Plasma Active Balsam Updates Available

I’ve compiled an update to the Balsam Professional Plasma Active packages in the last weeks, they are now are available for your upgrading pleasure. While the packages work very well in my testing, they are still only development snapshots, so if you’re happy with your current Plasma Active, and you need to be absolutely sure everything keeps working, I’d advise not to upgrade. In all other cases, you’re in for a good performance kick, a lot of bugfixes and a few new, but important features.Instead of boring you, my dear audience, with a long piece of text, I got out my webcam and recorded a screencast of these packages running on my viewtab (an Atom-based 10 inch tablet). Lay back and watch.

Watch on YouTube

In the screencast, I’m showing the general workspace UI, as well as a few new apps and features, file browsing, microblogging, news reading workflows, which we’ve been improving lately.

The packages work fine on wetab and exopc tablets, and most likely also on other Intel-based tablets. Builds for various ARM flavours are available throught the Mer project. As Balsam Professional 12.1 is compatible to openSUSE, they will also work there. If you want to install the packages in your desktop, be advised that this might mess with your desktop sessions, so that’s essentially at your own risk.

The Balsam Packages are made available by open-slx and built and served from our Open Build Service.

15 thoughts on “Plasma Active Balsam Updates Available

  1. Hi Sebastian,

    der Link zum ‘Mer Projekt’ scheint defekt.

    Grüße aus dem Länd’le :-)

  2. That’s very nice looking, it’s coming along at an incredible pace. I really like the multitasking and app draw. I liked the settings app at the end even though it felt really empty. Can existing KCMs still be used there? (Would you want to even do that?)

    I really don’t understand the notification area. I really hope it is big enough to be finger friendly. One feature in Android I like is that buttons in the notifications are toggles for hardware parts AND shortcuts to the “Settings” app. For example, tapping the Wifi icon well toggle Wifi on or off (and the icon will dim or get brighter depending if Wifi is on or not). Pressing on the Wifi icon will take you to Wifi settings. I hope this will be done for Plasma Active using Plamoids (where pressing on the Wifi icon brings up Plasma-NM and holding it takes one to advanced Wifi configuration). But I think this will require reorganizing and redoing some of the KCMs in system settings.

    I couldn’t tell if the keyboard could do spell checking.I know there is a really good spell checking Plasmoid, perhaps code can be reused from there.

    I also liked that lock screen a lot. I would love to use that on Plasma Desktop. Much better than locked session dialog that is used now.

    1. Thanks for the positive and constructive feedback.

      The notification area works well using touch input, there is a certain trade-off between interactive area and vertical screen space, so we do not want to make the top panel too big. It’s easy enough to hit, and easily draggable down, though. We’re continuously working on making all widgets more touch-friendly, in many cases that involves porting existing widgets from C++ to QML, which is also important for the move to libplasma5 / KDE Frameworks 5 and Qt5 eventually. The current set of widgets has already been developed with touch-friendliness in mind, but there are surely areas we can improve, one of them being indeed the networkmanagement widget.

      As to the systemsettings modules (KCMs in KDE lingo), we decided to ship a custom settings app, which provides a subset of the features available in System Settings, but presented in a more user-friendly way. These modules are done in QML with optional C++ components. I’ve previously blogged about the settings app.

      The keyboard currently does not do spell-checking.

      We’re in the process of making the QML lock-screen available on the desktop, too, but this takes a bit of work since the needs are a bit different, might still be 4.9 material, but we’ll have to see when will arrive.

  3. Is there any plans to port the microblogging applet to Akonadi? I remember hearing something like that before.

    Anyhow it’s awesome to see Plasma Active moving foward!

  4. What I don’t like very much about the multi-column interface (esp. in the microblog app) is the discoverability of other columns. There is no such indication that there are more columns, except if you drag it and just discover it “the hard way”.

    Is there some “there-are-more-columns-outside-the-screen”-indication planned?

    1. Hey Marty,

      I haven’t made up my mind about this yet. There is at least one hint though, if you tap the search, it will scroll sidewards, but I agree that it could be more discoverable. An indicator might do, or maybe a scrollbar at the bottom of that widget. I’ve got a few bugfixes lined up, after that I’ll give it some testing.

      Thanks for the feedback!

  5. Thank you very much for the update. It seems. that plamsa-active is becoming my default system on my wetab, because nearly everthing is working fine. It would be splendid if you could provide updates again inthe not so far future :-)

    Of course, the are some things, that could work better: In all kde Browsers, owncloud apps are not working for me, for example the gallery. As the gallery is working with firefox, I think the problem must be on the plama-active-browser-side.

    Unfortunately, firefox an chromium are only working with an usb keyboard, not with the on-screen keyboard.
    By the way, is there a way to reach German-Umlauts (äöü…) on the on screen keyboard?

    But the main point is: I am very thankfull for your great work and the work of the plasma-active community.


    1. Glad the updates work well for you.

      As to your questions:

      ownCloud apps — I’ll need to check. I’m not an owncloud user (yet?), so it hasn’t struck me. For the rendering of webpages, we rely on Qt’s WebKit, so most likely, the problem lies there, or in the ownCloud code. I’ll have to investigate first though, before blaming other’s code ;)

      We currently do not have a localized keyboard. I know that the Maliit guys are working on making Maliit work on Plasma Active, but that is not done yet.

      Cheers, and have fun! :)

  6. I found the new keyboard-code and installed it. Now I can use the on-screen-keyboard in firefox.


    Can you tell something about the plans for multitouch in opensuse plama-active?


  7. EIn paar Hinweise, auf das (wenige), was noch Schierigkeiten macht:

    Bei mir werden die ICons nicht richtig angezeigt, wenn ich etwas zu einer Acitivity hinzufüge (bookmarks etc.). Das kann u.U. daran liegen, daß ich in den Sytemeinstellungen die Größe der Icons verändert habe. Wie ist denn die Default-Größe der Icons?

    Immer mal wieder verliere ich die HIntergründe der Aktivitäten. Das scheint mit Abstürzen des Plasma-Active-Workspace zusammen zu hängen. Nicht schlimm, nur etwas lästig. In der Aktivitäts-Auswahl sind die Hintergründe übrigens noch zu sehen, nur wenn ich die Aktivität aufrufe, ist der Hintergrund schwarz.

    Nach dem Verändern von Kontakten stürzt Kontact-Mobil beim Speichern ab.

    Ich versuche, einen externen GPS-Empfänger zum Laufen zu bekommen (Holux), was bei meinem unter Debian sid laufenden Labtop ohne Problem klappt. Dabei habe ich festgestellt, daß Marbel wohl im Gegensatz zur SId-Version ohne die Unterstüzung der Standortverfolgung daher kommt.

    Krita ist (noch) nicht in der Calligra-Version in den Repos.

    So weit erst mal. Das Alles vor dem Hintergrund, daß ich Email usw. ohne Probleme einrichten konnte, der Termin und Kontakt-Abgleich mit owncloud und die Kommunikation mit owncloud über WebDav funktionieren, die Aktivitäten, habe ca. 10 angelegt, genial sind, der Ressourcen-Browser schon auf einem guten Stand ist, …

    Ich bin gespannt, auf dei weitere Entwicklung, an der ich geren durch zeitnahe Updates teilhaben würde :-)


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