In February 2015 the Plasma developers met in the Blue Systems office in Barcelona to discuss and plan out where we would take Plasma over the duration of the next year. The sprint consisted of active Plasma developers and visual designers from around the world, from Canada to India.
The meeting consisted of equal parts hacking and group discussions about plans both in the near and far future in breakout sessions throughout the week.
Improved Developer Tools
One of the important parts of Plasma is making it as easy for others to contribute as possible. Marco worked on a tool making it easy for designers to explore, edit, create and assess the completeness of Plasma themes. Sebastian introduced "Cuttlefish", a tool for designers and application developers to examine the current icon set of a system. It can be used to display the icons available on the system, and how they are presented at various sizes. These will be released as part of the Plasma SDK which will be added to the 5.3 beta release next week.
Enhanced Power Management
Good power management has always been a fundamental part of the Plasma experience, during the sprint we experimented with restoring KInfoCenter to life to be a useful central hub of advanced information. This allows us to provide all sorts of extra information without cluttering the main desktop. This will make it possible to visually identify where your battery life is going.
In addition, several tweaks were made to the battery notifications and timeouts.
Plasma Media Center
Plasmashell was modified to allow it to boot directly into media center mode, allowing it to be launched directly from the login screen. We discussed moving it into the main Plasma released and it will be released with 5.3 which has a beta next week.
During the hacking time, designers Jens and Ken began producing and designing additional promotional material for our upcoming marketing needs. This included updated logos, vectorised Konqis, and other assets.
Planning For The Future
Much of the sprint was spent planning out future goals. We discussed KPurpose, the new framework for sharing actions and invoking actions across applications which we should hear more of in upcoming releases. We discussed the future of notifications for not only current instant notifications but calendar based alerts.
Work and initial prototyping went into unifying application header space and making use of window decoration space in applications.
Plasma 5 is about to become part of the mainstream Linux distributions and the press coverage is confirming it will continue to be the flagship offering from KDE. We have plans for the years to come and we welcome anyone who wants to take part joining us.