KDE's file manager, Dolphin, can now show previews of more types of files, including Microsoft Office files, Blender 3D scenes, and EPUB eBooks. Continuing in the same department, previews of text files containing code or markup will now show syntax highlighting. All of the above will help users identify the contents of a file even before opening it. Other usability improvements include the option to choose which split to close when clicking the Close Split button, smarter tab placement, and a more practical way of tagging files.
Okular, KDE's document viewer, now lets users verify PDFs that have been digitally signed. Digital signatures are used in official documents to confirm that the document comes from the right source, and that it has not been tampered with. Okular also lets you edit LaTeX documents directly in the viewer and has improved touchscreen compatibility, making it much easier to use it in presentation mode.
Kontact has also improved, with KMail receiving most of the changes. Starting with this release, KMail can correct your grammar in the texts of your messages. A new thing you will find in this version of Kontact is KItinerary, a travel assistant developed by Volker Krausse that advises you on how to best get to your destination using meta-data from your e-mails.
Many other apps have been improved: Konsole has made using tabs easier, Spectacle gives you more options when taking and saving screenshots, and Kdenlive has overhauled the timeline, making editing video easier and more fun, just to mention a few changes.
The event is held in Madrid, Spain, and the organisers have kindly given us a space on the exhibition floor. We will be showcasing the best of what KDE has to offer in the business world. This will include devices that will show off the versatility and potential of Plasma and Plasma Mobile on everything - from mobiles, embedded devices, SBCs and low-powered devices (like the Pinebook), to its capability for adapting to vehicle infotainment systems and high-end ultrabooks, like the KDE Slimbook.
We will also be running videos and slide shows demonstrating the flexibility of Plasma, Plasma Mobile and all our applications on all platforms, and informing attendees how KDE Frameworks, such as Kirigami, can be useful for fast and flexible multiplatform development.
This is an event aimed mainly at businesses that want to work with other businesses, so if you or your company would like to get in touch with other IT companies, especially Spanish ones (which is what we want to do), this may be a good chance to broaden your market.
The KDE Community is happy to announce that we have been selected to participate in Google Summer of Code. This will be our our 14th year of mentoring students.
Attention students: If you are a student who would like to work with KDE this summer you can apply to SoC, find more info on the KDE GSoC wiki page. Please note that your project proposal will need to link to some commits to the KDE codebase, so get started now fixing some bugs! If you are wondering what you can work on, also check out our ideas page.
KDE has been looking for a better way of chatting and live-sharing information for several years now. IRC has been a good solution for a long time, but our channels are currently on servers KDE cannot control. It also lacks features users have come to expect from more modern IM services. Other alternatives, such as Telegram, Slack and Discord, although feature-rich, are centralized and built around closed-source technologies and offer even less control than IRC. This flies in the face of KDE's principles that require we use and support technologies based on Free software.
However, our search for a better solution has finally come to an end: as of today we are officially using Matrix for collaboration within KDE! Matrix is an open protocol and network for decentralised communication, backed by an open standard and open source reference implementations for servers, clients, client SDKs, bridges, bots and more. It provides all the features you’d expect from a modern chat system: infinite scrollback, file transfer, typing notifications, read receipts, presence, search, push notifications, stickers, VoIP calling and conferencing, etc. It even provides end-to-end encryption (based on Signal’s double ratchet algorithm) for when you want some privacy.
All the existing rooms on Matrix (and their counterparts on IRC, Telegram and elsewhere) continue to exist. The new service provides a dedicated server for KDE users to access them using names like #kde:kde.org.
This February release of KDE Plasma comes with a wide range of new features and improvements. The main focus of developers has been stamping out all minor problems and papercuts of the desktop, aiming to make Plasma smoother and easier to use.
Plasma's configuration interfaces have been redesigned, expanded and clarified to cover more user cases and make it simpler to adapt Plasma to everybody's needs. Plasma has also improved the integration of non-native applications, so Firefox, for example, can now optionally use native KDE open/save dialogs. Likewise, GTK and GNOME apps now respect the global scale factor used by high-DPI screens.
Developers have also been hard at work on Discover, Plasma's built-in software manager. Options for upgrading your distribution are now included in Discover's Update Notifier widget, which will also display a "Restart" button if a restart is recommended when updating is done. Talking of updates, it is now possible to uncheck and re-check all available updates to make it easier to pick and choose the ones you want to apply. Another improvement is that repository management in Discover is now more practical and usable, especially for Ubuntu-based distros.
We have also solved problems with text readability and icon clarity. KDE designers have improved a variety of Breeze device and preference icons, including the multimedia icons and all icons that depict a stylized version of a Plasma wallpaper. The Places, Vault and Python bytecode files all have redesigned icons to make them easier to identify.
There are literally hundreds more improvements and tweaks included in this release, all implemented to make your life as a Plasma user much more enjoyable. Read the official announcement and check out the Plasma 5.15 changelog for more details on this new version of the Plasma desktop.
Despite the rain and the cold, there is always a place that is warm and welcoming in Brussels in February - the KDE booth at FOSDEM 2019.
This year we are jam-packing it with interesting stuff. The first thing you'll see as you arrive is Krita's demo. Wolthera van Hövell, a talented artist that regularly contributes to Krita, will be painting live at the booth, demonstrating all the new features on a large screen for everybody to enjoy. Then on Sunday, Camille Moulin will be demonstrating how to edit video using Kdenlive.
We will also have a wide variety of hardware devices you will be able to play with. We will be showing off how Plasma works on everything: from high-end laptops like the KDE Slimbook, to underpowered and very affordable notebooks, such as the Pinebook. A variety of SBCs (single-board computers) will also be on show, ranging from Raspberry Pis to Pine64s. Of course, we will show the progress we are making on Plasma Mobile, so the KDE booth will be well-equipped with phones you can test on-site, and exotic new hardware, like a RISC-V board.
Besides demos and devices, the booth staff will be made up by some of KDE's most notorious members. Aleix Pol of KAlgebra and Discover fame; Jonathan Riddell, creator of the KDE neon system; Bhushan Shah, the main developer of Plasma Mobile; Adriaan de Groot, the main developer of the Calamares operating system installer; and Boudewijn Rempt from Krita will all be on hand to answer your questions, field suggestions or just chat.
In the merch department, you will be able to get your hands on our brand new Katie and Konqi stickers, especially designed to celebrate Plasma Mobile, along with a variety of other kute designs. You will also be able to purchase KDE gear, such as T-shirts, sweaters and hoodies. This is a great opportunity to not only spruce up your wardrobe, but also to contribute to KDE with a donation to our community - truly a win-win situation!
Today KDE launches the beta release of Plasma 5.15.
For the first release of 2019, the Plasma team has embraced KDE's Usability & Productivity goal. We have teamed up with the VDG (Visual Design Group) contributors to get feedback on all the papercuts in our software that make your life less smooth, and fixed them to ensure an intuitive and consistent workflow for your daily use.
Plasma 5.15 brings a number of changes to our configuration interfaces, including more options for complex network configurations. Many icons have been added or redesigned. Our integration with third-party technologies like GTK and Firefox has been made even more complete. Discover, our software and add-on installer, has received a metric tonne of improvements to help you stay up-to-date and find the tools you need to get your tasks done.
Please test this beta release and send us bug reports and feedback. The final release will be available in three weeks' time.
After many years of successful Google Code-in participation, this year we did it again! KDE attracted a number of students with exciting tasks for their eager young minds.
Google Code-in is a program for pre-university students aged from 13 to 17 and sponsored by Google Open Source. KDE has always worked to get new people involved in Free and open source (FOSS) projects with the aim of making the world a better place.
This year was no different. Our students worked very hard, and some of them already have their contributions committed to the KDE codebase!
We designed tasks in a way that made them exciting for all students. Students who were not skilled in programming took on tasks of writing blogs or documentation. To help students who had no experience with FOSS or with the community, we set up introductory tasks for IRC and mailing lists, both of which are essential in FOSS as communication channels.
The students who had some prior programming experience received tutorial tasks to get a better understanding of how KDE software works. Those types of tasks also helped them become familiar with the Qt framework on which all KDE software is based. Finally, students good at programming were put to work contributing to on-going KDE projects. They created new features or solved known bugs and wrote unit tests.
We’re happy that some really enthusiastic and persistent students joined us this year. Thanks to their passion for programming, they completed many tasks and delivered quality code we merged into our project repositories.
It wasn’t easy for the mentors to select winners, as every student had accomplished great things. Still, we finally settled on pranav and triplequantum (their GCI names). Finalists were TURX, TUX, UA and waleko.
KDE would like to congratulate all the winners and finalists, and we warm-heartedly welcome all our new contributors!
It's that time of the year again. Everyone is in a festive mood and excited about all the new things they're going to get. It's only natural, since it's the season of the last KDE Applications release for this year!
With more than 140 issues resolved and dozens of feature improvements, KDE Applications 18.12 are now on its way to your operating system of choice. We've highlighted some changes you can look forward to.
Practical File Management with Dolphin
File management encompasses a lot of activities. There's renaming, copying, and moving files around. Perhaps you want to quickly preview a file to make sure it's the right one. You're in luck, because the thumbnail preview experience has been greatly improved in the new version of Dolphin. LibreOffice documents and AppImage applications can now be previewed as thumbnails, and icon thumbnails look much cleaner. If folder thumbnails are enabled, video files larger than 5 MB will be visible in them.
Of course, there is more to Dolphin than just thumbnails. The "Control" menu makes it easier to show hidden places and create new files and folders. After unmounting a storage volume in the Places panel, it can now be remounted. Those who still own audio CDs and use Dolphin to open them will be glad to hear it can now change the CBR bitrate for MP3 files and fix timestamps for FLAC files.
Some security measures have been implemented in Dolphin to prevent users from accidentally losing their data. It no longer allows attempts to unmount the active home directory and the disk where the active OS is installed. When renaming files, Dolphin will warn you if there's an extra dot in front of the filename, which would make the file hidden. Pretty neat, right?
Okular: Annotate ALL the Things
Okular has steadily grown from a document viewer into an indispensable assistant in activities such as studying, doing research, or collaborating on text in read-only file formats like PDF and EPUB. Its annotation capabilities were already powerful, but the new version introduces a new tool called Typewriter. With this annotation tool, you'll be able to write text literally anywhere in your files. Whether it's commenting on an image or highlighting a spelling mistake, your hands are now untied, and you can freely express yourself in Okular.
Other improvements in this release include better options to expand and collapse entries in the Table of Contents sidebar. If a file contains links, hovering over them will always display the full URL in a tooltip, regardless of the currently selected Okular mode.
Konsole, Now with More Emotion
Spending hours or even days working in the terminal can get monotonous. Cheer up - the new version of Konsole has full support for emoji! Add a cheeky smiling cat to your commit messages, or insert a facepalm emoji into your shell scripts.
If you're into more serious things, Konsole now makes it easier to reset the font size back to the default. When a bell is triggered in an inactive tab, the tab icon will be highlighted to visually alert you of the activity. Last but not least, if your mouse has back and forward buttons, Konsole is now able to recognize them, and you can use them to switch between tabs.
Usability Improvements for Everyone
If you have been keeping up with KDE-related news, you're probably aware of our community-wide Usability Improvement goal. After all, it's hard to miss the weekly updates from our awesome developers who are dedicated to making the KDE software more accessible and friendlier to everyone.
The KDE Applications 18.12 release integrates all those fruits of labor, and the result is a much more pleasant user experience across the board. KMail now supports a unified inbox display, and emails should now be readable regardless of your color scheme. A small improvement with a big impact is the ability to repeat the last calculation in KCalc multiple times.
Kate comes with new defaults that are meant to help you work more productively right from the start. Specifically, line numbers and the Text Filter plugin will be enabled by default. You can now change the focus of the embedded terminal in Kate by pressing the F4 key, and it will automatically synchronize the location in the terminal with the location of the currently active document.
If you are using Gwenview to fix the wretched red-eye effect in your photos, it will now be even easier thanks to the improved Reduce Red Eye tool. When taking screenshots with Spectacle, their filenames will be sequentially numbered by default. You will also notice that saving options in Spectacle are now easier to access from the Save page.
Ark has received support for tar.zst archives, and it's now much smarter when it comes to file previews. Instead of previewing document files as archives, Ark will now launch the appropriate application for the selected file format.
Apart from improving the standard set of applications, we have also made some of our specialized tools more usable. Lokalize, the translation and localization tool, now has a better search functionality that can recognize plural forms of words. If you keep a lot of tabs open in Lokalize, you will be able to navigate between them much faster.
Cantor, the advanced mathematical tool, now offers better visualizations and highlighting of command entries. You can also open multiple files in one Cantor shell. For users who need to draw mathematical functions, we have made Kmplot more stable and improved the SVG export functionality.
This is a great opportunity for developers of all levels to participate in the project. The team has triaged hundreds of reports, closing more than a hundred of them in the past month. Kdenlive developers have also made a list of entry-level bugs you can get started with.
For the more seasoned developers, there are plenty of options - be it a shiny feature request or a challenge to polish some non-trivial edges. To hack Kdenlive, you need to know C++, Qt, QML or KDE Frameworks. Those with knowledge of C can join the fun by improving MLT, the multimedia framework Kdenlive runs on.
Even if you have no programming experience, you can still help by testing fixes and features, as well as by triaging more bug reports.