KDE: Plasma&SuperKaramba, Kalzium, Kwin, WebKit, Krita and the general State

The new commit digest is out, and features several important news. Among them are the first real Plasma screenshots, a Kcontrol module for Kwin and Krita and Kalzium improvements.

This weekends Commit Digest, Issue 60, was already mentioned last week to become a big one: the first real Plasma screenshots were announced. But even without the Plasma news there are enough interesting news and changes – and it also feature two videos, something I never saw before in a Commit Digest. Here is an overview about the most important and notable news.


First of all, here is a Video showing Plasma in action (a mpeg version is linked at the Commit Digest):

Here is a screenshot as well:

First real Plasma Widget Screenshot

Pretty neat. Of course similar things have already been possible with SuperKaramba, but Plasma will provide much more functions than SuperKaramba did – this clock is just a first example and proves that the basics are indeed working.

Speaking about SuperKaramba, the Digest also explained the realtion between SuperKaramba and Plasma:

SuperKaramba themes can now live within the Plasma space and will help fill the initial void till real Plasmoids appear.

Sounds to me like the merge will take more time than expected, but that is ok: Plasma is not complete at the moment and we will even see huge improvements in the step from KDE 4.0 to KDE 4.1 In the meantime SuperKaramba might deliver everything which is still missing until both finally merge.


One of Kalzium’s main new features will be the molecular viewer:

Also a molecular builder – a Summer Of Code project – is now in development and reached the first visible results:

kalzium molecular editor

Both things show pretty well hwo Kalzium matured over the years from a simple element table viewer into a more and more komplex scientifc application. Together with applications like kstars, step and others KDE delivers a set of really helpful programs for the scientifical interested user.


The new composite extension of Kwin develops quite well – but had to be enabled by command line in the past. This changed now: kwin gets a kcontrol modul. Atm it does not really do anything and kwin doesn’t care about the module, but that will change soon. I’m really looking forward to the next KDE Four Live release where I can test this feature and have a look at the new kwin composite features.

Speaking about the composite extension several application developers were faced with the problem that they wanted to support such features in their applications, but needed to know if the composite extension was activated. Therefore the applications developers started to implement their own solutions for each application, which of course is unnecessary duplicated work. Therefore, a common function to check if the composite extension is enabled was introduced:
bool KWindowSystem::compositingActive();
Nothing revolutionary, but as said necessary. Now the applications developers need to get aware of that function.


Work started to have the option to integrate WebKit as a kpart in the future. This means that users can choose if they want to have KHTML or WebKit displaying their web pages. If this work is finished it might also inspirate other people to start a stand alone browser for KDE based on WebKit.
Of course this does not mean that konqueror or even KHTML are replaced or anything like that – it simply adds another possibility.

From my point of view this is great since I have great hopes in WebKit and the fact that several parties are involved with the development: Apple, Nokia, Adobe, many KDE developers, and so on. Still, I would prefer to see that all KDE/KHMTL developers would be fine with WebKit, atm there are still some strong emotions among some developers.


The Krita development is pretty strong – as usual. And I have to admit that I’m really looking forward to the new Krita 2: I was used to Gimp in the past but started to play around with Krita in the last days and weeks whenever I had to modify images – and I was impressed! It works reliable, fast and just smooth.
And this will hopefully be better: with the last week Krita got an OpenGL interface for display of HDR image exposures. The print support was implemented, new layers and transparency features were added, etc.

But the Krita developers are also faced with a current problem: they want to improve the usage of tablets (think of Wacom here), but to achieve this goal they need money to buy them. Therefore they asked the community to donate money. All over all they need several hundred Euros, which is quite a lot, but you know the math: if each user donates 1 Euro…

Stae of KDE 4 in general

There are many more changes and improvements making this Commit Digest worth a read. It also shows pretty well how active and alive the current development and the community around KDE 4 is.
Also, with Plasma now getting into shape there are hardly any base technologies left which you have to worry about if they will make it into KDE 4. The only things I’m missing are news about kicker and kmenu replacements.

However, the current state of KDE 4 itself is best described by hints found in to other posts: in recent posts both Annma and Troy mentioned that they currently use KDE 4 to accomplish their daily work! Annma mentioned that she was pretty impressed seeing KDE 4 in such a good state already, while Troy pointed out that the state of KDE 4 is enough to write his famous articles inside of KDE 4.

Or course it does not mean that it is ready for normal users yet – base desktop applications like the menu and the taskbar will be replaced before the final release – but it is on a good track! And there is still a month left till the first Beta release…


8 thoughts on “KDE: Plasma&SuperKaramba, Kalzium, Kwin, WebKit, Krita and the general State”

  1. Speaking of kicker – expect it to probably last for another month at most. The Raptor (menu) system folks are rapidly integrating their stuff into plasma, and aseigo is working on the taskbar-like stuff… I’ll probably end up featuring plasma a month or so down the road – hoping kicker is dead by then 🙂

    Nice article, by the way… ever consider writing your own series for the dot? *grins*

  2. I can only agree with Troy: Your articles (not only this time) are great, I follow your blog since two months and am loving it.
    Keep on! 🙂

  3. Troy, to be very honest:
    When you came up with your series of articles (which I really love!) I was annoyed for a second with myself that I didn’t come up with something like that before you.

    I actually did at least something similar once: I wrote three posts collecting the newest ideas in the KDE 4 brainstorming processes at kde-look and kde-artists (or so). Not what I would call quality work today, the first one was even in German, but nevertheless it shows where my expectations come from 😉

    But thanks very much for the positive comments, both of you, I appreciate that 🙂

  4. Hi Manuel – thanks for the link, I appreciate interesting information, and much too often I miss cool news.

    However, I have to admit that I saw this one already because it appeared at the KDE planet – but thanks anyway 🙂

  5. These demos are stunning and I can’t wait until KDE 4 is ready. That flamewar from KDE news (revolving around the clocks and “desktop eyes”) was totally out of place.

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