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This week in KDE: fixing up Plasma 5.20

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KDE

Okular’s editable forms are no longer mis-rendered when inertially scrolling (Kezi Olio, Okular 1.11.2)

When your scanner can almost but not quite fit a particular page size, Skanlite will now display the option to scan to that page size anyway (e.g. 215mm wide scan beds now give you the option to scan using the US Letter page size) (Kåre Särs, libksane 20.12)

The text of Elisa’s keyboard shortcuts are now translated properly (Nikunj Goyal, Elisa 20.12)

Clearing the clipboard history on Wayland no longer crashes Plasma (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.20)

Improved the Plasma SVG cache heuristics such that various things which might sometimes be invisible after upgrading Plasma now show up like they’re supposed to (Arjen Hiemstra, Plasma 5.20)

On Wayland, clicking on a Task Manager entry while that entry’s tooltip is visible no longer crashes Plasma (Vlad Zahorodnii, Plasma 5.20)

On Wayland, clicking on a Task Manager thumbnail now activates that window, as you would expect (Marco Martin, Plasma 5.20)

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Also: KDE Plasma 5.20 Should Be Crashing A Lot Less Under Wayland

KDDockWidgets 1.0 has been released

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KDE

KDDockWidgets is an advanced docking system for Qt, with features that are not available in QDockWidget. See our first blog post, for a quick introduction and the motivation for a new docking framework.

We’ve come a long way since the initial announcement of KDDockWidgets. The 1.0 release represents the culmination of one year of using the library in production for five different huge projects — one year of incorporating real feedback in the form of new features, bug fixes, or simply making the framework more customizable.

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KaOS 2020.09

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KDE

KaOS is pleased to announce the availability of the September release of a new stable ISO.

With almost 60 % percent of the packages updated since the last ISO and the last release being over two months old, a new ISO is more than due. News for KDE Applications 20.08 included Dolphin adding thumbnails for 3D Manufacturing Format (3MF) files, you can also see previews of files and folders on encrypted file systems such as Plasma Vaults now remembers and restores the location you were viewing, as well as the open tabs, and split views you had open when you last closed it.Yakuake now lets you configure all the keyboard shortcuts that come from Konsole and there is a new system tray item that shows you when Yakuake is running. Elisa now lets you display all genres, artists, or albums in the sidebar, below other items.

As always with this rolling distribution, you will find the very latest packages for the Plasma Desktop, this includes Frameworks 5.74.0, Plasma 5.19.5 and KDE Applications 20.08.1. All built on Qt 5.15.1.

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Plasma adventures - 5.19.4 tried and tested

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KDE

I like the momentum in the Plasma space. The last three years have been phenomenal, and there does not seem to be any fatigue, which typically affects most software projects after a while. Given that Plasma has been chugging on for a looong time now, this is rather impressive. What worries me, though, is that each new version brings in more fragility, more bugs. And this brings me back to the fundamental issue with the Linux desktop. It's simply not robust enough to be a day-to-day system for most people.

My mind simply cannot reconcile with breakages and compatibility issues. They feel like the easy way out of difficult situations with legacy models and usage patterns. Instead of creating a smooth transition to whatever the new thing is, what most projects seem to be doing is - break stuff. Why should plasma 5.19 be any less stable than say 5.18 or 5.15 or whatever. All in all, there's decent progress in Plasma, most notably the visuals and the responsiveness of the desktop, but these seem to come at the cost of good ole stability. Hopefully, future versions of Plasma will be able to give us both. That said, despite my grumbling, if you're after a solid desktop, Plasma is still the indubitable winner. Version 5.20 test coming soon!

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KTextEditor - Small Things Matter

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KDE
Software

Thanks to the feedback & patches provided by others, I found a bit more motivation to take a look at the small things that seems to be odd in KTextEditor.

Interesting enough, if you once notice a small detail (like a dead pixel on your display you suddenly find after years of use), it really sticks out like a sore thumb…

Here two small things that caught my interest this week.

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First beta out for Krita 4.4

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KDE

The summer has come and gone since the 4.3 release, but we have not been sitting still. We had four Summer of Code Students this year, each of which completed their project. One of these projects has already made it into 4.4: The SeExpr fill layers! And that’s not the only new fill layer type… And fill layers now have on-canvas preview when you created them. And there’s a new plugin that helps when using Krita together with Godot. And there are new options for the brush engines and, of course, a ton of bugfixes! The full release notes bring you all the details!

So, today, we’re releasing Krita 4.4.0 beta 1: in two weeks we will release the final version. Please help improve Krita by testing this beta!

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Plasma Beta Review Day

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KDE

Plasma 5.20 is now in beta, which gives us one month of intense testing, bugfixing and polishing.

During this time we need as many hands on deck as possible to help with finding regressions, triaging incoming reports and generally being on top of as much as possible.

In order to make this process more accessible, more systematic and hopefully more fun we are going to run an official "Plasma Beta Review Day"

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Running PlasmaShell with Vulkan

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Graphics/Benchmarks
KDE

QtQuick, in slightly more words, is a scene graph implementation. At a developer level we create abstract "Items" which might be some text or a rectangle etc or a picture. This in turn gets transformed into a tree of nodes with geometry, "materials" and transforms. In turn this gets translated into a big long stream of OpenGL instructions which we send to the graphic card.

Qt6 will see this officially change to sit on top of the "Render Hardware Interface" stack, that instead of always producing OpenGL, will support Vulkan, Metal and Direct3D natively. The super clever part about it is that custom shaders (low level fast drawing) are also abstracted; meaning we will write some GLSL and generate the relevant shader for each API without having to duplicate the work.

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Also: Experiments Are Underway With Vulkan Powering The KDE Plasma Shell

Latest Progress on KDE Themes and KTechLab

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KDE

  • Week report 0

    Hello every one in the KDE planet and beyond, this is the progress weekly report on O².

    So The week surprisingly started Monday and after the initial chock and accompanying usual work day at KDAB, I decided to do a little bit of progress on O² style mock ups...

  • Announcing KTechLab 0.50.0

    I’m happy to announce KTechLab release version 0.50.0. KTechLab is an IDE for microcontrollers and electronics. In this new release every user-visible functionality is the same as in previous releases, however, the codebase of KTechLab has been updated, so now it is a KF5/Qt5 application and it does not depend anymore on KDELibs4Support libraries.

    This release should compile and run on systems where KDELibs4Support libraries are not available.

    In its current state KTechLab’s codebase is ready for fixes and enhancements, as it only depends on modern libraries like KDE Frameworks 5 (KF5) and Qt5. As a side note, KF6 and Qt6 have been announced, and the first release of Qt6 has been scheduled to the end of 2020.

  • KTechLab git master doesn't depend on deprecated Qt5/KF5 API anymore

    KTechLab git master doesn’t depend anymore on deprecated Qt5/KF5 APIs. Thank you for everybody who made this possible!

    Using only up-to-date APIs should help with long-term maintenance of KTechLab and probably it helps distributors of KTechLab, too.

Okular 20.08 — redesigned annotation tools

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KDE

Last year I wrote about some enhancements made to Okular’s annotation tool and in one of those, Simone Gaiarin commented that he was working on redesigning the Annotation toolbar altogether. I was quite interested and was also thinking of ‘modernizing’ the tool — only, I had no idea how much work it would be.

The existing annotation tool works, but it had some quirks and had many advanced options which were documented pretty well in the Handbook but not obvious to an unscrupulous user. For instance, if the user would like to highlight some part of the text, she selects (single-clicks) the highlighter tool, applies it to a block of text. When another part of text is to be highlighted, you’d expect the highlighter tool to apply directly; but it didn’t ‘stick’ — tool was unselected after highlighting the first block of text. There is an easy way to make the annotation tool ‘stick’ — instead of single-click to select the tool, simply double-click, and it persists. Another instance is the ‘Strikeout’ annotation which is not displayed by default, but can be added to the tools list.

Simone, with lots of inputs, testing and reviews from David Hurka, Nate Graham and Albert Astals Cid et al., has pulled off a magnificent rewrite of Okular’s annotation toolbar. To get an idea of the amount of work went into this, see this phabricator task and this invent code review. The result of many months of hardwork is a truly modern, easy to explore-and-use annotation support. I am not aware of any other libre PDF reader with such good annotation features.

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