A medley of (non-critical) bugs in Plasma 6 that I have encountered

… or I also could have called this post “sleepless nights in Germany” instead. :wink:

→ Test one: KDE neon with KDE Plasma 6.0.3, Frameworks 6.0.0, Gear 24.02.1, Qt 6.6.2 and X11
→ Test two: Arch with KDE Plasma 6.0.3, Frameworks 6.0.0, Gear 24.02.1, Qt 6.6.2 and X11
→ Test three: openSUSE Tumbleweed with KDE Plasma 6.0.3, Frameworks 6.0.0, Gear 24.02.1, Qt 6.6.3 and X11
→ Tested both on “real metal” with AMD iGPU and in VMs.

Most of them I would consider “15-minute Plasma bugs”:

  • Plasma Panel
  1. The gap between floating Plasma Panels (the new default!) and windows of contained widgets is too big most of the time (twice as big compared to the gap between a floating panel and the edge of the screen?).
    Examples with too big of a gap: Application Launcher, System Tray, Digital Clock, Weather Report, Calculator widget, Dictionary widget.
    Examples with correct gap: mouse over information, Folder View widget (the latter only has a correct gap when you log out and in again…)
    See these screenshots: Gaps

  2. Configure Panel → Height: individually setting the height (“Custom”) in a vertical panel does not work properly.
    The rulers to do so are partially not displayed and the panel “snaps” to the middle - which is not the middle if there is (respectively in relation to) an additional single horizontal panel, e.g. when using the vertical panel as a dock replacement.
    Sometimes rulers are not shown at all (I think when the panel size exceeds a certain width/height - this could be related to Bug # 483847)

  3. Configure Panel → Alignment: setting the alignment to “Centre” for a vertical Plasma Panel leads to overlapping panels, if additional horizontal panels are present.
    This might be the intended behaviour, BUT:
    the setting “Center” does not take another, single horizontal panel into account (or vice versa), therefore does not “center” the panel in relation.

  • Plasma Panel / Individual Core Usage widget
    The Individual Core Usage widget is more or less blank when used in a vertical Plasma Panel that is (in my case) narrower than about 300 pixels. This worked in Plasma 5.27.
    On the contrary the Memory Usage, Hard Disk Activity and Network Speed widgets are fully displayed even in vertical panels as narrow as about 240 pixels.

  • Plasma Panel / Plasmoid Icons
    Some icons are “missing” like the coloured ones for the Trash or the Folder View widgets when used inside of a panel.
    It seems that the “…-symbolic” icons only are used instead.
    See theses screenshots: Icons

  • Grid View and Overview

  1. System Settings → Input & Output → Mouse & Touchpad → Screen Edges: Grid View is missing as an option (one can only use/activate it with a key shortcut…).
    Reported by @seancolsen here: https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=482235

    → Will be fixed in Plasma 6.1 - thanks! :+1:

  2. Overview does not work with virtual desktops in a grid (e.g. 2x2 or 3x3): no virtual desktops at all are displayed at the top then. It worked in Plasma 5.27.
    A bug report exists here: https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=475077

  3. Design flaw both in Grid View and Overview: exaggeratedly rounded corners that cannot be found anywhere else in KDE Plasma 6.
    A standard rounding from other Plasma elements for the corners like e.g. the ones in the floating Plasma Panel or in applications like Dolphin should be used for a professional overall look/more consistency.
    See these (“old” but still valid) screenshots: Corners

  • Yakuake ( / Plasma Panel? )
    The upper half of the first line is missing when used with a floating top panel.
    See these screenshots: Missing

  • SDDM ( / System Settings? )
    SDDM 0.21 seems to ignore the cursor theme setting
    [Theme] CursorTheme=name_of_the_cursor_theme
    in /etc/sddm.conf.d/kde_settings.conf when it was changed by
    System SettingsAppearance & Style → Colors & ThemesLogin Screen (SDDM)Apply Plasma Settings
    It could be related to Bug #484238

  • System Settings
    The labelling has a logical error (sorry @ngraham :wink: ): to use “Internet” as a heading for network stuff is unfortunate - network is not always internet, but internet is a sub-category of network (or a pool of connected networks).
    IMHO the heading should have simply stayed “Network” or as a compromise should have been renamed to “Network & Internet”…

Other than that (and some adversenesses probably mainly due to packaging/configuration errors in KDE neon’s first Plasma 6.0.0 release):
Good job!
Thank you!
Well done!

updated 2024-03-30

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Well done. About Grid View: everything you said :+1: Option in Screen Edges should not be missing!

Also the number of rows in the Grid View is now linked to Virtual Desktops (VDs) in the Settings, which is not desirable as it affects the Pager used in panels as well. So if you want to have a Grid View with some VDs in 2 or 3 rows like before (depending on the size and orientation of a monitor) the same applies to the Pager in a panel which makes navigating VDs with the mouse very difficult! And vice versa, 1 row makes multiple VDs in Grid View very small hurting visibility and making moving windows from VD to VD very difficult. Please make the 2 options independent from each other like it used to be in 5.27! @ngraham

I would add to that out of place, almost GNOMEish rounding of the VDs in the Grid View, that maximized windows in Grid View should take more space like they used to before and not be shrinked that much, we see the wallpaper (and its parts) multiple times already, no need to further strain the eyes with extra colored candy. The quick overview of the various windows in the VDs need to stand out, not the wallpapers.

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Even though Grid View (triggered by a screen edge) is an essential part of my workflow (and on several computers I installed for others), I think most people will notice the uneven gaps at the floating Plasma Panel first.

I know that this is a non-critical bug (as are the other bugs in my little list) and certainly the priorities of the amazing KDE devolopers are rightfully focused on other bugs at the moment.
But.
This is one of the first impressions a (new) Plasma user has as the floating Plasma Panel is the default now.
So it could unfortunately corroborate a (IMHO wrong) perception “Plasma = always buggy (compared to others GNU/Linux-DEs)”.

I do agree with you here - I think that this is partially a consquence of the “exaggeratedly rounded corners”-design.

I was also facing the problem of “Desktop Grid” missing from the screen edge options, so I opened this bug for it:

https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=482235

2 Likes

Yes the gap is inconsistent, but it is of aesthetical nature (=minor), on the other hand, current Grid View is broken/missing functionality (major!)

:point_right: tl;dr for those that didn’t read it all

a) Grid View is missing in Screen Edges (only toggable with Meta+G)
b) # of rows is now dependent on the # of rows for the Virtual Desktops which affects the Pager in the panel.

@seancolsen :+1:

I think I stand corrected from a functionality point of view. :slight_smile:

I am a very visual person, that’s probably why I tend to give those bugs like the inconsitent gaps at the floating Plasma Panel or the exaggeratedly rounded corners in Overview/Grid View a lot of weight.

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I retested today with Arch and Plasma 6.0.1.
Most is still unchanged except a little improvement of the Plasma Panel settings in X11.

So, non of those little bugs were KDE neon’s “fault”. :wink:

PS: The reason why I have listed several Plasma Panel bugs is that one now is forced to use it, because Latte Dock no longer works in Plasma 6 !

1 Like

Re (Desktop) Grid View thankfully @zzag ( :+1: ) fixed it 478137 – Desktop grid is not available as an option for screen edges/corners .

Regression #1 done, now to #2 please :slightly_smiling_face: :point_right: 482418 – Desktop Grid Layout Preference to Ignore the Pager layout possible in Plasma 6?

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I am a very visual person, that’s probably why I tend to give those bugs… a lot of weight.

Just to back you up here: these things are important! Visual / interface design is not “extra colored candy,” it is (or should be) an integral part of the software development process. Inconsistencies can increase cognitive load and make interfaces harder to use. Painting a wall mural is purely aesthetics, whereas designing an interface is not; there is a significant body of research dedicated to measuring how the design of interfaces affects the humans using them - design issues are not “minor” issues because they literally make software less usable.

Well established design patterns are what allow people to use computers for just about any purpose without needing to specialize or go through a rigorous learning process for each new computing task; it’s that important, and issues such as spacing and consistency relate to the very underpinnings of modern design - gestalt principles that determine how humans perceive elements of an interface. Even when inconsistencies aren’t severe enough to cause major misunderstandings, minor ones repeated throughout an interface increase cognitive load, which increases the perceived difficulty of an interface, which reduces a user’s ability to do tasks well. Design is not frippery: it’s applied psychology.

I’m not commenting on the specific issues you pointed out, but I just wanted to support the importance you apply to these issues because I get so tired of seeing design denigrated in tech spaces as something extra: a pretty but unnecessary bonus performed by artsy types for the benefit of the tech-illiterate when design has been an indispensable part of computing since the beginning, and it always will be. So long as proprietary software takes this more seriously than FLOSS, FLOSS projects will always lag behind in terms of user adoption, bug trackers will continue to be overloaded, and forums will continue to be clogged to the brim with user complaints and new users asking how to perform basic functionality.

3 Likes

Thank you for these interesting and elaborate thoughts and examples.

Slightly OT:
That reminds me again of the necessity for good design guidlines for a desktop environment and the interconnected applications.
But unfortunately professional and responsible designers are rarely to be had for nothing…

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unfortunately professional and responsible designers are rarely to be had for nothing…

Yea, I think there are a number of reasons for this:

Chiefly, designers tend to have their expertise dismissed and get pushed out of FLOSS projects by devs who think their work is more important.

Secondly, due to point one, design-focused FLOSS projects often miss the mark in catering to professional designers, so few designers use GNU/Linux and / or FLOSS design tools. (As an example: we’re only now getting CMYK color management in Inkscape, and the lone dev working on it, Martin Owens: an absolute hero, has been fighting an uphill battle to make it happen.)

Thirdly, working with FLOSS projects often involves learning tooling that is intended to be used by developers, so the learning curve to even get in the door is steep (I actually wrote a blog post somewhat about this).

Fourth: people are constantly trying to devalue the profession, like they do with many professions considered ‘feminine’, and get work for free, because they don’t consider it real work. This often takes place through spec work, such as asking for free mockups before signing a contract, or hosting ‘competitions’ that dangle a pittance in front of an army of designers, all of whose work will be for naught except for the winner, et cetera. As a result, designers are extremely wary of people asking them to volunteer their time, especially when people transparently have no respect for their expertise, as is so often the case in the FLOSS scene.

As one of the rare cases of a professional designer who does use GNU/Linux and FLOSS tooling, and who has contributed to FLOSS projects on multiple occasions, I have no doubt that designers would love to help shape the tools they use every day and reap the benefits of free software, but there are so many barriers to entry and there’s so much hostility towards designers that it’s no surprise there’s a dearth of us.

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I disagree with this statement.

To me, it is not a matter of focus, mostly a matter of scale/resources. Floss project succeed the more they have users, because more users bring more developers. Like a network effect. The more contributors the more users, the better design, etc…
Just see look at the plasma6 changes and consider what could be achieved with the little resources we got. Maybe 10-15 people involved on the design side, a few full-time contributors, most benevolent, none focusing all their available time on this subject. Now imagine 10 times the number of people involved…

Bug trackers of FLOSS project will always be fuller than on proprietaries software by essence, because users are encouraged to give feedback, whether it is bugs or feature requests and do so publicly. And users whether they want it or not participate in QA, there is no way around it, that’s their part of the bargain.

And finally, Floss project won’t take “anything seriously”, especially not KDE. Every contributor work on what they want with the time they can devote to their project. I can refer you to The structure of KDE, or how anarchy sometimes works – Adventures in Linux and KDE

What brings us together is the https://manifesto.kde.org/ not a corporate goal.
If you want better design why don’t you do something about it!

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You seem to be under the impression that I am criticizing the design of a KDE project. I am not. In my post, I say:

I’m not commenting on the specific issues you pointed out, but I just wanted to support the importance you apply to these issues

To rephrase: I’m discussing a general issue, not a KDE project or phenomena specific to KDE.

On this:

Bug trackers of FLOSS project will always be fuller than on proprietaries software by essence, because users are encouraged to give feedback, whether it is bugs or feature requests and do so publicly. And users whether they want it or not participate in QA, there is no way around it, that’s their part of the bargain.

I’m a little annoyed at your assumption that I’m so unfamiliar with the FLOSS landscape as to be unaware of this, but I know the kind of entitled whining that occurs from users in these spaces, so I don’t blame you for getting your defenses up and making that assumption. I thought it was pretty clear that I meant to imply that a focus on good design would reduce bug reports and forum posts that stem from design related issues when I said:

forums will continue to be clogged to the brim with user complaints and new users asking how to perform basic functionality

… but my apologies if not. And to address this:

And finally, Floss project won’t take “anything seriously”, especially not KDE. Every contributor work on what they want with the time they can devote to their project. I can refer you to The structure of KDE, or how anarchy sometimes works – Adventures in Linux and KDE

I know the article, furthermore, I have myself contributed to a number of FLOSS projects and I am familiar with how they work. (I’ve also served on the board of a volunteer-run makerspace, and I’ve read Kropotkin haha) But that said, I disagree with you on one point; FLOSS projects certainly do take some things very seriously. FLOSS projects invest money in organizing events and programming tasks that volunteers don’t want to do. The fact that, in the absence of design talent, (which, let me be crystal clear, I am not suggesting is the case in KDE) FLOSS projects often don’t even consider investing in design talent is a dead-giveaway as to how little they value design (again, I am not talking about KDE).

To address KDE specifically: one of the things I really like about KDE contributors as a whole is the importance they place on design, and how they discuss and weigh these considerations (yea, I lurk in the VDG Matrix channel). I don’t always agree with these decisions, but that’s fine. I’m not a customer, it’s not my project, my opinion isn’t always the right one, and I don’t feel that I have the time to build up the relationships and put in the work to muck-in on the conversation in earnest, so I usually don’t. I also really value people Like Nate Graham who, with seemingly endless patience, make KDE a more hospitable place for users and contributors alike, including designers. The kind of work that Nate puts in just by talking to people on this forum is tremendously important, and will result in returns for the KDE community. Do I think that KDE could do better on the design front? Yea, of course. I recognize that this isn’t because KDE contributors don’t want to; I know the score. I also think Microsoft, Apple, and Adobe could do better. In fact, in many instances, I think KDE projects are ahead of their proprietary counterparts in terms of usability.

But anyway, I wrote that initial response because, as a designer, every time I see someone on a FLOSS forum having their ideas / feedback being called “minor” because they’re related to design, I feel an obligation to step in to reinforce to them and others that design concerns are as important as any other. While I wasn’t addressing KDE specifically in the points I made there, I’d like to point out that even if I was, discussing important concerns is doing something about it, and is a contribution. After all:

users… participate in QA… that’s their part of the bargain.

If I were highlighting an issue with KDE specifically, which I wasn’t, a more appropriate response to someone highlighting an issue might have been: “I hear your concerns, but we just don’t have the resources to tackle them. If you’re interested in helping, here’s how to get started,” rather than:

If you want better design why don’t you do something about it!

4 Likes

I agree with that one.

But I also understand the frustrations from Developers / Community members whenever the design question comes up.
Its hard to explain without a wall of text so I give up.

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Totally fair. Also, I’m sure a great deal of frustration is due to the fact that a lot of design feedback isn’t useful; much of it stems from personal preference rather than genuine design problems that can be acted upon. EG, whereas pointing out inconsistent spacing or corner radii is a valid, useful thing to do, someone asking for something to be blue because they don’t like the color green is not — and the fact is that most people, thinking that design is purely the practice of executing an aesthetic, don’t know the difference between valid feedback and asking for enforcement of their own preferences.

After 15 years of design work, this is the most exhausting thing for me (and I am not talking about KDE, or anyone in this thread when I say this, just a wee rant); when people think that their unqualified opinion is as valid as your professional expertise because they believe that design is just aesthetics, any and every design decision is eligible to become a battleground which you have to be prepared to defend. Dealing with this during your day job alone will burn out a designer, let alone facing it in your free time from FLOSS developers who you’d expect to have some appreciation for the time, research, and skill that goes into creating usable interfaces. These days, I just don’t tolerate it any more. I have a little design business that I operate on the side, and I walked away from a website project once because a potential investor who got himself involved in the design process wanted to use a text color that wasn’t WCAG compliant / accessible and wouldn’t budge when I explained it; I just walked out, dropped the entire job and the thousands of dollars I would have gained from completing it. I decided I didn’t have time to waste on bad, inaccessible work because of the subjective preference of someone who doesn’t understand the first thing about design. In the end, my client actually got rid of the investor and had me complete the job properly.

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This is absolutely true, and I really try never to do that.
My previous generation were designers and typesetters - but I am just a layman and semi-retired computer grunt, so never say never: probably I may have done in the past what you criticised.

But I think this time I am right and the bugs in Plasma 6.0’s design that I pointed out are real (more or less small) design flaws.

Can you cross out those issue that are solved? That would help looking into your issues without reading a wall of text.
Not sure If I can help but I will look into it.

Done.
It’s still a wall of text… :laughing:
And thank you.

Thanks, well 1 Bug down is 1 Bug down :slight_smile:

Curious: You didn’t mention the screenlocker bug? Does the screenlocker work for you on X11?