On Saturday, 16 April I had the honor of representing KDE at the 15. Augsburger Linux-Tag, one of the oldest and largest Linux gatherings in southern Germany.
It was my first time attending such an event and it was a great experience. With me I had a computer running the latest and greatest KDE neon with Plasma 5.6 – hooked up to a gorgeous 4K monitor. In addition to that I brought a Nexus 5 running Plasma Mobile and an infrared remote control for browsing Plasma Media Center.
The place was quite busy and due to lots of talks and presentations going on, people stopped by in batches usually. Feedback on the new Breeze look and feel of Plasma 5 was overwhelmingly positive, kudos to the VDG and everyone involved in making this software masterpiece. Critics of our “flat design” were happy to hear that we continue to ship Oxygen style and icons, enabling you to visually turn Plasma 5 into Plasma 4 with ease.
Plasma Mobile did its job well, getting people excited about the possibilities to come: having a full-fledged KRunner on a phone, deep KDE Connect integration, a full Linux-stack underneath, and more.
Kirigami UI concepts, especially the ability to go “forward” rather than just back, were well-received and made people look forward to our gesture-driven user interface.
Sceptics of Plasma Mobile were relieved to hear that Plasma Mobile – which is running Wayland rather than X – helped our Wayland adoption on the desktop and resources spent there benefit the entire Plasma stack.
Augsburg visitors ranged from a 5 y/o running across the hallway yelling “how cuuuuute” Konqi is, to an elderly man proudly telling his story about how he recently switched from Windows to Linux and enjoys using Plasma and KDE Applications. I then showed him how easily he could get a fullscreen application launcher he got used to from his old operating system (Right-click Kickoff → “Alternatives” → “Application Dashboard”).
There were also quite a few users of alternative desktop environments and window managers who were glad to be able to use KDE software, such as KWin, Kate, Dolphin, outside a full Plasma session.
In the afternoon I came across a guy from LiMux, a project by the city of Munich to migrate their software systems to free and open-source software, who are using Plasma for their desktop computers. He illustrated some of the challenges they’re facing with Plasma in such a large enterprise deployment with a sheer number of novice users. We got invited to the LiMux Hackfest in May where we will work together to prepare Plasma 5 for the requirements they have.
In conclusion, I can say the day was a success: we got lots of comments, feedback, and praise, and I am looking forward to attending this and other similar events in the future.
Special thanks to Ingo Blechschmidt of Hochschule Augsburg for inviting us and Jonathan Riddell for sending me his KDE stand-up display!