.

    Like

  5. Dear Nate and dear developers thank you very much for all your hard work. You make kde amazing. Some thoughts and suggestions.
    1) I think it is time time to shift more focus in KF6 transition process. KF6 and QT6 will be the basis for the KDE project for the next decade(or for many years to come). I think it s vital that the experienced developers pay more attention to a smooth and complete transition. New features and polishing the desktop is great but KDE Frameworks 6 incomplete or with many flaws would be a disaster for many years.
    2) Please consider hiring an experienced developer for the KF6 transition. Krita does it with great success for so long
    3)Maybe a weekly interview with developers motivates them more. Everyone included people who wrote a few LOC to the KDE heroes
    4) Why don t you try incubating Clementine a lot of people use it and maybe the developers will become more active. The list of QT apps is big incubating more projects would be great
    5) Many projects using QT5 or pure kde projects have a few active developers. It would be cool if KDE suggested to some similar projects to merge. Why not some have done this in the past and where successful
    Thank you for your time keep rocking

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes almost every day i check it even though i am not a developer and i noticed the progress is in my opinion very slow. I think right now it is one of the most crucial and decisive points in KDE history. Frameworks will be with us for many years. They should be as perfect as possible. Major problems might stall back further progress or make big regressions

        Like

    1. A lot of working already going on with the KF6 transition. I see patches porting software away from deprecated functions every day. Not all of these patches are marked under the tasks tracking the work, but it’s all happening, not to worry.

      There’s an active effort to bring in Qt-using software under the KDE umbrella: https://phabricator.kde.org/T10034

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello!
    I have a question for somebody that knows Plasma better than me.
    I’m trying to set up the audio output on my computer to 7.1 channels.
    I managed to do this successfully on Windows 7 and now I want to do the same on Kubuntu 19.10 + KDE Plasma 5.18 beta (5.17.90).
    My hardware is
    https://asrock.com/MB/AMD/X470%20Taichi%20Ultimate/index.asp
    Which has a Realtek ALC1220 capable of outputting 7.1
    https://www.redragonzone.com/collections/headset/products/redragon-siren-h301-gaming-headset
    Which weirdly don’t show 7.1 in the specifications, but the site where I bought them from and Amazon and my test on Windows 7 shows that they are 7.1 capable

    So my question is: How can I set the 7.1 output in KDE Plasma ?
    I’ve set now the Starship/Matisse HD Audio Controler profile to:
    Analog Surround 5.1 Output, seems that this is the maximum for some reason and when I click on the test buttons for each speaker I can hear sound only on Front left and Front right.
    Front Center, Rear left, Rear right and subwoofer gives no sound.
    Subwoofer gives no sound on Windows too, but I think that’s expected, but the other are working on windows (the rear and sides).
    I’m thinking that one of the problems is that I cannot configure the audio connect like on Windows to explain to the computer which connector are plugged-in and for what is that (front or rear speakers) like in Realtek’s control panel.
    Has anyone succeeded to set a working 7.1 or 5.1 audio on Plasma ?
    Thank you very much!

    Like

  7. Kick-off panel left… Kick-off panel right… Just try to work with Kick-off panel at the top under Wayland! May then somebody will understand how it is and which bugs is much more important to fix than a lot of cosmetic ones in each next version are fixed.

    Like

  8. I think that it would be much better if the wallpaper would change (just as a preview) immediately as I click on one picture, so I don have to click on one to select it and then to click “Apply” to see how it looks and fits with the icons.
    It would be much easier and faster to choose the desired wallpaper that way and then press “OK” to settle on that one.
    I really like this feature on Windows.

    Like

    1. I agree. This is known as “Instant Apply” BTW.

      A major objection to using Instant Apply for the wallpaper chooser is that this would be slightly awkward since it’s not done for most other settings windows. However we’re actually investigating moving to Instant Apply for almost everything in System settings and Plasma.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Instant Apply is a huge change. And in some cases, it could be harmful or cause unnecessary CPU / GPU overhead. But generally it can be done properly. I hope it will be smooth.
        And some sort of Defaults and Reset button is required. Reset would set everything back to how it was when the settings window was opened.

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        1. Yes we already have Defaults and Reset buttons, however it was discovered a few months ago that many of them did not work properly. We have been working since then to fix them all, and have developed a new backend tool to make it all more consistent and less error-prone and have been porting the System Settings pages to use it. About half are done. This is part of the infrastructure work needed before we could move to Instant Apply.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. I think there might be a slight misunderstanding.
        I tried it again on Windows 7 to check that I remember right the behavior.
        Clicking on each wallpaper image just applies that wallpaper, but only temporary as a preview.

        If you close the window from the close window button (the x) or click on Cancel button at the bottom, everything goes back as it was to the original wallpaper.
        So clicking on wallpapers, just makes a preview, but doesn’t apply that one unless you click on the Apply or OK button and this is the behavior that I like.

        I don’t think I like that much the “Instant Apply” which will make me press also the Reset when I change my mind about something that I just changed.
        If you want to move everything to an Instant Apply please check the usability or add an option somewhere to turn off this behavior.
        Also put some visible note somewhere to understand that changes are auto-applied and to undo you must click on the reset button.

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        1. Instant Apply is used by everyone but KDE at this point: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, GNOME, ElementaryOS, and ChromeOS. We’re the only ones who haven’t done so yet. Coming from the Mac world, I pesonally find it much nicer to not have to click “Apply” a million times when trying out new things. macOS doesn’t even have “Reset” and “Defaults” buttons, so if we moved to Instant Apply, we would even be ahead of them in the usability department.

          Like

  9. Plasma 5.18 keeps improving every week, which really makes me happy.

    I just can’t wait to have it when it’ll get released as stable in my PCs.

    Thank you as always for your great efforts KDE Community & KDE Devs :). You just rock giving us such an amazing software.

    The feedback tool you’ll be introducing with Plasma 5.18 feels great to me too, an easy way to help you with feedback to know more about us. I anticipate that i’ll be activating and using it at full reports for you.

    Receive a huge hug everyone ˆˆ.

    Like

      1. Does the feedback tool also cover data about

        * X11 or Wayland
        * Used hardware (CPU,RAM,GPU)
        * drivers
        * resolution, form factor, HiDPI or not HiDPI
        * input method: touch vs no touch
        * multi monitor setup vs single monitor

        I guess those are useful parameters, too. 🙂

        Like

        1. For plasma, here’s what it includes: https://i.imgur.com/18yy3Tr.jpg

          Some of the text there is a bit vague with respect to what you’re asking (and I will improve that) but it does collect X11 vs Wayland and number of screens. I don’t think we look for hardware info or touch enablement (though IMO we should) and I’m not sure about HiDPI vs LoDPI.

          It would be very helpful if you could file two bugs at https://bugs.kde.org/enter_bug.cgi?product=systemsettings; one asking for the text to be a bit clearer, and another asking for those missing pieces of information to be added.

          Like

          1. Thank you for your answer.

            I got another couple of questions:

            * How often or regularly will the feedback tool gather information?
            * How do you avoid duplicates? Do you use any kind of identification to improve the quality of the data?
            * Do you intend to generate graphs with quantity vs time and histograms? Do you intend to publish those?
            * Would you mind to display sent data for the user themself, so the user knows exactly what is transmitted?

            Kind Regards

            Like

  10. > Would you mind to display sent data for the user themself, so the user knows exactly what is transmitted?

    For the latter one, it would maybe be interesting to have a list of transmitted data over time, which the user can view. Those text files shouldn’t be big and could easily put in a folder like ~/.local/feedback/sentdata/

    Like

    1. Yes that was the idea, and we do now display a textual list of what’s transmitted. However I see now that the text describes things in terms that are probably a bit too vague and not specific enough. We’ll hopefully get that fixed for Plasma 5.19 (strings are frozen for 5.18 at this point so we don’t give translators a moving target).

      Like

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