Plasma Applet Direction

Jud Craft craftjml at
Thu Jan 15 19:54:30 CET 2009

I do really like the platform-independence and compilation-free
packages!  I had neglected those; that's awesome, so the picture is
much less depressing than my post says.

Plasma themes themselves are also independent, correct?  (Assumption
based on hearing efforts to port Plasma to Windows).

What would be fantastic if there was one integrated area in the
Control Center for Plasma management.  It really IS the environment,
and this time, unlike KDE3, Plasma's components interact in such a way
that maybe it would make more sense if they were grouped together in
Control Center under "Environment", or some other general area
perhaps, instead of trying to fit Plasma functionality into the
control-center templates that were used for Style, Appearance, and
Desktop in KDE3.

For example, Plasma theming and the main containment wouldn't be
side-notes in the Desktop Background dialog.  Right-clicking
"Appearance" on the desktop could bring up a hypothetical
"Plasma/Environment/whatever" control dialog, which would have the
different areas of a plasma desktop (Background, Theme, Containments,
Activities, Plasmoids) grouped in a common area, defaulting to
Background (since you did right-click on the Desktop background, after

Another thing, besides reorganization of the plasma config options,
would be unification of the KDE theme settings.  KDE 3's "theme
management" was also more of a side-note.

Compare GNOME, where "theme management" is the de facto way to change
the desktop appearance -- you have no choice but to work through a
theme metaphor, and THEN change individual aspects (style, colors,

Since Plasma seems to have all encompassing themes that control the
environment's appearance (with the exception of Qt style), it seems
like a similar paradigm might work well.  From a central theme
management panel, you could them configure Plasma themes or download
new ones.

A Plasma metatheme (that combines Wallpaper and colors with a plasma
theme) that even possibly configures a Qt style theme would be even
better -- it makes little sense to have two or three different places
that must be traveled to in the Control Center to theme your desktop,
and as long as each component is isolated from the other, it is
difficult to provide a sense of "cohesiveness" -- a single place you
can go to either choose a new theme, get new themes (a single place to
get new themes -- not having to go different places for color schemes,
Plasma themes, and wallpapers) or alter a component of the current

The Plasmoids panel then would have a similar feel:  rather than a
mere listbox of Add New Plasmoids, it would be a central area to
download new plasmoids and add/remove them.  But then I don't actually
know of any analog of this in any other OS, so maybe that's overkill.
(Mac and Windows, I believe, also require you to visit a web gallery
and manually hunt for them).  Firefox by comparison has a rather nice
in-program interface to view the latest/popular new extensions, and a
search to quickly query for a particular one.

Such a design could be much more usable than having to browse
kde-look, but I don't mean to put down Get-Hot-New-Stuff:  I just
think that it needs to be a little more than just a web-downloaded
list box of plasmoids.

Most of my discussion focuses too heavily on centralization of theming
and appearance concepts, but I think that's fitting since KDE4 does
strive for a unified sense of style throughout.  I am glad to hear
that several distribution problems seem completely remedied with the
Plasmoids though.  I have no experience planning abstract content
management systems.  I am curious where you see the future of Plasma
heading.  Make more awesome blog posts. :)

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