This week in KDE: Better HiDPI on X11

We made a big improvement to Plasma’s high DPI support on X11 this week! Beyond that, there’s a lot more cool stuff in progress that hasn’t been merged yet; look for that stuff next week and beyond.

New Features

You can now search for localized text to find timezones in KRunner and Kickoff (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.23)

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

The buttons that appear when you hover your cursor over entries in the Clipboard applet are no longer sometimes mis-positioned (Eugene Popov, Plasma 5.22.4)

A System Tray popup that has been pinned open no longer closes unexpectedly when you open its configuration page (David Redondo, Plasma 5.22.4)

Plasma Panels once again use the correct edge-specific theme graphics, when present (Obno Sim, Plasma 5.22.5)

In the Plasma Wayland session, System Settings’ Shortcuts page no longer lists three “KWin” items; they now all have proper names (David Redondo, Plasma 5.23)

When using a high DPI scale factor on X11 with the default Plasma scaling system (instead of native Qt scaling, which is used on Wayland and when manually setting PLASMA_USE_QT_SCALING=1), large Task Manager icons, System Tray icons and ToolButton icons all over the place are now displayed with the correct size! (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.85). This is not the end; other things are still too small, but I am working on those too.

This is on X11, with Plasma scaling, not using the PLASMA_USE_QT_SCALING environment variable!

Recursive changes to directory ownership and permissions now always work (Ahmad Samir, Frameworks 5.85)

User Interface Improvements

The Weather widget’s configuration page now has a less-annoying UI for searching: the results list no longer becomes automatically focused after you search, and instead you can navigate the results list with the up and down arrow keys and hit the enter key to select and entry while the search field is still focused (Bharadwaj Raju, Plasma 5.23)

The System Tray’s highlight line for the active applet now touches the edge of the panel (Niccolò Venerandi, Plasma 5.23):

System Settings no longer shows a question mark button in its titlebar (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, where you can find blog posts by other KDE contributors detailing the work they’re doing.

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!

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

25 thoughts on “This week in KDE: Better HiDPI on X11

  1. Great improvements this round!

    Btw what’s wrong with Spectacle shortcuts? None of them seem to work (5.22.4)…


    1. I mean I want to understand is it a general Plasma regression or just some specific Arch issue. None of shortcuts associated with Spectacle, be it the default or custom, does not invoke assigned action.


    1. Yes please. It’s a known issue with various related bug reports but I don’t think we have one specifically tracking that. Once you file it, can you mention the URL here?


    2. Ok, doing some testing, I noticed that the problem is related to virtual desks, if you only use a virtual desktop no problem, but if you switch from one desktop to another the problem arises.


    3. I’ve seen this not with applets but with the vncviewer (tigervnc) window, which I use to connect to remote virtual machines (so, the vncserver of xen or kvm).

      I normally use my windows (browser, kmail, akkregator, basket, kate, etc) maximized, some (konsole, kwallet) maximized only vertically, but vncviewer is always the size reported by the vm, in case this hints of something.

      I’ve only seen this issue with vncviewer and pretty often, it usually happens (or I notice it) when the window resizes due to the vm resolution changing (grub to linux).

      Is there a bug report I can follow?
      Or should I report it?

      Another thing: I use the “Dim Inactive” effect that dims e.g. the dialog box when Shit+Deleting an email in kmail.

      Very often (but not always) the dim effect doesn’t stop and I have to close and restart kmail.

      I haven’t been able to find a bug for it, I’ll see if I can open one.


    4. Forgot to add: this is in plasma 5.22.4, framkeworks 5.84 (about to upgrade to 5.85) under X11, 2 virtual desktops and a second monitor/tv plugged in via hdmi extending the desktop.


  2. Always enjoy these informative and enthusiastic posts!

    Nate, I believe you told me (pointed me to a bug report with some back and forth IIRC…) a few months back that in Dolphin, the extra padding in the left pane was ultimately going to return to its prior, less padded behavior. I haven’t seen this yet, though interestingly I don’t think the extra padding has ever appeared in openSUSE Tumbleweed, at least for me. Of course on Debian and other older-Plasma distros the not-excessively-padded behavior remains.

    On newer-Plasma distros I’ve worked around it (smaller font size = now all 29 partitions fit with no scrolling!), but just wondering if I can expect any changes to this in the future…


    1. Still the same here, in several distros (Neon, Fedora, Arch, Manjaro, Slackware -current, Gentoo, Kaos, Mageia Cauldron, PCLinux, Garuda, anything with up to date Plasma aside from OpenSUSE Tumbleweed). I’ve tried setting the icon size to medium, then back to small, no change.

      I’d love to know what’s different in Tumbleweed, because, again, it’s (I’m pretty sure) always stayed un-padded there. Unfortunately I have no idea as to whether it’s a config file or something else that has kept it that way. I know openSUSE does some odd things with Dolphin, like allowing it to be run as root, which messes with the expected behavior of opening a root file and then being prompted for the root password to save…


  3. I’ve given up on driving Plasma with “Global scale” fractional DPI enabled, because icons are at best blurry but usually unevenly pixellated, and QPainter-drawn canvases are either pixellated (rendered at low resolution and scaled up) or glitchy (each pixel is either a non-uniform number of pixels or no longer aligned to the pixel grid, resulting in both Plasma and custom widgets drawing or redrawing incorrectly). I think it’s irresponsible to encourage users to use Display Configuration’s “Global scale” (which causes this glitchy behavior) instead of Fonts’s “Force font DPI” (which is spared from most problems), when setting a DPI below 175% or so. And I now believe GNOME was right in only allowing integer pixel-coordinate scale, and only allowing fractional scaling for fonts only.

    Right now I’m running KDE with 100% global scale and 96dpi font scale (100%), but with larger default fonts. It’s good enough, more or less. 120dpi font scale (125%) would more-or-less work too.


    1. Can you please file a bug report describing exactly how you expect to do tihs and where the option disappeared from? And then please mention the bug report URL in a comment here. I may have some idea of what happened, but need more information in the form of a bug report.


    2. Nah, figured it out – the shrotcut contols moved from direct assignment via right-clicking on tray icon to general tray settings.


  4. I think it’s worth mentioning that there’s an 11 year old bug that was just squashed 🙂 the “Recursive changes to directory ownership and permissions now always work”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This changes also destroyed fonts rendering/anti-aliasing for GNOME/Gtk application inside KDE Neon, e.g. GIMP, Inkscape, LibreOffice…


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