This week in KDE: fixing longstanding bugs

This week a whole bunch of longstanding issues got fixed! If you look through the list, I bet you’ll find one or two things that have annoyed you–and no longer! In addition, we did a lot of high-impact Wayland work. Take a look:

New Features

Dolphin is now able to display thumbnail sequences for thumbnailers that support it when you hover over files and folders (David Lerch, Dolphin 21.08):

KWin window rules can now target special OSD windows like Firefox’s picture-in-picture overlay (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.23)

In addition to the overscan property, KWin now supports setting the underscan too (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.23)

A wide variety of features in KDE apps which rely on the Solid library now work on OpenBSD thanks to new UDisks2 support (Rafael Sadowski, Frameworks 5.85)

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Spectacle no longer crashes when using any of the image uploading plugins that come from the legacy Kipi plugins system (Adriaan de Groot, Spectacle 21.08)

Okular now shows the alt text (if set) for inaccessible images in Markdown documents (Yuri Chornoivan, Okular 21.08)

In the Plasma Wayland session with the Wobbly Windows effect enabled, GTK windows no longer fly off in bizarre random directions when dragged with a touchscreen (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.22.3)

When using an Nvidia GPU with the proprietary driver in the Plasma Wayland session, XWayland windows that are toggled between full screen and windowed modes no longer sometimes stop updating (Erik Kurzinger, Plasma 5.23)

Task Manager tooltips can no longer make Plasma hang or lag when the tooltip attempts to display album art that is located on a slow or inaccessible location (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.22.3)

The Meta Key shortcut to open the default launcher no longer sometimes just randomly breaks (Andrey Butirsky, Plasma 5.23)

In the Plasma Wayland session, touch input no longer get scrambled up by quick tile operations (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.22.3

In the Plasma Wayland session when using a high DPI scale factor, GTK app windows no longer display a variety of their UI elements at too small a size (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.22.4)

System Settings’ Keyboard page is now fully translatable, so the missing translations should be added soon (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.22.4)

You are no longer warned via notification that your S.M.A.R.T. enabled disk is showing signs of instability. This generated too many false positives due to disks reporting their status incorrectly or inaccurately characterizing transient conditions as instability. You are still warned for normal error conditions though! (Harald Sitter, Plasma 5.22.4)

In the Plasma Wayland session, right-clicking on a Task Manager task now does what it should instead of closing the context menu when the task’s tooltip disappears (David Redondo, Plasma 5.23)

In the Plasma Wayland session, certain non-resizable windows no longer erroneously display Maximize buttons (Plasma 5.23)

Task Manager tooltips now consume less memory (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.23)

In the Plasma Wayland session, native wayland apps making use of “subsurfaces” are now positioned correctly when they ask to be positioned below their parent window (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.23)

Improved the speed of access for reading global config files, which should slightly make many things a tiny bit faster, including app startup (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Frameworks 5.85)

Updating certain types of GHNS items in various apps such as KStars now works again (Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Frameworks 5.85)

User Interface Improvements

A variety of dialogs throughout KMail and the other PIM apps have been modernized and de-framed (Carl Schwan, KDE PIM 21.08):

When an app is playing media, the Task Manager thumbnails for each of its windows now only show album art from that media when the window title matches the media; this should fix the problem of all windows always showing album art instead of thumbnails in virtually all cases! (Bharadwaj Raju, Plasma 5.23):

Yes, we know that the media’s title and the playback controls are still duplicated. We are working on fixing this too!

The list of screen refresh rates in System Settings’ Display Configuration page is now sorted in descending order (Ivan Tkachenko, Plasma 5.23

When hovering over a source button in Discover, the tooltip now tells you specifically which repo within the source it comes from, in the case that the backend has multiple repos configured (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.23)

The icon chooser dialog has gotten a visual and UX overhaul and now shows SVG icons accurately for high DPI users (Kai Uwe Broulik, Frameworks 5.85):

“About” pages in each Kirigami-based app now mention the full name of the app itself and also display the role/type of work done for each contributor (if that data is set) (Felipe Kinoshita, Frameworks 5.85):

…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, youโ€™ll like it! We donโ€™t bite!

Finally, consider making a tax-deductible donation to the KDE e.V. foundation.

53 thoughts on “This week in KDE: fixing longstanding bugs

  1. Drag the file from Dolphin to another program. For example in Telegram. Good luck in your torment.
    Maybe old problems should be solved?

    Like

    1. I don’t have any trouble dragging files from Dolphin to Telegram. Don’t assume your problems are well known and making vague, snarky comments about your problems doesn’t help them get fixed. A quick look at Dolphin’s general bugs category shows there isn’t even an open bug report related to the issue you vaguely described.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I agree that comment is snarky and vaguely describes the issue, but the issue is there.

        The nuance is that dragging has problems when one has two displays, if Dolphin is on one display and FF on other, dragging somehow does not work. I have encountered this with dragging to Google Drive and Jira.

        But again problems have to be registered, otherwise they can only be fixed by accident.

        In this case who is to blame? kwin? firefox? dolphin? No idea ๐Ÿ™‚

        Like

        1. In the X11 session, the two apps talk over the X server, so unless it’s an X server bug, the bug is in one of the apps. In the Wayland session, the apps talk over KWin, so it could be a bug in either app or a bug in KWin. If the bug is seen on Wayland but not X11, then there’s a better chance it’s a KWin bug, though it could still be an app bug.

          Regardless, the solution is to file a bug report *somewhere.* ๐Ÿ™‚ If it’s filed to the wrong place, no problem; it can simply be moved.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for the de-framing efforts. So much cleaner and more pleasant to look at. I hope someone can have a go at Dolphin and other apps at some point.

    The hovering categories issue with the App Launcher is still a problem with everyone I am involved with (older folks) and the only solution so far is to switch to the simple launcher. One user changed to Gnome and another user went back to windows because of not being able to deal with finding apps in the launcher. There really should be an option to simply disable UX changes on hover.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Were they all using Plasma 5.22? The triangle menu implementation in that release should have fixed the issue.

      Like

      1. A bit late to respond, but yes, all cases involved using 5.22 (Manjaro/testing). The current effect is probably okay if a user is familiar with Plasma and dexterous with a mouse. Any kind of hesitation or delay for a first time user and the switch on category hover just destroys the experience, leading to frustration and lack of patience. For me, I use QuickLaunch with 20 apps already set up so I rarely use the default launcher anyway but when I do I can understand why older (and some very young) ex-Windows users give up on what I am trying to convert them to. I have to install the Simple Launcher alternative about 90% of the time.

        Like

  3. And another question, which winner of the Olympiad among the mentally retarded needed to change the system monitor?

    There are no complaints about the old version. It’s just a great monitoring tool!

    About the new version – I can describe several thousand bugs.
    – the interface is very slow,
    – uninformative,
    – incredibly silly editing tools,
    – uncomfortable,
    – no global menu,
    – it takes a lot of time to customize,
    – as well as it is impossible to customize it normally,
    – it consumes more resources,
    – I cannot customize the data refresh period in many tabs,
    – I cannot control the position of the tabs,
    – launch speed is terrifying, as much as 1.5 seconds!

    I can go on for a long time. But I donโ€™t want to touch this muck anymore.
    Are you specifically forcing the use of htop in DE?

    Like

    1. You can still use ksysguard btw.

      Also I just implemented a global menu for it (still waiting for review) so most of your problems with if are going to be solved in sometime, a more friendly approach when talking about missing features would be great as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    2. And another question, which winner of the Olympiad among the mentally retarded needed to change the system monitor?

      This way of communicating is neither polite nor effective in getting other people to see your point of view or make the changes you want. You can either be nicer, or I can delete all of your future comments and ban you from posting under this name. Your choice.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes, I’m already tired of this bunch of bugs. I’ll install vanilla ubuntu tomorrow. And you no longer have to resent the fact that you are informed about the shortcomings of the packages.

        By the way, do you know why I have such a manner of communication? Because real bugs have not been closed for 5-10 years.

        Like

        1. “The beatings will continue until morale improves”, eh?

          I wish you luck in your hunt for an OS that does not have bugs older than 5-10 years. Goodbye forever.

          Liked by 4 people

    3. I certainly do not support the impolite language, but I can’t deny that I too see the new system monitor as a failiure by design. A task manager ought to be lean and reliable, but the system monitor has an unusually high memory and cpu footprint, and it takes long to launch. If your system is overloaded and you want to quickly terminate some processes, the system monitor probably won’t work because of its own high resource demand, especially for people who are running older hardware.
      Moreover, in terms of (intuitive) configurability, QML applications have always been lacking behind compared to classical Qt programs.
      I think it would have been better to work on improving KSysGuard, or restart from scratch with classical Qt and a focus on speed and reliability if the KSysGuard code base has issues.
      I hope you don’t plan to abandon KSysGuard at some point?

      Like

    4. Not only are you extremely rude, arrogant and entitled (you probably paid nothing for the privilege of using KDE, let alone the privilege of any developer listening to your whining), but you are also very wrong.
      – ‘Uninformative’ – that is a rather broad criticism, can you be more specific? What information is it that you can’t find in the new app, but had access to in KSysGuard or in CLI?
      – ‘incredibly silly editing tools’ – yes they are a bit confusing, but at least there. I think they will improve over time.
      – ‘uncomfortable’ – that is also very vague, broad and subjective, so no one knows what to do with this information
      – Global menu is coming (see Felipe’s comment)
      – ‘lot of time to customize’ – It takes exactly as much time as you want it to. Heck, we are talking about a Plasma tool after all! You can just use the default, download pages made by others, or dive in and create your own. Customization isn’t mandatory.
      – ‘impossible to customize normally’ – be careful with words like ‘impossible’, ‘always’ and ‘never’. It takes ONE counter-example to make your point invalid. I personally made a System Monitor config that I quite like, so it is possible.
      – “cannot control the position of tabs’ – yes you can, silly, it is the FIRST option in the hamburger menu.

      Performance concerns are valid, the new app does indeed consume more resources (although not substantially), and takes quite long to load, but this is definitely stuff that will improve, so let’s not harp on it too much.

      Of the ‘several thousand’ bugs you mentioned, how much did you file on bugs.kde.org? Oh right, none, because you don’t actually want to help the developers to fix these issues, you just want to spew toxicity on blog posts. Why even bother commenting if all you do is demotivate developers, and kill everyone’s day?

      This attitude won’t get you anywhere.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Absolutrly awesome. I permanently changed from Cinnamon to Plasma this year and have no regrets. The weekly bug squashing really impressed me. I just hope people would be friendlier when talking about bugs on a FLOSS project. On that note, how can I help the project without money or coding skills? I’m benefitting a lot from your collective work and I would’ve like to give back!
    Keep up the good work and just ignore the trolls!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Does Kmail still have that horrific abomination of a GUI element in the form of HTMl/TEXT switcher? and does the message view still flash white when opening in dark mode?

    Like

    1. From what I gather the Kmail developers are very stubbon about that ugly GUI element, and last time I checked it was still there.

      I am a big fan of all things KDE but I feel like Kmail is a lost cause. Mailspring is pretty much the best, and only, option if you want a modern email client.

      I feel sad when I look at the exciting developments in Geary on the Gnome side, with it’s Gtk 4 UX, and intelligent adjustments as you make the app window smaller or larger. Why can’t we have something as good as Geary for KDE/Qt people? There’s plenty of talented developers in KDE-land.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ehhh, I like KMail!
        I don’t use it every day, but when I need to deal with large amount of emails or to catch-up with secondary/tertiary mailboxes, it’s efficiency is unrivaled.
        I don’t mind this aspect of its UI (although I agree that it could be made a bit prettier).
        The main thing I think it is missing is keyword search (like outlook’s/gmail’s “from:joe subject:report hasattachment:yes”)

        I’m still unconvinced about the clunky hot mess of Akonadi, though.

        Like

        1. There is a filter that does this though not in the same way. Can’t really post a screenshot here but to the left of the bar above the email listing that says “Search… ” there is a funnel looking icon that allows you to do just what you have described when you click on it.

          Like

          1. I see. You are right. There are two categories of filters in that filter list; the first can be chained as true or false options, but the second cannot. Your example chains the second category as well, which is closer to what you have in the full blown search (S or Tools > Find messages). But of course the full search dialog has you select the options rather than select them.

            Like

          2. Correction: But of course the full search dialog has you select the options rather than express them as one string.

            Like

          3. yep, that’s my conclusion as well, full blown search becomes the go-to option, more often than desired, because not all common use cases can be expressed from the search field.

            Like

      2. Sorry Nate, here in the context of a comment I am about to unload what could be as lengthy as a blog post.

        There is a bug report here https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=399245 and a proposed alternative here https://phabricator.kde.org/R94:1c55919a64491bd5598cf9d8616e77b037edbf87 but regrettably there is still no action on this.

        While I do agree that the way the bar issue has been handled is poor, I can say definitely that I have been unable to leave kmail (and I tried [1]) especially in combination with Kontact because of its capabilities and merits. (Yes, I use some of the niche/crazy features that it provides).

        My mail setup is *something* like this (it is a little more complicated than that but I’ll spare you the details):

        * Kmail on stationary system connects to ~7 providers by pop, stores all emails in *maildir* format locally, and deletes online messages after 2 weeks. (maildir format is a big deal to me for the more complicated stuff I am omitting)
        * Kmail on mobile system connects to 4 providers by imap and I sync maildir structure (rsync) from stationary system to this one so that all email is available to me when I am on the go.
        * Kontact is configured with nextcloud for contacts, calendars, and tasks (used to include journals also but dav/calendars have been broken in Journal for some time now. I gave up on akregator cause their nexcloud sync never came – I now use rssguard for that)

        Some of the things that I do:

        – Send email using an alias but *without* having to create an new identity. As simple as this sounds, and as far as I know, no other GUI client except Evolution allows you to do this. On the one hand, Kmail has a way of associating identities with (1) incoming/outgoing mailservers and (2) email folders (right-click menu > General > Sender identity), but it still allows you the flexibility of setting a from email address and picking an outgoing mail server in the compose/send mail dialog.

        – Set default message format (HTML/text) by folder.

        – Reply to email sent to one email address from another.

        – Use message templates that read from email header a lot. Something like when I hit the “R” key or the reply button, my email already has Dear , cursor and signature. (and yes, templates can be associated with folders!)

        – This is more of a Kontact thing, i think, but make emails into tasks, events, or send to an external script for processing (this is nice for patches, attachments, or other things). A lot more email applications can do the calendar event or tasks thing now.

        I do much more with email but I only listed those areas where I think kmail is unique or just allows me to do things in a less cumbersome way. As you tell see my email life is already complicated enough, and you have only seen a preview.

        [1] Full disclosure: I tried a lot of these other clients either prior to my discovery of kontact (looking especially at evolution) or when akonadi based kmail transition was still exceedingly painful.
        Other native Email clients or suites that I have used:
        * Thunderbird with lightning
        * Evolution
        * Geary
        * Claws
        * There used to be another QT based imap email only client that I cannot remember now.

        Anyways I hope this makes sense to someone other than me.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Can’t edit and the comments filter out open and closed angle brackets so some stuff is missing.
          substitute “Dear,” for “Dear ‘firstname obtained from header’ “

          Like

    1. It’s marked VHI which means it’s on the priority list and gets noticed and discussed at least once a week. I’m confident that it’ll be fixed soon enough.

      Like

  6. Nate, have you got an idea if some kind of antialiasing can be applied to the application thumbnails (little app screenshots) in Task Manager, with the current APIs (not sure to which API that functionality belongs – Qt, KDE frameworks or graphics driver)?

    Like

  7. Since updating to the last Ubuntu version, on start KDE sets the GTK setting `gtk-enable-animations` to 0, which makes web browsers toggle the “Reduced motion” setting automatically.

    To me this would seem caused by this change: https://phabricator.kde.org/D26825, because it gets set to 1 when you go to System Settings and move the animations speed slider. This setting seems to be ignored on start and the GTK setting is always set to 0 again, so basically you have all your users using their web browsers with reduced motion.

    Like

    1. Do you have animations globally disabled in System Settings? This should only be happening when you’ve chosen to turn off animations. In which case, the web browsers automatically enabling their “reduce motion” setting would be a logical thing to do, no?

      Like

      1. Of course not, I have woobly windows when moving them, minimize/maximize animations and some other stuff. And everytime I reboot, I have to move the animations speed slider so my web browser does not have reduced motion. It’s great user experience.

        Like

          1. There are currently 3 bug reports I’ve made over the years that are still an issue and that have been either ignored or vaguely answered and then ignored, so I’m not doing it again.

            Like

  8. You are telling me now that there is a bug about SSD instability that is false positive? I just got this warning a month ago and bought and transferred my OS to a new, bigger and expensive SSD because of that… Well… this is an improvement for me anyway. My old SSD was intently used for the past 5 years, so there is a chance it wasn’t this bug, but… could be just coincidence? Anyway, when the fix will be there, I will plug the old SSD and see if it generates the same warning as before.
    I had no grounds not to trust the warning, so it’s good it was fixed. A bit of trust lost in the tools, but on the other hand, I have no time to dig in bugs every time I have some system feedback.

    Like

    1. Most of these warnings are real issues with your disk, it’s just that we don’t have a way of actually assessing their severity because the disk itself is not in a trustworthy state to provide that information. A hard disk that has certain irregularities may in fact continue to function for years–or it may exhibit issues next week.

      We were hoping that this would be an edge case, but unfortunately it turns out that a lot of hard disks are not made terribly well. :/ So users saw a lot of these warnings. There is no harm to replacing a disk that caused these messages to show up; if the new one does *not* show these messages, then it is in fact a better, higher quality disk and you probably made the right decision in replacing it.

      However showing all these warnings put the system in the awkward position of basically telling the user, “you made a bad hardware choice; go buy something better.” And we really want to be neutral about other hardware choices the user has made. A lot of time people are coming to our software with hardware they already have; ideally the system adapts to your hardware. So in the end we thought it best to restrict the messages to cases where the disk is detected to actually be failing, rather than making it basically say, “yo, this is kind of a crap disk, maybe you should buy a better one?”

      If you’re the kind of person who wants to know that to inform your buying choices or to can achieve maximum safety, the messages are still visible in info center. It’s just that we no longer display notifications for them.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Nate, is there a way to disable middle click to paste on x11 (or on wayland even)? I always miss-paste when trying to use the “Windows way” of scrolling.

    Like

  10. Just something that occurred to me while reading the post..

    The settings app keeps getting better and better, more consistent. Still a lot of entries, so if you want to simplify it some more I believe I might have found a helpful pattern.

    KDE Wallet, KDE Connect and maybe others, could just be removed from there completely. Instead, make it a standalone application if it doesn’t exist yet, or add a settings page inside the app like all the others. Like since they are both the setting and the application itself. With that, you would have at least two less entries there. More benefits, I could just remove the package since I don’t use either, and you would also get rid of Launch Wallet Manager and their weird UX (try to launch it when KDE Wallet is disable). I don’t have fond memories of the wallet generation workflow either.

    Sorry if it’s confusing, let me try again. Right now when I search for KDE Wallet in the start menu I get: {KDE Wallet Manager}, and {KDE Wallet Configuration}. Remove both and make a standalone app.

    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