Plasma Active One

A team of developers working on the KDE desktop environment have released the first version of a new user interface designed for touchscreen tablets. It’s called Plasma Active One, and the new customizeable user interface is organized around the idea of “Activities.”

KDE is a user interface and suite of apps which runs on a number of popular Linux-based operating systems. Test versions of KDE are also available for Windows and other operating systems.

Instead of an application launcher with a series of shortcuts to apps, the Plasma Active One home screen features a series of widgets which you can fill up with browser bookmarks, pictures, application shortcuts, or interactive widgets that provide information such as weather forecasts. When you swipe your finger from the side of the display a list of other Activities shows up, allowing you to essentially switch between multiple desktops. You can also create a new activity from this menu.

The reason the developers call these virtual desktops Activities is that you can use them to arrange different sorts of projects. One can be dedicated to a work project, for instance, while another might feature photos of your dog doing silly things.

At the top of the screen is a status bar, which you can drag-down to see thumbnail icons of apps that are currently running. You can click any of these apps to switch between programs, or click the X next to each icon to close an application. You can also drag further down the screen to view a more complete list of apps on your device, along with a search box.

As more and more computers and mobile devices with touchscreen displays hit the streets, we’re likely to see a growing number of touch-friendly user interfaces arise. This… is certainly one of them.

I’m not convinced the focus on Activities is all that useful, but I kind of like the swipe-for-recent-apps, and swipe-again-for-all-apps idea. Or maybe I just like the way it looks.Either way, it’s good to see developers working on touch-friendly interfaces for Linux tablets outside of the MeeGo and Tizen communities.

You can try out Plasma Active One by downloading and booting a live image on a USB flash drive or by using a virtual machine.

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6 replies on “Plasma Active One attempts to make Linux more tablet-friendly”

  1. It is great to see mainstream sites like Liliputing covering and giving exposure to projects like Plasma Active 🙂
    Keep up the good work Liliputing!

  2. I think you are very correct about
    it being a title and trying to reach an
    audience who might have heard of Linux
    but not of KDE.

    So this was perfect for those that dont know and those of us who do, can just live our lives and deal with a little cutting corners for those that dont ‘know as much’ as we do .

    From what Ive just read about Plasma is that it is not going head to head with other OS like Android (I dont mention Apple’s interfrace since it is only used on one model-company) but more interface and API that can be used in with various devices that want a ready solution that is highly customizable for different form factors.

    So what is it? Plasma Active is not, like Android, iOS, or webOS, an
    operating system. It’s a KDE 4.x style interface and application
    programming interface (API) designed for touch devices. The Plasma
    Active Team states that “Plasma Active is innovative technology for an
    intelligent user experience (UX). It is intended for all types of
    tablets, smartphones and touch computing devices such as set-top boxes,
    smart TVs, home automation, in-vehicle infotainment. The goals for this
    KDE open source project are:

    A fast embedded UX platform with minimal memory requirementsCustomizable and modular to support different form factorsAn interface that adapts as users change Activities.
    project are:
    A fast embedded UX platform with minimal memory requirementsCustomizable and modular to support different form factorsAn interface that adapts as users change Activities.


    So you see, this is what Brad could have written but honestly, this is the wrong site for it.

    As far as the ‘ is incomplete, experimental, and less useful.’, this is the annoying side of fanboism that we so often see in Buntu users: if its someone elses idea, its crap.
    Its funny because if you ask people what they think of E17, they would say incomplete and experimental and I say that as someone who likes it more than Fluxbokx, LXDE or XCFE.
    You can not compare the KDE apps and ecosystem to E17 and then dis KDE for being incomplete.

    But like i said, thats a topic for or Not for Lilliputing.

    I think Brad has proven throughout the sites history to be very Linux friendly without being a devoted user and your request is one those things that annoys me.
    We should promote Linux-Free Software but take in consideration others interest in the subject and especially right time, right place to do it.

  3. “Plasma Active One makes Linux more tablet-friendly“

    Allow me to suggest a better title (better in the sense of true):

    Plasma Active One makes KDE desktop environment more “tablet friendly”, or at least finger friendly.

    Not to get caught up on the legitimate use of the word “tablet”, presumably, this will will also work for KDE ports to other operating systems like Gnu/Hurd or BSD.  Moreover, this is NOT better than currently available “tablet friendly” desktop environments like e17 (Enlightenment project) and the various modules and profiles available.  Plasma One Active is incomplete, experimental, and less useful.

    1. I’m willing to acknowledge that my headline stinks. Unfortunately I was trying to keep it concise… most people don’t know what KDE is… and “Plasma Active One is an experimental new interface that makes one of the big name desktop environments used by many Linux distributions (at least up until recently when the KDE folks started making funky design decisions and alienating others) a little easier to use with your fingertips” seemed too clunky.

      I could probably do a better job of clearing some of that up in the text though. 🙂

      1. Example of Enlightenment chugging along on a tablet:

      2.  as alrwady said you should carefully avoid to mix GUI’s for OS’ses with the basic kernel functionality programs (and thus their windows functionalities) are relying on. usability for a GUI is one thing basic kernel functionalities all programms are dependent on quite another one. unfortunately do techbloggers as well as mainstream journalists NOT differ in this point.that is a shame as well as simple spoken misinformation for users. 

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