Monthly Archives: June 2022

KDE Plasma 5.25 in Arch

After the recent release of KDE Plasma 5.25, this version landed a few days ago in Arch-based distros like EndeavourOS (the one I’m writing from).

Although I’m mostly a GNOME user, I also have a few distributions installed where I’m using KDE Plasma.

The new features that impressed me most are related to eye candies πŸ™‚

First, the “Present Windows” effect now looks the same as the new “Overview” effect. If we compare the “Present Windows” effect in the previous version (5.24):

with the new one:

we can see a significant improvement: in the earlier versions, the windows not selected were too dark, making it hard to distinguish them. This behavior relates to an old bug (10 years old): This bug has been fixed by rewriting this effect “to use the same modern, maintainable backend technology found in the Overview effect.”

I use this effect a lot (I also configured the “Super” key to use this effect, simulating what happens in Gnome for its “Activities” view), and I use the filter to filter the open windows quickly. So I appreciate this usability change a lot!

One detail I do not like in this new version of “Present Windows” is that the filter textbox remembers the entered text. Thus, the next time you use it, the presented windows are already filtered according to the previously entered text. I’m not sure I like this.

The other cool thing introduced is the automatic accent color! Accent colors were introduced a few versions ago in Plasma, but now you can have Plasma automatically adjust the accent color from the current wallpaper:

If you use a wallpaper changer mechanism (like the one provided by Plasma), possibly by downloading new wallpapers (like Variety), you will get nice accent colors during the day. Here are a few examples produced running Variety to change the wallpaper:

Maybe it’s not an important feature, but, as we say in Italy, “Anche l’occhio vuole la sua parte” πŸ˜‰

The last new feature that positively impressed me is that now KRunner also shows Java files (and probably other programming languages related files) when you search a string. Previously, although “Baloo” (the file indexing and file search framework for KDE) knew about these files, KRunner was only showing .txt files and a few others, but not Java files.

Concerning Wayland, one thing I noted is that if I start a Plasma Wayland session using a brand new user, it automatically scales the display in case of an HDPI screen. Wayland usability in Plasma has not improved since my last experiments (see KDE Plasma and Wayland: usability).


Xtext 2.27.0: update your Xbase compiler tests

If you update to Xtext 2.27.0 and have compiler tests for your Xbase DSL that assert the output of the compilation, you’ll get lots of failures after the update.

I am guilty of that πŸ˜‰
Well, for a good reason, at least πŸ™‚

In fact, I worked on this issue: and its fix is included in Xtext 2.27.0.

Now, the Xbase compilation mechanism does not generate useless empty lines anymore (before, it added lines with two spaces). Your compiler tests will fail because the output is different.

I personally fixed my tests in my DSLs by simply using the Find/Replace mechanism of Eclipse with this substitution pattern (there are two space characters between the tab character and the newline character):

If you have deep nesting in your compilation output, you might have to repeat this substitution with more than two characters, but this should not be required unless you generate nested classes or something like that.

With the above substitution a test like the following one:

will become like the following one (you see the difference: no empty line with two characters between the two generated constructors:

Now your tests should be fixed πŸ™‚

Configure Arch Pacman

Pacman is the package manager in Linux Arch and Linux Arch-based distributions.

I’ve been using EndeavourOS for some time, and I enjoy it. EndeavourOS is pretty close to vanilla Arch. I also experimented with pure Arch (more on that in future blog posts). However, the output of pacman in EndeavourOS is much more excellent and “eye candy” than in Arch. However, it’s just a matter of configuring /etc/pacman.conf a bit in Arch to have the “eye candy” output.

These are the options to enable in the [options] section in that file (the ParallelDownloads does not have to with the output, but it’s a nice optimization):

Without these options, this is the output of pacman (e.g., during an upgrade):

And this is the output with the options above enabled:

Besides the colors, you can spot c’s for the progress representing “Pacman,” the video-game character, eating candies (that’s the aim of the option ILoveCandy)… waka waka waka!Β  πŸ™‚

The colors are also helpful when searching for packages:

Happy Pacman! πŸ™‚

macOS: switch between different windows of the same application

Maybe this is well-known to macOS users, but it wasn’t clear to me as a Linux user.

As a Linux user, I’m used to using Alt+Tab to switch between different windows. But I also use the shortcut to switch between different windows of the same application. In Gnome, the shortcut is Alt+<the key above Tab>, which is cool because it works with any keyboard layout. In KDE it is Alt+backtick (`), which has to be changed in Italian keyboards, like mine to Alt+\. Indeed, in the Italian keyboard layout, the key over tab is \.

In macOS it’s the same as in KDE: the shortcut is bound by default to ⌘+`, which of course it’s unusable in Italian keyboards (you should use a complex combination of keys only to insert the backtick ` character). You then have to configure the shortcut “Move focus to next window”, which is quite counterintuitive to me (I had always thought that it wasn’t possible in macOS to switch between windows of the same application if not by using the touchpad gesture or by pressing the down key after using the standard switcher):

Change it to something suitable for your keyboard layout. For the Italian layout I change it to ⌘+\:

And then you’re good to go! πŸ™‚