How to Global Menu in Plasma 5.9

Today Plasma 5.9.0 became available in KDE neon User Edition. With it comes the return of global menus along with other awesome sauce features.

To enable global menus open System Settings, go into the Application Style category, and in the Widget Style settings you will find a tab called Fine Tuning. On this tab you can find the new Menubar options. You can change to either a Title Bar Button, which will tuck the menu into a tiny button into the window decoration bar at the top, or the Application Menu widget, allowing the associated Plasma panel to supply the menu in a fixed location.

To apply the change, your applications need to be restarted, so ideally you’ll simply log out and back in again.

To add an Application Menu to Plasma, simply right click on the desktop and add the Panel called Application Menu Bar.

Enjoy your new Plasma 5.9 with global menu bars!

Neon OEM Mod…arghhh

For years and years already Ubuntu’s installer, Ubiquity, has an OEM mode. And for years and years I know it doesn’t really work with the Qt interface.

An understandable consequence of not actually having any real-life use cases of course, disappointing all the same. As part of the KDE Slimbook project I took a second and then a third look at the problems it was having and while it still is not perfect it is substantially better than before.

The thing to understand about the OEM mode is that technically it splits the installation in two. The OEM does a special installation which leads to a fully functional system that the OEM can modify and then put into “shipping” mode once satisfied with the configuration. After this, the system will go into a special Ubiquity that only offers the configuration part of the installation process (i.e. User creation, keyboard setup etc.). Once the customer completed this process the system is all ready to go, with any additional software the OEM might have installed during preparation.

Therein lies the problem in a way. The OEM configuration is design-wise kind of fiddly considering how the Qt interface is set up and interacts with other pieces of software (most notably KWin). This is double true for KDE neon where we use a slightly modified Ubiquity, with the fullscreen mode removed. However, as you might have guessed, not using fullscreen leads to all sorts of weird behavior in the OEM setup where practically speaking the user is meant to be locked out of the system but technically he is in a minimal session with a window manager. So, in theory, one can close the window, when started the window would be placed as though more windows are meant to appear, and it would have a minimize button etc. etc. All fairly terrible. However also not too tricky to fix once one has the identified all problems. Arguably that is the biggest feat with any installer change. Finding all possible scenarios where things can go wrong takes days.

So, to improve this the KDE Visual Design Group‘s Jens Reuterberg and I again descended into the hellish pit that is Qt 4 QWidget CSS theming on a code base that has seen way too many cooks over the years. The result I like much better than what we started out with, even if it isn’t perfect.

 

The sidebar has had visual complexity removed to bring it closer to a Breeze look and feel. Window decoration elements not wanted during OEM set up are being removed by setting up suitable KWin rules when preparing for first boot.

Additionally, we will hopefully soon have enough translations to push out a new slideshow featuring slightly more varied visuals than the current “Riding the Waves” picture we have for a slideshow.

For additional information on how to use the current OEM mode check out the documentation on the KDE UserBase.

Ubiquity code
Slideshow code (most interest translations setup this)

 

KDE Applications in Ubuntu Snap Store

Following the recent addition of easy DBus service snapping in the snap binary bundle format, I am happy to say that we now have some of our KDE Applications in the Ubuntu 16.04 Snap Store.

screenshot_ubuntults_2017-01-30_153533

To use them you need to first manually install the kde-frameworks-5 snap. Once you have it installed you can install the applications. Currently we have available:

  • ktuberling – The most awesome game ever!
  • kbruch – Learn how to do fractions (I almost failed at first exercise :O)
  • katomic – Fun and education in one
  • kblocks – Tetris-like game
  • kmplot – Plotting mathematical functions
  • kgeography – An education application for learning states/countries/capitals
  • kollision – Casual ball game
  • kruler – A screen ruler to measure pixel distance on your screen

The Ubuntu 16.04 software center comes with Snap store support built in, so you can simply search for the application and should find a snap version for installation. As we are still working on stabilizing Snap support in Plasma’s Discover, for now, you have to resort to a terminal to test the snaps on KDE neon.

To get started using the command line interface of snap you can do the following:

sudo snap install kde-frameworks-5
sudo snap install kblocks

All currently available snaps are auto generated. For some technical background check out my earlier blog post on snapping KDE applications. In the near future I hope to get manually maintained snaps also built automatically. Also from-git delivery to the edge channel is very much a desired feature still. Stay tuned.