This week in KDE: Tons of improvements to our core apps

A bunch of KDE apps received many lovely new features, bugfixes, and user interface improvements this week! And Plasma too, of course. 🙂 Let’s get right to it:

New Features

Elisa now lets you edit tracks’ metadata from inside the app! (Matthieu Gallien, Elisa 20.12):

Elisa now lets you easily find the on-disk location of each song (me: Nate graham, Elisa 20.12):

Konsole now has a configurable toolbar (which you can of course hide if you don’t like it) (Tomaz Canabrava, Konsole 21.04):

You can now download new KRunner Runners from store.kde.org straight from the System Settings page! (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.21):

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Dolphin no longer frequently crashes when typing in the Filter Bar (Ismael Asensio, Dolphin 20.12)

Dolphin once again shows the correct number of files inside symlinked folders (Méven Car, Dolphin 20.12)

Dolphin is now more reliable and less likely to freeze in the face of network flakiness (Méven Car, Dolphin 20.12)

Dolphin’s ISO mounter plugin no longer fails to mount the same ISO twice and now correctly unmounts the underlying loop device too (Kwon-Young Choi, Dolphin 20.12)

Middle-clicking on tabs in Kate once again closes them (Robert-André Mauchin, Kate 20.12)

In Elisa, touch scrolling and fast scrolling by holding down the Shift key while scrolling now work (me: Nate Graham, Elisa 20.12)

Elisa now accepts album art for albums with the art in a file named albumart.[jpg|png] (me: Nate Graham, Elisa 20.12)

When Elisa is loading a view, the progress spinner no longer overlaps some placeholder text (me: Nate Graham, Elisa 20.12)

Plasma Disks no longer sometimes crashes when mounting a USB disk (Harald Sitter, Plasma 5.20.3)

The Lock screen’s “Switch User” action is once again visible for people using distros that ship an up-to-date version of systemd (Wolfgang Bauer, Plasma 5.20.3)

After mounting an external disk, the Disks & Devices popup no longer hilariously/terrifyingly jumps between different screens of a multi-screen setup when each screen has its own panel with a System Tray on it (Konrad Materka, Plasma 5.20.3

Icons in the Alt+Tab task switcher are once again displayed correctly for a wide variety of apps (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.20.3)

Discover can once again install locally-downloaded distro package files (e.g. .rpm and .deb files) (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.20.4)

Right-clicking on something in the Kicker or Kickoff launcher menus now causes the context menu to appear instantly the first time (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.20.4)

In the System Settings Cursors page, the menu of available cursor sizes now displays those cursors with their real sizes (David Redondo, Plasma 5.20.4):

In the Plasma Wayland session, Dragging tabs from Firefox over the desktop no longer crashes the whole session (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.21)

Context menus for 3rd-party System Tray items no longer sometimes stack up on top of each other when right-clicking on multiple consecutive applets (Konrad Materka, Plasma 5.21)

On the System Settings Window Decorations page, the border size text no longer gets cut off when using a scale factor or a language with longer text than English (Ismael Asensio, Plasma 5.21):

The sound check feature on the System Settings Audio Volume page no longer causes your subwoofer to make odd noises (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.21)

Circular timeout indicators inside notifications are no longer invisible under certain circumstances (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21)

After updating items from store.kde.org using either Discover or the Get New [Thing] Window, some of those things no longer inaccurately show up as updateable the next time you check for updates (Alexander Lohnau, Frameworks 5.76)

Fixed one of the ways that Discover could crash when performing updates that include any add-ons (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Frameworks 5.77)

In the Plasma Wayland session, you can now re-assign keyboard shortcuts without accidentally triggering their actions in the process (David Redondo, Frameworks 5.77)

Using Meta+Tab as a shortcut in the System Settings Shortcuts page no longer results in the word “tab” being visually duplicated in the shortcut chooser box (David Redondo, Frameworks 5.77)

When using a fractional scale factor, Konsole no longer displays ugly horizontal lines in some places with some font sizes (Someone awesome, Qt 5.15.1)

User Interface Improvements

Dolphin’s URL navigator now lives in its toolbar! (Felix Ernst, Dolphin 20.12):

Hovering the cursor over a Places Panel item now displays a little tooltip with the full path to that location (Méven Car, Dolphin 20.12):

All of the appearance-related pages in System Settings have now been re-organized to live inside a top-level “Appearance” list item which takes you to the Global Themes page, to make it more clear that Global Themes can potentially affect all of them (Marco Martin, Plasma 5.21)

You can probably see a lot of minor visual glitches in the above video; we’ll try to have then fixed by the final Plasma 5.21 release.

The way you add and switch between timezones in the digital clock applet has been totally overhauled to clarify the difference between changing the systemwide timezone and changing the timezone in the applet, and to make it easier to change the systemwide time zone (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21)

The System Settings KWin Rules page now warns you when you try to set rules for a window not managed by KWin which can’t be affected by window rules (Ismael Asensio, Plasma 5.21)

Further refined the appearance of the Media Player applet (Mikel Johnson, Plasma 5.21):

When you set a custom keyboard shortcut to activate the System Tray’s popup, the shortcut now also closes it if it’s currently open as well, as it does for other applets (Konrad Materka, Plasma 5.21)

The Networks applet now has its search field integrated into the header area and visible by default, rather than hidden behind a button (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21):

Separators between list items in Kirigami-based apps now have a more subtle and less attention-getting appearance (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.77):

The desktop drag-and-drop menu no longer has an unnecessary extra separator in it (David Redondo, Frameworks 5.77)

Section headers in Kirigami-based apps now word-wrap properly when they are very long or when their window/view is very narrow (Carson Black, Frameworks 5.77)


Phew, that felt more like a month’s worth of work. I am constantly in awe of the KDE community’s productivity!

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.

43 thoughts on “This week in KDE: Tons of improvements to our core apps

  1. >>Dolphin’s URL navigator now lives in its toolbar! (Felix Ernst, Dolphin 20.12)
    Yay, some vertical space gain finally! Thank you Felix!
    For some reason I thought KDE devs won’t do it ever. Nice to see I was wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. IIRC Felix had a proof of concept to toggle the navigator between the toolbar and below. Will this be built in again?
      How does it work now for the split view in 20.12?

      Finally, I love this navigator’s look: https://phabricator.kde.org/T12308 ❤ Can we have it? :-]
      It's so much more modern, awesome and clear compared to the current one in my eyes!

      Like

    2. It’s a struggle to see how it’s a user interface improvement with the way it’s been done, since it *removes* the ability to put the toolbar at the left or right (“The toolbar is forced to be either at the top or bottom of the window.”) That’s a problem for users who currently have it there. It also presumably has less space when a twin pane view is used, it assumes the user has the toolbar visible, and it’s going to look out of place if the user has toolbar icons with text underneath.

      Couldn’t the user be given the option to move the navigator instead of affecting a bunch of other features?

      It’s just rather at odds with the way Linux and KDE normally handle breaking changes.

      FWIW I’m more bothered that Dolphin seems to be mimicking Chrome, hiding its application menu on the opposite (right-hand) side of the window behind a burger menu. That kind of UI inconsistency is a pain when teaching users, makes features less discoverable, affects keyboard mnemonics, and affects people with vision or mobility issues.

      Like

    3. I don’t think I like moving the addresws bar into the toolbar, it takes away space to add buttons to the toolbar. I usually add buttons to Dolphin to make it more useful; Up, Home, open terminal, new tab. I put text next to the buttons too. Now most of the toolbar is one step away from a hamburger menu, form over function, to save about 30pixels vertically. In a web browser that is usually full screen width yes there is space for button left & right of the address bar, but I often have Dolphin non-full screen hence the toolbar/address bar mashup will possibly run out of horizontal space?

      Like

  2. > Elisa now lets you edit tracks’ metadata from inside the app!

    That’s awesome but I think the album cover looks somehow misplaced. What about giving it some padding and putting a frame around it so that it doesn’t look so wrong on the gray background.

    Can you change album cover there too with overlay buttons like you have for the Plasma Style in the System Settings? 🙂

    Like

  3. > You can now download new KRunner Runners from store.kde.org straight from the System Settings page

    Kind of ironic that the TmuxRunner’s description says
    > The easiest way to install is curl https://
    in the Addon Installer. 😀

    Like

  4. Here’s an idea. How about getting rid of that eyesore thin blue line-frame in Dolphin, and also making the taskbar background at the bottom all white to match the main background? https://images2.imgbox.com/17/49/3ZiLTzne_o.jpg This would make a very modern, polished and sleek improvement without sacrificing usability. With just a little subtle tweak… In my opinion, that is.

    Like

      1. Yes, those super-nice mockups have been on the table for quite a while now, and I would have liked to see that happening too, but it looks to me that much of a change won’t happen anytime soon. So my proposal is a compromise, one that I think doesn’t require as much work as a complete overhaul of the UI and yet still is a noticeable change/improvement and a step towards the examples in the mockups. ..fingers crossed for 5.21 =)

        Like

          1. Actually on 2nd thoughts, the thin blue box in dolphin is kind of neat. Maybe just a toggle to have it on or off would work.

            Like

  5. I hope that the network applet search feature has autofocus like you click on the systray network icon and you don’t have to click in the search field also, but just type directly and it will write the typed characters there.

    Like

  6. It’s nice to read about all these improvements, but what I’d like to see is improvement in multi monitor support. Things like the screen lock doesn’t work when external monitor is connected, or disconnecting the external monitor disables desktop effects. Little things but very annoying.

    Like

  7. Excellent news.
    Some suggestions:
    1) Is it possible to generate a session about suggestions separated from the bug session on “KDe-bug” site?
    2) Is it possible integrate Firefox based on Wayland, such as Fedora make available?
    One feedback: once switched to PLASMA based on Wayland the screen becomes black without any possibility to access the desktop. That’s my system features:
    Operating System: KDE neon 5.20
    KDE Plasma Version: 5.20.3
    KDE Frameworks Version: 5.75.0
    Qt Version: 5.15.1
    Kernel Version: 5.4.0-53-generic
    OS Type: 64-bit
    Processors: 4 × AMD Athlon(tm) X4 840 Quad Core Processor
    Memory: 7.8 GiB of RAM
    Graphics Processor: GeForce GTX 1050 Ti/PCIe/SSE2
    My system uses Nvidia drivers. Probably, the notice about the possibility to access Wayland PLASMA desktop without any command in the terminal from the previous post works only with MESA drivers…

    Like

  8. Personally I am not very happy with the integration of the URL navigator in the toolbar.
    I use several buttons with text in the toolbar. And now I have very little space left for the URL navigation bar unless I extend Dolphin to the whole screen. Besides, it takes a longer time, even if only a few hundred milliseconds, to find the navigation bar :-/

    Here is a screenshot: https://ibb.co/PFR2QgV

    Like

    1. Yeah, as a design choice it only works for users with the same sort of setup and resolution as the person who made the change. Everyone else loses their setup.

      Like

      1. I was wondering if I’m the only one in the world who added more buttons to the toolbar in Dolphin. This is a great way for me to quickly change functions and views with one mouse click without having to open the context menu and search for the right function there. Especially this very versatile and flexible customization I have always enjoyed very much with KDE/Plasma.

        The display of the navigation bar in split mode is even more useless with my configuration.

        Like

      2. Ich habe mich schon gefragt, ob ich der einzige auf der Welt bin, der die Toolbar in Dolphin um weitere Knöpfe angepasst hat. Das ist für mich eine tolle Möglichkeit, um schnell Funktionen und Ansichten mit einem Mausklick zu ändern, ohne das Kontextmenü öffnen zu müssen und dort die passende Funktion zu suchen. Gerade diese sehr vielfältige und flexible Anpassbarkeit habe ich bei KDE/Plasma immer sehr genossen.

        Die Darstellung der Navigationsleiste im Split-Modus ist bei mir, mit meiner Konfiguration nun noch unbrauchbarer.

        Like

  9. > Dolphin’s URL navigator now lives in its toolbar

    WTF will happen to a panel with more buttons than the default?? I’m sorry but to me it seems a very gnome-style new “feature”…let’s remove and condense things to save some space, who cares if we break up dozens of useful – and legit, given the customizability of Plasma – use-cases.
    See the screenshot below…I really cannot imagine how it could be managed in a sensible way.
    https://ibb.co/RPRKmDK

    Like

  10. Amazing volume of work!

    The only one where I am conflicted is where Dolphin’s URL navigator now lives in its toolbar. I do like that it cleans up the visual space, but OTOH, when I configure Kubuntu for my friends and clients, I add extra functionality buttons in that area, like “Create Folder”, “Sort By”, and “Split”. How will that work with extra buttons?

    As a side note. I find that it’s an absolute essential to have a “Create Folder” button for users, as it’s a task that people do often, though it’s otherwise hidden in the GUI. If not, I would need to educate my users to “right-click in an empty space, then select Create New, then Folder”. That’s awkward.

    Like

  11. When will KDE Plasma have some more blur and/or transparency by default? I know may it’s just a fashion in the DE’s/operating systems world, but KDE include almost zero UI transparency in, it’s a little unsightly to see.
    Ok, there’s some projects which this type of look is a bit inadequate for they to brought by default, like Gnome and XFCE, but i think it fits perfectly with Plasma.
    I personally don’t like the blur overkill made by MacOS, but the way Windows has done it is good, and maybe it will be even better soon (Microsoft is working on a serious redesign for W10 next year, it seems they will introduce more blur and transparency, not an overdone thing, though).
    Great work done this week, guys!

    Like

  12. The vast majority of improvements to Plasma and its ecosystem are actually improvements but what has been done to Dolphin is not. It breaks my configuration (https://i.imgur.com/eehfg89.png) and I suspect that I’m not alone in this. Positioning the URL navigator in the toolbar should be a configurable “feature”.

    Configurability has always been KDE’s USP and the fact that breaking changes are being made without it being an option makes me worry for KDE’s future. Is it heading towards Gnome’s “our way or the highway” way of doing things?

    Like

  13. Can you please look at launch feedback? The default being bouncy cursor is sooo childish and distracting while the other choices aren’t much better and just don’t fit in with the rest of the desktop. Why can’t we have a busy cursor like other desktops use for this?

    Like

    1. Heh I really like the bouncy cursor. I agree that more options would be better. A boring spinner would be sane enough to offer as an optional thing though.

      Like

  14. Hello,

    as I said in the Kde forum, there are two things I would like to see in the next version.

    1. A virtual keyboard who work without problem. For now, it is not the case. Or get a replacement virtual keyboard for xorg and wayland (external virtual keyboard), for me, the best is Qtvkbd. But for now, it is only supported on Xorg (not in Wayland). The developer of Qtvkbd said he was ready to accept help if necessary.

    2. Have an alternative of Kgamma or xgamma on Wayland. The night color option is not for me the best option to set the colors of the screen or to correct the gamma on the screen.

    Otherwise, thanks for your work.

    Like

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