This week in KDE: late holiday presents

Most KDE contributors are still recovering from their holiday vacations, but nevertheless the first of my 2020 predictions has been fulfilled: KIO now makes remote locations available to non-KDE apps using FUSE mounts! This brings us to full feature parity with GNOME’s GVFS system and makes it painless to interact with files in remote locations using apps like LibreOffice, Blender, and VLC. Full support will be shipped to users with the Dolphin 20.04 release.

More New Features

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

User Interface Improvements

How You Can Help

If you’ve got artistic talent, rev up your digital paintbrushes and try your hand at getting your work seen by millions of Plasma LTS users for years to come in our wallpaper competition: https://community.kde.org/KDE_Visual_Design_Group/Plasma_5.18_Wallpaper_Competition!

More generally, have a look at https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved and find out more ways to help 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.

2019: the year in review

2019 was a massive year for KDE. I’d like tho take the opportunity to highlight some of the biggest improvements and new features that arrived in this year:

Wayland

Though Plasma-on-Wayland is still not totally ready for prime time (and I understand now annoying this is), we made steady progress toward that goal, knocking out a number of blockers. 2019 featured Wayland support for virtual desktops, the proprietary NVIDIA driver, fractional scale factors, screen sharing and remote desktop, Spectacle’s Rectangular Region mode, and the Plasma widget explorer!

Plasma

One of the Plasma highlights this year is the totally rewritten notification system with a Do Not Disturb mode, per-app notification preferences, a sane history model, and loads of refinement and polish. It’s amazing, and it keeps getting better with each Plasma release!

Also very impactful has been a set of improvements in support for client-side-decorated GTK3 apps, including including shadows and extended resize areas and following the system’s color scheme. GNOME apps now look and feel right at home in Plasma!

Plasma also gained a systemwide Emoji input panel and a touch-friendly global edit mode for widgets. This allowed us to delete the Desktop Toolbox–that mystifying hamburger menu in the corner of the screen. Poof, no more!

In System Settings, there is finally full support for configuring touchpads using the Libinput driver, the Night Color feature was ported to X11, and the Workspace Behavior page gained two useful new controls that let you change the speed of all animations through Plasma and apps, and configure what happens when you click in a scrollbar track. In addition, many System Settings pages–particularly those in the Appearance section–have been modernized and given consistent user interfaces.

There were also many improvements to wallpaper configuration. The configuration window now displays the actual set of images that will be used, and the order is configurable. Picture Of The Day wallpapers can now pull images from unsplash.com.

To protect your privacy, Plasma now alerts you when an app is using the microphone.

Discover’s user interface and reliability dramatically improved across the board. I’m no longer seeing social media posts about how much people hate Discover (at least not the latest version; please make sure you’re up to date before you complain!). 🙂

Other miscellaneous features include a configurable grid size for desktop icons, user-customizable date display in the Clock widget, the ability to do calculation and unit conversion from Kickoff, and using slight RGB font hinting by default.

Finally, it became much easier to test and use a compiled-from-source Plasma version. Thanks to this, I’m now living on the master branch of Plasma all day, every day! It’s ridiculously stable, a testament to the incredibly high quality of Plasma’s codebase.

Applications & Frameworks

KDE’s flagship apps gained many amazing and useful new features. Among them:

Dolphin and file dialogs

Dolphin gained support for showing file creation dates, a feature to open folders from other apps in tabs instead of new windows, navigation history in a drop-down menu when you click-and-hold on the back or forward arrows, and animated previews in the Information Panel for video files and animated image files like GIFs. It also tells you what’s blocking unmounting a volume that contains open files, shows tags in the Places panel sidebar, and lets you search for tags.

Dolphin and other KDE apps gained file previews for Blender files, eBook files, .xps and Microsoft Office files.


Dolphin and the file dialogs also gained human-readable sort order descriptions and a brand new much better recent Documents feature.

File dialogs now let you easily switch between the same view modes as in Dolphin, and drag-and-drop a file into the main view to select that file or switch the view to that file’s folder (depending on whether it’s an open dialog or a save dialog).

Gwenview

Gwenview gained High DPI support, touch support, and a JPEG save quality chooser.

Spectacle

Spectacle gained the ability to open new instances or switch to existing instances when pressing the PrintScreen key while already running, configure its global keyboard shortcuts from its settings window, always copy a just-taken screenshot to the clipboard, auto-accept the dragged box in rectangular region mode, and remember the last-used rectangular region box. Rectangular Region mode also became touch-friendly.

Okular

Okular gained smooth scrolling and inertia with touch swipes, support for viewing and verifying digital signatures, and the ability to navigate both backwards and forward in touch mode. It also now remembers view mode, zoom settings, and sidebar view settings on a per-document basis.

Kate

Kate gained an LSP client, regained its old External Tools plugin, got the ability to show all invisible whitespace characters, and massively improved support on High DPI systems, particularly when using a fractional scale factor.

Konsole

Konsole got a tiling split view mode with drag-and-drop re-ordering:

Elisa

The Elisa music player gained an enormous amount of user interface polish, new features, and bugfixes–too many to list, really. It’s a powerful and user-friendly music player that’s fully supported and actively developed, and I encourage everyone to use it! Kubuntu is evaluating shipping it by default in their upcoming 20.04 release, and I hope others follow suit.

This is only a small subset of the new features announced throughout the year in my Usability & Productivity and This Week in KDE series, which in turn are small subsets of the full range of work done throughout KDE. Truly, our community is blessed with tireless contributors! Looking forward to 2020, I think we’re poised to achieve some truly amazing things that will catapult KDE Plasma and apps to the forefront of the Linux world. More on that tomorrow… 🙂

This week in KDE: holiday presents for you!

Though KDE contributors are mostly enjoying a well-deserved rest during the holiday season (hence the late post today, sorry about that), the community’s tireless souls have been laboring anyway to bring you new features and bugfixes anyway! Check ’em out:

New Features

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

User Interface Improvements

 

How You Can Help

If you’ve got artistic talent, rev up your digital paintbrushes and try your hand at getting your work seen by millions of Plasma LTS users for years to come in our wallpaper competition: https://community.kde.org/KDE_Visual_Design_Group/Plasma_5.18_Wallpaper_Competition!

More generally, have a look at https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved and find out more ways to help 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: it’s gonna be amaaaaaaaaaaazing

Features and polish are coming in hot and heavy for Plasma and KDE apps! But have you heard about KDE’s wallpaper contest for Plasma 5.18? We held one of these for Plasma 5.16 and it resulted in the fantastic “Ice Cold” wallpaper, by Santiago Cézar. Now’s your chance to enter a wallpaper for Plasma 5.18, which is an LTS release, so it will be seen by millions of people for years! There are fabulous prizes by sponsor Tuxedo Computers. Check out the rules here: https://community.kde.org/KDE_Visual_Design_Group/Plasma_5.18_Wallpaper_Competition

New Features

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

User Interface Improvements

How You Can Help

If you’ve got artistic talent, rev up your digital paintbrushes and try your hand at getting your work seen by millions of Plasma LTS users for years to come in our wallpaper competition: https://community.kde.org/KDE_Visual_Design_Group/Plasma_5.18_Wallpaper_Competition!

More generally, have a look at https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved and find out more ways to help 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: building up to something big

We’ve got some really big things planned and in progress for Plasma 5.18 and Frameworks, and work proceeds smoothly. None of it is quite done yet, but we did land a number of nice bugfixes and user interface polish for issues that have been irritating people for years…and mere days! Have a look:

New Features

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

User Interface Improvements

How You Can Help

Do you like to categorize things? So do I! Then why not try your hand at triaging bugs? KDE’s faithful users file about 25 of them every day, and they all need to be looked at, categorized, moved to the correct products, marked appropriately, closed if the issue has already been fixed–in short, triaged. It’s fun and easy and can be done in 5-minute spurts during boring periods of the day. Triaging bugs is a super helpful way to relieve some of the developers’ burdens if you’re not a developer yourself–developers vastly prefer writing code and fixing bugs to triaging them! For more information, check out https://community.kde.org/Guidelines_and_HOWTOs/Bug_triaging!

More generally, have a look at https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved and find out more ways to help 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: Easy Emoji input and more

Something cool this way comes… easy Emoji input! Speaking personally, lack of easy Emoji input on Plasma has been irritation for years. But no longer! Plasma now has a built-in Emoji chooser similar to the ones on other competing operating systems. Ours is invoked with the Meta+period keyboard shortcut.

Here it is:

Let’s give a big hand to to Aleix Pol Gonzalez for implementing this! It’ll be available in Plasma 5.18, and in the meantime we’re going to continue to improve its polish, integration, and discoverability.

More New Features

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

User Interface Improvements

How You Can Help

Ar you good at web design? KDE has approximately five hundred million (okay, slight exaggeration) websites in need of visual refreshing and technical improvement! Our web team is desperately overworked and in need of help–yours, perhaps. 🙂 Each individual person who joins in will be making a humongous difference! If this sounds like your cup of tea, check out https://community.kde.org/KDE.org

More generally, have a look at https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved and find out more ways to help 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: GTK CSD support and more!

I’ve got big news today. Something major landed: full support for the GTK_FRAME_EXTENTS_ protocol, which hugely improves the user experience for running GTK apps that use client-side decoration headerbars! This includes GNOME apps and an increasing number of 3rd-party GTK apps too. In particular, these apps now display window shadows and have proper resize areas without needing to use a thick border. Here’s how Gedit now looks:

It’s almost native-looking! And it fits right in with the rest of your apps.

I’d like to extend a big thanks for Vlad Zahorodnii who has been working hard on this for months! The feature lands in the upcoming Plasma 5.18 LTS.

But wait, there’s more…

More New Features

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

User Interface Improvements

How You Can Help

Do you love KDE’s apps? Would you like to help develop for them? I knew you would. 🙂 It’s really fun, and you can have a major impact. Many of KDE’s apps are quite beginner-friendly; among them are Dolphin, Elisa, and Spectacle. See the full list here! These apps’ maintainers as well as KDE’s experienced developers are happy to help and mentor newcomers who want to contribute. For more information on how to get help and who to ask, see https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved#Start_Here.21

More generally, have a look at https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved and find out more ways to help 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.