First Plasma Active experience

John Layt recently blogged about his adventure with having children use Plasma Active with quite some success.

The task

I was this evening out at a board meeting in my local scout group, and for such a event you of course need the following

  • Agenda
  • Treasures report
  • Minutes from last meeting
  • Various other papers

I’ve heard from various people that an iPad is great for such meetings, and produces much less paper waste, so of course, I wanted to try with my brand new Plasma Active tablet.

Before meeting

So before meeting: Charge tablet & fetch needed documents.
Possible issues: Everything was on a my imap server. Minutes was a plain text file, Agenda was a docx file, treasures report was a xls spreadsheet, and the various other papers were pdf files.

For fetching, I’ve heard a lot about Kontact Touch and everything using Akonadi. Besides me not being fully able to properly enter my password in the first 10 tries, and a sometimes flaky internet connection, everything here was a breeze.

To the three first documents, the answer was ‘Calligra Mobile’. Rendered even the docx file better than libreoffice did. And Calligra Mobile was nice and touch friendly and worked pretty well for this. There is also something called ‘Calligra Active’, which is supposed to be way cooler, but still misses at least one essential feature to be used for a touchscreen only. It can only open documents passed to it on command line. And I’m not yet very comfortable with a onscreen keyboard.

For the last, there was Okular. The desktop edition of Okular. I was impressed by *how* usable Okular were for a touch screen device. A quick and dirty edition of a mobile Okular could probably be done with ‘remove all toolbars and menubars and such’ and ‘if no file is passed on command line, then open a file selector window and open selected file’, which shouldn’t take a person knowing the Okular code much time. But that’s still just the ‘Quick and dirty edition’


And during the meeting, everything worked flawlessly, except the internet on site, so I was happy I had prepared in advance. As a extra bonus, Plasma Active offered the nice KDE Games, as John Layt also mentioned, for the parts of the meeting where it was a bit boring.

So. At least for me and in this case, Plasma Active did its job, at least to a A. And it is still described as Alpha software.


There is, though, a few important usability issues:

For QWidget based applications, oxygen’s nice desktop feature of being able to move the application by dragging it from almost everywhere is just completely useless on a touch screen device when you are only using full screen applications. Luckily, oxygen-settings can disable this.

Update: People tells me that this has already been fixed.

The Network Manager Plasma Widget, in case of ‘no network’, is very hard to ‘activate’ in order to select a network. A bit larger touch area here would be very nice. Currently, it feels like it is only slightly larger than a dot:ยท.


Oh boy, I’m looking forward for Plasma Active getting to Beta or RC status. Or Final!

And btw, I’m looking for a job.