A few weeks ago Alex Fiestas passed maintainership of PowerDevil, KDE’s power management service, over to me (thanks!), and there have been many exciting things going on in the power management department. Let’s take a look!
The past week has been an exciting one, with Plasma 5.2’s release to the public – it will be the first incarnation of the new Plasma architecture getting widely adopted by distributions. As far as PowerDevil is concerned, we made the screenlocker more reliable, and added transitions before suspending or turning off the screen to minimize the chance of a long wakeup process. Other than that it has been mostly dead code removal.
First of all, the Plasma 5.2.1 release contains a fix for an unfortunate bug that caused kded to eat 100% CPU on certain setups. Another interesting one I fixed was Chrome not keeping your screen on while watching a video – it’s easy just to blame Chrome for everything but it turned out that it posted an inhibition but PowerDevil didn’t properly handle it. Also restored is the missing config option for what pressing the power button should do.
Shiny new features
Enough text already, let’s look at some pictures!
As you can see, battery monitor can now display which application(s) is/are currently holding a power management inhibition and why (the spec requires an application to state a reason and thankfully most applications actually do). So, if you ever wonder why or why not your screen turns off, first check it out here :)
Another seemingly magic feature in the 4.x times has been KScreen preventing the device from suspending when you closed the lid while an external monitor was connected since you’re likely to watch a movie or do a presentation with it. This returns to Plasma 5.3 but now it will show a hint when it will do so, and of course this behavior can be disabled (on a per-Activity basis, even!) for instance when you’re using a docking station in the office.
Re-entering the stage are activity-related power management settings allowing you to override power management settings on a per-activity basis.
Other changes and improvements
– Automatic screen locking will be prevented by a power management inhibition
– Improved cumulative battery handling; your lock screen will now show the proper percentage, not a random battery that happens to be #1 (could be your mouse, for instance)
– Grace period before suspending or turning off the screen, it will fade the screen to black 5 seconds prior so you could cancel the imminent action
– Various ports to XCB and async calls
How to get involved?
Of course there are many more things to come that may or may not make it into the 5.3 release, such as warning about low mouse and keyboard batteries, and animated/smooth brightness change.
There is a Power Management todo list (needs KDE identity login) with tasks you can have a look at, there’s even some junior jobs! Bug reports go to KDE Bugzilla product PowerDevil and if you have any questions, suggestions, or preferably patches ;) feel free to ping kbroulik in #plasma or #solid on freenode.