In this release, we have prioritized making Plasma more consistent, correcting and unifying designs of widgets and desktop elements; worked on giving you more control over your desktop by adding configuration options to the System Settings; and improved usability, making Plasma and its components easier to use and an overall more pleasurable experience.
Read on to discover all the new features and improvements of Plasma 5.19…
Plasma Desktop and Widgets
We have improved the panel spacer so that it can automatically center widgets
The System Monitor widgets have been rewritten from scratch
Plasma now has a consistent design and header area in system tray applets as well as notifications
We have refreshed the look of the media playback applet in the System Tray and of Task Manager tooltips
There are completely new photographic avatars to choose from
You can now see the name of the creator of a desktop wallpaper when you go to pick one
Sticky notes get usability improvements
You now have more control over the visibility of volume OSDs during certain situations
GTK 3 applications immediately apply a newly selected color scheme and GTK 2 applications no longer have broken colors
We have increased the default fixed-width font size from 9 to 10
More consistent appearance with less ugly UI for switching the current audio device
Default Applications, Online Accounts, Global Shortcuts, KWin Rules and Background Services settings pages have all been overhauled
When launching System Settings modules from within KRunner or the application launcher, the complete System Settings application launches on the page you asked for
The Display settings page now shows the aspect ratio for each available screen resolution
You now have more granular control over Plasma's animation speed
We have added configurable file indexing for individual directories and you can now disable indexing for hidden files
There is now an option that lets you configure the mouse and touchpad scroll speed under Wayland
We have made lots of small improvements to the font configuration
The Info Center application has been redesigned with a look and feel that is consistent with the System Settings
It is now possible to see information about your graphics hardware
KWin Window Manager
The new subsurface clipping for Wayland greatly reduces the flickering in many applications
Icons in titlebars are now recolored to fit the color scheme instead of sometimes being hard to see
And in Wayland screen rotation now works for tablets and convertable laptops
Flatpak repositories in use are easier to remove now
Discover displays the application version for reviews
Discover improved its visual and usability consistency
Our system monitor KSysGuard has gained support for systems with more than 12 CPU cores
We are so grateful to the GSoC program for offering this opportunity to the KDE Community and our students. By the end of the summer, we hope that each of these students will be a confident KDE Developer, happy with their summer of work, and looking forward to supporting their code and newfound friends far into the future.
Krita is KDE’s professional free and open source painting program. The Krita team will mentor four students this year: L. E. Segovia will work on adding dynamic fill layers, Saurabh Kumar will implement a storyboard feature, Sharaf Zaman will bring SVG Mesh Gradients to Krita and Ashwin Dhakaita will integrate the MyPaint brush engine.
GCompris is a high quality educational software suite which includes a large number of activities for children aged 2 to 10. This year GCompris will have two students with Deepak Kumar adding multiple datasets to several activities and Shubham Mishra will complete the multiple dataset task.
digiKam is KDE’s professional photo management software. This year digiKam will be mentoring two students: Nghia Duong will bring DNN based face recognition improvements to the app and R Kartik will make improvements to the face management workflow.
Cantor, which lets you use your favorite mathematical applications from within a nice KDE-integrated worksheet interface, will mentor Nikita Sirgienko. Nikita will extend the usability and feature set of Cantor and Shubham will be working on integrated documentation in Cantor.
Kirogi, a ground control application for drones, will have Kitae Kim improve MAVLink integration. Aniket Kumar will work with KDE Connect, which enables communication between all your devices, to improve MMS support to the SMS client. Paritosh Sharma will implement the Qt3D backend for Kstars, KDE’s astronomy software.
Anuj Bansal will work on replacing OpenLDAP based authentication with OAuth2 in KDE Websites. Jean Lima Andrade will add support to text annotation in marK, a machine learning dataset annotation tool. Prasun Kumar will work with KMyMoney, a personal finance manager, to integrate SQLite format support for bank data. Davide Briani will work to bring WikiToLearn 2.0 (collaborative textbooks) to life. For Qt, Agisilaos Kounelis will Port QtQuickControls Calendar component to QtQuickControls2 module.
Also, Sashmitha Raghav will work to bring basic subtitling support to Kdenlive, KDE’s video editor; ROCS, a Graph Theory IDE, will have Dilson Guimarães improving graph visualization capabilities; Shashwat Jolly will to bring EteSync sync backend to Akonadi, a database to store, index and retrieve personal information.
Detailed reports from our students will follow later this summer as the program progresses. We wish all of our students and mentors a safe, productive and a successful summer.
Akademy 2020 is getting closer and the KDE Community is warming up for its biggest yearly event. If you are working on topics relevant to KDE, this is your chance to present your work and ideas to the community at large.
Akademy 2020 will take place online from Friday the 4th to Friday the 11th of September 2020. Training sessions will be held on Friday the 4th of September and the talks will be held on Saturday the 5th and Sunday the 6th of September. The rest of the week (Monday - Friday) will be Birds-of-a-Feather meetings (BoFs), unconference sessions and workshops.
If you think you have something interesting to present, tell us about it. If you know of someone else who should present, encourage them to do so too.
Talk proposals on topics relevant to the KDE Community and technology are:
KDE In Action: use cases of KDE technology in real life, be it on mobile, desktop deployments, embedded, and so on
Overview of what is going on in the various areas of the KDE community
Collaboration between KDE and other Free Software projects
Release, packaging, and distribution of software by KDE
Increasing our reach through efforts such as accessibility, promotion, translation and localization
Improving our governance and processes, community building
Don't let this list restrict your ideas though! You can submit a proposal even if it doesn't fit in this list of topics as long as it is relevant to KDE. To get an idea of talks that were accepted previously, check out the program from previous years: 2019, 2018, and 2017.
We from KONTENT are Linux enthusiasts since our beginning, back in the 90s. So KDE was at anytime a well known, high quality brand for us. It was just a matter of time that we would get in closer contact to the community. This moment has come now, and we are very proud of it. Maybe in the future we can not just help in financial matters, but also in an inspiring way.
Uli Klinkhammer, CEO of KONTENT GmbH
Supporting memberships are very important because they help make KDE
sustainable. If you would like to become a supporter as well, you can find more information on our website.
The KDE Community will be hosting Akademy 2020 online between Friday 4th and Friday 11th September.
The conference is expected to draw hundreds of attendees from the global KDE Community. Participants will showcase, discuss and plan the future of the Community and its technology. Members from the broader Free and Open Source Software community, local organizations and software companies will also attend.
Akademy 2020 Program
Akademy 2020 will begin with virtual training sessions on Friday 4 September. This will be followed by a number of talk sessions held on Saturday 5 Sept. and Sunday 6 Sept. The remaining 5 days will be filled with workshops and Birds of a Feather (BoFs).
A Different Akademy
Due to the unusual circumstances we are living through and the need to keep the KDE Community healthy, thriving, and safe, the Akademy Team have decided to host Akademy 2020 online. During the program organization period for this year's activities, we took into consideration multiple timezones to ensure that, regardless of physical location, every member of the KDE Community can participate in as many conference activities as they like.
Despite not being able to meet in person this year, KDE members will be able to reach an even wider audience and more people will be able to attend and watch the live talks, learn about the workings of the technology and the Community by participating in Q&As and panels.
Registrations and Call for Papers will be opening soon!
Plasma Bigscreen powers the interface on a Single Board Computer and uses the Mycroft AI voice assistant to provide a Smart TV platform. Plasma Bigscreen will deliver not only media-rich applications, but also traditional desktop applications redesigned to fit the Bigscreen experience.
Advantages of Plasma Bigscreen
Free (as in Freedom) and Open Source: One of the most important goals of this project is to hand control over to the people and the industry so they can build and power smart devices without the limits of other closed TV environments. Plasma Bigscreen is completely Free and Open Source and gives everyone the freedom to use, acquire, change and redistribute the software how they see fit. It also gives people the freedom to create, innovate and improve on top of the Plasma Bigscreen and share their work with the world.
Innovative: Plasma Bigscreen transforms the traditional plasma workspace experience into something that is controlled with a regular TV remote control. This is new territory for KDE interface designers and requires a new thinking of how to layout applications and how to make it easy for people to interact with Plasma from their couches.
Voice Control: Talking of interacting from the couch, voice control provides users with the ultimate comfort when it comes to TV viewing. But most big brands not only do not safeguard the privacy of their customers, but actively harvest their conversations even when they are not sending instructions to their TV sets. We use Mycroft's Open Source voice assistant to solve this problem.
For the current beta img, the team connects to Mycroft's Home server, which by default uses Google's STT (Speech to text) which sends anonymized utterances to Google. This, of course, is not ideal, but being Open Source, you can switch out the back end and use whatever you want, even self-hosted systems like Mozilla Deepspeech. Or you can de-activate voice recognition altogether. Your choice.
With Mycroft AI, the Bigscreen team intend to give users all the comfort of a smart voice controlled assistant with the advantages of the control over you privacy you can only achieve with Open Source software.
Easy to Expand: Mycroft's AI uses what are called "skills". Skills allow the assistant to learn about and perform different tasks. A weather skill, for example, lets Mycroft know about the weather and tell you what the day is going to be like; a cooking skill retrieves recipes and instructions and you can then ask Mycroft to help you make a delicious meal. There are already many skills in Mycroft's library and Mycroft AI's graphical framework for skills is built on top of Qt and Kirigami, two mature development frameworks. This allows third-party developers to use Python and QML to develop rich voice skills for the platform, which means features on KDE Bigscreen will multiply and provide even more functionalities to viewers.
Simple settings make Bigscreen easy to tweak.
Community Supported: Plasma Bigscreen was created and is being maintained by KDE developers. KDE is one of the oldest, largest Free Software communities in existence and builds and maintains literally hundreds of projects, spanning from a full-featured desktop environments and development frameworks, to educational software and creativity apps. With the support of KDE, Plasma Bigscreen will develop quickly and grow to have as many features as users require.
Coming to a Screen Near You
The upcoming beta release for Plasma Bigscreen is already working on the Raspberry Pi 4. It's targeted to run on a TV screen, but will also work fine on a regular monitor.
The interface is largely designed to be easy to use with a remote control. There is experimental support for HDMI-CEC in the beta image, so anyone with a TV that supports HDMI-CEC can choose to use their TV remotes.
The YouTube app.
As one of the key features of Plasma Bigscreen is Mycroft's voice-controlled applications/skills, it's recommended to use a USB/Bluetooth remote with a microphone to try it out. Some recommended generic USB remotes are the WeChip G20 / W2 remote controls. It can also be used with a keyboard / mouse and any USB microphone.
On the 20th of February, our first video contest finished and winners were decided by a panel of judges.
This was the first time we run a video contest and we were really excited to see how much the community got involved, the quality of the videos and the onboarding effect that this contest would have.
All the submitted videos show great effort on behalf of the creators and it was extremely difficult to select the winner -- at one point there was even a tie! But, at last, we were able to select a winner and finalists for each category.
Without further ado, let's dive into the results:
Plasma Video Contest
The winner of the Plasma contest is Skye Fentras with their video "Plasma 2020". Congratulations! Skye will get a fantastic TUXEDO gaming PC, featuring a powerful Intel core i7, 16GB of RAM, 250GB NVMe SSD, 2TB HDD and an Nvidia GTX1050Ti video card.
Check out Skye's video below:
Skye Fentras: "Plasma 2020"
The three finalists for the Plasma category are:
KonqiDragon with his video "Plasma 5.18 Promo"
Nayam Amarshe with "This is Plasma"
Kubee for "This is Plasma"
All finalists will receive a package with a KDE baseball cap, a plush Tux, and more.
See their videos below:
KonqiDragon: "Plasma 5.18 Promo
Nayam Amarshe: "This is Plasma"
Kubee: "This is Plasma"
Apps Video Contest
The second category of this contest was for videos showcasing KDE applications. The winner of this category is KonqiDragon, with their stunning "KDE applications Promo" video. KonqiDragon wins a TUXEDO InfinityBox, featuring an Intel core i3, 16GB of RAM and 250GB of SSD.
See the winning video below:
KonqiDragon: "KDE Applications Promo"
The two finalists for this category are:
Katia with "Dolphin File Manager" and "Meet KDE Applications"
Tauheedelahee with "KDE Plasma Applications Promotional Video"
Again, they will both receive a package with a KDE baseball cap, a plush Tux, and more.
We'd like to thank TUXEDO Computers for helping make all this happen. TUXEDO Computers have been incredibly generous providing prizes to both winners and finalists of the contest. We would also like to thank all participants and invite you all to carry on making videos promoting KDE!
Gpg4KDE is the encryption system that you use each time you encrypt and sign messages in KMail. Gpg4win, used for encrypting and signing emails on Windows, is built upon KDE's certificate manager Kleopatra. The German Government has now ranked both secure enough to be used when transmitting messages with VS-ONLY FOR SERVICE USE (VS-NfD), EU RESTRICTED and NATO RESTRICTED levels of confidentiality.
In view of the recent Rubicon/Crypto AG/CIA scandal, this is further evidence that FLOSS encryption technology is the only reliable encryption technology.
In recent decades, Free and open source software (FOSS) has increasingly been the enabling factor for advances in areas we probably aren’t even aware of. If software is still spreading around the world, FOSS had already spread through the software world. All of that is only possible because of striving communities that push solutions forward with an amazing flow of continuous passion and love for nice technology, open knowledge, and supporting people. KDE is not any different - we have all been involved in such a lovely addiction for 23 years.
Today, February 14th 2020, The Free Software Foundation Europe calls everyone to express their gratitude to all FOSS contributors around the world with the eleventh annual “I Love Free Software” campaign. It’s a day when we focus on drawing everyone’s attention to the amazing work done by thousands of FOSS contributors from many communities, most of them voluntarily dedicating their spare time to create high-quality software technology readily and openly available to everyone.
What about you? Have you or your company/university been using Free software lately? Have you already thought about contributing back to that amazing FOSS community that creates the applications you use daily? It’s certainly a very rewarding and inspiring experience, with a lot of contributions made possible by people from different backgrounds.
For now, how about enjoying this day by telling us why you love Free software, or expressing your gratitude to the people behind those projects? Use #ilovefs and #ilovekde tags on your social media to share that picture of you with your favorite Free software T-shirt, or show off all those amazing stickers on your laptop’s lid. Organize a meet-up, submit a bug fix or documentation improvement, make a donation, or just hang out with some friends to celebrate! Everything counts when letting the world know how grateful and passionate we are about Free software.
As nearly all large and experienced Free software communities, KDE is made out of people who strongly believe that enabling everyone to take control of their digital lives can really make a difference. We love being part of this, and that love unfolds into many different actions. We develop almost 200 applications translated to 76 languages plus a full-fledged modern desktop environment (KDE Plasma). We run many contribution sprints around the world in addition to our main yearly gathering (Akademy), where we renew our energy by meeting old and new friends in person. What a lovely way to enjoy our lives!
Today, we invite you to join us in this vibrant flow of gratitude by sharing your FOSS love stories on social media. Use #ilovefs and #ilovekde tags in your posts, so we can find them more easily. We would love to hear about your favorite KDE things.
FOSDEM is one of the world's largest Free software conferences and was held last weekend in Brussels. There were hundreds of talks and videos are available for most of them. KDE had a stall there and KDE contributors delivered three talks spread between different devrooms.
How QML, a language prominently used for designing UI, could be used to create title video clips containing text and/or images. The videos can then be rendered and composited over other videos in the video-editing process. Kdenlive's Google Summer of Code 2019 project tried to achieve this and is still under active development.
QML is used primarily for UI development in Qt Applications. It provides an easy way of designing and creating interactive, clean and a modern UI. Kdenlive is a popular non-linear open-source video editor and it currently makes use of XML to describe title clips -- clips which contain text or images used to composite over videos. XML requires more processing in the backend as one needs to explicitly write code for, say an animation of the text. Using QML eases this restriction, making the backend more robust and maintainable as rendering in QML makes use of a dedicated Qt Scene Graph. Kdenlive's Google Summer of Code 2019 student Akhil Gangadharan Kurungadathil tried to achieve this by creating a new rendering backend library and a new MLT QML producer which is still under active development. Owing to the dedicated scene graph while rendering, this could also possibly lead to greater overall performance.