KDE Goal: Usability and Productivity

It’s been an honor to have had the community select my KDE goal: focus on usability and productivity. This is a topic that’s quite dear to my heart, as I’ve always seen a computer for a vehicle for giving substance to your thoughts. Low-quality computer operating systems and software get in your way and knock you out of a state of flow, while high quality versions let you create at the speed of thought. KDE Plasma is already pretty good in this department, but I think we can make it even better–we can turn it into the obvious choice for people who need to get things done.

To make this happen, I’m proposing to focus on the following broad approaches:

  • Make it easier to find, install, launch, update, and remove new software
  • Increase the speed and efficiency with which files and data can be transferred from one program or context to another
  • Write new features that make common operations easier, faster, more efficient, or less frustrating
  • Make common features look and behave identically to make use of users’ pre-existing muscle memory and knowledge of how things work
  • Fix bugs that make important features not work properly or at all
  • Improve the state of laptop touchpad input with libinput, which is rapidly becoming the new standard
  • Fix commonly-complained-about visual design and UX issues

In the past month, KDE contributors (myself included) have implemented the following important improvements–many of them commonly wished for:

  • Improved the default size of the Clock widget’s text (KDE Bug 375969)
  • Worked with the VLC devs to make VLC 3.0 work out of the box for streaming videos over Samba shares on KDE desktops (VLC Bugs 18993 and 18991)
  • Made sections in Dolphin’s Places panel hide-able (KDE Bug 300247)
  • Added a dedicated section for removable devices to open and save dialogs (Phabricator revision D8348)
  • Made Gwenview open Targa Image (.tga) files KDE Bug 332485)
  • Gave Gwenview’s move/copy/link dialog a title that reflects the selected files (Phabricator revision D8409)
  • Got Discover’s screenshot pop-ups navigation buttons that respond to keyboard arrow keys (KDE Bugs 387816, 387858, and 387879)
  • Implemented a Wayland-compatible Redshift-esque Night Color feature (KDE Bug 371494)
  • Restored advanced print options to the Qt print dialog (Qt Bug 54464)

And we’re just getting started! You can find a longer list of the improvements we’re targeting in the coming months and years on the proposal page, and the full list here on our Bugzilla.

How you can help

If you have programming skills, please feel free to work on any of the above bugs. Patches are submitted using Phabricator; additional developer documentation can be found here.

If you’re more visually inclined, please feel free to start giving feedback and input in the KDE Visual Design Group chatroom.

If you’re detail-oriented and like categorizing things, we’re always in dire need of bug screeners and triagers. Every day, KDE receives on average 15-25 new Bugzilla tickets. Many of these are duplicates of existing bug reports. Many have already been fixed. Many are caused by configuration issues on the reporter’s computer. And many are real bug or legitimate feature requests. But without bug screeners to categorize them appropriately, they just all pile up into an intimidating mountain. It’s an important job; the bug lists above could not have been compiled if not for KDE’s bug triagers. Read more about it here!

And finally, financial contributions are very much appreciated, too. KDE’s annual fundraiser is going on right now, so hop on over and donate! Every little bit helps.


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