Our three main goals for the general direction we want to take KDE in the next couple of years are: Top-notch Usability and Productivity for Basic Software, Streamlined Onboarding of New Contributors, as well as Privacy Software. The first sprint dedicated to one of our goals, Privacy Software, took place in March in the City of Leipzig. It took place in the former “Fernsprechamt” (telephone exchange), quite a fitting location when it comes to privacy, isn’t it?
One of the features I worked on was a microphone tray icon indicating when the microphone is in use with an easy way to mute/unmute it by middle clicking as well as change the recording volume using the mouse wheel, just like you can with the volume icon.
I had wanted this feature for quite some time but originally I had planned to add it to the task bar complementing our handy little audio indicator. However, when mapping a window to an application or audio stream fails, no indicator would be shown whatsoever. For some reason it occurred to me only during the privacy sprint that I could instead just use a global status icon which isn’t tied to a specific window.
Not only is it a useful privacy tool, it also makes conference calls less painful since as soon as you join you can easily see that your microphone might be muted without having to open the volume applet first.
I also worked on the notification system and sent a proposal for a Notification Inhibition DBus procotol to the freedesktop mailing list. It will enable applications to suppress notifications similiar to how they can disable the screen saver or standby mode. Applications like Okular, LibreOffice Impress, or OBS could then use this interface to disable notifications to avoid a potential privacy invasion when a chat message comes in while giving a presentation or live streaming.
More details on what you can expect from notifications in future Plasma releases will come in a future blog post.