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KDE Ships First Beta of Next Generation Plasma Workspace 94

rohangarg (1966752) writes "KDE announced the beta of its next generation of its plasma workspace today. Built ontop of Qt5 and KDE Frameworks 5, with this transition, all QML-based UIs — which Plasma is built exclusively with — will make use of a new scenegraph and scripting engine, resulting in huge performance wins as well as architectural benefits, such as being able to render using available graphics hardware." There are experimental packages for some distros, and a Live CD (ISO download) available if you want to try it out.
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KDE Ships First Beta of Next Generation Plasma Workspace

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  • KDE 3 (Score:4, Informative)

    by Atomic Fro ( 150394 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @12:27PM (#47000087)

    Anyone else remember the awesomeness that was the KDE 3 series?

    • no, squatting and pinching off one plasmoid in the punch bowl pretty much means everyone forgets whatever good time they had at the party up to that point

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Anyone else remember the awesomeness that was the KDE 3 series?

      Ah, yes. Life before the f(*&#ing useless cashew. Good times.

    • Re: KDE 3 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Vyse of Arcadia ( 1220278 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @12:40PM (#47000213)
      Yeah, but I've gotta say, KDE4 is even more awesome. I've looked into other desktops, and nothing, not even Trinity (fork of KDE3,) can do everything that I use daily in KDE4.
      • more awesome at what, eye candy?

        • Re: KDE 3 (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Vyse of Arcadia ( 1220278 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @01:16PM (#47000673)

          I can configure the desktop to be more useful than just being there. For example, I work with a lot of LaTeX documents, in particular folders containing tests and assignments for the classes I teach. So I have a desktop with a set of folder view plasmoids pointing at this folder full of assignments. One view is filtered to show only .tex files, and the other view is filtered to show only .pdfs. Super convenient, better than popping open Konqueror (or Dolphin) and navigating the folder, even more convenient than popping open a terminal. Way nicer than the garbage dump of "maybe I'll need it later" files that desktops usually are.

          Similarly I have a desktop full of folder views and other plasmoids that are useful for my research, a desktop full of folder views and plasmoids useful for coding, et cetera.

          This is something I can't do with any other desktop environment, and I've looked. (Well, actually there's a couple of proprietary Windows 7 add-ons that give similar functionality, if I felt like forking over the dough. And using Windows 7.) And other than the desktop itself, the auxillary applications (the ones I use, at least) are all at least as good as they were in KDE3.

          Also, KRunner (Alt+F2) with nepomuk is awesome. File search and program launching, yeah, every desktop is decent at those nowadays. But there's a lot of useful KRunner plugins too. Calculator, dictionary, spell-check, search wikipedia, mini command-line shell; it even has a task manager so if a process is misbehaving I don't even have to open a terminal and use htop (unless I'm in the mood to use htop.)

          Give it a try, man; it's actually pretty great. And as far as eye-candy and bloat go, I do all this on a four year old netbook. I didn't even disable any of the eye-candy. What bloat?

          • KRunner? Ugggh!

            I used to use Alt-F2 that all the time, back when all it did was run applications or open urls. Now it's searching so much junk it's slow. Also, before where I would just type an executable name and hit enter, now it wants to give me a list of possibly similar things and make me click one.

            I have the same problem with windows. I'm still used to hitting the windows button, the 'r' key and then typing what I want to open. Now it takes forever to do that and it comes up with all sorts of searc

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Do you know you can turn unnecessary searches (krunner plugins) off

          • by phorm ( 591458 )

            nepomuk is not something I'd consider a friend. It's always "fun" to be in the middle of something when the system gets sluggish and the CPU fan starts cranking up, only to find that nepomuk decided to go on an indexing rampage and consume 100% of a core or more.

            Thankfully, though, it can be disabled. Which generally makes my KDE system quite usable (even with KDE4).

        • by jma05 ( 897351 )

          > more awesome at what

          Everything. But if I had to pick one feature, I would say Activities.
          Apparently, they are not still that widely used. But they are the defining feature of KDE 4 and are quite impressive once you understand to exploit them (docs could be better).

          > eye candy?

          KDE 4 does not look good, out of the box (Gnome 3, Cinnamon, Pantheon are what I consider to be good looking DEs, out of the box). With a little tweaking though, it looks as good or better than all my (also tweaked) desktops.


      • by richlv ( 778496 )

        kde3 had one area in which it was way, way better - stability/quality. 3.5.10 was extremely stable and without any noticeable bugs.
        4.11.5 - despite being nice and very usable - still has some longstanding bugs.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes I remember, and i miss it.
      It seems to me the general motto between the two versions was:
      3.x : "Make it work, Make it robust, Make it solid"
      4.x: "Make it pretty, Make it poofy, Make it; ohh shiny things!"

      I fully understand the stated need for the change: "These old frameworks were a mess, and we need to change just to improve the spagetti we are stuck with."

      What I don't understand is why it was instead used to concentrate on flashy widgets that don't really help.

      They wanted the codebase to be portable,

      • No, you're forgetting the beauty of the backend. KDE 4 was all about plasma. In Plasma worskpaces nothing is special. Everything is a plasmoid widget. Nothing is special about the dock, the desktop, or an icon. They all have the same back end object, and can be placed and dealt with in the same way. It was seen as a way to increase the flexibility and configuration of the desktop.

        That was job #1, converting everything to plasma. Job #2 was making it pretty, then everything else.

        4.0 was poorly explained that

        • "4.0 was poorly explained that it *wasn't* really ready they just called it a .0 to get people to beta test it."

          No it wasn't bad explained, it was the stupid idiots who couldn't read or comprehend that it was not for users (and those stupid idiots includes the distros).
          • If you don't want confusion, you do things people expect in a way they expect.

            If you have a giant red button that says STOP on a piece of machinery, but it actually speeds things up ( by stopping the speed restrictor from working) that will cause issues, regardless if there is a label above it saying "speed restrictor".

            That's essentially what KDE did with a 4.0 release that they never inteded for wider distribution.

    • by Sun ( 104778 )

      KDE 4, when it first came out, was horrid. I delayed upgrade as long as I could.

      Today, however, I don't think that's still true. If your hardware doesn't have 3D you might think otherwise, but I find current KDE 4 useful and functional. I even enable some of the actual effects. There are a few of them (highlight active window, magic lamp minimize) actually contribute to my intuition of what's going on.

      Not everything is perfect, but the only feature I still miss from KDE 3 is the different color for the acti

      • Re:KDE 3 (Score:5, Interesting)

        by JabberWokky ( 19442 ) <> on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @01:13PM (#47000635) Homepage Journal

        I love KDE4. I use it every day. I can, however, see one issue. My biggest fault with KDE4 was that DCOP in KDE3 was a joy to use from a script (bash script, etc). DBUS is a pain in the butt. It's not only much saltier (in terms of syntactical salt) but it also tends to change much more often. Calls that work in one version don't work after an update. DCOP was more simple, had a great interface, and -- most importantly -- the app interfaces tended to stay stable.

        I'm really hoping that the Qt5 and QML combo makes up for this, allowing easy scripting and simple use of internals. I used to say that KDE was like the *nix command line, only GUI: a bunch of small apps that exposed a ton of tiny options that you could link together. KDE4 clearly continued that philosophy with DBUS, but I think it was far less successful in that aspect.

      • Re:KDE 3 (Score:4, Interesting)

        by flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @01:40PM (#47000921)
        Yup. I think most people who moan about KDE, never even used it. In my experience, KDE is fast, stable and runs on anything - even little netbooks.
        • by efitton ( 144228 )
          I think we used it for a while. I tried at least KDE 4.0, 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3. When Sergio insisted to SVN that KDE 4.1 was better than 3.X it was the beginning of the end for me. It might be better now, it might be worse. I do know that it was far worse for me for years after KDE 4 came out and at some point you stop looking. And none of that changes that I miss KDE 3 and thought it was a wonderful desktop.
          • by Sun ( 104778 )

            Had I not been able to postpone the migration for as long as I have, I would probably have agreed with you. I tried at least two of the versions you mentioned, and reached conclusions substantially similar to yours. None the less, modern KDE 4 is okay (after some getting used to).


          • Try it again. Seriously.

            • by efitton ( 144228 )
              I might, but it honestly isn't easy. I think of it like a restaurant. Your favorite restaurant changes owners. They then change from serving the food you like to trying to provide a "dining experience." You still go a handful of times but you get food poisoning twice and bad service a third time. You stop going, complain about losing your favorite place and start eating at the food truck that just isn't the same but at least you don't get sick. Now the owner doesn't "owe" you anything but you still get the
      • by HiThere ( 15173 )

        KDE4 is now tolerable, especially when I look at the competition. But Gnome2 was better than it has yet become (presuming that it's still improving) and Gnome2 was clearly inferior to KDE3.

        The odd thing is that I had no technical problems with the early KDE4 versions. My problems were entirely with the intentional design. Recently, however, technical problems have started to appear. So far it's merely an occasional random lockup, or the icons being spread all across the top menubar after a restart rathe

    • Sure do. Thought about switching to Trinity (KDE3 fork) but it's dependance on QT3 conflicted with newer application's dependancies on QT4.

    • [] for KDE3's design?

    • Right, when kmail worked. Now after a years long running email fiasco, all hope of saving kmail2 and Akonadi must be abandoned, and never again make the mistake of thinking that a database backend works as well just just doing what needs to be done with ordinary filesystem operations.

      • Disagree, I've been using kmail2 with gmail & a rackspace imap server for some time now, its been flawless. Also using the google resource to integrate my contacts and calender, reliably synced between gmail and my android phone - something kmail1 was never able to do.

        And with baloo replacing nepomuk, email search finally works - far faster than kmail1 ever was, I have over a 100,000 msgs which it can full text search in seconds.

        • Nice to hear your positive report, however it conflicts with my own experience where kmail2+akonadi failed in multiple ways so that it is unusable. Recent. Switched to trojita - features are missing, but it works.

        • Maybe kmail2 works tolerably well if you use it very lightly. It certainly does not work for me. Gets stuck all the time, duplicates mails, can't move mails between folders, etc etc.

        • by rdnetto ( 955205 )

          And with baloo replacing nepomuk, email search finally works - far faster than kmail1 ever was, I have over a 100,000 msgs which it can full text search in seconds.

          If you're using 4.13.0 (the first version with baloo), or about to upgrade, here are two things I learnt the hard way:

          • When KNotes asks if you want to migrate your notes, say no. The migration process wipes them, and recovering them is non-trivial.
          • If you have any virtual machines, make sure you've got limits.conf set to prevent baloo from eating all your RAM []

          Such is life on the bleeding edge...
          But apart from that, Kmail/Kontact works great for me (especially with Kolab).

    • Am I the only one who thinks that the KDE devs are (almost) the only UI team that has its head screwed on right?
  • by Roxoff ( 539071 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @12:47PM (#47000309) Homepage

    I thought when you updated your Open Source desktop environment project to a new release version, you were supposed to take all the really useful tools, features and usability models that had been refined for years and chuck them all in the bin leaving you with a horrible monstrosity that was near impossible to use (and then have it remain that way for at least four years).

    Surely, KDE have got this badly wrong.

    • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @12:56PM (#47000433) Homepage Journal

      Surely, KDE have got this badly wrong.

      :) Even KDE developers can learn a lesson?

      qt5 is very nice, but doing the whole thing in QML is going to be the major win (made feasible by qt5, naturally). I'd estimate it opens up the potential hacker pool by two orders of magnitude. Expect an explosion in community-driven KDE fixes and enhancements once the distros adopt this version.

      I stopped using GNOME back when they caught mono, but between Unity and the direction of KDE, the endgame for heavy DE's on Open Source desktops is looking very clear. The mono thing was just an example of a flawed decision making process on that project, which has extended forward to today, with predictable results.

      P.S. Slashdot - you've managed to break Plain Old Text mode after 15 years. I've got a manual BR after the quote above to fix rendering.

      • by efitton ( 144228 )
        But will I ever get Kasbar back?
        • But will I ever get Kasbar back?

          A lot of the features of Kasbar are built in to the default or alternative taskbars; considering how easy QML is to work with, you might even want to look at hacking away at it yourself.

          Personally I'm 100% satisfied with the options currently available, and all the quintessentially awesome KDE stuff I missed during the initial port---Filelight, Yakuake, etc---all made it back in by around 4.4. I honestly never used Kasbar much myself, so I only have dim recollections of it alongside basic descriptions on ol

          • by efitton ( 144228 )
            Kasbar was... amazing. I'm guessing the window preview part is back (and the first time I ever saw that was Kasbar on KDE but KDE 4 had to throw the baby out with the bath water). But I also miss being able to change window behavior / decoration with a right click on the task. Want to full screen an application? Right click on the task in taskbar and make it full screen. Right click again (because you could throw your mouse in the corner and get it kasbar back on top) and turn it off. Right click and that w
    • by Arkh89 ( 2870391 )

      Not sure if limited only to Open Source Desktop Environment...

      • by Roxoff ( 539071 )

        Good point. I understand that commercial OS vendors are equally as capable of f*cking up their DEs as the Open Source experts. However, I don't care about the commercial offerings. I -do- care about the DEs I actually use.

    • From the press release:

      Plasma Next is intended for end users, but will not provide feature parity with the latest 4.x release, which will come in follow-up releases.

      Stability is not yet up to the level where the developers want Plasma Next. With a substantial new toolkit stack below come exciting new crashes and problems that need time to be shaken out.

      Performance...will be hampered by various shortcomings. These can and will be addressed, however, much is dependent on components like Qt, Mesa and hardware

      • well duh, it explains what a BETA is because there are too many idiots out there who can't comprehend
        • No, this isn't about beta status. The components are being rewritten and some will not be ready for the release in July. Other components will not have feature parity with the current versions. Again, from the press release:

          Plasma Next builds on top of Qt 5. With this transition, all QML-based UIs—which Plasma is built exclusively with—will make use of a new scenegraph and scripting engine, resulting in huge performance wins as well as architectural benefits, such as being able to render using

  • Seriously, 1.x compiled against modern libraries for the most part so everything works, but 1.x 1.x was great, fast, light weight, great file browser, easy to customize, no bullshit indexers and what have you insisting upon running in the background, it was a nice setup. Everything since has just sort of bloated.

  • That first screenshot... I thought I was looking at a slightly less polished MacOS/X for a minute there. The resemblance is strong.

  • in the release notes of new software:

    Plasma Next keeps existing workflows intact...

    (Are you listening, Mozilla?)


  • Looks good (Score:5, Informative)

    by ichthus ( 72442 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @01:52PM (#47001017) Homepage
    I've teetered between MATE and KDE for the last couple of years -- they're both great, but I like KDE's interface and look/feel a bit more. Also, Dolphin is, IMHO the best file manager for Linux.

    But, the thing that still pisses me off about KDE is the handling of cifs mounting (a la smb://). In MATE (or Cinnamon or Gnome2), if I mount a share with smb:// in the file manager (Nautilus, or the newer ones), I get an actual cifs mount. Now, if I open a file on that mount with a photo viewer, or a media player (like VLC), the file manager throws a locally-mounted and accessible file path to the application.

    Not so with KDE. Doing the same thing from Dolphin throws the URL of the file (smb://server/share/file.ext) to the application, and the application usually has no effing idea what to do with this. So, I end up either copying the file to my local hdd and opening it from there, or adding an entry to fstab to get a real mount (which is not practical if mounting a new share on someone else's server.) The gvfs way is better than the KIO way.
    • The gvfs way is better than the KIO way.

      I started with GNOME way back when, but then switched to KDE at version 1.44.

      I have a love/hate relationship with KIO. My biggest complaint is that KIO isn't a virtual file system, but rather is just a file copy mechanism. It works great for many uses, but completely falls flat when trying to perform an open/read/close sequence. It copies the entire file to a temporary location, then opens that temporary copy. This is asinine, and is the single largest failing of the IO Slave mechanism.

      Even Windows' UNC

      • by ichthus ( 72442 )

        This is asinine, and is the single largest failing of the IO Slave mechanism.

        Exactly! This is especially idiotic when opening a 1.4 gig (or 4.1 gig or larger!) video file. On my laptop with an SSD, where my /tmp is a tmpfs ramdisk, this is going to fail miserably.

  • Would it be a stupid question to ask if there's a 32 bit version? I have an old stinkpad T40 for experimenting on.

    non-PAE please, kthnxbye.

    • KDE 4 works acceptably on a 32 bit CPU.

      What FUD are you spreading that version 5 will be 64bit only?

  • Subject says it all...

  • I hope the notifications system gets an improvement. It's horribly cluttered in KDE4.

    The worst case is when you start a system upgrade: you get a good bunch of weird progress bars and gauges in the notifications area, with a text saying "Waiting for service to start..." That label never disappears, and no progress is ever shown either. Still the updates install fine. Seriously! Does anyone test these systems?

    When new updates are available, it shows the number of them but tries to also shove a long list of p

  • One question (Score:5, Informative)

    by fnj ( 64210 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @04:17PM (#47002795)

    All I want to know is one thing. Will we FINALLY get a resolution-independent UI? One that you don't have to screw with when the dpi departs far from 96? All the style elements; icon sizes, title height, widgets, etc., should be in % of screen size, not pixels. All you should have to set is ONE variable to scale everything to taste.

    I can't believe this is such a difficult thing to implement. There is a crying need for it; to hell with the eye candy crap.

An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.