This week in KDE: polishing the System Tray and more

Lots of work has being done this week to polish up the Plasma System Tray, both visually and functionally. See the overarching visual task at Lots more interesting work is in progress but not yet done, such as an effort to use the same UI component in System Tray items rather than having each one re-invent the wheel. That’s not done yet but should hopefully make it for Plasma 5.19.

Of course that’s not all! Yakuake and various apps also got some love, and many bugs were fixed too:

New Features

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

User Interface Improvements

How You Can Help

In Plasma 5.19, we are making a push on our Breeze Theme Evolution work. It’s proceeding, but would go faster with your help! There are tons and tons of mockups in the linked task and its child tasks, and what we really need at this point is people willing to help implement them. QML skills are helpful, and C++ is also useful for the needed work on the Breeze theme itself. If this sounds interesting to you, don’t be shy, step right up! Head over to the VDG channel to find out how you can get involved and coordinate work.

More generally, have a look at 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.

32 thoughts on “This week in KDE: polishing the System Tray and more

  1. Excellent as always, thanks for all your efforts!

    One edit suggestion:
    The bit about the system tray includes the text: ” you can see examples of it in other pictures of System Tray pop-ups in this blog post” but there is no link. Guessing the blog post wasn’t published by the weekend, so this can be removed.

    Thanks again!


    1. I think he refers to THIS very blogpost. E. g. the picture of the network popup in the next bulletpoint 🙂


  2. Whoaa! Very nice improvements. I already can use these improvements by using Gentoo live-ebuilds, which is running stable for me since years 🙂

    Just a little (old) idea about the clock applets popup: With KDE 4 it was possible to change the current shown month by using the scroll wheel over the month calendar. I know that it is currently possible to use the scroll wheel over the top line (ie. “March”) but I think it would be more comfortable if I could use the scroll wheel over the month calendar so that I don’t have to move the cursor to the top line every time.


  3. Plasma 5.19 seems to be the one I want, all kinds of goodies underway! Hey, how about this ,so the dropdown arrow is placed right next to the item, because if it’s after the pause button it almost looks like it’s “checked”. As in “yeah, printing is now paused, check” Also I think the pause button would look good placed all the way to the right.. but that’s just me =) Thanks again for all the massive amount of stellar work all you KDE guys do.


  4. The main thing I wish to see is a proper fallback for the shutdown/reboot/logout overlay that comes up when you hit the button. After nvidia driver updates, you’re forced to use terminal to shutdown because it entirely relies on gpu rendering.


    1. I have this problem. When I try to restart the system after installing a new Nvidia driver (with Discover) it fails when I say restart and returns to the desktop.

      To turn off the system, I need to either do Ctrl+Alt+F2 or reboot the system with the konsole.

      Note: You can tell me to open an error log for this, but I would like to point out that KDE opened an error log, and then the processes are very difficult and people are afraid to open an error log.

      A few examples:
      “For full names of debugging symbol packages, please ask for help in a forum of your distribution. You may also need to add matching matches or PPAs.” and I opened this topic on the KDE neon forums; but nobody was interested.

      Anyway … Bug tracking systems are very difficult for the end user and those whose native language is not English.


  5. Using custom shaders for shadows is really awesome!! 🙂
    Do you have a list of apps, which are going to use them?
    Which other parts of KDE can be speed up by custom shaders to improve both the performance and to lower power consumption(?) ? Are there plans to make use of them in a broader way?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Which parts already use custom shaders? Is it used for blur or window effects like the wobbling windows?

      I would love to read an article about the potential of custom shaders in KDE! Maybe Arjen Hiemstra likes to write something up? 🙂


    2. > Do you have a list of apps, which are going to use them?

      Originally I created this to use it as a background for Kirigami Cards, but as it turns out there are several more areas in both Kirigami and the QtQuick Controls 2 Desktop style that can make use of it. With and landed, QtQuick applications and KCMs will make use of the new item.

      > Maybe Arjen Hiemstra likes to write something up?

      I do have plans there but I first need to fix up some blog hosting.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Speaking of “Not re-inventing the wheel” Has anyone gotten around to allowing people to customize their Virtual Desktops so that each Virtual Desktop can have its own unique set of Widgets just as you can presently do with KDE 4.14, and have been able to do since KDE 4.6? It is a trivial matter in 4.14 to do:

    Step 1: GoTo New Activity => Unlock Widgets
    Step 2: GoTo the Panel => GoTo => KDE Application Launcher GoTo => System Settings
    Step 3: GoTo => Workspace Behavior => GoTo Virtual Desktops and Check the Box that says, “Different widgets for each Desktop”
    Step 4: Exit and Customize your Virtual Desktops with their own set of Widgets
    Step 5: GoTo New Activity => Lock Widgets


    Half — 3/4 — of the problems with KDE 5.x could have been avoided had you built UPON the code in KDE 4.x rather than “re-invent the wheel” by starting KDE 5.x from scratch. Being able to put INDIVIDUAL WIDGET SETS INTO SEPARATE VIRTUAL DESKTOPS HAS BEEN A POPULAR FEATURE OF KDE!! And here we are at KDE 5.19 and we still CAN NOT DO what we have been able to do since KDE 4.6.

    I truly appreciate — SINCERELY — the fact that your are working on polishing the system tray, but for God;’s sake FIX IT SO THAT I CAN AT LAST PUT INDIVIDUAL WIDGETS IN EACH VIRTUAL DESKTOP!! There is NO EXCUSE for not having that capability now up to KDE 5.19.

    Unless it would screw something up may I suggest that you 1) Go look at the Code in KDE 4.14 2) Copy said Code in KDE 4.14 3) Insert said Code into KDE 5.19. You are simply ADDING A CHECK BOX THAT ASKS “DO YOU WANT TO HAVE DIFFERENT WIDGETS FOR EACH DESKTOP?”

    The sparse lack of YouTube Instructional Videos and/or Manuals that TELL people how to do XYZ is KILLING KDE!! There are distros out there that are dropping KDE in favor of Cinnamon, which is more or less like what KDE 3 and Early KDE 5 were like, but no where nearly as polished as as KDE 4.14 is. Cinnamon = KDE Lite with no Bells and Whistles.


    1. Funny that you mention Cinnamon. Cinnamon does not even offer widgets on the desktop, not to speak of different widgets per virtual desktop! You are angry about the lack of this feature and want to switch to an “alternative” that doesn’t even offer it in principle. Do you notice anything?

      If it’s so easy to copy that code, why don’t you do it? You just wrote those instructions.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. First of all I am not a code junky, so I would not have a clue how to do it. But the code that created it in KDE 4 must be there, so WHY can’t you create the same in KDE 5. — soon — 19?!? It has been a feature in KDE 4 since about 4.6 and is still present and in polished form in 4.14. Until fairly recently you could not even change the wallpaper for each virtual desktop to be separate and unique until post KDE 5.7. I know I tried. I finally threw in the towel.

      For all its failings Cinnamon is fairly straight forward and easy to use, and is no worse than KDE 5.0 -5.7. Ther has to be a reason that distros from the BIG ones such as RHEL/CentOS and smaller ones such as Linux Mint are dropping support for KDE and offering Cinnamon as a REPLACEMENT.

      By now KDE 5 should be a polished desktop environment. Features that were present in KDE 4 *should* have been present in KDE 5 long, long ago. Being able to put unique widgets in each Virtual Desktop which is EASILY DONE in KDE 4.14 is STILL absent in — so far — KDE 5.18.3. This is a POPULAR FEATURE and one that many people lament is not present in Cinnamon… YET!! I will give the current set of devels behind KDE 5 some credit — KDE 5 is far slicker than it was since say KDE 5.7 came out. I’d written KDE 5 off as a hopeless basket case by then — it was pure torture to use and way too complex to use. Now there is some hope. It is still missing the ability to allow the user the ability to create a unique set of widgets for each virtual desktop as you can now do in KDE 4.14, but still can NOT do in KDE 5.18.3

      You are still crushing out MAJOR bugs in 5.18.3 rather than refining and dealing with MINOR bugs. Is there ANY hope at all that that I may yet soon see the ability to create a unique set of widgets for each Virtual Desktop as i can PRESENTLY DO in KDE 4.14 in KDE!? Or is that asking way too much?!?


    3. Bob, I’m getting kind of tired of these huge rants. I understand that you’re frustrated, but posting walls of text complaining about it is not an effective strategy. It may suffice to express your emotions, but it is unlikely to motivate the developers to implement your request.

      I’m going to have to ask you to tone it down. Thanks!


    4. The move to QT5 was inevitable, since QT4 has no support for Wayland.
      RedHat has never really supported KDE, it is known to all that it is centric Gnome. Mint quit KDE, because Kde Neon was born which is managed directly by KDE, so it was useless to have another Ubuntu based with KDE that didn’t add anything.
      I have used many DEs, there is no DE without bugs, if you want to use Gnu / Linux, you should consider avoiding Nvidia cards, otherwise complain to Nvidia about the bugs generated by their driver. The developers of KDE, Gnome, Ubuntu etc. they have no chance to solve problems related to the proprietary Nvidia driver, only Nvidia can do it. A greeting


    5. Take it easy, man. Nobody here is your slave. Shouting (writing in capital letters) doesn’t fix things, on the contrary it makes you even more antipathic!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Excellent stuff. As an ex-plasma user and an infrequent donor, I am watching the weekly updates with envy and sadness. Maybe one day running plasma with another window manager becomes less painful.


    1. “Excellent stuff.[b] As an ex-plasma user and an infrequent donor, I am watching the weekly updates with envy and sadness.[/b] Maybe one day running plasma with another window manager becomes less painful.”

      As a matter of curiosity WHY are YOU an “ex-plasma user”? Me?!? I LOVE KDE 4.14; but have nothing but contempt for KDE 5.x. I too may soon become an “ex-plasma” user if they don’t fix the lack of functionality problems in KDE 5.x (now approaching 5.19) that do not exist in KDE 4.14. KDE seem simply unresponsive when users tell them what they want, but they ignore them. I still do not understand WHY they choose not to simply build on code already in KDE 4, to develop KDE 5.x, but rather start from scratch which is probably WHY we are now up to KDE 5.19 with pages of bug sheets — some still major — that still needing the RAID! treatment to kill. I’m still waiting for them to put a simply check box that will allow me to mark and have different widgets in each Virtual Desktop — something I have been able to do since KDE 4.6 and polished in KDE 4.14. KDE 5 is simply a rolling disaster. Maybe when they get to KDE 5.30 I may at last have the SAME FUNCTIONALITY that I currently have in KDE 4.14


  8. First of all congratulations Nate for the blog and also to the whole KDE team for the excellent work, thanks for providing us with this fantastic open source ecosystem. Taking advantage of the subject and work in the system tray, these inconsistencies deserve attention:

    1 – Inconsistency between icon sizes (attachment 1).

    2 – Misalignment (attachment 1).

    3 – Overlap (attachment 2).

    Attachment 1:

    Attachment 2:

    Looking forward to Plasma 5.19, it is getting amazing!


    1. I had a feeling someone was going to notice the different icon sizes in that screenshot. It’s a recently-introduced bug only affecting people like me who live on git master; see

      The issue with the blue bar being awkwardly positioned is something that’s also being actively worked on.

      We’ll have them fixed before 5.19.


    2. Thank you for your attention and feedback.
      Nate, taking a look at the link provided by you, we can see that even with the initial proposed patch, the inconsistency between the icon sizes still remains, now to a lesser extent. I’m not an expert on the subject, but my guess is that the problem lies in the art of the icons, where a pattern of the upper and lower margins is not maintained, so the result is icons with the art of drawing with varying vertical dimensions.


  9. Big work ! Thanks Nate …
    I use Tumbleweed Plasma 5.18.3 QT 5.14.1 with Wayland and it works quite well, although there are some shortcomings. The fix of the cursor animation seems to be solved by QT 5.14, but I still don’t have any animation. Do you have any news on this?


  10. Oh man, thanks to you and to the team so much for all this detail work! I have been looking forward to these little details for a long time, such as harmonizing the visual spacing around the applets’ content area. Wonderful 🙂


  11. This is just fantastic Nate, Plasma 5.19 is really taking what a nice shape.

    KDE Applications 20.04 is looking really nice, that’s for sure.

    As always, thank you very much for this great effort and work you’re always doing. Every week is such an enjoyable time to come here and read and be happy of what is going to be on our systems in not that long time, which at least for me, it’s such a delicious feeling, so thanks for that :).

    A huge hug to everyone ^^.


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