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Plasma 5.10 Beta, Slicker Desktop

Monday 15th of May 2017 12:37:17 PM
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KDE Plasma 5.10 Beta

Monday, 15 May 2017. Today KDE has made a testing release of our desktop Plasma 5.10 with new features across the suite to give users an experience which lives up to our tagline: simple by default, powerful when needed.

Panel Task Manager

Middle Mouse Click to Group

Task Manager, the list of applications in the panel, has gained options for middle mouse click such as grouping and ungrouping applications.

Several other improvements here include:

  • Places jump list actions in File manager launchers (e.g. pinned Dolphin in Task Manager now lists user places)
  • The icon size in vertical Task Managers is now configurable to support more common vertical panel usage patterns
  • Improved app identification and pinning in Task Manager for apps that rely on StartupWMClass, perl-SDL-based apps and more

Folder View Is the New Default Desktop

Folder on the Desktop by Default

After some years shunning icons on the desktop we have accepted the inevitable and changed to Folder View as the default desktop which brings some icons by default and allows users to put whatever files or folders they want easy access to. Many other improvements have been made to the Folder View include:

  • Spring Loading in Folder View making drag and drop of files powerful and quick
  • More space-saving/tighter icon grid in Folder View based on much user feedback
  • Improved mouse behavior / ergonomics in Folder View for icon dnd (less surprising drop/insert location), rectangle selection (easier, less fiddly) and hover (same)
  • Revamped rename user interface in Folder View (better keyboard and mouse behavior e.g. closing the editor by clicking outside, RTL fixed, etc.)
  • Massively improved performance in Folder View for initial listing and scrolling large folders, reduced memory usage
  • Many other bug fixes and UI improvements in Folder View, e.g. better back button history, Undo shortcut support, clickable location in the headings, etc.
  • Unified drop menu in Folder View, showing both file (Copy/Move/Link) and widget (creating a Picture widget from an image drop, etc.) drop actions
  • It is now possible to resize widgets in the desktop by dragging on their edges and moving them with Alt+left-click, just like regular windows

New Features Everywhere

Lock Screen Now Has Music Controls


Software Centre Plasma Search offers to install apps


Audio Volume Device Menu

There are so many other improvements throughout the desktop, here's a sample:

  • Media controls on lock screen
  • Pause music on suspend
  • Software Centre Plasma Search (KRunner) suggests to install non-installed apps
  • File copying notifications have a context menu on previews giving access to actions such as open containing folder, copy, open with etc
  • Improved plasma-windowed (enforces applet default/minimum sizes etc)
  • 'desktop edit mode', when opening toolbox reveals applet handles
  • Performance optimizations in Pager and Task Manager
  • 'Often used' docs and apps in app launchers in addition to 'Recently used'
  • Panel icons (buttons for popup applets, launcher applets) now follow the Icons -> Advanced -> Panel size setting in System Settings again, so they won't take up too much space, particularly useful for wide vertical panels
  • Revamped password dialogs for network authentication
  • The security of the lock screen architecture got reworked and simplified to ensure that your system is secured when the screen is locked. On Linux systems the lock screen is put into a sandbox through the seccomp technology.
  • Plasma's window manager support for hung processes got improved. When a window is not responding any more it gets darkened to indicate that one cannot interact with it any more.
  • Support for locking and unlocking the shell from the startup script, useful especially for distributions and enterprise setups
  • Audio Volume applet has a handy menu on each device which you can use to set is as default or switch output to headphones.

Improved touch screen support

Virtual keyboard on Log In and Lock Screen

Touch Screen Support has improved in several ways:

  • Virtual Keyboard in lock screen
  • Virtual Keyboard in the login screen
  • Touch screen edge swipe gestures
  • Left screen edge defaults to window switching
  • Show auto-hiding panels through edge swipe gesture

Working for the Future with Wayland

We have put a lot of work into porting to new graphics layer Wayland, the switch is coming but we won't recommend it until it is completely transparent to the user. There will be improved features too such as KWin now supports scaling displays by different levels if you have a HiDPI monitor and a normal DPI screen.

Keyboard layout support in Wayland now has all the features of X11:

  • Layout switcher in the system tray
  • Per layout global shortcut
  • Switch layout based on a policy, either global, virtual desktop, application or per window
  • IPC interface added, so that other applications can change layout.

Plymouth Boot Splash Selection

Plymouth KControl Module

A new System Settings module lets you download and select boot time splashes.

Bundle Packages

Flatpak integration with xdg-desktop-portal-kde: selecting a file using file chooser portal, invoking openURI portal and notification portal

Experimentla support for forthcoming new bundle package formats has been implemented. Discover software centre has gained provisional backends for Flatpak and Snappy. New plugin xdg-desktop-portal-kde has added KDE integration into Flatpak packaged applications.

Support for GNOME’s Open Desktop Ratings, replacing old Ubuntu popularity contest with tons of already existing reviews and comments.

Full Plasma 5.10.0 changelog

KDE e.V. Community 2016 Report

Thursday 4th of May 2017 09:15:14 PM

The KDE e.V. community report for 2016 is now available. After the introductory statement from the Board, you can read a featured article about the 20th anniversary of KDE, and an overview of all developer sprints and conferences supported by KDE e.V. The report includes statements from our Working Groups, development highlights for 2016, and some information about the current structure of KDE e.V.

Featured Article – 20 years of KDE

In 2016, all of us celebrated 20 years of the KDE Community with a number of parties around the world. We participated in the awesome QtCon in Berlin, announced the book 20 Years of KDE: Past, Present and Future and the KDE timeline. In this featured article, Lydia Pintscher brings back the early KDE impetus for digital freedom that still remains alive in every contributor's soul.

Supported Activities and Specific Reports

The report provides summaries of eight KDE e.V. supported developer sprints and six trade shows and community events where the KDE Community had its presence. Specific reports from the KDE e.V. Working Groups and KDE España are also presented. Finally, the report contains development highlights for 2016, and a short overview of mentoring programs in which KDE has been involved.


The report concludes with a list of contributors who joined KDE e.V. during 2016, and presents the current members of the KDE e.V. Board of Directors. We invite you to read the entire report!

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Have You Heard? KDE Applications 17.04 and Plasma 5.9.5 Now Available

Tuesday 2nd of May 2017 04:23:08 PM

The last two weeks have been busy for the KDE Community. On April 20 we announced the release of KDE Applications 17.04, and five days later we released a new set of bugfixes and translations for Plasma, officially versioned Plasma 5.9.5.

Both new versions of our products have introduced several features and stability improvements to the overall KDE user experience. Here are some of the highlights from the latest KDE Applications and Plasma releases. As always, you can find a lot more information in their respective changelogs.

What's New in File Management?

If Dolphin is your file manager of choice, you will be happy to hear that it now allows you to interact with the metadata widgets in the tooltips. The Places panel now has better context menus, and opening a new instance of Dolphin using the "New Window" option will launch it in the same target folder as your current Dolphin window.

A significant change that affects not only Dolphin, but also Kate and KWrite, is that launching these applications as root on Linux systems has been disabled by default. The reason for this is that it is a safety risk to run GUI apps with root privileges in the X Window System (X11).

When it comes to viewing your files, Okular will be even better at it thanks to numerous improvements. You can now create bookmarks from the Table of Contents, resize annotations, and disable automatic search while typing.

Finally, Ark - the application that lets you manage compressed files and folders - now has a handy plugin configuration dialog and a Search function to help you look inside your archives.

What About Multimedia Applications?

The biggest improvements in the multimedia department will be visible in Kdenlive, KDE's video editor. The profile selection dialog has been fully redesigned, and it is now much easier to tweak the framerate, screen size, and other details of your project. Perhaps the coolest new feature in Kdenlive is the ability to play your video directly from the notification you receive when rendering is completed.

Other multimedia applications received some minor improvements, for example Gwenview now lets you hide the status bar in the application window.

Don't Forget About KDE Edu!

Our educational applications have seen some interesting changes. KAlgebra - the powerful graphing calculator and math-learning tool - has a new 3D back-end on the desktop, and its mobile version has been ported to Kirigami 2.0.

If you love music more than math, the new version of Minuet will delight you. The music education tool now comes with more scale exercises and ear-training tasks, plus an entire Test Mode for practicing and monitoring your progress.

KStars, our desktop planetarium, will now work much better on OS X, and KGeography now includes a map of Ghana.

New Members of the KDE Applications Family

We are happy to announce that K3b, the disk burning software, is now part of KDE Applications. In other great news, several applications have been ported from their old kdelibs4 base to KDE Frameworks 5. The list includes KCachegrind, Kajongg, kde-dev-utils and kdesdk-kioslaves.

No longer included in KDE Applications is the unmaintained development tool Kommander.

What About the New Plasma?

The most obvious changes introduced in Plasma 5.9.5 are related to window decorations and other visual tweaks. Themes in the System Settings module are now sorted, Plastik window decoration supports the global menu, and Aurorae window decorations support the global menu button. KWin will respect theme colors in buttons, and you will be able to edit the default color scheme of your Plasma Desktop.

Moreover, your Plasma session will correctly handle the event of disconnecting a primary screen and replacing it with a new one. The Media Controller Plasmoid has been fixed, and can now properly seek tracks longer than 30 minutes.

Where Can You Get All These New Things?

Both KDE Applications 17.04 and Plasma 5.9.5 are available in KDE neon. Linux distributions are expected to provide packages or update their existing ones in the coming weeks. Users of Arch Linux, Manjaro Linux, and Gentoo should already see our latest software in their repositories.

If you can't wait for your distribution's packages, you can always download our source code and compile it yourself. We provide build instructions for both KDE Applications and Plasma.

What's Next?

Plasma 5.10 is expected at the end of May. If you have been following our developers' blogs, you might be aware of some upcoming features. Folder View will have a much more prominent role on the Plasma Desktop, and it will include practical spring-loading navigation.

A lot more is in the works, and we will reveal some of the novelties as the release date approaches. Make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ to keep up with all the news. If you're planning to celebrate the release of Plasma 5.10 by hosting a release party, start preparing now! Our Community Wiki has some tips on how to organize a local KDE event.

In the meantime, let us know about your experience with KDE Applications 17.04 and Plasma 5.9.5 in the comments!

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Kirigami 2.1 is Out

Friday 28th of April 2017 06:05:55 PM

Kirigami UI lets you easily design and create convergent apps that work on desktop and mobile environments. Platforms supported by Kirigami UI include Windows, Android, and Linux. Kirigami is especially indicated for KDE's Plasma Desktop and the upcoming Plasma Mobile platform, KDE's graphical environment for mobile devices. Apps developed with Kirigami will probably also work on MacOS X and iOS with minimal tweaking, although these platforms are not officially supported yet.

In fact, today's release has benefited from the feedback from the Subsurface Mobile community -- the most prominent users of Kirigami outside of KDE at the moment. The Subsurface app, originally created by Linux creator Linus Torvalds, has successfully been ported to both iOS and MacOS X.

Several new components have been added to today's release:

The new Discover, KDE's graphical utility for searching and installing for apps, displays a customized ListView with a background picture.

  • ItemViewHeader is the standardized title for ListViews and can be customized with a background picture that will scroll with a nice parallax effect when the header adjusts. You can configure it to follow several different behaviours.
  • ApplicationItem is a root element for the QML application. You can use it in applications that are a hybrid of QWidgets and QML. The main view for these applications will be either QQuickView or a QQuickWidget.
  • PageRow is now a public element and you can use it directly in any application and in any context.

Developers have also engaged in a comprehensive bug stomping campaign, correcting among other things:

  • The bug that affected the behaviour of the central scrollable column view
  • Spacing and margins, improving the sizing for bottom action buttons and drawer handles

Other fixes specific to applications running on a desktop system include:

  • The Desktop mode bar has been rewritten, improving the behavior of the pages when loaded on a desktop app.
  • Improvements to icon management for icons coming from the system-wide icon theme when the application is running on a desktop system
  • Better mouse wheel support in the main item views
  • Bugfixes in the behaviour of the central scrollable column view

To find out more about this release and learn more about Kirigami in general, visit our KDE techbase website. If you would like to get started developing your apps with Kirigami, visit the Kirigami2 API overview.

You can also talk directly to the developers and become a part of the future of desktop/mobile convergence by visiting our forum, joining in the conversation on the Plasma IRC channel, or hanging out in our Telegram group.

User Question: With Some Free Software Phone Projects Ending, What Does Plasma Mobile's Future Look Like?

Friday 28th of April 2017 11:50:17 AM

Q: With some free software phone projects ending, what does Plasma Mobile's future look like?

A: The future is rosy. While it is true that Plasma Mobile used to be built on the Ubuntu Phone codebase, that was superseded some time ago. The recent events at Ubuntu and other mobile communities have not modified the pace of the development (which is pretty fast) or the end goal, which is to build frameworks that will allow convergence for all kinds of front-ends and apps on all kinds of devices.

The "converged" KAlgebra app running on an Android phone.

That framework for apps already exists. It is called Kirigami. Usually an operating system gains traction because of its apps. Think back when Android was the underdog to iOS, what did Google do? Lower the bar and put in place incentives for developers to create apps for Android.

The plan is that Kirigami will make the underlying platform irrelevant. If developers can port their apps with minimal hassle, and users can run their apps the same on all platforms, including the desktop, the possibility of having a shot at grabbing a slice of the mobile market becomes much more realistic. Even for new players, the main hurdle at the point of entry, i.e. having a well-stocked app store, disappears.

In the last couple of weeks Plasma Mobile developers have been working with some other mobile communities and has now announced the Halium project. This project aims to develop a common free, open and community-backed base-layer for all GNU/Linux-based mobile operating systems, including Ubuntu Phone which lives on through the UBports project. This interface will allow all operating systems to interact with the Android subsystems that control hardware and other low level components.

As you can see, the Plasma Mobile developers are working on bringing a common framework both to the UI side front and to the base layer. Interestingly, they are doing this, not only for the benefit of Plasma Mobile, but, in true Free Software fashion, for every community with a mobile project. This was already the goal before what happened at Ubuntu, by the way.

So, as I said at the beginning, the future for Plasma Mobile is bright.

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Akademy 2018 Call for Hosts

Friday 28th of April 2017 05:51:58 AM

Akademy, KDE's annual conference, requires a place and team for the year 2018. That's why we are looking for a vibrant, enthusiastic spot in Europe that can host us!

A Bit About Akademy

Akademy is KDE's annual get-together where our creativity, productivity and love are at their peak. Developers, users, translators, students, artists, writers - pretty much anyone who has been involved with KDE will join Akademy to participate and learn. Contents will range from keynote speeches and a two-day dual track session of talks by the FOSS community, to workshops and Birds of a Feather (BoF) sessions where we plot the future of the project. Friday is scheduled for the KDE e.V. General Assembly and a pre-Akademy party/welcoming event. Saturday and Sunday covers the keynotes, talks and lightning talks. The remaining four days are used for BoFs, intensive coding sessions and workshops for smaller groups of 10 to 30 people out of which one day is reserved for a Day Trip of the attendees around the local touristic sights. Hosting Akademy is a great way to contribute to a movement of global collaboration. You get a chance to host one of the largest FOSS community in the world with contributors from over the world and be a witness to a wonderful inter-cultural fusion of attendees in your home town. You'll also get great exposure to Free Software. It is a great opportunity for the local university students, professors, technology enthusiasts and professionals to try their hand at something new.

What You Need to Do

Akademy requires a location in Europe, with a nice conference venue, that is easy to reach, preferably close to an international airport. Organizing Akademy is a demanding and a resource intensive task but you’ll be guided along the entire process by people who’ve been doing this for years. Nevertheless, the local team should be prepared to spare a considerable amount of time for this. For detailed information, please see the Call for Hosts. Questions and applications should be addressed to the Board of KDE e.V. or the Akademy Team. Please indicate your interest in hosting Akademy to the Board of KDE e.V. by June 1st. Full applications will be accepted until 15th June. We look forward to your enthusiasm in being the next host for Akademy 2018!

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Security Leftovers

  • Security updates for Wednesday
  • Microsoft says its best not to fiddle with its Windows 10 group policies (that don't work)

    On Monday, we revealed that a security researcher had used a packet sniffer to show that many settings designed to prevent access to the internet were being ignored with connections to a range of third party servers including advertising hubs.

  • What's got a vast attack surface and runs on Linux? Windows Defender, of course
    Google Project Zero's Windows bug-hunter and fuzz-boffin Tavis Ormandy has given the world an insight into how he works so fast: he works on Linux, and with the release of a personal project on GitHub, others can too. Ormandy's project is to port Windows DLLs to Linux for his vuln tests (“So that's how he works so fast!” Penguinistas around the world are saying). Typically self-effacing, Ormandy made this simple announcement on Twitter (to a reception mixing admiration, humour, and horror):
  • Hacked in Translation – from Subtitles to Complete Takeover
    Check Point researchers revealed a new attack vector which threatens millions of users worldwide – attack by subtitles. By crafting malicious subtitle files, which are then downloaded by a victim’s media player, attackers can take complete control over any type of device via vulnerabilities found in many popular streaming platforms, including VLC, Kodi (XBMC), Popcorn-Time and We estimate there are approximately 200 million video players and streamers that currently run the vulnerable software, making this one of the most widespread, easily accessed and zero-resistance vulnerability reported in recent years.
  • A Samba remote code execution vulnerability
    Distributors are already shipping the fix; there's also a workaround in the advisory for those who cannot update immediately.

KDE, Qt, GTK and GNOME News

  • KDE Plasma 5.8.7 LTS Desktop Environment Released with over 60 Improvements
    KDE has announced today the release and immediate availability of the seventh maintenance update to the long-term supported KDE Plasma 5.8 desktop environment. KDE Plasma 5.8.7 LTS is now considered the latest stable and most advanced version of the KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS (Long Term Support) desktop environment, which some of you out there are probably using on your favorite GNU/Linux distributions instead of a short-lived branch like KDE Plasma 5.9 or the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.10 release.
  • Summer of Coding!
    After a month of dread and panicking about the fact that Google Summer of Code results are announced in the middle of exam season... I'm happy to say I'll be doing the Rust plugin for KDevelop!
  • Qt 5.9 Release Candidate Available For Testing
  • Qt 5.9.0 RC released
    We have released Qt 5.9.0 RC today. You can update it at the top of your Qt 5.9 beta(4) online installation or do clean installation by using qt online installer. Detailed instructions here: .
  • The Road to GTK+ 4 Continues, New Milestone Adds Initial OS X and Meson Support
    A new milestone was released recently, GTK+ 3.91.0, which adds quite a bunch of improvements and bug fixes, but also some new APIs and compatibility with other supported operating systems besides those based on the Linux kernel. For example, GTK+ 3.91.0 implements initial support for Apple's macOS platform, which will make it possible to run apps written in GTK+ 4 on OS X.
  • Epiphany Browser Updated for GNOME 3.25.2 with New Shortcuts for Switching Tabs
    Ahead of today's GNOME 3.25.2 desktop environment development release, the team of developers behind the Epiphany web browser have released the second milestone towards the Epiphany 3.26 stable series, due out later this year.