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5 best features of the Dolphin file manager

by Martin de Boer
5 best features of the Dolphin file manager

I like Dolphin, the default KDE file manager, a lot. I have used it for over 9 years. There are many features that I use regularly that I wouldn’t want to live without. In this post, I like to share my personal top 5. Some features are more obvious, others are hidden features.

1) Split windows

The split window view can be opened with the F3 key or by clicking on the Split icon. This is great for copying files from one location to another. Just drag and drop the files from left to right (or vis versa).

2) Integrated terminal

The build-in terminal can be opened by pressing the F4 key or by clicking on Control –> Panels –> Terminal. This is handy for the few Linux applications that need to be downloaded from an external website. For example: Oneplay Codec pack and Codeweavers Crossover Linux. The terminal automatically opens in the location that your are visiting, allowing you to directly input the zypper cli commands.

3) Show hidden files

Sometimes you want to edit or remove a configuration file. These files are often located in hidden folders in your Home directory. By showing the hidden files, you are able to navigate to these locations with ease.

4) Open With

The ability to open a file with the application of your choice is very handy. I like to open images with Gwenview by default. But for editing, I like to open them with Kolourpaint or GIMP. This feature allows me to do this with minimal effort.

5) Previews

You would think that this feature would be nr. 1. But unfortunately Preview didn’t always work as advertised. This was mainly a problem during the Qt 4 days (2009 – 2014). The Preview function is working without issues since the Qt 5 version of Dolphin. You can enable previews by clicking on the associated button. You can use the slider in the bottom right, to increase or decrease the size of the previews.

Published on: 21 October 2018

Control your browser like a pro! Plasma browser integration

by Martin de Boer

The KDE Plasma team knows that you want to take control over your computing experience. Many things work out of the box. Like using the multimedia keys on your keyboard to play and pause your music in Amarok. Or controlling the audio of individual applications in the audio volume plasmoid. The only problem: the browser didn’t play nice with the rest of the applications. This is now changing and you can try it already in openSUSE Leap 15.


The first thing that you need to check is if you have the plasma-browser-integration rpm package installed. In fresh installs of openSUSE Leap 15, this is installed by default. If you have performed an upgrade, you might need to install this application using YaST Software Management.

The second thing that you need to do is go to the Mozilla Firefox Add-ons store. Click the Add to Firefox button. And then click Add.


This add-on provides you with better control over your media. It is now possible to play and pause YouTube videos with the multimedia keys on your keyboard or with the media player plasmoid. It is also possible to hover over the browser in your task manager and pause the video from there.

The browser integration also makes it possible to send hyperlinks to your phone, using KDE Connect. You right-click on a hyperlink and select “Send Link to Device”, then select your phone from the list of connected devices.

It also integrates your downloads in your browser with the notifications plasmoid in the system tray area. You will see the progress of your download and a notification when it has completed.

The last feature is that you can search your browser tabs via the Krunner (Alt + F2) window. Click Enter and you will automatically be transported to the right tab in your browser. This is an amazing feature for people who have 50+ tabs open in their browser at all times. Think of the time it will save you to go to the right tab at once!

Plasma 5.13 or Plasma 5.12?

Plasma browser integration is the main feature of the Plasma 5.13 release notes. Lucky for us openSUSE Leap 15 users, openSUSE has managed to ship this feature in their Plasma 5.12 implementation. So this is something that you can enjoy right now!

Published on: 11 July 2018

What’s new in openSUSE Leap 15 – KDE Plasma 5.12

One of the most exiting new things about openSUSE Leap 15 is the updated KDE Plasma desktop environment. We are moving from Plasma 5.8 LTE to Plasma 5.12 LTE. Which means that there are a lot of new features to look forward to. Lets start with emphasizing that the KDE Plasma 5.12 desktop environment looks stunning. Below is a screenshot of my personal desktop, fully configured to my personal preferences. My configuration hasn’t changed much since KDE Plasma 4.3. I use 3 widgets: a folder view, an analog clock and a network monitor.

General improvements

The Plasma desktop environment has a new default desktop that uses the Folder view. This means that just like Windows, you can place all your icons on your Desktop. This change recognizes that most people stick to old habits. It might not be the best choice from an aesthetic point of view, however it is the best default to implement.

The second improvement is the ability to control your media from the lock screen. This only works with the traditional media players. So you can’t control music playing in your browser.

Task manager improvements

The task manager has received a lot of attention in the last few releases of the Plasma desktop. Two features deserve your attention. The first improvement is the ability to mute applications from the taskbar. This is really nice for quickly muting a browser playing videos.

The second improvement is the addition of jump lists. This is a very welcome feature. For instance, it allows you to quickly open recent documents from LibreOffice.

Notification improvements

There are also some nice improvements to the notification widget. The first one is that notifications are now persistent. In the past, when applications didn’t indicate that their notifications should be persistent, they disappeared after a while. Now all notifications are persistent by default, so that you can look back. Of course, you can always clear your history whenever you want.

The second nice feature is that when you save a screenshot (using Spectacle), you can now perform various actions from the notification screen, like open the containing folder or open the image with Gwenview.

Application launcher improvements

The application launcher has 3 different appearances:

  • Application Dashboard
  • Application Launcher
  • Application Menu

The application dashboard is a full screen application launcher that has been polished in the last few releases. This is an alternative to the Windows 8/10 full screen start menu or to the Apple MacOS full screen dock. The last time I tested this feature, it was quite buggy. But (based on my recent testing) it is now behaving properly.

The second option is the application launcher that behaves a lot like the Windows Vista start menu. All menus open within the same area (click-through). However, this application launcher is way better than the one from Windows Vista. It’s much more powerful as it uses the Krunner search back-end to quickly provide you access to your applications, locations and files. Type something into the search window and it will find it on your computer.

One of the nice improvements is that you can now easily decide which tabs you like to use. So if you want to remove the Favorites section, you can just drag this away in the settings.

The third application launcher is my personal favorite. Its the one with pop-out menus. This is a very basic launcher, but it has the same powerful search capabilities. Favorites are listed as icons on the left side. And there are also lists with recent applications and recent documents.

A new feature is that when you remove all favorites, the menu is hiding the favorite section for a very minimal appearance.

Configuration settings redesign

The configuration settings have been redesigned. However, when I opened the configuration settings, it still appeared as it looked in openSUSE Leap 42.3.

You can adjust this by clicking on Configure and then selecting the Sidebar view.

You will now see the new responsive design. I am not sure if this is really an improvement. In this redesign, you lose the overview of all configuration items. When selecting a configuration item, the item list on the left changes to the specific options for that configuration item. You have the option to go back. But there is no gain in ease of navigation compared to the icon view. In my opinion, this design would work if a 3 panel layout would appear after selecting the configuration item. Then you would have an easier way to navigate between the various configuration items. This design might work better for mobile phones, but I don’t see the benefit for desktop users.

Discover and Vault

There are 2 applications that deserve an in-depth look. The first one is Discover, the software center of KDE. Discover wasn’t well integrated in the previous openSUSE Leap release. So I had high hopes for this release. The second one is KDE Vault. This is a method to create an encrypted folder on your computer to store files that you don’t want other people to access / see. I have tested both applications.

I am disappointed in Discover. Of the 3 applications that I tried to install, only the last one went without a problem. And these problems are not present when installing the same applications with the YaST Software Manager. You can read about these problems in a separate blog post.

KDE Vault works as advertised. I can imagine that users find a use case for this application. The only problem that I encountered was that once you create a vault, you cannot delete it anymore. This is unfortunate, as I didn’t have a use for my Test vault. One remaining note is that it isn’t installed by default on openSUSE Leap 15. To install it, use the YaST Software Manager and search for plasma-vault. YaST will automatically install all needed dependencies. I will create a separate blog post that describes how to create a vault.

Wayland improvements

The last improvements that I like to discuss, are the improvements to Wayland. Wayland is the new display protocol that will replace the 30 year old X.Org display server. Wayland is secure by design and X.Org is not. However, this is a big transition. Functions like print screen and remote desktop sessions need to be implemented in a different manner. There are still unsolved issues with the KDE Wayland implementation. One of them is that Wayland doesn’t play nice with the proprietary Nvidia driver. So its a work in progress. But KDE Plasma 5.12 makes big improvements in this area and I applaud the developers for their hard work. If you are not using proprietary GPU drivers, you can try it by changing the session to KDE Wayland at the login screen. Just don’t be surprised when something goes wrong. openSUSE Leap 15 makes the right choice by selecting KDE on X.Org as the default.

Published on: 4 June 2018