KDE‘s Plasma is one of those few desktops which offer extreme cutomization, giving a user full control over the system. Those who complain that the default icon sets have not changed for ages need to understand that art & design need heavy investment (good designers are expensive) and you can’t expect new icon theme with each release – look at Android, iOS or Mac OSX. iOS just got an icon theme reboot which got mixed reviews from users.
In Qt5, the locale support has seen a lot of improvements compared to Qt4. John Layt has done some fantastic work in contributing the features that are needed by many KDE applications, to a point where in most cases, KLocale is not needed anymore, and code that used it can now rely on QLocale. This means less duplication of code and API (QLocale vs. KLocale), more compabitility across applications (as more apps move to use QLocale), less interdependencies between libraries, and a smaller footprint.
This is one of the areas where porting of applications from KDE Platform 4.x to KDE Frameworks 5 can cause a bit of work, but it has clear advantages. KLocale is also still there, in the kde4support library, but it’s deprecated, and included as a porting aid and compatibility layer.
Developer Andrea Scarpino announced the availability of KDE Frameworks 5 packages for Arch Linux. Currently the packages are available in the extra repository of Arch.
Users can install the under-development version of KDE Frameworks 5 side by side with KDE 4 from the Beta 2 stage. To make this possible the packages are installed under /usr instead of /opt/kf5 as it used to be on the Arch User Repository (AUR) previously. Till date the only exception was the kactivities component because both KDE Frameworks and KDE 4 ship a kactivitymanagerd binary. To make them co-install now both the packages from KDE4 and KDE Frameworks install a kactivities virtual package on the same system under the /usr directory. The packages are grouped into two parts: kf5 and kf5-aids (PortingAids).
As of today the KDE Frameworks 5 packages have been added to Arch Linux's "extra" repository. These KDE Frameworks 5 packages can coexist on the same Arch system as KDE 4. Arch Linux users can fetch these new packages from extra via kf5 and kf5-aids.
The KDE Arch contributor working on this, Andrea Scarpino, also hopes to have the current development packages of KDE Plasma Next packaged up in the next few days. Plasma Next initially isn't going into a main/extras repository but initially under kde-unstable and is prefixed from the rest of the system. Those wishing to learn more about these early "KDE 5" Arch packages can read Andrea's blog post.
If all goes according to plan, we will see the official Qt 5.3 unveiling next Tuesday, 20 May. A new snapshot was released today to encourage last minute testing. If nothing serious is found, today's snapshot will be the final packages otherwise Digia will need to spin new packages and this will push back Tuesday's release.
The size of many widgets depend on the font as they adjust depending on the space required to fit text. The problem increases with translated versions of the text. Sebastian explains that Plasma relies on sensible font settings and metrics for better support of HDPI displays. There is a stronger emphasis on fontsize-as-rendered-on-a-given screen. The UIs are designed to fit a certain number of columns and rows of text with ample dynamic spacing, so that even translations fit well. The size of the UI elements are roughly the same size on different displays. This design seems to be received well by the users.
The first beta of what will become the next-generation KDE Plasma workspace (KDE Next) was released yesterday. The final release is scheduled for release sometime in July (2014), so things should be moving really fast from now on. Here’s an excerpt from the release announcement:
The Plasma team would like to ask the wider Free Software community to test this release and give any feedback . Plasma Next is built using QML and runs on top of a fully hardware-accelerated graphics stack using Qt 5, QtQuick 2 and an OpenGL(-ES) scenegraph. Plasma Next provides a core desktop experience that will be easy and familiar for current users of KDE workspaces or alternative Free Software or proprietary offerings.