This week in KDE: Adaptive panel opacity and auto-restored unsaved documents in Kate!

A big Plasma feature was added this week: adaptive Plasma panel opacity! Now the panel and panel applets are more transparent than they were before, allowing more of a tint from the beautiful wallpaper on your desktop! But what’s this? You’re about to complain that you maximize all your windows so the increased transparency will look ugly? In fact, we now make your panel and panel applets 100% opaque when there are any maximized windows, ensuring no ugly effect! But what if you don’t want that either? Well, if you don’t want adaptive opacity we now let you make your panel and panel applets always transparent, or always opaque! Hopefully that should make everyone happy. 🙂 Let’s give a round of applause to Niccolò Venerandi and Jan Blackquill for this work, which will show up in Plasma 5.22.

Another notable feature got merged as well: the ability to have Kate automatically preserve and restore unsaved files or even unsaved changes in files when quit and re-launched! This feature makes use of Kate’s existing session functionality and is off by default for now pending lots of testing by adventurous users like yourself. 🙂 So please go test it out! To do so, make sure you’re using a session, or make one with the “Save Session As…” menu item in Kate’s Sessions menu. Then go to Kate’s settings window, navigate to the “Sessions” page, and check the checkboxes under “Automatically save and restore:” Méven Car implemented this long-awaited feature for Kate 21.04.

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Elisa now consumes less memory when you scroll around the app and see a lot of album art (Devin Lin, Elisa 21.04)

Elisa now saves playlist files in the .m3u8 format which supports UTF8-encoding and non-ASCII characters, and also allows you to open playlist files already in that format (me: Nate Graham, Elisa 21.04)

Renaming a file on a Samba share in such a manner that the only way its filename changes is that one letter is moved from uppercase to lowercase (or vice versa) now works (Harald Sitter, Dolphin 21.04)

The Flickr picture of the day wallpaper now works again; its API key had expired. This keeps happening, so we are investigating a more generic way of keeping it working consistently (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.18.7)

Plasma System Monitor applets no longer sometimes display a broken config window (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21.2)

Discover now always returns the appropriate number of apps when asked to find handlers for a file format (Aleix Pol Gonzales, Plasma 5.21.2)

The feature to automatically match header decoration styling for GTK headerbar apps now works on multi-user systems when multiple users are logged in at the same time (Alois Wohlschlager, Plasma 5.21.2)

There is no longer a blank entry in the Digital Clock’s time zone chooser; it now shows “Yangon”, a city in Myanmar (Willyanto, Plasma 5.22)

KRunner no longer dumps an ugly unprintable character in its search field when you hit the Escape, Backspace, or Delete key while the history view is open (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.21.2)

The bottom buttons in various System Settings pages no longer sometimes get cut off when using Plasma Mobile or using a system language with long text (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Plasma 5.21.3)

The new Plasma System Monitor app no longer sometimes crashes after spending a lot of time minimized (Arjen Hiemstra, Plasma 5.21.3)

The “kill a process” dialog in the new Plasma System Monitor no longer suffers from a variety of minor visual glitches (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21.3)

When using the new Plasma System Monitor app to get new visual chart styles, the resulting window is no longer hilariously small (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21.3)

System Monitor widgets now correctly update their titles to reflect user-initiated changes immediately after such changes are made (David Redondo, Plasma 5.21.3)

The focus effect for buttons on the Lock, Login, and Logout screens now appears correctly again (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21.3)

Menus in GTK apps once again have the same height as menus in KDE and Qt apps (Jan Blackquill, Plasma 5.21.3)

GTK apps using the new Libhandy library now display their top headerbars with the correct height (Jan Blackquill, Plasma 5.21.3)

Fixed a few issues in the Breeze Dark Global Theme which were causing it to not properly apply the intended color scheme and splash screen (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.21.3)

When the screen is turned off, the system no longer wastes CPU and GPU power drawing un-rendered components (Bhushan Shah, Plasma 5.22)

Search results in Kickoff which have icons provided by .ico files are no longer blurry (Kai Uwe Broulik, Frameworks 5.80)

Placeholder Text in Plasma text fields and text boxes now presents the correct cursor when you move your mouse over it and is never the wrong color or even inappropriately selectable (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.80)

User Interface Improvements

When using a wheel mouse, Gwenview’s image thumbnail view now scrolls by the same amount (matching Dolphin) no matter how large the thumbnails are (Arjen Hiemstra, Gwenview 21.04)

It’s now more obvious how to stop a presentation in Okular (Albert Astals Cid, Okular 21.04)

In Kate, the F11 key is now used to enter and exit fullscreen as it does in many other apps, rather than toggling line numbers on and off (Waqar Ahmed, Kate 21.04)

Gwenview now shows a quality chooser slider when saving images in the JPEG XL file format, if supported on your system (Daniel Novomeský, Gwenview 21.04)

Everything in Plasma and QML-based apps now fully respects your animation duration settings, including not animating anything at all when animations are disabled (me: Nate Graham and David Redondo, Plasma 5.22 with Frameworks 5.80)

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!

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24 thoughts on “This week in KDE: Adaptive panel opacity and auto-restored unsaved documents in Kate!

  1. Great ! I am using Plasma 5.21 Wayland in Tumbleweed and am quite happy with it. The only annoying bug is when you right click on an icon in the panel to access the menu (quicklist) and this disappears, thus preventing this functionality. I think it’s already reported, but I need to double check.


  2. Please add an option for the “adaptive Plasma panel opacity” to “have it as it always was”. Not too transparent, not opaque. Thank you.


    1. oh, like “I want this panel to be 25% opaque, and this one to be 100% opaque” kind of setting?


    2. Broadly, though the active Plasma theme determines the level of opacity when using the “Adaptive” or “Translucent” setting. It’s not directly user-modifiable, unless you edit the Plasma theme itself.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ha! The feature copied from latte :D. However, it’s good it was added to the system panel. On old computer/laptops with low RAM, latte is too demanding, so in such situations, the user will still have a cool, good-looking panel, no more esthetic compromises :).
    I like the way Plasma visually improves :).
    Now, add auto-coloring of the panel based on the wallpaper, plus systray elements auto-color control (from latte-systray tweak). Latte is a precursor of the advanced panel options. Things that Gnome devs mark as unsolvable (hence opaque panel in Gnome), are elegantly solved in Plasma ;). What’s not to love in Plasma :D?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great stuff, I’ll be turning transparency off without needing a theme edit then. Out of curiosity… does the adaptive version recognise when the entire screen area is covered (eg two windows with one snapped to either side, or more windows than that snapped to corners) or just when one window is maximised?


  5. Sounds awesome! I’ve been using Plasma 5 since 2018 when I rediscovered Plasma after years of using Xfce, and now it’s the only DE I use on all my machines. About the adaptive Plasma panel opacity – this will also work with full-screen games so as not to consume resources needed for games? I used to manually turn off compositing before playing a game, and then turn it back on afterwards, but because I’d often forget before it was too late, I disabled it permanently on my game machine. My hope is that adaptive Plasma panel opacity will solve this dilemma so that I can have transparency again without having to remember to turn it off before gaming. Thanks, and keep up the great work!


  6. Wow, terrific Kate advancements! Two big updates this week (autosave and full-screen F11). I’m expecting Skynet-like sentience for Kate upcoming soon…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t know where to put this suggestion, but when I search a folder of images in Dolphin and then open one in Gwenview, pressing the back or forward button doesn’t navigate backwards and forwards in the search results, but navigates in the whole folder where the image resides. I see the logic in that, but I think it would feel more natural to the user if Gwenview took the search results of Dolphin into account when navigating, but not sure that’s a reasonable thing to hope for.

    Thanks for all your hard work!


  8. >When the screen is turned off, the system no longer wastes CPU and GPU power drawing un-rendered components (Bhushan Shah, Plasma 5.22)

    Are you sure this won’t break remote desktop? Like, when a laptop’s lid is closed and it’s screen is off, but someone connects via VNC?
    It’s essential use-case for me

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure, no. 🙂 Are you in a position to test Plasma built from git master, or via an unstable package repo provided by your distro? Actual user testing for this use case would be lovely.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Starting Plasma 5.21 I have a problem with accent keys, I’m ready to file a bug report, but I don’t know against which component I should do it.

    The problem is that I use Latvian (apostrophe) keyboard layout, which means that apostrophe key is the “accent” key for special symbols, like ā, ū, etc. It should work like this: when I press apostrophe (accent key) and release it, then press desired letter, say a, it should type ā. This is working fine, I explained it just for better understanding.

    However when I press shift + apostrophe, it should type double quotes ” and should NOT work as accent key. This greatly messes up typing.
    Please suggest against which component I should file a bug.



  10. > … increased transparency will look ugly?
    I’m not particularly concerned about _ugly_ or _pretty_, but I can’t read the text in the dialog as easily with the transparency.

    > we now make your panel and panel applets 100% opaque when there are any maximized windows

    No, that’s not true. At least not on my system. With maximized windows, my panel and applet dialogs are still translucent.

    I guess I’ve gotta do some reading to figure out how to turn this “feature” off 😢

    Operating System: Kubuntu 20.04
    KDE Plasma Version: 5.18.5
    KDE Frameworks Version: 5.68.0
    Qt Version: 5.12.8
    Kernel Version: 5.4.0-70-generic
    OS Type: 64-bit


    1. The feature in question is not even released yet; it will show up in Plasma 5.22. You’re still using Plasma 5.18.


  11. I saw that after I posted. I dunno… My menus and applet dialogs turned transparent after an update yesterday and I did a web search. I landed on this article.


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