KWin got a very cool new feature this week: a built-in advanced tiling system that you can use to set up custom tile layouts and resize multiple adjacent windows at a time by dragging on the gaps between them!
This feature is still in its infancy and not designed to completely replicate the workflow of a tiling window manager. But we expect it to grow and advance over time, and also the new APIs added for it should benefit 3rd-party tiling scripts that do want to let you turn KWin into a tiling window manager. Thanks very much to Marco Martin for contributing this work, which will be released in Plasma 5.27!
But there’s much, much more as well!
Other New Features
You can now browse Apple iOS devices using its native
afc:// protocol in Dolphin, file dialogs, and other file management tools (Kai Uwe Broulik, kio-extras 23.04. Link):
Konsole has now adopted KHamburgerMenu (Me: Nate Graham, Felix Ernst, and Andrey Butirsky, Konsole 23.04. Link):
By default, Konsole’s tab bar is now located toward the top of the window like in most other apps, rather than at the bottom (me: Nate Graham, Konsole 23.04. Link)
You can now drag an image onto the Color Picker widget to make it calculate the average color for that image and store it in its list of stored colors (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link):
When a KRunner search matches nothing, you’ll now be given the opportunity to do a web search for the search term (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.27. Link)
Gained support for the Global Shortcuts portal, which allows apps on Wayland to offer a standardized user interface for setting and editing global shortcuts (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.27. Link)
User Interface Improvements
When you delete the current folder in Dolphin, it now automatically navigates back to the parent folder (Vova Kulik and Méven Car, Dolphin 23.04. Link)
When you launch Discover from the “Uninstall or Manage Add-Ons…” menu item in Kickoff for an installed app, and that app is available in Discover from multiple backends, Discover now always opens showing you the app from the backend it’s actually installed from, so you can immediately click a “Remove” button if your goal in opening Discover was to uninstall the app (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.26.4. Link)
Speaking of the context menu that contains that action, the first time you right-click on an app in Kickoff to show it, the menu now appears immediately instead of being delayed by a few seconds (David Redondo, Plasma 5.27. Link)
KWin’s “Cascaded” window placement mode has been removed, because now every other window placement mode where it makes sense includes cascading behavior itself! (Natalie Clarius, Plasma 5.27. Link):
The screen chooser dialog you’ll see for Wayland apps requesting screen sharing permission now includes preview thumbnails for each screen or window that you can share (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.27. Link):
Plasma panels now automatically become thicker as needed when you switch to a Plasma theme whose graphics don’t work in thin panels (Niccolò Venerandi, Plasma 5.27. Link)
Plasma no longer somewhat strangely remembers different thicknesses for each panel in horizontal vs vertical setups; now each panel has one thickness and it keeps that thickness when you change from horizontal to vertical and vice versa (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link)
When you manually add your home timezone to the Digital Clock’s timezones list so that you can change it to something else when traveling and have your home timezone appear automatically, it now disappears automatically when you’re in your home timezone when displaying it would be redundant (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27, Link):
The Battery & Brightness widget now considers a battery that’s been charged to its configured charge limit to be fully charged (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link)
The questionably useful “Search For” section in the Places panel has been removed by default to avoid presenting so much visual clutter by default. The functionality is still available and you can re-add these items if you like and use them, of course (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.101. Link):
(This is a curated list of e.g. HI and VHI priority bugs, Wayland showstoppers, major regressions, etc.)
Plasma is no longer capable of crashing in a loop on launch when any of the Qt image reader plugins that are installed on your system but aren’t in use to display the wallpaper are buggy and crash-prone (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.26.4. Link)
Scrolling on the language list sheet on System Settings Region and Language page is no longer almost unusably choppy (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.26.5. Link)
When your 3rd-party lock screen theme is broken but the
kscreenlocker_greet background process has not crashed, you’ll once again see the fallback lock screen rather than the dreaded “your screen locker is broken” screen (David Redondo, Plasma 5.27. Link)
The Weather widget no longer escapes from its space in the System Tray and overlaps other icons at various icon and panel sizes (Ismael Asensio, Plasma 5.27. Link)
When Night color is active and the system or KWin is restarted, it now turns on again as expected (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.27. Link)
Notifications can now be read using a screen reader (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link)
Did a bunch of performance work to speed up the process of drawing UI elements in Plasma and QtQuick-based apps, which should result in faster speed and lower power usage (Arjen Hiemstra, Frameworks 5.101. Link 1 and link 2)
In the Plasma Wayland session, when you drag a window containing QtQuick-based user interface elements to another screen that’s using a different scale factor, the window instantly adjusts itself to display properly according to that screen’s scale factor, with no blurriness or pixelation. It even works when a window is partially on one screen and partially on another! (David Edmundson, Frameworks 5.101. Link 1 and link 2)
Other bug-related information of interest:
- 7 Very high priority Plasma bugs (up from 6 last week). Current list of bugs
- 47 15-minute Plasma bugs (same as last week). Current list of bugs
- 166 KDE bugs of all kinds fixed this week. Full list of bugs
Automation & Systematization
Until this point, Plasma Mobile-focused apps have been released using a release schedule called “Plasma Mobile Gear.” Going forward, these apps will be moving to the normal “KDE Gear” release schedule, with “Plasma Mobile Gear” being discontinued to simplify and unify packaging (Link)
Added an autotest for local file size calculation in Filelight (Harald Sitter, Link)
Set an appropriate image for the Automation goal group, which was clearly the most important thing to do (Justin Zobel and me: Nate Graham)
Changes not in KDE that affect KDE
A new Wayland protocol for fractional scaling was merged, which opens the door for Qt and KWin to support it and then we get better fractional scaling visuals and performance for Qt and KDE apps! This work on the Qt and KDE sides is in progress, but not merged yet. Once it is, I’ll be sure to announce it! (Kenny Levinsen, wayland-protocols 1.31. Link).
…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
KDE’s end-of-year fundraiser is in full swing, so please consider making a donation!
Otherwise if you’re a developer, check out our 15-Minute Bug Initiative. Working on these issues makes a big difference quickly! And you can have a look at https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved to discover lots of 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!