Sunday, October 18, 2015

My contribution to Plasma 5.5

In this post, I'd like to quickly present everything I've been working on for the upcoming Plasma 5.5.

Quicklaunch applet is back
One applet I missed the most from KDE4 Plasma times was Quicklaunch applet. I use vertical panel and adding multiple launchers to vertical panel is not really convenient because they are placed bellow each other, and in result occupy a lot of vertical space. That's why I was using Quicklaunch that let's you have (in my case) 4 applets that occupy the same space as one big launcher.

For Plasma 5.5, I have reimplemented the old Quicklaunch in QML. It offers all features that the old applet had, except auto-columns/rows functionality, so you now need to manually specify the number you prefer to have. I had some issues implementing it, so I just decided to remove this functionality. I hope it won't be missed :)

If you can't wait and want to try it right now, you can build it yourself from scratch/drosca/quicklaunch-qml.git. It works with Plasma 5.4 and probably also with older versions.

Quicklaunch in vertical panel and on desktop

New Bluetooth Devices KCM
In Bluedevil, apart from some fixes, I've been working on new Bluetooth Devices KCM. It now shows devices from all Bluetooth adapters, looks better and also is able to setup DUN/PAN network for devices that supports it.

Bluetooth Devices KCM

There are bug reports about Bluedevil not being usable in Plasma 5, not starting automatically etc. on Kubuntu. This is because Kubuntu is still using old BlueZ 4 with very old KDE4 Bluedevil. Fortunately, this will all be fixed in Kubuntu 15.10 that finally switched to BlueZ 5 and is going to be released soon.
This is also a remainder not to report bugs for these old Bluedevil versions. They are no longer maintained, so your bug reports will simply be closed.

Keyboard layouts
I've been also trying to fix some keyboard layouts bugs, including sometimes forgetting the layouts setup in settings. From my investigation, it seems that the main issue is that the code that listens for device hotplug events only works on systems with xcb-xinput (not available in Debian and other distros), so my idea is to use udev when xcb-xinput is not available. It is still in review, but it should be ready in time for Plasma 5.5.


  1. Your work on Bluedevil will be Kubuntu 15.10? But that will be using Plasma 5.4, right?

    1. Yes, Kubuntu 15.10 is using Plasma 5.4. For more info about Bluedevil in Plasma 5, please see

  2. Hey, thank you for your work :)

  3. Good to see people with knowledge and experience contribute to KDE. If i could ask for something, then could you try to port the Global Menu plasmoid? That one which displays "File, Edit, Tools, Window, etc). This one is most missing for me.

  4. First of all, many thanks for your work! Making KDE even better is a great thing ;)

    Second... following Tomasz example ;) something that I miss a lot is the "QuickAccess" plasmoid. It seems nobody maintains it anymore (it doesn't work on 4.14 either), but it was really useful for some tasks: sometimes a full folder view is too much and a simple button in a panel that opens with a browsable list of the content of a given folder is a time saver.


  5. Yes! Thanks David. Excellent work. I've really missed this.

  6. What is DUN network? (I'm a technical user and I don't know)
    Please change the button to "Use device's network" or what it means.

    1. Dial-Up Network, afaik.
      But "DUN Network" would be a bad choice in this case because it shows the RAS syndrome...

  7. You wrote "From my investigation, it seems that the main issue is that the code that listens for device hotplug events only works on systems with xcb-xinput (not available in Debian and other distros), so my idea is to use udev when xcb-xinput is not available. "

    This sounds like it might also be the problem with the Wacom tablet support stuff on Kubuntu etc...(At least, the dependency on xcb-xinput which prevents it being used...)

    Can you post a link to the code you wrote - I would like to see if I can put that to use for the Wacom stuff.


      I'm not familiar with Wacom tablet support, but in keyboards xcb-xinput is only used for hotplug events, so it can be replaced with udev quite easily.

    2. I guess the problem (for me) is you have to have an interest in fixing the code AND have a Wacom device to test it with. I have no more excuses now I have some example code to follow (thank you)... unravelling X11 input from first principles wasn't something I was looking forward to.

      FYI []
      This has been bugging me with Kubuntu for years.

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  9. I'd like to try the Quicklaunch widget (thanks for porting it) with Plasma 5.4 - but how do I have to compile/build it?

    BTW: Does someone know of a picture frame widget for Plasma 5? Like the one in KDE SC 4?

    1. Clone the repo and then:

      mkdir build && cd build
      cmake ..
      make install

      I think the picture frame applet was not yet ported.

    2. Thanks for reply and guidance :).