This week in KDE: Gwenview and more

New Features

Gwenview now uses a combobox to hold all of its zoom/size modes, which has freed up enough room on the bottom bar to add a background color chooser! This handy feature lets you quickly change the background color behind an image to be dark, light, somewhere in between, or follow the background color of your active color scheme. This can be useful if the active image looks better with a different background color and you want a quick way to change it. (Noah Davis, Gwenview 21.08):

Gwenview now supports color management for 16-bit color depth images (Daniel Novomeský, Gwenview 21.08)

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

In the Plasma Wayland session, Skanlite now launches (Alexander Stippich, Skanlite 21.08)

In the Plasma Wayland session, Okular no longer crashes when you drag-scroll the document in such a manner that the cursor touches a window edge. It still doesn’t wrap around as it does on X11; we’re working on that (David Hurka, Okular 21.08)

Konsole’s default window size the first time you launch it is no longer ridiculously small (Tomaz Canabrava, Konsole 21.08)

When you run a sandboxed Flatpak app and switch to another one, the popup that asks you to approve background activity no longer causes the xdg-desktop-portal process to crash (Jan Grulich, Plasma 5.22.3)

In the Plasma X11 session, the process that runs the Plasma logout screen no longer sometimes crashes as it disappears (David Redondo, Plasma 5.22.3)

In Plasma System Monitor, killing a process in Tree View mode now kills the correct process (David Redondo, Plasma 5.22.3)

System Tray icons using the xembedsniproxy process that implement context menus are no longer invisible (David Redondo, Plasma 5.22.3)

Plasma Audio Volume applet now consumes fewer background CPU resources (David Redondo, Plasma 5.22.3

The Media Player applet now removes an audio sources from its list of audio sources immediately after it stops playing, rather than only after all audio sources have stopped playing (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.22.3)

Dialogs in GTK apps can now be moved properly using a touchscreen (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.22.3)

The KWin window manager no longer sometimes crashes while trying to render window thumbnails while compositing is disabled (David Edmundson, KWin 5.23)

Improved the speed of SVG item lookups, which should result in a slight boost to responsiveness and reduction in CPU consumption throughout all of Plasma (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Frameworks 5.84)

When you change the system font, it now updates immediately in QtQuick-based apps without you needing to re-launch them first (David Redondo, Frameworks 5.84)

User Interface Improvements

Discover now shows a saner name for the Kate Snippets category (Christoph Cullmann, Kate 21.08)

Dolphin now shows a “Loading…” placeholder text in the center of the window while folders are loading (Mufeed Ali, Dolphin 21.08)

In Yakuake, you can now switch terminals in a split view with Ctrl+Tab (Alexander Lohnau, Yakuake 21.08)

The System Settings Launch Feedback page has been moved to the Appearance category (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.23):

…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.

21 thoughts on “This week in KDE: Gwenview and more

  1. Thanks a lot for the continued work and improvements to you and everyone else involved.

    Regarding Gwenview, do you know why it takes so long to boot up? In my system (latest KDEneon on a Lenovo Carbon X1) it takes about 5 seconds to launch.

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    1. I think it’s taking the time to build thumbnails for the navigation bar, hence why being so slow when opening image in big folder.

      I’ve noticed that if pressing Alt, it will load way faster. Anyway, this is happening to me for like about a year now I think. Besides that it didn’t have any issues like that…

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  2. > Improved the speed of SVG item lookups, which should result in a slight boost to responsiveness and reduction in CPU consumption throughout all of Plasma (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Frameworks 5.84)

    I think I had read something like that before and I’m sure it cannot be overstated! 😀

    > 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)

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    1. Thanks for the comment. Much appreciated. It makes sense but, for some reason, what I had in mind was strictly the boot up time. I just checked again (Alt + Space, type Gwenview, hit Enter) and it is taking now 2.5 secons to boot up, then the scanning of folders begin. Probably loading up the libraries, as the second time you do that it barely takes a second 🙂

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  3. Juste tried Fedora 34 and after seconds I was shocked by Kde wallet bugging me off when entering Wifi password. I thought it was deactivated in Plasma distros since long but here it comes back to annoy the user. When will it be killed with fire ?
    I think KDE should focus on erasing these very bad experiences each user has to face when using Plasma, in order to attract new users.

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    1. I couldn’t even install Fedora 34 KDE.. The installer didn’t understand (or maybe I didn’t..) how to erase and install over a Linux Mint that I had tested. I gave it ONE shot and that should not be that difficult, but apparently it was in Fedora-world..so I decided to not try a second time. Good to know that the horrendous KDE Wallet thing is present on Fedora, so now I know I won’t be trying it. Let’s wait 5-6 years so then maybe someone in Fedora has killed it forever with infernal hellfire. Yes, it’s no biggie to click on cancel and yada dada blaadi daa wopto deee, BUT that thing is infuriating beyond belief and I am quite a difficult customer so any distro that throws me that garbage, gets the axe right away. Patience level: minus zero. Thanks for the heads up!

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      1. Well, I didn’t mentionned here the Fedora installer (Anaconda) but it’s really the worst one i ever tried for it’s interface. Plus, for some reason it didn’t displayed the device I wanted to install to and throwed some error about EFI as a consequence…

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      2. Yes, Fedora (and RHEL’s) Anaconda installer is the worst feature IMO. It has a baffling, user-hostile UI that is apparently the result of a professional UI redesign which, uh… yeahhhhhhhhhhh

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    2. Hmm, I haven’t encountered this. Are you talking about in the life session? If so, that’s already been fixed in the next Plasma version.

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      1. Yes it was during live session ; I couldn’t even install Fedora because of the installer not detecting properly the disk I wanted to use for installation.

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  4. “Improved the speed of SVG item lookups”… fantastic to hear about these global optimizations! Plus lots of great work all around too, it seems 🙂

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  5. Gwenview’s been what I consider the most well thought-out standard KDE app since the days when Aurelien Gateau worked on the version that came with the spangly new KDE4. But I beg you to reconsider the downgrading of the Fit/Fill/100% function to a second class (second click) citizen. Effectively it’s relegating it to second tier in favour of a new function that users have not yet shown whether they find more useful. Usage stats might eventually prove that one way or the other and I don’t doubt the background colour function will be useful to many, but even just the text ‘Background color:’ now takes up the same space that the three Fit/Fill/100% buttons did, before you even count the additional space taken by the four new colour buttons. Does ‘Background color’ even need stating? Would a tooltip for each button not suffice?

    Flicking between Fit and 100% view modes is one of my most frequently performed tasks. I often switch multiple times between them in quick succession to visualize and compare how an element appears in full quality and in the context of the full image, indeed I do it so much I only recently forced myself to look up and learn the keyboard shortcut for doing so in full screen mode, but I’m not a keyboard warrior, I have my hand tied to the mouse so the shortcut isn’t so convenient.

    Thinking of how this could be resolved to suit both purposes, I noticed something about the zoom slider controls to the right that I’ve never paid much attention to previously. I wondered what the buttons on each side of the slider did, as I’ve never used them (no tooltips). Well, they increase or decrease the zoom level in small increments, but then if you click on the slider bar itself (without dragging or clicking on the handle) this has almost exactly the same effect. Meaning that if the handle is way to the left of the slider and you click on the far right, the handle doesn’t jump to this position, it merely moves a small degree in this direction. This is a doubling up of functionality of the adjacent buttons.

    So one suggestion would be making the button to the left of the slider activate ‘Fit’ view mode, and the one to the right ‘Fill’. Then the slider could have a clickable notch for the 100% mark. Alternatively, eliminate the two buttons each side of the slider, increase its length and insert clickable notches for all major zoom levels along it. This would also eliminate the need for the combobox, so could all be done in roughly the same amount of horizontal space.

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    1. I’m sorry it doesn’t look like an improvement to you. One feature of the new mode that may actually help your workflow is that if you position the cursor over the combobox and scroll or roll the mouse wheel, you can rapidly switch between the modes without looking at the UI element itself and focus on the image. If that works for you and you get used to it, it might actually feel better than th status quo. Give it a try, maybe.

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    2. Those were my thoughts also. I use the 100%, fill, fit buttons reasonably frequently. Changing the background colour I do once in a blue moon & would really expect it to be within a settings sub-menu. Other people maybe have a need to frequently change the background colour I guess. I don’t think I would find scrolling through 7 zoom options as convenient as clicking one of 3 buttons directly – and I’ve never found >100% zoom to be of any use when reviewing my photos.

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    3. My thoughts as well. Switching between 100% & fill is something I do sometimes multiple times per image. Changing the background color… I just don’t. If the option really has to be given a quicker access, I think the context menu would be more appropriate.

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  6. To now compare with “competitors”, such as XFCE, Cinnamon, Gnome. We are waiting for the time that Wayland can replace X display systems. Flatpak ok but Snap, appimage are forgotten, or out of the race now?
    Interesting that KDE Neon is the distro in this report. We also assume a standard 1080p notebook, without any special display & other drivers?

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