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 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.

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

  1. Looking forward to the arrival of Plasma 5.21 and its news / improvements! With each update, the consistency of Plasma and the entire KDE ecosystem is notorious, and I am happy to witness that and now, in some way participate in this, even if reporting bugs and not developing (this will stay for the next life, my 44 years old no longer allow such a learning curve 😁).
    I only feel sorry to have left Arch and migrated to openSUSE Tumbleweed, since Arch does not generate the necessary backtraces for reports, but I still feel good about openSUSE and I feel even better helping in some way this community that I like so much!
    Many thanks to the developers and keep up the great work! Long live KDE KDE!

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  2. – Sound notification on connecting / disconnecting USB device?🥺😁
    – fixed disk automount 😁
    These are just some things windows does for years. Kde should as well🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for the reply. Maybe I’m missing something, but, unless the device is removable ( usb drive) it cannot be automatically mounted at startup. For example, it doesn’t work with my windows NTFS partition. I had to edit my fstab( not really GUI friendly)

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          1. Thanks! Seems reasonable. If my merge request is ever merged, I’ll look into extending it for plug-in as well.

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  3. Can you comment on any work / collaboration between KWin and KWinFT? Sorry I haven’t followed too closely but am curious if the 2 efforts have been able to work together on Wayland support, which I understood to be a major driver for KWinFT?

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    1. KWinFT’s reason for existing is its developer Roman Gilg disagreeing with the way KWin was developed on a cultural/leadership basis. This is fair, but it makes KWinFT what’s called a “hostile fork”, and as such, collaboration is somewhat challenging. So my sense is that there’s a bit of lost love there.

      FWIW, KWin’s Wayland support has improved by leaps and bounds over the past year.

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      1. There’s also a bit of lost love when as an end user you have to deal with all these hostile bugs, hostile GUI nonsense or hostile decision to make KDE more and more dependent on systemd and creates two classes of users.

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        1. You’re welcome to use KWinFT if you find that it produces a superior user experience (that’s the value of choice), but I don’t see how systemd is related at all, as it doesn’t really affect the window manager/compositor at all and systemd integration is totally optional.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks very much for your comments: I hadn’t been sure of KWinFT’s standing, and was (wrongly) under the assumption it was more of a “blessed” soft fork that could experiment / pursue some core underlying changes with a goal of merging back together. But as you explain it, I am happy to not feed any trolls by continuing the conversation here.

        Your note about KWin’s Wayland support improvements over the past year are much appreciated, and I am happy to defer to the KDE core team’s direction and excellent efforts in this regard.

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  4. “People using weak Intel GPUs”. Is it about Intel chipsets that use the i915? KDE right now is not usable at all with and only crash.

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    1. > KDE right now is not usable at all with and only crash.
      Sounds like PEBKAC or like problems of your specific machine. I maintain several notebooks with the i915 modeset driver and before with the x86_intel one, and while the latter brought glitches, the modeset version runs mostly fine with KDE Plasma 24/7.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s my experience as well, the OP must confused as I understand that i915 the driver supports several generations of Intel’s GPUs, some weaker than others.

        I have a notebook with a Core i5 4th generation, it’s been 5+ years of Plasma running smoothly on that machine.

        And since a couple of months I also have new laptop with a Core i5 10th generation and an Iris Plus GPU which also works with the i915 driver, zero problems so far.

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  5. Glad to hear of the Gwenview work and that KDE is working on supporting weak GPU’s, as I just was helping troubleshoot a friend’s mini-PC’s Intel 620 GPU running Kubuntu. I really like that the KDE stack can run from the lowest to the highest end systems.

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  6. I have been living in the 5.21 Beta Wayland session at home and at work for 10 days now, and the sky hasn’t fallen! I’ve had no reason to drop back to Xorg.

    Firefox wayland needs webrender.all enabled in about:config or the window decorations flip out. I had to update my latte-dock to the latest git build, or it just behaved weird. Plugging in my cintique 13 drawing screen tablet causes the session to crash, booting with it plugged in and you get dropped back to sddm.
    yakuake behaves a bit weird, doesnt always place itself on the active monitor (I believe this is a wayland protocol limitation), not a big deal, but you can start it with Xwayland and it behaves. Same goes with Xfreerdp/KRDC, which I use for work, just have to start rdp sessions under Xwayland, not a deal breaker.

    I cant use my HTC vive under SteamVR as there is no DRM Leasing support yet, have to drop back to X11, but if I am going to clean the floor in here to play hl alyx or something, logging into X isnt much a of a hassle. Dev Xaver Hugl has DRM leasing work under way and is pretty certain it will make it into 5.22, so will be pretty happy about that. Native steam games that I have tried seem fine and even proton titles work, some work under wayland as they use SDL2 some under Xwayland and performance seems the same.

    there’s a few other small things missing, but none that made my life harder or to me were deal breakers – All round its amazing progress!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Odd. I cannot confirm. However we have various other reports of font hinting issues, and investigation into the Font KCM revealed severe code issues. Hopefully these will be addressed in 5.22.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “You can now double- or triple-click in a notification to select text as you can in other text views”

    Thank you! Until now I had to memorize the code in 1 sec when it popped up. Now I can be lazy again and copy!

    Like

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