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Saturday, 16 October 2021

…But after you read this post, I bet you’ll want to jump straight to Plasma 5.24 already! A lot of good keyboard navigation and Discover-related work was done this week, as well as loads of bugfixes.

New Features

Skanlite now supports scanning to PDF! (single page only at this point; Skanpage supports multi-page PDF scan, though) (Alexander Stippich, Skanlite 21.12)

Gwenview now shows you an estimate of the image’s new file size when you’re in the middle of resizing it (Antonio Prcela, Gwenview 21.12):

Task Manager tasks now have a “move to Activity” context menu item (Benjamin Navarro, Plasma 5.24):

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Okular’s Bookmarks menu now reloads itself properly and continues to display the correct set of bookmarks when switching between open documents (Albert Astals Cid, Okular 21.08.3)

Spectacle now takes correctly-colored screenshots on screens with 10-bit-per-channel color support enabled (Bernie Innocenti, Spectacle 21.12)

Automatic screen rotation now works while the “only in tablet mode” setting is in use (John Clark, Plasma 5.23)

Logging in using the login screen’s “Other…” page where you can enter a username and password once again works (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.23.1, and distros should be backporting it immediately)

The Plasma Wayland session no longer crashes immediately after login if you happen to be using the “Right Alt never chooses 3rd level” advanced keyboard setting (Andrey Butirsky, Plasma 5.23.1)

KWin no longer sometimes randomly crashes when you quit Firefox (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.23.1)

The kded5 background daemon no longer sometimes randomly crashes when using a multi-screen setup (Fabian Vogt, Plasma 5.23.1)

Discover no longer crashes when clicking on the “Installed” page when using a distro like Gentoo which has no distro-packaged apps and you’re using Discover to get Flatpaks and Snaps (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.23.1)

Right-clicking on a file on the desktop when multiple files are selected no longer de-selects all the files you didn’t right-click on (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.23.1)

OpenConnect VPNs can now be connected to as expected if you have an FSID-protected key passphrase with a user certificate but no private key (Raphael Kubo da Costa, Plasma 5.23.1)

In the Plasma Wayland session, windows of some apps no longer open at the smallest possible size the first time the apps are launched (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.23.1)

In the Plasma Wayland session, Maximized GNOME apps now fully update their contents in the whole window, not just most of the window (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.23.1)

Switching between views on the Application Dashboard is now nice and fast (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.23.1)

UI elements in the Notifications applet no longer sometimes overlap when there are a lot of notifications form different apps visible (Carl Schwan, Plasma 5.24)

Menus no longer have an extra outline around the edges when using a fractional global scale factor (Tatsuyuki Ishi, Plasma 5.24)

The Widget Explorer sidebar’s vertical scrollbar is no longer always visible when when the current view isn’t scrollable (Méven Car, Plasma 5.24)

Volume sliders in the Audio Volume applet once again have a background; two different colors are used to distinguish the maximum volume level from the volume of the currently-playing or recording audio (Tanbir Jishan, Plasma 5.24):

The Plasma Wayland session no longer sometimes crashes when you repeatedly hover and un-hover Task Manager thumbnails under certain circumstances (Vlad Zahorodnii, Frameworks 5.88)

Sharing a file to Telegram when installed from a Flatpak once again works (Alexander Kernozhitsky, Frameworks 5.88)

It’s once again possible to change the icons of panel app launchers (Fabio Bas, Frameworks 5.88)

The 16px size of the im-user-offline icon is now displayed with the correct color (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.88)

Spectacle no longer recommends that you install Vokoscreen or OBS if they’re already installed (Anthony Wang, Frameworks 5.88)

A constellation of issues related to windows getting stuck in ghost form after switching virtual desktops or disappearing after using the Show Desktop feature has now been fixed (Vlad Zahorodnii, Qt 5.15.3 via the KDE patch collection)

User Interface Improvements

Dolphin’s prompt to restart the app after changing settings in the version control plugin now offers you a button that will do so when clicked (Someone going by the pseudonym “Blaster goo”, Dolphin 21.12)

Discover no longer shows a redundant tooltip when you hover the cursor over the size text for an app or a package (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.23)

In the Plasma Wayland session, the virtual keyboard now only appears when you explicitly focus a text-based UI control with a touch or stylus poke (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.24)

The Networks applet is now fully keyboard navigable, including niceties like hitting the down arrow key to go to the first item in the list and making the tab key go to the next button in the focused list item (Bharadwaj Raju, Plasma 5.24)

In the same vein, the Clipboard applet is now also fully keyboard navigable! (Bharadwaj Raju, Plasma 5.24)

Discover now tries to help less technical users learn what they can do next if they search for an app they know exists but nothing is found (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.24):

Discover now shows a bottom tab bar in narrow/mobile mode, and its sidebar handles no longer cover up the content area (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.24):

Discover now switches its home page to a two-column card view when the window is very wide (Felipe Kinoshita, Plasma 5.24):

Notifications about video files now display a thumbnail in the notification, just like for image files (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.24):

Header and title text in notifications now has better contrast and visibility (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.24):

The “add a keyboard layout” dialog is now much simpler and easier to use (Bharadwaj Raju, Plasma 5.24):

KWin’s “Pack Window X” shortcuts have been renamed to “Move window X” to make their purpose clearer (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.24):

The Digital Clock applet now has a “Date always below time” option to complement its “Date always beside time” and “Automatic” options (Yuval Brik, Plasma 5.24)

Section headers in Kirigami FormLayouts are now horizontally centered and slightly larger in size (me: Nate Graham, Frameworks 5.88):

…And everything else

Keep in mind that this blog only covers the tip of the iceberg! Tons of KDE apps whose development I don’t have time to follow aren’t represented here, and I also don’t mention backend refactoring, improved test coverage, and other changes that are generally not user-facing. If you’re hungry for more, check out https://planet.kde.org/, where you can find blog posts by other KDE contributors detailing the work they’re doing.

How You Can Help

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.

I've been hearing about ninja, I had looked at it some time in the past, and did some local basic benchmarking (using time), and didn't find a huge difference in build times, both from scratch and incrementally. I tried ninja again recently and found one feature that sells it pretty well to me, it can show the build progress on one line in the terminal.

So I switched to ninja to see how that goes, seems to work OK, but a new tool, new quirks, right? :).

I happened to be using git interactive rebase, and so was jumping between commits, some files were renamed (with git mv), that's when ninja failed to build incrementally, clearing the build dir and starting anew, worked fine. But incremental builds are very useful, otherwise the waiting times between the usual "modify code, compile, test, repeat" cycles would be longer, and those waiting times aren't my favourite pastime. The workaround turned out to be simple, touch CMakeLists.txt file in the top source dir, then run ninja again and it should pick up the changes.

FWIW, that touch CMakeLists.txt method works too if say, you built KIO against some other Framework's libfoo.so.n, then libfoo.so.n was updated to .n+1, which would make the incremental build fail (with make at least, haven't seen that with ninja (yet?)), touch the file, and it picks up the changes (probably since it will check the build dependencies again).

Have fun hacking at code.

Friday, 15 October 2021

On October the 13th, the Italian broadcaster Mediaset showed a 2-minute clip during the prime-time Comedy Show Honolulu on its Italia 1 channel. This is that clip:

https://www.mediasetplay.mediaset.it/video/honolulu/alessandro-bianchi-il-tg-del-futuro_F311066901003C03

The “News from the Future” segment was produced using Kdenlive, and that is a milestone for our community because, along with the recent inclusion of Kdenlive in ASWF’s landscape catalog (https://landscape.aswf.io/), it places Kdenlive on a whole new level.

Our beloved application was able to deliver the content keeping to a deadline (which on TV is always very tight), at the requested quality standard, and in the required format. Also, Kdenlive allowed us to quickly carry out a lot of the modifications the network asked for to better adjust the content to their internal policy.

But this is not the end of our quest for quality and improvement, in fact, it is only the beginning. It is, however, a sign we are moving in the right direction. But we cannot carry on without you, our community. You help us improve, and we would love to share your recent productions with the world. Send us your work and help us and others learn how Kdenlive is being used and how the community is growing.

Thank you for being part of Kdenlive.


The Kubuntu Team is happy to announce that Kubuntu 21.10 has been released, featuring the ‘beautiful’ KDE Plasma 5.22: simple by default, powerful when needed.

Codenamed “Impish Indri”, Kubuntu 21.10 continues our tradition of giving you Friendly Computing by integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution.

The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs.

Under the hood, there have been updates to many core packages, including a new 5.13-based kernel, KDE Frameworks 5.86, KDE Plasma 5.22 and KDE Gear 21.08.

Kubuntu 21.10 Desktop Image

Kubuntu has seen many updates for other applications, both in our default install, and installable from the Ubuntu archive.

Krita, Kdevelop, Yakuake, and many many more applications are updated.

Applications for core day to day usage are included and updated, such as Firefox, VLC and Libreoffice.

For a list of other application updates, and known bugs be sure to read our release notes.

Download Kubuntu 21.10, or learn how to upgrade from 21.04.

Note: For upgrades from 21.04, there may a delay of a few hrs to days between the official release announcements and the Ubuntu Release Team enabling upgrades.

Let’s go for my web review for the week 2021-41.


Key witness in Assange case jailed in Iceland after admitting to lies and ongoing crime spree

Tags: assange, wikileaks

How a court case crumbles… there is nothing meaningful in the Assange case. Makes it all the more obvious that it is purely political.

https://stundin.is/grein/14117/


How the .NET Foundation kerfuffle became a brouhaha

Tags: tech, dotnet, free-software, microsoft

More details coming out about the .NET Foundation drama. This indeed looks bad and concerning regarding the stewardship of this foundation.

https://robmensching.com/blog/posts/2021/10/6/how-the-.net-foundation-kerfuffle-became-a-brouhaha/


20 Things I’ve Learned in my 20 Years as a Software Engineer

Tags: tech, programming, craftsmanship

This is an excellent list, I admit I agree with most of it. Couple of those realizations are in fact a deep part of what I do.

https://www.simplethread.com/20-things-ive-learned-in-my-20-years-as-a-software-engineer/


The small web is beautiful

Tags: tech, web, minimalism

Goes a bit in various directions but still interesting food for thought on the various way to strive for tech minimalism in what we produce.

https://benhoyt.com/writings/the-small-web-is-beautiful/


Quickly create and run optimised Windows, macOS and Linux desktop virtual machines.

Tags: tech, virtualization, desktop

This looks like a simple and efficient tool for the task. I also like the fact that it’s just a bunch of bash scripts.

https://github.com/wimpysworld/quickemu


WSLg Architecture

Tags: tech, windows, Wayland, linux

Interesting integration of Wayland in WSL.

https://devblogs.microsoft.com/commandline/wslg-architecture/


3 TypeScript Tricks I wish I knew when I learned TypeScript

Tags: tech, typescript

The ReadOnly and unknown type tricks are especially interesting to improve the type safety further with this language.

https://www.cstrnt.dev/blog/three-typescript-tricks


On KDE’s 25th Anniversary

Tags: tech, kde, free-software

I couldn’t end this week review without mentioning this. :-)

Happy birthday indeed! 25 years already! Still young, lots more to come.

https://25years.kde.org/



Bye for now!

Full changelog: https://kde.org/announcements/plasma/5/5.23.0/ My video about the groundwork for gestures and stuff: https://youtu.be/unKm1lHu4iw Stay in the loop: https://t.me/veggeroblog If you want to help me make these videos: Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/niccolove Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCONH73CdRXUjlh3-DdLGCPw/join Paypal: https://paypal.me/niccolove My website is https://niccolo.venerandi.com and if you want to contact me, my telegram handle is [at] veggero.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

 So first things first... Congrats KDE we rock...

25 years fantastic... 


Now I was resting after some rather busy work days and came to an article on phorinix about KDE ...  And I get to this user comment on the comment section..

"

And it's still ugly as hell by default. How difficult is it for KDE devs to create a nice and polished default theme? They invest a lot in bug fixes, new features, new functions etc, but they forget about the interface theme...."

Witch is fine I used to get this sort of thing all the time back in the day... 

But on the discussion that follow a lot of confusion started to appear..  

It's not new confusion, but... Somehow, now that I'm not as involved into the day to day design of it, it really made me angry...

If you you like open source you embrace it fully and embrace that it is about freedom, and part of that freedom is to make a desktop for people that don't mind options.. you like a different desktop with less options?, great we in open source also made that for you enjoy.. and a ton of other things in between, that is what is great about it.. freedom to experiment.. freedom to choose..

The vast majority of the Designers in KDE do their work in their free time without any more compensation than an occasional thank you, back in my time we were no more than 2-3 people at any given time...

Please stop comparing us to the likes of Apple and Microsoft, 2-3 designers can't do the work that you expect from multiple  hundreds ? The simple fact that sometimes we nail things better is bloody amazing.. so... Yeah... c'mon we do it for the users not to get random abuse online...

Ok rant mode off... 

Congrats KDE what we do works for me and millions more.. love what we, you do...


We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 6 Beta !

Thursday, 14 October 2021

25 years ago today, Matthias Ettrich sent an email to the de.comp.os.linux.misc newsgroup explaining a project he was working on. The latest and direct result of that email (plus a quarter of a century of relentless experimentation, development and innovation) has just landed in KDE’s repositories.

This time around, Plasma renews its looks and, not only do you get a new wallpaper, but also a gust of fresh air from an updated theme: Breeze - Blue Ocean. The new Breeze theme makes KDE apps and tools not only more attractive, but also easier to use both on the desktop and your phone and tablet.

Of course, looks are not the only you can expect from Plasma 25AE: extra speed, increased reliability and new features have also found their way into the app launcher, the software manager, the Wayland implementation, and most other Plasma tools and utilities.

Read on to find out all the details that make the new Plasma 25AE so deserving of a celebration:

Looks

Apart from the new wallpaper, the first thing you will notice is the new theme. Breeze — Blue Ocean improves the look of Plasma and also makes clearer what they are for. Active elements in a dialog window, for example, “light up” when the window gets focus, checkboxes show actual ticks and radio buttons switch on like bulbs. Scrollbars and spinboxes are bigger, making them more accessible and easier to use with touchscreens, but have been re-designed in such a way as to still look elegant on desktop and laptop machines.

Among other things, a few more details serve to add glossiness and style to the desktop. For example, when starting an app or waiting for a process to complete, you will see a spinning gear until the task finishes; and desktop widgets now have a blurred background and get a highlight effect when you move them close to the panel.

Subtle details like these, not only enhance the look of the desktop, but also give you nearly subliminal feedback, hinting at what is active and what is not and how the different elements on the Plasma desktop will interact with you and each other.

System Settings

… And, as long as we are talking about Plasma’s new look, we must talk about the new stuff in System Settings. Under Global Theme > Colors you’ll find a new option that lets you pick the desktops accent colors. Accent colors are the colors of highlighted items on drop-down menus and lists, backgrounds of the icons of selected apps in the panel, the actual bars in progress bars, the backgrounds of checkboxes and radio buttons, and so on.

override a color scheme's accent color

Now say that, instead of the cool blue of Plasma’s default color scheme, you are feeling fabulous and want a hot pink for all those things: that is actually the first choice in the list. Or maybe you want like a certain chameleon-based distro and an intense green is your thing? You can do that too. To make sure your colors match those of the overall theme, just click on the From current color scheme and things will go back to what they were.

Talking of walking stuff back, changing the monitor resolution can lead to an unusable desktop. That’s why now you get a countdown: under System Settings > Display and Monitor > Display Configuration , once you pick a resolution and press the Apply button, a dialog window with the countdown will pop up. If after 30 seconds you haven’t clicked the Keep button (say, because your desktop has become inaccessible) the system will revert to the original, safe resolution. And this is just one of the ways of protecting you against accidental configuration mishaps.

Because keeping your system operational and safe is one of our main concerns. That is why we always advise you when you are going to share data you may not be aware of. Take, for example, Night Color: one of the things you can do is use geolocation to synchronize the color temperature of your screen with the periods of day and night of where you live. The Night Color page in your System Settings will tell you when sharing your location with a third party’s service that provides the times of sunrise and sundown in your area, and will also tell you who said the third party is. Likewise, the Feedback page now will show you a history of data that you have chosen to send to KDE. Note that Feedback will always be set to off by default. You have to explicitly and consciously switch it on before any data leaves your machine.

Another thing you will want to keep an eye on is your Bluetooth adapter. That is why you can set its status on login. Your options are Enable Bluetooth, Disable Bluetooth and Remember previous status.

If finding all the options you need seems daunting, don’t fear! We have made things easier by adding many keywords to improve searches. Just type in what you are looking for in the Search box and System Settings will provide you with all the related options.

Kickoff

Of course, once you are done configuring, you will actually want to reach your apps. You can do that through Kickoff, the application launcher that, in a default Plasma layout, lives in the bottom left-hand corner of your screen. Kickoff was already given a massive overhaul a few versions ago, but again we have rewritten large parts of the code to make it faster and easier to use.

And we added new options, of course. For example, now you can make Kickoff stay open on the screen with the new pin button located in the upper right-hand corner. By clicking on the Configure Application Launcher button to the left of the pin, you can choose whether to use a list or a grid for the apps views and configure the power/session action buttons.

We have also made Kickoff more touch friendly and, if you press-and-hold with a finger on the touchscreen, Kickoff’s context menu will pop open.

System Tray

details about the currently-connected network

You will find the System Tray, on a default Plasma desktop layout, on the right-hand side of the bottom panel bar. The System Tray is important because it contains things you would typically want to keep an eye on, like notifications, the sound volume, the network status, etc. As the System Tray is a vital and (literally) iconic part of the Plasma desktop for many users, care has been taken to improve its usability and that of the widgets it contains.

One widget you can access is the Clipboard, the place stuff you copy goes and where applications get the things when you paste them somewhere else. The Clipboard has been improved in several ways, for example, it now remembers 20 items by default and ignores selections that you did not explicitly copy. This gives you more to pick from when copying, while at the same time decluttering the list by removing snippets you may have accidentally or absentmindedly highlighted while working with Plasma. To further help you keep things tidy, you can also remove selected items from the clipboard’s popup by pressing the [Delete] key on the keyboard. Talking of copying and pasting, you can now easily copy text from notifications with the Ctrl + C keyboard shortcut.

Media Player Applet

A new thing in the Audio Volume applet is that it now distinguishes between applications that are currently playing or recording audio and the Media Player widget always displays the album art and its blurred background at the same time of any song that is playing. We also added an easy way to switch power profiles from the Battery and Brightness widget. You can choose between “power-saver”, “balanced” and “performance”.

As for the network widget, Plasma now shows more details about the currently-connected network, and you can fine-tune the manual speed setting for wired Ethernet connections. The applet also supports additional authentication settings/protocols/requirements for OpenVPN connections and allows you to disable IPv6.

Wayland

Making Plasma fully functional under Wayland is a priority for the KDE Community. Wayland is a protocol that will allow Plasma developers to do much more for the desktop, improving performance, increasing stability and implementing features, such as those required by devices with touchscreens.

In this release, the cursor now shows animated icon feedback when launching apps and we added a new screen rotation animation for mobile devices, such as phones, tablets and hybrid laptop/tablet computers. On a related note, entering tablet mode in Wayland increases the size of System Tray icons, making them easier to tap on a touchscreen. The System Tray will also notify you when something is recording the screen and will let you cancel it.

While we reach full Wayland support for the desktop and applications, we also support the XWayland intermediate protocol and, in Plasma 25th AE, you can now use a middle-click to paste, and drag-and-drop stuff between native Wayland and XWayland apps.

Other Updates

  • Discover, Plasma’s app center, now loads faster and is more transparent, as it tells you where you are installing your programs from directly in the install button, without you needing to read the full description.
  • If you have more than one monitor, you are in luck, as multi-screen layouts are now retained across X11 and Wayland sessions.
  • If something does go wrong, DrKonqi, the application that lets you easily send us feedback, now warns you when an app is unmaintained.
  • In an effort to further declutter windows from unnecessary buttons, the question mark button in the titlebar is hidden by default on dialogs and System Settings.
  • While still on the topic of removing unhelpful components, passwordless accounts without autologin now show a simple login button and no text field for a password, because why would they?
  • And, as always, we have improved the overall stability by hunting down even the most elusive bugs that could crash or hang your system.

… And there’s much more going on. If you would like to see the full list of changes, check out the changelog for Plasma - 25th Anniversary Edition.

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

It's KDE's birthday today. Twenty-five years ago Matthias Ettrich called for programmers to create a GUI for end users of Linux. They came and did. I wrote about the first Twenty Years of KDE five years ago. What I wrote there is still true, but there is more.

The table where KDE was founded

KDE started with tremendous ambition and momentum. Creating this unified graphical user interface, this integrated desktop for Linux, this vision drove hundreds and hundreds of amazing people to put together a massive amount of code, the desktop and tons of applications to cover all needs. And they succeeded, KDE's desktop represents the state of the art for many years now, on par with the best alternatives out there.

Over the years, with a growing community, the focus shifted. KDE was not only about this integrated desktop anymore, it turned into an umbrella for dedicated sub-communities working on specific parts and applications. The community got bigger and more diverse and created applications such as Kontact, Kate, Okular, Krita, GCompris or Kdenlive. All of them are at the top of their category.

KDE Plasma 5.22

I use KDE software for more than two decades now. I read my mail with KMail, I operate my shell with Konsole, I edit my texts with Kate, I manage my desktop with Plasma. It's special for software to stand this test of time. KDE's software is stable, it's durable, it's reliable, it's carefully adapted to deal with changes in its environment, so that it stays fresh and familiar at the same time. Some may remember the heat we got for breaking things with KDE 4.0. That was thirteen years ago. It has been much smoother sailing since then. So maybe this is what I learned to appreciate the most over the last years: KDE creates sustainable software.

The same is true for the community. The community always was KDE's finest features for me and, as I know, for many others as well. I met many very good friends there, and it's still great to also meet new people. People join, people leave, people stay around. It's a very healthy mix. KDE creates sustainable community.

Akademy 2021 group photo by Akademy Team (CC-BY)

There is a very strong feeling which keeps this together, the feeling of doing meaningful things together. It's an experience which is tremendously strong in KDE, but also in many other Free Software projects. Being free and empowered to do these changes you want to see in the software you use. Having people around you who support you, praise and criticise your work, and work with you on a shared purpose. This can be an incredibly strong source of motivation and satisfaction and happiness. It definitely has been for me.

Thanks, KDE, for a wonderful twenty-five years, and all the best for many more to come.