KDE Plasma ActiveThe KDE project has announced the release of user interface Plasma Active 4, based on KDE technology and is optimized for use on touch-screen devices.

Basic user interface Plasma Active is designed for use on a Tablet PC, but can be adapted for smart phones, set-top boxes , media centers and home automation systems, automotive infotainment systems and other devices with touch screens.

The key difference from existing popular mobile platforms – Plasma Active is targeting to use the device as a personal digital assistant, which occupy a central position data and user tasks, rather than the delivery of disparate collection of applications. All parts of the Plasma Active are part of a single system and is closely integrated. From the classic versions for PC and netbooks KDE Plasma Active is different different approach to the organization of interaction with the user, implying control via gesture control and manipulation of the touch screen, combined with the activation of the concept of rooms (Activities), isolating the different activities.

The work the shell is based on Linux-stack, Qt library, KDE libraries and Plasma Framework. Plasma Active interface is built on the shell Plasma Quick, which uses technology declarative interface Qt Quick. QML -based interface allows for great flexibility in changing the design (the interface is completely separate from the code, and easily adapts to the specific mobile device with the resolution, DPI, the screen orientation and features of the interface). Qt Quick -based applications can run without processing code in different classes of devices, regardless of screen size and type of data entry system.

Plasma Active is fully compatible with KDE, is built on an identical code base, and can use all the applications KDE, without requiring modification. From the outside in the base application can be noted : web- browser, image viewer , media player, document viewer program with simple editing features (Calligra Active), email, calendar, scheduler (Kontact Touch), PDF reader and e-book (Okular Active), a selection of games, the means to synchronize data with external carriers. In Plasma Active on top nominated semantic information management tools that enable use tags and metadata to access the files, without having to know the exact path to the file. All basic applications optimized for control via touch screen (for example, removed a classic menu, added on-screen keyboard).

At present, has already begun the test delivery of the Vivaldi tablet, which comes with preloaded Plasma Active shell and system components on the basis of the project Mer ( a fork of MeeGo). In addition, the firmware -based Plasma Active prepared for some of the existing models of tablet-based processors Intel (WeTab, ExoPC) and ARM (Nexus 7, Nokia N950 and Archos G9). Plasma Active can also be run on a standard PC, but the full potential of the new skin will be visible only on devices with touch screen. To run it in VirtualBox, you can use the installation images for tablets based on Intel or assembly project from Kubuntu Active.

In preparing a new release main efforts were directed at bringing the shell to the final form suitable for comfortable use on real devices. Much attention is paid to the stabilization , optimize performance, and provide funds for adaptation to different applications and device classes. In addition, the Plasma Active 4 the next stage of preparation for the transfer of future issues for new technologies such as Qt5 and Wayland. Of the innovations include:

  • Empowering the file manager, which has become much faster and better at handling large amounts of data. Improved means of assignment of metadata tags and binding. Enhanced navigation mode based on the type of content. Redesigned exterior design. In contrast to classic file managers, the main emphasis is on providing resources for finding data without the need to work with file paths by searching for tags, creation / modification time, file type, and different semantic information;
  • Apps for reading electronic books – Okular Active, built on the same technology as the desktop version of Okular, but optimized for use with touch screens. Supports a wide range of formats, including PDF, EPub and Open Document. You can download books through the regular catalog of add-ons, which represents thousands of free books ( in the near future is expected to start selling premium content and applications);
  • Bringing the web- browser to a more suitable species in the wild;
  • Improved usability and expand the use of the on-screen keyboard (using the Maliit virtual keyboard);
  • The structure included media player – Plasma Media Center, allowing not only to work with the local audio and video data, but also provides a means of integration with Internet services;
  • Support for synchronization between different devices using the cloud storage ownCloud;
  • The expansion interface to work with additions , preparing for the possibility of using web-services;
  • To simplify the development and debugging of applications for mobile devices implement a special developer mode;
  • To assemble the system components, is launched on top of the shell is involved Mer Open Build Service, to simplify the creation of customized to suit your needs assemblies.

Main link to news: http://dot.kde.org/2013/09/05/plasma-active-4-ready-when-you-are