This week in KDE: performance improvements galore

This week a number of performance improvements landed for for areas as diverse as taking screenshots with Spectacle in the Plasma Wayland session, using the Plasma Wayland session in general with an Nvidia GPU, and entering or exiting Elisa’s “Party mode” and resizing the main window.

But that’s not all; we also added a bunch of nice new features and UI improvements:

New Features

Spectacle can now be invoked globally to take a screenshot of the window currently under the cursor using Meta+Ctrl+Print (Antonio Prcela, Spectacle 21.08)

Gwenview can now read embedded color profile information for image formats other than JPEG and PNG (Daniel Novomeský, Gwenview 21.08)

If your keyboard lacks a “mute microphone” key, you can now mute the default microphone using the Meta+speaker mute keyboard shortcut (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.22)

In the Plasma Wayland session, the System Tray now notifies you when something is recording the screen, and gives you the opportunity to cancel it (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.23)

KCommandBar has been added to all KXMLGui-using KDE apps, so you can start using it by hitting Ctrl+Alt+I in Dolphin, Gwenview, Okular, Konsole, Krita, Kdenlive, and so on! (Waqar Ahmed, Frameworks 5.83)

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Spectacle is now much faster and more reliable in the Plasma Wayland Session (Vlad Zahorodnii, Spectacle 21.04.2)

Konsole no longer sometimes crashes when using the “random color scheme” setting (Luis Javier Merino Morán, Konsole 21.04.2)

Elisa’s fancy blur effects have been ported to use a lighter weight implementation, hugely improving the app’s visual performance when entering or exiting party mode or resizing the window (Tranter Madi, Elisa 21.08)

Dolphin no longer sometimes crashes when emptying the trash (Ömer Fadıl Usta) Dolphin 21.04.2)

In the Plasma Wayland session, disconnecting an external screen no longer causes all open Qt apps to crash (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.22)

Majorly improved the reliability of the Plasma Wayland session for users of Nvidia hardware with the proprietary driver (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.22)

Fixed a case where the new Plasma System Monitor app could crash on launch (David Redondo, Plasma 5.22)

The new Plasma System Monitor app no longer sometimes crashes when its main window is de-focused (David Redondo, Plasma 5.22)

The new Plasma System Monitor app now displays fully accurate disk usage information (David Redondo, Plasma 5.22)

Launching an app using the Kickoff Application Launcher no longer shows an unnecessary left-slide animation inside the popup before it closes (Marco Martin, Plasma 5.22)

Fixed tons of issues in the System Settings Virtual Desktops page, including a case of broken text display, the “Apply” button not becoming activated when it should, the “Defaults” button not bringing back removed virtual desktops, and several problems with the animation duration chooser (Nicolas Fella and David Edmundson, Plasma 5.22)

On System Settings’ Global Themes page, the “Use desktop layout from theme” button now correctly activates the Apply and Reset buttons (Cyril Rossi, Plasma 5.22)

Fixed a recent regression that could cause Dolphin to crash when searching for files (Kai Uwe Broulik, Frameworks 5.83

User Interface Improvements

Gwenview has now adopted KHamburgerMenu, giving it a cleaner look and a more approachable set of actions when the menubar is hidden (Noah Davis, Gwenview 21.08):

As a reminder, if you hate this, you can simply show the menu bar and the hamburger menu will disappear

Discover’s “Installed” view is now case-insensitive for searching (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.22)

The System Tray’s arrow uses to show the pop-up with hidden applets in it no longer appears when using the “Show all entries” setting (Konrad Materka, Plasma 5.22)

The new Plasma System Monitor app now lets you search for multiple search terms separated with commas, just like the old KSysGuard app did (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.23)

Users are now told what they will be losing when they disable file indexing (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.23)

The Virtual Keyboard System Tray applet (which appears in the Plasma Wayland session) now disables itself completely if you have disabled the virtual keyboard globally (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.23)

On System Settings’ Virtual Desktops page, you can now double-click on a desktop’s name to rename it, and while you’re in renaming mode, the “Rename” button turns into a “Confirm new name” button (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.23)

Auto-generated avatar images used in various places in Plasma and apps now use flat colors for the backgrounds, rather than gradients (Jan Blackquill, Frameworks 5.83)

…And everything else

Keep in mind that this blog only covers the tip of the iceberg! Tons of KDE apps whose development I don’t have time to follow aren’t represented here, and I also don’t mention backend refactoring, improved test coverage, and other changes that are generally not user-facing. If you’re hungry for more, check out https://planet.kde.org/, where you can find blog posts by other KDE contributors detailing the work they’re doing.

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.

48 thoughts on “This week in KDE: performance improvements galore

  1. Would it be possible to put a button is the header/menu bar for the new KCommandBar, so that new user/those who don’t read this blog know about this superbe functionality ?

    Like

    1. I was thinking the same thing. I couldn’t remember how to invoke it within Kate, and it wasn’t until I read this blog post that it jogged my memory (Ctrl-Alt-I). It would be great if there was a menu item in the Help menu that gave the name of this action and shows us how to invoke it by keyboard shortcut.

      Otherwise, great to hear about the improvements in Wayland.

      Like

    1. Endless Sky was my gateway drug into FOSS. 🙂 I don’t have the time for contributing to it much these days, and it’s mostly run by a very enthusiastic and capable crowd now. But a few of my additions are still around, such as the Vanguard, the Proton Turret, and most of the words used for generating random ship names.

      Like

  2. In a long run it would very be useful to have global setting of default menu view: hamburger menu or menu bar otherwise somebody who hates these will be forced to change it in every single app manually.

    Like

    1. Overall I agree, but we would need to come up with a clean way to let people deviate from the systemwide defaults for individual apps if they wanted.

      Like

  3. Why is the default shortcut for KCommandBar Ctrl+Alt+I? Will there be any way to change it for every application at once? I expect that a significant number of users will be more familiar with Ctrl+Shift+P as used in text editors like Sublime Text, Atom and VS Code.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. > Users are now told what they will be losing when they disable file indexing (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.23)

    Filxe indexing disabled! You loose! Game over! 😀

    Like

  5. Hi Nate. Congratulations on the good work.
    My question is: let’s say you have a windows partition, or another ntfs partition. ( Not removable drive, but fixed partition)
    From the gui, is there a way to auto mount at startup?
    Maybe I’m missing somehow this option 🙂

    Like

    1. You can. For non-technical solution the easy way is:
      Go to
      System Settings> Removable Storage> Removable Devices
      Enable “Enable automatic mounting of removable media”
      and Apply.

      The best solution is editing fstab file located in “/etc/fstab”
      The details can be found in this link.
      https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/Fstab

      If it is too complex for you first method mostly works.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. But it only works for removable drives, like USB. Not fixed disk, like my other windows partition for example

        Like

        1. fedora debian———-
          sudo nano /etc/polkit-1/localauthority/50-local.d/10-mount-without-password.pkla
          it will open an empty file. Add the following content inside and replace sergio with the actual user name of yours.

          [storage group mount override]
          Identity=unix-user:sergio
          Action=org.freedesktop.udisks2.filesystem-mount;org.freedesktop.udisks2.filesystem-mount-system
          ResultAny=yes
          ResultInactive=yes
          ResultActive=yes

          Save the document, and it should work instantly (without the need of logout or reboot or anything).

          opensuse, arch linux———–
          sudo nano /etc/polkit-1/rules.d/10-udisks2.rules
          t will open an empty file. Add the following content inside and replace sergio with the actual user name of yours.

          polkit.addRule(function(action, subject) {
          if ((action.id == “org.freedesktop.udisks2.filesystem-mount-system” ||
          action.id == “org.freedesktop.udisks2.filesystem-mount”) &&
          subject.isInGroup(“users”)) {
          return polkit.Result.YES;
          }
          });

          Save the document, and it should work instantly (without the need of logout or reboot or anything).

          Like

          1. I know how to do it in terminal. But we are talking about gui here, since it’s a post about KDE, not the Linux command line 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

    2. You can edit fstab via the KDE Partition Manager, however I think there should be an easier option to do this.
      At least some of the Partition Manager features could be integrated into Plasma itself. For example, auto-mounting, unmounting (not “removing”, it’s not the same thing) and writing images to a device – all of these would be really useful.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. the answer is no. Sadly, KDE, in 2021 cannot automount fixed disks. just removable USB. Please add this feature, is simple enough to implement and saves us from too much terminal tinkering. Regards

    Like

  7. Not that this is a place for user support, but there’s been always this posibility.

    The option is in SystemSettings -> Removable Devices.
    You enable automatic mounting, and then find the partition and just select “On Login”.

    If this maybe doesn’t work for some case, a bug report is always more helpful to try and fix it.

    Like

  8. Not sure if this has already been mentioned anywhere (I have tried googling, with no recent results…), but the vertical spacing in Dolphin’s right pane (Places, Devices, etc.) has gained waaay too much padding lately. I have a very large list of devices which, until this changed, fit perfectly within the space allotted. Now? Not even close.

    Anyone looking into fixing this? Hopefully it’s not one of those “feature, not bug” things…

    (Also noticed that the mouse cursor locks itself into resize/move mode far too easily, but this is less irksome…)

    Like

      1. Eesh… I was afraid of that. Count me as someone that’s extremely disappointed in this change. The extra padding serves NO purpose. It pains me to have to hate anything about Dolphin!

        Like

      1. Yay!!!

        And by the way, thanks to you personally, and to the entire team that does all the things that make KDE the best DE (and soooo much more!) imaginable. It (mostly) just keeps getting better!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Is it possible to configure the hamburger menu to go over the app, rather than to the right of the app? I’ve always felt it looked pretty ugly as it is implemented.

    If not possible, could it be made configurable?

    Also, thanks for all the great work.

    Like

    1. If you would prefer the hamburger menu to be in the window’s titlebar, you can add the Application Menu window decoration button in System Settings > Appearance > Window Decorations > Titlebar Buttons/

      If you would prefer for the whole menu structure to be a macOS style global menu bar, you can add the Global menu widget to a panel in a location f your choosing (typically at the top of the screen, but hey, you do you).

      Like

        1. Oh I see.

          I think that would require changes in how Qt positions menus. Not something we could do in KDE-land unless we submitted a patch to Qt.

          Like

      1. I wasn’t referring to the menu button placement – I was referring to the menu popup itself.

        I use the global menu widget (on a latte panel at the top of the screen), but I do like the concept of the hamburger menu on the window itself – I just wish the menu popup wasn’t placed to the right of the window when the hamburger menu button is on the right.

        I’ll do some research into QT menus and how easy / difficult it is to control their placement – I haven’t used QT much so this could be a good reason to get my fingers dirty with it.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Nate, I love reading your blog each week. The improvements to KDE over the last years have been overall fantastic.

    I’m using Plasma 5.22 beta and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to launch the new Plasma System Monitor with Ctrl-Esc instead of KSysGuard. Can you point me in the right direction?

    Like

  11. I think you would need to un-bind “Show System Activity” under the “KDE Daemon” section of the Shortcuts KCM, and then set up a new shortcut to make System Monitor open with Ctrl+Esc.

    It would be worth filing a bug report about this. Simply re-allocating the shortcuts isn’t enough because if we do that, there is no longer any way to open the little stripped down System Activity window, and we might as well delete it, or move it onyl the KSysGuard package which will only be available if users (or distros) go out of their way to install it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. From the description in the release notes (“Plasma System Monitor replaces KSysguard as the default system monitoring app”) I assumed that meant the Ctrl-Esc shortcut would be altered. I’ll try to get a bug filed soon.

      Like

  12. Is 5.21.90 = 5.22? I installed KDE neon testing in a VM, saw that and am wondering whether that’s the case. In case it is, this
    > In the Plasma Wayland session, disconnecting an external screen no longer causes all open Qt apps to crash.

    While not all open apps crash, some apps still do, i.e. system settings & konsole, it seems it happens(at least it’s happened to me) if more than 6-7 apps are open, and 1 or 2 will crash. Also, plasmashell will crash too sometimes. I tried to report but couldn’t install the dbgsym pkgs that are needed to do it via drkonqi.

    Like

    1. Yes, 5.21.90 is the beta version of 5.22.

      The change to fix the bug in question was merged into the 5.22 branch after the beta was released; it is not kept continuously updated with all new changes daily. So it should be in the final release of 5.22

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for your reply. Does that mean the fix isn’t available/applied yet? By the way, I just upgraded Neon(262 pkgs) and upon reboot, the keyboard distribution widget(that shows which keyboard layout is in used) doesn’t show anymore in the panel, the action works, I press the hotkey(right Ctrl) and can change the layout, but there’s no icon(flag), I know being testing and all, bugs are to be expected, but still, thought you might want to know that :).

        Like

          1. Looking forward into that! By the way, the layout widget is back. I try my external monitor again, and for me, with 3 apps open(konsole, firefox & dolphin) none of them crashed, but plasmashell did, and when it came back, the widget did too 🙂 I wanted to ask, do you guys know something about GTK apps that close to the systray, and then the icon doesn’t respond to a click in Wayland? I’m having that happening too, don’t know if it is a Wayland thing(they work fine in X), a Plasma thing or a GTK/app thing, or if only happens with those apps I use, i.e. claws-mail, but it happens. I’m asking because I can’t seem to find anything about that in the web. Thanks for your reply.

            Like

  13. It would be easier if Next/prev buttons are put in bottom bar. And much more better if ’44 of 129′ is paced between Next and Prev buttons.

    Assume the case if varying size of images are present in folder and user wants to manually use bottom bar options as fill/fit/100% or the zoom slider. In such case lot of cursor movement is required in current layout.

    Like

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s