Thursday, 12 January 2017. Today KDE releases the beta of this year’s first Plasma feature update, Plasma 5.9. While this release brings many exciting new features to your desktop, we'll continue to provide bugfixes to Plasma 5.8 LTS.
Be even more productive
In our ongoing effort to make you more productive with Plasma we added interactive previews to our notifications. This is most noticeable when you take a screenshot using Spectacle's global keyboard shortcuts (Shift+Print Scr): you can drag the resulting file from the notification popup directly into a chat window, an email composer or a web browser form, without ever having to leave the application you're currently working with. Drag and drop was improved throughout the desktop, with new drag and drop functionality to add widgets directly to the system tray. Widgets can also be added directly from the full screen Application Dashboard launcher.
The icon widget that is created for you when you drag an application or document onto your desktop or a panel sees the return of a settings dialog: you can now change the icon, label text, working directory, and other properties. Its context menu now also sports an 'Open with' section as well as a link to open the folder the file it points to is located in.
Due to popular demand we implemented switching between windows in Task Manager using Meta + number shortcuts for heavy multi-tasking. Also new in Task Manager is the ability to pin different applications in each of your activities. And should you rather want to focus on one particular task, applications currently playing audio are marked in Task Manager similar to how it’s done in modern web browsers. Together with a button to mute the offending application, this can help you stay focused.
The Quick Launch applet now supports jump list actions, bringing it to feature parity with the other launchers in Plasma. KRunner actions, such as “Run in Terminal” and “Open containing folder” are now also shown for the KRunner-powered search results in the application launchers.
A new applet was added restoring an earlier KDE 4 feature of being able to group multiple widgets together in a single widget operated by a tabbed interface. This allows you to quickly access multiple arrangements and setups at your fingertips.
More streamlined visuals
Improvements have been made to the look and feel of the Plasma Desktop and its applications. Scroll bars in the Breeze style, for instance, have transitioned to a more compact and beautiful design, giving our applications a sleek and modern look.
Global Menus have returned. KDE's pioneering feature to separate the menu bar from the application window allows for new user interface paradigm with either a Plasma Widget showing the menu or neatly tucked away in the window bar.
Task Manager tooltips have been redesigned to provide more information while being significantly more compact. Folder View is now able to display file emblems which are used, for example, to indicate symlinks. Overall user experience when navigating and renaming files has been greatly improved.
More powerful Look and Feel import & export
Look and Feel Themes
The global Look and Feel desktop themes now support changing the window decoration as well – the 'lookandfeelexplorer' theme creation utility will export your current window decoration to the theme you create.
If you install, from the KDE store, themes that depend on other artwork packs also present on the KDE store (such as Plasma themes and Icon themes) they will be automatically downloaded, in order to give you the full experience intended by the theme creator.
New network configuration module
A new configuration module for network connections has been added to System Settings, using QML and bringing a new fresh look. Design of the module is inspired by our network applet, while the configuration functionality itself is based on the previous Connection Editor. This means that although it features a new design, functionality remains using the proven codebase.
Pointer Gesture Support
Wayland Touchpad Configuration
Wayland has been an ongoing transitional task, getting closer to feature completion with every release. This release makes it even more accessible for enthusiastic followers to try Wayland and start reporting any bugs they might find. Notable improvements in this release include:
An ability to take screenshots or use a color picker. Fullscreen users will be pleased at borderless maximized windows.
Pointers can now be confined by applications, gestures are supported (see video right) and relative motions used by games were added. Input devices were made more configurable and now save between sessions. There is also a new settings tool for touchpads.
Using the Breeze style you can now drag applications by clicking on an empty area of the UI just like in X. When running X applications the window icon will show up properly on the panel. Panels can now auto-hide. Custom color schemes can be set for windows, useful for accessibility.
You can install Plasma 5 directly from source. KDE's community wiki has instructions to compile it. Note that Plasma 5 does not co-install with Plasma 4, you will need to uninstall older versions or install into a separate prefix.
Carrying on the successful tradition of conf.kde.in since 2011, we are moving to the north-east region of India for this year's conf.kde.in. Join us for conf.kde.in 2017 on 10, 11, and 12 March at Guwahati in Assam, India. conf.kde.in 2017 will focus on the promoting Free and Open source including but not limited to Qt and KDE software.
Today, KDE announces the beta release of Kirigami UI 2.0.
Soon after the initial release of Kirigami UI, KDE's framework for convergent (mobile and desktop) user interfaces, its main developer Marco Martin started porting it from Qt Quick Controls 1 to Qt Quick Controls 2, the next generation of Qt's ready-made standard controls for Qt Quick-based user interfaces. Since QQC 2 offers a much more extended range of controls than QQC 1, the port allowed the reduction of Kirigami's own code, while improving stability and performance. Kirigami 2 is kept as close to QQC 2's API as possible in order to extend it seamlessly.
Beyond the improvements that the port to QQC2 brings, further work went into Kirigami 2's performance and efficiency, and it also offers significantly improved keyboard navigation for desktop applications. On Android, Kirigami 2 integrates better visually with Material Design.
Of course there are also smaller improvements in various places, such as better handling of edge swipes in the SwipeListItem or more reliable activation of the Overscroll / Reachability mode (which pulls down the top of the page to the center of the screen where it can be reached with the thumb).
Discover (Plasma's software center), a quite complex application, has already been ported successfully to Kirigami 2 without much hassle, so we are confident that most applications can be ported easily from Kirigami 1 to Kirigami 2. Since Kirigami 2 requires Qt 5.7, which is not available on all Linux distributions yet, Kirigami 1 is still maintained (receiving fixes for critical bugs) for the time being, but won't receive any new features or improvements.
Although Kirigami 2 has of course been tested internally, this beta release allows us to make sure that the final release contains no bugs which only surface under circumstances we haven't thought of. Therefore we're happy for developers who would like to try out Kirigami 2 beta in their application and report issues they might encounter through one of our various communication channels. You can find those channels, as well as the link to the source tarball, on Kirigami's Techbase page.
The team behind The Randa Meetings is pleased to announce a community partnership with the KDE e.V. The Randa Meetings is the largest sprint organized by KDE, where roughly fifty KDE contributors meet yearly in the Swiss Alps to enjoy seven days of intense team work, pushing KDE technologies forward.
For the past years the sprints were organized by a core Swiss team and supported by the KDE community. Organizing sprints was challenging, but the result always justified the efforts. To keep the yearly sprints going and make easier the work for the Swiss core team, the Randa Meetings have now become an official KDE e.V. community partner.
This decision allows the Randa Meeting to simplify their workflows like organizing fundraising and traveling reimbursements. It removes pressure from the organizers and allows them to spend more time on the sprint and their own personal affairs like family or the building of a new house.
The Randa Meetings will continue with a yearly meeting. For 2017, the date is already set to 10 September to 16 September. This year the meetings will be focused on accessibility and personal information management (PIM). We want to make our software accessible for people with visual disabilities and also to make our software accessible from different operating systems, different devices and with different user interfaces, such as graphical with keyboard and mouse, or touch or speech and other senses.
We look forward to greeting you in 2017 and wish you all a good new year!
At a meeting back in July in Stuttgart, KDE and Nextcloud developers discussed deeper integration between the respective communities. We'd like to share some of those ideas and, as always, invite anyone interested in participating to help make it happen!
The KDE e.V. community report for the second half of 2015 is now available. It presents a survey of all the activities and events carried out, supported, and funded by KDE e.V. in that period, as well as the reporting of major conferences that KDE has been involved in.
Have you ever felt that you wanted to give back to the KDE project? As the season of giving draws near there's never been a better time to support KDE and help the project continue to bring free software to millions of lives worldwide.
By participating in the end of year fundraiser, you can help us in our mission. Your donations are used to pay for transport and accomodation for developers to attend sprints as well as to support the server infrastructure required to keep the project running.
Donations over 30€ are eligible to recieve a cute postcard designed by KDE artists to the address of the donors choice. For more information, including more details on donation rewards, please visit the KDE End of Year 2016 Fundraising page.
The KDE community will once more be participating in Google Code-in, which pairs KDE mentors with students beween the ages of 13 and 18 to work on tasks which both help the KDE community and teach the students how to contribute to free and open source projects. Not only coding, but also documentation and training, outreach and research, quality assurance and user interface tasks will be offered.
Mentors, please subscribe to the KDE-Soc-Mentor mail list, and write to email@example.com if you have not yet been invited to the GCi webapp. Now is the time to login and begin adding your tasks. Former Google Summer of Code students are especially welcome to mentor.
WikiToLearn is KDE's project to create textbooks for university and school students. It provides free, collaborative and accessible text books. Academics worldwide contribute in sharing knowledge by creating high quality content.
One year after founding WikiToLearn, the love for sharing knowledge helped our community to grow stronger. During this year a lot of great things happened, but we also had to face some technical and organizational problems.
The effort and work of our community during the last months helped us to achieve great results developing new features and improving our platform, concentrating on the editing experience. As a result of this, we are very proud to announce the release of WikiToLearn 1.0!
Here are some new features:
New skin: we rebuilt the whole skin for a better user experience. Users will now be able to take and review notes, create books and share knowledge more easily.
Course editor: this tool allows users to create and manage courses in a guided and very effortless way
Visual editor: together with Course editor this tool will help users to contribute easily; editing and reviewing has become more intuitive and it’s not necessary anymore to be a “wikitext expert” to work on our platform
Having reached the goal of a more comfortable user interface, to make it more easy for you to contribute, our next objective is to expand the content on all of our pages. Since we already have some content on our Italian and English pages, we would also very much appreciate if you would help us to develop the pages in other languages.
Get started now, visit WikiToLearn.org right away and get in touch with our new features!