KDE Activities Overview --- Simulating GNOME Super-Key ('Windows' Key)

Photo by Cem Ersozlu on Unsplash

After my AMD RX570 graphics card no longer seemed to be supported in openSuSE Leap 15.5 (or perhaps any other Linux) for use with Da Vinci Resolve video editor, I replaced the RX570 with an NVidia Geforce RTX 3060.

Took a little to install all the proprietary NVidia drivers into openSuSE (I used the official method and repositories as described on the openSuSE web-pages). I did the installation of the NVidia drivers from the console (since I was not able to reach the login screen on the first few boots). Installation of ‘ndivida-driver-G06-kmp-default’ requires compilation of various modules. Eventually, I don’t think the warning messages about Skipping BTF generation for /usr/src/kernel-modules/nvidia-535.113.01-default/nvidia-drm.ko due to unavailability of vmlinux actually mattered. And there were also multiple warning messages about dracut failing to create various kernel modules for versions of the kernel which weren’t actually installed or being used on my system (include some ‘preempty’ kernels, which I removed). The generated modules were stored in /lib/modules/5.14.21-150500.55.31-default/weak-updates/updates (of course, the actual kernel version may vary with different system).

Using Gnome or KDE with Wayland still seems defective and buggy, with long pauses happening periodically. Using KDE with Xorg seems to be more trouble-free than using Gnome. Perhaps not too surprising, openSuSE’s official desktop manager is KDE.

I did miss the window ‘overview’ function from GNOME, however. Gnome accesses ‘overview’ from the Super (also known as Windows) key. The same function is accessed on KDE with something like Super-W (in KDE parlance Meta-W). A similar function called ‘Present Windows’ Ctrl-F10 is also available in KDE, but unlike ‘Overview’ doesn’t allow for searching for applications to launch/start.

It is possible to map the Super (/Meta/Windows) key to ‘Overview’ in KDE, but it is a little complicated, since the KDE’s Meta key is only used as a key modifier. The solution is found in a Reddit post by AiwendilH.

First, find the list of dbus calls for shortcuts:

$qdbus-qt5 org.kde.kglobalaccel /component/kwin shortcutNames

Overview is in that list (the list can also be seen — with great difficulty — using the GUI application qdbusviewer-qt5).

Test the effect from the shell with:

$qdbus-qt5 org.kde.kglobalaccel /component/kwin invokeShortcut "Overview"

Then set the effect (using instructions from the KDE wiki) with:

$ kwriteconfig5 --file ~/.config/kwinrc --group ModifierOnlyShortcuts --key Meta "org.kde.kglobalaccel,/component/kwin,org.kde.kglobalaccel.Component,invokeShortcut,Overview"
$ qdbus-qt5 org.kde.KWin /KWin reconfigure
David Fong
David Fong
Lead doctor, Kensington site, coHealth

My interests include sustainable development in low-resource populations, teaching and the uses of monitoring and evaluation in clinical practice.