This week in KDE: Major accessibility improvements

Though KDE’s goal-setting process is still ongoing, contributors have started working on Plasma accessibility in a major way! As of Plasma 5.26, all Plasma widgets will be fully compatible and usable with a screen reader, thanks to Fushan Wen with assistance from Harald Sitter! And there’s more to come too, plus lots of other great work:

New Features

It’s now possible to manage Samba shares’ permissions remotely! (Harald Sitter, kdenetwork-filesharing 22.12. Link)

The Plasma Network manager’s OpenConnect VPN plugin now supports the “F5,” “Fortinet,” and “Array” protocols (Enrique Melendez, Plasma 5.26. Link)

Kickoff now has a new non-default “Compact” mode that lets you see more items at the time. When using Touch Mode, compact mode is automatically disabled to ensure that Kickoff remains touch-friendly (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.26. Link)

Global Themes can now change the order and arrangements of titlebar buttons and turn on or off the “Borderless Maximized Windows” setting which disables the titlebar for maximized windows. And you can also turn these on or off while applying a theme so configured on System Settings’ Global Themes page (Dominic Hayes, Plasma 5.26. Link)

By default, Picture of the Day wallpaper plugins don’t refresh while the system is using a metered network connection–but this can be turned back on if you want (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.26. Link):

It’s now possible to clear the Command Bar’s history (Eugene Popov, Frameworks 5.98. Link)

User Interface Improvements

Elisa can now open files from relative paths, not just absolute paths (Bharadwaj Raju, Elisa 22.08.1. Link)

When searching with KRunner, results from the “Software Center” category (which finds non-installed apps) are always lower than results from categories that show already-installed apps and settings pages (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.24.7. Link)

You can now use the Ctrl+S keyboard shortcut in the Clipboard applet’s Edit Mode page to save and return to the main page (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.24.7. Link)

System Settings’ Night Color page now lets you use a map to choose a manual location, and shows a loading placeholder when using automatic location mode and the geolocation service is still working on geolocating you (Bharadwaj Raju, Plasma 5.26. Link 1 and Link 2):

The opening and closing animations for the Overview, Present Windows, and Desktop Grid effects now last longer and have a nicer easing curve, making them feel much smoother (Blake Sperling, Plasma 5.26. Link)

Significant Bugfixes

(This is a curated list of e.g. HI and VHI priority bugs, Wayland showstoppers, major regressions, etc.)

Switching your Global Theme to one that has its own color scheme now immediately changes the color in all running GTK apps that are being themed with the Breeze GTK theme (David Redondo, Plasma 5.24.7. Link)

Fixed a major regression in multi-monitor support for the Plasma Wayland session that could cause screens to display no output (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.25.5. Link)

In the Plasma Wayland session, certain apps like GIMP no longer sometimes fail to appear in the Task Manager while running (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.25.5. Link)

Fixed a prominent Task Manager-related crash (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.25.5. Link)

Other bug-related information of interest:

…And everything else

This blog only covers the tip of the iceberg! 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.

15 thoughts on “This week in KDE: Major accessibility improvements

  1. “Global Themes can now change the order and arrangements of titlebar buttons and turn on or off the “Borderless Maximized Windows” setting”

    Wait, that’s available natively? I just use the ‘hide titles’ kwin script most of the time, as the latte-dock one doesn’t work for some reason and I don’t know how to do it manually as it’s not anywhere in the Window Decorations or Window Behavior page.

    “When searching with KRunner, results from the “Software Center” category (which finds non-installed apps) are always lower than results from categories that show already-installed apps and settings pages”

    Nice. I think sometimes the browser history/bookmark is still of higher priority than other categories, which can be annoying.

    In any case, I like this format. There’s still bug fixes, but it’s easier to see the big new improvements. It’s nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I had the same reaction when I read about the “turn on or off the Borderless Maximized Windows setting”… but I couldn’t find it in the System Settings. Must be a developer API?

      Like

  2. At the first glance, this post looks much better in terms of highlighting of Plasma’s new features and critical bugfixes than it was before due to smaller list of “everything else”, and in the same time it has a couple of useful links which I feel I will follow sometimes in order to read more when I have a spare time.
    I hope it is also made the process of writing such posts easier for you.
    Thanks for this brief summary Nate.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. For one year I used Clight, not Night color.
    https://github.com/FedeDP/Clight

    Clight allows to match your backlight level to ambient brightness, computed by capturing frames from webcam or Ambient Light Sensors.
    It does also support adjusting external monitors and keyboard backlight.
    Moreover, it can manage your screen temperature, just like redshift does.
    Finally, it can dim your screen after a timeout and manage screen DPMS.

    Clight can do the same thing as Night color.
    It is more rich feature.
    It can optionally adapt brightness and gamma to the ambient brightness which is more accurate that using the location to know the beginning and the ending of the day.

    More with dbus command we can enable/disable Clight features according to not modify colours when using for example digikam or VLC.

    My eyes appreciate.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like the new format of the blog post much more too!!

    Also looking forward to having the new accessibility features.

    Do you know if the plan covers to fully voice control KDE Plasma and its apps e.g. by Mycroft? That’d be awesome!
    *Plasma — start Dolphin. Select folder: pictures. Open file: …*

    Like

    1. I’m not aeare of any effort to integrate voice control into Plasma Desktop itself, but it’s a cool idea! That said, over the decades I’ve never found voice control to actually be useful in most circumstances, especially not for normal desktop tasks like that. And you sound stupid talking to your computer. Typically you want to use it to replace a whole series of chained tasks, which requires a ton of work to implement properly.

      Like

  5. A small idea I was wonder earlier: how about symbolic weather icons in the same linework artstyle as the rest of plasma’s tray icons?
    Has something like this been discussed in the past?

    Love your weekly wrap up btw

    Like

  6. I’d like to see the Install button on Discover become a bit more pronounced, perhaps a colored background or an outline to make it stand out or even a different location.

    Like

  7. As a visually impaired person, I still miss a real improvement in the ability to read aloud documents. The speech synthesis engine is practically useless for more than 10 minutes because its sound is so unpleasant and the “pronunciation” so bad, that it causes mental and auditory exhaustion right away. Please allow users like me to install decent voices like Google or IBM Watson. If Firefox, through plugins like Read Aloud or Reader View allow it, I don’t understand why KDE does not.

    In addition, a typing aid such as predictive text on phones would also greatly help people with impaired vision or motor coordination, as well as non impaired users, who would see their typing speed multiply.

    Like

    1. Yes, that would be a very welcome change to have natural sounding TTS!!

      I have found the Mycroft-derived TTS to be excellent. It’s called Mimic 3 and it sounds so much better than the old Mimic system that Mycroft was using several years ago.

      https://mycroft.ai/mimic-3/

      Description from the site: “Mimic 3 is a privacy-focused open-source neural Text to Speech (TTS) engine. In human terms that means it sounds great and can run completely offline on hardware you control. A cloud service is in the works for people who want an “easy button” or for hardware that can’t math fast enough.”

      And there’s already ready to run Debian packages on their Github: https://github.com/MycroftAI/mimic3/releases

      Like

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s