After a lot of hacking behind the scenes, a new initiative to improve KDE's interaction with network and hardware devices has been launched. Solid will provide a robust basis for the dynamic modern desktop in KDE, which needs to be aware of available hardware and networks, paving the way for innovative functionality. Users should see KDE applications taking advantage of Solid in KDE 4, from the most basic Plasma applets and complex applications to desktop-wide awareness. Developers will be able to take advantage of a robust, flexible and portable API and will be integrated into the Plasma engine. It will make use of existing technologies like HAL. Solid will also include a knowledge base providing a way for users to easily provide feedback on incorrect behaviour.
Nobody can be certain yet as to how Solid will be used by developers, but according to Kévin Ottens, Solid project lead, "Solid will be a giant leap for KDE. For example, the desktop will be able to deal wisely with your computer hibernating. You'd want network interfaces to go down and for network-enabled applications to gracefully handle the disconnection; USB devices should be synced to avoid data loss". In the long run we can even imagine turning on a bluetooth video screen and having every multimedia application provide you with the option of remote playback.
Not all of the ideas described so far will make it into KDE 4.0, but with more developers for the APIs, the Plasma engine and the knowledge base web site, much more can be achieved. Application developers are also encouraged to experiment with Solid, which will help it mature faster. If you would like to get involved in this exciting area of the free desktop visit the Solid web site and get in touch with the team.