This week in Usability & Productivity, part 40

Welcome to an even more humongous week in KDE’s Usability & Productivity initiative!

I’d like to specially highlight one very important fix this week: external hard drives are now safely powered off when unmounted. The fix is in KDE Frameworks 5.52, which will be released in approximately three weeks, and I’d like to give a big thanks to Stefan Brüns who fixed it!

Speaking of Stefan, he and Igor Poboiko have been doing an absolutely smashing job fixing Baloo over the past two weeks. A lot of their work is hard to blog about because it’s not immediately user-facing (though I’ve included as much as possible below), but between the two of them, they’ve made an enormous number of improvements to Baloo that should make it work faster and more smoothly in a lot of subtle ways.

But obviously that’s not all; take a look at the rest of the week’s work:

New Features

Bugfixes

UI Polish & Improvement

Also, I want to mention that we’re aware of two high-profile issues in Discover that slipped by testing and made it into the 5.14.release:

We apologize for these bugs and we’re working to get them fixed quickly!

One of the reasons why bugs like this squeak through is that we don’t have enough pre-release QA testers. You could be one of them, and next week, your name could be in this list! Just check out https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved, and find out how you can help be a part of something that really matters. You don’t have to already be a programmer. I wasn’t when I got started. Try it, you’ll like it! We don’t bite!

If my efforts to perform, guide, and document this work seem useful and you’d like to see more of them, then consider becoming a patron on Patreon, LiberaPay, or PayPal. Also consider making a donation to the KDE e.V. foundation.

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This week in Usability & Productivity, part 39

Welcome to an especially humongous week in KDE’s Usability & Productivity initiative! I typically assemble these reports incrementally over the course of the week, as fixes trickle in. But this week, I had to spend almost 4 hours yesterday getting it ready after an enormous flood of incredible work on Friday and Saturday. And there was a time at around 6 PM when patches for Baloo started pouring in faster than my capacity to review them (expect more on Baloo next week). KDE Contributors were truly on a roll! Check out the veritable flood of improvement throughout KDE’s software stack over the past few days:

New Features

Bugfixes

UI Polish & Improvement

What exciting time to be alive, huh? All of this stuff is available for free, and improves at lightning speed, often in direct response to user feedback.

And guess what? Next week, your name could be in this list! Just check out https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved, and find out how you can help be a part of something that really matters. You don’t have to already be a programmer. I wasn’t when I got started. Try it, you’ll like it! We don’t bite!

If my efforts to perform, guide, and document this work seem useful and you’d like to see more of them, then consider becoming a patron on Patreon, LiberaPay, or PayPal. Also consider making a donation to the KDE e.V. foundation.

This week in Usability & Productivity, part 38

Get ready for your weekly load of Usability & Productivity! We’re all working to push Plasma 5.14 out the door, and have already starting work on 5.15. One thing I am personally looking into is improving the visuals of the login screen. As you may recall, for 5.13 we re-did the lock and login screens. The lock screen changes have been very well received, but feedback for got login screen has been more mixed, with many complaining about the (almost) permanently blurred background being a visual regression, since the background image is no longer as clear as it was before.

We’ve heard the feedback and I’m working on the issue. I hope to have a tweaked version ready for Plasma 5.15 that addresses this complaint. You can follow the progress here.

Anyway, here’s the week’s work:

New Features

Bugfixes

UI Polish & Improvement

Next week, your name could be in this list! Just check out https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved, and find out how you can help be a part of something that really matters. You don’t have to already be a programmer. I wasn’t when I got started. Try it, you’ll like it! We don’t bite!

If my efforts to perform, guide, and document this work seem useful and you’d like to see more of them, then consider becoming a patron on Patreon, LiberaPay, or PayPal. Also consider making a donation to the KDE e.V. foundation.

Interview on Linux Unplugged podcast

A few days ago Jupiter Broadcasting’s Chris Fisher approached me about doing an interview for his Linux Unplugged podcast, so I said sure! I talked about the Usability & Productivity initiative, Kubuntu and KDE Neon, my history at Apple, and sustainable funding models for open-source development.

Awesomely enough, it turns out that their systems all run Kubuntu 18.04, and Chris calls it “the best distro we’ve ever used in production.” Now that’s what I like to hear! It’s exactly what the Usability & Productivity initiative is all about: making KDE software a lean, mean, productivity machine for creators and professionals.

You can listen to the show here: https://linuxunplugged.com/268. My segment starts at about the 25 minute mark.

Bugs.kde.org improvements

I’d like to share some welcome changes that we’ve recently made to https://bugs.kde.org, KDE’s venerable bug tracker. Improving our bug submission process was one of the ideas I submitted to KDE’s 2017 goal setting initiative, and while it wasn’t formally chosen the way the Usability & Productivity goal was, people seemed to think that it was worthwhile to do anyway. The overall task tracking this effort is https://phabricator.kde.org/T6832.

I’m pleased to report the following improvements:

First of all, we changed the names of some statuses:

  • UNCONFIRMED -> REPORTED. We observed that users got frustrated when bugs were in the UNCONFIRMED status after months or even years of being open, and would leave comments such as “Why isn’t this confirmed!? X number of people are experiencing it!” Hopefully REPORTED will inspire less frustration.
  • WONTFIX -> INTENTIONAL. We observed that the phrase “won’t fix” was rubbing people the wrong way because it was implying that we acknowledged there was a bug, but we just didn’t feel like fixing it, for unknown reasons. In reality, this was meant to communicate “the software is designed this way on purpose.” Hopefully INTENTIONAL will communicate this better.
  • INVALID -> NOT A BUG. “INVALID” felt a bit harsh and judgmental. What we wanted to communicate was that the bug was not appropriate to have been reported on the bug tracker because it was a support request, complaint, or something else that isn’t an actionable for fixing. “NOT A BUG” should do a better job of communicating that it’s, well, not a bug. 🙂

We also added a template to the text field you get when you file a new bug:

This should guide people down the path of filing better, more actionable bugs.

Speaking of filing better, more actionable bugs, we also changed the Bug Reporting Instructions link on the top of the page to point to https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved/Bug_Reporting.

Finally, we re-worked the attachment UI to no longer recommend attaching patches to bug reports (because they tend to get missed). Instead, it directs people to submit their patch using Phabricator:.

Hopefully these little improvements will lead to better bugs, fewer hurt feelings, and more patches. We’re already seeing a very good response from the new template in particular, and I’ve noticed that new bugs are being written following the template with Steps To Reproduce and version numbers. Awesome! This makes it easier for bug triagers and increases the likelihood that bugs will actually get fixed.

I’d like to offer a big shout-out to Andrew Crouthamel, who made all of this happen. Great job, Andrew!

This week in Usability & Productivity, part 37

Here’s your latest Usability & Productivity report–and we’ve got all kinds of goodies to share!

New Features

Bugfixes

UI Polish & Improvement

Next week, your name could be in this list! Just check out https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved, and find out how you can help be a part of something that really matters. You don’t have to already be a programmer. I wasn’t when I got started. Try it, you’ll like it! We don’t bite!

If my efforts to perform, guide, and document this work seem useful and you’d like to see more of them, then consider becoming a patron on Patreon, LiberaPay, or PayPal. Also consider making a donation to the KDE e.V. foundation.

This week in Usability & Productivity, part 36

Greetings, KDE-loving humans! This week’s Usability & Productivity is a heavy one in terms of importance. We scored awesome fixes and improvements through the KDE software stack for subjects as varied as Libinput mouse and touchpad device handling, Task Manager icon sorting for LibreOffice, and a snazzy new unified mailbox in KMail. Have a look:

New Features

  • KMail can now display a unified inbox (Daniel Vrátil, KDE Applications 18.12.0):

Bugfixes

UI Polish & Improvement

Next week, your name could be in this list! Just check out https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved, and find out how you can help be a part of something that really matters.

If my efforts to perform, guide, and document this work seem useful and you’d like to see more of them, then consider becoming a patron on Patreon, LiberaPay, or PayPal. Also consider making a donation to the KDE e.V. foundation.