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Plasma 5.14 Beta Updates Discover, KWin and Adds New Widgets

Thursday 13th of September 2018 06:28:23 PM
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KDE Plasma 5.14 Beta

Thursday, 13 September 2018. Today KDE launches the beta release of Plasma 5.14.

Plasma is KDE's lightweight and full featured Linux desktop. For the last three months we have been adding features and fixing bugs and now invite you to test the beta pre-release of Plasma 5.14.

A lot of work has gone into improving Discover, Plasma's software manager, and, among other things, we have added a Firmware Update feature and many subtle user interface improvements to give it a smoother feel. We have also rewritten many effects in our window manager KWin and improved it for slicker animations in your work day. Other improvements we have made include a new Display Configuration widget which is useful when giving presentations.

Please test and send us bug reports and feedback. The final release is scheduled for three weeks' time.


Browse the full Plasma 5.14 Beta changelog to find out about more tweaks and bug fixes featured in this release: Full Plasma 5.14 Beta changelog


New in Plasma 5.14 Beta


New Features




    Display Configuration Widget
  • There's a new Display Configuration widget for screen management which is useful for presentations.
  • The Audio Volume widget now has a built in speaker test feature moved from Phonon settings.
  • The Network widget now works for SSH VPN tunnels again.
  • Switching primary monitor when plugging in or unplugging monitors is now smoother.
  • The lock screen now handles user-switching for better usability and security.
  • You can now import existing encrypted files from a Plasma Vault.
  • The Task Manager implements better compatibility with LibreOffice.






  • System Monitor Tools

  • The System Monitor now has a 'Tools' menu full of launchers to handy utilities.
  • The Kickoff application menu now switches tabs instantly on hover.





  •    



    Panel Widget Edit Menu Old and New Style

  • Widget and panels get consistent icons and other user interface improvements.






  • Logout Warning

  • Plasma now warns on logout when other users are logged in.
  • The Breeze widget theme has improved shadows.







Plasma Discover

Plasma Discover

Discover, our software and add-on installer, has more features and improves its look and feel.

  • Discover gained fwupd support, allowing it to upgrade your computer's firmware.
  • It gained support for Snap channels.
  • Discover can now display and sort apps by release date.
  • You can now see an app's package dependencies.
  • When Discover is asked to install a standalone Flatpak file but the Flatpak backend is not installed, it now offers to first install the backend for you.
  • Discover now tells you when a package update will replace some packages with other ones.
  • We have added numerous minor user interface improvements: update button are disabled while checking for updates, there is visual consistency between settings and the update pages, updates are sorted by completion percentage, we have improved the review section of the update notifier plasmoid, etc..
  • We have improved reliability and stability through a bunch of bug fixes.






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Improved KWin Glide Effect

KWin and Wayland:
  • We fixed copy-paste between GTK and non-GTK apps on Wayland.
  • We fixed non-centered task switchers on Wayland.
  • We have improved pointer constraints.
  • There are two new interfaces, XdgShell and XdgOutput, for integrating more apps with the desktop.
  • We have considerably improved and polished KWin effects throughout, including completely rewriting the Dim Inactive effect, adding a new scale effect, rewriting the Glide effect, and more.


Bugfixes

We fixed many bugs, including:

  • Blurred backgrounds behind desktop context menus are no longer visually corrupted.
  • It's no longer possible to accidentally drag-and-drop task manager buttons into app windows.

Akademy 2018 videos are now online

Friday 7th of September 2018 12:00:00 AM

If you missed any of the talks, or couldn't make it to Vienna to attend this year's Akademy, now you can watch the recordings from the comfort of your home. You can find and download the videos from our repository, or browse and share them from the YouTube playlist we have set up especially for all Akademy 2018 videos.

We recommend starting with this year's keynotes, so make sure to watch Dan Bielefeld talk about how the Transitional Justice Working Group locates and uncovers sites for crimes against humanity committed by the Kim regime in North Korea:



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Mapping Crimes against Humanity

Also, don't miss what Claudia Garad has to say about onboarding new contributors into an open community:



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"W" is for "Welcome"

If you prefer a more KDE-specific topic, watch Nate Graham lay out a seven-point plan that will help KDE take over the world:



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Konquering the world

About Akademy

For most of the year, KDE -- one of the largest free and open software communities in the world-- works on-line by email, IRC, forums and mailing lists. Akademy provides all KDE contributors the opportunity to meet in person to foster social bonds, work on concrete technology issues, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work bringing those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, and those that are looking for opportunities.

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LAS 2018

  • LAS 2018
    This month I was at my second Libre Application Summit in Denver. A smaller event than GUADEC but personally was my favorite conference so far. One of the main goals of LAS has been to be a place for multiple platforms to discuss the desktop space and not just be a GNOME event. This year two KDE members, @aleixpol and Albert Astals Cid, who spoke about release cycle of KDE Applications, Plasma, and the history of Qt. It is always interesting to see how another project solves the same problems and where there is overlap. The elementary folks were there since this is @cassidyjames home turf who had a great “It’s Not Always Techincal” talk as well as a talk with @danrabbit about AppCenter which are both very important areas the GNOME Project needs to improve in. I also enjoyed meeting a few other community members such as @Philip-Scott and talk about their use of elementary’s platform.
  • Developer Center Initiative – Meeting Summary 21st September
    Since last blog post there’s been two Developer Center meetings held in coordination with LAS GNOME Sunday the 9th September and again Friday the 21st September. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend the LAS GNOME meeting, but I’ll cover the general progress made here.

The "Chinese EPYC" Hygon Dhyana CPU Support Still Getting Squared Away For Linux

Back in June is when the Linux kernel patches appeared for the Hygon Dhyana, the new x86 processors based on AMD Zen/EPYC technology licensed by Chengdu Haiguang IC Design Co for use in Chinese data-centers. While the patches have been out for months, they haven't reached the mainline kernel quite yet but that might change next cycle. The Hygon Dyhana Linux kernel patches have gone through several revisions and the code is mostly adapting existing AMD Linux kernel code paths for Zen/EPYC to do the same on these new processors. While these initial Hygon CPUs appear to basically be re-branded EPYC CPUs, the identifiers are different as rather than AMD Family 17h, it's now Family 18h and the CPU Vendor ID is "HygonGenuine" and carries a new PCI Express device vendor ID, etc. So the different areas of the kernel from CPUFreq to KVM/Xen virtualization to Spectre V2 mitigations had to be updated for the correct behavior. Read more

Good Support For Wayland Remote Desktop Handling On Track For KDE Plasma 5.15

The KDE Plasma 5.15 release due out next year will likely be in good shape for Wayland remote desktop handling. The KDE Plasma/KWin developers have been pursuing Wayland remote desktop support along a similar route to the GNOME Shell camp by making use of PipeWire and the XDG-Desktop-Portal. Bits are already in place for KDE Plasma 5.13 and the upcoming 5.14 release, but for the 5.15 release is now where it sounds like the support may be in good shape for end-users. Read more

Linux developers threaten to pull “kill switch”

Linux powers the internet, the Android in your pocket, and perhaps even some of your household appliances. A controversy over politics is now seeing some of its developers threatening to withdraw the license to all of their code, potentially destroying or making the whole Linux kernel unusable for a very long time. Read more