In Plasma 5.18 you will find neat new features that make notifications clearer, settings more streamlined and the overall look more attractive. Plasma 5.18 is easier and more fun to use, while at the same time allowing you to be more productive when it is time to work.
Apart from all the cool new stuff, Plasma 5.18 also comes with an LTS status. LTS stands for "Long Term Support". This means 5.18 will be updated and maintained by KDE contributors for the next two years (regular versions are maintained for 4 months). If you are thinking of updating or migrating your school, company or organization to Plasma, this version is your best bet, as you get the most stable version of Plasma *and* all the new features too.
Volna by Nikita Babin wins KDE's 2nd Wallpaper contest. Volna will be upcoming Plasma 5.18's default wallpaper.
Congratulations to Nikita for the win. Nikita will receive the Grand prize, a TUXEDO Infinity Book 14 featuring an i7 Intel processor and an all-day battery with a 12-hours capacity.
We would like to extend our congratulations also to the artists that made the finals, specifically (and in no particular order): metalbender and the spacey Milky Way wallpaper; CaceK, who created the dramatic Breach / Crystaline; Luwx submitted the cool looking Iridescent Shell; The Grand Canyon was designed by kevintee; and the winner of the Plasma 5.16 wallpaper competition, Santiago Cezar, also made it to the finals with Vera. They will each receive a package containing a KDE-branded baseball cap, a plush Tux, KDE stickers, a frozen glass coffee mug and more goodies.
We saw many high-quality entries in this contest and it has been difficult to select six finalists and even harder to choose a winner. We are incredibly proud of the great community that decided to contribute in making Plasma a great desktop and we hope that the artists who joined the competition, even if they didn't win, will become regular contributors to the Visual Design Group and help make Plasma even better.
The 5.18 wallpaper contest ends today, but if you still want to try and win some amazing prizes, don't forget about the other two contests that are currently ongoing: the Plasma Video Contest, the winner of which will receive a PC with a powerful Intel core i7, 16GB of RAM, 250GB NVMe SSD, 2TB HDD and an Nvidia GTX1050Ti video card as the prize; and the Applications Video Contest, which has a PC featuring an Intel core i3, 16GB of RAM and 250GB SSD as the prize.
We would also like to thank TUXEDO for sponsoring the competition and for donating all the prizes.
This is the not the first time Handshake has made a substantial donation to the KDE Community. Back in 2018 Handshake donated approximately USD 300,000 to KDE which was used to finance projects and fund activities.
"The Handshake Naming System is a child of the Open Source Community", says Andrew Lee from the Handshake Foundation. "Just like Handshake, KDE has championed privacy and freedom since the beginning and has paved the way forward in creating usable tools made for the masses.
"Personally, I've used KDE software since the early 2000s, and I've seen it grow and flourish. I think, many people today would be surprised to hear that Apple Safari, for example, was based originally on Konqueror, a web browser created by the KDE Community. The Handshake Naming System is proud to be able to make a donation to the KDE team. It is our way of showing appreciation for KDE, as much of the development in the Open Source world would not have been possible without it."
KDE would like to thank the Handshake Foundation for their continued generosity and the support they offer to FLOSS communities across the spectrum. This contribution will help KDE continue with its commitment to create Free Software for everyone, finance events and sponsor community members.
You can help KDE too! All you need to do is join the Community and be part of our mission to help people maintain their privacy and their control over their digital lives with Free Software.
Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash.
The prizes are two fantastic TUXEDO computers, one per category, which will undoubtedly boost your film rendering capacity. There are also 12 goodie packages for runner-ups, and who doesn't need more Linux shirts, caps and stickers?
Although we have already received some interesting entries, we feel it may be time to help video artists out there with ideas from the judges themselves.
Below, Julian Schraner, Ivana Isadora Devčić, and Paul Brown from the Promo team and Farid Abdelnour from the Kdenlive team give their views on what a KDE promotional video should look like, where to find resources, and which pitfalls may hurt your film if you fall for them.
I have five simple recommendations for participants:
Avoid videos that contain only screencasts
Break the mold, be creative
Use motion graphics techniques (have a look at animation nodes)
Choose a good catchy song and work on that editing
Make it short, make sure there is something happening in every single frame. Cut out lulls -- they're boring
Here's my list of things I would recommend doing, as well as what to avoid:
No slideshows, please! Don't make the video look like someone animated a PowerPoint presentation with zoomed-in screenshots sliding into view and fading out. That just looks cheap and low-effort.
Don't overdo it with memes and attempts at humor. As amusing as it may be to you and your 3 friends, things like that do not always translate well across cultures and generations. It's OK to add a cheeky moment if it's appropriate with the general theme of your video, but trying to make the entire video "funny" might send the message that you think Plasma is a joke.
It's OK to include real, actual people in the video. Anyone can easily make a screencast, but it takes effort - and shows that you made an effort! - to film people using Plasma. Including clips of people using Plasma can make a much stronger impact than just showing the desktop, even if the clips are short.
This is very, very basic and Captain Obvious-style, but: background music can have this cool thing called volume. Playing with volume can add depth and variety to your video. Make the background music louder in some parts and softer in others, depending on the effect you're trying to achieve. If it's always the same, the entire video can easily seem monotonous, even if it's only a minute long.
If possible, don't use computer-generated voices for voice-overs in the video (that is, if you're going to have any at all). 98% of them sound really fake and distract from the actual content, or just make the video sound boring. Even if you don't have a particularly radio-friendly voice, it will still sound more natural and normal if you record yourself (or try asking someone to help).
Great videos tell a story; they're not just a semi-connected list of clips with background music tacked on. Try to develop a little story that sends a specific message instead of just showing random Plasma features. It's also very easy to fall into the trap of comparing Plasma to something else and disparaging other DEs, so please try to avoid that.
Personally, I do not want to see "wobbly windows" in any of the videos. Plasma is more than just KWin effects; we're looking for videos that will make people think "wow, this could be really useful to me, I wanna try it", not "haha that's a cool gimmick, I bet I can move the mouse fast enough to break it".
Another important thing - if the video does have any narration/voice-over, I would ask that you include subtitles (at least as a separate file, if hard-coding them is a bad practice). Accessibility is a must!
I've split my recommendations into 3 parts: the footage you can use, the music (and other sounds), and the editing; that is, the raw materials and how you put them together.
Like Ivana, I would personally like to see some live action mixed in with the screencasts. You can grab your phone, and go and film something you can then work into the story. Or you can also take some public domain footage from the Internet Archive.
If you look at Real LifeTM advertisements, they don't only show the product, they also show people doing stuff with the product. Most of our videos are already a bunch of screencasts chained together. I want to see something different.
That said, when you do insert screencast footage, make sure you show something interesting happening in the applications. Don't show an empty folder in Dolphin, a blank square in Krita, or a boring, text-only document in Okular. Make sure there's some color in there and that you can see the user doing something.
As for footage of people, try to avoid stock footage, especially those clips that show smartly dressed white people looking at a computer screen, pointing and smiling. It's like the stock photos of women laughing at salads: you see that kind of stuff everywhere and it looks soooo fake. It is nearly as bad as stock music. Nearly...
"My salad is hilarious!"
Another thing to take into account is that you have to be careful with copyrights! Anything that has not been published before 1924 and doesn't have an explicit free license or isn't explicitly in the public domain, is under a regular copyright and may not be used without the authors' or the copyright holders' express written permission. Also, make sure the person distributing the work is the owner of the work. Don't blindly trust a random Youtuber!
TIP: Apart from the Internet Archive, many public institutions publish footage for free on the Internet. One such organization that comes to mind is NASA.
The best way to make me switch off a video after a few seconds is by choosing the "wrong" music. Ironically, "the wrong music" is often that heartless, bland music used in nearly every single corporate video. I swear I would prefer to have hot wax poured into my ears rather than listen to another hokey, fake-quirky ukulele theme in my life.
The best kind of ukelele.
Conversely, sometimes what may seem the wrong music is in fact the right music. Stuff that you can't imagine going together, goes together. Salsa for Spectacle, flamenco for Falkon and power-pop for Plasma? Why not?
Again, be careful with copyrighted stuff. The same thing that applies to footage, applies to music. Besides, just because Johann Sebastian Bach died 300 years ago, doesn't mean that you can use that Von Karajan recording of his Cantatas: the recording itself will be copyrighted.
Most artists on Jamendo release their music under a liberal license as long it is not used for commercial purposes. And making a video for a competition organized by a non-profit that will not generate any money for you or for the non-profit IS NOT a commercial purpose. Also check out Free Music Archive and especially Juanitos: They make great, fun retro pseudo-ethnic music and distribute it under very generous terms.
On the other hand, go easy with Incompetech -- his music can be lovely, but it is EVERYWHERE. If you must use one of his tracks, make sure you poke around and go for his less obvious stuff.
TIP: If you need a voice-over but are not confident that your own voice will sound okay, try Fiverr. For a few dollars, you can have a professional actor read out your script.
Avoid canned transitions that come as standard with your video-editing software (Kdenlive, right?). They may impress your parents, but everybody else thinks they're lazy.
Related to the above, avoid excessively flashy transitions, even if they are original. I am personally guilty of using animations to transition from one scene to another, but if they are not part of the story, they can draw attention to themselves and away from the real content, distracting the viewer. Most of the time, nothing beats a good clean cut.
The same goes for effects: don't overdo them! Effects are great to confer atmosphere, but if they are not doing that, they are just distracting from the story, and more often than not, make the action harder to follow. Here's looking at all those "editors" that place a screencast into the picture of a monitor! Yes, I get it: you do masks. So does everybody.
TIP: If you do need effects for your video, don't limit yourself to the catalogue supplied by your editing software. Check out things like Blender and Natron -- these programs are used a lot for effects and filters for a reason.
Apart from everything mentioned above, I would encourage participants to look into using motion graphic techniques rather than sticking to simple transitions when possible. For that, you can use tools like Blender's Animation Nodes addon.
Something that is often overlooked is the matter of typography. Choose your fonts wisely! If you have text on the screen, avoid the default bland fonts. Go to Font Squirrel or Google Fonts for a great selection of free and open types to choose from.
Same goes for video titles.
If you need footage, check out Pexels it contains a lot of high quality clips for free.
About KDE's Video Contest
KDE is looking for talented videographers and filmmakers that will help promote our free software through the medium of video. There are two categories in this contest: in the Plasma category we want participants to create a video that will promote KDE's Plasma desktop to the world. The Applications category is to help promote one or several KDE applications.
Submissions must be sent in before the 20th of February 2020. To find out more, check out the full rules.
This new version of your favorite desktop environment adds neat new features that make your life easier, including clearer notifications, streamlined settings for your system and the desktop layout, much improved GTK integration, and more. Plasma 5.18 is easier and more fun, while at the same time allowing you to do more tasks faster.
Apart from all the cool new stuff, Plasma 5.18 also comes with LTS status. LTS stands for "Long Term Support" and this means 5.18 will be updated and maintained by KDE contributors for the next couple of years (regular versions are maintained for 4 months). So, if you are thinking of updating or migrating your school, company or organization to Plasma, this version is your best bet. You get the most recent stable version of Plasma for the long term.
Read on to discover everything that is new in Plasma 5.18 LTS…
Customize Layout Global Settings
GTK Applications with CSDs and Theme Integration
Night Color System Tray Widget
Emoji Selector that can be opened through the application launcher or with the Meta + . keyboard shortcut
New global edit mode which replaces the desktop toolbox button and lets you easily customize your desktop layout
Improved touch-friendliness for the Kickoff application launcher and widget editing
Support for GTK applications which use Client Side Decorations, adding proper shadows and resize areas for them
GTK apps now also automatically inherit Plasma's settings for fonts, icons, cursors and more.
There's a new System Tray widget for toggling the Night Color feature and by default it automatically appears when it's on
More compact design to choose the default audio device in the Audio Volume System Tray widget
Clickable volume indicator and tooltip item highlight indicators in the Task Manager
Circular Application Launcher menu user icon
Option to hide the lock screen clock
It's now possible to configure keyboard shortcuts that turn Night Color and Do Not Disturb mode on or off
Windy conditions shown in weather widget
The timeout indicator on notification popups has been made circular and surrounds the close button
A draggable icon in the "file downloaded" notification has been added, so you can quickly drag it to places
Plasma now shows you a notification warning when a connected Bluetooth device is about to run out of power
Plasma gained optional User Feedback settings (disabled by default), allowing you to give us detailed system information and statistics on how often individual features of Plasma you use
Added a slider for the global animation speed
Redesigned Application Style settings with a grid view
Improved the search in the system settings sidebar
An option to scroll to clicked location in the scrollbar track has been added
The System Settings Night Color page has a clearer user interface now
Discover's default keyboard focus has been switched to the search field
It's now possible to search for add-ons from the main page
Added nested comments for addons
Made design improvements to the sidebar header and reviews
Decreased the amount of visual glitches in apps when using fractional scaling on X11
Made it possible to show NVIDIA GPU stats in KSysGuard
New Since 5.12 LTS
For those upgrading from our previous Long Term Support release here are some of the highlights from the last two years of development:
Completely rewritten notification system
Plasma Browser Integration
Many redesigned system settings pages, either using a consistent grid view or just an overhauled interface
Global menu support for GTK applications
Display Management improvements including new OSD and widget
Redmond will no longer provide updates for the 2009 operating system. This puts almost a billion people in the difficult situation of facing increased security risks alongside a slow decline in software availability.
Folks who reject Microsoft’s forced updates are already opting to regain control over their systems by switching to the friendly and full-featured Plasma desktop, built on a design philosophy which centers freedom and respect for its users. Recent buzz about the possibilities of Plasma has brought a lot of fresh faces on board, and now they are trying to navigate a new operating system that has its differences from Windows.
If you’re one of those people, you’re probably wondering where you can find experienced users to help you get settled in.
How to make the jump with ease
Luckily, there is a wealth of resources available for those new to Plasma and the Linux world.
The best place to talk live with Plasma users, ask questions, and get to know the KDE community is the KDE Welcome room on our webchat or on Matrix. If you want to discuss Plasma and comment on the latest KDE news with other users, find r/KDE on Reddit or check out the official KDE forums.
AskUbuntu.com is the largest dedicated tech support site in the Linux world, and an invaluable resource for anyone using KDE Neon or Kubuntu. Much of the info available here even translates well to other Linux flavors. Other places for specific support questions include r/Linux4Noobs and r/LinuxQuestions on Reddit. Talking of which, another great resource is the Linux Questions forums.
Once you have a little bit of experience under your belt, if you run into trouble with a specific system component, you can always resort to the Arch Linux wiki, an in-depth hub of documentation which is often useful to users of any Linux system.
Everyone in the KDE community is familiar with the hurdles new users face when making the jump to Plasma and the Free Software world. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of KDE's welcoming community who will help you feel right at home in Plasma and make sure you get the most out of your newly upgraded system.
The year is 2020, we are living in the future, let’s see what KDE apps has brought us in the last month!
KTimeTracker ported to KDE Frameworks 5
The long-awaited modernized version of KTimeTracker is finally released.
The application is a personal time tracker for busy people which is now
available on Linux, FreeBSD and Windows. Over the course of 2019 it had been
ported to Qt5 and KDE Frameworks after being unmaintained since around 2013.
The new version is also polished and slightly modernised with the most
noticeable new features being the new Task Time Editing dialog and
live preview in the Export dialog as seen in the picture below.
Here on the Apps Update we focus on the apps rather than coding libraries. But new features in the common libraries will mean new features in all your apps :)
This month saw a redesigned UI for KNewStuff, the framework to download addons for your applications. The browse and download dialog was redesigned and the comments section can now be filtered. It’ll be appearing in all your apps and settings modules shortly starting with the Global Theme module in System Settings.
KDevelop’s monthly bugfix update 5.4.6 fixed a longstanding problem where the GPL and LGPL headers were mixed up, grab it from your distro or Appimage to make sure your licencing is correct.
Dolphin Plugins 19.12.1 fixed a broken SVN Commit dialog.
There was improved file indexing in Elisa. It also fixed some compilation issues on Android and without Baloo.
The new release of KPat was declaired to have no OARS relevant age restrictions.
Okular fixed a crash when closing the print preview dialog.
This month’s release of Kdenlive video editor had an impressive number of fixes best of all was updating the screenshots used in the meta info. It also has dozens of improvements and fixes in timeline and preview handling.
Enjoy KDE on the Flathub Store
KDE is embracing all the app stores. We can now deliver more and more of our programs directly to you the user. One of the leading app stores on Linux is Flathub which uses the FlatPak format.
You may well already have Flatpak and Flathub configured on your system and ready to use in Discover or other app installers. For example KDE neon has set it up by default on installs for over a year now. If not it’s a quick setup process for all the major distros.
Chocolatey is a package manager for Windows. If you want full control over what software is installed on your Windows machine or whole office of machines then Chocolatey gives you easy control over that just like you are used to on Linux.
LabPlot is KDE’s app for interactive graphing and analysis of scientific data and it is now available through Chocolatey. Give it a try!
The recently revived KDE Web Team has been updating a bunch of our older themed sites. The newly relaunched KPhotoAlbum website is a lovely example, updated and refreshed for our photo storage and search app.
And if you want to show off a simple to use but full featured local music player but were ashamed by the old looking website, JuK has just had an updated website too.
Some of our projects release on their own timescale and some get released en-masse. The 19.12.1 bundle of projects was released today and should be available through app stores and distros soon. See the 19.12.1 releases page. This bundle was previously called KDE Applications but has been de-branded to become a release service to avoid confusion with all the other applications by KDE and because it is dozens of different products rather than a single whole.
The Libre Graphics Meeting (LGM) is the annual international convention for the discussion and development of free and open source graphics software.
This year it will happen in Rennes, France, from May 26th to 29th. We are welcoming all relevant projects to submit a proposal for a talk and/or a workshop. We already expect Krita and Kdenlive teams to be present. The Krita sprint will be held after the meeting and Kdenlive are planning to have a sprint around that time too. It would be awesome to also see some people from Plasma team working on graphics tablet support and color management, or any other topic of interest for developers and users of graphics creation application.
LGM are now asking for talks, workshops, BoF meetings and lightning talks for the conference. Please don't be shy and submit your proposal.
KDE e.V. has agreed to support the event by providing travel support to KDE contributors. If you are interested, make sure to file your reimbursement request before January 31st.
Microsoft will stop providing updates for Windows 7 on January 14 2020.
There won't be any more patches that correct bugs or even dangerous vulnerabilities. This will leave Windows 7 users exposed to all sorts of bad stuff. But that is not a huge concern for Microsoft. With this move, Redmond hopes to encourage users to upgrade to Windows 10.
But why should we care? Maybe because Windows currently holds 77% of the global desktop market share (all Linux desktops combined hold less than 2%). Of that 77%, nearly 30% belongs to Windows 7. That is nearly a billion people still holding on to Windows 7 because they are resisting the move to Windows 10. Apart from the natural human resistance to change, Windows 10 has earned a bad rap as an operating system that will gladly leak your data back to Microsoft and lace your desktop with intrusive advertisements as a matter of course.
Helping people regain control over their systems and protecting their data is precisely what Free Software communities do best, making this the perfect opportunity to help Windows 7 users upgrade to something much better: To the Plasma desktop!
Or fly solo! Talk to your friends, family, classmates and colleagues. Even if you convince just one person to make the transition to any Linux-based system, you will have done something valuable and helped the FLOSS movement.
The Windows 7-like theme shown above was put together (from many parts created by many generous contributors) by Dominic Hayes, creator of Feren OS, a cool-looking Ubuntu-based Linux distro aimed squarely at end users. Check it out!
Dominic used the following elements to re-create the look and feel of the desktop:
Plasma Theme:Seven Black Window Decorations: Seven Black Application Style: gtk2 GTK Theme: Windows Se7en by Elbullazul Icons: Darkine Colours: Breeze Light Cursors: DMZ White Splash Screen: Feren OS Panel: 38 height Widgets: Default Apps Menu, I-O Task Manager, Stock System Tray, Feren Calendar or Event Calendar, Win7 Show Desktop
Hosting an event is a big and significant way of contributing to Free Software. One of the biggest challenges in international distributed teams like KDE is communicating effectively with one another. Akademy, the yearly global conference of the KDE community, solves that by bringing the community together in one place, allowing us to share what we have been up to and have it reach its potential.
By organising Akademy we are then turning one of our weak points into a strength. We get to work together like a local team does, while remaining flexible and geographically distributed for most of the rest of the year. It becomes therefore one of the best ways for Free Software to thrive in your area.
What is Akademy
While Akademy has evolved over the years, its main structure remains similar: We have two conference days, the KDE e.V. Annual General Meeting and few days with smaller meetings and trainings. Akademy is open for everyone to join and participate, regardless of their background, studies or origin.
We would like you to consider hosting Akademy. We could look into doing it in 2020, although if you think this is too short-notice, 2021 could also be discussed.