KDE 4.10 Beta 1 has been released this week, so I thought it would be nice to summarize the changes that went into the master branch during the last few months. Here is a current screenshot that shows some of them:
- Àlex Fiestas added support for MTP devices (like phones) to the Places Panel, making use of Philipp Schmidt’s MTP kioslave. Check if your distribution provides packages for kio-mtp if you want to try it. I’m quite happy that I can finally transfer files to and from my phone easily in KDE (if you wonder why it shows up twice in the panel: that’s because the phone’s internal memory and the SD card are separate devices). See Àlex’ blog post (which also provides information about building kio-mtp yourself) and the review request for more information.
- Amandeep Singh, assisted by Frederik Gladhorn, implemented accessibility features in Dolphin. Now you can have the current item shown zoomed in KMag.
- Some people missed an easy way to resize the icons in the Places Panel in KDE 4.9. For those who didn’t know: Dophin’s Places Panel had been rewritten, and the automatic resizing of the icons when the panel was resized (or in some other situations, like when a ‘Place’ with a long name was created or removed) was dropped. We now have an ‘Icon Size’ submenu in the panel’s context menu, just like in the tool bar. I think that this is the best solution: users who want bigger icons can just choose their favourite size.
- Dolphin 1.x provided two different ways to rename files: ‘inline renaming’ and renaming using a dialog. This changed some time ago due to the view engine rewrite. In KDE 4.8, inline renaming was not ready yet. In KDE 4.9, it replaced the dialog completely (except for the case that multiple files are renamed at the same time), but some people actually got used to the dialog and missed it. In KDE 4.10, you will be able to choose again. Emmanuel Pescosta added a checkbox to the settings dialog.
- Ivan Čukić made it possible to report the current directory to the activity manager, such that it can easily tell what your most favourite directories are. You can disable this in the System Settings, ‘Workspace Behavior’ if you don’t want the activity manager to keep a log of your directories and documents.
Emmanuel Pescosta worked hard to make Dolphin faster:
- The part of Dolphin that keeps track of the previews that need to be generated did not handle its internal data structures in the most efficient way. Look at the review request for details and for the impressive Callgrind data.
- Loading a folder with many files can be very slow. It turns out that much of this slowness is due to the “natural sorting” of the items, which makes sure that “image10.jpg” comes after “image9.jpg”, and not between “image1.jpg” and “image2.jpg”. There have been some ideas how the “natural comparison” of two file names can be made faster, but this requires a lot of work. In KDE 4.10, we still use the old comparison function, but make use of all CPU cores on your system to keep the delay when opening a large directory short. Look at the final version of the patch to see how little code you need to make Mergesort use multiple threads with QtConcurrent!
- The icons which are shown for files and folders if previews are disabled are now cached to save CPU cycles and memory.
More little improvements
- Panos Kanavos improved the ‘More Options’/’Less Options’ button in the ‘Search’ bar and added some text to make it more obvious what the button is about.
- If “Open folders during drag operations” is enabled, you can now drag items to an entry in the Places Panel. If you keep the mouse buggon pressed and wait a bit, the URL will be opened in the view.
- The ‘Recently Accessed’ entries in the Places Panel now have individual icons thanks to Weng Xuetian. Note that you might not see those new icons unless you create a new user or you remove the ‘timeline’ entries from .kde4/share/apps/kfileplaces/bookmarks.xml manually (As far as I know, there is no good way to change this automatically without deleting any custom icons that users might have chosen. If you do not see any icons at all for these entries, this is because Dolphin in earlier KDE 4.9.x versions unfortunately used an icon that was not available for all distros).
- The parts of Dolphin that interact with Nepomuk have now been ported to Nepomuk 2.
- Middle-clicking a directory in one of the panels now loads it in a background tab to be more consistent with other parts of Dolphin where directories can be middle-clicked.
- Ctrl+L now selects the URL in the location bar, like in web browsers. If you only want to focus the location bar, you can use F6 (the effect of these shortcuts has just been exchanged).
- Clicking ‘Cancel’ in an authentication dialog now causes an error message to be shown in Dolphin, rather than an endless ‘Loading folder…’ message.
The improvements in Dolphin 2.2 were made possible by the following people who contributed patches, provided advice on patches while they were still work-in-progress, and tested features early to report problems and regressions: Alex Fiestas, Amandeep Singh, Christoph Feck, Emmanuel Pescosta, Frederik Gladhorn, Hrvoje Senjan, Ivan Čukić, Jekyll Wu, Kai-Uwe Broulik, Panos Kanavos, Vishesh Handa, and Weng Xuetian. Thanks for your help! If I forgot anyone, please let me know.
If you test Dolphin and find any regressions (or old bugs which haven’t been reported yet), please report them at https://bugs.kde.org/.