This week in KDE: a little bit of everything

Fixing up Plasma 5.21 continues, and we also did a lot of UI polishing this week:

New Features

A Task manager can now be configured to not cause its hidden panel to become visible when one of its apps or tasks receives a “needs attention” status (Michael Moon, Plasma 5.22)

You can now apply global themes, color schemes, cursor themes, plasma themes, and wallpapers from the command-line, using some fancy new CLI tools with names like plasma-apply-colorscheme (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Plasma 5.22)

KDE apps now support the HEIF and HEIC image formats (Daniel Novomeský, Frameworks 5.80)

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Spectacle’s compression quality setting can now be set to 100% (Natsumi Higa, Spectacle 20.12.3)

Having kio-fuse installed no longer breaks KRunner’s ability to display man: and info: URLs in your web browser (Fabian Vogt, kio-fuse 5.0.1)

The KWin window manager no longer sometimes crashes in the Plasma Wayland session when you copy something in an XWayland app and immediately paste it in a native Wayland app (Jan Blackquill, Plasma 5.21.1)

Plasma no longer sometimes crashes when closing the Audio Volume applet (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21.1)

The new Plasma System Monitor app no longer crashes on close when a custom page was open (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21.1)

System Settings no longer crashes when you open and close the new Firewall page twice (Tomaz Canabrava, Plasma 5.21.1)

KRunner can once again execute executable script files (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.21.1)

You can once again delete or disable unwanted fonts from the System Settings Font Management page (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21.1)

The Network Speed widget finally finally finally works again! (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21.1)

The screen selection OSD once again works with keyboard navigation (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.21.1)

The Lock/Logout applet can once again be configured to not show the “Shut Down” action (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21.1)

The headers on System Settings pages are now horizontally aligned with the header over the sidebar (Ismael Asensio, Plasma 5.21.1)

Scrolling all the way to the bottom of any app list in Discover no longer causes a spurious “Loading more stuff…” indicator to appear at the bottom (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.21.1)

Key repeat is really actually finally re-enabled by default again now. Sorry about this. 😦 (Jan Blackquill and David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21.2)

System Settings no longer crashes when clearing the history from the Activities page (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21.2)

Screens in the System Settings Display Configuration page are once again draggable (Marco Martin, Plasma 5.21.2)

In the System Settings Icons page, the bottom row of buttons now moves buttons that can’t fit into the available space into an overflow menu, which is useful on Plasma Mobile in particular (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Plasma 5.21.2):

Kickoff’s section headers which consist of more than just a single letter are no longer all caps (sorry for causing this regression) (Mikel Johnson, Plasma 5.21.2)

System Tray icons in very very thin panels should no longer be slightly blurry (Niccolò Venerandi, Plasma 5.21.2)

Virtual keyboards no longer cover Plasma panels when they’re visible (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.22)

Renaming an image file to have the same name that another also-renamed file used to have no longer causes the newly-renamed file to display the wrong thumbnail (Méven Car, Frameworks 5.80)

The Baloo file indexer no longer tries to index Ninja build files (Peter Eszalri, Frameworks 5.80)

Closing a “Get new [thing]” window no longer causes the view in the window that created it to scroll up to the top, if it was scrolled to a different position (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Frameworks 5.80)

In the “Get new [thing]” dialogs, the icon in the top-left corner of each item indicating its status (installed, updatable, etc) no longer gets slightly cut off on the left side (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Frameworks 5.80)

User Interface Improvements

NeoChat 1.1 is out with tons and tone of improvements! Sorry I haven’t been keeping up with them here. You can see it all over at Carl’s blog.

Konsole’s text reflow feature now works better for users of the zsh shell (Carlos Alves, Konsole 21.04)

Dolphin is now a bit faster to display thumbnail previews (Méven Car, Dolphin 21.04)

When using a color scheme without Header colors (e.g. the old Breeze color scheme), a line is no longer drawn between an app’s toolbar and the main content area (Various people, Plasma 5.21.1)

GTK headerbar apps now display minimize/maximize/etc buttons that match the rest of your apps even when you’re using an Aurorae window decoration theme (Alois Wohlschlager, Plasma 5.21.2)

Discover’s search for Flatpak apps now more heavily weights title matches and higher user ratings (Aleix Pol Gonzales, Plasma 5.22):

Discover now makes it clearer in the search and browse lists when an app comes from a non-default backend (Aleix Pol Gonzalez and me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.22):

Discover’s compact/mobile view now makes it clear on the home page when there are updates available (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Plasma 5.22):

When there is only one audio device available, you can hover your cursor over its generic name in the Plasma Audio Volume applet to see its full name, just in case you forgot which device was connected (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.22):

Notifications that inform you of some kind of file operation with a known destination URL now always display an “Open containing folder” button (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.22)

Spinboxes in QML-based software will now send newly-changed values to the app immediately rather than requiring that you hit the return/enter key or de-focus the control (David Redondo, Frameworks 5.80)

When a sidebar is collapsed in a Kirigami app, that app’s toolbar content now moves with buttery smoothness (Marco Martin, Frameworks 5.80)

Web presence

Carl Schwan overhauled and online Kirigami documentation:

Niccolò Venerandi published video number three in his video series about how to make a Plasma theme:

How You Can Help

Have a look at 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: Plasma 5.21 is finally here!

This week we released Plasma 5.21 and have been hard at work fixing the bugs you fine folks have found with it. 🙂 Frankly I’m pretty exhausted after a long week so let’s just get right into it:

New Features

Kate now lets you perform basic git operations from within the app, such as viewing diffs, staging, committing, and stashing! (Waqar Ahmed, Kate 21.04)

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Ark no longer asks for confirmation twice when you update a file in an archive (Jan Paul Batrina, Ark 21.04)

Keyboard repeat is no longer disabled (Jan Blackquill, Plasma 5.21.1, and most distros have already rolled it out early)

The Task Manager once again allows you to run non-distro-provided executable programs you’ve pinned to it (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.21.1)

The Plasma Wayland session no longer crashes on login when using an Nvidia Optimus laptop (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.21.1)

Trying to log out no longer sometimes just fails (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21.1)

The fancy new Plasma System Monitor app introduced with Plasma 5.21 no longer crashes on launch when not using the optional Systemd startup feature (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21.1)

Hard Disk Activity widgets now display the correct information again (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21.1)

Clicking on a screenshot in Discover now displays the correct one (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.21.1)

The Kickoff Application Launcher now works with a stylus (Mikel Johnson, Plasma 5.21.1)

Plasma no longer takes a long time to load when the splash screen is disabled when using the optional Systemd startup feature (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21.1)

The KWin window manager regains an option to disable screen tearing protection and maximize the refresh rate irrespective of what the GPU says (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.21.1)

The back arrow in System Settings’ sidebar header no longer looks wrong when using a non-Breeze icon theme (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21.1)

Syncing your user settings to the SDDM login screen now actually causes non-default font settings to take effect there, at least when using SDDM 0.19 or later (Filip Fila and David Redondo, Plasma 5.21.1)

Section headers in the new Kickoff menu’s “All Applications” category are no longer lowercase when the first item in that section begins with a lowercase letter (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21.1)

Your wobbly windows once again wobble correctly (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.21.1)

Vertical and horizontal maximization now works in the Plasma Wayland session (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.22)

System Settings’ Window Rules page now enabled its “Apply” button as soon as you change anything, not when you move to something else (Ismael Asensio, Plasma 5.22)

KTextEditor-based apps no longer crash when you clear all of their bookmarks (Christoph Cullmann, Frameworks 5.80)

Plasma no longer crashes when you install a Windows app using WINE (Kai Uwe Broulik, Frameworks 5.80)

The buttons on either side of KRunner’s text field no longer display glitchy tooltips when no search results are visible (Noah Davis, Frameworks 5.80)

System Settings now arranges the columns in the correct order when using a right-to-left language and a large window size (Marco Martin, Frameworks 5.80)

Grid views in System Settings and elsewhere no longer display irritating misalignment for adjacent items where one has a subtitle and the other does not (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.80):

The Baloo file indexer no longer tries to index .swp swap files (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.80)

User Interface Improvements

Discover no longer truncates reviews shown on app pages (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21.1)

The System Settings Boot Splash page now uses the nicer new-style Get New [Thing] dialog (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.22)

How You Can Help

Have a look at 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: Plasma 5.21 approaches!

There are just a few days left before Plasma 5.21 is released, so get ready! And check out all this cool stuff too. Train doesn’t stop!

New Features

Kate’s project plugin now offers you the ability to switch git branches right there in the main UI (Waqar Ahmed, Kate 21.04):

Plasma’s Audio Volume applet now offers you the opportunity to change a device’s audio profile right there in the applet, without having to go elsewhere (Kai Use Broulik, Plasma 5.22):

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Kate no longer sometimes creates a new document when closing tabs with a middle-click (Jan Paul Batrina,c Kate 21.04)

Dolphin no longer crashes when viewing large folders in Tree view (Felix Ernst, Dolphin 21.04)

QML-based apps that override the theme no longer crash when that theme is Breeze (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21)

Neither Plasma nor the whole session will crash when dragging a file over a Task Manager entry in the Plasma Wayland session (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.21)

Fixed a bug that could cause widgets to sometimes be irremovable from a panel (Niccolò Venerandi, Plasma 5.21)

Non-Task-Manager panel applets once again respect Fitts’ law regarding their click targets (Niccolò Venerandi, Plasma 5.21)

The buttons in Plasma’s “new screen connected” OSD once again work (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21)

KRunner’s Locations runner now works again (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.21)

Plasma no longer sometimes crashes when deleting an activity (Willyanto, Plasma 5.21)

Disk monitoring widgets now show the correct information for current throughput and no longer display “Total Uploaded” when they should be displaying “Upload Rate” (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21)

Discover is now substantially faster to launch (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.21)

Fedora’s Anaconda installer now works in the Plasma Wayland session (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.21)

Discover no longer sometimes shows bogus extra sources in its “Sources” menu when viewing the details page for a Flatpak app (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.21)

KWin now detects hot-plugged VR headsets (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.21)

Reducing the screen brightness to the lowest level such that it turns off the backlight no longer causes the backlight to flicker back on for a moment before turning off again (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.21)

Scrollbars in Breeze-GTK-themed GTK apps no longer display stepper arrows when they shouldn’t (Jan Blackquill, Plasma 5.21)

Discover’s “Write a review” sheet is no longer almost unusably narrow (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21.1)

It’s now possible to immediately apply newly-downloaded wallpapers whose names include a space (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Frameworks 5.79)

When comparing two files in the move/copy overwrite dialog, size differences larger than 2 GiB are no longer erroneously described as being 16 EiB (!!!) (Méven Car, Frameworks 5.80)

Konsole no longer crashes when searching for new appearance settings using the Get New [thing] dialog (Alexander Lohnau, Frameworks 5.80)

Slightly improved the launch speed of all Kirigami-using apps (Arjen Hiemstra, Frameworks 5.80)

The few remaining settings pages that open in standalone windows now look good again (Ismael Asensio and me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.80):

User Interface Improvements

Gwenview now allows you to change the quality/compression level for other lossy image formats, such as WEBP, AVIF, HEIF, and HEIC (me: Nate Graham, Gwenview 21.04)

Kate now enables by default the feature to cut or copy the current line when nothing is selected and you use the cut or copy action (Alexander Lohnau, Kate 21.04)

Resizing Dolphin’s window now re-arranges the icons using a single smooth animation, not a weird two-part animation (Felix Ernst, Dolphin 21.04)

Hitting the escape key while in Okular’s full-screen view now returns to the windowed view (Michael Augaitis, Okular 21.04)

The new Wayland-specific keyboard layout applet now has text that scales with the thickness of the panel it’s located on (Andrey Butirsky, Plasma 5.21)

System Settings’ Window Decorations page now uses the fancy shiny new QML-based Get New [thing] window instead of the old funky QWidgets one (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.22)

System Settings’ Virtual Desktops page now supports the “Highlight changed settings” feature (Cyril Rossi, Plasma 5.22)

You can now configure the Disks & Devices applet to play a sound when a device can be safely removed (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.22)

Web Presence (ooh, let’s try out a new section)

Carl Schwan overhauled Kate’s website to use our fancy modern new theme:

Niccolò Venerandi published part two in his video series about how to create a plasma theme:

Leszek Lesner published a video about kio-fuse, which makes it easier to interact with remote files:

How You Can Help

Have a look at 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.

The FOSS honor culture

Tux with rocket launcher, taken from

In the real world, anthropologists often make a distinction between Honor cultures and Law cultures:

  • Honor cultures emphasize the idea of “honor”–whose modern analogue might be “reputation”–to encourage pro-social behavior and fulfillment of contracts. You gain or lose honor/reputation based on the above, but you can also lose it when challenged by others, which necessitates often brutal and violent action to regain it. Historically, Honor cultures have often arisen in areas with little law enforcement or central authority; order is thus personally enforced.
  • Law cultures by contrast ensure order by having a broad and well-defined set of rules with a central authority that punishes rulebreaking. Everybody knows the rules, and knows that they will be punished for breaking them, often severely. In Law cultures, order is centrally enforced; people are free to trust one another and act pro-socially as much as possible because their safety is backstopped by the promise and threat of centralized consequences when rules are broken.

Honor cultures today are often considered primitive and backwards, while Law cultures are considered civilized and advanced. There’s a pretty logical reason for this: real-world Honor cultures have tended to evolve brutal and violent methods of regaining lost honor, including dueling, kidnapping, forced marriage, “honor killings”, and family blood feuds. The ordinariness of brutality in Honor cultures tends to push away the gentle and intellectual when migration opportunities exist, so they are weak and poor in a world where power and wealth come from knowledge. Thus Law cultures are ascendant today, and Honor cultures are on the wane… except in one notable area: the internet.

On the internet, there is no real central authority to punish rule-breakers, and there isn’t even a codified set of rules! Each website is basically someone’s private property, and personal behavior on that virtual property requires adherence to the owner’s rules. It’s up to the owners to police their domains, ensure standards of conduct, personally punish violators, maintain their own community reputation, and so on. Is this sounding familiar yet? The internet has evolved a pseudo Honor culture to maintain a semblance of order!

And FOSS communities, being largely digital in nature, follow suit. Though we do occasionally meet up in person, within the physical boundaries of Law cultures (or at least we will again once the global pandemic is over), most FOSS interactions happen online, where the tenets of Honor culture are more applicable.

Now, there’s one major difference between internet Honor culture and physical Honor culture: you can’t kidnap or murder someone over the internet, so regaining your lost honor or repairing an impugned reputation has to be non-violent! It doesn’t have to be pleasant–a jerk may deploy an invective-filled rant, a troll campaign, or a denial-of-service attack–but it can’t physically harm or kill anyone. This removes the most objectionable aspect of traditional, real-world Honor cultures.

It’s worth noting that in the FOSS world, our competitors are closed-source software corporations, which generally operate physically and according to the rules of Law culture: “perform this task or get punished”; “obey the hierarchy to ensure your career path”; “here is your financial bonus for good performance”; and so on. And like real-world Honor vs Law cultures, the FOSS world tends unfortunately to be weaker and poorer than the closed-source one. Earning a living doing FOSS development is a common struggle. And our market share is much lower even though our output is generally better, and always more trustworthy over the long term. Overall, our internet Honor culture causes us to fit less well into the rest of the Law-culture world of rules, laws, financial instruments and hierarchies: corporations effortlessly partner, merge, hire, fire, invest, divest, buy, and sell using legal instruments, while in the FOSS world, these activities generally take place in the realm of the personal, and therefore happen much more slowly, if at all.

However the most successful FOSS projects are supported by Law-culture institutions to help bridge the gap: Firefox has the Mozilla corporation; KDE has the KDE e.V., Blender has the Blender Foundation, and so on. In the same way that a corporation existing in a democracy can be internally a dictatorship, a FOSS community in a Law culture can be internally an Honor culture. Thus internet-based FOSS Honor cultures may avoid being destroyed and retain our cultural distinctiveness and effectiveness in the face of real-world Law cultures.

I wonder if over time we will be pushed into becoming more of a Law culture to maintain and expand our competitiveness with the closed-source world, or whether our Law-culture institutions will prove a sufficient interface and allow us to remain internally an Honor culture. Food for thought, at least.

If you were hoping for a tidy conclusion, I’m afraid I have to disappoint you: this blog post is mostly a random idle musing. 🙂

(Header image taken from

This week in KDE: KWin gains direct scan-out, and Gwenview gets a lot of love

Plasma 5.21 is almost here, but we’ve already fixed almost all the issues found during the beta and are hard at work on the next big thing! This includes some very juicy morsels…

New Features

You can now open a folder in Kate’s “Project” view by passing it as a command-line parameter (e.g. kate ~/path/to/some/folder) (Alexander Lohnau, Kate 21.04)

In Gwenview, it’s now possible to disable the “bird’s eye view” in the bottom-right corner when zoomed in on an image (Madhav Kanbur, Gwenview 21.04)

in the Plasma Wayland session, KWin now does direct scan-out for fullscreen views (e.g. games), which should improve performance and reduce latency (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.22)

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Gwenview no longer exhibits a variety of visual artifacts when panning and zooming in on an image when using a High DPI scale factor (Vlad Zahorodnii, Gwenview 20.12.2)

Gwenview’s JPEG quality chooser now works again (Madhav Kanbur, Gwenview 20.12.3)

Gwenview now uses a newer OpenGL drawing view, which makes hardware-accelerated transitions work on Wayland and fixes various other bugs and glitches (Madhav Kanbur, Gwenview 20.12.3)

The new Breeze theme changes no longer make the 3rd-party Cantata app (and potentially others) crash on launch, and also no longer produce a light-colored line directly below the intended dark one that separates a window’s “Tools Area” (titlebar, menubar, toolbar) from the rest of the window (Jan Blackquill, Plasma 5.21)

KRunner’s matching has been restored to its former glory: it no longer prioritizes multi-word sub-string matches over single-word exact matches, and just has more accurate matching in general (Harald Sitter, Plasma 5.21)

Fixed screen rendering for multi-GPU output in the Plasma Wayland session (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.21)

Firefox now updates its view correctly in the Plasma Wayland session (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.21)

People using weak Intel GPUs no longer suffer diminished performance and smoothness both in general, and specifically with Firefox scrolling (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.21)

Menu items in GTK-based apps are no longer too tall (Jan Blackquill, Plasma 5.21)

Files which contain non-ASCII characters can now always be opened (Tusooa Zhu, Frameworks 5.79)

Dolphin no longer crashes when you skip moving or copying multiple files in quick succession during a large move or copy operation (Ahmad Samir, Frameworks 5.79)

KDE apps which were closed while maximized now always re-open maximized, and if they were later un-maximized and closed, they will re-open un-maximized (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.79)

User Interface Improvements

The “Start a Slideshow” menu item in Dolphin’s context menu now only appears if the selection includes more than one image or a folder with more than one image in it (Méven Car, Gwenview 21.04)

You can now mute and unmute the microphone by clicking on its System Tray indicator with a left click, in addition to a middle-click (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.21)

You can now double- or triple-click in a notification to select text as you can in other text views, which is useful for quickly selecting and copying the text of a one-time code sent to you from a website that’s displayed as a notification through the magic of KDE Connect forwarding text messages to your computer (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.22)

Notifications for file operations now display the destination as a clickable link, so you can jump right there if you want to (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.22):

The System Tray’s animations are now more spatially consistent, swooshing the view in the opposite direction from the icon you clicked on. On a vertical panel, a cross-fade is used instead because a vertical swoosh would look really weird. (Jan Blackquill, Plasma 5.22)

Telegram’s system tray icon now uses correct colors and respects your color scheme (Rocket Aaron, Frameworks 5.79):

The Present Windows effect can now activate when only one window is open (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.22)

The Get New [thing] windows now have a streamlined sorting and filtering UI (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Frameworks 5.79):

Ratings for items in the Get New [thing] windows now display a number to correspond to the stars (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Frameworks 5.79):

Oh And One More Thing

KDE Consistency goal leader Niccolò Venerandi has produced a beautiful video showing people the basics of making Plasma themes! Check it out:

How You Can Help

Have a look at 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.