Before we get to that, however, here's a little interlude showing Plasma Active One running on a Nokia N950 on Mer. You can read more about it here on Martin "vgrade" Brook's blog.
Plasma Active One on the n950
... and now back to the regularly scheduled topic of Plasma Workspaces 4.8. ;)
OpenGL ES and Compositing Performance
Compositing window management in 4.8 can be built with support for OpenGL ES. This means hardware acceleration using a more modern revision of OpenGL and one that is supported on mobile devices.
During development of this feature, Martin Gräßlin did a lot of clean up to the existing code bringing performance enhancements to how effects are handled and windows are painted. The blur implementation also received a significant improvement to its performance thanks to improved caching written by Philipp Knechtges; this provides quite noticeable results on many systems. In all, many fewer cycles are spent rendering and displaying the beauty that is the Plasma Desktop.
Thomas Lübking also helped simplify writing effects by introducing the new AnnimationEffect class so that development in this area can progress with less effort required to achieve results.
There was a developer sprint was held for hardware and power management in KDE software and it was quite a success. A large number of bugs related to stability and predictability were fixed, but perhaps my favorite two things are that power management became multi-screen aware (so, for instance, plugging a laptop into an external monitor and closing the lid works a lot more like you'd expect ;) and power management became Activity aware so that you can have different settings per activity. I love this for when I'm doing things like giving presentations or watching videos: just switch to the activity with all the relevant files and apps and I don't have to worry at all about touching the power management settings.
Bug Fixes Galore
As the version numbers climb, one would expect so would the bug fixes. KRunner got a number of bug fixes, including fixing the kill runner and making sure all runners always respect their settings. The microblogging widget escapes HTML properly, the virus wallpaper works more consistently compared to the other wallpaper options, the location DataEngine works with newer versions of gpsd now and on and on. Lots of little things that one might never notice because they now just silently work .. and others you may notice because you stubbed your toe on them constantly.
I'm really looking forward to the 4.8.0 release due to all of these improvements, and I hope you are too! :) Thanks to everyone who helps make this possible by contributing their finances, their time, their imagination, their passion ... and remember that you, too, can Join the Game even if you don't have the time or energy to get involved directly.