KDE roadmap for 2022

Another year, another roadmap! Last year’s was a smashing success, as we delivered on everything. So here’s what I think we can expect in 2022. As always, this is not an official planning document or a promise; it’s just me giving you a sneak peak of some things that are in progress or about to start, and that I think will be feasible to complete before the year’s end!

Merged “Formats and Languages” KCM

The Languages and Formats pages in System Settings have long been problematic because their scopes overlapped. Not for long! Han Young is working on merging them together into one new page that handles both, making it clear what applies when and making it harder or impossible to mess up your system by choosing incompatible settings. This is in progress and I expect it to be completed sometime in the first half of 2022.

Overhauled Breeze icons

KDE designer Ken Vermette is working on improving and modernizing Breeze icons! Colorful icons will be softened and rounded a bit, and visually updated to remove old ugly elements like the long shadows. Monochrome icons will eventually get attention too. All of them are expected to become more responsive to your system color scheme, and look better when doing so. Initial work for Places icons has already been submitted and is being reviewed. This work will soon start landing piece by piece, and you can read more about it on Ken’s blog.

Multi-monitor stuff finally works properly

We plan to focus quite a bit on resolving multimonitor issues this year, and some of that effort has already borne a bit of fruit so far. But there will be a much heavier focus in 2022!

Inertial touchpad scrolling in QtQuick software

A big improvement went in recently that will make this possible to do soon! It seems quite likely that we’ll finally have this sometime in 2022.

The Wayland session can completely replace the X11 session

This is a bit of a moonshot but I think it’s possible. The list of issues on our “Wayland Showstoppers” wiki page is quite low, and when new ones are added, they’re notably lower in severity than the ones that have already been fixed. And now that NVIDIA has added GBM support to their driver and KWin already supports it, I think life should really start to get better for NVIDIA users, who represent a large chunk of dissatisfied Plasma users and those still unable to use the Wayland session at all. Let’s call this a stretch goal, but I think it’s not impossible!

“15 minute bug” initiative

This year I’d like to start something I call the “15 minute bug” initiative–an effort to fix as many of the bugs as possible that are trivially encountered within a quarter hour of basic usage. These are the kinds of issues that form permanent negative opinions in people’s minds, and reinforce the perception that KDE software is buggy and unreliable.

So far I’m limiting it to Plasma and Plasma-aligned software (e.g. KWin, System Settings, Discover) to avoid getting overwhelmed by scope creep. But if it’s wildly popular and successful, I’d love to extend it to apps and frameworks as well! Check out the current list here. I’ll be writing about this in more detail soon!


So that’s the list! What do you think? Is there anything else you think we should focus on in 2022?

83 thoughts on “KDE roadmap for 2022

  1. That new icon looks good, I really like that combination with the color scheme from the second link to Ken’s Blog.

    Other than that, is Baloo finally reliable? I’ve kept it disabled for a few months now, because it actually slows down things like start menu searching, messes with Dolphin’s Find, and messed with png file thumbnails once.

    Lastly, I still kinda want to see alternate desktop layout’s represented by default, somehow. Better on-boarding would be nice too. And Discover is still isn’t as intuitive and good-looking as GNOME, appcenter/PopShop, or Pamac-GUI.

    Personally, making it easier for users to immediately feel some sort of ‘ownership’ towards the KDE desktop would be great, and why I quite like Ubuntu Budgie’s new user experience.

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    1. I agree on the baloo-point. It is a mess. I have it disabled for quite a while and retry it once in a while. When enabled, my system is unstable.

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        1. All my problems with Baloo were addressed years ago… but recently it isn’t finding some files on my Windows NTFS position, Maybe after I had trouble mounting it after a Windows upgrade. I’m confident rebuilding its index will fix it, and this will be my first index rebuild in over 2 years.

          How is Xapian different/better?

          Liked by 1 person

    2. I remember that few years back Baloo would cause problems for me. However it has been working perfectly since the last time I did a fresh install (which was 2 years back because I switched to Manjaro from Neon). I am not sure what changed, because now that it works I am not bothered to go check xD

      Oh, and by “it works” I mean I type part of a filename in krunner and it shows me the file I wanted – that’s all I need to work correctly. Also, I don’t remember have to manually kill `baloo_file` for the last couple of years

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      1. Baloo’s Dolphin integration is great. You know something containing “pointieststick” is in Documents/work but you can’t remember if it’s a PDF, .odt file, or pure text, so using the excellent `ripgrep` text search utility isn’t enough. In Dolphin, Ctrl+F, enter “Nate pointieststick”, click [Content] and [From Here], and there it is. Or, from the command line `baloosearch -d ~/Documents/work Nate pointieststick`.

        Arggh, and in trying this I found baloo believes some of my NTFS subfolders are “not indexed,” even though I added `folders[$e]=$HOME/,/media/Windows/Users/spage/Desktop/,/media/Windows/Users/spage/Documents/,…` to ~/.config/baloofilerc. Back to KDE debugging.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Not likely. This isn’t native supported in the relevant QtWidgets scrollviews and would need to be added by hand. We’re doing this already for QtQuick ones, but the required infrastructure isn’t set up for the QtWidgets scrollviews.

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        1. Ideally it would be done upstream, yes. However that’s a huge can of worms and at this point it would land in Qt6 which means KDE software wouldn’t get it for a year or more, most likely. Ultimately doing it upstream would be best though.

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  2. > Is there anything else you think we should focus on in 2022?

    Making GPU switching (hot plugging/unplugging) on Plasma Wayland without losing the graphical session viable and reliable. Incidentally, some of the work for this is already being done as part of the effort for finalizing Wayland support; for example here is a related issue for kwin: https://invent.kde.org/plasma/kwin/-/issues/46

    At least for me, the main use case would be GPU passthrough to virtual machines. This is often done by gamers and other people who don’t want to dual boot into another OS for running 3D-accelerated software at near-native performance levels. However, most of the time this requires in practice closing completely the graphical session, which is just a step away from actually rebooting.

    Another use case may be plugging/unplugging external GPUs or using switchable graphics (integrated/discrete).

    For this to work properly, the display manager, desktop environment, compositor, all have to cooperate and even expect moments where no GPU may be connected at all to the OS.

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  3. A great list. But I am not sure if the limit to Plasma is a good idea although I understand the reasons. Plasma is very well polished even though it is not perfect. So my main problems are outside this scope. My main issue is with Kmail & Korganizer. Very good apps with many features.But they got lost on the way. They lack the ease of Plasma and could use an improved usability and Kmail could be faster. I have replaced them with Thunderbird and retry them from time to time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. First, I love the effort you and the rest of the KDE team is putting on making Plasma and Gear to be better each day.

      Second, I echo the sentiment about Kmail and Korganizer. I would like to use them as my defaults, but they seem kind of forgotten on this effort.

      Happy 2022 to all.

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    2. It is a frustrating situation to me too. IMO the PIM project suffers from two major issues:

      – Persistent multi-generational issues with the Akonadi backend code

      – An ugly, dated UI in KMail and KOrganizer more generally.

      I honestly don’t know how the first issue could be fixed for good. The subject is beyond me, technically. The second issue is difficult for various political and historical reasons. It will probably be more feasible to write new QtQuick-based PIM apps that build on top of the existing Akonadi infrastructure, which is what Kalendar is. I’ve heard that an email client is in the works too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like KMail and would prefer it over Thunderbird, but am troubled by the issue that Google mail accounts can’t be added, which limits the practical usability of the program a lot.

        However, the graphical interface is nice and well-integrated into the system, notifications work even if KMail itself is not running, and it is fast and responsive. I don’t find the UI of KMail ugly/dated at all – how do you get to this conclusion? Could you provide examples of what you don’t like with its UI?.

        I’m kind of opposed to those new QtQuick applications. They tend to be slower, less customisable and very prone to graphics bugs. A new QtQuick app will likely end up a lot less functional than the QtWidgets-based predecessor. I think users would benefit more if the existing, mature QtWidgets programs could be polished, instead of starting from scratch with QtQuick.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. KMail and Kontact worked great in the days of KDE 3.5. Also the first port to the KDE-4-framework was still great. I never had any of the problems with it akonadi promised to solve. Then the port to the akonadi-framework was really bad for a long time. I’ve held on Kubuntu 10.04 for 5 years, just to keep the old KMail. Now it’s useable, I haven’t lost e-mails in a long time, but it’s still worse than the old KMail.

        I personally don’t think the UI is ugly and any rewrite of the UI will take a long time until we have feature parity with the current state. Once feature parity is met, the new UI will look outdated. And as far as I can remember, there were already at least 2 attempts to write a new e-mail client for the KDE PIM project.

        KMail and Kontact could use some improvement on the interface (html-message-bar, anyone?), but I would prefer incremental improvements to abandoning the old code (and tested code!) to a rewrite.

        But generally, I don’t know how many people there are, still using a desktop e-mail client? Most just switched to a web client or have never used anything else

        Liked by 1 person

  4. First, I would like to thank you for all the work and the weekly updates. I read them all, every week.

    Personally, I miss regular updates via the Backports PPA, to the last LTS Kubuntu version.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. These tasks are well-thought from my point of view. Although I don’t understand why inertial scrolling made it to the list, it’s more of little annoyance, I’d rather expected to see touchpad gestures.

    Speaking of big goals I’d add this promising work made a couple of years ago on keyboard layouts and input methods to your list: https://phabricator.kde.org/D14796. Windows and Gnome handle this so perfectly right. But given the activity of the author I suspect this won’t get any traction this year too.

    And a minor thing, which is right of “15 minute bug” topic, I think more weather sources should be added, popular and reliable ones, like accuweather, yandex, yr.no, maybe others. Current weather forecasts based on wetter.com and so on are just, I’m sorry, utter rubbish for every location outside — here goes a wild guess — the US and Western Europe.

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    1. I have a drastic feeling. I think I have reached a point where I cannot tolerate Plasma anymore. Thing that got me is inability to switch keyboard layout and the consequential absence of layout indicator in *some* applications like Dolphin or Google Chrome (see, no toolkit relation) that happened again out of blue for reason unknown. I think it is related to the topic about input methods I raised above. If those were integrated properly this issue wouldn’t have bitten me I suppose.

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      1. The issue is observed if per application or per window layout switching is configured. Global and “desktop” do work though.
        This is ridiculous and frustrating anyway.

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    2. Yes, input methods are critically important. I have that in my “KDE’s strategic weaknesses” document.

      Unfortunately that work is stalled because there are few people with the requisite knowledge to push it forward. It’s a problem. I didn’t added to this document because it’s a realistic look at what’s possible because it’s either already being worked on, or work will commence soon. It’s not a wishlist. Such a thing would become enormous lol

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  6. Hello, why is there no news and Roadmap for Kde Plasma 6?
    Do we understand correctly, Kde Plasma 6 will be released in early 2023 in February?

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    1. I have no idea when Plasma 6 will be released. Nobody does. We have to port everything to *work* with Plasma 6 first. That effort is starting but will take a while.

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        1. Probably can’t be done while the Neon maintainers keep insisting that it’s not an OS. 🙂 Names matter because they set expectations. I’d really love to have a “KDE OS” and I wouldn’t mind if Neon was it. But I think Neon would have to be substantially improved first. Its relationship with 3rd-party apps is pretty bad IMO, in a way that’s really not acceptable for a general-purpose OS. That would need to be fixed first at a minimum IMO.

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          1. Yeah, that’s my experience with KDE Neon, too. A great many of 3rd-party Qt apps are not installable from the repository because they were built against an incompatible Qt version. After having used Neon for more than a year for my everyday work, I unfortunately can’t recommend it for this reason, and am planning to move away to a different (hopefully better) distribution.
            Moreover, a problem is that the Ubuntu repositories, even the LTS, appear to be rather low quality and not maintained properly. Some popular programs, including VLC, are on an outdated, known-to-have-security-isssues version, and Wine is not installable due to unresolved dependency issues. This really shouldn’t be the case in a distribution as widely used as Ubuntu.

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  7. I’m a new KDE user. Have been using it for the past 6 months. But I was a Gnome user then a Cinnamon user for the last 24 yrs.

    I’m amazed at how good KDE is, how mature and polished it is.

    I think the “15-minute bugs” thing is an excellent idea.

    One thing that could be improved is creating a bug reporting tool inside Plasma.

    I found a bug with keyboard shortcuts by using the US International keyboard layout. So I tried to make a bug report.

    I’ve tried Reddit and Kde Forums and found more people with the same problem. Then I went to bugs.kde.org and boy… That’s very frustrating. I need to create an account and fill a form with all those rules.

    It’s okay-ish if that was my work. But a regular user will never do that. People will just turn their backs and go try another DE.

    I finally found the bug I was thinking of reporting: https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=336750

    It’s been there, since 2014. So, almost 8 years after it was reported it looks like it’s not going to be fixed.

    I know this is an open-source project, and I’ve lived with sharp edges all my Linux life. I understand that the kind of bugs that affect just a small portion of users only get fixed when someone capable of fixing it is affected by it.
    I’m not one of those users.

    I’m not here to complain, I’m just making this post because I’ve been reading your blog and I strongly agree with your post on “What desktop Linux needs to succeed in the mainstream”.

    How can we, mortal users help with that?

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    1. It’s not a bad idea, but a bug reporting wizard within Plasma or KDE apps would still require you to have a bugs.kde.org account and log in and fill out a template. Bug reporting involves responsibility; it isn’t just a “throw something over the wall and forget about it” kind of thing.

      As for that bug, it seems like it just got fixed! I added a comment and closed it. So no, just because a bug report is 8 years old does not mean that “it looks like it’s not going to be fixed”. This is a common misconception, but there is no relationship whatsoever between the age of a bug report and its likelihood of being fixed.

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  8. Please add the ability to block some individual blogs @planet.kde.org!
    They look like spam/donate begging or yet another reddit thread (i.e. completely non-informative), I don’t want to read these!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Use rss reader that have blocking features. I’m using QuiteRSS, able to filter news based on author name, title, etc.

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  9. A usability and user experience issue that I find useful to have a way to resolve:

    1 – How a non-technical user could create a backup of your desktop configuration and then restore it to a new Linux user in the same installation or under a fresh clean KDE Neon installation?

    2 – How can I prevent the user from modifying important settings in a given session, such as panels, icons, widgets, etc?
    I ask this question to try to figure out how to prevent my parents (who have no tech skills) from ending up breaking their own desktop by randomly clicking in the wrong menus.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Will Multi-monitor stuff include a really easy to configure “multi-seat” (where one having two graphic cards can use them as if they were two independent machines)???

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    1. Come on, be real 🙂 While that would be very nice, it’s such a niche feature and I don’t think it would make sense to spend much time on it…

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      1. Yeah. It’s a niche. But a real cool one ahahah.

        I agree, however, it’s not an important feature. But it would be useful for some specific cases. But there are more important things, yes!

        But… It worth the shot of asking. LOL

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  11. Using Krita (XWayland) on Wayland session crashes Kwin eventually. Plasma 5.23.4. This might be input-related, as before the crash it behaves strange, tablet positioning became incorrect and mouse did not click on certain UI elements.

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  12. My big wish is to get rid of akonadi and enhance Plasma calendar applet to include local/online tasks, events and reminders without relying on external app like the nightmare KOrganizer, enhance KCalc to become like Qalculate! and provide offline dictionary.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am REALLY hoping that all of these recent improvements (and 5.24) make into to the upcoming Kubuntu LTS release.

    I am also hoping that this version gets good long-term support as well. I want so bad to run this as a daily driver for years at a time but until now it has been just shy of possible for me.

    Thanks as always for the updates, and the papercuts initiative is both awesome and sorely-needed. I hope it yields much fruit. I have been running KDE Neon testing for a long time now trying to break every new round of updates.

    ..Speaking of Neon testing- any idea when 5.24 will drop there? No big deal either way. I will live 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Neon unstable is already running 5.23.80. Maybe you’d like to switch to that? 😆
      (note: I’m living in the horrible land of unstableness for over three years now and I kind of like it here, its cozy once you learn how to avoid all the sharp edges…)

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  14. **Shortcuts**

    I just re-configured my shortcuts and I realized that there are very very many double-modifier shortcuts while Meta+ANYKEY is available. E.g. change keyboard layout = Ctrl + Alt + k while Meta+k is available.
    I wonder if this is some legacy that prevents KDE from using shorter shortcuts.

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    1. Not really. Feel free to submit simple merge requests to change this. In general we feel quite positively towards the idea of using the Meta key for global shortcuts. If you propose adding a new shortcut without removing the old one (to preserve compatibility for people accustomed to the old one) I think it should not be controversial.

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  15. I will add another Wayland showstopper (for me): apps using Xwayland on a HiDPI Monitor look blurry. I think Gnome has a workaround for that, at least for integer scales. But I’m not expert enough to tell what they make different. Maybe KDE can implement a similar workaround? I know best practice will be that the app developers add support for native Wayland. But some don’t plan to do it yet.

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    1. HiDPI Monitor user here too. This worked for me:

      Scaling to 100%
      Force Font DPI to 192 or 204 in Fonts settings
      Log out/in
      Manually change icon sizes in Icons settings

      Everything sharp and crisp and well scaled.

      The one last thing I can’t work out: text in Firefox tabs/menus using MOZ_ENABLE_WAYLAND is too small. Anybody know how to fix that?

      Like

      1. Keep in mind that this will cause a hundred unresolvable bugs. It may be better for you on balance due to avoiding the blurry scaling issue, but ultimately the real solution is for someone (us or the Wayland people) to fix that.

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        1. Anything other than 100% scaling on Wayland is a no-go for me. Even 200% makes fonts less sharp – yes I can actually see this!

          I managed to get FireFox tab/menu font correct using a a userchrome.css.

          What we really need from the KDE side, is a way of telling GTK apps that they should scale 200% even if systemsettings is only 100%. LibreOffice and Pamac are both tiny on Wayland.

          The one thing I can’t correct without some more .css editing, is the min/max/close buttons on FF are all tiny on my 4K display.

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      2. I do the same, otherwise everything gets blurry when fractionally scaling.

        > The one last thing I can’t work out: text in Firefox tabs/menus using MOZ_ENABLE_WAYLAND is too small. Anybody know how to fix that?

        Try to change layout.css.devPixelsPerPx in about:config

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  16. Nate, the Wayland update are great. I just switched to it on my system and really loving it. I did notice that if you have dark breeze theme then all GTK app are also dark (which is what it supposed to do) but when you switch to light then they won’t switch back until you log out and log back in. I have this issue with both .deb and snap gtk apps. Not sure if this issue has been brought up yet. If not I would be happy to submit a bug if pointed at the right direction. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. The Wayland session is a godsend, been using it since 5.17 back when it was buggy as hell. I’d love to know how many found the Wayland session working better. I had to use Wayland because the X11 session was just slow, laggy, and poorly responsive, but Wayland has always been quick and responsive despite the bugs.

    The only thing missing for me is a touch screen calibrator for Wayland. I can calibrate the screen on X.org no problem, but Wayland doesn’t seem to have any calibration for it. Maybe there is a libinput based one, unless Plasma uses something else?

    One thing I’d like to see improve is the startup time, it consistently takes 40-60 seconds to get a session on the desktop even with the default install. Now, yes I am using a HDD, but Windows can load the entire OS from start to desktop in about 15-20 seconds. I notice loading Plasma is always thrashing around the HDD.
    Note to any developers of any sort, Plasma or otherwise: HDDs are a great way of testing a program to see if they’re thrashing around the I/O. And potentially wearing out the super fast SSD without you noticing. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  18. As far as Wayland session goes – getting keyboard input to the pipewire vnc back end in 2022 would be really helpful for me, I assume fixing this would also give the proper infrastructure to KDE Connect’s remote input for wayland too?

    I dream about Wireless display (casting/widi) like gnome’s network displays tool, or apple’s airplay. I’m the only one at work who still has to use the hdmi cables in meetings 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. KDE is the name of the community, not the desktop environment; that’s called “KDE Plasma”. So there will never be anything called KDE6. 🙂

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        1. Not really. It’s a long way away and will probably be a boring release, mostly focused on porting to Qt6. I’m pushing for an overhauled theming system in Plasma 6, but it might not make it.

          Like

          1. Ooh, overhauled theming would be good. I’ve hovered my cursor over the submit button for a bug/suggestion about the theming screens in setting being confusing but always chickened out as I can’t offer a solution. 🙂 But I’ve often gone into the Global Style, Plasma Style, Application Style, Colours screens & think they could be better as one section seems to be doing much the same as others, or a subset of another or the previews don’t seem to relate to what happens when I press Apply etc. Some sort of rejig would be nice. 🙂

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  19. Amazing idea with the “15 minute bug” initiative to focus more on first user experience. Many bugs on the list have annoyed me, too (although I’m just using Kubuntu as my secondary system mostly for mails / browsing / file operations / desktop).

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I got bitten badly by wayland recently when sound would not work over HDMI and it was selected as output. Worked fine in X11. Zoom also crashed on wayland. The HDMI one I need to investigate a bit.

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    1. Sound over HDMI works fine for me to an external Acer monitor’s speakers from a Lenovo T460 Intel laptop. In System Settings > Audio I can choose HDMI / DisplayPort (Built-in Audio Digital Stereo (HDMI)) as Playback Devices and the sound comes through. Fedora KDE spin used to lose the connection upon resume or reconnecting the monitor, and I would have to run `pulseaudio -k` to kill and restart Pulseaudio to regain the choice of the HDMI out, but now that Fedora 35 is using Pipewire it has been very reliable.

      Like

  21. I wonder when will be fixed activities on Wayland session. I mean restoring session with Activities where in Wayland we get mess.

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  22. Please explain why you decided not to publish my previous two comments.
    IMHO it shows lack of XXXX not to publish critical words.

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    1. Because their pointlessly negative tone pissed me off. Feel free to try again but phrase your criticisms constructively. Or better yet, file actionable bug reports instead of idly complaining.

      Like

  23. The list is very interesting! If it was up to me, I’d give some priority to: fixes and improvements for highdpi screens (x11 and wayland) and per screen scaling on x11 (assuming this is possible). Trackpad gestures are also an interesting topic. Highdpi has improved a lot recently, but in 2022 I feel it should be close to perfect.
    There is another feature I proposed in the past: energy consumption stats. MacOS included it already and Android provides excellent info. I proposed a poc years ago but I found myself stuck with dbus and permissions. I still feel that is missing on laptops.
    Thank you Nate for your work on Plasma! You guys are doing great!

    Like

    1. You’re welcome!

      hidpi improvements on Wayland seem likely. X11, not so much.

      Trackpad gestures would be nice too but TBH I’m not optimistic as they are a ton of work and all the people capable of doing it are super busy with other important things.

      Like

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