KDE plans to merge Plasma desktops
Developers at KDE are planning to merge the code for their Plasma Desktop, Plasma Netbook and Plasma Active user interfaces in the not-too-distant future, according to a blog post by Aaron Seigo. As he explains, individual programs are currently responsible for each shell; their sources, however, consist of just three to ten thousand lines of code, since they otherwise make use of a common code base.
At the moment, when a user wants to switch between the Netbook and Desktop interfaces, one process has to be ended and the other started, which is "not particularly pretty", Seigo points out. The developers would also like to be able to more flexibly adjust desktop elements (like window decorations) to runtime conditions. In addition, Plasma Active proved that it is possible to program a Plasma user interface entirely with QML. The plan for the future is therefore to have one process create the various user interfaces using QML in Qt5. The solution will be called Plasma Workspaces 2. Seigo is already dreaming of the day he can connect a television to his laptop and see the Plasma Desktop automatically replaced by Plasma Mediacenter.
He also gives a bit more background information and describes changes that are currently being planned or have already been implemented, like further modularisation and reconfiguration. Some of those changes will give KDE Software Collection 4.11 the necessary foundation for Plasma Workspaces 2.
Seigo also links to a blog post recently published by Sebastian Kügler on the changes in store for KDE Frameworks 5 and Plasma Workspaces 2. In his post, Kügler mentions that three major changes have already been made to KDE Frameworks 5, with four more to go: improving the build system, cleaning up kdelibs, adding more KDE tasks to Qt, and splitting kdelibs. He also brings up KWin, saying that the window manager will soon be able to use Qt 5, as well. The next step is having KWin use KMS (kernel-based mode setting) to send the image directly to the kernel for display. The goal after that is for KWin to be able to function as a Wayland compositor, with the long-term objective being KWin's complete independence from X11.