This week in KDE: Getting Plasma 5.23 ready for release

We continue to squash bugs in the Plasma 5.23 beta release with the aim of getting it into great shape for general release in about two weeks! As with last week, I’ll again strongly encourage anyone with the skills to do so to focus on fixing these bugs! Every little bit helps.

New Features

Konsole now lets you change the color scheme of the app itself (not its terminal view, but rather than main UI around it) independently of the systemwide color scheme (Maximillien di Dio and Ahmad Samir, Konsole 21.12):

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

An open split view in Dolphin is no longer randomly closed when you enable or disable the feature to remember the last-closed window’s state (Eugene Popov, Dolphin 21.08.2)

In the Plasma Wayland session, fast user switching now works (Vlad Zahorodnii and Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.23)

In the Plasma Wayland session, KWin no longer sometimes crashes when certain apps display context menus and other pop-ups (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.23)

In the Plasma Wayland session, KWin no longer crashes while logging out so frequently (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.23)

In the Plasma Wayland session, KWin no longer crashes when waking up the system (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.23)

Discover can once again be used to uninstall apps after an unexpected change in the PackageKit library it uses broke it (Antonio Rojas, Plasma 5.23)

In the Plasma Wayland session, dual monitor setups where both are showing the same output are now properly detected in System Settings’ Display & Monitor page (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.23)

Keyboard layouts marked as “spare” in System Settings can now be switched to using the applet’s context menu (Andrey Butirsky, Plasma 5.23)

All items in System Settings’ sidebar now visibly highlight when hovered (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.23)

It’s no longer possible to see tooltips for hidden items on Discover’s Updates page while loading/refreshing the updates list (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.23)

On System Settings’ Activity Power Settings page, the “Define a special behavior” combobox no longer displays duplicated entries (Oleg Solovyov, Plasma 5.23)

Searching in Discover now works much more reliably, especially when searching immediately after launching the app. Checking for updates is much faster too! (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.24)

In the Plasma Wayland session, idle detection for the purposes of automatic screen locking now works much more reliably (Méven Car, Plasma 5.24)

The Window Rules window accessed from a window’s titlebar context menu (and other System Settings pages displayed standalone in their own windows) once again display their footer content/controls correctly (Ismael Asensio, Frameworks 5.87)

Discover is now faster to load initial content from any of the Addons categories (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Frameworks 5.87)

KTimeTracker’s icon is now displayed correctly (Manuel Jesús de la Fuente, Frameworks 5.87)

User Interface Improvements

When session restoration is in use, Spectacle no longer gets launched on login if it was open during the last logout (Ivan Tkachenko, Spectacle 21.12)

Thumbnails are now displayed for .cbz comic book files containing WEBP-formatted images (Mitch Bigelow, Dolphin 21.12)

More thumbnails are now displayed for video files (Martin Tobias Holmedahl Sandsmark, Dolphin 21.12)

Elisa no longer sometimes displays a white line below the top header area with certain window sizes (Fushan Wen, Elisa 21.12)

The Home and End keys now navigate to the first and last items (respectively) in KRunner’s results view popup when the search field is not focused (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.24)

Windows centered by KWin’s “Centered” window placement method or the “Move Window to the Center” action now take into accounts the thickness of your Plasma panels when calculating the area available for windows to be centered within (Kristen McWilliam, Plasma 5.24)

System Settings’ Keyboard page now respects the “Show Changed Settings” feature (Cyril Rossi, Plasma 5.24)

There are now pixel-perfect 22x22px versions of the Breeze preferences icons, which should make those icons look better anywhere they’re displayed at that size, such as in System Settings’ sidebar (Manuel Jesús de la Fuente, Frameworks 5.87)

…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

In addition to fixing Plasma beta bugs as mentioned above, 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.

32 thoughts on “This week in KDE: Getting Plasma 5.23 ready for release

  1. Nice! Any update on the issue with the lockscreen crashing when the display has been disconnected/put to sleep? I can’t find the bug report.

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  2. Nice to see Wayland improvements. As far as I remeber Wayland was selected as a one of KDE’s goals in several yaers ago. There was also a goal to improve touchscreen support, but it wasn’t incuded in the goals list. Is there any active work on touchscreen support right now? Mayby some taskboard or some team which I may help?

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    1. Touchscreen improvements are being made as well just in general, and also in preparation for the Steam Deck which has a touch screen. We are also trying to improve keyboard nav using arrow keys. I don’t think there’s a big public workboard of tasks right now, but maybe we need one. In any event, please do feel free to help out! Touchscreen issues are usually fairly easy to detect because yo just try to use a part of the UI with your touchscreen and see if it doesn’t work properly. 🙂 Same with keyboard navigation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It seems to me that right now the main problem with KDE on touchscreen is QTBUG-73949. I tried several times to send a patch that allows widgets that do not accept touch events to get synthetic right mouse button events from long press as it happens on Windows, but every time I ran into the Qt devs disinterest in solving this problem. This is really sad, because when I backported my patch on Qt version used in my Kubuntu it could finally work on it using touchscreen only (excepting plasma widgets which are written in qml and it requires a separate patch).

        Nate, I belive that KDE community have an ability to communicate Qt. Could you contact or ask somebody to contact with a person in Qt who have political influence to change the devs attitude to QTBUG-73949 (and potentially QTBUG-96770) to somewhat really important? I just lost any hope of convincing the developers to accept my patch by myself.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I must ask you Nate, since there is not a single google result that gives me an answer, except workarounds, which may introduce security holes or system instability (or worse).

    Basically it’s about kernel updates, specifically installing newer versions, from 5.13 onwards…
    When I try to install them, it throws an error about libc library
    “…required libc6 (>= 2.33) but 2.31-0ubuntu9.2 is installed…”

    Maybe this isn’t your area of expertise, but do you now will we be able to install newer kernel on current KDE Neon or will we need to wait for another Ubuntu LTS release?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not sure, this isn’t really my area of expertise. I guess you would have to ask the Neon team. I’m not sure if upgrading the kernel manually is a supported use case in Neon. The point of Neon is explicitly to *not* provide an up-to-date non-KDE software–only for KDE software. It’s for people who want all distro-provided non-KDE software to be “stable” (e.g. old), and who are comfortable getting non-KDE user-facing apps from Snap or Flatpak. If that doesn’t describe you, you might want to consider switching to a different distro.

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      1. I totally get it.
        I’ll google how to best write to the Neon team (but if you have some link or so at hand, it would help).

        Thanks for the clarification and keep up the good work!

        P.S.
        For the last sentence, it doesn’t describe me ‘:D
        but I loooooove using KDE Neon (and Plasma)!

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  4. Is there windows behaviour changed in Wayland ? Previously it didn’t saved size and position of windows uon closing even kde app .

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  5. FWIW, I just saw a random YouTube video that happened to include the use of the default Mac editor, and it looked absolutely gorgeous. Why? There were no window and frame borders around any of the visual components. It just used well selected background colours to separate the various components. So clean and visually elegant. In comparison, Kate, Dolphin and especially Kmail look ugly.

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    1. Editor for what?

      In general we try not to chase design trends, and this new style where distinct areas are separated from one another only by their background colors and many UI elements blend into one another is just that: a trend. It will eventually come to be seen as “outdated” or “stale” just like the flat, skeumorphic, and brutalist design trends of the 2010s, 2000s, and 1990s, respectively.

      We try to produce a “timeless” style that will never go out of fashion. For more information on this, I would encourage you to read https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved/Design/Lessons_Learned#Timeless_design.2C_not_trend-chasing

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I feel like things go around in cycles, and “timelessness” is but an illusion. Like the current “flat” trend, that started with Xerox/Apple/Windows back in the early days of GUIs (only more boring). It won’t be long until we go back to the 3D designs, especially I see SVG-based ones optimised for HiDPI displays as potential. And guess what’s on cue to show up when VR becomes mainstream? Skeumorphs!

        But occasionally a timeless classic gets desecrated: https://github.com/transmission/transmission/issues/491
        Many apps expect the text of the progress bar to be inside the bar, since the dawn of the progress bar itself, but Breeze mocks them by putting it next to the bar. Not sure who thought that was a good idea but it’s worth fixing.

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        1. To clarify that’s perhaps the only example I’ve come across that’s wrong in Breeze, otherwise the KDE team has done brilliantly with that theme (at least the Breeze Dark version).

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        2. Timeless doesn’t mean “nothing ever changes” any more than trend following means “follow literally every trend with 100% fidelity”. Both of those are impossible. 🙂 It’s more about what your design goal is. In that respect, perhaps “timelessness” isn’t the best word. The goal is to take the best from each design trend without copying it wholesale. Each of these trends generally comes up with some good innovations, but also worsens other things, which generates the dissatisfaction that eventually causes it to be replaced.

          The metallic Brutalism of the 90s for example was too heavy, harsh, and ugly. Skeumorphism feels gaudy and visually overwhelming. Flat design ultimately felt amateurish. And so on. But each one generated important innovations that were worth keeping. Brutalism for example focused on visual discoverability, made sure to include “affordances” for UI elements to suggest what they do so that people could learn them, and was obsessed with consistency. Those were good ideas, and we try our best to keep them. Skeumorphism understood that being useful is not enough; something must be beautiful as well, or else people will come to irrationally hate it and want to replace it. And that’s true, so we need we need to remember it and keep our UI looking attractive. It needs to look like care and effort went into crafting it, and not that it was drawn by engineers or kindergardeners with crayons. Then there’s Flat design, which went overboard on minimalism, but it understood that a lot of time, less is more. You don’t need to shove everything in the user’s face all the time, and “content is king”, so get rid of that pointless chrome! And those are good observations! We should remember them!

          Hopefully the pattern should be clear here. 🙂

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  6. Great news as always…

    Nate, Regarding the “Show Changed Settings” feature:
    Is there still much left to do for a “Reset Plasma” option to be possible?

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      1. Can you shoot a “totally-not-precise” percentage of KCMs already done (something from the top of your head, just to have a small idea)?

        Thank you

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  7. All the thumbnaaaaails! Mooooar thumbnaaaaails! Oh, does Dolphin show thumbnails for .pdf nowadays? I remember I used to have to install some kgraphics yada yada just for that.. Hope it’s included, the less things I have to do after a fresh install the more happy happy happy joy joy all around. And pleaaaase stop announcing what’s new in Plasma 5.24! AAAAAAARGHHHHHHH. Torture.

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    1. It is actually quite a lot shorter than it used to be, and most of the remaining issues are far less bad in terms of severity than the issues that used to be be there, like “Activities feature isn’t present” and “Keyboard layout indicator isn’t present” and “Cursor lags under high CPU load” and “Can’t log in at all ever when using the NVIDIA proprietary driver” and “Task switcher doesn’t work” and “Clipboard functionality is broken in multiple weird ways” and “drag-and-drop from Firefox crashes the whole session” and “Spectacle barely works” and “no window thumbnails” and “No window move when you drag an empty area”. Those are all things which used to be broken as recent as a year ago (a month ago, for some of them) which all work now.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great news! I’m still facing problem with plasma when monitor go into standby, sometimes it happens when suspend/resume ((

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  9. Hello there,
    gwenview 21.08 has issues with customizing keyboard shortcuts which isn’t persistent whereas
    gwenview 20.12.3 just works fine. I now downgraded back to the said version.
    I really preferred 20.12.3 version for the older keyboard and mouse actions where double click goes to full screen view and Pressing F to toggle between 100% and Fit views. If there’s any way to just configure it just the way how it used to be with the F toggle it would be amazing (it’s my most used feature after all and I’m not a fan of fill view when I need to review very large images).
    I also noticed, the mouse navigation from accessibility settings has (finally) returned. Thanks for the update!

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  10. I am testing the kde neon testing build dated 04/10/2021 from a USB drive.

    I continue to have a problem when the session is locked. At least now the monitor can wake up, but the plasma session is broken, the task bar does not appear. I have to open krunner and enter “plasmashell” to get the panel back.

    this happens with a 4K monitor connected via DisplayPort

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  11. Does anyone have any advice on rolling back the upgrade? My system just hangs on the “25th Anniversary” splash screen after log in. I can’t find anything similar in Bugzilla so I’d like to try a fresh install.

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