This week in KDE: so many Wayland improvements, and more!

The Plasma 5.23 beta has been released, so go test it! We’ve got a month to fix all the bugs you find and report, so please do so. 🙂 Many of the improvements already made this week pertain to Plasma’s Wayland session which is rapidly becoming usable for more and more people’s daily usage. I’m using it myself as my primary session, and this is pretty painless now. I’m so impressed by how KDE developers have managed to whip it into shape over the last year! The future truly is now, or something.

Lots of other non-Wayland improvements were made as well:

New Features

KCalc now has a history view where you can see all recently-run calculations! (Antonio Prcela, KCalc 21.12):

This implements an 18 year-old feature request!

The standard “Share” menu found in various KDE apps now offers the possibility of generating a QR code when the thing being shared is a URL (Kai Uwe Broulik, Frameworks 5.87):

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

In Gwenview, you can once again switch between the zoom modes with keyboard shortcuts after this broke recently (Eugene Popov, Gwenview 21.08.2)

The Previous and Next buttons in Elisa’s player control bar no longer inappropriately become disabled while the current track is paused (me: Nate Graham, Elisa 21.08.2)

Okular no longer lets you try to save over a read-only file, and instead prompts you to save the file elsewhere (Albert Astals Cid, Okular 21.08.2)

In the Plasma Wayland session, KWin no longer crashes when you disconnect a Bluetooth drawing tablet (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.23)

System Settings no longer sometimes crashes when deleting certain cursor themes (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.23)

System Settings is now much faster to open top-level categories that have several sub-pages in them (Bharadwaj Raju, Plasma 5.23)

In the Plasma Wayland session, copying text from XWayland apps while Klipper’s “Prevent empty selection” setting is in use now works (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.23)

In the Plasma Wayland session, long menus in apps and sub-menus of the Kicker menu are no longer covered up by Plasma Panels (Andrey Butirsky, Plasma 5.23)

In the Plasma Wayland session, full-screen Chrome web apps should now display properly (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.23)

In the Plasma Wayland session, windows that open to a size which is larger than the area they would be maximized to now get resized down to fit in that area (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.23)

In the Plasma Wayland session, transparent Plasma themes now display transparency correctly when using the proprietary NVIDIA driver (Severin van Wnuck, Plasma 5.23)

Plasma Vaults no longer fail to mount if the mountpoint has a hidden .directory file in it because you browsed that location when using per-directory view settings while the Vault was unmounted (Tom Zander, Plasma 5.23)

Cursor themes with only one size now cause only the size combobox on System Settings’ Cursors page to be disabled, rather than all of the controls on its row (Bharadwaj Raju, Plasma 5.23)

The Link and Active Text colors are now readable in all four Breeze color schemes, fixing issues of unreadable text for apps that were using this color role. Note that you will need to re-apply the color scheme manually to pick up the changes due to this issue (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.23)

The very minimal contents of System Settings’ own settings window has been moved into its hamburger menu to make access more direct (Ismael Asensio, Plasma 5.24):

The properties dialog once again shows the filename for read-only files (Ahmad Samir, Frameworks 5.87)

File ACLs set via the properties dialog now get applied correctly if you re-open the properties dialog right after changing them (Ahmad Samir, Frameworks 5.87)

Expandable list items in the System Tray once again reserve enough space in the highlight effect to show all of the buttons inside it (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.87)

Some textual headers in Kirigami-based apps that were supposed to be hidden are once again hidden (Devin Lin, Frameworks 5.87)

Narrow and mobile-style form layouts in Kirigami apps now have the correct spacing between items within groups (Ismael Asensio, Frameworks 5.87)

User Interface Improvements

Konsole’s default toolbar has been drastically improved and simplified by putting all of the layout and split-related items into a dropdown menu button (Nathan Sprangers, Konsole 21.12):

Gwenview no longer inappropriately switches to Browse mode when you press the Escape key to close the zoom level combobox’s popup (Gleb Popov, Gwenview 21.12)

Info Center’s S.M.A.R.T. Status page now lets you see more detailed nerdy information if you want (Harald Sitter, Plasma 5.23)

System Settings’ sidebar is now fully keyboard navigable with just the arrow keys (Arjen Hiemstra, Plasma 5.23)

The Breeze application style has gained the ability to display views in older QtWidgets-based apps with a more “frameless” style, such that adjacent views are separated from one another with a single separator line rather than inset frames, just like they are in our more modern QtQuick apps. Apps will need to opt into this change, and they will start doing so over the course of the next year or so (Jan Blackquill, Plasma 5.24):

Note that visuals are not 100% final and support in Dolphin is still in progress has not been merged yet; this is only a sneak peek!

It’s now possible to navigate between sidebar list items in Kirigami-based apps using the arrow and enter/return keys (Arjen Hiemstra, Frameworks 5.87)

We have reverted the recent change to use a gear-style spinner in Plasma for app loading and other spinning progress indicators. It looked okay in some contexts, but not others. We will find a better way (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.87)

The Breeze icon theme now features icons for all of the different types of Godot Engine files (Michael Alexsander, Frameworks 5.87):

No longer will you be left waiting for Godot

…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.

30 thoughts on “This week in KDE: so many Wayland improvements, and more!

  1. Nitpicking: To me, a barcode and a QR code are not the same, so if the context menu says generate barcode I expect to see a row of black lines even if its icon indicates a QR code.

    Like

  2. As always, many thanks to the developers for the many bug fixes and the new great features! It is a pleasure to use Plasma and KDE every day. I have tested the Plasma Beta 5.23 with Wayland.

    One question has arisen for me about the Activities. Under X11 I have a full session function, which means that when I stop (pause) an activity, that the programs started in it are actually terminated. As soon as the activity is started again, the “paused” programs are also started again.

    Under Wayland it behaves differently. When I stop (pause) an activity, the programs of this activity are still active in the background. Stopping an activity does not bring anything here. Likewise I have the problem that with a restart the programs in an activity are not automatically restarted, which were active in it last.

    Is this still in planning to bring this up to par with X11?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Is it possible to run beta session as secondary and switch back to 5.22?
    Will it mess with config files so they wouldn’t be backward compatiblity?

    Like

  4. Consider this post a short bugreport of what I have encountered with in the latest 5.22.80.
    As of now I have the following let’s call them regressions:

    1. Logout dialog with options to shutdown, reboot, suspend, etc is shown on laptop’s screen only — contrary to the way it was before when it was shown on the external monitor too.
    2. Window switching effects Cover Switch and Flip Switch are gone (maybe I needed to compile them separately?).
    3. Overview effect is not working properly (window previews are not shown) with multiscreen setup until effects are suspended and enabled again (or kwin –replace run).
    4. I couldn’t find any extra info on S.M.A.R.T. tab of KInfo Centre.
    5. And some more already reported on bugs.kde.org.

    Like

      1. Nooooo!
        First Roman removed shade/unshade in its fork, now this…
        It seems at some point Kwin will become as boring as Mutter except for its perpetual inability of handling multiple screens properly… Hope I’m wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. How can we non-coders try these improvements? By using KDE NEON, or which Linux operating system? We don’t have the time & skill to compile from source code. Using the PPA of the Ubuntu systems can be a stretch of our skills. Does Arch or Manjaro have any ready easy to keep pace with KDE developments?

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      1. Why KDE Neon Testing, Unstable, and Developer are behind User? I had the idea they had “KDE software built the same day from new feature branches” However, in that link Testing iso is from 14-09, Unstable 12-09, Developer 13-09, but user is from 16-09. Newest seem to be Argon, from 17-09.

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        1. Testing ISO is built on the day the 5.23 Beta is branched, which is 14 Sep. All of them still have newer package versions than User.

          Like

  6. Scaling for HighDPI is still a very poor experience: both UI and text in many programs are still blurry (on KDE Plasma v5.22.5). Firefox, IDEs, basically most of non-KDE programs are unusable (as of v5.22.5). And without scaling all UI elements are so small, that it’s a huge eye-strain.

    Sorry for whining, just sharing my experience.

    Like

    1. Which scale factor do you use? Are you on X or Wayland? On X 2.0 scaling is flawless, on Wayland most apps are fine too, but some are unfortunately blurry.

      Like

      1. Wow, sorry, I haven’t actually mentioned what I use: X.org or Wayland.

        I use 175% scaling; with X.org it works flawlessly, but on Wayland many things are blurry.

        Like

    2. If *everything* is blurry, it’s because the app in question is running through XWayland and is not wayland-native yet. Some apps have experimental wayland modes, like Firefox and Thunderbird. I am using this myself. The problem should go away over time as more and more apps are ported to run in native Wayland mode, or if XWayland ever gets the ability to scale non-Wayland-native apps as on X11.

      Regardless, none of this is a KDE issue. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree there is no one-size-fits-all spinner. I tried it twice in web dev. First a overlay spinner, which was visually distracting and blocked interaction with other elements. Then a spinner that inserted itself into the button that was clicked (by looking at the event target). That worked visually only most of the time, and removal of the spinner had to be triggered by the asynchronous code. Only one spinner at a time was possible. Finally I ditched the automatic effort. There were several reusable spinner components that asynchronous code could use or they used their specialized component, if the need aroused.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m testing version 5.22.90 (5.23 beta), and I have to congratulate you, because using wayland now it seems to work fine. I am happy to have the application startup animation and in this regard I have reported this bug found https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=442733 , I have also noticed a problem in the copy paste between applications and I will report it. But these are the only problems I’ve encountered so far.
    Also nice is the new theme and the ability to change the color accent easily. Thanks for the great job.

    Liked by 1 person

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