This week in KDE: fixing up Plasma 5.20

We spent a lot of this week polishing up Plasma 5.20 and fixing bugs you’ve all found in the release. Thanks very much too all the people who have been testing it and reporting bugs! It’s very helpful. As a reminder, you can find distros shipping the beta here: https://community.kde.org/Plasma/Live_Images

New Features

Okular’s animated smooth scrolling feature can now be totally disabled in the app itself (me: Nate Graham)

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Kate’s File menu no longer ever loses menu items after closing a tab (Christoph Cullmann, Kate 20.08.2)

Okular’s editable forms are no longer mis-rendered when inertially scrolling (Kezi Olio, Okular 1.11.2)

When your scanner can almost but not quite fit a particular page size, Skanlite will now display the option to scan to that page size anyway (e.g. 215mm wide scan beds now give you the option to scan using the US Letter page size) (Kåre Särs, libksane 20.12)

The text of Elisa’s keyboard shortcuts are now translated properly (Nikunj Goyal, Elisa 20.12)

Clearing the clipboard history on Wayland no longer crashes Plasma (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.20)

Improved the Plasma SVG cache heuristics such that various things which might sometimes be invisible after upgrading Plasma now show up like they’re supposed to (Arjen Hiemstra, Plasma 5.20)

On Wayland, clicking on a Task Manager entry while that entry’s tooltip is visible no longer crashes Plasma (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.20)

On Wayland, clicking on a Task Manager thumbnail now activates that window, as you would expect (Marco Martin, Plasma 5.20)

On Wayland, the window stacking order is now always correct (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.20)

Auto-hidden panels now have an animated show/hide effect again (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.20)

The hover effect for titlebar buttons in GTK headerbar apps once again appears when it should (Mikhail Zolotukhin, Plasma 5.20

The names of the System Settings and Info Center apps are now translated properly (Alexander Potashev, Plasma 5.20)

The Plasma Emoji input window now always shows nice colorful emojis even if the distro’s fontconfig files are kind of messed up (Yunhe Guo, Plasma 5.20)

The little arrow in a System Settings list items for a top-level category will no longer appear if the category’s existence is obfuscated because it has only a single item, in which case System Settings automatically takes you to the child item (David Redondo, Plasma 5.20)

Shortcuts for switching to particular Activities now work again when set from the relevant System Settings page (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.20)

Plasma applet configuration windows now always display the correct sidebar appearance (David Redondo, Plasma 5.20)

On Wayland, context menus now always have shadows, as expected (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.20)

Breeze buttons now display the correct colors when using certain non-default color schemes (Carson Black, Plasma 5.20)

Improved how KWin detects fully opaque windows, which will allow it to do less work by not rendering anything that’s entirely covered up by them (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.21)

You’re no longer annoyingly asked whether you want to execute non-executable script files when you try to open them (Ahmad Samir, Frameworks 5.75)

It’s once again possible to enter shortcuts in the System Settings Shortcuts page that use the Alt Key when the Alt+something shortcut that you’re defining would otherwise trigger an action on the shortcut entry page itself! (David Edmundson, Frameworks 5.75)

Apps which show an “Are you sure you want to close multiple documents?” dialog when you quit while multiple documents are open will no longer do so if the app is quit as a part of the normal shutdown sequence when session saving is in use (Allen Sandfield Jensen, Frameworks 5.75)

User avatars in the Kickoff Application Launcher and the new System Settings Users page are no longer blurry (Carson Black, Frameworks 5.75)

Button icons on the login and lock screens are no longer mis-colored (Noah Davis, Frameworks 5.75)

User Interface Improvements

Pressing the Esc key in Gwenview while in full screen view now leaves full screen view the first time you press it, instead of first going back to browse mode (Michael Augaitis, Gwenview 20.12)

Elisa now has keyboard shortcuts to go back and forward by track while in the app itself (Ctrl+left arrow and Ctrl+right arrow) (Nikunj Goyal, Elisa 20.12)

Newly-generated thumbnail preview images will no longer longer embed mostly-transparent mimetype icons in the bottom-right corner, which were super confusing (Stefan Brüns, Dolphin 20.12)

Scrollbars in GTK apps using the Breeze GTK theme are now the correct width (Carson Black, Plasma 5.20)

After changing the charge limit on your battery, you’re only shown a message saying, “You may need to re-connect your charger” if it’s currently plugged in (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.20)

System Settings and Info Center now have a “Report Bug…” menu item in their hamburger menus (David Redondo, Plasma 5.20)

The System Activity window (the thing that appears when you press Ctrl+Esc) now has correct margins (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.20)

KRunner’s settings page now uses more accurate text for its new positioning modes feature (me: Ne Graham, Plasma 5.20)

Info Center now has a fancy new Network Interfaces page (Carl Schwan, Plasma 5.21)

How You Can Help

Have a look at https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved to discover ways to 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: fixing up Plasma 5.20

  1. Glad to see that paddings / margins are finally getting some lovin’. It’s one of those little problems that sounds insignificant, but can really spoil the UX. Sadly they’re not very consistent in Plasma across the board. Take Dolphin for example, where we have very different paddings in Settings (General vs Services), or no margin at all between the main filelist and the right window border (at least in 20.04.2).

    Like

    1. They are not just margins / spacing, the inconsistency in Plasma goes beyond that, extends throughout the UI, the KDE software itself does not follow / respect the same visual identity.

      Don’t get me wrong, just my point of view, a constructive criticism, I’ve been a KDE user for years, I just love it, it’s my main personal system, the Swiss army knife of the Linux world <3.
      Talking is easy, but believe me, I imagine how laborious and time consuming it would be to make all KDE software follow and respect the same visual identity, but it is not impossible and if you do not aim and start, it will never be achieved.

      One of the weaknesses is precisely the UI, the details do not seem to matter much, as an example I can mention the taskbar, Plasma delivers all the information / resources / customizations necessary to the user, but does not worry if all the icons in the tray system are using the same size and alignment, if the selected item indicator is aligned to the center relative to the respective icon, the digital clock widget and desktop display are huge relative to the system tray.

      Plasma also has a very conservative UI for the current times, it could look at other systems and use elements like rounded corners, transparency, blur (there is no better element to make a UI beautiful and modern, there is some possibility that we will someday have a theme Breeze Blur, natively and officially? While this is not a reality, thankfully we have the KDE Store and its many beautiful and modern themes!). But in your last posts we can see that Plasma is moving in a timid way to something more modern, such as showing only the icons of the programs open in the taskbar, as well as displaying the date under the clock, this as a default. You and many may not agree that the best place for the open program indicator would be below the icon and not above, if you look at the themes available in the KDE Store, you will see that 99% of theme creators place them below the icon. Would it be possible to create an option where the user would choose the position of their preference?

      Another weakness of Plasma is UX, specifically the control panel, all the friends and family that I introduced and tried to bring to the KDE side of the force, complained a lot about the control panel, claiming to be very complex and messy.

      Well, I think a good reference in UI / UX in the Linux world, would be Gnome and Cinnamon.

      Congratulations Nate and the whole KDE team for the excellent work, he is getting better every day!
      Looking forward to the next posts and specifically Plasma 5.21!

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        1. I like to the look in the screenshot, but the having the details on the left, covering a part of the places is weird. Id definitely prefer previous version, maybe with some improved looks.

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          1. That’s just my own customization (the location of Dolphin’s internal panels is customizable); you don’t have to do the same.

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          2. Taking advantage of the subject of Dolphin, something I would very much like to see, it would be an option to display only the icons in the navigation sidebar, as in the Index File Manager.

            My notebook has a screen of only 13 “and the current display mode occupies a large part of the useful area, it does not seem to be difficult to implement and would be very useful for users with small screens!

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      1. >Well, I think a good reference in UI / UX in the Linux world, would be Gnome and Cinnamon.
        They didn’t solve the complexity of settings at all. Cinnamon uses some weird patterns, the middle road that often leaves you hanging. GNOME aims at a different type of user or experience so they removed many settings and simplified others. The fact that a Tweaks app exists, that their settings page is un-nested-big, and extensions appending settings are still necessary shows that nobody really solved this problem in an elegant manner.

        While the settings panel is a small mess KDE shouldn’t remove settings just so some users can parrot that it’s modern now. I’m not sure with what constraints they work with like does it need to work on mobile too? I have considered making a proposal but since I don’t code it would be worthless. You need too much knowledge to solve that, the domain, the organization.

        I like the left panel/sidebar and I wouldn’t change that. But there’s where the problem starts, you’re already one level deep. Nesting is what screws everything. IIRC W10 now has a first level equivalent to that sidebar that overlay new settings windows. It looks more modern but usability suffers deeply. Settings is so hard it makes my head hurts. I have never used a system that did it right. Now I just use fuzzy search but that’s not good for regular users.

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      1. I believe that in the end the new Breeze will not deserve the name Evoluition, contemplating subtle changes, keeping its conservative and tired design (unfortunately), many users have not even noticed these changes.

        In my opinion, what Plasma needs to stand out and conquer new users, would be a modern interface (using transparency, blur and small rounded corners), Breeze designs should be inspired by the various modern and beautiful themes available on the KDE Store , I can highlight two excellent designs, Yeyushengfan258 and Vinceliuice, it is not a coincidence, both are Chinese, modern and beautiful UI/UX seem to be in the DNA of this people, Deepin used to be the most modern and intuitive UI/UX in the Linux world, but the highlight was lost with the V20 version (unfortunately), who occupied this place was Ubuntu Kylin, with its beautiful UKUI 3.1, just wonderful, I love the file manager and start menu <3.

        In order to keep new users the system needs to be more friendly/intuitive, to achieve this the system settings urgently need attention and heavy changes.

        Something I would very much like to see in Plasma 5.21, would be an option to automatically switch between light and dark themes, as well as an option to change the primary color with ease and lastly a layout selector, these features are already present in several systems, examples https://imgur.com/a/uHeeoUf , https://imgur.com/a/QjFwwGm , this version would be worthy of the name Evolution!

        Congratulations Nate, I love your work and posts, you are a talented and caring guy, the KDE project needs more people like you, keep it up!

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        1. I believe that in the end the new Breeze will not deserve the name Evoluition, contemplating subtle changes, keeping its conservative and tired design (unfortunately), many users have not even noticed these changes.

          Just wait until next week. 🙂

          We are working on a layout chooser KCM and a way to easily choose the highlight/accent color.

          However we are not planning to add much more blurred transparency. It has its boosters in the KDE VDG, but overall the impression that most people seem to have is that this is a fad design trend that will end up looking tired and dated in a few years. We aspire to design things that look timeless, rather than following design trends.

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          1. I am very happy to know that you are working on a layout and primary color selector, would it be great to see that in Plasma 5.21, any links to follow the progress?

            Regarding UI that uses blur to be a fad trend, I even agree, at some point the main systems that use it, will make less use or eliminate it altogether, after all every product/brand has its visual identity, logo and slogan renewed over the years.

            For me, a well-designed blur UI will continue to be beautiful, even with the passage of time (personal taste), and if still available and not having something more beautiful, it would certainly continue to make use of the blur UI.

            Currently it is possible to force transparency and blur throughout the system, regardless of the theme, using the windows rule and the force blur script.

            Perhaps if the new Breeze was designed considering that it could have two controls (sliders), where the user could control the level of transparency and blur, these remaining at 0 the theme remains opaque and conservative.

            Another option that would be interesting to have would be to enable rounded corners on the windows and control their size, such as KDE-Rounded-Corners (https://github.com/alex47/KDE-Rounded-Corners).

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  2. Nice to see the Network Interfaces page!
    It’s good, but I would make it in 3 separate rows like:
    Loopback (first, or last since it’s a virtual one and it’s always there)
    Ethernet (if there are more ethernet adapters display them in columns or rows inside this row)
    Wireless (same as above if there are multiple adapters)
    Other (in case other types of network connections are possible like over HDMI).

    And I would display the MAC addresses too and the maximum speed of the adapter (100 Mbps / 1 Gbps / 10 Gbps).
    The IP and MAC addresses should be easily copyable with right click, in case you need to paste them somewhere like in the router’s configuration page.
    Also buttons to quickly enable or disable adapters would be really helpful.

    Anyway, great work, many thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great observations, in the state field I would use the terminology Online/Offline, in this same field, on the card of the network to which you are connected, display in parentheses (Connected) eg. status: Online (Connected)

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Hello Nate,

    There are two menus under System Settings – Personalization with the same function.

    System Settings – Personalization -> Account Details,

    System Settings – Personalization -> Users

    There is another similar example to this situation. That is, there are two system monitor applications. By default, both the System Monitor application and the KSysGuard application are installed at the same time. In short, it doesn’t make much sense to have two applications with the same function.

    I would like to give a link to an error report I sent in February for system monitors. https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=418134

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  4. I love how all comments are always: that’s great but can you do this and that please.

    Removing code. Fixing bugs. Refactoring and combining old systems. That’s very good work you’re all doing and things are very exciting. It’s like we’re seeing the desktop building blocks finally being “there” like Wayland. Once the cleaning up and porting is finished, things stabilize, I think it will feel like we’re living in the future. If you look at the forest, the Linux ecosystem as a whole, things have never been this good.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’m sorry if this is not the correct place, but … anyone know how to turn on and off the proxy by command line instead of SystemSettings->Network->Proxy?

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    1. To enable the proxy
      kwriteconfig5 –file kioslaverc –group “Proxy Settings” –key ProxyType 0

      To disable the proxy
      kwriteconfig5 –file kioslaverc –group “Proxy Settings” –key ProxyType 1

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        1. Thanks Tibério, I really appreciate your help, however I’ve been trying it out but no solution. The script creates the variables well, but KDE doesn’t detect them, and besides the line of ‘kwriteconfig5 …’ doesn’t seem to work either. I run the line but when I go to SystemSettings->Network->Proxy the checkbox it’s in the same place (first option, no proxy). In fact, I only get Internet with proxy when I do it manually since the UI.

          Do you have to do something else to make it work?

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          1. I’ve figured out why didn’t work. The command needed 2 dashes, that was all. I leave below the commands for whoever needs to activate the proxy by terminal.

            kwriteconfig5 –file kioslaverc –group “Proxy Settings” –key “ProxyType” 1
            kwriteconfig5 –file kioslaverc –group “Proxy Settings” –key “httpProxy” “http://127.0.0.1 8888”
            kwriteconfig5 –file kioslaverc –group “Proxy Settings” –key “httpsProxy” “http://127.0.0.1 8888”
            kwriteconfig5 –file kioslaverc –group “Proxy Settings” –key “socksProxy” “socks://127.0.0.1 1088”

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  6. Dolphin has added tab recovery – it’s just awesome!
    Added search in Dolphin without Baloo – even cooler!

    Can you add the ability to search for hidden files?
    Is there a tutorial on how to enable kio-fuse in KDE Neon for dumb users? =)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hey Nate, weirdly I can’t see this blog post on Planet KDE as before… This made me even wonder: “Hmm, no new ‘This week in KDE’ update – I hope Nate is allright…”. Luckily I got the idea to look directly at your blog 🙂

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  8. You are fantastic as always, thank you for the great work you do.
    I’m testing on Leap, Plasma 5.19.90, in the wayland session passing the task manager now the thumbnails are shown, however the thumbnails of the open windows are white.
    I like the taller panel with icons, it sure looks better with dark or transparent Breeze.
    Graphic advice, why not use a bold font for the title panel by default? For example, Noto sans bold is much more beautiful.
    There is one thing that as a KDE user I envy in Gnome, it is the online account, it would be nice that by setting for example the Google account to an online account, it would be automatically set up for everything from Kio-gdrive to Kmail.
    Last thing … Unfortunately Kmail still has problems on wayland, are you working on a fix? This is the reason that still keeps me on Xorg.
    A big hello, and I apologize for my English. Hello

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  9. Any words on the strenge Problem that Applets and some other config files are not saved proberly?

    (Add Applet, will get info config, Removing it won’t, therefore still present on desktop, panel, etc after restart of plasma)

    It’s a bis blocker for me. Some of the New Features are awaited by my distro users. As the all use daily production systems i can’t afford to publisch these Updates.

    I know it is a more difficult problem. I for my self still work on finding out the culprit, Folkwang the Code path, diffing Chancen from working version to actual and still no clue.

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  10. By the way, I want to remind you, just like that. That in KDE Neon the command rm -rf / * is available without root. And managing Dolphin with root rights is impossible.

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  11. Hi Nate

    I am having trouble with a hidpi monitor plugged into a Lenovo laptop (AMD L15). When I change global scale it corrupts the external monitor display. It did it on f32 but I had high hopes for f33 but it is still happening. Is this a known issue? Can I provide any information to help fix it?

    Thanks
    Kieran

    Like

  12. Is it possible in Dolphin to show large album preview pictures on the folders, or even instead of folders? Like in Windows if you place a picture named Folder.jpg it shows that one as a nice preview https://images2.imgbox.com/54/62/jx5nxMtb_o.png Right now in Dolphin I get some chaotic view with 4 small pictures of the album on top of the folder icon, sometimes its 3 pictures, sometimes two.. Nevertheless it looks like some 12 year old girl customised my folders or something, looks very busy =) I have 12k folders of music and each of them has a Folder.jpg, in my magical laaa-laaa dreamwonderland Dolphin would then just show the album art as nice squares, just like an album view in a player, not on top of any blue folder and most certainly not 4 tiny crooked images. So yeah, is this possible to do somehow? If not, consider this a feature request.

    Like

  13. Seems to me KDE Connect SMS / kdeconnect-cli –send-sms are still not working.
    I tried Kde Unstable 20200927 . It was not working also on Manjaro Plasma.
    KDE Connect SMS is stuck in Loading conversations from device.
    kdeconnect-cli error reported is :
    error: No such method ‘sendSms’ in interface ‘org.kde.kdeconnect.device.sms’ at object path

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  14. Is there any chance KDE will finally see to implementing the Ctrl-Shift-U shortcut for entering unicode characters? Having that only work in Firefox is a major pain in the ass…

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          1. @Nate This would probably be an important feature for a scientific researcher persona. The ability to enter special unicode characters is often used in that field afaik.

            @Peter Is there already an open feature request (called bug) on bugs.kde.org for this that you can link here? Else I encourage you to create one and link it here.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. @clel: I guess this bug report is aimed at the same thing. Not entirely sure, though. Maybe it should be specified there that Ctrl-Shift-U would be the preferred control key sequence, as it is in other Linux varieties.

            Like

          3. Thanks @Peter. I subscribed there now and also added Nate to the CC list.

            Reading that bug it seems it has been considered to be an upstream bug that should be implemented somewhere else (probably in Qt). Unfortunately the links to the upstream issues are mostly outdated and I am not sure whether it is still viewed as being an upstream thing. Commented there now, let’s see.

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  15. still receiving sendSms error

    error: No such method ‘sendSms’ in interface ‘org.kde.kdeconnect.device.sms’ at object path ‘/modules/kdeconnect/devices/aa42539b68a19441/sms’ (signature ‘avsas’)

    When using kdeconnect-cli

    kdeconnect-cli –destination redacted-phone-number -n ‘Samsung SM-N960U’ –send-sms “test”

    Like

    1. I sent a mail to Nicolas Fella to report this issue. No feedback yet. I was hoping recent Kde Neon unstable would include a fix but it’s not yet the case.

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      1. Yes I emailed him too lol, hoping it gets resolved quickly.

        I also am having an issue with kdeconnect not pausing and unpausing videos when I get a phonecall as well.

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  16. Kdeconnect does not pause/unpause videos when watching videos….one of two things will happen

    1) Pause the video (which is rare)…..phonecall ends…..stays paused

    2) Never pauses to begin with

    Tried with vlc and firefox on youtube….none of them work properly

    Like

  17. Hi, I’m a total newbie to Neon and Linux in general.
    So please sorry for any mistake, I’m not a technical guy, just a regular end user. Not aware of any tech details, nor how to use the console properly.
    I happily installed Neon 5.19 a couple of months ago. Last Monday I updated according to what “Discover” suggested. After that I was no longer able to use the session as I used to. The shell would load fine but all windows were border less (ie: no close/max/min buttons), also the last opened window remains atop the rest, no way to get to the others below.
    I got desperate, about to reinstall everything from scratch. Then I saw this option “use Wayland” and selected it. Now windows behave more or less like they should, but not quite so (taskswitcher comes up black), Remmina (which I use to connect to the job) doesn’t grab the keys, there’s an annoying flicker when I resize a window and graphics in general seem to be blurry and drag.

    Any help, guidance or reference will be of help. Thanks and sorry for the rather long message.

    Like

    1. This was a known issue yesterday in the Plasma 5.20 upgrade process on Neon User Edition. Sorry about that. It should be fixed now if you get updates again.

      Like

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