KDE Usability and Productivity: Are we there yet?

KDE’s Usability & Productivity initiative is now almost two years old, and I’ve been blogging weekly progress for a year and a half. So I thought it would be a good time to take stock of the situation: how far we’ve come, and what’s left to do. Let’s dive right in! Here’s a short list of some of the achievements we’ve accomplished:

  • Full support for configuring mice and touchpads using the Libinput driver on both X11 and Wayland
  • A brand new notification system with hugely improved usability for common workflows
  • Better default text contrast and font rendering settings
  • Massive, far-reaching user interface and performance improvements for Discover
  • Huge user interface improvements to the open/save dialogs
  • Many performance and reliability improvements for the Baloo file indexing service
  • “Open Containing Folder” actions added throughout KDE apps
  • A variety of usability-related bugfixes, new features, and user interface upgrades for Spectacle
  • Typewriter/text box annotation tool in Okular
  • Support for showing file creation dates
  • Easy support for file tagging in Dolphin, and a more useful and comprehensible Places panel
  • Slideshow wallpaper configuration that shows the actual images that will be a part of the slideshow
  • Configurable grid size/maximum label width for files and folders on the desktop
  • Better lock and login screens
  • Consistent styles (grid views and centered form layouts) for settings windows throughout KDE software
  • Simplified and more comprehensible user interface for many System Settings pages
  • Bugfixing and user interface improvements throughout the whole software stack

It’s a lot of great stuff!

There’s still more to do, of course. KIO still doesn’t mount network locations locally, though that’s being actively worked on! Touchpad scrolling behavior has improved, but is still not consistent across all KDE apps and there’s no inertial scrolling yet. Samba sharing is improving, but still rough. Okular’s annotations are becoming more full-featured, compatible, and discoverable, yet more work is still needed. More System Settings pages still need to have their user interface overhauled. But are you seeing a pattern here!? Things are happening! The trajectory is really good! It’s unbelievable how many of the rough edges have gotten smoothed out over the past two years, and I feel super upbeat about the state of KDE’s software offering!

With this kind of ongoing work, KDE’s software moves ever closer to the day when I envision that it has become humanity’s preeminent computing platform. It will take time, but open-source software is immortal as long as people care about it. And the KDE community clearly does! So slowly but surely we continue, improving year by year as competitors stagnate, drop out, or are corrupted by the lures of money and power. It will be a KDE world.

Author: opekope2, KDE community member, from our recent wallpaper competition: https://forum.kde.org/viewtopic.php?f=312&t=160543

I’d like to offer a congratulations to the incredible KDE community. This all is not my work… it’s yours! The passion that people feel for this stuff is amazing, and it’s not misplaced: more and more KDE software becoming best-in-class in its product category. The future is bright, very bright. Thanks again, everyone.

KDE Usability & Productivity: Week 73

Week 73 in Usability & Productivity initiative is here! We have all sorts of cool stuff to announce, and eagle-eyed readers will see bits and pieces of Plasma 5.16’s new wallpaper “Ice Cold” in the background!

New Features

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

User Interface Improvements

Next week, your name could be in this list! Not sure how? Just ask! I’ve helped mentor a number of new contributors recently and I’d love to help you, too! You can also check out https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved, and find out how you can help be a part of something that really matters. You don’t have to already be a programmer. I wasn’t when I got started. Try it, you’ll like it! We don’t bite!

If you find KDE software useful, consider making a donation to the KDE e.V. foundation.

KDE Usability & Productivity: Week 72

Week 72 in Usability & Productivity initiative is here and it’s chock-full of goodies! We continue to polish Plasma 5.16 ahead of its release in two weeks. There was one point in time when veteran KDE developer and author of the new notifications system Kai Uwe Broulik was literally committing fixes faster than I could add them to this blog post! In addition, features for Plasma 5.17 as well as many of our apps are starting to trickle in. Check it out:

New Features

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

User Interface Improvements

Next week, your name could be in this list! Not sure how? Just ask! I’ve helped mentor a number of new contributors recently and I’d love to help you, too! You can also check out https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved, and find out how you can help be a part of something that really matters. You don’t have to already be a programmer. I wasn’t when I got started. Try it, you’ll like it! We don’t bite!

If you find KDE software useful, consider making a donation to the KDE e.V. foundation.

KDE Usability & Productivity: Week 71

Hot on the heels of last week, this week’s Usability & Productivity report continues to overflow with awesomeness. Quite a lot of work what you see featured here is already available to test out in the Plasma 5.16 beta, too! But why stop? Here’s more:

New Features

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

User Interface Improvements

Next week, your name could be in this list! Not sure how? Just ask! I’ve helped mentor a number of new contributors recently and I’d love to help you, too! You can also check out https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved, and find out how you can help be a part of something that really matters. You don’t have to already be a programmer. I wasn’t when I got started. Try it, you’ll like it! We don’t bite!

If you find KDE software useful, consider making a donation to the KDE e.V. foundation.

KDE Usability & Productivity: Week 70

Hold on to your hats, folks, because this week’s Usability & Productivity report is OVERFLOWING WITH AWESOMENESS! Let’s jump right in:

New Features

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

User Interface Improvements

Next week, your name could be in this list! Not sure how? Just ask! I’ve helped mentor a number of new contributors recently and I’d love to help you, too! You can also check out https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved, and find out how you can help be a part of something that really matters. You don’t have to already be a programmer. I wasn’t when I got started. Try it, you’ll like it! We don’t bite!

If you find KDE software useful, consider making a donation to the KDE e.V. foundation.

Wallpaper competition update

Howdy folks! Here’s a reminder about our Plasma 5.16 wallpaper competition. We’ve gotten lots of wallpapers, but there’s a little more than two weeks left and still plenty of time to submit you gorgeous entries! As a reminder, the winner also receives a Slimbook One computer! Here are the rules.

Let me also take the opportunity to clarify what it is that we’re looking for, overall. We want wallpapers with the following characteristics:

  • More abstract than literal
  • Uses the Breeze color palette, at least a bit
  • Has some geometric elements to it
  • Attractive but not overwhelming
  • Soothing but not boring
  • Creative but not bizarre or disturbing
  • Still good-looking with some desktop icons on top of it

Here are some stylistic suggestions, too: Avoid having a central foreground element framed within a background. This feels very confining. Try having the foreground go out of the frame and appear off-center. Also, try to avoid large areas of super bright colors, as these can be visually overwhelming and look uncomfortable when closing or minimizing windows. Pastels often work better than bright neon colors.

and if you’re looking for inspiration, check out the last six wallpapers. See how they evolved over time?

So get out there and submit a wallpaper!

KDE Usability & Productivity: Week 69

It’s time for your weekly dose of KDE’s Usability & Productivity initiative!

But first, I want to draw everyone’s attention to our Plasma 5.16 wallpaper competition. In addition to getting their wallpaper used as the default background for millions of users of KDE Plasma 5.16, the winner also receives a Slimbook One computer! So what are you waiting for!? Go and submit an awesome wallpaper! Here are the rules. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out the last six wallpapers:

Anyway, here’s the Usability & Productivity work:

New Features

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

User Interface Improvements

Next week, your name could be in this list! Not sure how? Just ask! I’ve helped mentor a number of new contributors recently and I’d love to help you, too! You can also check out https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved, and find out how you can help be a part of something that really matters. You don’t have to already be a programmer. I wasn’t when I got started. Try it, you’ll like it! We don’t bite!

If you find KDE software useful, consider making a donation to the KDE e.V. foundation.