"6.0" is a word that brings a lot of excitement but also a lot of aprehension and for good reason. The reason our .0 releases sometimes struggle to match the quality isn't due to changes in the underlying libraries changing but how much we have to port away from the things that we've deprecated internally and have put off porting to.
Too many changes in one release becomes overwhelming and bugs creep in without time to get address them.
We want to be proactive in avoiding that.
At a recent Plasma sprint, we went through some of our bigger targets that we want to finish completely porting away from in time for the 6.0 release that we can actively start doing within the 5.x series where we can do things more gradually and inrecementally.
I've listed two big topics below.
DataEngines were a piece of tech from the KDE4 era. Effectively the idea was to provide an abstract mechanism to expose arbitrary data or plugins to a scriptable format usable by various language bindings. A valid task at the time, but Qt5 provided a much more efficent mechanism to do this capitalising on the metaobject system and models
DataEngines mostly form a now unnecessary layer of indirection that makes QML code hard to parse and suboptimal to run. They also are Plasma specific, which doesn't help other QML consumers of the same data.
We kept with them for Plasma 5 as there's some valid, perfectly working code exposed through them, and have been slowly porting away.
The task isn't to port all existing DataEngines. Some already have replacements under different names, some aren't widely used.
We want to find all existing applets that use DataEngines and make sure there are modern new QML bindings we can port the repsective applets to.
A list of tasks can be found:
System settings modules
Systemsettings is powered by a multitude of KDE Configuration Modules (KCMs) each one is a standalone plugin. There are nearly 100 modules, and with dated code stretching back over 20 years.
KDE, plasma especially is on the turning point between two toolkits. Some things are written in QWidgets and other things use the newer QtQuick. We try and hide this from the user; everything should of course look seamless. Implementation details shouldn't affect the UI.
We've been slowly porting our system settings modules, and whilst some were rocky at first, the later results are looking really nice and really polished, able to make use of emerging new patterns in our Kirigami toolkit.
Mixing two toolkits in the same process leads to a lot of complications that leak into the UI as well as overhead. We want to make it an objective to see if we can port everything to lead to an overall simpler stack.
The overall task is to find KCMs that haven't been ported yet and make the appropriate changes.
However, this isn't just a goal of blindly porting.
We want to take a step back, really polishing the UX, tidying the code to have a good logic vs UI split and revsit some modules that haven't been touched in a long time, putting effort into our underlying frameworks to make sure we have everything ready on the QtQuick side to do so.
A list of KCMs and their porting status can be found:
The best way to get involved is to comment on the relevant phabricator ticket. Or swing by #plasma on IRC and let people know what you want to work on and we'll help you get started.
Some of the systemsettings modules have mockups from the VDG and we want to keep them in the loop.