Plasma 5.0 is wrapping up and we have all learned a LOT in the first few months of the Visual Design Group's existence. One thing is clear though. If any of us had any doubts about whether an open approach to visual design can produce great results, most of those doubts have been assuaged. I'm super-proud to be part of this community and the quality of the results we have produced. It is really exciting to see the participation and the optimism by everyone involved!
So one question some folks might be pondering is "What's next for the VDG?" Well I'm glad you asked. The core VDG group sat down and looked at the long term approach to supporting the Plasma desktop and KDE applications.
This is the first release of a new chapter of Plasma, in which a new release method will be used to celebrate the diverity of the KDE community.
We used to have a 6 months “big release” of all things KDE, called in the beginning just “KDE”, then “KDE SC”, but this release is not that anymore, because KDE grown a lot in the past years, is not just that anymore, and “a single release of everything” scales only so much....
For KDE desktop users unhappy with the level of integration with Mozilla's Firefox web browser, the situation might finally be changing.
There's been a bug going back to early 2002 about properly integrating Mozilla with KDE, "Mozilla has 'Windows Integration' on win32, I believe it should have such a thing on KDE as well (gnome folks, feel free to file your own bug). We should at least provide an icon in the KDE menu, perhaps we could even tell KDE that some file types can be opened with Mozilla..." That bug, Mozilla Bug 140751, has been open for the past twelve years and finally now might be inching closer to being resolved.
While KDE Frameworks 5 was just released this week, there's already new features and functionality sought after for future revisions of this modularized set of next-gen KDE libraries.
Covered in yesterday's KF5 update meeting were many changes/features still being desired by KDE developers. Among the highlights of future work include:
- Ensuring there is proper tooling and it's easy for developers to get started for developing applications on KDE Frameworks 5.
KDE 4.14 code is getting ready while being worked on for a December debut is a mix of KDE4 and KF5 application code.
The KDE 4.14 software code has been branched from master for all KDE Software Compilation repositories (sans KActivites that's being left out for a 4.14 release). In terms of what's next for the master code-base, while before a potential "KDE 4.15" release was talked about, it was agreed upon by KDE developers that 4.14 will be the last of KDE Applications that exclusively use KDE Platform 4.
We are happy to announce the Qt Creator 3.2 beta today. So you can already check out the many improvements we have done for the upcoming 3.2 release, and, not to forget, give us feedback on what we have so far. We mostly concentrated on stability and improvements, so no completely new platform supported this time, sorry . I’ll randomly highlight some of the changes here, but you should probably check out our change log as well for a more thorough overview, and just download the binaries and try it for yourself.
I’ve been wondering for quite some time though how the state of Plasma Next is when it comes to accessibility. In this case accessibility is mostly how the applications and desktop shell expose semantics to the accessibility framework via an API (on Linux the beast is called AT-SPI, a DBus API). The goal is that assistive technology such as a screen readers (Orca), the screen magnifier, or Simon can pick up what’s going on and assist the user. This allows for example blind people to use the software. The big thing here is that while Qt never had good support for QGraphicsView accessibility, we plowed away at making things work well with Qt Quick. This afternoon I finally got around to looking at the next iteration of the KDE desktop for real. In fact I’m writing this in a running Plasma Next session on top of the frameworks 5 libraries. It feels a bit like the porting from KDE 3 to 4, except that most things seem to just work so far.