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! πŸ™‚

36 thoughts on “KDE roadmap for 2021

  1. I was waiting for this post. I like this kind of larger scale roadmaps, as they show progress a bit better, especially when revisiting them after some time.

    Still, I am not going to lie, I was kind of expecting some more items here to be excited about. But I compared with the last roadmap and I might just have a bias as I am currently already following some of the items mentioned here, which I weren’t for the last roadmap. And it is not like all items on here are small, the top ones with Wayland and Breeze Theme evolution will probably take alot of work, despite them looking small here on the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, in advance I apologize for any grammatical errors that may happen, as my English is very poor. I’m brazilian.Nate, thank you so much for all the effort and dedication in developing KDE and the entire project ecosystem! In these 6 years of Linux, I just didn’t use Plasma in my first year (2014, Ubuntu 16.04), since then I’ve never been far from KDE and its software.
    I have been using Arch Linux with Plasma for two years and always in the Wayland session. I went through some setbacks, because I knew it was in development and that in the near future it would improve, and in the past year, in fact things have improved in support of Wayland and the prospects only increase and, with them, the expectation also increases!
    I had no doubt that 2021 would be the year of KDE. After your post, I am absolutely certain that 2021 is the year of the KDE Community!
    I hope that 2021 will also be the year that I finally contribute in some way to this community that I identify with so much.

    Happy New Year, Nate and “Komunity”!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m sure their portuguese es far worse than your english. You are making the effort of speaking a stranger language and that’s always kind. Don’t ever apologize for others not being able to understand your language πŸ˜‰


      Liked by 2 people

    2. πŸ™‚Thank you for the words. One of the reasons I have to learn and improve my English is precisely to contribute to the KDE community. And his attitude represents exactly what this community is like: friendly, polite, welcoming and above all, united. This is part of the KDE community and one of the things I like most about it. Have a nice day! πŸ˜ŽπŸ‘

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As the Breeze evolution concerns, a refurbish of the colour theming app would be more important than other things, IMO. I tried to create my own colorschemes but it’s tedious as hell, and it’s not user frendly at all. I think modding or deskmodding KDE/plasma has never been easy and it would be great to improve into this direction as to achieve the user feels that this it’s desktop.

    Regarding it’s design, it would be awesome to be able to reorder the “Places”, “Search for”, “Devices” left sidebar widgets.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The color scheme editor being convoluted and difficult to use (I don’t understand the dropdown categories) is something I’ve dealt with, but never realized it should be changed until now.


  4. A big thank you for all the KDE community for their amazing work during this year, so many exciting thing happened or have been set in course!
    And a special thank you to you Nate, for taking the time to keep us all updated on the exciting stuff going on, on top of what you already do.

    For 2021, if I have a little wish, it would be that the scanning situation in KDE got addressed.
    I think KDE deserves a scanning application that can at least play in the same playground as its gnome counterpart: gscan2pdf, and that can sit shamelessly beside killer apps such as Konsole, Kate, Dolphin, in term of richness in functionalities and simplicity of usability…
    I don’t know if that can be a candidate for a GSOC or anything… maybe having an entry on Phabricator might help… I don’t know if it would be easier to pimp up existing skanlite or kde-fy gscan2pdf (keeping what can be kept under the hood, and “Qt-ify/Plasmafy” the IU while keeping what can be kept from the existing UX to not re-invent the wheel)… anything, but something must be done about it.

    Lighting a candle to the dragon deities and praying hard!


    1. We have Skanlite, but I agree with you that it needs some work in the usability and features department. I’m using GNOME’s SimpleScan for PDF scanning fir now.


    2. Yeah, KDE sucks at office stuff. We don’t even have a decent OCR interface. Tesseract does a nice job, but their interfaces are awful. Nothing comparable to Omnipage, in Windows even if OP’s OCR engine isn’t better than latest releases of Tesseract.
      And voice reader is also useless, the voice synthesizers you can use for listening your mail in Kmail while you do something else, so you improve your productivity, are like a 70s science-fiction movie and you can’t understand anything, also it causes headache if you try to listen for too long.
      There isn’t text prediction nor grammar check, even if mobiles have had it for decades. Believe it or not, I make less mistakes writing on my phone than on my PC, not because I type better on tiny fake keyboards, but because mobiles have real typing helping tools.
      And let alone Calligra Words, “the promise” of the light and efficient text editors, which received a 100k euros donation a couple of years ago and nobody knows what happened with that money since no notable progress has been made in a lustrum at least.

      Sadly, excepting Libreoffice, one needs to launch Virtualbox and start a virtual Windows session if wants to do serious work. Fortunately we have a plethora of media players instead. πŸ˜€ πŸ’ƒ

      Oh, yeah, all this has been reported years ago by several bug reporters. But developers just think, and so they have said in some comments, these matters aren’t useful or interesting enough for the majority, and since we can’t condition our donations, there are no “bounties” in KDE, like there are in other software projects, we can only pay and STFU… So… Well, 2021 and we still have a worse environment for office tasks than Windows 2000.


    3. The real reason why we don’t have these things is because they re very challenging engineering tasks. If this stuff was easy, it would have been done already. This is why I’m supportive of the idea of KDE hiring people to do challenging engineering work, but that’s hard too, because money is limited. 100k euros is nothing. That’s enough to pay one decent engineer for one year. If KDE was sitting on 15 million euros, sure, things would be different.


  5. I love the current, classic layout of the Kickoff menu, and like me also some other users.
    So, I don’ like the new layout that you have proposed

    If you want to change the Kickoff menu, please, make available also the old layout.
    I don’t think it’s polish to force some users to embrace changes that they don’t want and they don’t need.
    Made users able to choose is the best way of doing changes.
    GNOME docet


    1. Thank you Nate

      I home it will be ported also for qt6 – Plasma 6 when the time will come.
      I love the classic style things


    1. While that is nice, it seems to be about disabling reflow in Konsole, not about disabling CSD for GTK apps πŸ™‚


  6. I have to admit that per-screen scaling on X11 would have been really nice, but I can see that putting the same effort into a working Wayland session is more future-proof…


  7. Hi Nate!!

    First of all, happy new year and thank you very much for all the effort and the work on KDE!!!

    I was wondering if any of the work on the per-screen scaling on X11 would come in handy for the per-screen scaling of XWayland applications and/or if there is any plan for fixing that.

    Thank you again and stay safe!!


  8. The Kickoff replacement reminds me of Lancelot from the KDE4 days, which is good, I’ve missed Lancelot and could never get Excalibur (the spiritual successor) to work


  9. Wayland session improved, by a lot! However, it still has a loooooong way to go:

    – Global menu still (or maybe again) doesn’t work.
    – Hybrid GPUs, especially with Nvidia are still not well-supported (not a KDE fault but still, it’s a big user base).
    – Wine doesn’t work properly although there is light in the tunnel recently, so gaming on Wayland is still a bad idea.
    – Wayland session is still a memory hog, probably because of Xwayland running parallelly? Anyway, it feels big and slow compared to Xorg, although there are some projects that aim to change that.
    – Wayland feels incredibly unstable. Use it for a few minutes, and you start seeing some weird, small stuff that doesn’t work as it should, although… it works, which I couldn’t say the same 2 years ago, where plasmashell crashed immediately after the login or got permanent system freezes, etc. so yeah, there is a visible improvement, but I wouldn’t be so sure that it gets to be usable this year. Maybe for some small niche?


    1. It’s already usable for a small niche of people; many Plasma and KWin devs are using it full-time and have for years. I think the way this will work is that the circle of people able to use it without tearing their hair out will just expand over time as more people find the X11 session’s bugs and feature omissions more annoying than those of the Wayland session.


    2. What about global menus? From what I recall, you posted somewhere that it was working on Wayland, and now it isn’t (again?). Are there any plans to bring them back or maybe add them properly?


  10. Would be nice if SDDM supports passwordless logins (eg. for computers or kiosks where a password isn’t necessary). At the moment it will fail to log in any passwordless user.


    1. Except for some reason it doesn’t (v0.18 on Debian 10). It comes up with “Password failed.”
      From a usability perspective it shouldn’t even display the password field if the user account is passwordless.


  11. Hi Nate!
    Huge thank you again for the weekly updates on the truly incredible and exciting work going on with KDE and Plasma! For the fingerprint work in the stack, is this being architected as a generic biometric architecture or something fingerprint specific? With the proliferation of alternative biometric authentication methods (e.g. face unlock), a biometric framework rather than a fingerprint specific framework might be more future-proof. Super exciting either way πŸ™‚ thank you again!


  12. I really wish plasma to give 1:1 gestures like in windows 10 and the upcoming elementary os 6 . As a laptop user, thats what I wish for the most right now .


    1. Let’s see, we have text reflow in Konsole, we have the new Kickoff, and most of the rest of the Breeze Evolution stuff is on track to be merged in Plasma 5.23. The Plasma wayland session feels almost production-ready to me in Plasma 5.22, and I think there’s a strong chance it can be declared as such in 5.23. All the other stuff is still in progress and I can’t make any stronger guaranteed.

      I should do a new blog post, probably.


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