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This week in KDE: Major accessibility improvements

Saturday, 13 August 2022 | Nate Graham


Though KDE’s goal-setting process is still ongoing, contributors have started working on Plasma accessibility in a major way! As of Plasma 5.26, all Plasma widgets will be fully compatible and usable with a screen reader, thanks to Fushan Wen with assistance from Harald Sitter! And there’s more to come too, plus lots of other great work:

New Features

It’s now possible to manage Samba shares’ permissions remotely! (Harald Sitter, kdenetwork-filesharing 22.12. Link)

The Plasma Network manager’s OpenConnect VPN plugin now supports the “F5,” “Fortinet,” and “Array” protocols (Enrique Melendez, Plasma 5.26. Link)

Kickoff now has a new non-default “Compact” mode that lets you see more items at the time. When using Touch Mode, compact mode is automatically disabled to ensure that Kickoff remains touch-friendly (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.26. Link)

Global Themes can now change the order and arrangements of titlebar buttons and turn on or off the “Borderless Maximized Windows” setting which disables the titlebar for maximized windows. And you can also turn these on or off while applying a theme so configured on System Settings’ Global Themes page (Dominic Hayes, Plasma 5.26. Link)

By default, Picture of the Day wallpaper plugins don’t refresh while the system is using a metered network connection–but this can be turned back on if you want (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.26. Link):

It’s now possible to clear the Command Bar’s history (Eugene Popov, Frameworks 5.98. Link)

User Interface Improvements

Elisa can now open files from relative paths, not just absolute paths (Bharadwaj Raju, Elisa 22.08.1. Link)

When searching with KRunner, results from the “Software Center” category (which finds non-installed apps) are always lower than results from categories that show already-installed apps and settings pages (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.24.7. Link)

You can now use the Ctrl+S keyboard shortcut in the Clipboard applet’s Edit Mode page to save and return to the main page (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.24.7. Link)

System Settings’ Night Color page now lets you use a map to choose a manual location, and shows a loading placeholder when using automatic location mode and the geolocation service is still working on geolocating you (Bharadwaj Raju, Plasma 5.26. Link 1 and Link 2):

The opening and closing animations for the Overview, Present Windows, and Desktop Grid effects now last longer and have a nicer easing curve, making them feel much smoother (Blake Sperling, Plasma 5.26. Link)

Significant Bugfixes

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

Switching your Global Theme to one that has its own color scheme now immediately changes the color in all running GTK apps that are being themed with the Breeze GTK theme (David Redondo, Plasma 5.24.7. Link)

Fixed a major regression in multi-monitor support for the Plasma Wayland session that could cause screens to display no output (Xaver Hugl, Plasma 5.25.5. Link)

In the Plasma Wayland session, certain apps like GIMP no longer sometimes fail to appear in the Task Manager while running (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.25.5. Link)

Fixed a prominent Task Manager-related crash (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.25.5. Link)

Other bug-related information of interest:

…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.