If you’ve dabbled with Linux distros in the past, then you’ve likely heard of KDE before. KDE stands for K Desktop Environment and it’s one of the main desktop environment options (next to GNOME) that can be used on Linux distros. KDE e.V. is a registered non-profit organization that represents the KDE community when in legal and financial matters. The team behind this organization has just announced a new, open source smartphone OS called Plasma Mobile.
The team describes Plasma Mobile as a way to turn your smartphone into a “fully open hacking device, just like a PC.” Those of you who have used KDE in the past might be familiar with the Plasma workspace by the name “KDE Plasma”. KDE Plasma is available for desktops, netbooks, media centers for TVs, tablets and now mobile devices. If offers an adaptable user interface and in the future it will also offer a rapidly-maturing software system that is developed with an open life cycle.
The software has built the Plasma workspace into it, and offers KWIN/Wayland and Voice call/Ofono while also integrating Plasma Apps, Plasma Widgets, Ubuntu Touch Apps and the possibility of installing Sailfish and Nemo Apps. Plasma Mobile’s development team will be aiming to run many Qt/GTK/X11-based applications on the OS, and hope to implement package installation via the “apt-get install package name” command. The platform will utilize libhybris on ARM devices while opting for DRM (Direct Rendering Manager) on Intel devices.
As of right now, Plasma Mobile only supports the Nexus 5 and the OnePlus One, along with some Intel-based devices. If you want to try this out on the Nexus 5, Plasma Mobile can be installed as a secondary ROM on your device thanks to MultiROM support. The team describes the state of MultiROM support for the Nexus 5 as “Solid” (so while it isn’t perfect, it’s past the ‘Experimental’ state).