This week in Usability & Productivity, part 43

Get ready for the flood, because have loads of amazing stuff for you in this week’s Usability & Productivity update! There are a ton of pictures today, so hold onto your hats and be glad you don’t have to access the internet over a 56k modem (unless you do have to access the internet with a 56k modem, in which case, my condolences):

New Features

Bugfixes

UI Polish & Improvement

Next week, your name could be in this list! Not sure how? Just ask! I’ve helped mentor a number of new contributors recently and I’d love to help you, too! You can also 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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46 thoughts on “This week in Usability & Productivity, part 43

  1. Thanks for all the work!

    Which component should I report issues in the process of mounting LUKS volumes? While it works, there are quite a few small usability issues with it.
    * The unlock dialogue shows the device name, which is hard to distinguish if you have multiple storage devices from the same manufacturer and also impossible to distinguish if there are multiple LUKS partitions on the same device
    * Even when a LUKS partition has been mounted successfully, Dolphin and (in case of external media) the removable media plasmoid show an error message
    * Mounted LUKS partitions cannot be opened from the removable media plasmoid (which works for unencrypted media iirc)
    * When cancelling the unlock process or entering the wrong password, the error message in Dolphin shows the wrong folder/device name

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  2. Hi ! Great work, again, thanks everyone !
    Nate : is there a kind of wiki / collaborative document with features requests / wishlists from users ?
    I temporarily switched one of my machines to Cinnamon because for some reasons the Nvidia drivers only behave in a satisfactorily <ith it :-/ And I noticed a couple of interesting features in Nemo : easy way to switch a desktop icon colour (could apply to labels) and possibility to edit emblems. Gnome has "favorites" and "recent" shortcuts too which are pretty useful.
    I guess users have tons of wild dreams & wishes, maybe it would be nice to write those ideas down somewhere (and discuss about them ?)
    Again, I don't want to sound like a spoiled kid, I'm so happy about what's been happening in KDE land in the past year !!
    Cheers.

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    1. It’s pretty easy to change an icon in Plasma too: right-click -> properties -> Click on icon -> change it to whatever you want it to be.

      I agree that Nemo’s emblem system is really nice though. A “Recents” shortcut is coming soon: https://phabricator.kde.org/D7446. We already have an even better “Favorites” functionality in the form of the tagging system, which I’ll admit is a bit hidden. Improving that is also coming soon: https://phabricator.kde.org/D7700

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      1. Thanks (again !) for the reply.
        Is there a place to gather users’ suggestions ?
        That’s great Dolphin is getting better “recents” & “favorites” support.
        Regarding folders colours, it’s true it already works well. I thought it could be handier / more discoverable… Also a right-click action to set a folder colour would allow mult-iselection.

        Hmm, now that I think about it, a teacher using OSX applied coloured “labels” to folders & *files*, which was a clever way of seeing in a given folder what files were being worked on / finished / not started… (instead of putting stuff in subdirs).

        Well, I guess there are tons of possible ideas, and people are already very busy improving / fixing the existing code 🙂

        Cheers !

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        1. Is there a place to gather users’ suggestions ?

          Bugzilla, mainly. But also here, on IRC, Reddit, the mailing lists, etc. Anywhere the developers are listening–though of course Bugzilla is preferred since Bugzilla tickets are permanent.

          Hmm, now that I think about it, a teacher using OSX applied coloured “labels” to folders & *files*, which was a clever way of seeing in a given folder what files were being worked on / finished / not started… (instead of putting stuff in subdirs).

          Tracked with https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=37300. I believe Kai had started work on this at some point. I’m quite eager to see it myself.

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  3. You could have also removed the useless Help buttons (incl that What’s This button in the KWin title bar) that clutter the interface everywhere and don’t provide accurate help anyway because if help files exist at all, they’re usually 10 years old.

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    1. I proposed that a while back but folks didn’t agree because there are some apps like Kate that do provide very good “What’s This?” help functionality. I agree with you though; it would be better to delete these entirely in favor of improving the user interface to make it less important, and improving the actual documentation for cases where that’s not enough.

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          1. I don’t remember where it was but I saw an application that had a sidebar that displayed short help texts about the GUI widget the mouse pointer is hovering over. Not sure if that’s the best alternative (requires some screen space, may look cluttered) but at least it’s more discoverable.

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        1. I love the “what’s this” functionality but, like you say, most often it is not implemented which is always a disappointment when you need it badly 😉 When it’s there, it’s usually very good, because it comes straight from the developer and is very specific to the question since you point with the mouse. You also don’t need an internet connection to lookup a manual or have a possibly separate help package installed (which is again a problem when you don’t have internet).

          I’m not sure though which button you are referring to, since the button I know (in the titlebar) can be easily removed through system settings.

          While I love this feature, I understand one may want to remove underused code with a possibly exotic implementation.

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  4. Hi Nate! Great to see that Samba is making improvements. However, even as an experienced user, I had some trouble this week to get Samba (4.8.5) working on Arch:

    * Dolphin offers discovery of shares. Sounds good, but Dolphin finds nothing. 😦
    After an investigation I found out that with Samba protocol v2 the discovery function has been removed and the replacement WS-Discovery yet has not been implemented.
    You can either force a downgrade to NT1 and risk a WannaCry infection or live without it.

    * Simply right click on a folder and choose share with guests and set the permissions. If it were that easy…
    In order to properly share a folder from your home directory, a usershare has to be set up together with a special group and the execution bit has to be set for everyone at /home/${USER}. (Which on the other hand weakens the security again).

    * Samba 3 offers encryption! Yay! However, not with Guest shares; Took some time until I figured that out.

    Now I know how it works, but for someone who is not into Linux this will definitely be a pain. I know that there are Wikis and uncountable threads on the internet about it, but for a standard user either some hints would be good start: Like “No shares found. You have configured Samba to use at least Samba protocol … in order to …. “.

    If Samba shares would just work out of the box, this would be even greater! 🙂

    Regards

    (Fixed some typos)

    Like

    1. You can either force a downgrade to NT1 and risk a WannaCry infection or live without it.

      Yeah, this sucks for sure. It's actually being worked on. See https://phabricator.kde.org/D16299

      In order to properly share a folder from your home directory, a usershare has to be set up together with a special group and the execution bit has to be set for everyone at /home/${USER}. (Which on the other hand weakens the security again).

      Tracked with https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=334875

      Samba 3 offers encryption! Yay! However, not with Guest shares; Took some time until I figured that out.

      Sounds like this one an issue in Samba itself, not KDE software.

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      1. Thanks Nate for your reply. It’s great that you already got it on your radar. 🙂

        > Sounds like this one an issue in Samba itself, not KDE software.

        You are right, I just mentioned it as it really bothered me this week and hopefully it will help anyone else who reads this post by chance.

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      1. We don’t care it the responsible is KDE, QT or Nvidia, if your brand new car stop to work and the vendor say “it’s not my fault !” you will think that it’s normal ? I see patch, why they are not include in KDE ?

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        1. Brand new cars cost $20,000. How much did you pay for KDE Plasma? 🙂

          This is an important distinction because what you’re asking for costs money. If you want to have a vendor who you can complain to and have them figure out the problem and fix it for you, then you should buy a computer that comes pre-loaded with Linux from a company such as System76 or SlimBook, or even Dell. When you do that, then you’ve paid for a measure of user support and you are (or should be) entitled to the vendor figuring out the problem and fixing it for you.

          If you didn’t pay, then it’s your responsibility to find the guilty party when you have a bug. That’s just the way it works.

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          1. Personally, when I code A software, I made my best for the final user. I make no difference between a 200 000$ ++ ERP software I made at work or a just a freeware I made at home. It’s not your philosophy, ok. Kde future (and desktop linux) could be nice, but I know now that it will not. Good luck to you.

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            1. Yes, I also try to make software best for the final user. So does everybody. But sometimes it’s out of your control because the problem is in someone else’s software. KDE does not own or control NVIDIA; we have no input into how their software behaves. We can’t even submit patches for their buggy driver if we wanted to, because it’s closed-source. For the same reason, we cannot feasibly put in local workarounds because we have to guess at what the driver is doing. To a certain extend, Microsoft has the same problem; the difference is that Microsoft’s OS is important enough that NVIDIA has to put more effort into testing their products with it. As long as NVIDIA’s drivers are proprietary and closed source, the ball is in their court, not ours. That’s simply how reality is. What do you propose we do about it?

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              1. Oh yes, the Nvidia situation is a problem under KDE (misc bugs, frozen panel, smoothness, wayland etc etc.).

                But not only under KDE. I made tons of tests with combinations of drivers, options, distros, DEs etc etc… And the nvidia driver are always slower for stuff that is otherwise butter smooth on a way cheaper / slower GPU… Sometimes it’s OK but most of the time it’s significantly worse than any OSS driver.

                Like

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