This week in KDE: text reflow in Konsole!

This week a huge new feature landed in Konsole: it now reflows the text when you resize the window! This feature can be turned off if you don’t like it, but comes on by default. It works really well. Thanks very much to Carlos Alves and Tomaz Canabrava for this work! It will be released in Konsole 21.04.

Other New Features

Gwenview now lets you optionally use a solid black color while in full screen view (Antonio Prcela, Gwenview 21.04):

Dolphin now lets you configure whether newly-opened tabs go at the end of the tab bar, or after the current tab (Anthony Fieroni, Dolphin 21.04):

Ark now supports ARJ archives (Natsumi Higa, Ark 21.04)

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Spectacle now lets you change the default screenshot file format when using a non-English language (Nicolas Fella, Spectacle 20.12.2)

Elisa no longer crashes when you enqueue a song accessed using the filesystem browser view (Matthieu Gallien, Elisa 20.12.2)

Adding radio streams in Elisa now works again (Sven Marquardt, Elisa 20.12.2)

Elisa’s “Show current track” button once again works (me: Nate Graham, Elisa 20.12.2)

The “Apply” button of Elisa’s settings window now activates and deactivates at the correct times (Matthieu Gallien, Elisa 21.04)

When using a vertical panel, the date displayed below the clock no longer sometimes becomes huge (Marco Martin, Plasma 5.21)

Plasma no longer freezes when an app sends many notifications in quick succession (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.21)

Fixed various issues with Breeze theme context menu borders sometimes being invisible or pure black (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21)

The Global Menu applet now updates properly when focus is changed to or from a GTK app (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21)

When pulling up the virtual keyboard on the login or lock screen, the password field now remains focused, so the characters you type no longer disappear into the void without manually re-focusing it first (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21)

After enabling any calendar plugins in the Digital Clock, the calendar panel now appears instantly, rather than requiring Plasma to be restarted first (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.21)

Discover’s sidebar header no longer sometimes overlaps the contents after resizing the window (Marco Martin, Plasma 5.21)

Fixed a case where a newly-created panel could be placed on the wrong screen in a multi-screen setup (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.21)

KRunner once again parses and interprets hexadecimal input correctly (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.21)

Country code labels in System Settings’ Keyboard page are now legible when using a light color scheme with a Dark Plasma theme (or the reverse) (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21)

Aborting a change in System Setting’ Users page by canceling the authentication dialog no longer causes the changes to be applied anyway (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.21)

KDE Connect no longer sometimes crashes when it gets spammed with notifications (Nicolas Fella, Frameworks 5.79)

Kirigami icons in apps now consume a bit less memory, which will appreciably reduce memory usage for apps that have a lot of icons (David Edmundson, Frameworks 5.79)

User Interface Improvements

Dolphin now lets you decompress multiple archive files at a time via the context menu item (Elvis Angelaccio, Ark 20.12.2)

Ark’s preview window now closes when you hit the default “close window” shortcut (typically Ctrl+W) (Méven Car, Ark 21.04)

Ctrl+clicking on a Places panel item in Dolphin now opens it in a new tab (Kai Uwe Broulik, Dolphin 21.04)

System Settings’ Login Screen (SDDM) page has been rewritten which fixes a bunch of bugs and makes it look nicer and more consistent (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21):

It’s now possible to drag QML-based apps from empty areas of their headers and backgrounds, just like QWidgets-based apps (Marco Martin, Frameworks 5.79 with Plasma 5.21)

Plasma’s “microphone is being used” indicator now tells you which microphone is being used in its tooltip (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.21)

System Settings’ Default Applications page now supports the “Highlight default settings” feature (Cyril Rossi, Plasma 5.21)

The Global Menu applet now respects Fitts’ law by allowing you to slide your cursor from one menu to another one on the row of pixels that is touching the screen edge (Jan Blackquill, Plasma 5.21)

System Settings’ Splash Screen page now lives in the Appearance category (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21):

The “Get new Plasma Widgets” dialog now uses the much nicer new-style version (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.21):

KDE apps no longer show Docker volumes in their Places panels (Méven Car, Frameworks 5.79)

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.

This week in KDE: new KWin compositing, new Kickoff, new recording level visualization!

This week KWin’s compositing code was almost totally rewritten! It should broadly reduce latency throughout all compositing operations, and also adds a user-facing control in the System Settings Compositing page so people can choose for themselves whether they prefer lower latency or smoother animations. In addition, it brings support for mixed-refresh-rate display setups on Wayland, e.g. one 144Hz screen and one 60Hz screen! This very exciting work was completed by Vlad Zahorodnii and will land in Plasma 5.21.

But that’s not all: Plasma also got a brand new Kickoff menu, which was rewritten from the ground up and fixes more than two thirds of the open issues in the bug tracker! It features a double-pane UI with better keyboard, mouse, touch, and accessibility, RTL support, an alphabetical “All Applications” view, a grid-style favorites view, power actions visible by default with labels, and much more. Here it is:

I’d like to offer a big thanks to Mikel Johnson for this excellent contribution, which will also land in Plasma 5.21. People who liked the old Kickoff can download it from store.kde.org using the “Get new widgets” button in the “Add Widgets” panel. Search for “Legacy Kickoff”.

But there’s one more really big cool thing: The Plasma Audio Volume applet now has a little visualizer for the current recording level and output volume!

Gone are the days of being embarrassed during a meeting because your microphone is muted or way too sensitive. This lovely improvement was contributed by David Edmundson and David Redondo, and also lands in Plasma 5.21.

But that’s not all:

Other New Features

Konsole now lets you select which text editor is opened when you Ctrl+click on a text file to open it (Ahmad Samir, Konsole 21.04):

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Kate can now open files beginning with a colon from the command line (Ahmad Samir, Kate 21.04)

Right-clicking on an ISO image in Dolphin no longer imposes such a long delay before the context menu appears (Kai Uwe Broulik, Dolphin 21.04)

Dolphin’s in-toolbar breadcrumbs bar/URL navigator is now sized correctly the first time you open Dolphin (Felix Ernst, Dolphin 21.04)

Filelight now shows the correct amount of free space on a disk (Jakob Erzar, Filelight 21.04)

Filelight’s tooltip is now positioned correctly in multi-screen setups (Teemu Patana, Filelight 21.04)

The screen locker no longer sometimes consumes 100% of the CPU’s resources (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.18.7 and 5.21)

The Folder View applet now has a sane layout when used on a vertical panel greater than 50px thick (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.18.7 and 5.21)

Fixed one of the most common ways that Plasma could crash when interacting with screen-related settings (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21)

When Discover and the Emoji picker are already open but unfocused, activating them via their System Tray icons or global shortcuts now raise the existing windows properly (David Edmundson and me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21)

Fixed the Network Speed Widget for people who were seeing that it didn’t work properly for them some of the time (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21)

The “Get new [thing]” dialog now shows recently-installed content properly when you activate its “Installed” filter (Alexander Lohnau, Frameworks 5.79)

User Interface Improvements

Opening and closing split views in Dolphin is now animated (Felix Ernst, Dolphin 21.04):

Kate’s “Quick Open” panel now supports fuzzy matching (Waqar Ahmed, Kate 21.04)

Notifications about items moved to the trash no longer give you the option to open the item, because that’s just silly (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.21)

After you click on the “Connect” button in the Plasma network list, the inline password field no longer runs away from you if the list is re-ordered (Bharadwaj Raju, Plasma 5.21)

System Settings’ KWin Scripts and Accessibility pages now respect the “Highlight changed settings” feature (Cyril Rossi, Plasma 5.21)

The Maximize and Fullscreen animations now use the standard animation easing curve (in/out cubic) (Alex Rosca, Plasma 5.21):

When setting up a KWin window rule, the default value for each newly-added property is now “Apply initially”, not “Do not affect” (Michael Tunnell, Plasma 5.21)

The clipboard applet now closes when you select a history entry with the keyboard, same as when you do so using the mouse (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21)

Dolphin and other KDE apps now display thumbnail previews for ancient .ANI animated windows cursor files (Kai Uwe Broulik, Frameworks 5.79)

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.

This week in KDE: Happy new year!

KDE people mostly spent the time on a well-deserved break this week, but we still managed to get some things done. 🙂 Check it out:

New Features

Kate’s CTags plugin now includes a “Go to symbol” feature (Waqar Ahmed, Kate 21.04)

Dolphin now lets you modify the entries in the context menu so you can remove items you never ever use (Duong Do Minh Chau, Dolphin 21.04):

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Okular now more reliably recognizes Markdown files for what they are so it can render them correctly (Albert Astals Cid, Okular 20.12.1)

Further improved the speed of Kate’s search feature, nearly doubling it for the case of very long files (Waqar Ahmed, Kate 21.04)

Konsole’s terminal bell feature now triggers the system bell too (Ahmad Samir, Konsole 21.04)

KRunner’s windows runner (which finds open windows) now has tiny little thumbnail images again (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.21)

KRunner’s history view now works properly with the mouse (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.21)

The progress bar that appears in a “file is being downloaded” notification now renders correctly in all circumstances (Kai Uwe Broulik, Frameworks 5.78)

Mnemonics (those little horizontal lines that appear below letters when you hold down the alt key) now work for Plasma buttons and tabs (David Edmundson, Frameworks 5.78)

User Interface Improvements

Okular’s settings window has been modernized to use the common FormLayout style (David Hurka, Okular 21.04):

Dolphin now makes it a bit more obvious how you connect to a remote server whose URL you know when you click on the Network item in the Places panel (me: Nate Graham, Dolphin 21.04):

You can now middle-click or scroll on the entire selection area for System Tray icons, rather than just on the little icon itself (Konrad Materka, Plasma 5.21)

When searching for power-related actions in KRunner (e.g. “Shut down,” “restart,” etc), KRunner now matches partial strings and finds the actions by their English words even when your system language is set to something else (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.21)

Kate and other KTextEditor-based apps now show the dragged text while it’s being dragged (Waqar Ahmed, Frameworks 5.78)

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.

KDE roadmap for 2021

Just like last year, here are the things I expect will get done in 2021:

Leftovers from last year

We’ll finally finish up polkit-in-kio, which got closer in 2020 but didn’t quite make it. 2021 will be the year! We will probably also get power/session actions in the lock screen as this feature is necessary for Plasma Mobile, and making it work in the Plasma Desktop session as well will be fairly simple. Per-screen scaling on X11 seems unlikely given our renewed focus on Wayland, and on that subject…

Production-ready Plasma Wayland session

I’ll be honest: before 2020 the Plasma Wayland session felt like a mess to me. Nothing worked properly. But all of this changed in 2020: suddenly things started working properly. I expect the trend of serious, concentrated Wayland work to continue in 2021, and finally make Plasma Wayland session usable for an increasing number of people’s production workflows.

Fingerprint support throughout the stack

This is already in progress! It’s a lot of work because support needs to be added in SDDM, the lock screen, KAuth, Polkit… There are a lot of moving pieces to put together. I think 2021 will be the year that it finally happens!

Finish up Breeze Evolution

This work is in progress and about half of it has already been merged, to be released in Plasma 5.21. I expect the rest will land in Plasma 5.22 and possible 5.23 later in the year. At that point, the project will be complete and our apps will look super modern and awesome!

Kickoff replacement

A super-fantastic replacement for the venerable Kickoff application launcher has been in heavy development throughout 2020, according to the spec that VDG wrote in 2019. It’s almost done, and I expect it to be merged soon and be released in Plasma 5.21.

Reflowing text in Konsole

This is already in progress and very close to being done! 2021 will be the year that Konsole’s window finally re-flows the text when you resize it.


I feel like we’re getting really really close to the goal of having a mainstream-hardware-ready software stack. In some ways we’re already there, especially when you compare our stuff to some of the weaker offerings in the market. We need to keep plugging away, and start thinking about the next steps: more hardware partnerships, closer coordination with distros, and more engineering effort for our own Neon distro. 2021 is going to be a great year for KDE and KDE users! So what are you waiting for? Get involved! 🙂