Plasma Workspaces to go into feature freeze with version 4.11
KDE developer and Plasma team leader Aaron Seigo has announced that version 4.11 of Plasma Workspaces will be a long term support (LTS) release. Seigo says the developers are close to a feature freeze for the next version of KDE's desktop shell and that, once Plasma Workspaces 4.11 is released, there will be no more feature developments in this branch. However, as part of their stabilisation releases, the developers will provide bug fixes and translation updates for two years after the 4.11 release.
Once the release is finalised, the developers will switch their development effort to Plasma Workspaces 2 which will be based on Qt 5 and KDE Frameworks 5. Seigo says that there are no plans to add features to the Plasma Desktop and Netbook environments after the 4.11 release and that he is excited about this as it means that KDE's "distribution and packaging partners will be able to have a version that will see releases which focus exclusively on stabilization for at least two years." This kind of LTS release is a new approach for the KDE project, even though it is now well accustomed to shipping monthly stabilisation updates for its main desktop release.
Seigo explains that the new strategy helps the developers with their goals of decoupling KDE's underlying software stack from the rest of the tools and applications that makes up the KDE Software Collection. The developers have realised that a single release cycle doesn't work for the number of different projects within the KDE community and that this was one of the reasons behind rebranding the desktop in its entirety as "KDE Software Collection" – to separate the bundled applications from the KDE Frameworks and Plasma Workspaces parts that make up the underlying desktop environment. Seigo explicitly says that he expects more feature releases of the KDE desktop as a whole after the Plasma Workspaces freeze and that the freeze "does not effect, in any way, anything other than the code currently in the kde-workspace repository".
The developers also hope that the renewed focus on developing Plasma Workspaces 2 will shorten the wait for the new version of the desktop shell to arrive. Seigo explains: "By focusing our attention and creating sensible schedules for each component, we will be able to get to Plasma Workspaces 2 as quickly as possible." Seigo says that the new release plan has been discussed within the whole of the KDE community, including the groups working on the different parts of the software concerned, as well as the release team, and that it has been arrived at by consensus.