This week in KDE: Post-Akademy bug blitz

KDE’s annual Akademy conference was held last week, and we’re all kind of still recovering. Nonetheless, we managed to do all kinds of useful work, including a major new Konsole feature and a number of Wayland bugfixes:

New Features

Konsole now has a new plugin system which ships with the inaugural plugin of an SSH bookmark/connection manager! (Tomaz Canabrava, Konsole 21.08):

Hitting Shift+Delete in the new Plasma System Monitor app now sends the selected process a SIGKILL signal, just like the old KSysGuard app did (Felipe Kinoshita, Plasma 5.23)

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Konsole no longer sometimes crashes when text is zoomed or reflowed (Luis Javier Merino Morán, Konsole 21.08)

System Settings’ new Quick Settings no longer gets truncated on the bottom when the screen size is very small; it now becomes scrollable instead (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.22.2)

When using Activities in the Plasma Wayland session, new windows are now created in the current Activity, rather than in all Activities (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.22.2)

Hitting the Meta+V shortcut to show the clipboard history in a pop-up menu no longer crashes Plasma when using certain multi-screen arrangements (Felipe Kinoshita, Plasma 5.22.3)

In the Plasma Wayland session, window rules related to Activities now work (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.22.3)

In the Plasma Wayland session, the Activity Switcher sidebar now always works (David Redondo, Plasma 5.23)

Fixed the most common crash in the Plasma calendar (David Edmundson, Frameworks 5.84)

Significantly improved the SVG lookup performance in Plasma, which should result in slight speedups and energy efficiency improvements everywhere (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Frameworks 5.84)

Clearing global shortcuts for Plasma applets now works properly (David Redondo, Frameworks 5.84)

Clicking on Places Panel entries for locations that have been bind-mounted now works correctly (Ahmad Samir, Frameworks 5.84)

User Interface Improvements

In Dolphin, pressing the Shift key while the context menu is open to access the semi-hidden “Delete” action now works when a sub-menu of the context menu is also open (Derek Christ, Dolphin 21.04.3)

Okular’s annotations tool is now a mutually exclusive action, so activating it takes you out of Browse or Text Selection mode–or vice versa (Simone Gaiarin, Okular 21.08)

Those of you who hate Konsole’s smart text selection color choosing algorithm can now make use of a new option to always simply invert the color (which, depending on your terminal color scheme, may not always work–but in those cases, you can go back to using the smart color chooser algorithm, and vice versa) (Ahmad Samir, Konsole 21.08)

In the Plasma Wayland session, cursors are no longer pixelated when drawn over a GTK app window while using a high DPI scale factor (Emilio Cobos Álvarez, Plasma 5.23)

Unlabeled disks now have the name of the mountpoint (e.g. “sda1“) appended to their generic name, to help you identify them especially in the case where disks have the same size (Ahmad Samir, Frameworks 5.84)

Web Presence

In case you missed Akademy, everything was recorded, so you can check out the raw video here! It will eventually be edited into bite-sized videos, one per session/talk/whatever.

Also, I gave an interview on https://www.dedoimedo.com recently! If you’re interested, you can check it out here.

…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.

This week in KDE: Expandable tooltips and more

This week we have yet another interesting new user interface feature to talk about. The old “What’s This?” feature has been re-worked as a shiny and new user interface convention we’ve come up with: expandable tooltips! Many tooltips in KDE apps that use the KXMLGui and Kirigami frameworks now have a little label saying “Press Shift for more”, and if you do so, it will show you the longer text. This makes the feature much more useful since it’s invokable right at the point where you would need it. Big thanks to Felix Ernst for this work! It will land in Frameworks 5.84.

Other new Features

You can now hold down the alt key to drag underlined files from Konsole into other apps for various purposes! (Tomaz Canabrava, Konsole 21.08)

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

When an overlay is active in System Monitor, clicking on a different page in the sidebar now closes the overlay before navigating to the clicked-on page (Arjen Hiemstra, Plasma 5.22.1)

Deleting a page in System Monitor now removes it immediately even if you were in that page’s Edit Mode when you deleted it (David Redondo, Plasma 5.22.1)

Fixed a recent regression about Task Manager tooltips not properly updating their header text when the window’s title changes (Henri Chain, Plasma 5.22.1)

Autostarted applications listed in System Monitor no longer display the wrong icons (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.22.1)

Fixed various rendering glitches when using the Vulkan graphics system (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.22.1)

The “Dialog Parent” effect that dims windows behind dialogs no longer flickers when the dialog is closed (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.22.2)

Discover no longer notifies you constantly about updates even when there are none (sorry about this regression) (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.22.2)

When Plasma is restarted–either manually or automatically because it crashed–various Plasma-related shortcuts such as the Meta+number keys to activate Task manager items no longer stop working (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.22.2)

In the Plasma Wayland session, the cursor is no longer briefly invisible after a screen wakes up (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.22.2)

One specific text label on the System Settings Virtual Desktops page (you know which one I’m talking about) no longer gets inappropriately elided when there’s still plenty of space (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.22.2)

In System Settings’ Login Screen page, the sheets that appear for syncing settings and changing the wallpaper now disappear after you use them, providing confirmation that the action that you triggered succeeded (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.23)

Tooltip shadows throughout Plasma no longer have a broken appearance in their corners (Marco Martin, Frameworks 5.84). Popup/dialog/OSD corners still have problems, but we’re working on that too.

User Interface Improvements

For a cleaner appearance, Gwenview’s sidebar is now hidden by default, and its visibility is now a global setting rather than a per-mode setting; when you show it, it will now stay shown, and then when you hide it, it will now stay hidden (Felix Ernst, Gwenview. 21.08)

Gwenview’s display of tags in the sidebar (when it is visible) is now prettier (Noah Davis, Gwenview 21.08):

Gwenview no longer uses the space and backspace keys for navigation by default, to prevent the space key from conflicting with the play/pause action when you navigate to a video. To navigate between items, just use the arrow keys (me: Nate Graham, Gwenview 21.08)

Konsole’s split view feature will now snap split dividers to the location of other dividers when you drag them (Tomaz Canabrava, Konsole 21.08)

Clicking on any of the buttons for bold, italic, etc. in a Sticky Note widget no longer de-focuses the text area (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.22.1)

Discover no longer shows you a notification telling you that an offline update succeeded, because if you’re able to see it, of course it did! (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.22

The Breeze SDDM theme now shows a more appropriate UI for accounts with no password set but auto-login turned off (Tadej Pecar, Plasma 5.23):

The clipboard now remembers 20 items by default, up from 7 (Felipe Kinoshita, Plasma 5.23)

Grid items throughout System Settings and the wallpaper choosers no longer lighten the content area when you hover the cursor over them, so that it is always presented accurately (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.84)

…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.

Bug triaging is the foundation of quality and we need more of it

Bug triaging is a largely invisible and often thankless task. But it’s the foundation of quality in our software offerings. Every day, our users file between 30 and 50 bug reports on https://bugs.kde.org, and often up to 100 right after a big release! Many will be duplicates of pre-existing issues and need to be marked as such. Quite a few will be caused by issues outside of KDE’s control and this also needs to be marked as such. Many will be crash reports with missing or useless backtraces, and their reporters need to be asked to add the missing information to make the bug report actionable. And the rest need to be prioritized, moved to the right component, tagged appropriately, and eventually fixed.

All of this sounds pretty boring. And, to be honest, sometimes it is (I’m really selling this, right?). But it’s critically important to everything we do. Because when it’s not done properly:

  1. Users don’t feel listened to, and start trashing us and our software on social media.
  2. Critical regressions in new releases get missed and are still visible when reviewers check out the new version, so they also trash it in high-profile tech articles and videos.
  3. Un-actionable bug reports pile up and obscure real issues, so developers are less likely to notice them and fix them.
  4. Bugs that occur over and over again don’t accumulate dozens of duplicates, don’t look important enough to prioritize, and therefore don’t get fixed.
  5. Easy-to-fix bugs don’t get fixed by anyone and it’s pretty embarrassing.

Do you see a pattern? Most of these results end up with KDE software being buggier and KDE’s reputation being damaged. It’s not an accident that KDE’s software is less buggy than ever before that that we enjoy a good reputation today. These positive developments are driven by everyone involved, but they rest upon an invisible foundation of good bug triage. And as KDE software becomes more popular, users file more bug reports. So the need for bug triage constantly grows. Currently it is done by just a few people, and we need help. Your help! And it will truly be helpful! If you are a meticulous, detail-oriented person with some technical inclination but no programming ability, triaging bug reports may just be the best way to help KDE. If this sounds like something you’d like to get involved with, go over to https://community.kde.org/Guidelines_and_HOWTOs/Bug_triaging and give it a read! I would be happy to offer personal bug triaging mentorship, too. Just click the “Contact me” link here or at the top of the page and I’ll help you get started.

This week in KDE: Plasma 5.22 arrives but I bet you’ll want 5.23 once I show you this

This week Plasma 5.22 was released! Overall our focus on stability has paid off, and so far there are no major regressions reported; only a few medium-severity ones which have all already been fixed in Plasma 5.22.1 :). You can read the release announcement, or check out KDE developer Niccolò Venerandi’s lovely video about it:

But something much bigger happened as well: the next phase of the Breeze Evolution initiative was merged, providing a new style for buttons, menu items, checkboxes, radio buttons, sliders, and more! It’s beautiful:

This new style also fixes several bugs plaguing the old styling for these controls, such as sliders becoming invisible when located on a selected list item, and the “default button” of a dialog not being very visually obvious.

The work was implemented by Jan Blackquill in accordance with mockups made by Manuel Jesus de la Fuente and other members of the KDE VDG. It will make its debut in Plasma 5.23. There is a lot of time left to tweak the final appearance as needed, but overall I think it’s really nice and I hope you’re as excited about it as I am!

New Features

Thumbnails for files inside encrypted locations such as Plasma vaults are now generated and displayed as expected, but not saved, to eliminate a data leak (Marcin Gurtowski, Dolphin 21.08)

Kate’s LSP support now extends to the Dart programming language (Waqar Ahmed, Kate 21.08)

Konsole now supports the DECSET 1003 standard, which means that the features in terminal software such as vim which rely on mouse tracking now work (Luis Javier Merino Morán, Konsole 21.08)

This is not strictly speaking a KDE project, but it certainly affects us: the SDDM login manager can now be run as Wayland-native software without needing X11 at all! (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, SDDM 0.20)

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Konsole now correctly processes double right-click events (Luis Javier Merino Morán, Konsole 21.08)

emacs xterm-mouse-mode now works in Konsole (Luis Javier Merino Morán, Konsole 21.08)

In the Plasma Wayland Session, additional screens are now detected when using a multi-GPU setup (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.22.1)

The Network Speed widget once again works (David Redondo, Plasma 5.22.1)

The weather widget’s BBC weather data source now works again (they changed the API and we had to react to it) (Joe Dight, Plasma 5.22.1)

In the Plasma Wayland session, the transparent background beind Task Switchers is now always blurred as expected (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.22.1)

In the Plasma System Monitor app, the “Get New Pages” view now opens in a nice overlay rather than a narrow squeezy column (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Plasma 5.22.1)

Custom shortcuts for “Walk through applications” (bound to Alt+` by default) now work (Andrew Butirsky, Plasma 5.22.1)

The System Settings File Search page no longer sometimes shows a weird duplicated header (Marco Martin, Plasma 5.22.1)

The re-done Autostart page in System Settings now always shows the correct icon for applications set to run at login (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.22.1)

When using a lot of window rules, the System Settings Window Rules page is now much faster to load and display them (Ismael Asensio, Plasma 5.23)

Disabled pages in System Monitor no longer temporarily become un-disabled if its sidebar is collapsed into icons-only mode (Arjen Hiemstra, Frameworks 5.84)

Other User Interface Improvements

When entering Party Mode in Elisa, the playlist now automatically scrolls to the currently-playing song if it would otherwise be out of view, and also automatically scrolls the view as needed to make sure that any newly-playing songs remain in view (Tranter Madi, Elisa 21.08)

The “Get New [thing]” dialogs now handle situations like the server being down or slow more gracefully (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Frameworks 5.84):

QtQuick apps using the Kirigami OverlaySheet component no longer let the sheet touch the edges of the window or screen (Devin Lin, Frameworks 5.84)

…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.

This week in KDE: Plasma 5.22 is nigh

In just four days, Plasma 5.22 will be released, with all the features, bugfixes, and improved Wayland compatibility that we’ve been working on over the past few months! So it’s time to start working on 5.23 features. We also got a lot of work done for our apps too!

New Features

It’s now possible to globally disable IPv6 in the Plasma networks GUI settings (Jan Grulich, Plasma 5.23)

Gwenview now inherits the sorting order from Dolphin if Dolphin is used to open an image, so that you’ll never have that experience of opening an image in Gwenview and navigating to the next one, only to discover that it goes to an image other than the one you expect (Marco Martin, Dolphin and Gwenview 21.08)

You can now add a button to the toolbar in Okular to quickly toggle color-changing modes for the active document (David Hurka, Okular 21.08):

And it remembers the last-used color mode, too

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Adding a new radio station in Elisa now works again (Jerome Guidon, Elisa 21.04.2)

Spectacle’s image annotator module is now correctly translated when using a non-English language (Alexander Volkov, Spectacle 21.08)

Konsole now lets you set your default shell the one with fewer than 3 letters, such as sh (Adriaan de Groot, Konsole 21.08)

In the Plasma X11 session, the keyboard layout change OSD once again appears when the keyboard layout is changed using an “alternative shortcut” trigger (Andrey Butirsky, Plasma 5.22)

Newly-downloaded Plasma System Monitor pages now become available instantly, rather than requiring the app to be restarted (David Redondo, Plasma 5.22)

Fixed various pixel misalignment issues in a few dialogs of the new Plasma System Monitor app (David Redondo, Plasma 5.22)

Applying a Global Theme that includes a new color scheme now results in that color scheme always being correctly applied (Benjamin Port, Plasma 5.22)

Clicking the “Use” button for newly-downloaded items in “Get new [thing]” dialogs once again works (Alexander Lohnau, Frameworks 5.83)

Global shortcuts using the actual ampersand chartacter (&) are now displayed correctly (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.83)

User Interface Improvements

Gwenview now lets you wrap around while browsing using the arrow keys, only shows the “you have reached the end” menu in slideshow mode by default, and lets you disable it entirely if you want (Marco Martin, Gwenview 21.08):

The list item sizes of “Small” and “Medium” for Dolphin’s Places panel are no longer almost visually identical (“Small” is now smaller), and the “Medium” size is now the default, to match the size of list items used in many other places now (Eugene Popov, Dolphin 21.08)

Elisa now uses the F11 hotkey to toggle entering and exiting Party Mode (Tranter Madi, Elisa 21.08)

When using Plasma in a live session (e.g. before installing it), when you connect to a Wi-Fi network, the password is now always stored locally rather than annoyingly asking the user gobbledygook questions about setting up a KWallet wallet to store it (Jan Grulich, Plasma 5.22)

GPU statistics are now only shown in System Monitor widgets and the app of the same name if they are supported by your GPU (Arjen Hiemstra, Plasma 5.22)

The System Tray’s Disks & Devices applet no longer lets you futilely try and fail to eject a removable disk that contains the root volume (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.22)

The shadows of a maximized window no longer subtly spill over onto adjacent screens of a multi-screen arrangement (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.22.1)

When a virtual keyboard is selected in the Plasma Wayland session, it no longer needs to be manually enabled using its system tray status notifier item before it will ever appear (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.23)

When you click on a panel applet or System Tray item, the highlight effect now touches the panel edge and spans the full width/height of the applet’s click area, and there is a subtle and pleasing line separating the panel from the popup that just opened (Niccolò Venerandi, Plasma 5.23):

KRunner’s list items have been made slightly taller to accommodate larger icons (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.23)

Plasma no longer sometimes crashes when displaying the events for a day that has exactly 5 events in it using one of the calendar widgets (Carl Schwan, Frameworks 5.83)

The graphs in System monitor widgets and the app of the same name no longer have weird lumps at the ends (Arjen Hiemstra, Frameworks 5.83)

Clicking on category names in the “Open With…” dialog now expands the categories; no need to click on the tiny arrows (Ahmad Samir, Frameworks 5.83)

The error message displayed when you try to add an autostart script for a file that does not exist or is not executable is now clearer (Nicolas Fella, Frameworks 5.83)

One more thing

Version 1.2 of KDE’s Matrix chat app NeoChat has been released! It’s a major upgrade that brings NeoChat closer to prime time. I’ve been using it daily, and you should too!

…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.

2021 roadmap mid-year update

It’s time to check where we are on the items I mentioned for my 2021 roadmap:

Polkit-in-KIO: ON TRACK

This work is proceeding and is currently in the final stages of QA. I expect it to finally be merged sometime this year!

Power/session actions in the lock screen: AT RISK

No new work done. May not happen this year.

Production-ready Plasma Wayland session: ON TRACK

In part due to it being an official KDE goal, a truly enormous, herculean amount of work has gone into making the Plasma Wayland session usable, to the point where the Fedora KDE spin has decided to enable it by default in Fedora 34, which ships Plasma 5.21. This is quite a vote of confidence! I fully expect that by Plasma 5.23, it will be broadly usable for day-to-day use. I find that it’s almost there for me.

Fingerprint support throughout the stack: AT RISK

No new work done. May not happen this year. We are kind of blocked by the necessary SDDM pieces not being done yet. Assistance needed.

Finish up Breeze Evolution: ON TRACK

Work is proceeding and the new widget style will land in Plasma 5.23. After that, most of the remaining work requires changes to apps themselves, particularly to make them less framey. Adopting KHamburgerMenu in more of our apps will help too, and it’s already been done for Dolphin and Gwenview, with more on the way.

Kickoff replacement: DONE

We landed the new Kickoff in Plasma 5.21, to mostly positive feedback. A few of you loved the old Kickoff and have decided to keep using it, which is fine. But overall, the new one has been a hit!

Reflowing text in Konsole: DONE

This work was completed early in the year to universal acclaim. A much needed improvement!


Overall we’re in a good state. If you’d like to see this work happen faster, please help out! Review merge requests, file bug reports, submit code–the sky’s the limit.