May 8, 2019

KDE Plasma 5.15.5 Released As The Last Bugfix Of The Series Before The Release Of 5.16

The KDE Community has released Plasma 5.15.5 with the latest round of bug fixes. This represents the last release of the 5.15 series.

Plasma 5.16 will release in June, and will be when many new exciting features are brought forth, such as with Discover.

Per the announcement:

"This release adds a month's worth of new translations and fixes from KDE's contributors. The bugfixes are typically small but important..."

Highlights for 5.15 include:

  • Setting the default cursor theme for GTK applications to Breeze
  • Many Flatpak improvements for Discover Software Store
  • A fix to the underlying code for the weather addon
  • Improved label legibility in Folder View
  • Fixing blurry previews in Widget Explorer
  • Bugfixes for Kickoff menu 
  • Bugfix for Plasma Network Manager that would allow seen networks to disappear under certain conditions
  • Several xdg-desktop-portal-kde improvements

You can read the full changelog here.

Look for these to land soon in your preferred KDE Plasma distro.

May 7, 2019

Freespire Linux 4.8 Released With KDE Plasma 5 LTS, Some Unique Applications

Freespire, the free version of Linspire from PC / OpenSystems LLC, has a new release

The team over at Linspire recently announced the immediate availability of Freespire, the free and community version of it's licensed commercial cousin.

Once based on XFCE, Freespire is currently based on KDE Plasma 5 LTS. Per the announcement:

"Today is another great day for the freespire development team, as we announce the release of Freespire 4.8. It is our FOSS solution, with no binary-only drivers, multimedia codecs and strictly libre applications, nothing proprietary included. Freespire is released bi-annually and showcases the best of the FOSS and KDE communities"

Freespire Linux 4.8 based on KDE Plasma 5 LTS
Screenshot courtesy of

Included applications

Among the apps shipping with Freespire some interesting and unique choices, such as Ice SSB (Site Specific Browser) and the Amarok music player

Other highlights included in Freespire 4.8:

  • KDE Plasma 5.12.7 LTS
  • KDE Frameworks 5.44.0
  • QT 5.9.5
  • Kernel 4.18
  • Chromium Web Browser
  • Geary
  • Ice SSB
  • Amarok
  • VLC Player
  • Calligra Office Suite
  • Discover Software Center

Freespire Linux 4.8 Desktop


Some initial thoughts on Freespire 4.8

As someone who has never installed Freespire, here are a few initial thoughts:

- Interestingly, although based on the LTS version of Plasma, the kernel shipped is 4.18, which is older than the current LTS kernel release, which is 4.19.

- It's always good to see KDE's Calligra office suite included in "pure" KDE distributions, and I wish more would do the same; Although it's hard to argue with Libre Office as a default. But you can't get exposure without getting the software into user's hands.

- Along that some line of thinking, the inclusion of a GTK application, namely Geary for email, is a bit surprising considering the announcement states that one of the goals of Freespire is to showcase the best of the KDE Community. Perhaps the devs just don't consider KMail / KDE PIM to be stable enough. Fair enough. But then why not include Thunderbird instead? Or better yet, Trojita?

- It will be interesting to follow Freespire (and it's sibling Linspire). I'd be keen to know what the differences are. I'm assuming that the model is that Freespire is to Linspire as Fedora is to Red Hat Enterprise Linux?... Inquiring minds want to know.

You can read more about Freespire 4.8 and the organization behind it, as well as get download information, over on the release announcement page.

You can also read more about the parent company, PC / Opensystems LLC by visting their page at

May 6, 2019

New KDE Partition Manager 4.0 Released With New Features And Code Re-write

Lots of new features and some code re-base highlight KDE Partition Manager 4.0


After 1 and 1/2 years of work from the developers, KDE Partition Manager 4.0 has been made available to users. by far, the main aspect of this release is that the entire application, including the GUI, does not need to run as the root user.

"The main highlight of this release is that GUI does not need to run as root user. Instead we use KAuth framework (note that in the future we plan to use lower level Polkit API directly but this work is not started yet). GUI runing as unprivileged user also makes our Wayland port work perfectly fine"

The announcement states that the changes above will make KPM more portable, and therefore possible to be used by other projects such as FreeBSD.

Additionally, many of the underlying tool sets have been updated including moving to the latest version of smartmontools from libatasmart, and moving the KPMcor e component to sfdisk (a part of util-linux).

KDE Partition Manager 4.0
KDE Partition Manager 4.0

Other notable changes / improvements include new detection support for Apple's APFS file system and Microsoft's Bitlocker, use of modern C++ features, LVM bug fixes, and better LUKS2 support.

The LUKS2 support, while not exposed in the Partition Manager GUI, is present and will allow other related projects such as the Calamares Installer, to to support LUKS2 containers / partitions in the future. 

The full release announcement is available over at Andrius Štikonas' blog.

Elisa Music Player Sees More New Features And A Beta Release

KDE Music Player Elisa Issues Beta, Moving Towards 0.4 Release

Well, what can I say? Another day, more news about KDE's Elisa Music Player.

Pushing forward from the previous announcements regarding this up-and-coming music application, the lead developer has again posted news about more new features in a move towards an official release.

Elisa looks great, with blurred backgrounds that are taken from the album cover and it's colors
Elisa looks great, with blurred backgrounds
that are taken from the album cover and it's colors

What's new?


Here's the scoop on what's been added this time around:

  • Displays embedded lyrics in the Now Playing view
  • Displays album covers, either embedded or in the album's folder (i.e. cover.jpg)
  • Displays a warning and an 'undo' feature if someone accidentally tries to delete a playlist
  • Initial support for Android integration (this is separate than the media integration via KDE Connect)
  • Clickable headerbar to navigate to the album or artist from the Now Playing view
  • Easy installation of the beta candidate via a Flatpak install option

I gave this version of Elisa a spin by uninstalling my native KDE Neon 0.3 version and installing the beta from the now-available Flatpak.

I can tell you it has come a long way in a short time. Great having the lyrics there along with excellent playlist support and also the ability to use my embedded cover art.

Elisa Music Player now shows embedded song lyrics and has clickable artist / album links
Elisa Music Player now shows embedded song lyrics
and has clickable artist / album links

Where does Elisa go from here?


Once the 0.4 release is made, I can safely say that what we will have on our hands as a solid music player for KDE and for Linux. Which is great, because frankly, the 'Tux universe is over-filled with crappy and bit-rotting ones today.

The developer has stated that there have been a slew of incoming feature requests, and that it would take him a rather long time to implement by himself. So the request was made for additional help and for additional contributors to the project.

Lots of ideas and requests have been identified, such as visualizations, high DPI support, radio steams, a complete move to Kirigami framework, DLNA support, etc.

So if you'd like to jump on board participation is welcome.

Installing the Beta

Installing the beta release is simple, and consists of a simple terminal entry. First, I would recommend uninstalling any version of Elisa you have previously installed on your system. Next, simply open Konsole or your terminal of choice and paste the following:

flatpak install

That's it.

You can view mgallien's blog post on the beta here.

Check it out, and do let us know what you think via the comments below, or ping us on Twitter.

May 5, 2019

KDE Plasma's Discover Software Store Sill Improving, Gaining New Features For Plasma 5.16

The Discover Software Store is seeing new features and fixes coming down the pipe for KDE Applications 5.16. Checking the relevant sources, it's apparent that the devs have been busy once again here.

Discover Software Store In KDE Neon
Discover Software Store

Here's what's New In The Discover Software Store For Plasma 5.16 So Far

  • Discover’s Updates page - Apps and packages now have distinct “downloading” and “installing” phases, whereby after an item has finished installing, it disappears from view
  • Discover now displays a busy indicator to show that it’s actually doing something while checking for updates...
  • Discover’s tasks completion indicator now uses a real progress bar, which looks much nicer (<--- This should make users particularly happy)
  • Improved support for AppImages and other apps that come from
    • This means Discover will natively and OTTB (Out Of The Box) support Snaps via, Flatpaks (via, and AppImages (presumably via's Appimage Store) 
  • The sources menu now shows the version number for each different source for that app 
  • Improved reliability dealing with content from
  • Discover will now allow a user to force quit when installation or update operations are proceeding (or use with caution)
What's not clear as of yet is whether the improved KDE Store support also means Discover utilizes the "ocs-url" protocol, or what is exactly meant by this new functionality beyond the stated handling of AppImages from the KDE Store.

It is nice to see the combined back-end, including the distribution's native packages, seamlessly integrated (or at least more so) together. The user should not care where the sources are from (as long as they are trusted), or in what format they come in. In the end, most just want the latest stable version on the software they want to use.

Additionally, many bug fixes have come down the line as well. Plasma Discover continues to see development and bug-fixes, and had certainly come a long way in the last 24 months or so.

Plasma 5.16 will release in June of this year.

Highlighting Some Really Elegant KDE Plasma Wallpapers From The Collection Of PT_Alfred

Some really nice KDE Plasma wallpapers for your Plasma desktop

Every once in a while, we like to relax a little bit. Kick back, and play around with our Linux boxes. And, every once in a while, something truly elegant comes along and I just feel the need to highlight it here for our readers.

And, well, this is one of those times.

Recently, whilst perusing the KDE Store, I came across the Plasma Collection from a contributor named "PT_Alfred", and this person's work struck me as elegant, classy, and a fine addition to any Plasma-sporting device out there.

PT_Alfred's bio reads:

"Hi, my name is Alfred F. ( alias PT_Alfred), I’m a technology enthusiast, and passionate about the GNU/Linux world. I am the founder of Curva Digital, Digitallofice and Artwork & Design blogs"

He's also apparently pretty passionate about KDE Plasma. His work is over in the KDE Store, arranged in a collection, and it seems to be growing. When I first came in contact with this person's work, there were - I think - around 5 additions to the collection at that point.

Since then, the collection is up to eight, and now even includes matching mobile wallpapers for a few of works present.

Honestly, the thumbnails below don't do the artist's work much justice, so do check their page out and download a few. And be sure to leave a like and  comment on their page, if so inclined, or even throw a Pling or two their way.

  • The (growing) KDE Plasma wallpaper collection can be found here
  • The artist's 'about' page over at their blog is here

We'll keep bringing you more community art (wallpapers, themes, icons, and such) - I hope you enjoy!

Also don't forget KDE's Wallpaper Competition - now underway! Perhaps PT will submit an entry or two...

Which is your favorite?

Classy Plasma Wallpaper Image Gallery

My desktop, pimping the "Hot Plasma" wallpaper
My desktop, pimping the "Hot Plasma" wallpaper

May 4, 2019

You Can Design The Next Plasma Wallpaper And Win A Slimbook!

Plasma 5.10 Wallpaper, "Cascade"

The KDE Community announces contest to design the new Plasma 5.16 wallpaper

Some people think wallpapers are the most exciting thing ever. Others are indifferent, simply installing their personal favorite and switching to it ASAP.

Whatever your opinion on the matter however, the truth is that the default wallpaper is the first thing someone sees when installing a new distribution. And that impression goes a long way towards having a likeable experience or not. 

As part of the overall aesthetics of a desktop environment, the wallpaper covers the most real estate area visible to the user, and really says a lot about what the designers of the distribution what you sense when first booting up into a freshly installed Linux desktop session. 

The folks over at KDE today have announced a new contest whereby you, dear user, can design the wallpaper that will be featured in the upcoming release of Plasma 5.16.  

The details

Basically, you have the month of May to design and submit an original artwork to the appropriate post over on the KDE forums. A panel from KDE's Visual Design Group will pick one winner and that person is submission will be the default wallpaper in plasma 5.16! 

So this is an entirely community-driven effort and anyone is encouraged to submit their artwork for consideration. And - there can be three entries per individual, so you have up to three shots at winning. 

As a bonus, you can win something really kool

Sorry for the terrible "K" reference - old habits die hard, you know. Anyway, in addition to having your art represent the overall look of Plasma 5.16 to millions of users and organizations, you can actually win something very cool courtesy of our friends over at Slimbook:

The prize for the winning Plasma wallpaper submission: A shiny-new Slimbook One Version 2 computer
The prize for the winning Plasma wallpaper submission:
A shiny-new Slimbook One Version 2 computer

The Slimbook One is a full-blown small form factor computer that packs some serious power under the hood for its size. Designed from the ground up to be Linux friendly, this little powerhouse makes a great gaming box or home theater PC, in addition to more pedestrian type computer duties.

"Our friends at Slimbook have kindly donated a Slimbook One v2 as a prize for the winning participant. The One v2 is an eco-friendly, compact machine, measuring only 12.4 x 12.8 x 3.7 cm. It comes with an i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and is capable of outputting video in glorious 4K. Naturally, your One will come decked out with the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.16 desktop, your spectacular wallpaper, and a bunch of great software made by KDE"

Want to win one of these little Linux dynamos for yourself? Well you can by submitting the winning contest artwork.

KDE Community wallpaper contest tweet

Full details on the competition, prizes, rules, etc. are over on the KDE forums. If you do decide to enter, good luck, and please do show us some pictures of the Slimbook running Plasma with your winning wallpaper when Plasma 5.16 is released later in June.

P.S. - A reminder

A friendly reminder, in case you missed it: We recently released a collection of all Plasma 5 wallpapers to date, and even threw in some KDE 4 ones as well!

Feel free to download and peruse for inspiration if needed.

All KDE Plasma 5 Wallpapers Released So Far
In One Place: Plasma 5.0 - 5.14

May 1, 2019

We Have A New Poll Out On Twitter: What's Your Biggest Wish For KDE Plasma?

Just out of curiosity, what are your biggest wishes for KDE plasma? 

We have put a new poll up on our Twitter account for you to give us your thoughts. If one of the choices does not represent what you think is the biggest area needing improvement in KDE Plasma, feel free to leave your thoughts all the matter.

Thanks in advance for voting! We will follow up with the results here.

P.S. The poll only runs for 3 days, so do check it out and vote if you have the chance!

>> You can find it here <<

April 29, 2019

KDE Elisa Music Player Gaining More Features Again, Roadmap Is Impressive

It seems we're talking about the Elisa music player a lot these days, and this is no doubt due to the fact that the application is seeing some steady development lately. This includes some contributions from new developers as well, which is always nice to see.

KDE Plasma Elisa music player shown full-screen
One of the nice features of Elisa is using the color
palette of the cover art to create a blurred background,
shown here in full-screen mode.

What's new in Elisa music player?

The main developer recently blogged an update announcing some more new features in Elisa. One of them is adding a playlist undo feature, thereby preventing a hand-curated playlist in the player from accidentally being deleted.

New music browsing views:

"It is now possible to browse the most recently played tracks or the most frequently played ones.

The idea is to show the 50 last played tracks or the 50 most frequently played tracks."
More views are on the way as well, once tools are added for the user to be able to better define their criteria.

A new context view

A new view is available to show some relevant metadata, such as play count, lyrics, composer, etc.

Elisa's new context view
Elisa's new context view

Also included in the upcoming release are better optimizations and a lower memory footprint.

Looking further down the road

These new features will make it into the next release. Looking onward, as we like to do in Linux-fanboi-land, we can see some additional exciting things potentially coming down the pipeline for Elisa. These (may) include:

  • Mycroft AI integration
  • Chomecast support
  • Many UI improvements
  • KFileMetadata support
  • Online radios
  • High DPI support
  • DNLA support
  • Moving to KDE's Kirigami framework
I say may, because these are not yet implemented features, and may never be. But for now, they're on the roadmap and many should see the light of day in the not too distant future.

KDE Elisa music player in album mode
Elisa in album-view mode, where tracks can
then be dragged to the current playlist

One little niggle I have with Elisa is, at present, cover art support is limited to having a cover image in the album's folder - i.e. having a cover.jpg file on hand, while not supporting embedded cover art. I haven't been able to confirm if this will be changing soon.

One workaround would be to use a tagger, such as Picard, and have it automatically generate the cover art file for you. This is still a bit tedious however, as each album would need to be re-tagged if the separate cover art file is missing. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it is worth noting for now.

You can read more about Elisa's development from the lead dev's blog post here.

Sometimes You Have To Pay For Open Source Software Or Services, And That's OK

We in the open-source world enjoy so many freedoms that we are grateful and thankful for. In general, we reap the benefits of avoiding vendor lock-in, for example, and are free to use and reuse code as we see fit for our own reasons.

We are able to get things done for business, pleasure, and education all with tools freely available to us. All this on an operating system whose underpinnings are the pinnacle example of community contributed code.

It is important to note that when we say freedom, of course we mean Libre - free as in Freedom, not necessarily always freedom from economic realities. Many companies like Canonical, Red Hat, Suse, NextCloud, and even Microsoft all make money from providing the services to clients who deploy their open source technologies. It's a beautiful thing, really.

However it's not just big companies that make money from open source software. Many small niche companies also use these same business models. And all the way down to the single developer level with a simple application maintained on GitHub, and everything in between all comes together to create the User experience that we utilize every day and - at least for me - could not imagine life without.

Keeping it real

On a personal level, I have used Linux now for over 10 years exclusively. Starting with Kubuntu somewhere around 7.10 or 8.04, I was hooked and really never looked back. At one particular point in time for a job I had around then I did run Windows XP in a virtual machine. That was the extent of my interaction with a non Linux operating system. And that was only to access a vendor websites that insisted I run Internet Explorer on Windows.

Since then, even that need has gone away and tools like KMyMoney and LibreOffice and Firefox and many others have come together to allow me to manage my life only using open-source software. Again for this I am extremely thankful, proud, and humbled.

Open source code, freely distributable and usable by anyone is the life-blood of Libre software and communities
Open source code, freely distributable and usable by anyone
is the life-blood of Libre software and communities

Paying it forward in the open source world

Sometimes, however, even though the software we use is completely free as in open code, there are reasons one may entertain purchasing software or supporting a community or developers on a personal level. There are a few reasons we may want to do this. Some that come to mind are:

  • Supporting a project or developer to encourage them to keep making their software better (and making it at all)
  • Supporting companies who are aligned with our technology and / or privacy or other values
  • Supporting a community to keep them healthy and innovating
  • Supporting people in non-dev roles - bloggers (ahem), publishers, podcasters, artists, and others are just a few that come to mind here
  • Supporting content distribution platforms and their contributors that get stuff to users efficiently and easily. OpenDesktop and the KDE Store would be an example here
  • Sometimes one may want or need to run a commercial, licensed application on Linux that needs to be paid for in order to use. CrossOver Linux would be one example
  • We may want paid-for support for our Linux computers we use for business or mission-critical use-cases

Are any of these mandatory? Of course not. Whether you support an open-source developer or project or content creator or not is entirely up to you. That is part of the whole Freedom deal. Further, one must realize that many do not have the ability to pay at all. Of course there are myriads of other ways one can contribute.

A few real life examples of financially supporting open source

In my case, I will give a few examples of where I have personally contributed in the past. These are just a few small examples, and over the years I have supported many projects and communities in different ways. Both financially as well as other ways as my abilities, time, and / or finances would allow.

I say the above and it is important. For my examples are personal to me and may not be applicable to you. Therefore, I am not endorsing these particular projects for you, dear reader, as your situations (and passions) are likely to be entirely different. Although I would recommend them to anyone if the need fit.

Again these are just examples and you as an individual would have to find your own open source causes to support.

Supporting a service


KolabNow ticked all my boxes in allowing me to move away from GMail for good
KolabNow ticked all my boxes in allowing me to
move away from GMail for good

Sometime around five years ago I decided to abandon a few Google services. One of these being GMail. In my quest to find an email provider I had a few criteria:

  • They had to use open source technologies 
  • They had to have the ability to self host if and when I desired to do so 
  • They had to play well with various email clients once I found the one I really wanted to use long-term 
  • They had to also respect freedom and privacy 

Kolab ticks all of those boxes and instantly became a service that I could see as a long-term replacement for Gmail. Kolab has a service called KolabNow which charges a monthly fee to utilize they're full-featured PIM service. These include email, calendaring, address book, tasks, notes and even file storage. They fit the bill then and continue to do so today, hence while I still use them.

Easy to use and hosted in Switzerland. They are very privacy-focused. I gladly pay for this service monthly.

Supporting a developer


UKUU Kernel update utility
UKUU Kernel update utility

I have written here on these pages about UKUU (the Ubuntu Kernel Update Utility), both in its free and recently licensed incarnations. In my case, the freedom and flexibility to download any kernel and install it at will, including release candidates and LTS', along with the ability to easily uninstall them, read the change logs, etc. etc. make the tool extremely valuable to me personally.

As noted in my previous article on UKUU, the developer moved to a paid only version going forward (although the free version still remains in its original repository for anyone to use). I believe that people's hard work should be rewarded, and bought the license.

In this particular product's case, it is a one-time lifetime license fee that gives the user updates forever. Small price to pay for such a valuable thing in my case. Again this fit my needs - hence why I supported the developer. Most users will likely never have to install newer kernels as most of this is taken care of by their distribution.

But there are valid use cases for wanting newer kernels and you can refer to my previous articles on UKUU and elsewhere as to the pros and cons of such a practice. But the long and short of it is that it did what I wanted and I paid for it. No regrets.


Supporting a community


Linux Mint KDE4 edition
The elegant Linux Mint KDE4 edition
lives on in this author's memory

One of my first forays into Linux after Kubuntu was the KDE edition of Linux Mint. I really liked the elegance and loved the Linux Mint desktop - especially with its KDE implementation and artwork back then.

I also really liked the idea that Linux Mint's main developer, Clem, was actually able to quit his job to work on his project full-time. This was achieved solely through donations to the Linux Mint community.

As time went on, other devs and support people were added to the team, and Linux Mint became a shining example of what the Linux desktop could be. At the time when I used Mint, I subscribed monthly to giving them a small donation. It felt pretty good knowing that I was a small part of something that was growing and becoming a beautiful thing as well as an active community.

And even though I have since moved on, and Mint has dropped any kind of official support for KDE whatsoever, I do not regret donating money to them back then. If I were using Mint today I would still donate to them I'm sure.

Final thoughts

So here in this article I have provided three examples of supporting open source software: as a service, as a product, and as a community. In two of the cases, the financial obligation was necessary to use the product or service. And in the third example with Mint, while not required, it certainly felt like the right thing to do in order to support something that I used every single day of my life.

Many years ago I wrote about the $5 Challenge and many of those principles still apply today. But even if that's really not your thing, and you are more of the pragmatic type, if the right tool for the job requires a small financial obligation, I'm okay with that.

People need money to eat and live and we cannot expect people to endlessly donate time and resources for free. Sadly this is not how the world works.

Finally, from a purely selfish perspective, I want as many people in open source as possible. And as many people to move to Linux for their everyday computing as possible. While we don't have the marketing arm of huge billion-dollar corporations, we do have each other.

And our communities.

April 28, 2019

KDE Neon Team's Jonathan Riddell Discusses Snaps Within KDE Neon And The Greater KDE Ecosystem

The problem with the way packaging and distribution has been done in the past

In case one has not noticed, a lot of changes have been happening with regard to how software is packaged and delivered to the end of the chain, i.e. a particular distribution's users.

In the past, software was released by developers as source code, whereby packagers would package the source code into various formats that were the standard for a particular distribution. While being pretty straightforward, it introduced a lot of burden especially for packagers who had to constantly stay up with current releases, as well as current versions of the operating system they are providing packages for.

This system inevitably leads to delays for users who expect the most current software versions available in order to get the latest and greatest features and bug fixes.

Other problems arise from the fact that developers develop on a particular operating system on a particular set of hardware. This reality is often less than ideal for distributing software across a multitude of variables with regard to the respective software and hardware nuances in the wild. 

Along came containerized ideas whereby software can be delivered in a universal package format, including all the dependencies required to ensure that it would run on a particular user's machine. The applications could be released once and distributed across any Linux distribution out there.

Enter Snaps

Over on his personal blog, KDE Neon dev Jonathan Riddell discusses Snap packages within KDE and some of the benefits of delivering software to users in this manner. he states the following regarding traditional Linux software deployment:

"No other computer environment works like this and it goes against the fashion of DevOps concepts where the people who code are empowered to deploy to the end user going through QA as appropriate.  We changed that with KDE neon where we brought the packaging into KDE making .deb packages. That integration allows for blockages and imperfections which get identified to be solved easily through the most efficient channels."

"With new containerised formats Linux is changing, and projects like KDE can now package software and send it direct to the user."

Jonathan dives into the concept of stores, channels and, ultimately, control. And what it all means to the user. The process appears to be fairly automated just the same as packages are built for a traditional .deb and RPM packages for different distributions.

One interesting point he makes is that Snaps should be built not from within the KDE Neon team, but as part of the greater and global KDE CI build system.

What this means to you

Ultimately, Linux is moving in new directions with regard to software deployment. Much to some people's chagrin, containerized formats appear to be the future of software distribution to users.

In fact, there are already distributions out there that only distribute software via containers. One such example is Nitrux, whereby all applications are delivered to users via AppImages. I'll be discussing Nitrux more here in the near future, so stay tuned.

Nitrux - The first all-containerized KDE distribution
Nitrux - The first all-containerized KDE distribution

In the end, a user won't care where an application comes from as long as it is from the official app store of the particular distribution at hand. Weather Snap, Flatpak,  AppImage, or repository package, the user just wants the latest and greatest stable release of their software to use.

And we cannot blame them for that.

Much more information is available on Jonathan's Blog.

Netrunner Rolling 2019.04 Arch-based KDE Distribution Sees A New Release

The KDE Plasma-focused distribution Netrunner Rolling has seen a new release. For those new to Netrunner, it's a dual-distribution that comes in two 64-bit varieties, as well as for ARM. These include Netrunner - based on Debian Testing, and Netrunner Rolling, based on Manjaro / Arch.

For those who refer a rolling release model, the Netrunner team released the 2019.04 image for your use.

Netrunner Rolling 2019.04 screenshot
Netrunner Rolling 2019.04 screenshot

What's new?

New in Netrunner 2019.4 are the following:

  • Latest Plasma, Frameworks, and Applications
  • Qt 5.12.2
  • LTS Linux Kernel 4.19.32
  • Firefox Quantum 66.0.3
    • Includes KDE integration including media controls, KDE dialogue boxes (system handler) and more
  • Firefox is pre-loaded
  • New dark  theme by default using Kvantum engine
  • Updated readme docs
  • Webapps as a menu category
  • OpenDesktop (i.e. integration in the system and in Firefox, via ocs-url

Also new and interesting for Netrunner is a modified system settings layout, whereby all things having to do with UI are moved to a new section called "Plasma Tweaks". I rather like this idea, as one complaint often heard about KDE configs are that they appear to be scattered all over different parts of the settings GUI. This appears to be an attempt to address this. I'd be curious to see some feedback on it.

Netrunner's OpenDesktop integration, as seen through Firefox
Netrunner's OpenDesktop integration,
as seen through Firefox

About Netrunner

Netrunner is developed by the team over at Blue Systems, who's employees also work on other parts of KDE outside of the Netrunner project itself. According to the website, the OS lives by the following principals:
  • Power-up, don’t dumb-down
  • Include useful Add-ons, codecs, customizations
  • Avoid lock-ins, favor libre alternatives
To that end, the distro comes pretty loaded with hand-selected apps, thus providing a full user experience out of the box. Examples of this would be including several Dolphin extensions by default, and enabling Firefox to be in "always ready" mode by default.

Steam, Skype, Kdenlive, Inkscape, Krita, and others are also included, along with the interesting choice of GMusicbrowser for music management. This is a nice touch, especially on the Steam front.

More information can be found on the announcement page.

April 27, 2019

All KDE Plasma 5 Wallpapers Released So Far In One Place: Plasma 5.0 - 5.14

Ahhh nostalgia. To some degree, we all have it. We all relish in it from time to time. Thinking about those things that hearken back to a point-in-time in the past, where we were excited about what was happening in the open source world, and (what is now) the future.

Such as it is for some of us with wallpapers. Who can forget the Windows XP wallpaper, for example? More specifically, since this is a KDE-centric site, who can forget all the kool KDE Plasma Wallpapers?

Even if you are the type of person who customizes their wallpaper the minute you get on a freshly-installed system, the impression you're left with upon first boot can have an immediate impact. Your thoughts, expectations, and yes, even eternal hopes that your shiny new system will provide the visual stimulation to make you want to dive in and play. Or just get stuff done in an aesthetically-pleasing way.

To that end, we are lucky to have had several good ones throughout the years, courtesy of the KDE Community's (And Canada's own) Ken Vermette.

One of Plasma's venerable wallpapers, This one's entitled "Skylight" - From Plasma 5.7
One of Plasma's venerable wallpapers via my desktop,
This one's entitled "Skylight" - From Plasma 5.7

And, thanks to our friends over at, we bring you every Plasma 5 wallpaper released to date! Curated from the main artist himself, we are making all KDE Plasma 5 wallpapers available as a download for you, our dear readers, to enjoy :)

Celebrating nearly 5 years of KDE Plasma 5 wallpaper releases
Celebrating nearly 5 years of KDE Plasma 5 wallpaper releases


Nearly 5 years of Plasma and Plasma wallpaper releases

The first official release of KDE plasma 5 was in July of 2014. In honor of the nearly five year anniversary of Plasma 5's groundbreaking seminal release, it is only fitting that all of the wallpapers included in past releases be put together in one place.

For your convenience, I have selected each of the official wallpapers, in the highest resolutions available (4k), and included them in one package that I am making downloadable to our readers with one easy is a way to help all of us remember, celebrate, and take that trip back in time to some of the ones we may have really liked and missed out or lost or forgot about along the way.

Interestingly, many of the wallpapers lived somewhat shorter lives than others for many, as the ones we may typically think about tend to be tethered to long-term support releases. So I would assume that several of these may be new even to longtime KDE users. For the newly initiated it, it might be interesting to take a trip through the desktop's visual past and look at how the look of KDE has evolved through the years.

The very first KDE Plasma 5 wallpaper, appropriately named "Next"
The very first KDE Plasma 5 wallpaper,
appropriately named "Next"

KDE 5.10's wallpaper, known as "Cascade"
KDE 5.10's wallpaper, known as "Cascade"


Included in the Plasma 5 collection are:

  • 5.0, 5.1 - Next
  • 5.2 - Vibrant
  • 5.3 - Deep
  • 5.4 - Horizon
  • 5.5 - Event
  • 5.6 - Graphite
  • 5.7 - Skylight
  • 5.8 - Bizmuth
  • 5.9 - Canopée
  • 5.10 - Cascade
  • 5.11 - Opal
  • 5.12 - Kokkini
  • 5.14 - Cluster

An astute reader may have noticed an absence of a wallpaper for Plasma 5.13. Per Ken's blog post on the future of KDE Plasma wallpaper releases, he states the following:

"TL;DR, I’ll be switching to releasing new wallpapers every second Plasma release, on even-numbered versions.

This is just a post to refer to for those who have asked me about Plasma 5.15 and a new wallpaper. Since I started working on Plasma 5 wallpapers, there has always been a number of factors determining how exactly I made them. After some agonising debate I’ve decided to slow the wallpaper release pace, because as time has gone on a number of things have changed since I started contributing them"
So it looks like we'll have to wait until June of this year to see what Ken's got cooking for the Plasma 5.16 bling...


Special bonus

As an added bonus, I am also including various wallpapers from the KDE 4 era! Although I do not believe this collection to be complete, long-time users will no doubt recognize many included here! In the list is for example is "Elarun", the very last wallpaper from the KDE 4 Series. The wallpapers included here are via OpenDesktop user alex-l, so special thanks go out to him!

"Elarun", from KDE SC 4.14

Download and enjoy

As mentioned earlier, we are releasing all of the wallpapers for the plasma 5 Series in one downloadable link. Simply unzip the folder in your default wallpaper location. That would be in .local/share/wallpapers/ for a normal Plasma user.

Plasma 5 wallpaper file is available for download here.

Do let me know what you think! And also, consider a small donation - every bit helps me bring you the best in KDE-land coverage. Link is in the sidebar :)

One more thing

As a second added bonus, I've included Ken's abstract history wallpaper, which is a multi-version containing slices of the first 10 releases.

Plasma 5 mash-up wallpaper, entitled "history"
Plasma 5 mash-up wallpaper, entitled "history"


April 23, 2019

Several Updated Applications Landing In KDE Neon Today

Today saw several updated applications landing in the KDE Neon repositories, the KDE Neon team announced today.

Arriving fresh for your downloading or installing pleasure are the following:

It would appear to be a good day for those of you looking to either get your financial  house in order, as well as open sauce content creators across the world.

Also announced is new functionality in Dolphin file manager that allows thumbnails of Appimages to be shown, which is always nice to see.

As for Kipi Plugins, they should be of interest to those who use KPhotoAlbum, Gwenview, or Spectacle, and wish to have some social-sharing functionality built-in. More information can be found about the reasoning for releasing Kipi Plugins as a stand-alone release can be found over at J Riddell's blog post.  

Tweet announcing today's releases for KDE Neon
Tweet announcing today's releases
for KDE Neon

The original Tweet from the Neon team can be found here.

Potential Security Flaw In KDE's Krusader And Akregator Remain Unfixed In KDE Applications 19.04

A potential security risk has come to light from a few interconnected bug reports over on the KDE bug tracker website. These bug reports indicate that a user using either Konqeror or Akregator may be subject to tracking and / or fingerprinting across the web, even when steps are taken to implicitly prevent this from happening.

It should be noted here that as of this writing, In the case of Kubuntu and KDE Neon, Konqeror is not available for installation via Plasma Discover, although it is installable via the command line, synaptic, or the Muon package manager.

The issue appears to be related to the applications (sometimes option, sometimes not) usage of the Qt Webengine back end.

In the report, the bug's author states the following:

"Despite proxy settings pointing to Privoxy, as well as Easylist+Easylist Privacy, Easylist Germany, Fanboy List and quite some other lists enabled in the ad blocker settings according to neither Konqueror 17.08 nor Akregator 17.08 block trackers or protect against fingerprinting"

Since the bug is still open, we can assume this is the case still today, even though the bug reports are nearing  1 1/2 years old now.

The report also states that perhaps Falkon web browser is affected, but this has not been confirmed. Further, since Falkon comes with adBlock pre-installed, this is not likely to be a factor.

A follow-up comment on the bug report states that Konqeror5 gives the option of using different back-ends including KHTML and / or QtWebkit. However, this would be hit or miss depending on the distribution being used. Also, a user could not be expected to know this or how to go about changing backends. Further, in the case of Akregator, the user is not given a choice in the settings as to which backend to use.

For now, security-conscious users may want to stay clear of using Konqeror for general web browsing. In the case of Akregator, hopefully this will be addressed in an upcoming release, although the lack of activity on the bug report(s) may indicate otherwise.

The relevant bug reports can be found here for Konqeror and here for Akregator, although they are essentially exactly the same.