In my 10 year anniversary blog post I mentioned how I wanted to fully redesign the icon chooser dialog which hasn’t changed since its inception and my childhood. Well, guess what I just did between sessions at this year’s Akademy.
I recently added a job creator test application to KJobWidgets so I could test the job tracker in Plasma’s notification center without having to write fake KJob classes all the time. The user interface for it was quickly bodged together in Qt Designer, so the other day I figured, I might as well try to recreate the new icon dialog layout and hook its existing C++ logic to a new UI.
Can you believe how time flies? Today, ten years ago my first ever KDE patch was merged. A little while later I was granted KDE developer rights with write access to all of KDE’s git repositories. This power was somewhat frightening, after having submitted not even a hand full of patches at that time, and it actually took many years for the thrill of hitting Return on a “git push” to abate. Let me take this decennial as an opportunity to tell you stories from back in the days™ and how I ended up where I did, where I surely would not be without KDE!
I actually started writing on this blog post last December, to have plenty of time for collecting trivia and ideas, never before seen prototype screenshots, and more. I surely wouldn’t have thought this to turn into half an autobiography. Mind that I’ll try my best to verify the statements that follow but they can still be inaccurate or skewed from being just memories. Now grab a cup of your favorite beverage, sit back, and join me on this trip down memory lane.
It has already been more than a year since I’ve posted an update on notifications, so it’s definitely time to give you a bit of an update on what’s been going on. This time let me show you all the nifty changes that I put into our job tracker, even though at a glance it might just look the same.
Little tweaks such as labels in the details section only growing but never shrinking for the duration of a job, so that while copying folder structures with significantly varying path lengths, the popup no longer constantly changes its size.
I’m pleased to announce the immediate availability of Plasma Browser Integration version 1.8 on the Chrome Web Store as well as Firefox Add-Ons page. This release was originally intended to be just a bugfix update, but instead comes with new features, the usual slew of bug fixes and translation updates, but more importantly: it’s now available on the Microsoft Edge store (needs Plasma 5.21)!
Plasma Browser Integration bridges the gap between your browser and the Plasma desktop. It lets you share links, find browser tabs and visited websites in KRunner, monitor download progress in the notification center, and control music and video playback anytime from within Plasma, or even from your phone using KDE Connect!
Happy holidays, everyone – I hope you can still enjoy them somewhat given the circumstances. For me it’s always a time of reflection, thinking back on the ending year. You know, I always set high standards for the work I do, I just want to put the highest quality of work out there on the interwebs, so I kinda want to write only about stuff that I’ve already uploaded some actual code for, or where I am at least confident to pull off a release soon. However, often “perfect is the enemy of good”, so I decided to just write about some of the things I did for fun over the past days. All of what you see below may or may not end up in a release at some point, or maybe or maybe not.
You probably have heard the news by now that Microsoft have released the Linux version of their new Chromium-based Edge web browser. Of course I’ve been waiting for this day ever since they announced the switcheroo to Chromium in order to bring Plasma Browser Integration to Edge users. It took Microsoft almost two decades to offer another web browser to a Unixoid desktop and this time around it’s based on KDE’s legacy – what a time to be alive!
I’m pleased to announce the immediate availability of Plasma Browser Integration version 1.7.6 on the Chrome Web Store as well as Firefox Add-Ons page. This release comes with a few bug fixes, performance improvements, and translation updates.
Plasma Browser Integration bridges the gap between your browser and the Plasma desktop. It lets you share links, find browser tabs in KRunner, monitor download progress in the notification center, and control music and video playback anytime from within Plasma, or even from your phone using KDE Connect!
This weekend the Plasma team’s annual sprint took place. Due to the Corona pandemic we had to cancel our original week-long in-person meet up end of April in Augsburg, Germany hosted by our friends at TUXEDO and settled for an online sprint instead. In anticipation of more virtual sprints KDE has set up its own BigBlueButton instance – an open source web conferencing system for online learning.
While a four day online event can’t fully replace an entire week in a room with one of the most talented and dedicated people I know hacking and discussing from 9 till midnight, I was pleasantly surprised how productive it was. Huge thanks to BigBlueButton for creating a great tool to work with and to KDE Sysadmin, and Bhushan Shah in particular, for making this happen! Also check out this lovely unprepared group photo he took.
The meeting notes are being refined a little right now and should arrive on the plasma-devel mailing list in the coming days. This week’s experience made me confident that Akademy 2020 – also happening online – will work out great! Nevertheless I hope that eventually we’ll be able to catch up on our original sprint plans and meet in Augsburg again, physically.
For a change, let’s talk about a topic other than notifications. More than five years ago (can’t believe how time has passed) I took over maintainership of PowerDevil, Plasma’s power management service. While I did a lot of cleanup and feature work in the beginning, there haven’t been many major changes for some time.
One of the first features I added back then was smooth brightness changes. PowerDevil supports three ways of changing screen brightness: through XRandR configuration, through DDC (display data channel, for desktop monitors, experimental and not built by default), and by writing to sysfs (/sys/class/backlight or /sys/class/leds). Since the latter requires privileges and uses a helper binary through KDE’s KAuth framework, I only implemented the animation for the XRandR code path, which was executed in the same process.