Plasma Active: KDE project for mobiles and more
According to various developer blog postings, a new KDE project, Plasma Active, will be aimed at platforms other than the usual laptops and desktops, ie. mobiles, tablets, settop boxes, etc. One developer, Sebastian Kügler, has pointed out that the intention is for the system to be capable of running on a "spectrum" of devices and easily adaptable to new devices that will be developed in the future.
Kügler states that by "strongly separating data and visualisation/interaction, we do not re-invent the wheel but adapt to the requirements and expectations of a device, and about how devices work together for the user." The strategy involves minimising the amount of code that needs to be changed for any particular hardware device and maximising the amount that can be shared across all devices, at both levels: data and user interface. Plasma Active uses Qt's Quick/QML user interface language and tools as part of this abstraction.
According to KDE hacker Aaron Seigo, in the first of a five part introduction to Plasma Active, this strong separation "is encouraged right at the API level". Later postings from Seigo have already covered an activity based interface named Contour and Active Apps for Plasma Active.
Currently, the new system has been tested on only three devices, but is available for testing on openSUSE 11.4 and MeeGo/ARM. An openslx provided LiveCD provides an downloadable(direct download) image which can be run in a virtual machine such as VirtualBox. More experienced users can add two repositories to their exisiting openSUSE 11.4 installations to try out the software, and MeeGo/ARM developers can subscribe to a separate repository. Links for the repositories and instructions on how to install are available.