This week in KDE: Get ready for a big one!

…But first, let me mention up front that those touchpad gesture improvements I teased last week aren’t quiiiite ready, but they’re very close now. Hopefully next week! In their stead, we have an enormous number of Plasma bugfixes and UI improvements, tons of goodies for KWrite users, and finally a truly colossal number of enhancements for touch-friendliness when in Tablet Mode.

“Hey, what is Tablet Mode?”, you might ask. It’s a feature of the Plasma Wayland session in which everything becomes more touch-friendly. If you have a convertible laptop, it’s activated by flipping back the screen to make it into–you guessed it–a tablet! But it will also trigger on phones and other touch devices without a pointing device, such as the Steam deck as long as no mouse is plugged in (only once it uses the Wayland session, of course).

At the moment it is a Wayland-only feature that requires physical hardware support, but that could change and I personally would be in favor of letting people manually toggle it.


Anyway, get ready for a big one!

15-Minute Bugs Resolved

Current number of bugs: 76, same as last week. 2 added and 2 resolved:

The folder popup you can open to show the contents of folders on the desktop is no longer annoyingly two pixels too narrow to display an additional grid cell (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.24.5)

When using a Plasma Vault with the GoCryptFS backend, unlocking the vault now causes it to appear in the Places panel, just like vaults using the CryFS and EncFS backends (Ivan Čukić, Frameworks 5.93)

Current list of bugs. Get cracking! 😎

New Features

KWrite now internally uses the exact same codebase as Kate but simply turns off a bunch of programmer-centric features. This makes it much more consistent with Kate, more maintainable, and it will have fewer bugs. And now it has tabs! You can read more about it here on the Kate blog (Christoph Cullmann, KWrite 22.08):

The new KWrite, now with tabs!

Picture of the Day wallpapers now lets you preview the image and see image metadata right there in the config window! (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.25):

You can even click the preview to go to the image’s source URL, or click the little inline save button to save it locally!

Now, when you enter Tablet Mode, all interactive UI elements (including titlebar buttons) that are styled with the Breeze theme become larger and more touchable! (Marco Martin and Arjen Hiemstra, Plasma 5.25:

You can now manually adjust the spacing between Icons-Only Task Manager icons, and when you’re in Tablet Mode, the spacing is automatically set to its highest level for improved touchability, just like we do for System Tray icons (Tanbir Jishan and me: Nate Graham):

In the Plasma X11 session, you can now configure all the buttons of Wacom ExpressKey Remote devices (Someone going by the pseudonym “oioi 555”, wacomtablet 3.3.0):

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Monitors in multi-monitor setups once again power off when you disable them (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.24.4)

When Discover installs updates for packages that have multiple architectures available (e.g. both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, due to having Steam installed), it now installs the updates for all architectures rather than a pseudo-random set of them, which would blow up your system! 🤯 (Alessandro Astone, Plasma 5.25, but it may be backported to 5.24.5 soon)

kio-fuse now works within the open/save dialogs of sandboxed apps, meaning that you can now use such apps to open and save files to Samba shares and other network locations, for example (Harald Sitter, Plasma 5.25)

Discover now shows the description and license information for local packages (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.25)

Discover now shows you the correct author name for packages without a specific author set that live in a project group. In practice, this means that a while bunch of KDE apps will now list “KDE” as the author (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.25)

The Bing Picture of the Day wallpaper plugin will now download the 4K versions of images if you have a screen with a resolution greater than 1080p (Fushan Wen and Yunhe Guo, Plasma 5.25)

Headings in Plasma widgets once again appear as expected when you’re using the “Breeze Light” or “Breeze Dark” Plasma themes that have hardcoded colors, rather than the “Breeze” Plasma theme that respects your app color scheme (Marco Martin, Frameworks 5.93)

Draggable list items in Kirigami-based apps now move much more smoothly with no jerks or glitches (Tranter Madi, Frameworks 5.93)

User Interface Improvements

When using per-folder view properties in Dolphin, a variety of locations now use more relevant view settings: for example the search view list includes a column shows you the actual location of all matches; the Trash view list view has columns that show the “original location” and “Deletion time”; the “Recent Files” and “Recent Locations” searches group items by day; and so on (Kai Uwe Broulik, Dolphin 22.04):

Tabs in Kate and KWrite no longer fully span the whole window width by default, and the whole tab bar now only appears after a second document is opened, just like in other tabbed KDE apps (Christoph Cullmann, Kate & KWrite 22.08)

Filelight now has a “go to overview” action that will take you back to the homepage (Harald Sitter, Filelight 22.08)

In the Overview effect, you can now swipe down on a window to close it, and window close buttons are now always visible rather than appearing only on hover (Marco Martin, Plasma 5.25)

Notifications for job progress now show a percentage value by the progress bar for those of you who prefer reading text to looking at something visual (Jan Blackquill, Plasma 5.25):

The Margins Separator widget is now much smaller, but becomes larger and more visually obvious in Edit Mode (Tanbir Jishan, Plasma 5.25)

The Audio Volume widget no longer shows virtual devices by default, though you can show them again if you do actually use them (Arjen Hiemstra, Plasma 5.25)

System Settings’ Users page no longer lists a placeholder email address in the “Email Address” field, because it’s 2022 and people generally know what an email address is and how it’s structures (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.25)

Album art in the Media Player widget now smoothly cross-fades when it changes, rather than abruptly blinking (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.25):

All the Plasma widgets that display placeholder messages when empty now show icons too, in addition to text (Fushan Wen and me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.25):

System Settings’ Display Configuration page can now tell you exactly what setting a screen to be “Primary” actually does! (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.25):

Discover’s “What’s the risk of proprietary software?” sheet is now opened by clicking on a more conventional button, rather than a link that might make you think it’s going to open a web browser (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.25):

When you create a new file from Dolphin, the desktop, or anything else that uses the standard “create new file” functionality, the pre-selected part of the filename no longer includes the extension (Fushan Wen, Frameworks 5.93):

…And everything else

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 more news from other KDE contributors.

How You Can Help

If you’re a developer, check out our 15-Minute Bug Initiative. Working on these issues makes a big difference quickly!

Otherwise, 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.

38 thoughts on “This week in KDE: Get ready for a big one!

  1. Awesome. Just awesome!
    Some parts are a bit confusing though. E.g. that email placeholder text. Why would anyone want to remove it? It does exactly what is does, it sits precisely where it should be, doesn’t disturb anyone – why bother lol.

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    1. We actually got reports from Steam Deck users saying that they were confused by it. In addition, it was the only field with placeholder text, making it stand out. In the end we thought there was more value in removing it then keeping it and giving everything else placeholders too.

      Like

    1. It uses Wayland in gaming mode, but X11 for desktop mode. There is a push for making Wayland the default there too, but it requires some improvements in the surrounding Wayland infrastructure first.

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      1. Do you know/has it been announced that Steam Deck will update plasma/kde apps on every/every other release or will they stick to the LTS releases?

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        1. They didn’t ship with an LTS release, and it’s an Arch-based distro, so we can probably draw some conclusions from those facts. However I don’t know if this has been announced one way or another.

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  2. In the past i noticed that the extension gets preselected and for my taste it would be great if that would not be the case. Now this is done and thank you KDE developers. As for “simple” vs. “complex” text editor. IMHO such things don’t resolve anything meaningful and should in general be avoided. Fragmentation and confusion is likely worse than “initial complexity” that could be rethink if needed. In the end it’s text editor. People IMHO can cope just fine with a feature full one or feature less one. As in the end it’s just about plain text.

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  3. What about the icon only taskbar, the ability to have it auto-centered?
    Is this already available in some form or the bug has been at least filed?

    Thx

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Tried that widget, as well as flexible spacers. Didn’t help :\

        What I’m trying to do is something like the following

        The idea is when I add an app or run an app that is added, it gets recentered.
        Currently flexible spacers do the job, but only with ONE item in it.
        Any more than one, gets ti in 2 rows with mini-icons that you have to carefully target, it’s annoying.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You can configure icon only task bar to not become to rowed.

          Right click on it->Configure-> No of rows (or whatever it is called)->set it to 1

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  4. All great news!!! 🙂

    Will KWrite also be available in that (wind)oze store thing???

    Really hope so! Now I use Kate, but in that case the more lite the better and it will be enough for my needs on that system

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That will be awesome!!!

        (off topic 1: OMG… 444457 was fixed!!! OMG!!! OMG!!! That will avoid a soooooo boring workaround!!!

        off topic2: I sent an email from contact page about Discover… If it’s a bug I can fill it if you want)

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  5. Could in the future we make a setting for tablet mode to work when you touch the screen, and then disable again when you move the trackpad/mouse?

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    1. It’s possible, and not even that hard to do. In Kirigami, just make Kirigami.Settings.tabletMode also trigger when Kirigami.Settings.hasTransientTouchInput is true. However the last time this was brought up, the consensus was that we didn’t want UI elements rearranging themselves and jumping around simply because of a touch. We thought it might be weird and distracting. But maybe we could give it another go. Feel free to submit a merge request and we can discuss it there.

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      1. How about a notification that shows up when you touch the screen?

        Maybe something like “We noticed you’re using the touch functionality. Do you wish to switch to tablet mode? [Yes] [No, don’t ask again]”.

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        1. My first touch notebook is currently a chromebook and I’m constantly switching between touchpad and touchscreen. I’m using the touchpad for “precision work” like clicking buttons and scrolling websites using touchscreen so this would definitely be a distraction for me

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    1. It is… well sort of. It’s a frontend to the PackageKit library, which is itself a frontend to individual distro package managers. But Discover chooses how to use PackageKit, and in this case, it was using it wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. There’s a really annoying bug where going from multi monitor to single doesn’t move the primary bar to the primary display, also seems to be some primary screen selection issues here too, seems to vary in both xorg and wayland with wayland o so close to being my daily if only waking from sleep wouldn’t crash plasma, I would love to know if that’s on the list and if not as a developer I’d love to help out.

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    1. Please feel free to help out. We are desperately in need of people who are technically capable of fixing multiscreen issues.

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  7. A Wayland feature,but at the same time KDE on Wayland is still unusable, despite promised in v 5.20,5.21,5.22,5.23, and 5.24.
    First it was Nvidia problem,then qt problem,then mesa problem, despite it works fine on gnome . I Guess that’s the power of open source,it’s always someone else his/her problem.

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        1. Can you paste the URL? As a bug triager, I have to hold thousands of bug reports in my mind, so I often don’t remember all the details of every single one.

          No-one “from KDE” looking at it

          I am “from KDE”. Are you looking for like professional-tier technical support or something?

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    1. I’m a regular user just like you (I guess?). In the past few months I’ve gone from “KDE with multimonitor only usable under X11” to “Wayland is now my default and I never had to use X11 again”.

      So the promised progress is tangible (and not just for me, but for many others).

      That being said, I don’t doubt the fact that some use cases and hardware configurations are still affected by some issues as you are saying. But please try and understand that open source is a collective effort.

      If you expect stuff to be fixed for you in 3…2…1…, you’re misplacing your expectations (that’s what premium support is for). The good news is, with open source you can be a part of the solution – even just reporting an issue you are facing can go a long way for seeing a fix implemented. For sure it’s more effective than a rant 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Some really nice updates in this one. Especially the live preview of the Picture of the Day wallpaper. Totally makes sense to have KWrite and Kate shared a code-base.

    Like

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