This week in KDE: Polishing up Ark and Dolphin

This week you might notice a lot of fixes for Ark and Dolphin and for interactions between them. That’s coming out of our initiative to fix all the issues found in recent Linus Tech Tips videos. And there are more where that came from going forward!

New Features

Spectacle’s annotation tools now include functionality to crop, scale, undo, redo, and more (Damir Porobic and Antonio Prcela, kImageAnnotator 0.6.0 or later in Spectacle 22.04)

The Weather applet now lets you pick cities from German Weather Service (DWD) as the data source (Emily Elhert, Plasma 5.24)

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Dolphin no longer crashes when Ark creates a .7z archive (Méven Car, Ark 21.12.1)

Spectacle now disables the “Annotate” button when there is no screenshot in the window, so you can’t click on it and make the app crash anymore (Bharadwaj Raju, Spectacle 21.12.1)

Dolphin’s context menu “Compress” actions now respect Ark’s user-configurable setting for whether or not to open a new file manager window showing the archive after the operation has been completed (Someone going by the pseudonym “2155X”, Ark, 22.04)

System Settings no longer crashes when you try to use the Get New Global Themes window to update updateable Global Themes (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.23.5)

Certain apps that draw certain type of buttons no longer crash when using the Breeze application style (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.23.5)

System Monitor no longer sometimes crashes when viewing processes in Tree view (Fabian Vogt, Plasma 5.23.5)

Accessing clipboard data with Klipper actions or DBus queries once again provides the full text, and not a truncated version (David Edmundson and someone going by the pseudonym “ValdikSS”, Plasma 5.23.5)

In the Plasma Wayland session, mouse and keyboard input no longer sometimes stops working after turning a monitor off and back on again (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.23.5)

The battery charge limit feature now supports more batteries (Ian Douglas Scott and Méven Car, Plasma 5.24)

In the Plasma Wayland session, certain Wayland-native games once again open with the correct window size (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.24)

In the Plasma Wayland session, cursors are now smooth rather than pixelated when using a fractional scale factor (Julius Zint, Plasma 5.24)

On System Settings’ User Feedback page, you are no longer shown links to folders of sent data that do not actually exist because no data has been sent (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.24)

Switching the wallpaper from slideshow to plain color no longer sometimes crashes Plasma (Fushan Wen, Frameworks 5.89)

Improved file listing speed in folders with a lot of stuff in them (Méven Car, Frameworks 5.90)

User Interface Improvements

Any annotation settings you change in Spectacle are now remembered across launches (Antonio Prcela, Spectacle 22.04)

Gwenview now smooths images that you zoom into up to 400% zoom, and then switches to showing unsmoothed pixels for deeper zoom levels (me: Nate Graham, Gwenview 22.04)

Trying to open an invalid or otherwise un-openable file in Dolphin now displays the error in an inline message like most others rather than in a modal dialog window, and now half-downloaded or half-completed files that have the appropriate .part filename extension can’t be opened and will trigger this error (Kai Uwe Broulik, Dolphin 22.04 and Frameworks 5.90):

When an app takes a long time to open a file and shows a notification that says something like “Loading…” or “Examining…”, it now disappears and doesn’t show up in the notification history after the file is finished loading (Kai Uwe Broulik, Ark 22.04 and Frameworks 5.90)

You can now find Dolphin by searching for “Explorer” or “Finder” (Someone going by the pseudonym “tornado 99”, Dolphin 22.04)

KCalc’s window can now be resized (Niklas Freund, KCalc 22.04)

In System Settings’ Display & Monitor page, the screen arrangement view now shows you monitors’ serial numbers when it detects multiple monitors with the same model number, to help you distinguish between them (Méven Car, Plasma 5.24)

In the Widget Explorer, widgets can now be added with a single click, and when you do so, the clicked widget appears in the center of the screen, not in the top-left corner where it would be covered up by the Widget Explorer itself (Arjen Hiemstra, Plasma 5.24 and Frameworks 5.90)

The “Annotate” button that appears in notifications for annotatable screenshots is now located on the same row as the hamburger menu button rather than above it (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.24):

The Battery & Brightness applet has had its user interface for blocking sleep and screen locking improved again for more clarity (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.24):

The new Overview effect has had its animation easing curves tweaked to use a curve with a faster start, making the effect seem faster (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.24)

Discover no longer shows you a scary “Packages will be removed” warning sheet when the removed packages are are “multiversioned” such that more than one version can be installed at once, and the removed version is simply being replaced with a newer one (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.24)

When you drag-and-drop applets, they now smoothly animate moving to their final position rather than instantly teleporting there (Jan Blackquill, Plasma 5.24)

The speaker test sheet in System Settings’ Audio page now looks better (Ismael Asensio, Plasma 5.24):

You can now have more than 8 “spare” keyboard layouts (Andrey Butirsky, Plasma 5.24)

Discover now tells you which source each update come from in the expanded details view (Ismael Asensio, Plasma 5.24):

Those of you who like really huge icons can now make your desktop icons twice as large as the previous maximum size (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.24):

The Kickoff Application Launcher’s sidebar no longer shows arrows, to be consistent with how sidebars are typically presented elsewhere (Mikel Johnson, Plasma 5.24):

The backgrounds for the Task Manager Tasks’ “active” and “needs attention” states have been made brighter and easier to see (Frédéric Parrenin, Frameworks 5.90):

The generic File Manager and Settings App icons (typically used by Dolphin and System Settings) are now responsive to your accent color (Artem Grinev, Frameworks 5.90):

When Ark creates a big ZIP archive that takes a while to complete, the in-progress archive file now gets the .part filename extension added onto it which makes it display the standard “I’m a temp file” icon (Fushan Wen and Dieter Baron, libzip 1.8.1; though this is not KDE software, the fix was driven by a KDE contributor reporting the issue and submitting a merge request, and the fix makes Ark better!)

…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.

53 thoughts on “This week in KDE: Polishing up Ark and Dolphin

      1. Ahh this one seems like a good approach. I’ve been thinking that if they wanted it to be a text button it should be in the lower right edge, since it’s where buttons go most of the time. But if it were a pencil icon then it would go well alongside the hamburger menu.

        Like

      2. Not a bad idea, since that pencil icon is one of those pretty much universally recognizable icons. However currently there is a technical blocker in that app-provided actions can only have text, not icons. So that would need to be fixed first.

        Like

  1. I hereby demand that the user picture in the speaker test sheet is replaced with a John Travolta.gif that does a hot disco dance when there’s sound, hand pointing at whichever speaker is active!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. How about finally fixing privilege escalation in Dolphin to cp/rm/mv files anywhere outside /home folder? Sebastian pointed out this problem first in his complaints about Dolphin.
    It would be a nice fix to allow KDE to conquer the world… GNOME file manager, and a whole bunch of another file managers for that matter, don’t have this problem.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is not a bug or something that should be fixed. It’s not included for a good reason: to protect its user.

      Nautilus (Files) doesn’t have this by default, distributions (Linux Mint, etc.) simple added a ‘shortcut’ to run it as root. However, in most cases, an average/new user shouldn’t need to be root or ‘play’ around in that area.

      Application settings can be overwritten by the user (that’s why `/home//.config` or dconf/gconf) exists and global files shouldn’t be touched, unless the user knows what he’s doing.

      Running Dolphin as root can cause serious issues, like overwritten permissions with `root` which shouldn’t be so, or files being removed that are tracked by the package manager.

      This is a really stupid idea, and one of the reasons I really think people should be more careful when listening to guys like Linus.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I heard this bullshit so many times. I don’t think even you really believe this. There are ways to allow using root privileges when they are needed without compromising safety. Yes, it is a real problem and it should be fixed.
        And new users can fuck up their system using terminal pretty easily when they are really entitled to do that. Sebastian himself proved it by typing in terminal ‘Yep, I’m that stupid’ when Pop_OS asked him to delete the whole desktop.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. This Dolphin as root issue perplexes me… It strikes me as great irony that it is KDE that does things this way, where GNOME does not. Really would expect the other way around. I use my file manager as root for several things. Perhaps some deeply nested settings to enable it, but surely not deciding FOR us that we can’t handle it? I have no problem with it not being enabled by default.

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    2. I agree with your standpoint. Nemo, Caja, PCManFM and Nautilis all allow root access with a little banner at the top. Dolphin is the oddball to block it completely! I would argue that these choices should not be made upstream, but by distributions that would adjust to their threat-model. OpenSUSE, which is based-off SUSE Enterprise, patches Dolphin and Konsole to run as root, out of the box!

      Like

    3. It is already in Dolphin. From “Hamburger Menu” open Configure Dolphin and there in Context Menu you download a new service “Open as root”. After that when you right click a file or folder “open as root” option is a sub-selection in “Actions”. I would have included a screen shot but don’t know how to attach a picture here.

      Please reply if my answer was not clear enough.

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  3. Great labor fixing and improving KDE to make it easier for everyone ♥

    On the other hand, I love Spectacle’s edit mode where you can modify the screen captures with arrows and symbols. Would it be possible to add this features also to gwenview?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Does the KDE team intend to make the animations present in the mouse cursor also respect the theme highlight color in the future?

    Like

    1. As Nate here said, Indeed it doesn’t, but it’s always cool to leverage great marketing out of such opportunities.
      Because you ping-pong the youtuber right back and you score, as he gets really impressed of the devs listening to feedback and actually reacting ultra fast, by fixing all the stuff pointed out, leaving him speechless or having him praise the project after and recommending it to a lot of people even more, so it’s win-win 😉

      Like

  5. Work in the icon business that deserves attention and a fix is the appalling inconsistency throughout Plasma, where monochrome and colored icons share the same space, such as contest menu, app launcher, plasmoid settings menu and so on countless places.

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    1. I recommend using something other than Breeze icons, I unfortunately don’t get on with their lack of colour & samey-ness (uniformity over recognisability IMO). I currently use Tango2 icons as they’re quite clear & recognisable. I previously used Oxygen, but it wasn’t included in Debian 11 (the version available to download is much fluffier than it used to be). 🙂

      Good stuff in the bugfixes as ever, thanks! The comment in the invent page for having a slider for the desktop icon sizes would be nice; the option of 7 sizes as a text list is one of those things that makes KDE menus look overly busy. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I copy over kubuntu 19.10’s breeze icons over top of the new ones, plus a ton of symlink fixes.
        It’s not pretty but it does 3/4’s of the job.
        I can’t stand the line art icons either., it just seems like we’re going back the 80/90’s with that (thanks mobile…).

        Someday I feel like I’m gonna have to redo the whole thing from scratch, and make sure I only use open src ones too lol (I have a habbit of using whatever I can find that fits).
        It’s kinda like the mime types, it’s just like eehh, lots of little things. (mine is a mess, but it works)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We do have a slider for icon sizes in the config dialog. The menu has a secondary way to access that functionality.

        I wrote this twice in the Merge Request and people didn’t understand it. I must have communicated it badly. Can you help me understand how I’m expressing this wrong?

        Like

        1. I think Aleix is saying similar to me; having some many options as radio-button type options in the right-click menu seems overwhelming & any tool interface that has to name 7 discrete levels isn’t desirable. The slider that exists within the desktop settings screen is fine/perfect, that is the sort of interface that seems appropriate for the action. I’ve just had a look in Firefox > View > Zoom, it has [Zoom In, Zoom Out]+(2 other options); the context menu could be like that perhaps (Icons > Increase size, Decrease size)? This is just an idea – I don’t know if context menus can more appropriate selectors than radio buttons? Can they have something like a spin box for increase/decrease icon size, I’d guess that sliders can’t be put into them? Actually, the icon size slider in Dolphin shows the icon size as you move it, e.g. “Size: 96 pixels”; using that text rather than ‘big/bigger/biggliest’ next to these might be OK? 🙂 Thanks.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. But my change didn’t add the menu of icon sizes. It was already there. Whether or not it should be kept in the future was an independent and unrelated discussion.

            Like

          2. That’s fair enough, I know the menu was like that before albeit with only 6 options, so 7 isn’t much of a difference. But you understand what we’re getting at. Me (& probably Aleix) are probably just saying it could be better; if there is a independent and unrelated discussion to improve on it in future, then that’s perfect. Thanks. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

      3. I like Breeze a lot, but the uncoloured line icons are something I believe to not be as useful as they could be, and would like to see that changed.

        We (humans) visually tell apart stuff following 3 axes: Form/shape, Size and Colour. That’s a psychological principle that has been heavily studied and documented for decades, it is just how we operate.

        Now, line icons are a simplified version of big icons to fit in small spaces, the abstraction work to simplify the shape is important, but getting rid of the colour is a mistake. Because, we already lost one of our mechanism to differentiate an icon when we decided to make all icons the same size, so we can not rely on size any more.

        Then, if we also get rid of colour, we are only left with one magnitude to work with, shape.

        Things get worse with breeze small line art, because there is an oversimplification on many icons that resulted in to many shapes similar to squares and circles (In this sense, that Papyrus icon theme is an abomination).

        Take the system tray as an example, open it and look for “squares”. I bet you noticed Network, Screen Configuration, Kontact and Clipboard quickly as monochromatic squares. Now see what the battery icon is, another square!, but why you didn’t notice it as such at first glance? Because it has colour on it.

        What if we open a program menu, look for circles and squares, there are a lot of them.

        Like

  6. Ok, looks like I’m gonna have to revert these 2 comments for my setup (1st is an earlier one):
    https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=399354

    https://invent.kde.org/plasma/plasma-desktop/-/merge_requests/737
    Absolutely do NOT remove the ability to show apps in the main menu in kickoff…. please for goodness sakes.
    If people don’t want apps to show up there, remove them in the editor, prob solved.
    I spent years waiting for that to be fixed and now someone wants to revert it to it’s buggy state.
    Anyways I’m adding those arrows back…, if it effects the “Application Menu” ver.

    As a side note, it would be nice if we could remove (aka option), the power/session sub menu.
    I have my own customized one, I just can’t figure out how to get rid of the default one.

    I’m not trying to be a grump or anything.

    Like

  7. “You can now file Dolphin by searching for “Explorer” or “Finder” (Someone going by the pseudonym “tornado 99”, Dolphin 22.04)”
    Cool, but it still isn’t only of the first suggestion for me when type in “files”

    “The Battery & Brightness applet has had its user interface for blocking sleep and screen locking improved again for more clarity (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.24):”
    I honestly didn’t think it was hard to understand before, maybe that’s my technical brain thinking.

    “Discover now tells you which source each update come from in the expanded details view (Ismael Asensio, Plasma 5.24):”
    That’s hand! I assume it would be the same for snapcraft applications.

    “The generic File Manager and Settings App icons (typically used by Dolphin and System Settings) are now responsive to your accent color (Artem Grinev, Frameworks 5.90):”
    Nice touch of detail, I love it.

    Like

      1. Yeah, though Gedit appears first for me when I search for Files, probably because it has “Files” in its description and descriptions are weighted higher than keywords.

        Like

  8. Could this be back-ported to 21.12.x ? It fixes an annoying bug which has been present for some time:

    “Dolphin’s context menu “Compress” actions now respect Ark’s user-configurable setting for whether or not to open a new file manager window showing the archive after the operation has been completed (Someone going by the pseudonym “2155X”, Ark, 22.04)”

    Like

  9. I think it’s all well and good that KDE is working to fix the issues Linus noted on his review, but it makes me wonder if more usability testing with more of the KDE target market would be massively beneficial. And if so, how to go about it.

    Like

    1. Yes, this would be valuable. And we also need more developers who are able to work on the insights generated by the results of those tests.

      Like

  10. RMB menu on icons in Folder View are now missing the “Copy to” and “Move to” options. Manjaro/KDE 5.23.4 and Framework 5.88.0

    Like

  11. I think it would be really nice having an “open with” option/dialog/icon/ in dolphin, something I/we can use without having to right-click and/or use the context menu, it could be included in the HUD(ctrl + alt + i)menu/dialog to appear as an option, I mean, if you can delete files that easily, then surely you can open them too, right?. Just to be clear, I’m talking about stuff like multimedia files, txts files, LO files, pictures … not binary/executable ones. 🙂

    Like

  12. “KCalc’s window can now be resized (Niklas Freund, KCalc 22.04)”
    This is such a small but such a great thing. I am not sure why it wasn’t resizable before, but I am glad that is changing. Will it have history function as well? That’s the reason I use MATE Calculator as it can be resized and has history function and I won’t have pull in all the GNOME library just for a calculator.

    Like

      1. about kcalc : is there any easy way to make square root ? ^0.5 is too long and schift x² don’t seems to work… anyway i am a maths teacher and not having a direct acces to square root is a big paper cut.

        Like

  13. Is the Ark preview of mp3 in Zip/RAR archives fixed ?
    With 21.12.0 (on Manjaro), a new Ark window appears / the music is not played. I Have to right-click on Open.

    Like

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