KDE Archive

KDE Usability and Productivity: are we there yet?

KDE’s Usability & Productivity initiative is now almost two years old, and I’ve been blogging weekly progress for a year and a half. So I thought it would be a good time to take stock of the situation: how far we’ve come, and what’s left to do. Let’s dive right in! This initiative has been a lot of fun to follow. If you always update to the latest KDE release – for instance by using KDE Neon – you’ll see the weekly fixes and polishes highlighted in the blog posts appear on your machine very quickly.

KDE Privacy Sprint, 2019 edition

From the 22nd to 26th of March, members of the KDE Privacy team met up in Leipzig, Germany, for our Spring 2019 sprint. During the sprint, we floated a lot of different ideas that sparked plenty of discussions. The notion of privacy encompasses a wide range of topics, technologies and methods, so it is often difficult to decide what to focus on. However, all the aspects we worked on are important. We ended up tackling a variety of issues, and we are confident that our contributions will improve data protection for all users of KDE software. Quite a few ideas became reality for upcoming KDE releases. Good work.

Next generation Plasma notifications

There is something very exciting I have to show to you today: a completely rewritten notification system for Plasma that will be part of our next feature update 5.16 to be released in June. There’s so many new and improved things here it’s hard to pick a favourite, but KDE finally getting proper do not disturb support is a big one for me. All my devices – phones, workstation, laptop, tablet – have do not disturb rules set up, but ever since switching my laptop and desktop over to Linux with KDE (from Windows 10), I’ve really been missing this feature. This first iteration does not yet have support for automated rules, but those will come in a future release.

Linux archaeology: KDE 0.1

A user by the name of grem75 has uploaded two screenshots of KDE 0.1 to imgur, and they offer a very intriguing look at just how far we’ve come. I’ve only found this RPM, no source unfortunately. This is installed on Red Hat 4.1 with Qt 1.33. Impressive amount of progress for being so early in development. The project had been announced in October 1996, this package was built in February 1997. There really were no complete desktop environments available for Linux at the time, most distros shipped with FVWM and some assortment of applications from various toolkits. Gnome didn’t start until August of 1997. XFCE existed, but was just a panel for FVWM. I’ve recently made the jump from Windows 10 to KDE Neon on my laptop, and after so many rocky years through KDE 4.x, I have to say the KDE desktop environment currently exists in an incredibly polished and attractive state, striking a perfect balance between attractiveness, usability, and customisability. KDE is currently an absolute pleasure to use for me, and I can’t wait to see what else they’ve got coming up (preferably a lot of work on either reworking or replacing Kmail with a smaller, more focused email application). In any event, this is the first time I’ve felt at home on a desktop environment on Linux since the glory days of GNOME 2.x and KDE 3.x, and I couldn’t be happier. These two KDE 0.1 screenshots remind me of just how far we’ve come.

KDE Plasma 5.14 released

KDE has released Plasma 5.14 desktop.

A lot of work has gone into improving Discover, Plasma's software manager, and, among other things, we have added a Firmware Update feature and many subtle user interface improvements to give it a smoother feel. We have also rewritten many effects in our window manager KWin and improved it for slicker animations in your work day. Other improvements we have made include a new Display Configuration widget which is useful when giving presentations.

The new release will find its way to your Linux distribution of choice soon enough.

KDE Plasma 5.13 released

Members of the Plasma team have been working hard to continue making Plasma a lightweight and responsive desktop which loads and runs quickly, but remains full-featured with a polished look and feel. We have spent the last four months optimising startup and minimising memory usage, yielding faster time-to-desktop, better runtime performance and less memory consumption. Basic features like panel popups were optimised to make sure they run smoothly even on the lowest-end hardware. Our design teams have not rested either, producing beautiful new integrated lock and login screen graphics.

Read the entire release announcement for more details.

KDE Plasma 5.11 released

Today KDE publishes this autumn's Plasma feature release, KDE Plasma 5.11. Plasma 5.11 brings a redesigned settings app, improved notifications, a more powerful task manager. Plasma 5.11 is the first release to contain the new "Vault", a system to allow the user to encrypt and open sets of documents in a secure and user-friendly way, making Plasma an excellent choice for people dealing with private and confidential information.

This screenshot of the new Vault feature with a selection in a selection because you like selections is just so KDE - and I mean that in a teasing, loving way.

KDE Slimbook: MacBook Air clone built for KDE

We were not content with the quality of laptops available on the market. The majority shipped with proprietary and locked-in software solutions, filled with not-uninstallable bloat where the user was left at the mercy of whatever the company selling them a laptop saw fit for them to work with. As creators and makers we knew what it meant to be locked into a set of solutions defined by others. Many alternatives took whatever hardware they could find when they wanted to provide more free options and the end result was often lackluster and as such, lowering the enjoyment in using the computer, our main tool in creating, and shipping with underwhelming specs.

We saw a problem, and we solved it: The KDE Slimbook.

Basically a MacBook Air-like laptop, preconfigured with KDE Neon, at a relatively reasonable price. This is a very attractive laptop, and I would love to own one. Very nice work.

Trinity Desktop Environment R14.0.3 released

Now here's a blast from the (somewhat recent) past: the Trinity Desktop Environment. TDE is a fork of the last available release of the KDE 3.x series, coming into existence in 2008. The project's been under steady development ever since, and the most recent release is R14.0.3. since this is just a maintenance release, it might be more fitting to look at the release notes for R14.0.0, the base release, from december 2014.

Unlike previous releases TDE R14.0.0 has been in development for over two years. This extended development period has allowed us to create a better, more stable and more feature-rich product than previous TDE releases. R14 is brimming with new features, such as a new hardware manager based on udev (HAL is no longer required), full network-manager 0.9 support, a brand new compositor (compton), built-in threading support, and much more!

Honestly, I have no idea how many people still see value in a maintained KDE 3.x desktop, but since I've personally always been a fan of KDE 3 (KDE 4 never really managed to convince me), I'm glad his project is still around offering the option for those among us who want to use KDE 3.

KDE Plasma 5.4 released

This release of Plasma brings many nice touches for our users such as much improved high DPI support, KRunner auto-completion and many new beautiful Breeze icons. It also lays the ground for the future with a tech preview of Wayland session available. We're shipping a few new components such as an Audio Volume Plasma Widget, monitor calibration tool and the User Manager tool comes out beta.

There's a video too.

KDE Plasma 5.3 Released

The KDE community has released Plasma 5.3, a major new release of the popular open source desktop environment. This latest release brings enhanced power management, better support for Bluetooth, and improved Plasma widgets. A technical preview of the Plasma Media Center shell is also available. In addition, Plasma 5.3 represents a step towards support for Wayland. There are also a few other minor tweaks and over 300 bugfixes.

Plasma 5.2 – the quintessential breakdown

That day has already come and passed; dubbed "KDE Frameworks 5" for the technology, and "Plasma 5" for the environment/applications, these technologies have been in circulation as technical demonstrations and alternatives for some months now. A combination of nervous anticipation and memories of being burned by the 4.0 releases lead all but the bravest to venture early and discover nothing nearly as painful as the transition between KDE 3 and Plasma. With KDE Plasma 5.2 being formally announced as the default environment of Kubuntu 15.04 due only months away, Frameworks 5 and Plasma have been recognised as maturing usable products - which means it's time to take a serious look at what to expect when you turn it on for the first time.

I am extremely impressed with the progress the KDE team has been making with 5.0. I can't wait until the 5.2 release hits. In any case, this is a very in-depth look at what the current state of KDE 5.x offers - grab a cup of coffee and enjoy.

KDE Plasma 5.0 released

KDE proudly announces the immediate availability of Plasma 5.0, providing a visually updated core desktop experience that is easy to use and familiar to the user. Plasma 5.0 introduces a new major version of KDE's workspace offering. The new Breeze artwork concept introduces cleaner visuals and improved readability. Central work-flows have been streamlined, while well-known overarching interaction patterns are left intact. Plasma 5.0 improves support for high-DPI displays and ships a converged shell, able to switch between user experiences for different target devices. Changes under the hood include the migration to a new, fully hardware-accelerated graphics stack centered around an OpenGL(ES) scenegraph. Plasma is built using Qt 5 and Frameworks 5.

This is a pretty major release, and while the cosmetic stuff isn't all cleaned up yet, I like the new design direction the team is taking - not a huge departure from what came before, but they seem to be making it look a little less... KDE-ish, if that makes any sense.

I'll be waiting on a few point releases, but I definitely want to try this out. I've always been a fan of KDE - stumbles notwithstanding - because it puts a lot of control in the user's hands to shape the user interface into what she wants. That's a very rare thing to come by these days, and we should cherish it.

KDE Frameworks 5 released

The KDE Community is proud to announce KDE Frameworks 5.0. Frameworks 5 is the next generation of KDE libraries, modularized and optimized for easy integration in Qt applications. The Frameworks offer a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms. There are over 50 different Frameworks as part of this release providing solutions including hardware integration, file format support, additional widgets, plotting functions, spell checking and more. Many of the Frameworks are cross platform and have minimal or no extra dependencies making them easy to build and add to any Qt application.

The release candidate for Plasma 5 has also been released.

Where KDE is going, part II

And this is the second part of the future of KDE. We already covered part one.

This is the second half of the 'where KDE is going' write-up. Last week, I discussed what is happening with KDE's technologies: Platform is turning modular in Frameworks, Plasma is moving to new technologies and the Applications change their release schedule. In this post, I will discuss the social and organizational aspects: our governance.

Where KDE is going

This article explores where the KDE community currently stands and where it is going. Frameworks, Plasma, KDE e.V., Qt5, KDE Free Qt Foundation, QtAddons - you heard some of these terms and want to know what all the fuss is about? A set of articles on the Dot aims to bring some clarity in the changes and constants of the KDE community in 2014 and further. This is the first article, diving into the technical side of things: Plasma, applications and libraries.

An update on where KDE stands today.

KDE ships first beta of next generation Plasma workspace

KDE today releases the first Beta version of the next-generation Plasma workspace. The Plasma team would like to ask the wider Free Software community to test this release and give any feedback . Plasma Next is built using QML and runs on top of a fully hardware-accelerated graphics stack using Qt 5, QtQuick 2 and an OpenGL(-ES) scenegraph. Plasma Next provides a core desktop experience that will be easy and familiar for current users of KDE workspaces or alternative Free Software or proprietary offerings.

Plasma 2 Technology Preview released

Plasma 2 Technology Preview demonstrates the current development status. The Plasma 2 user interfaces are built using QML and run on top of a fully hardware accelerated graphics stack using Qt5, QtQuick 2 and an OpenGL(-ES) scenegraph. Plasma 2 is a converged workspace shell that can run and switch between user interfaces for different formfactors, and makes the workspace adaptable to a given target device.

Plasma 2 is not a complete rewrite; it's a port to a new graphics system (a fully hardware accelerated OpenGL(ES) scenegraph).