This week in KDE: big UI improvements!

New Features

In KolourPaint, you can now choose the quality level when saving an image in the AVIF, HEIF, and HEIC file formats (me: nate Graham, KolourPaint 23.04. Link)

In the Media Player widget, you can now swipe up/down to change the volume, and left/right to change the playback position (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link)

User Interface Improvements

Elisa now includes a few more popular radio stations by default (Someone going by the pseudonym “fanick1”, Elisa 23.04. Link)

System Settings’ Shortcuts page now features a significantly more obvious and useful UI for adding custom commands! (Bharadwaj Raju, Plasma 5.27. Link):

System Settings’ Launch Feedback page is no more, and everything on it has been moved into a popup accessible from the Cursors page, with an actual explanation of what the settings do (Fushan Wen and Janet Blackquill, Plasma 5.27. Link 1, link 2, and link 3):

The “Highlight Changed Settings” button that currently lives on a footer in the System Settings sidebar has been moved to the hamburger menu to streamline the UI (Alexander Wilms, Plasma 5.27. Link)

When pasting links into a Notes widget using the standard Paste action, they are now pasted as clickable links by default. And if you want to remove formatting, there’s a new context menu item for that too! (Martin Frueh, Plasma 5.27. Link 1 and link 2)

You can now move a single window to another activity using the titlebar context menu (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.27. Link)

While in Touch Mode, the global Edit Mode toolbar now lets you open the full desktop context menu too, so nothing in there is ever totally inaccessible when using a touch device (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link 1 and link 2)

The standard set of Home/End/PageUp/PageDown navigation keys now work as expected in the Clipboard widget’s list view (Tom Warnke, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Kickoff now shows separators added in KMenuEdit (Sergey Katunin, Plasma 5.27. Link):

On a very small screen, Kickoff now switches to a more compact layout so it doesn’t gobble up all of the screen space while open (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link)

When you paste a full file path into the directory chooser field of an Open dialog instead of the file path field, it now opens the file, as you probably were wanting it to do (Fushan Wen, Frameworks 5.102. Link)

Significant Bugfixes

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

It’s now possible to set a manual Night Color activation time later than 19:00 (Martin Frueh, Plasma 5.26.5. Link)

Windows activated by other apps that happen to be on a different virtual desktop don’t move between virtual desktops anymore, unless configured specifically to do so in System Settings (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Other bug-related information of interest:

Automation & Systematization

There’s now a nice new page on develop.kde.org about packaging your KDE app using Flatpak (Thiago Sueto, link)

There’s also a major update to the KXmlGui tutorial (Thiago Sueto, link)

All links on develop.kde.org are now checked by a continuous integration runner for reachability, so that broken links will get noticed and fixed promptly (Alessio Mattiazi, link)

Added a bunch of autotests for KRunner’s date & time functionality (Natalie Clarius, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Other

NeoChat is now available on the Microsoft store! And this version has end-to-end encryption enabled by default, in case you were wondering. 🙂 (Ingo Klöcker and the NeoChat devs. 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

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

Otherwise, visit 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!

And finally, KDE can’t work without financial support, so consider making a donation today!

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!

This week in KDE: end-of-year goodies

Welp, 2022 draws to a close, but KDE never sleeps, and its developers have managed to whip up some new years’ treats for everyone!

New Features

Info Center can now show you OpenCL info on its own new dedicated page, if you have the clinfo utility installed (Linus Dierheimer, Plasma 5.27. Link)

In the Plasma Wayland session, KWin now sends along pen tilt and rotation events to apps (Joshua Goins, Plasma 5.27. Link)

User Interface Improvements

The way KRunner displays information about time zones has been substantially improved, making it easier to parse the output, and fixing a couple of bugs (Natalie Clarius, Plasma 5.27. Link):

When Night Color hasn’t been turned on yet, clicking on its System Tray icon now takes you directly to its System Settings page where you can turn it on and set it up to your liking (Guilherme Marçal Silva, Plasma 5.27. Link)

A few pages in System Settings are starting to use a new way of organizing logical sections, which hopefully should make things easier to find (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link 1 and link 2):

When using the default Sidebar view, System Settings sidebar items no longer show tooltips on hover, since this information is not very useful and gets in the way a lot (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Discover now presents details for system updates when using the “Offline Updates” feature in a better way (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link):

Typing a space while searching in the Overview effect now always actually enters a space character, instead of activating the highlighted window when a window that matches the search term (Niklas Stephanblome, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Critical notifications no longer appear in the Overview, Present Windows, and Desktop Grid effects (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.26.5. Link)

You can now configure the Task Manager to show window previews when you click on a grouped task even if you’ve disabled the feature to always show window previews when hovering over tasks (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Significant Bugfixes

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

Using KDE Connect to transfer files over 2 GB in size is now possible (Adrian Thiele, Frameworks 5.102. Link)

The “Always use Touch Mode” setting now persists after a reboot (Fushan Wen, Frameworks 5.102. Link)

Fixed a case where KWin could crash in the Plasma Wayland session when connecting a laptop to a docking station (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.26.5. Link)

Other bug-related information of interest:

Automation & Systematization

Added an autotest to test for weird character handling in wallpaper file paths, after it broke again and we fixed it (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link)

There’s now a bot that announces relevant data about Plasma bugs in the Plasma chatroom every day (Justin Zobel):

…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

Thanks so much for helping KDE reach its goal during the end-of-year fundraiser! In fact, we’ve smashed through it, currently raising over 23,000€ of the 20k we were shooting for. Every little bit helps, especially given KDE e.V’s ambitious hiring goals. We can’t reach and sustain them without you, so thanks a ton, everyone!

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

Otherwise, visit 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!

This week in KDE: Holiday features

This is a light week as KDE contributors have been taking well-deserved breaks during this holiday season. Nevertheless, all was not quiet and many nice improvements and bugfixes were merged!

New Features

In the Plasma Wayland session, you can now zoom in and out on images in Gwenview using pinch gestures on your touchpad! (Bharadwaj Raju and Carl Schwan, Gwenview 23.04. Link)

Kate and KWrite now have options to always open each file in its own window, rather than tabs of one window (Christoph Cullmann, Kate & KWrite 23.04. Link)

Elisa now supports creating and opening .pls playlist files (Marius Pa, Elisa 23.04. Link)

When you try to use a VPN type whose plugins are not installed, the notification that tells you this now offers you the opportunity to install them (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.27. Link)

It’s now possible to configure the Color Picker widget to display up to 9 color preview dots for quick use (in case you didn’t know, you can drag colors out of them and onto something else), or none at all if you don’t use them because you use the widget as just a way to get color code values into your clipboard (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link):

User Interface Improvements

Okular’s sidebar has been ported to use QDockWidget, which makes it able to be relocated to other sides of the window or un-docked to become a free-floating window (Eugene Popov, Okular 23.04. Link)

When configuring a VPN fails because plasma-nm was compiled without support for any of its optional plugins that provide this functionality, the notification warning you about it now includes a button to report a bug that will take you to your distribution’s bug tracker, because they’re the source of the issue (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Significant Bugfixes

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

When permanently deleting a file, the “Delete permanently” button once again has keyboard focus by default (Felix Ernst, Dolphin 22.12.1. Link)

In the Plasma Wayland session, after KWin has restarted for any reason, session-ending actions such as Log Out, Restart, And Shut Down now work (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.27. Link)

The Persian and Indian national calendars now show their correct month names (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link 1 and link 2)

Other bug-related information of interest:

Automation & Systematization

Added some more autotests for the Baloo file indexing service (Albert Astals Cid, Frameworks 5.102. Link)

After once again fixing a bug with symlinked files for wallpaper slideshows not appearing, added an autotest to make sure it doesn’t happen again (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.26.5. 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.

2022 Fundraiser

KDE’s end-of-year fundraiser is in full swing and we’re close! As of the time of writing, we’re at a hair over 17,000€, out of the 20,000€ goal. So please consider making a donation!

But guess what! Veteran KDE contributor Albert Astals Cid is offering to match 10% of people’s donations until the end of the year or the goal is reached; how cool is that!? Thanks so much, Albert!

To take advantage of this, after you make your donation here, email aacid@kde.org with your name/email and CC kde-ev-board@kde.org. And then go tell Albert on his blog what a cool guy he is!

We can do it!

Other Ways To Help

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

Otherwise, visit 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!

This week in KDE: Wayland fractional scaling! Oh, and we also fixed multi-screen

This week is a twofer! We have the long-awaited Wayland fractional scaling support, and the equally long-awaited ultimate fix for Plasma’s multi-screen woes! Let’s take them one at a time:

Wayland Fractional Scaling

The Wayland protocol for fractional scaling was finally merged last week. Kenny Levinsen proposed the protocol itself, and this week, the KDE and Qt implementations for Plasma 5.27 which have been done by David Edmundson were merged. Thanks a lot, everyone!

“What does this do?” you might ask. It allows the Qt toolkit to turn on its pre-existing fractional scaling support on Wayland that it always had on X11. No more rendering to an integer size and then scaling down! This should result in Qt apps that are scaled to anything other than 100%, 200%, or 300% scale having better performance, less visual blurriness, and lower power usage.

What about GTK apps? They’ll reap the same benefit once GTK also gains fractional scaling support and implements the protocol. Until then, GTK apps will continue to use the less efficient upscale+downscale method for fractional scale factors.

When is it coming? Well, KWin already has support in Plasma 5.27. Support in Qt is only in Qt 6 right now, meaning we won’t reap the benefits until Plasma 6. There’s a chance it could be backported to KDE’s Qt 5.15 patch collection, though. Stay tuned!

Fixing Multi-Screen

Multi-screen is a complicated beast because it touches so many parts of the software stack. Ultimately most of our problems arose from the use of connector IDs to identify screens and map Plasma desktops and panels (“containments”) to screens. This worked poorly, because connector IDs can and do change under various circumstances. As a result, things often became a scrambled mess, with the behavior either being random, or consistently wrong.

That’s all changed. You can read the details here. In a nutshell, we now use an index-based system, with index numbers bound very tightly to Plasma containments, but index numbers themselves being able to move between screens based on how many screens there are. So for example, when screen 1 with your Plasma desktop and panel becomes unavailable, a new screen becomes screen 1, and the Plasma desktop and panel bound move over to it.

This new system should result in vastly greater stability, reliability, and predictability with respect to how screens are enabled and disabled, positioned, and what Plasma desktops and panels they show. It fixes notorious bugs like Plasma containments being randomly moved around or lost and desktops sometimes losing their wallpapers, widgets, and icon settings. It also makes arrangements of screen layouts and Plasma containments stable across the Plasma X11 and Wayland sessions. Big stuff.

Now, let’s set expectations a bit: this doesn’t mean that literally every multi-screen bug is now fixed. Rather, it brings us a new platform that isn’t broken by design, upon which we can fix bugs without introducing new ones in the process. So now multi-screen can truly become even more reliable over time, rather than juggling a rotating whack-a-mole assortment of bugs from one release to the next. The work was done by Marco Martin, Ivan Tkachenko, Xaver Hugl, and David Edmundson. It will land in Plasma 5.27. Thanks a lot, guys!

Other New Features

You can now reverse the ordering of tasks in the Plasma Task Manager widget on vertical panels, to complement existing support on horizontal panels (Tanbir Jishan, Plasma 5.27. Link)

In the Plasma Wayland session, you can now allow XWayland using apps to snoop on the keypresses made in native Wayland apps, mimicking how things work on X11. This is required by some XWayland-using apps, such as Discord for its push-to-talk feature. Doing this reduces security, so it’s off by default and has various different on levels so you can choose for yourself the balance of security and support for legacy apps (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.27. Link):

It’s now possible to use a modifier key (e.g. the Meta key) as the shortcut key when using the key input chooser to assign shortcuts to actions. This will allow us to replace the weird old modifier key handling in KWin and let you simply assign modifier keys to things like Kickoff and Overview directly. That’s not ready yet but will be coming soon! (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.27 and Frameworks 5.102. Link 1, link 2, and link 3)

Discover now has a SteamOS backend, so it can perform system updates on Steam Deck devices from within desktop mode (Jeremy Whiting, Plasma 5.27, but possibly backported to SteamOS itself sooner. Link)

User Interface Improvements

Spectacle’s sidebar now uses pushbuttons to let you take a new screenshot, replacing the old two-stage UI wherein you would first have to choose a capture mode and then click the “Take New Screenshot” button. The new workflow should be much faster! (Noah Davis, Spectacle 23.04. Link):

Spectacle’s new annotations system once again draws drop shadows behind your annotations by default, just like the old one did (Marco Martin, Spectacle 23.04. Link)

KRunner no longer matches apps’ executable names, as this caused too many false positives when searching for unrelated things (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.27. Link)

The User Feedback slider on System Settings’ Quick Settings page has been removed, because as of Plasma 5.27, you’ll have the opportunity to choose to share telemetry data with KDE developers–or not–in the new welcome wizard app (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link)

On System Settings’ Desktop Session page, the “Offer Shutdown Options” option has been removed, because we found that it actually didn’t do anything anymore after all the changes of the past few years (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Adding new virtual desktops now increases the number given to the new desktop, instead of naming all new desktops “New Desktop” (Thenujan Sandramohan, Plasma 5.27. Link)

When changing indexing settings that require a reboot to take effect on System Settings’ File Search page, it will now present you with a message informing you of this, with a big friendly button you can click on to reboot immediately (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link):

When creating window rules and trying to match windows by their window class, the page will now give you a comprehensible error message when you target a window that doesn’t have a window class (Ismael Asensio, Plasma 5.27. Link):

Significant Bugfixes

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

Disabling middle-click paste in the Plasma Wayland session no longer makes it impossible to select text in some GTK apps or causes them to crash (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.26.5. Link)

In the Plasma Wayland session, external screens now work when using various ARM-powered devices (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.26.5. Link)

When Discover installs updates for an add-on from store.kde.org that needs to present an error message or question as part of the update process, or tries to do so because the update failed, Discover now shows this to you instead of silently eating it and leaving it wondering why things aren’t working (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.27. Link)

The Blend Changes KWin effect no longer triggers while the foreground window is fullscreen, so when you’re using the “Accent color from wallpaper” setting and a slideshow wallpaper, you’ll no longer, for example, experience brief choppiness while watching a full-screen video when the wallpaper changes (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.26.5. Link)

Disabling and re-enabling the top-left-most screen no longer causes it to become mirrored to the screen to the right of it after being re-enabled (Ivan Tkachenko, Plasma 5.27. Link)

The “Add Rule” dialog in System Settings’ Firewall page now works properly for the ufw firewall (Paul Worall, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Other bug-related information of interest:

Automation & Systematization

We now have a whole framework for performing automated GUI tests using the accessibility API, which exercises both at once for double-whammy of a win! This has been rolled out for a start with the calculator widget (Harald Sitter, Plasma 5.27. Link) And don’t be shy, write your own! Here’s the documentation.

Added a basic autotest for Activities (Alexander Kuznetsov, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Dependency metadata for what kde code kdesrc-build needs to compile for any given thing you tell it to build is now auto-generated from each repo’s continuous integration system metadata! (Nicolas Fella, right now. Link)

develop.kde.org now has a tutorial on writing advanced Plasma widgets that use C++ backend code (Chris Holland, Link)

2022 Fundraiser

KDE’s year-end fundraiser is halfway done! We’re more than halfway to the goal, but progress has slowed quite a bit. If you haven’t donated yet, please consider doing so! With all the hiring KDE e.V. has been doing, we need to significantly ramp up fundraising to keep up the pace to avoid getting into the red. Every little bit helps!

…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.

This week in KDE: New Spectacle

This week Spectacle’s user interface was rewritten in QML, which makes it easier to develop going forward and will enable us to add screen recording functionality to the app, which is coming! But that’s not all… in the process we integrated the annotations feature into the Rectangular Region selector, so you can select a screen region and immediately start annotating it! The Rectangular Region selector UI is also hugely more responsive. Overall this work was also able to fix 12 bug reports in the bug tracker, in addition to the important architectural and UI improvements.

Thanks very much to Noah Davis and Marco Martin who have been hard at work on this for quite a while! It will land in Spectacle 23.04.

Other New Features

There are now KWin actions for “Move window one screen to the left/right/up/down” that you can use and assign keyboard shortcuts to, if your personal workflow requires it (Natalie Clarius, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Other User Interface Improvements

The Bluetooth widget’s tooltip now shows the battery status for any connected device that are able to report battery information (Ivan Tkachenko, Plasma 5.27. Link):

The Battery and Brightness and Media Player widgets’ tooltips now indicate that you can do something by scrolling over them. This should be all of them! (me: Nate Graham and Nicolai Weitkemper, Plasma 5.27. Link 1 and link 2)

The System Tray config window’s list of applets has been made fully keyboard-navigable and accessible (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link)

The estimated time remaining before your battery runs out is now smoothed, so it won’t jarringly jump up or down in response to momentary spikes or dips in power usage (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Scrolling over a Media Player widget to adjust the volume of the app playing media now raises or lowers it in increments equal to the global scroll step that’s configurable in System Settings, rather than having its own private setting for this (Bharadwaj Raju, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Side drawers in Kirigami-based apps can now also be closed by using the Escape key or clicking in an empty dimmed area of the view (Matej Starc, Frameworks 5.102. Link)

Significant Bugfixes

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

When Plasma- Browser Integration is installed, the Media Player no longer shows two sets of playback controls (Bharadwaj Raju, Plasma 5.27. Link)

In the Plasma Wayland session, several subtle paste-related issues have been fixed, including panel widgets having a delay before closing after a file is copied in Dolphin and then Dolphin is closed, and also text copied by interacting with the Clipboard widget itself being unable to be pasted into text fields in Plasma widgets (David Redondo, Frameworks 5.102. Link 1 and link 2)

When you remove a widget and then reboot the system or restart plasmashell while the “Undo removing this widget?” notification is still visible, the widget is now gone as expected when Plasma starts up again (Marco Martin, Frameworks 5.102. Link)

Other bug-related information of interest:

Automation & Systematization

Our Bugzilla bot now automatically marks bugs with the “wishlist” severity if the author forgot to do so themselves, but did prefix the title with various keywords like “feature request”, “wishlist”, and the like (me: Nate Graham. Link)

Added an autotest to ensure that the Plasma desktop’s wallpaper size remains correct after screen resolutions change, after it regressed and we fixed it (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. 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! We’re halfway to our goal of 20,000€ with 3 weeks left to go. Help us get all the way there so we can continue to ramp up technical hiring!

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

Otherwise, visit 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!

This week in KDE: custom tiling

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):

As always, if you hate hamburger menus, you’re welcome to use the traditional in-window menubar, which is still there if you show the menubar using Ctrl+Shift+M, and won’t be going anywhere

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):

The way the Places Panel looks by default now, with greater relevance

Significant Bugfixes

(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:

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!

This week in KDE: Humongous UI improvements

This week we have a lot of large and impactful user interface improvements across multiple apps and Plasma, not to mention progress on the big bugs!

New Features

Dragon Player–KDE’s venerable minimalistic video and audio player–has undergone a major UI overhaul, including adopting KHamburgerMenu and a welcome screen, a streamlined and more intuitive set of default toolbar buttons, and less glitchy behavior when opening videos in the Plasma Wayland session (Harald Sitter, Dragon Player 23.04, Link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4, link 5, and link 6):

There’s still a bit more polishing to do, but now this app is sleek as hell!

Filelight now has a list view on the left side of the window, providing a simple text-based method of viewing size information. This also fixes multiple bugs with the tooltips and eliminates blurriness in the radial graph view! (Harald Sitter, Filelight 23.04. Link):

Ark now supports extracting Stuffit .sit archives (Elvis Angelaccio, Ark 23.04. Link)

There’s now a new “Touchscreen” page in System Settings that lets you disable touchscreens and choose which physical screen their input gets mapped to (Nicolas Fella, sponsored by TU Dresden, Plasma 5.27. Link)

In the Plasma Wayland session, screens now get a default scale factor that more appropriately matches their DPI, based on what kind of device they are (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link)

You can now autostart apps multiple times (e.g. to launch multiple instances of it) and it also shows you the paths where autostarted scripts live (Thenujan Sandramohan, Plasma 5.27. Link)

You can now configure Folder View to show hidden files if you want (Willyanto, Plasma 5.27. Link)

System Settings’ Drawing ‘Tablet’ page now lets you map physical buttons on your drawing tablet’s pen to keyboard shortcuts (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.27. Link)

User Interface Improvements

When you unlock the screen by providing your fingerprint, you no longer have to redundantly click an “Unlock” button afterwards (Janet Blackquill, Plasma 5.26.4. Link)

The way you choose or change a location in the Weather widget is now simpler and more direct (Ismael Asensio, Plasma 5.27. Link)

When using the Canadian weather provider, the Weather widget’s layout is now much better and clearer, and no longer sometimes gets visually cut off (Ismael Asensio, Plasma 5.27. Link):

On System Settings’ Users page, the way you choose fingers to use for fingerprint authentication is now much more visually intuitive. In addition, you can now un-enroll individual fingers, and when you change your password, you’ll no longer see the “passwords don’t match” message until after you click the “Set Password” button, or a few seconds after you stop typing (Janet Blackquill and Devin Lin, Plasma 5.27. Link 1, link 2, and link 3):

On System Settings’ Display Configuration page, screens are now required to be touching and not partially overlapping, which prevents various weird bugs from being able to happen (David Redondo, Plasma 5.27. Link)

The Audio Volume widget’s tooltip no longer unnecessarily tells you that output is playing on “Speaker” when there’s only one output device, and instead mentions the fact that you can scroll over the icon to change the volume (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link 1 and link 2):

Breeze-themed Plasma popups now have a larger corner radius that matches the corner radius for windows (Niccolò Venerandi, Frameworks 5.101. Link):

The Breeze Icon theme now includes a themed icon for SimpleScreenRecorder (Manuel Jesús de la Fuente, Frameworks 5.101. Link):

Significant Bugfixes

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

In the Plasma Wayland session, tapping a touchscreen after disconnecting an external screen no longer crashes KWin (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.26.4. Link)

Plasma notifications no longer have inappropriately sharp top corners (Niccolò Venerandi, Plasma 5.26.4. Link)

In the Plasma X11 session, disabling compositing no longer leaves an empty area around Plasma Panels (Niccolò Venerandi, Plasma 5.26.4. Link)

Searching using the KRunner-powered search in Overview no longer sometimes crashes KWin (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Landed a better fix for the problem of maximized XWayland apps sometimes having a one-pixel empty border on the right screen edge in the Plasma Wayland session (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.27. Link)


Other bug-related information of interest:

Automation & Systematization

Added some autotests surrounding Plasma wallpaper loading and assignment (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Added some autotests around the KFileFilterCombo UI component (Nicolas Fella, Frameworks 5.101. KFileFilterCombo. Link)

Changes not in KDE that affect KDE

In QtQuick-based apps, scrollable views where all content fits horizontally no longer shows a pointless horizontal scrollbar anyway. We had previously worked around this bug in most KDE apps, but now it’s fixed upstream so we don’t have to anymore! (David Redondo, Qt 6.4.2, but backported to the KDE Qt patch collection. 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

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.

This week in KDE: less-rage-inducing error messages in Discover

This week I’d like to highlight a particular 15-minute bug that got fixed: When Discover shows you significant error messages, they now take the form of normal dialogs rather than tiny little overlays at the bottom of the screen that disappear after a few seconds. And it should now show you fewer un-actionable error messages in general too! These major improvements were contributed by Jakub Narolewski and Aleix Pol Gonzalez, and will show up in Plasma 5.27. Thanks guys!

But that’s not all! There was a lot of work on other significant bugs too, and we managed to knock out several, in addition to landing some welcome features and fixes:

New Features

System Monitor (and widgets of the same name) can now detect and monitor power usage for NVIDIA GPUs (Pedro Liberatti, Plasma 5.27. Link)

You can now show the current temperature in a badge overlay on the Weather widget’s icon–both outside of the System Tray and also for the System Tray version of it! (Ismael Asensio, Plasma 5.27. Link):

User Interface Improvements

Okular’s scroll speed when using a touchpad is now significantly faster, and should generally match the speed at which everything scrolls when using a touchpad (Eugene Popov, Okular 23.04. Link)

In Discover’s Task Progress sheet, the progress bars are now much more visible and not obscured by a pointless background highlight effect (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.26.4. Link):

When changing songs/tracks and the Plasma Media Player widget is visible, there’s no longer a brief flicker that reveals the icon of the app playing the media (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.26.4. Link)

A better error message is now shown when the Bluetooth file transfer service fails to start (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Discover will no longer attempt to check for updates when using a metered internet connection Bernardo Gomes Negri, Plasma 6. Link)

Other Significant Bugfixes

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

When Konsole is launched after changing the display layout, its main window is no longer absurdly small (Vlad Zahorodnii, Konsole 22.12. Link)

Elisa should no longer stutter occasionally during playback (Roman Lebedev, Elisa 23.04. Link)

When using Latte Dock in the Plasma Wayland session, various windows and Plasma pop-ups are no longer mis-positioned (David Redondo, Latte Dock 0.10.9. Link)

In the Plasma Wayland session, Plasma should no longer sometimes randomly crash when you move the cursor over a Plasma panel (Arjen Hiemstra, Plasma 5.26.4. Link)

When Kickoff is configured to use the default list item size, apps that live in the categories sidebar such as Help Center no longer have an awkwardly large icon (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.26.4. Link)

KWin now honors the “Panel Orientation” property that the kernel can set for screens, which means that many different types of devices that need the screen to be rotated by default will now have that done automatically (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Various Plasma UI elements once again have the correct size in the Plasma X11 session when not opting into using Qt scaling (Fushan Wen, Frameworks 5.100.1. Link)

Other bug-related information of interest:

Automation & Systematization

Wrote a new “Welcome to KDE” page which will also be linked to in our new Welcome Center app that will debut in Plasma 5.27 (me: Nate Graham)

…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.

This week in KDE: better environment variable support

New Features

KMenuEdit and the properties dialog now make it easy for you to set environment variables when opening your apps. This was always possible, but you had to know the secret special syntax (e.g. Exec=env FOO=1 kate); now the UI makes it easy and explicitly supported (Dashon Wells, Frameworks 5.101 and Plasma 5.27. Link 1 and link 2):

User Interface Improvements

The option to disable the Secret Service interface now clearly explains what this means and why you might want to do it (Guilherme Marçal Silva, KWalletManager 22.12. Link):

Discover no longer shows categories in light text on the app cards because it’s mostly visual noise, and it also once again has an “All Applications” category you can use to see all apps and limit a search to just apps (me: Nate Graham and Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.27. Link 1, link 2, and link 3):

When the Battery & Brightness widget is configured to show you the exact charge percentage on its icon, it no longer does so when the battery is fully charged, since this is obvious (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link)

In a variety of scrollable System Settings pages, the separator above the footer buttons now matches the separator above the “Highlight Changed Settings” button on the sidebar’s footer (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.101. Link):

Significant Bugfixes

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

Vertically-arranged monitors are no longer slightly overlapping by one pixel, which can trigger various weirdnesses (Alexander Volkov, Plasma 5.26.4. Link)

Other bug-related information of interest:

Changes not in KDE that affect KDE

Firefox now supports the xdg_activation_v1 Wayland protocol, which means its windows will be able to raise to the top when a URL is opened in them from another app that also supports the protocol (Emilio Cobos Álvarez, Firefox 108. 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

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.