10 Years in KDE – A Retrospective

(or: “Accidental Autobiography”)

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!

A box cake with blue icing, in its tin, "20 years of KDE" written on it
Let’s have some cake, too!

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.

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Overhauling the Job Tracker

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.

Plasma job progress popup from "Dolphin", reads "Copying: 1234 of 1337 files to Build Machine / Awesome Project"
Destination label is now friendlier and a handy hyperlink

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.

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Venturing out

Plasma 5.18 LTS Beta has been released, which brings many exciting new features to a computer near you, especially if you’re upgrading from our previous LTS release, Plasma 5.12. Of course for us developers this now means that a stable git branch has been created and we can work on new stuff on master to eventually become Plasma 5.19, scheduled for an early June 2020 release. This blog post is less about KDE code, though.

Plasma notification popup with a chat message and a text field to send a reply from inside the popup
No need to rub your eyes: Quick reply with Telegram on Plasma 5.18!
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What’s up in Notifications?

With the end of the year approaching in some parts of the world and already half a year since I announced the notifications rewrite, I thought I’d give you an update on some of the things I’ve worked on since. While Plasma 5.17 only saw minor changes, most notably automatic do not disturb mode when screens are mirrored during presentations, there are some very exciting new features that will arrive in the upcoming Plasma 5.18 LTS to be released early February next year.

Notification popup with a message from a chat group with text field in the notification popup inviting to "Type a reply..."
Replying to conversations directly from the notification popup
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Privacy Sprint in Leipzig

Fernsprechamt
Entrance to the sprint location

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?

Microphone Indicator

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.

Microphone indicator tooltip, "Microphone: Chrome input is using the microphone"
Microphone indicator showing that Chrome is recording
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