KDE Plasma 4

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KDE Plasma 4
Plasma icon.svg
KDE Plasma Workspaces 4.8.png
Developer(s) KDE
Initial release January 11, 2008; 6 years ago (2008-01-11)[1]
Stable release 4.11.12 (16 September 2014; 2 months ago (2014-09-16)) [±][2]
Written in C++, QML
Operating system Unix-like, Microsoft Windows
Type
License GNU Lesser General Public License
Website kde.org/workspaces

KDE Plasma Workspaces is the umbrella term for the fourth generation graphical environments provided by KDE. Currently there are three workspaces being developed: Plasma Desktop for traditional desktop PCs and notebooks, Plasma Netbook for netbooks,[3] and Plasma Active for tablet PCs and similar devices.[4][5]

KDE Plasma Workspaces was released as part of KDE Software Compilation 4 and replaced Kicker, KDesktop, and SuperKaramba, which formed the Desktop in earlier KDE releases. They are bundled as the default environment with a number of free software operating systems, such as Chakra,[6] Kubuntu,[7] Mageia (DVD version),[8] openSUSE,[9] or PC-BSD.[10][11]

With the release of KDE SC 4.11 in 14 August 2013 KDE Plasma 4 was put into "feature freeze" and turned into an long-time stable package until August 2015. On 15 July 2014 KDE Plasma Workspaces 4’s successor, KDE Plasma 5, has been released.[12]


Features[edit]

Plasma features containments, essentially an applet that contains other applets. Two examples of containments are the desktop background and the taskbar. A containment can be anything the developer wants: an image (either raster graphics or an SVG image), animation, or even OpenGL. Images are most commonly used, but with Plasma the user could set any applet as the desktop background without losing functionality of the applet. This also allows for applets to be dragged between the desktop and the taskbar (two separate containments), and have a separate visualization for the more confined taskbar.

Plasma separates components into "data engine" and their visualization counterparts. This is intended to reduce the total programming effort when there are multiple possible visualizations of given data; and to make it easier for the data engine and the workspaces to be written independently.

The scalable nature of the Plasma widgets allows for them to be resized and rotated to any size, with only a brief pause to redraw themselves. The Kross scripting framework allows developers to write widgets in a variety of programming languages in addition to C++.[13]

KRunner in Plasma Desktop 4.3

KRunner is a versatile tool for several functions.[14] It replaces the dialog box "Run Command" from K Desktop Environment 3, and also inherits from the application launcher feature, expanding the possibilities through a modular plug. KRunner stores previously entered commands and searches, accessible via an auto-complete feature. KRunner can be shown on the desktop via the keyboard combination Alt+F2 or by selecting "Run Command ..." in the desktop menu.

These functions are handled by the plugin:

  • Application launcher: Type at least three letters of the desired name or description. KRunner shows applications associated with the terms of the search and allows the selection of the desired one.
  • Calculator: Simply enter the desired operation to show the result. It also supports sophisticated expressions.
  • Contacts can search for entries in KDE's address book allowing you to directly open, for example, KMail to write an e-mail. The address of the recipient of your choice is automatically added to the message.
  • Unit Converter converts values between different units of measure.
  • Web history: Search history of recently visited sites in Konqueror.
  • Recent documents: Search for recently opened files.

Available Plasma Workspaces[edit]

KDE Plasma Desktop 4

Desktop[edit]

Plasma Desktop is the first workspace that was developed by KDE. It was declared mature with the release of KDE SC 4.2.[15] It is designed for desktop PCs and bigger laptops. In its default configuration it resembles K Desktop Environment 3 and Microsoft Windows XP but extensive configurability allows radical departures from the default layout.[16]

Its technology is a fundamental rewrite of several desktop interaction programs included in previous KDE desktop environments for Unix-like systems, focusing on eye candy and special graphical effects. The Desktop Workspace replaces the previous KDesktop shell, Kicker taskbar and SuperKaramba widget engine used in the K Desktop Environment 3 series with a unified system of widgets that can be configured and replaced with alternative designs.

From KDE 4.0 to KDE 4.2, the default theme Oxygen was characterized by dark tones. In KDE 4.3, replaced by the new Air theme, which predominates in transparency and white as base color. New themes for Plasma can be chosen and installed through an authority.

Supported widgets[edit]

Notes widget in Plasma 4.3

This is a list of widgets that the current release version of Plasma supports. Not all widgets are supported by default in all Linux distributions; some may require different packages, or even a recompilation of Plasma.

Previous Plasma Workspaces releases also supported Edje gadgets and E17 modules. Support for those was developed in 2008[20] but later, in 2010, removed.[21][22]

Google Gadgets were also supported.[18] After Google announced to discontinue its two services that utilize Gadgets – Google Desktop[23] and iGoogle[24] – KDE removed support for this widget engine in early 2013.[25]

Netbook[edit]

KDE Plasma Netbook's Search and Launch view

Plasma Netbook is the second workspace. It aims at netbooks and may also be used on tablet PCs. The first stable release shipped with KDE SC 4.4.[26]

Plasma Active[edit]

Plasma Active
Plasma Active logo.png
Plasma Active 3 - Files.png
Plasma Active’s Semantic File Browser
Developer(s) KDE, basysKom,[27] Coherent Theory,[28] open-slx[29]
Initial release October 9, 2011; 3 years ago (2011-10-09)[30]
Stable release 4.0 / September 5, 2013 (2013-09-05)[31]
Operating system Mer, openSUSE
License GPLv2
Website plasma-active.org

Plasma Active is a software bundle for devices with touchscreens. It not only encompasses a Plasma Workspace but also includes several applications such as Kontact Touch and a document viewer based on Calligra Suite.[32]

Contour[edit]

Contour is the Plasma interface for tablet devices. Its development was initiated in April 2011 by basysKom.[27] Replacing an earlier Tablet prototype,[33] Contour is now the main workspace and was shipped as part of Plasma Active 1.0 which was released in October 2011.[30]

Mobile[edit]

Plasma Mobile was targeted at smartphones and small tablet devices that are mainly used via touch input. It was originally expected to be released in 2011 along with Plasma Active 1.0 but development focus shifted towards Contour. Plasma Mobile, meanwhile, has become part of and superseded by Plasma Active.[34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "4.0 Released". KDE. 2008-01-11. Retrieved 2013-09-23. 
  2. ^ "KDE Ships Applications and Platform 4.14.1". KDE. 16 September 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  3. ^ "Plasma Netbook". Retrieved 2010-11-21. 
  4. ^ "Plasma Active". Retrieved 2011-05-09. 
  5. ^ Stuart Jarvis (Jun 12, 2012). "Plasma Active - a New Approach to Tablet Computing". Linux Journal. Retrieved 2014-02-12. 
  6. ^ "Chakra Project". Retrieved 2010-11-26. 
  7. ^ "Kubuntu website". Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  8. ^ "Mageia 2 and the default GNOME 3 desktop". LinuxBSDos.com. Retrieved 2013-09-23. 
  9. ^ Ryan Paul (2009-08-21). "OpenSUSE community konfesses love for KDE, makes it default". Condé Nast Digital. Ars technica. 
  10. ^ "About | Ideal for desktop or server". PC-BSD. Retrieved 2013-09-23. 
  11. ^ Sean Michael Kerner (2014-01-31). "FreeBSD Open-Source OS Comes to the PC-BSD Desktop". Eweek.com. Retrieved 2014-02-12. 
  12. ^ http://www.kde.org/announcements/plasma5.0/
  13. ^ "KDE's Plasma is heating up". Linux.com. Retrieved 2013-09-23. 
  14. ^ "KRunner". Retrieved 2010-11-21. 
  15. ^ "KDE 4.2, NVIDIA, SkyOS, Dead Like Me". 1 Feb 2009. Retrieved 2014-02-12. This new release marks the end of the testing phase by being the first release ready for everyone – instead of just developers and enthusiasts. 
  16. ^ "Plasma Desktop". Retrieved 2010-11-21. 
  17. ^ "4.6 Beta1 Brings Improved Search, Activities and Mobile Device Support" (Press release). KDE. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  18. ^ a b "Introducing KDE 4: Plasma". Introducingkde4.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  19. ^ "freiesMagazin 2008-09". freiesMagazin. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  20. ^ "Plasmoid with QEdje". Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  21. ^ Artur Duque de Souza (2010-07-09). "KDE Workspace - Revision f9d8bf81". KDE. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  22. ^ "KDE calls 'home'". 2010-07-10. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  23. ^ Chitu, Alex (2011-09-02). "Google Desktop Will Be Discontinued". Google. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  24. ^ "Google to Discontinue Mini Search Appliance, IGoogle, Other Products". PCWorld. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  25. ^ Michael Palimaka (2013-04-01). "KDE Workspace - Revision f18065df". KDE. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  26. ^ "SC 4.4.0 Caikaku Release Announcement". KDE. 2010-02-09. Retrieved 2012-03-30. 
  27. ^ a b "Contour Open Source Project announced – a new and innovative usage paradigm for digital devices". basysKom. 2011-04-11. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2011-04-24. 
  28. ^ "Jobs". Notmart.org. Retrieved 2013-09-23. 
  29. ^ "Next Iterations of the KDE Workspaces". Vizzzion.org. 2012-06-17. Retrieved 2013-09-23. 
  30. ^ a b Carl Symons (2011-10-09). "Plasma Active One released!". KDE. KDE.NEWS. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  31. ^ "Plasma Active 4 – ready when you are". KDE. Retrieved 2013-09-23. 
  32. ^ "Plasma Active 3 Improves Performance, Brings New Apps". KDE. 2012-10-15. 
  33. ^ Artur Souza (2010-12-03). "KDE's Mobile Team Meets for First Sprint". KDE. KDE.NEWS. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  34. ^ "Plasma/Plasma-Mobile". Retrieved 2012-04-12. 

External links[edit]