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This week in KDE: The best Plasma 5 version ever

Saturday, 21 January 2023 | Nate Graham


Plasma 5 has officially branched for the beta version of its 5.27 release. Go check out the announcement and test out the beta! You’ll probably have noticed the number of 15-minute and very high priority Plasma bugs creeping up, and during this 3-week beta period, we’re going to be focusing on those to ensure that 5.27’s release is as bug-free as possible. Beyond that, Plasma 5.27 will continue to get periodic bugfix releases until and a bit beyond the release of Plasma 6, which we are very much hoping to have ready by late this year! Exciting times.

New Features

The Digital Clock widget’s ever-growing list of alternate calendars now includes the Islamic Astronomical and Umm al-Qura calendars (Fushan Wen, Plasma 6. Link)

Wallpaper creators can now define a custom accent color for their wallpaper that will be automatically used when the user is using the “Wallpaper from accent color” feature, rather than letting the system calculate an accent color automatically (Fushan Wen, Plasma 5.27. Link)

You can now enter Do Not Disturb mode using the command line by running kde-inhibit --notifications (Jakub Nowak, Plasma 5.27. Link)

User Interface Improvements

High-resolution album art in Elisa is now sharper and better-looking when using scaling (me: Nate Graham, Elisa 22.12.2. Link)

KWin now tries its best to force the smoothest animations by default (the balance of smoothness vs latency is user-configurable) which improves performance on integrated Intel GPUs in the Plasma Wayland session (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.27. Link)

In the Plasma Calculator widget, you can now copy the output or delete a digit with the backspace key (Martin Frueh, Plasma 5.27. Link 1 and link 2)

The Plasma Calculator widget no longer appears as a search result in KRunner, Kickoff, and Overview where activating it would open it in a standalone window, which made people believe that it was the default calculator app or confused them regarding why two calculators were installed (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link)

System Settings’ Shortcuts and Flatpak Permissions pages now use our more modern frameless style (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.27. Link 1 and link 2):

  • System Settings "Shortcuts" page showing frameless style
  • System Settings "Flatpak Permissions" page showing frameless style

The Window List widget now displays appropriate fallback icons when the active app’s own icon is invalid, or when the Plasma Desktop is active (Guilherme Marçal Silva, Plasma 5.27. Link)

In the System Tray configuration window, some items no longer have “(Automatic load)” added after their names, which we realized was an implementation detail that didn’t communicate anything important to the user (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Throughout QtWidgets-based KDE apps, tooltips can no longer display the same text twice (once for the normal tooltip text, and again for the “What’s this” expanded text prompt) (Joshua Goins, Frameworks 5.103. Link)

Significant Bugfixes

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

Fixed a way that KWin could crash when closing one instance of a multi-instance app while the “Dim Inactive” effect is enabled (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Implemented an older version of the Wayland text-input protocol in KWin, which makes input methods work in Chromium and Electron apps (Xuetian Weng, Plasma 5.27. Link)

Basic sticky keys support is now implemented in the Plasma Wayland session! More will follow soon (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.27 Link)

Fixed various recently-introduced visual glitches affecting Panel and System Tray icons, including some tray icons of Qt6 apps constantly flickering. Also fixed the autotest covering this to actually work so it won’t regress again! (Arjen Hiemstra, Frameworks 5.103. Link 1 and link 2)

Other bug-related information of interest:

Automation & Systematization

Add a user interface test for the Digital Clock’s calendar popup, to make sure all of its buttons work as expected (Marco Martin, 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

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!