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)
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!