Highlights from 2022

2022 is over, and it’s time to recap! Like in previous years, this isn’t in any way, shape, or form a list of everything that happened in KDE; it’s just an overview of the big things I noticed or was involved with. More is always available at https://planet.kde.org!

Roadmap items

Many but not all of the items I was hoping for from my 2022 roadmap are finished now.

While we didn’t get a new style for Breeze icons or inertial scrolling everywhere, we did get the merged “Formats and Languages” KCM and a major overhaul for multi-monitor support to make it all finally work properly. “The Wayland session can completely replace the X11 session” is a bit fuzzier, but I can tell you that it’s done so for me! I only ever use the X11 session for occasionally testing merge requests. This doesn’t mean it’s there for everyone, of course. But it got ever closer in 2022. And finally, the 15-minute bug initiative was a big success! We didn’t fix every one of the 142 bugs classified as “15-minute bugs” in 2022, but we did fix 95 of them! That’s a pretty good rate. We’ll keep up the focus on these quality-of-life issues in 2023, too.

Hardware Partnerships

Linux hardware vendor Tuxedo Computers started shipping Plasma by default on all of their machines, a huge win for everyone!

KFocus, makers of Kubuntu-based hardware, added some new machines to their line-up–all shipping KDE Plasma and apps by default, of course!

Slimbook released a new version of their KDE Slimbook laptop, the best yet!

Finally, the Steam Deck became a smash hit, selling over a million devices worldwide and introducing so many people to the world of KDE!

So overall it was a pretty good year for getting KDE software into more people’s hands through hardware. But there is still so much more to do. We need to get more big names here, like Dell, Lenovo, and HP!

Akademy

For the first time in a few years, we had a real, in-person Akademy. Hallelujah! It was so wonderful to reconnect with KDE folks in person. You can see videos of the sessions and talks here. And here’s my talk.

In addition, I ran for a seat on the KDE e.V. board of directors and was elected!

Professionalizing KDE

KDE has done incredibly well over its 26-year history as primarily a volunteer organization. But there was always a dirty little secret: some of the most prominent contributors along the way have been sponsored to work on KDE in a quiet way. In the same way that Red Hat quietly funds the work of a lot of GNOME people, a lot of KDE people over the years have been sponsored by Nokia, KDAB, the city of Munich, Blue Systems, Valve, and other institutions in KDE’s orbit.

And this is great! It’s a very good sign when outside companies that derive value from KDE software pay to make it even better. But it also means they’ve been paying to make it better for their use cases, their pet projects, their areas of interest.

What’s always been missing was a cadre of paid professionals to work on KDE from a big picture perspective–people who are from the KDE community, and paid by the KDE community; people who can make a living as professionals working on KDE software from a community perspective.

Well, no longer! KDE e.V. has started hiring engineers for technical positions this year, beginning with a packaging engineer. We’re working through the process of hiring a software engineer at the moment, and we have an open position for an integration engineer too.

This is big stuff! Paid professionals in the employ of KDE e.V. can counterbalance and augment the work paid for by 3rd-parties, ensuring a healthy mix, so that KDE’s future and direction can remain in the hands of KDE. It can help to ensure a certain amount of continuity of technical knowledge, so that more people get to stay in KDE once their life circumstances change to reflect a different balance of free time and monetary needs. And of course, none of this in any way diminishes the volunteer efforts the remain the backbone of KDE! On the contrary, volunteers–who by nature come and go as life circumstances and interests dictate–can really benefit from a stable core of paid professionals to interact with.

This isn’t cheap, though. If you want to help the initiative succeed and expand, please make a donation–preferably a recurring one! 🙂 If you already have, tell your buddies, your family members, your boss, anyone you know who uses and enjoys KDE software!

New Goals

This year, KDE did a third round of goal-picking, cementing this process as a key part of KDE’s culture. The three goals chosen were “KDE For All” (accessibility), “Sustainable Software”, and “Automate And Systematize Internal Processes”–three very important goals! You can see more here.

Infrastructure

This year, Bugzilla got a re-organization to make it easier for normal people to figure out where to submit a bug report:

KDE also got a better donation and fundraising platform, powered by Donorbox. This makes it much simpler for people to donate to KDE e.V.:

Finally–and this is quite new–there’s a new forum powered by Discourse in the works, currently being beta-tested and rolled out at https://discuss.kde.org. Exciting times!

Qt 6

This year KDE contributors spent an enormous amount of time porting KDE software to Qt 6, the latest version of the Qt toolkit. This is unsexy work, so I didn’t blog about it. But it’s critically important, so thanks to everyone involved! And the work is now more than half done, with most common software and nearly all of Plasma already done; you can see the progress here.

Wayland

The Wayland session made enormous progress. Slimbook started shipping their new KDE Slimbook laptops with Wayland by default, following Fedora KDE 34 switching doing the same in late 2021. Our list of showstoppers continues to shrink, and new issues added to it are or notably less bad then the ones they replace. There are discussions about defaulting to Wayland in Plasma 6 next year, either for the inaugural release or one of the ones soon after it. The future really is here! And if you’re tempted to grumble, “well, Wayland still doesn’t work for me for $REASON,” please do it in a bug report so developers can fix it!

Plasma

It was a big year for Plasma! Among many other changes, we got custom window tiling layouts; massive stability improvements for multi-monitor workflows; Wayland fractional scaling; non-blurry scaled XWayland apps; a UI overhaul for Discover; many KRunner UX improvements; mouse button re-binding; resizable Panel popups; finger-following touchpad gestures on Wayland; support for alternate calendars such as the Chinese lunar calendar and Islamic civil calendar; picking-and-choosing what you want to apply from Global Themes; accent color generated from wallpaper’s dominant color; and full-window tinting with the accent color.

Plus a lot more, of course! You can see everything in the Plasma release announcements, found at https://kde.org/announcements.

Apps

KDE has so many apps that I really can’t possibly do them justice here! Nevertheless, here’s an extremely small assortment:

Dolphin got a new Selection Mode, a new (optional) list view selection style, the ability to browse iOS devices using their native afc:// protocol, an eject button in the sidebar list items of ejectable/unmountable volumes.

Okular got a welcome screen, a new Breeze icon that better matches the original, a UI overhaul for its sidebar.

Gwenview gained feature to annotate images and edit their brightness, contrast, and gamma.

Kate and KWrite got welcome screens, KHamburgerMenu support, searchable settings windows, keyboard macro support, and even more massive UX and feature improvements of all kinds due to an influx of new contributors and a higher tempo of regular development work.

Konsole got Sixel support, adopted KHamburgerMenu, added a plugin to save and restore text snippets, and moved its tab bar to the top of the view by default.

Spectacle was ported to Kirigami and now lets you annotate in Rectangular Region mode.

Filelight was ported to Kirigami and gained a sidebar.

Ark got a welcome screen, KHamburgerMenu support, and overhauled toolbar contents.

Elisa gained support for displaying auto-scrolling lyrics from songs using embedded LRC lyrics, .pls playlists, a real Full Screen mode, and improved presentation in Artists view, touchscreen UX improvements and overhauled playlist styling

NeoChat got encrypted chat support and a boatload of features and UI improvements!

Many QtWidgets apps adopted KHamburgerMenu for a streamlined presentation


Well that’s all for now, folks. Happy new year and let’s do awesome things in 2023!

7 thoughts on “Highlights from 2022

  1. In my opinion, a big gap in Wayland support remains the NVIDIA situation: the knowledge of how to get Plasma Wayland running on NVIDIA cards is scarce, and the success stories are rare, so I keep hearing rumors about it still being a no-go.

    https://community.kde.org/Plasma/Wayland/Nvidia looks dated and incomplete (doesn’t even mention the dropped support for EGLStreams), and https://community.kde.org/Plasma/Wayland_Showstoppers has no mentions of NVIDIA at all.

    Personally, I’ve never owned an NVIDIA card, but I imagine a large group of users does, so having a developer-owned go-to page describing the current status, including problems on the KDE and on the NVIDIA side, would be useful. I also dream of a “Wayland Support Check” KCM in KInfoCenter that would automatically detect hardware and software compatibility with Wayland from a running X11 session, but that’s likely too much to ask for 🙂

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    1. Yeah, that’s a very good point.

      Unfortunately I can’t be the person to write such a document or update the existing wiki page as I don’t have an NVIDIA GPU (and never will) so I’m not familiar with any of the bugs, quirks, and required workarounds.

      Do you know anyone who might be?

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    2. • Of the current Plasma developers, I think David Edmundson has the most hands-on experience with Nvidia: https://blog.davidedmundson.co.uk/blog/running-kwin-wayland-on-nvidia, https://blog.davidedmundson.co.uk/blog/plasma-rendering-handling-nvidia-context-loss/, https://blog.davidedmundson.co.uk/blog/running-plasmashell-with-vulkan
      • Xaver Hugl doesn’t have a test device, but has theoretical knowledge and implemented a lot of the relevant code: https://invent.kde.org/plasma/kwin/-/merge_requests/376, https://invent.kde.org/plasma/kwin/-/merge_requests/1031, https://invent.kde.org/plasma/kwin/-/merge_requests/1526 etc.
      • Aleix Pol tested Plasma Wayland with an Nvidia card at some point, he might have helpful insights as well.
      • Erik Kurzinger from Nvidia did the initial implementation (https://phabricator.kde.org/D18570) and helped review other MRs, maybe he could communicate the Nvidia’s perspective on this.
      • Roman Gilg went to the X.Org Developer’s Conference in 2018, and he posted (https://subdiff.org/blog/2018/representing-kde-at-xdc-2018) that “[the Nvidia engineers] arranged that they would send some hardware for testing purposes. I won’t be the recipient, since my work focus will be on other topics in the immediate future, but I was able to point to another KWin contributor, who should receive some Nvidia hardware in the future so he can better troubleshoot problems our users on Nvidia experience”. So one of the developers at the time received an Nvidia card for testing, and perhaps it’s even possible to ask for more of those.

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