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24 April 2013, 17:24

The future of KDE: Wayland, Qt 5, uniform Plasma shell

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The road to Plasma Workspaces 2 has been laid out as the Plasma developers recently met in Nuremberg, Germany, to discuss their open issues around future developments. A new version of the KDE desktop will be based on version 5 of the KDE platform and on Qt 5, writes KDE developer Sebastian Kügler. It will be designed to run on X11 as well as on Wayland. With Wayland, KWin will be used as the compositor.

The developers plan to integrate the various device-specific desktop interfaces (Plasma Desktop, Plasma Netbook, Plasma Active for touch devices, Plasma Mediacenter) into a workspace shell that can switch workspaces and behaviours via "shell packages". Packages will be available dynamically for selection at runtime, for example allowing the Plasma workspace to transform from a touch-optimised user interface into a classic desktop when a keyboard and mouse are connected to a tablet.

Plasma Workspaces 2 will also use QtQuick to offload all UI graphics rendering to available GPUs for increased performance and better battery life on mobile devices. For systems that do not support OpenGL, a fallback to CPU rendering will be possible. The goal is to ensure that systems that are capable of running the current version of Plasma will be able to run the new version without loss in performance.

The developers all agree that there should be no fundamental changes to the user interface, and that important work processes should function as they do with KDE 4. Therefore, the makers of Plasma estimate that at least a year of development time will be needed before Plasma Workspaces is ready for production use.


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