In March, the yearly meeting of KDE's Plasma team was held in Geneva, kindly hosted by the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN). In-person meetings provide unique opportunities to work together face-to-face, at high bandwidth to tackle problems together and plan for the future. As there were some other groups present during this meeting, notably the visual design group and the Wiki cleanup team, there was ample opportunity to think outside of the Plasma box.
The Plasma team discussed many topics that are currently being worked on, or need more attention, but also sat down to hack on the code. The result was a nice mix of hands-on activities and dreaming of the future.
As the Wayland port is nearing completion, the team had a closer look at the current state. Bugs, that have gone previously undiscovered have been identified and fixed, code that lived in branches was reviewed and merged, and holes in the implementation were discussed. Most Plasma developers actually returned home with a fairly functional Plasma/Wayland session, which will accelerate dogfooding and make tracking of problems easier. An ongoing effort is also to spread the work on Wayland across more shoulders.
One of the central roles of a desktop is to show and switch between application windows. This means that the "desktop shell" has to be able to communicate with applications (it wants to know its title, icon, set its state, etc.). To further improve the integration between the desktop and the applications, the Plasma developers have designed the Windowmetadata framework, which provides bi-directional communication between applications and the desktop to allow for a richer experience. The results will be better previews, and improved functionality of the task manager. The Window Metadata framework has been designed to be independant of the desktop or window decoration that might, or might not be present, and thereby addresses one of the major concerns with client-side window decorations. The Window Metadata framework is still in its early design phase, so if you are interested in working on this topic, now is an excellent time to get involved.
Bits and Pieces
Among other things that have been the topic of this meeting are
The Plasma team would like to thank the KDE e.V. for their generous support of our travel costs. If you are using Plasma and would like to support its development, we encourage you to sign up as a Supporting Member or to donate.