Do you know the main advantage of a Hummer? It can go pretty much everywhere, that’s why many armies are using it. If I talk about a Hummer it is because QGraphicsView can go pretty much everywhere too. Recently I was lucky enough to get a N900 (generously given by Jesper, don’t know for how long though) so I decided to test Qt on it. I mainly work on QGraphicsView here at Qt Development Frameworks so it was a way to test the speed of my toy (:p). Since I’ve also been a KDE user and developer for quite a bit, I thought I could try KDE on it and more precisely Plasma.
So I downloaded the Maemo 5 SDK and started building KDE and Qt with it.
First thing you have to know is that scratchbox is not easy to set-up because you always face problems and compiling inside scratchbox is really slow. The link step is a bit broken and you have to specify manually where are the libs you link with (apparently it’s expected to be like that). It seems odd… Anyways, after a couple of hours I had Qt 4.6 (Fremantle branch) up and running. I was quite happy to see that it performs well (if you are using the right things). Animated tiles are running smoothly and painting demos as well (using opengl es2 graphicssystem).
After this initial success I tried KDE. This was more painful than I originally thought. Broken packages (mysql-server), out-dated packages (shared-mime-info for instance) and the worst : CMake crashed during the configure step. I solved that by downloading the 2.8 RC version that I built myself. But after a couple of hours of fighting and debugging I got this:
As you can see Plasma is running fine on this device. Of course a lot of work is needed to make it “finger” enabled (the actual applet handles are not really appropriate) but it’s a good start and Plasma is flexible enough to allow that. I have created a separate “shell” called plasma-mobile (Plasma already has the desktop and netbook shell) and I pushed that on the KDE playground. It also needs a lot of work to integrate well with the device (battery, network, profiles and so on) but the goal is to invite people to contribute to Plasma in order to offer a real alternative to the hildon-desktop. Plasma already has many many features/applets that we can just use on the N900. This also comes with a global effort to bring KDE technologies to the device as Kevin said in his blog. You can also participate in discussions on the KDE mailing-list for Maemo.
So yes Plasma is also a hummer, it runs everywhere but it’s the luxury version.