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KDE Plasma 6 Dev Update: From Cleanup to Takeoff

KDE Plasma 6 is moving well with the latest development update.

A quite a lot have completed by the awesome KDE devs and community since our May update of the upcoming KDE Plasma 6 desktop environment.

In a recent update from the KDE development team, significant progress has been made on the anticipated KDE Plasma 6. The development process, led by the diligent KDE developers, has seen remarkable headway over the past few weeks, transitioning from the code cleanup phase to the exciting stages of implementing planned features and enhancements.

Previously outlined as a roadmap for Plasma 6, the initial phases primarily focused on the critical task of streamlining and optimizing the underlying code. This essential “clean up the code” stage, as described by the KDE devs, aimed to create a strong foundation for the subsequent feature additions and changes. Their predictions have held true, with the majority of code porting tasks now successfully accomplished within the projected timeframe.

Among the accomplished milestones, one notable achievement is the porting of Plasma SVG elements to KSvg. This transition ensures a smoother and more efficient rendering of scalable vector graphics across the Plasma environment. Additionally, the utilization of Kirigami colours and units has been integrated across the board, enhancing consistency and visual coherence.

The transition from PlasmaExtras.Heading to Kirigami.Heading marks another pivotal development. This shift streamlines the codebase and contributes to a more seamless integration of headings within the user interface, providing a polished and intuitive experience.

Among the array of improvements, the modernization of the wallpaper API stands out. This revamp empowers users with more customizable and dynamic wallpaper options, adding a touch of personalization to the Plasma experience.

Furthermore, the KDE devs have invested effort into refining the Plasmoid component and actions APIs. This optimizes the performance of existing Plasmoids and opens doors for more creative and innovative widget development in the future.

It’s important to note that while the majority of these code porting projects are designed to be seamless for end-users, two specific projects warrant attention due to their user-facing impact. The transition to Kirigami.Icon is part of a broader initiative to standardize icon usage, ensuring a consistent visual language across both the Plasma environment and applications.

KDE Plasma 6 Dev Build
KDE Plasma 6 Dev Build (Image credit: Nate G)

Additionally, the porting of KCMs (KDE Control Modules) to utilize header actions introduces a noticeable shift in the user interface. This change streamlines the layout of System Settings, offering a cleaner and more intuitive organization of options and controls.

As the Plasma 6 development journey continues, the KDE devs are actively working on transitioning widgets away from DataEngines, a pivotal ongoing effort. Furthermore, lower-priority tasks, such as standardizing QML KCM components and removing custom CompactRepresentation code, are on the horizon. These initiatives, while not immediate priorities contribute to the long-term refinement of the Plasma ecosystem.

Looking ahead, the focus now shifts towards stages 4 and 5 of the development plan. With the code cleanup largely completed, the KDE devs eagerly dive into implementing planned features and meticulously polishing the user experience. Here are some of the user-facing new features to be implemented.

  • Basic opt-in HDR support
  • More types of default apps can be chosen
  • Islamic calendar support
  • Conversion between time zones in KRunner
  • Power profiles OSD
  • Support for sound themes

The forthcoming release of Plasma 6 holds promise for an even more immersive, efficient, and visually appealing desktop environment.

Want to try?

If you want to contribute to testing or trying out new features, you may try the following test images of various distributions.

As always, DO NOT use these images for serious work. Because it is unstable, release-wise, it’s still tentative when Plasma 6 will be officially released.

Via Nate G’s blog.

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