Plasma’s mantra is to help you get stuff done faster, to not stand in your way. In past releases we added many small tools for you to achieve your tasks more quickly and spend less time fiddling with the desktop environment.
To recap: task manager now shows download progress in webbrowsers or copy operations in the file manager, compilation jobs in KDevelop, update and application installation in Discover, and many more. Jump List Actions are available throughout the workspace, providing access to common tasks within an application, such as composing a new email. We even improved the user experience when something goes wrong. Media Controls are provided in more places, the system tray, the task bar, through global shortcuts and the lock screen, and even on your phone through KDE Connect.
All of this follows a common goal of letting you spend more time within the application you have to work with.
Audio Streams in task manager
A feature that has recently popped up in most webbrowsers is them indicating when there’s sound playing in a tab. This makes it easy to tell at a glance who is blaring at you. With lots of windows open, this can also be difficult to discern, but no more!
Making use of Plasma-PA’s (that is the “Volume Applet”) QML bindings to PulseAudio, we could easily query for playback streams and mark applications with a fitting icon. The context menu also has a “Mute” entry to silence the application.
While the “audio is playing” icon is only present when there’s actually sound being played (“the stream is not corked” in PulseAudio terminology) the “muted” icon is present when there is an audio stream for the application that is muted. This way you can even unmute the application after playback, e.g. a video conference, has stopped.