This week in KDE: Plasma 5.20 is nigh

We spent a ton of time this week polishing up Plasma 5.20 and fixing the last few regressions that were reported during the beta period. Hopefully this release should be much smoother and more stable than the last few have been! We’ve really been trying to up our QA game lately. And of course, we’re already looking to the next version, and new features are starting to land…

New Features

Gwenview now has an option to not auto-play videos in browse mode (Madhav Kanbur, Gwenview 20.12)

On Wayland, KWin now supports the “iGPU multi-monitor” feature and therefore allows you to simultaneously drive multiple monitors from both a dedicated and internal Intel GPU! (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.21)

KRunner now has an optional “keep open” feature which causes it to stay open when focus is lost, just like how the System Tray and Clock popups can (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.21):

Plasma will now display a notification when your network connection becomes flaky and you’re about to lose internet access (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.21):

Text fields in Kirigami and QML-based desktop apps now display appropriate context menus when you right-click on them (Yeah yeah yeah I know, it’s 2020 and we’re only now getting this… but still, now we have it!) (Devin Lin, Frameworks 5.75):

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Krfb now saves and remembers user settings such as settings “Enable desktop sharing”, “Enable Unattended Access” and “Password” (Alexey Min, Krfb 20.08.2)

Mounting an ISO image using the ISO mounter Dolphin plugin now results in it actually being mounted if you have automounting globally disabled (Kwon-Young Choi, Dolphin 20.12)

Spectacle’s background mode now auto-saves images as expected when that option is set in the settings window (Antonio Prcela, Spectacle 20.12)

Partition Manager now recognizes devices without a partition table (Andrius Štikonas, Partition Manager 4.2.0)

KWin no longer sometimes crashes when exiting or re-launching (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.20)

Plasma no longer sometimes leaks memory and crashes when exiting or re-launching (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.20)

Pinned Icons-Only Task Manager apps no longer randomly jump around when any of the apps come from Flatpak, Snap, Steam, or have a URL scheme beginning with “preferred://", as two of the four default items do (Eike Hein, Plasma 5.20)

Fixed the initialization of dmabuf textures in KWin on Wayland, which in practical terms should ensure that videos played Firefox no longer sometimes display garbage instead of the video (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.20)

The functionality in the System Settings Shortcuts page to import an existing shortcut scheme now works again (David Redondo, Plasma 5.20)

The Disks & Devices applet no longer ever shows the “Remove All” button when there are any non-removable devices in the list (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.20)

Events in the event list on the Digital Clock pop-up are no longer all scrunched up together (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.20)

KRunner is now more responsive to typed text on Wayland (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.20)

Dragging a webp or tiff image onto the desktop now shows the option to set the image as the current wallpaper, just like it already does for images in other formats (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.20)

Plasma’s System Monitor widgets no longer leak memory (Arjen Hiemstra, Frameworks 5.75)

When a Plasma Vault is in an error state, its System Tray icon no longer disappears (Alexander Stippich, Frameworks 5.75)

Discover should no longer sometimes crash when canceling the password dialog (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Frameworks 5.75)

KDE Neon now adds the Flathub repo to Discover by default (Harald Sitter, in the next update)

User Interface Improvements

Dolphin no longer bugs you with an “are you sure you want to close multiple tabs?” dialog when you’re using its (on by default) “remember window state” feature (me: Nate Graham, Dolphin 20.08.2)

Plasma 5.20’s new feature to smoothly animate brightness changes is now only enabled when your screen exposes enough levels of brightness to make it look good (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.20)

The System Settings Window Decorations page now supports the “Highlight Changed Settings” feature (Benjamin Port, Plasma 5.21)

The background highlight effect for Task Manager items now extends to the edges of the panel (Niccolò Venerandi, Plasma 5.21):

When selecting new properties in the System Settings Windows Rules page, the property selection sheet now closes immediately after you’ve used it to select a property so you can immediately configure it (Ismael Asensio, Plasma 5.21)

After installing a 3rd-party applet which adds a System Tray item, the item now appears in the System Tray immediately, without having to restart Plasma (Konrad Materka, Plasma 5.21)

System Settings pages now have perfectly consistent margins on all sides (Ismael Asensio and me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.20 and Frameworks 5.75)

System Settings now has a unified titlebar/header appearance when using a compatible color scheme (i.e. one of the ones used in the Breeze Evolution work, like the new Breeze Light and Breeze Dark color schemes) (Marco Martin, Frameworks 5.75):

And yes, we know that it’s slightly ridiculous to have the text “Shortcuts” shown four times in close proximity lol

ToolButtons in Kirigami and QML-based desktop apps now visually indicate when they have keyboard focus (Arjen Hiemstra, Frameworks 5.76)

Applets which have been given a keyboard shortcut to make them activate will now deactivate when that shortcut is pressed again (…except for the System Tray, which needs extra work that’s coming soon) (Alexander Lohnau, Frameworks 5.76)

Red subtitle text for almost-full devices in the Disks & Devices System Tray applet is now more readable (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.76)

Comboboxes in Kirigami and other QML-based desktop apps which have enough items to be scrollable now draw the scrollbar part using the correct color (George Florea Bănuș, Frameworks 5.76)

Editable comboboxes in Plasma and Plasma applets now close their popups when clicking outside of then (Chris Holland, Frameworks 5.76)

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.

52 thoughts on “This week in KDE: Plasma 5.20 is nigh

  1. Woah, so much work!

    With the Kirigami unified header area coloring (as demonstrated with the System Settings Shortcuts page), the line that separates the header text from the sidebar header is a bit jarring: it disappears into nothingness in the middle of a solid color area.

    There are 4 possible solutions that come to my mind:
    1) The header of the sidebar does not change from the search field (which is now not accessible from within a subcategory (without an extra step of leaving the category using the “<" button in the header of the sidebar, which might suggest that it will navigate away from the current view, so it is not trivial for an user to access the search from within a subcategory. I suggest displaying the top-level sidebar header with the search at all times, regardless of subcategory or scroll position in the sidebar. This way the main controls of the Settings app remain there, easing navigation and providing a constant element in the UI. This way I think the line separating the KCM header from the sidebar header is not needed. The title of the subcategory, with its back button, could be displayed below the global sidebar header.
    Or, subcategories could become drop-down, eliminating the sidebar change, and unifying the 2 sidebars that are present given a sufficiently large resolution / window size. Less confusion, easier navigation inside the enormous app that Settings is.

    2) The line becomes shorter and detached at the bottom, which is still weird, but not as weird as it is right now. It might even become a single dot in the middle (but thicker than the 1px line).

    3) The header of the sidebar has a slightly different background shade than the KCM header, eliminating the need for the 1px separator line.

    4) The KCM title is made significantly (at least 1.5x) larger, separating the KCM from the sidebar.

    In an ideal world, that line would go up to the very top of the window, including the titlebar, similarly to macOS and Windows and GNOME, but I know this is kinda out of the question.

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      1. But the code that was made for such a visual feature that exists currently is a bit of a hack and if this is meant to be the future it needs to be good code.

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    1. Sure, if somebody does it. 🙂 It will probably happen eventually–or much sooner if an interested party submits a merge request for it!

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  2. Really really nice this Plasma 5.20 final fixes and Plasma 5.21 is starting to look really really cool :).

    I have to share with the KDE Community that I installed since the very first day it come out the Plasma 5.20 Beta and in general, really really happy with it.

    I reported about 2 bugs that I detected on the start (one of them really annoying, both of them were already reported, though).

    But I didn’t reported one, because I didn’t know which component of Plasma is related, so I wanted to share with all of you here. I use the US International with Dead Keys keyboard layout, so I can take advantage of my US ANSI keyboard layout (physical), but as I’m Spanish, I tend to use the accents to vowels, etc. This layout configured on Plasma, allows me to put those accents on two different ways. Being the first one and most used by me before the update to Plasma 5.20 Beta, the one that became not working, with the the accent key, (the one just right to the semicolon), followed by the vowel I wanted to accent, this stopped working on the Beta. The second one and the one I’m having to use while the month of testing of the Beta, pressing the Alt Gr key plus the vowel key, to obtain the same result, but being a little less efficient and slower than the first method.

    That aside, I hope the few bugs I detected and still having them active right now, will be already fixed for the 5.20 stable release, the option to share under Wayland specific windows is really fantastic and a huge step forward on the Wayland adoption and complete to daily use working session, I know you’re working hard on that and a lot of other matters, so keep it up and a lot of strength and cheers from here :).

    As always, I’m truly grateful for the great community, devs, and not devs, that we have here on KDE Community, so thank you for your hard work, tremendous efforts, to allow us enjoy such a wonderful software everyday, you really rock, Nate as always, a special mention to you, given that this magnificent work of bringing us the changes, improvements and additions to the KDE Software is here because of your terrific work, so a special and extra THANK YOU to you :).

    Of course, I’d like to send my best wishes to everyone, hoping you’re all fine, healthy and giving your best in these hard times and situation.

    And send too a huge, sincere, fresh and virtual hug to everyone ^^.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, as always! Can you send a bug report about your keyboard issues? This is an area that I’m afraid I’m completely ignorant about, so I can’t help you here.

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    2. Hi Alberto,

      I don’t know if you could solve your issue. Which distro are you using?

      I got the same problem in Kubuntu after I upgraded to 20.10 beta. It installed ibus-panel which seems to collide with Plasma’s keyboard config, making “dead keys” not work (that’s the technical name for how accents work on Spanish and similar layouts: [ ‘ ] + [ a ] = á ).

      My quick solution for that was to remove the ibus packages completely, hoping that this can be solved in final Kubuntu release. I’ll try to look if there’s any bug report about that, and maybe help to fix it.

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  3. Taking advantage of the subject of improvement in dragging images to the desktop to change the wallpaper, of his authorship, it seems difficult to believe but we do not have two basic options and present in all the main operating systems of the market, which is the option of context menu (right-click on an image), either in Dolphin or Gwenview and set as desktop wallpaper 😦

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      1. Dolphin does, but not at Gwenview.
        Since there is a code for that, why not incorporate it by default in Plasma?
        Not all users know that there are menu services for Dolphin.

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      1. Yes Nate, this possibility is interesting, but look from the user’s point of view (new or experienced in Plasma), how would he know that such an action (drag and drop) would change the wallpaper? Today I know this is possible, as I am reading this post of yours and it does not seem to be a new resource! Right-clicking on the image (Dolphin or Gwenview) and reading the option text in the context menu is arguably more intuitive.
        There are two other situations in which this feature is no more practical than the context menu option, for example, when we are running Dolphin and Gwenview in full screen, which is the standard mode that I operate, as I only have a 13″ screen, so each pixel is very valuable to me.

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      2. Well, I have been using Plasma for several months and did not know about this function until now… therefore, many users who do not read this publication will not know this.
        The context menu option is already a standard in all operating systems

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        1. Another option that is standard in the world of operating systems is the possibility to rename a file, clicking on the name, in Plasma this is only possible currently in Dolphin, I would love to see this functionality extended to the desktop!
          I know that there are other possibilities for renaming a file, like accessing the option in the context menu or using the F2 key, I particularly find it more practical and intuitive to click on the name!

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      3. Hm, have been using KDE for 6 years, and didn’t know about that 😀
        I think regular user would expect dragging to create a shortcut on desktop, and not to change wallpaper, so seems kinda unintuitive to me

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        1. I have too head of the functionality to drag-drop an image to the desktop to change the wallpaper for the first time in the blog post here and I’m not not new either. 😉
          Guess you only discover it by chance or by word to mouth advertising.

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          1. You’re right, I didn’t know this feature either, it would be great to have both, why not? Arguably the option in the context menu is more intuitive, I would use it, who knows in Plasma 5.21 that promises a lot!
            Neither released 5.20 and I’m dreaming of 5.21 🙂
            I love Plasma and the work of its developers, a special affection for Nate, for dedicating part of his precious time in updating us on development, the first thing I do on Saturday is to quickly access his blog (thanks Nate), there is none perfect system, but in my opinion, it is undoubtedly the best today!

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      4. Like others commenting here, for me it would also seem like a great a improvement if Gwenview or Dolphin would contain an option to set the current image as wallpaper (I was using Gnome before and found that option in Eog really useful).

        After I switched to KDE, I actually thought for a long time the only way to set an image as wallpaper is in the “Configure desktop…” module. The way I learned about the “drag to desktop” feature was by watching a “Secret features of Plasma that nobody knows” video. (was it from this years akademy?)

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        1. Yeah, it’s something we probably need to eventually do. I was just commenting that there is indeed a method right now, even if it’s rather hidden and unintuitive. This is all before my time, but I’ve heard that there was a period where KDE was all about drag-and-drop of everything onto everything else; it was considered that “direct manipulation” was the most intuitive method of altering the user interface. You see this in how pervasive drag-and-drop still is throughout Plasma. I don’t think it quite worked out, personally. Evidently people liked buttons and menu items more. 🙂

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  4. Is anyone looking into kdeconnect for issues? I’ve submitted two tickets:

    https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=427266

    https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=427028

    Neither have picked up much steam.

    Basically 2 things are not working

    1) while on phonecalls VLC will not pause properly it will either pause the video but when the phonecall is over it won’t resume.

    2) when opening the sms window from the drop down menu of kdeconnect and I try to send messages they never get delivered.

    The only one that “works” is version 1.4 however the sms message window will crash upon selecting a text message to interact with.

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    1. Dunno, I’m not really that involved with the project, sorry. I have noticed that my own bug reports aren’t getting noticed either though. So it’s not just you.

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      1. Actually there is a good reason to use HTTP instead of HTTPS for this type of check. Imagine you are on a hotspot that redirects you to a registration page on your first request. This works only if the request is unencrypted, otherwise the hotspot can’t redirect you, but won’t give you a connection either and you will sit with no Internet connection.

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        1. I see. Well at least on Android 8+ you can specify both HTTP and HTTPS URLs:

          adb shell ‘settings get global captive_portal_http_url’
          adb shell ‘settings get global captive_portal_https_url’

          and they even allow for fallback URLs in case one of the above don’t work as expected:

          adb shell ‘settings get global captive_portal_fallback_url’
          adb shell ‘settings get global captive_portal_fallback_urls’

          (and set them by “put” instead of set).

          So why would they use a HTTPS URL then at all? 🙂

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        2. You mean in the case of HTTPS, a captive portal, which does a personal-in-the-middle (https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc7710) and redirects one to its captive-portal-registration-page would face the issue that the browser shows a warning due to the TLS certificate error? Like it would also do for HSTS and HPKP secured pages?

          But couldn’t the HTTPS be used for detecting if a captive portal may be used (like no 204 status code == captive portal) and if you click on the notification (not sure if it’s clickable), it could open the HTTP captive portal check page, which then redirects you correctly without an certificate error?

          My confusion comes from the fact that Android also defines HTTPS URLs for their 204 status code check, like https://connectivitycheck.gstatic.com/generate_204

          Maybe they do what I just described in the paragraph above? Probing HTTPS but opening HTTP?

          _____

          BTW: Thank you Nate for your push forward, though, even if it weren’t the right way to go, we at least learned something in the end — hopefully. 🙂

          > #2 also seems doable.

          I think that’s something we all can agree to. Maybe adding a fallback URL isn’t too bad either. ❤

          _____

          Sorry for hijacking the blog for discussing this issue. O:-) I will stop responding now but look forward to reading any answers to my questions. 🙂

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  5. What I don’t understand is the Discover interface… The interface is not pleasant, and is cumbersome. Why not take inspiration from the google play store, the microsoft store or the gnome store (which is more ergonomic)? Otherwise, you are great and thanks again because thanks to you I can use a reliable and fast computer !

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      1. Hi, you asked him but I’ll drop my 2 cents too. Basically it feels more like a classic package manager (like synaptic) than an app store visually. Good examples of what it could look like are all the other app stores like Gnome Software or Elementary OS store. Also, one thing Gnome Software has that discover doesn’t (at least I didn’t find it) is a specific page to install missing codecs, like gstreamer bad and ugly, and also drivers.

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  6. A disaster. The new release prevents the possibility to manage the windows of the several programs WHICH stays opened making impossible to use the desktop. The enlarging, reducing, expanding buttons and or the matching keyboard short-keys are useless. Is there a way to restore the previous release of PLASMA? I am unable to use my computer.

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    1. I’m sorry to hear that you’re experiencing a problem. But this is a blog, not a bug tracker. It sounds like you’re experiencing a bug or even a packaging issue. I have heard that some people are affected by KWin being removed on upgrade, which seems like it could cause those issues you’re reporting. If so, this is a packaging/upgrade issue caused by your distro. You should contact the distro packagers and file a bug report for them.

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  7. Mouse itself is unable to manage the actual window opened… preventing from the opening of other programs and start menu itself. I can open some programs by keyboard closing them by ctrl+q… or either keyboard shortcuts, however windows result in non suitable form. Windows miss the upper bar. I noted that the old Kwin-x11 has been uninstalled…. without any eventual replacement. Probably it has been missed.

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      1. It’s not a problem of development. The problem is the person or the people responsible to provide the new packages in the repository. Indeed, Kwin-x11 has been removed from new packages without provide the new package for the 5.20 PLASMA release.

        Like

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