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KDE GUI Handhelds Open Source Linux

KDE's New Projects Take On Portable Devices 110

Posted by timothy
from the k-stands-for-nothing-if-not-flexibility dept.
jrepin writes "Key KDE developers have been blogging about new projects aimed towards portable devices. As Aaron Seigo says, 'In a nutshell, Plasma Active is about getting the KDE Platform with Plasma providing a compelling user interface ready for and available on hardware devices outside the usual laptop and desktop form factors.' For us mortals, that means an interface for smartphones, tablets, and handhelds."
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KDE's New Projects Take On Portable Devices

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  • Whatever happened to E mobile?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      From E.org: "Enlightenment libraries already power millions of systems, from mobile phones to set top boxes..."

      There's definitely not enough coverage on that then... And not only on ../
      • by V!NCENT (1105021)

        In fact; Enlightenment is sponsored heavily by Samsung now ;)

      • by sorak (246725)

        From E.org: "Enlightenment libraries already power millions of systems, from mobile phones to set top boxes..."

        There's definitely not enough coverage on that then... And not only on ../

        I checked ../ [dotdotslash.org] and they really don't have much.

  • *what* tablets? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I've been looking for a Linux tablet in roughly the nook/ipad form factor for a while, but I can't find anything. What's out there? Whatever it is, it seems to hide itself really well.

    I don't want an iOS or android tablet - I insist on having full control over my own computers. My requirements are:

    * Roughly 7" screen, at least 1024x600 in color.
    * 10 hours battery life
    * Can run some Debian based distro ideally with KDE support
    * Supports flash natively
    * Touch screen supporting multitouch
    * Less than $500
    * D

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MrEricSir (398214)

      I'm all set to give someone my money, but nobody seems too eager to sell me something.

      I hate to be the guy who makes the car analogy, but if you walked into a dealership and said you wouldn't buy anything that wasn't a V8 that got 45MPG, came with an XM radio, had a sunroof, four doors, included the schematics, and cost $16k or less, I imagine they'd politely tell you to take a hike.

      Don't get me wrong, it's great when you can get exactly what you want. But that's often the exception to the rule.

    • by Dr Max (1696200)
      Linux on a tablet sounds great but it needs a lot of work before its ready. Touch is apparently implemented but it dosn't always work. Accelerated graphic is rarely implemented by any one. A new interface is needed because you can't fit the same amount on the screen any more. Maybe when this plasma active or ubuntu 11.4 comes out it will solve these problems, but at the moment your better off putting up with android. The "kno" tablet i belive runs ubuntu out of the box but it is a 13inch screen.
    • by cflange (1208152)
      Although it is not a tablet, the OpenPandora [open-pandora.org] complies with all the other conditions you listed. It is quite a unique device and the fact it can be folded and fit in a pocket is an advantage over the tablet form factor. The project has taken a couple of years to take off, but you can receive your device in 7 days now, if you pay $500.
      • by illtud (115152)

        How is that better (or much different) than my $400 n900 that's over a year old and is neater, better supported (albeit not by Nokia so much so more!)?

  • by mirix (1649853)

    I like KDE a fair bit, an generally use it on my main rig... but it's plugged into the wall.

    I think they're gonna have to do a lot of slimming down for a mobile rig, to the point where you might not recognise it as KDE...

    • Amen, it eats the battery on my laptop and performance is a dog, but I'm too principled to revert to Windows XP.

    • by lwsimon (724555)

      I tried Plasma Netbook on my new eeePC, but it didn't like the 1G of RAM I have at the moment. I ended up back in Unity post-haste.

    • by KugelKurt (908765)

      I like KDE a fair bit, an generally use it on my main rig... but it's plugged into the wall.

      I think they're gonna have to do a lot of slimming down for a mobile rig, to the point where you might not recognise it as KDE...

      Um, that's exactly what KDE are doing:
      The new shell is based on the new Qt Scene Graph technology which runs more on the GPU and uses the CPU for almost nothing. Plasma Desktop is still based on older technology. According to KDE's rough benchmarks the new shell runs more fluid on mobile devices than Plasma Desktop runs on big PCs.
      Since a bunch of months they also trim down dependencies and make them optional. That means on mobile devices a vastly smaller code base will be shipped (even Canonical is looking

  • by lanner (107308) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @01:31AM (#35804198)

    That's right guys, follow that shiny thing, wherever it leads. Forget all about what you were doing before.

    • That's right guys, follow that shiny thing, wherever it leads. Forget all about what you were doing before.

      No imagination.

    • by gier (146277)

      Yeah, well, sometimes there's nothing wrong with following the shiny, if the shiny is good.

      And what do you mean about forgetting all that was done before? They're planning to expand, not stay put or contract. Sounds like a good thing to me.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        And what do you mean about forgetting all that was done before? They're planning to expand, not stay put or contract. Sounds like a good thing to me.

        Despite how much they'd like you to believe they have infinitely many resources, "expand" usually translates to "smearing the resources we have even thinner". Let's face it, Linux on the desktop/laptop isn't exactly a smashing success, at least the web browsing statistics all put it below 1%.

        First there was the desktop 1.0, it never really caught on but now it's full of desktop 2.0 which is roughly as annoying as web 2.0. I think the last fad was netbooks - now we're taking the netbooks, and then the netboo

        • by nschubach (922175)

          I imagine it's kind of like having a sumo wrestler (Microsoft) sitting on top of you. You flail your arms and legs around looking for something to grab hold of to try to get some leverage so you can at least attempt to get out from under it. The only problem is that the wrestler keeps shifting his weight around.

    • by V!NCENT (1105021)

      Like what? Using my Android interface? ROFL...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I had to buy a 2.6GHz dual-core processor and a GeForce 240 video card before its performance on my desktop became even marginally acceptable. The entire 4.x series of qt/kde applications nearly choke doing what kde3 did smoothly on 1/2 to 1/10 the resources - which is about what you'll have in a smartphone.

    Unless there's some magical -DSTOP_BEING_HORRIBLY_SLOW flag I don't know about, I can't forsee kde 4 working on a portable device in a way that won't send people screaming.

    • by NoAkai (2036200)
      Had similar problems, tried to install Kubuntu Netbook on my laptop. Really shiny interface, but *way* too heavy for my poor Atom CPU.
      • by horza (87255)

        I run Kubuntu standard edition on my Atom CPU Samsung NC10 netbook and it runs fine. Then again I compare the speed to the pre-installed Windows, before I wiped it. I even do basic photo processing using Digikam on it. It may not be as quick as some other distributions but it is more than usable.

        Phillip.

        • by NoAkai (2036200)
          Really? That's odd. I ran it on a Samsung N350 Netbook, with 2Gigs of RAM and the dual-core version of the Atom CPU, and I had very noticeable interface "lag".
    • When KDE is built for mobiles (or tablets) lots of stuff can be compiled out because its not necessary for the mobile platform. So, yes, in a sense there is such a switch...
    • by Anne Honime (828246) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @08:12AM (#35806106)

      ... they want their meme back.

      We hear the same tiring rant over and over again, and this is really becoming OLD. Plain and simple, in that case, this is bollocks. I've run every version of KDE since v. 1, and anytime there was improvements, whiners have complained they were too broke to afford the required computing power. Then, don't use it and be done with it !

      But what's more, since KDE 4.5, this rant is completely delusional. I use daily a 2008 eeepc 900A (Atom powered low-end netbook w/ 1GB RAM and Intel graphics), with Fedora 13, KDE 4.5 (composite display enabled with bells and whistles), and libreoffice. This is my bread-and-butter computer. The speed of KDE is already perfectly adequate even if slowed down by the lousy 8GB SSD of the machine. All the graphics effects just work. And this from a computer that wouldn't be able to run Microsoft Aero effects.

      You don't like KDE : fine. But stop smearing it for imaginary defects produced only by your incapacity to configure it properly.

      • by blackpaw (240313)

        Agreed, using KDE 4.4.5 (Kubuntu 10.04) its perfectly usable on my Atom 510, booting windows it ran at a crawl.

      • I can definitely corroborate your findings. I also have an Eee 900A (with the even slower 4GB SSD) that I use to do my engineering homework when I'm away from my desktop. It can't even run Windows XP SP3 to a useful extent, but Arch + KDE 4.6 is perfectly usable with all the eye candy turned on (except blur, which is a known bug with the Intel drivers, apparently). I don't see much of a performance difference versus Gnome, either.
        • I've been looking to set up an old xp laptop with arch, but I hear it takes some tweaking, and I'm worried how much it will take. I'm not afraid of following a how to, or reading a man page, but experimenting is something I'd rather do in a VM, also, I've got 4/40 GB HDD, so booting from and using NTFS is a big plus, but only puppy linux seems to do it.
    • While I agree wholeheartedly that KDE4.x is WAY WAY WAY too resource hungry, what really helps is disabling Nepomuk & Akonadi. Those two services are at least 50% of the problem. I have a 1.3 GHz Pentium M & 512 MB of RAM on an old laptop and it runs reasonably once those two are shutdown.

      Disclaimer: I left KDE as a desktop (on my laptop) for LXDE (Kubuntu -> LXDE + Ubuntu Minimal -> Lubuntu) about a year ago and have been very happy with the result. I still use some KDE apps - Dolphin &

    • by IrquiM (471313)
      Worked great on a p4 3.2ghz with a 8600GTS(or something...) - you must be doing something wrong. Even on my 2nd gen EEE it works with tolerable performance
  • Seriously, the screenshot in TFA looks like GNOME3.


    And that was what the GNOME-ppl said: "we're making a system that works on desktop and portable" and you guys rant about the new interface.
    Now KDE makes one for portables that looks like GNOME3 and I sure as hell know who's going to praise it.

    Will we ever be able to try those concepts out before judging them?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      And that was what the GNOME-ppl said: "we're making a system that works on desktop and portable" and you guys rant about the new interface.
      Now KDE makes one for portables that looks like GNOME3 and I sure as hell know who's going to praise it.

      There's a difference: GNOME3 is taking a "one size fits all" route where desktop users are expected to interact with their desktops like they're smartphones or tablets. That's where a lot of the ranting I've seen has come from.

      With KDE4, Plasma (the desktop) has different operating modes that you can install and use separately. It's had a netbook interface for a while, and nobody's been required to use it. This sounds like a continuation of the same idea.

      I haven't used it so I can't say whether this mob

    • by KugelKurt (908765)

      Seriously, the screenshot in TFA looks like GNOME3.

      No, it does not. Not by far. You obviously never used GNOME 3.

  • Now KDE has successfully konquered the desktop with 0.43% desktop UI market share, they are going on to tablets, smartphones and whatever else. It's always struck me that many Linux has been an OS without users, it's just not used much at all outside of an enthusiast/developer base and this fate befalls many Linux based open source projects which can persist as long as someone wants to develop even if nobody wants to use it. Without much 3rd party adoption, anything of that sort is a no-go, it just doesn't
    • by ingwa (958475)

      *totally made up but based on on linux having 2% at most of the desktop market and gnome being the most popular.

      Ah, but it isn't. If you just confine yourself to the US, you may think so. But if you look around globally, you will find that KDE is actually used more. For instance, see the 24 Million(!) school kids in Brazil using the KDE desktop.

  • My opinion about KDE is: it could use a good fork of KDE 3.5, which is converted to use Qt 4, and with some of the new composite features added on top of it.

    The application suite should be a separate project rather than considered part of KDE, so that for example changes to mail or text editor programs are something independent than changes to the actual desktop and windowing system.

    And all this for desktop computers of course.

    My $0.02.

    • by MrHanky (141717)

      Just do it, then, and stop whining.

    • by marsu_k (701360) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @07:35AM (#35805846)

      My opinion about KDE is: it could use a good fork of KDE 3.5, which is converted to use Qt 4, and with some of the new composite features added on top of it.

      Qt4 port - not going to happen. But the 3.5-series is still being developed, see Trinity desktop [trinitydesktop.org]

      The application suite should be a separate project rather than considered part of KDE, so that for example changes to mail or text editor programs are something independent than changes to the actual desktop and windowing system.

      ...and this would be different from the current situation how, exactly? If your distribution lumps KDE into few huge packages, blame your distribution, but KDE itself is highly modular. Changes to Kwin have no impact on KMail, for example (other than potentially changing the way the windowing system works, which is obvious). Furthermore, due to the modular nature of KDE, changes to KatePart affect KWrite, Kate and KDevelop (and all applications that use the text editor widget).

      • Well, the thing is, when KDE4 was released, I liked various changes they did to the desktop manager, but hated many things they did to the applications, they completely destroyed all usefulness and productivity that Kate had for programming by destroying the search function, its dialogs, and making it per-file. It's stupid that changing your window manager also requires changing to crippled versions of applications. Plus it also makes me wonder what the KDE developer's focus is. I care about the window mana

        • Well, the thing is, when KDE4 was released, I liked various changes they did to the desktop manager, but hated many things they did to the applications, they completely destroyed all usefulness and productivity that Kate had for programming by destroying the search function, its dialogs, and making it per-file. It's stupid that changing your window manager also requires changing to crippled versions of applications. Plus it also makes me wonder what the KDE developer's focus is. I care about the window manager part of KDE. But they appear to care more about the applications, when looking in the changelists. And I didn't like a single change they did to the applications ever since after the latest KDE 3.5 was released.

          You know, it doesn't. KDE 3.5 programs work fine under KDE4, but KDE3.5 have problems with obsolete dependencies.. especially Qt3. Those problems would persist if you had stuck with KDE3 through and through.

          I also find it interesting that you find Kate destroyed. I use it daily, and I haven't even noticed any significant changes. But perhaps the keyword is "by-file"... as that is how I tend to operate, I might not have noticed any mulit-file features (for C++ I use KDevelop 4.2, which also uses Kate beneat

    • by Asic Eng (193332)
      There is a fork called trinity [trinitydesktop.org]. I don't believe they are planning to use Qt4 at this point, though.
  • So, my little smartphone, KDE wants your UI to lock up as often as the sessions on my openSuSE box do. And you're music player is gonna turn to junk.
    • by AvitarX (172628)

      Kde 4.6 is a lot better than the previous.

      I would call 4.4 the first useable in any way version, and 4.6 the first version that "feels" like a contender for daily use (it's the first one to survive more than 3 days of test drive, and I don't know if it will ever be switched back to gnome ot not.

    • by KugelKurt (908765)

      Upgrade your radeon drivers.
      And which music player do you mean? Juk, the SC default, hasn't changed much over the years.

  • by Osgeld (1900440)

    KDE doesnt even run all that good on a 2.8ghz 4gig dual core, how do you think its going to fare on a freaking mobile

    • by Teun (17872)
      Funny install you have, I'm running it (the Kubuntu 10.10 desktop version) on a two years old HP-mini netbook with 1 GB of RAM and it's fine...
    • by suy (1908306)
      KDE runs awesome in my 2.2GHz processor with a passively refrigerated graphics card (with all the graphics effects), and with about 512MB of memory used if only KDE4 apps are used (which is 95% of my time). And if you read the blogs, you have the explanation about why it runs really good on small devices if the drivers are properly set up.

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