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New Spark Tablet To Come Loaded With KDE's Active Plasma Interface 114

Posted by timothy
from the domain-folding dept.
mpol writes "KDE's Plasma Active introduced last Saturday its own 7" tablet. According to Aaron J. Seigo, 'It's the first tablet computer that comes with Plasma Active pre-installed.' The Spark, with its 7" screen, is built around a Cortex A9 with a Mali-400-gpu, 512MB RAM and an SD-card slot. It will have a 800x480 screen resolution and will cost around 200 Euro. It is actually a rebrand of the Zenithink ZT-180 C71, which comes with Android by default. On a personal note, Aaron J. Seigo will no longer be sponsored by Qt Development Frameworks to work on Qt and KDE. He will, however, stay involved with KDE and Free Software, he says."
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New Spark Tablet To Come Loaded With KDE's Active Plasma Interface

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  • by LoRdTAW (99712) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @10:28AM (#38857069)

    I just woke up and decided to read ./. And to my surprise someone was making a SPARC based tablet running KDE, AWESOME! Then I read the summary. Gets Coffee...

    • by oodaloop (1229816) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @11:02AM (#38857243)
      Yeah and I thought it read Gnu Spork Table Too Comb Lauded Wit KFC's Archive Palm Intertubes. Seriously, I don't want to see everyon's spelling/reading comprehension problems on slashdot.
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      And it had about 20 seconds of battery life :) Tho the Zenithink ZT-180 doesn't have a lot more ( if you hit 3 hours you are doing good )

      • Re:Spark != SPARC (Score:4, Interesting)

        by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Sunday January 29, 2012 @04:30PM (#38859313) Journal

        Yeah I've noticed talking to customers that jumped on the tablet bandwagon most of them suck on time which to me kinda kills the whole point of having one. What are they doing wrong? Are they making them too thin and thus with no room for a battery? Are they using shitty batteries? Because my EEE 1215B isn't much thicker yet gets nearly 8 hours under Expressgate and 6 hours with Win 7 HP X64, and that's with me watching 720p movies. Now I know the E-350 has hardware decode but surely a generic X86-64 chip, even one designed for low power like Zacate, surely it uses more power than ARM right? so what's the deal?

        Because most of the reviews on the new tablets unless you buy one like the Transformer where the keyboard has a second battery the average seems to be around 2 and a half hours which to me is kinds worthless. i mean who cares if they stick Plasma or Ubuntu or whatever on the thing if you've got to have a cord running from it to the wall constantly? Hell if you're gonna get that little time you might as well stick with your smart phone which is what my customers are finding out, most are using their android tablets as expensive digital photo frames.

        • You must be talking to the wrong people.

          My $120 Ainol Novo 7 easily gets 5 hours on a charge, while a friend's Zenithink ZT280 does about 6 hours.

        • Because most of the reviews on the new tablets unless you buy one like the Transformer where the keyboard has a second battery the average seems to be around 2 and a half hours which to me is kinds worthless.

          Where do you get your numbers from?..

          iPad normally lasts 8-9 hours. Most Honeycomb tablets, 7-8 hours. Transformer Prime without the dock lasts 10-12 hours.

        • Heck, my two year old iPad still gets well over 25 hours of battery life on a charge. The specs say "10 hours of HD video" but that's about the most intensive thing you can do on an iPad, aside from OpenGL-heavy gaming.

          When it was new it got over 30 hours of light PDF-reading and web browsing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by unixisc (2429386)
      In that context, remember the SPARC notebooks that Tadpole Technology used to make, somewhere in the early 90s? That would have been a great notebook for Linux and BSD. And had anyone made a SPARC w/ really low power consumption capable of tablet use, that could have had some good potential as a tablet and one could have had Gnome3, KDE4.8 or even Unity on it ;)
      • I actually have one of their PowerPC laptops running AIX. It's ancient now, of course, but in its day it was very impressive tech.

  • by visualight (468005) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @10:42AM (#38857127) Homepage

    And this is a start. The recent story around the Asus Prime indicates that Google Video may be the reason that non-phone wifi only tablets have locked boot loaders, so I'm not seeing Android as "open" anymore. Really hope this is good.

    • by hitmark (640295) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @11:14AM (#38857305) Journal

      Media sales via the Android Market in general, more like it.

      And it echoes a statement made by Nokia regarding Maemo/Meego, where they said the then upcoming phone would have a dual mode boot loader. One mode would check signatures on vital OS components, but would allow media purchases via the Nokia Ovi store. The other mode would allow people to tinker with the OS internals, but would lock them out of the mentioned store and any media bought from there.

      I wonder if this is why we see the hoopla about UEFI cryptographic boot in Win8, because MS is trying to set up a Window online store themselves and big media is demanding "trusted computing" before they put anything into the store.

      • Media sales via the Android Market in general, more like it.

        Close. Google have officially joined the dark side.

        They bought a DRM company called Widevine [widevine.com], which handles the digital restrictions on Blockbuster, Netflix et al.

        It looks like the original purchase was for their move into internet TV, but collateral damage has ensured that sadly, Android is now Defective by Design Those of us who enjoy using and modifying our own property will have to part ways with the official Android releases. I'm looking forward to seeing some nice Linux distros on Arm tablets.
        ht [osnews.com]

        • by hitmark (640295)

          Well, there is always the option of buying no-brand Android devices out of China. One loose out on the Market access, but gain in openness. A fair trade in my view.

    • Reality is a bitch (Score:5, Informative)

      by YA_Python_dev (885173) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @12:37PM (#38857797) Journal
      Funny how the phones designed directly by Google or in strict collaboration with Google (the Nexus series) all have an unlockable booloader and support Google Videos.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        And countries where operators sells all devices unlocked (bootloader & SIM card) while they are very tighly locked in USA and some other countries.

    • by robmv (855035)

      Wrong, my Xoom Wifi has unlockable bootloader and supports Google Video store just fine

      • Well, why did samsung sell unlocked wifi only tablets and then lock encrypt them at the same time they added google video? Also, this:
        http://phandroid.com/2011/04/17/source-samsung-will-not-lock-bootloaders-unless-google-requires-it/ [phandroid.com]

        So did Google require it, or is Samsung just a dishonest company? (by dishonest I don't mean the leaked statement above, I mean boosting sales with unlocked tablets and then locking them later)

        Asus pretty much "blamed" Google for encrypting the boot loader on the Prime. I have

        • by drolli (522659)

          Ahem. lets not forget that this was not an official statement by samsung, but an unknown inside source, which may be prone to one of the following effects:

          a) overestimation of the own knowledge

          b) intentional misinformation inside the company

          c) making himself/herself more important to the journalist than he is

          d) The samsung legal department changing their opinion on what "google requires" means for them (its not an easy question if you take the liability for the installed SW all around the world)

    • by unixisc (2429386)
      It has plenty. Just within Linux/BSD itself, it has iOS, WebOS, Ubuntu tablet and now this, and outside it, it has Windows 8 and RIM/QNX. At this point at least, nobody can complain that it's a market w/ just Google & Apple as the main players.
    • by Sark666 (756464)

      I didn't know what you were referring to and searched:

      http://gizmodo.com/5872925/asus-relents-on-locked-transformer-prime-bootloader [gizmodo.com]

      "Asus says the bootloader had to be locked to provide you with certain content services. And it's true that if you choose to employ the (release-date-TBD) Transformer Prime unlock tool you'll be frozen out of Google video rental through the Android market. Oh, and you'll void your warranty. "

      Why does it need to freeze you out? Let's say something similar like netflix. Works o

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @10:50AM (#38857175) Journal

    There have been a few other linux tablets and so far they just don't compete on specs. They seem to think that going linux means going budget but I am a Linux user and have no interest whatsoever in going budget.

    This thing seems to have a single core CPU... the new asus tablet transformer prime has 4.

    A 800x480 resolution, my 2 year old MP3 player has that, on a far smaller screen. The tablet after the prime, the TF700T, will have a 1920x1200 resolution.

    Yes, these are larger devices and cost three times as much but geez whiz, where are you more likely to find people who will appreciate having a full OS at their disposal with real desktop quality applications instead of fart apps, at the bottom budget market or at the high end cutting edge?

    MS must be loving this, there tablets are not going to be underpowered rebrands of yesterday model, so if an average consumer is browsing for a tablet, they will see highend sexy devices as being Android/iOS/Windows8 and Linux in the bargain bin... and gosh, wanna bet that people who bargain hunt will still want Android/iOS/Windows8 and just get an older device?

    Evidence? The total and complete failure of previous linux tablets that pulled such braindead stunts as using a resistive screen... Save a few pennies and make your device basically unsellable.

    It is basic economy, niche markets exist at the high end not the bottom end. You can't sell handmade fiat panda's.

    • by hitmark (640295) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @11:16AM (#38857317) Journal

      1. this is a enthusiast project and so is likely bootstrapped on a shoestring budget.

      2. they are trying to get all drivers into the kernel proper, no blobs and similar. This means finding a supplier that can go along with that.

      Android have none of these issues, and so can get the latest and greatest.

      In the end one have to decide what is more important, principles or instant gratification.

      • In the end one have to decide what is more important, principles or instant gratification.

        Right now it's price. Damn things and computers in general are an enormous ripoff.

        • by Lumpy (12016)

          says the boy that has zero clue.

          Maybe you need to get yourself a class in economics and understand that Computing devices in the USA are dirt dirt cheap because of the slave labor, they are built with.

          Just because you cant afford a $399.00 ipad/androidpad/low end laptop, does not make it a rip off.

          In fact it's an incredibly cheap price for what you get. Try saving up all your money from your paper route for 2 years to buy a TRS-80 Model I so you could have a computer that was B&W only and had less pow

          • Just because you cant afford a $399.00 ipad/androidpad/low end laptop...

            Sez you... Despite the slave labor, Computing devices in the USA are NOT dirt dirt cheap.. These things stay high priced because idiots will pay it. Maybe the price could be justified if the device could be considered a "durable good". But they're crap. designed to break down faster than a biodegradable plastic shopping bag. And that's not even considering the upgrade treadmill.

            • Apparently, you never had the pleasure of running an Acer Aspire "budget PC", which cost $1800 in 1995, used a Cyrix PR 120/150 that crashed and burned under ZERO load. THOSE were crap. The goods you get nowadays are significantly cheaper, even WITHOUT cost/inflation differences between here and there, AND they are a billion times more stable/usable.
              • I presently own a $2700 Toshiba (133 Mhz/144mb RAM) that I bought brand new in 1997 that doesn't crash very often at all, and its original battery still gives reasonable service. Even the CMOS battery hasn't quit yet. It's not my primary machine, but I do like to show it off to visitors.

                And I'm also aware that price fixing runs rampant in this business (like far too many others)... to the point where they blow up [google.com] their factories when the market becomes too saturated, and of course the exploitation of natur [google.com]

                • Before the flood I paid $300 for a 12 inch EEE 1215B, that's an E-350 dual core with an HD6310 GPU built in, 320Gb of RAM and I got an 8Gb upgrade on the RAM since it came with Win 7 HP X64 (the RAM was $32 after MIR) and a nice carrying sleeve for it for a final price of $352 shipped. Even after the flood you can still pick it up for $450 [amazon.com] for a dual core that gets 6 hours playing 720p or 8 hours under expressgate. Seriously how fucking cheap do you think they can go? With a little care a unit like that can easily last you 5 plus years and my 17 inch Dell from 2005 last i heard is STILL running just fine with the guy that bought it off me, same as my Athlon dual laptop from 09 I sold to help pay for my EEE.

                  While i'm sure there is some price fixing that happens luckily enough there is enough companies still fighting for business that prices are pretty damned low. the PC I'm typing this on I built myself for less than $850 if you count the upgrades, less than $700 if you count the fact i got $50 for the original dual core and the board and quad i had after that is now in my GFs PC so I didn't have to buy those, and we're talking 6 cores, 8Gb of RAM, an HD4850 GPU, 3Tb of HDDs, dual DVD burners and a 1600x900 22 inch screen. Dude that is insanely cheap for that amount of power! hell my customers get new triples and quads to hook up to their HDTVs for around $550 and that is with me making a nice profit putting them together, again that is just crazy cheap.

                  So I really don't see what anyone is bitching about, my first x86 was a whole 40Mhz (I stayed with the VIC and Trash 80 for years past everyone else) and I got a steal on the thing at $500 simply because the guy wanted to get a state of the art 100Mhz to play Hexen with. By the time i got a monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, etc i was out damned near $800 and again i got 'em cheaper than ordinary folks because i knew people. it wasn't a year and a half before the software coming out wouldn't run decently on it because it was too slow and there was ZERO upgrade paths so I was SOL. Now I can build a box and have it run the latest software no problem years later, the nettop i use to surf in the shop is a 2004 Sempron 1.8Ghz with 1.5gb of RAM and frankly it'll do anything on the web I wanna do. My boys are gonna finally have to be upgraded this spring because some of the newer games don't play nice on their Pentium Ds which is a circa 2006 chip but I'll get to keep their HD4850s which I paid a whole $60 refurb for a couple of years back.

                  dude the amount of power we get for dirt cheap is truly mind boggling and the amount of time it lasts is just nuts. you can buy an AMD E-350 board for like $80, slap a 4gb RAM chip in it for $20, and have a system you can surf with 5 years from now, hell you can even plug it in via HDMI to your widescreen and it'll play 1080p no problem. So I don't know what anybody is bitching about, as someone who has been into computing since the days of the VIC and Trash 80 I'd consider this a "golden age" of computing, where even the throw away stuff is so insanely overpowered it'll do the jobs 90% of the public want to do with them with ease. Hell I've already got a buyer for the guts out of one of the boys boxes so that 2006 Pentium D will just be moved along with the board and RAM from his machine to a neighbor who while having no trouble surfing with his late model P4 has a couple of older flight sims he wants to play online and that Pentium D will be more than enough for that. i wouldn't be surprised if a decade from now he's not still running that 2006 chip and quite happy with it, its a golden age friend, enjoy it.

            • by exomondo (1725132)
              So how much should they be?
      • by westlake (615356)

        In the end one have to decide what is more important, principles or instant gratification.

        The article says only that the tablet will be "available to the public." It doesn't say "we have a retail distributor." There is nothing here about actual production runs, marketing support or shelf space.

        Crap tech quarantees instant frustration in exchange for your 300 Euro.

        Principles be damned.

      • Okay, principles? How about NOT buying from China then? I try as much as possible... buying Cowon whenever possible as they tend to produce in their own country unlike most others.

        Or are your opensource principles the same as my principles of not buying from a country that harvests the organs from executed political prisoners?

        The idea of creating an opensource OS for a tablet is nice but you won't get anywhere if you don't go the whole hog. THAT is why Apple is so damned fucking succesful with their product

      • You realize Asus announced at CES it will soon be releasing a 7" Tegra 3 tablet for $250?

        Too bad the smartphone market is collusive. Smartphones and tablets use the exact same hardware, except tablets have much bigger and more expensive screens and batteries. Yet the tablets retail for 1/3 the price of smartphones.

        • You realize Asus announced at CES it will soon be releasing a 7" Tegra 3 tablet for $250?

          Too bad the smartphone market is collusive. Smartphones and tablets use the exact same hardware, except tablets have much bigger and more expensive screens and batteries. Yet the tablets retail for 1/3 the price of smartphones.

          And your phone has cellular/3G/4G radios, which add extra hardware and lots of licensing costs.

        • Too bad the smartphone market is collusive. Smartphones and tablets use the exact same hardware, except tablets have much bigger and more expensive screens and batteries. Yet the tablets retail for 1/3 the price of smartphones.

          Funny, I ust bought an Android phone for EUR 140. I've not seen any tablets that cost EUR 46.

          (Ok, it's an Acer S120, with a fairly anemic 800Mhz processor and only 512Mb of ram, but it has a 800x480 screen).

    • by devent (1627873) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @11:40AM (#38857443) Homepage
      Why does the specs matters for a tablet (or for a netbook or notebook)? As long as it does what is suppose to do, meaning playing videos and show Pdfs, I really don't care if it's have 10 CPUs or just one. What matters is the whole product and if it's useable or better then the competition. I would wait for the product and for the reviews.
      • by George_Ou (849225)
        Specs matter to those of us who neither want to waste time or money. We're not going to buy a device for the sake of being able to have a Linux tablet. There will be $250 quad-core 7" android tablets with beautiful IPS multitouch panels and 1080P megapixel cameras. This Aseigo Linux tablet has comparable specs to a $99 7" Android tablet on the market today.
    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      I'll get hate for saying this but I think its a "chickens coming home to roost" scenario with Linux. For years Linux devs about how low powered you could go, like it was some sort of CPU/RAM limbo pole, and we've seen the web positively spammed by "take that dumpster dived machine and make it a new system with Linux!" articles all over the place. So what did anyone expect the OEMs to do when everyone was telling them you could run Linux on a wristwatch?

      I've also noticed it gives OEMs an excuse to dump thei

      • by comrade k (787383)
        Mod parent up.

        Though I will say that things can run well on older hardware depending on your task. If you can live without flash player, HD video, games, semantic desktops, etc, then a 700MHz Pentium III with 384 MB of RAM will run just fine. I have such a box, running Arch, that I use for IRC (irssi), occasional Web browsing (Midori), IM (Pidgin or Finch) and Email (mutt). I think it's using Openbox + fbpanel for a desktop. For me? For the task? it's fine. For Joe User? Surprisingly usable with lightweig
        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          Funny I have an XP box with the same specs one of the GF's relatives is using. He was broke and my GF said "I'm sure my BF has something lying around the shop he can give you" and according to her its purring like a kitten. of course now that the great XP dieoff is beginning I'll hand him something nicer, i have a pile of 2.2Ghz-3.2Ghz P4s sitting in the shop now so when she comes down next weekend i'll throw one of those in her trunk and he can keep the 733Mhz as a backup or something.

          But you have to adm

    • by rdnetto (955205)

      There have been a few other linux tablets and so far they just don't compete on specs. They seem to think that going linux means going budget but I am a Linux user and have no interest whatsoever in going budget.

      I agree with you, to an extent. However, I'd say that going budget is important for ensuring a low barrier to entry for devs. Once we have a fully working Linux distro designed for tablets/mobiles, how much effort do you think it's gong to take to get that running on most Android devices? Here's a hint: most of the modifications to the kernel needed to get the first gen Asus Transformer to run Ubuntu were performed by 3 guys in different countries. All the KDE guys would have to do is provide a webpage with

  • by Coeurderoy (717228) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @10:50AM (#38857177)

    Since the KDE plasma tablet is the zenithink c71, why should the price be 200€ when the android version is 139 ?
    Does Google sponsors the Android tablets that much ?

    I do understand that the developpers expect to make some revenue for their work, but at this price it just kills the device...
    A typical software licence in this domain is less than 20€ for the OS and 15€ for the codecs (and this would be for very small quantities....)
    So the price should not be more than 175, and even then it should be marketed as "dual boot" Android and Linux (since you'd pay for Android anyway)

    So it seems that the distribution channel is not under control, and most probably it will die just like other great technical ideas not correctly implemented
    Sad ...

    • by dmesg0 (1342071)

      pandawill sells it for 126$. With coupon it's 116$ including shipping, which amounts to less than 90€.

      • This is interesting, but actually proves the point, why pay 200€ when you can pay 90€+20% VAT so approx 110€
        90€ is a very high "premium" cost for KDE....
        It would make more sense if the table would actually be "super high value"
        (If you could have a tablet with 2 7" screens, less than 800g super fast with wifi, UTMS, camera, coffe machine interface
        for 600€ the 90€ up price would be much easier to stomach...)

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      they just suck at bargaining. g doesn't subside random chinese manufacturers to do androids anyhow.

      really, what they should do - even if it seems stupid - would be to hack their kde desktop to run as an application inside android.

      then you could just install the apk and boom - you got your kde desktop running, could interface the mobile etc api's that have binary drivers, so could "apps" for that app. the app could take over the hw buttons too so you'd need to exit the kde app cumbersomely.

      and you could jus

    • by Anonymous Coward

      €200 is cheap considering the volumes this unit is likely to sell. He's likely to sell quite many, earn quite a lot of bucks, and hopefully draw lots of positive attention to the KDE Plasma Active interface. Thumbs up from my side.

      I don't really see the point in comparing this device to a €139 device that sells millions. You don't _start_ by providing the cheapest device.

      • by Junta (36770)

        I don't really see the point in comparing this device to a €139 device that sells millions.

        It isn't comparing two different devices, it's showing two price points for the *exact same device*, with different software loads, both of which are OSS.

        Of course, it oversimplifies things. On one hand you have the practical market evident price for a device already on sale. On the other hand, what is effectively 'MSRP' as suggested at announce. Rarely in this sort of situation does MSRP have a particularly strong correlation to the price it sells at. I wouldn't be surprised if pricing ended up being a

    • Asus announced at CES it will sell at Tegra 3 7" tablet for $250. Too bad smartphones with the exact same hardware retail for 3 times the price.

    • by Microlith (54737)

      The OEM could be raking them over the coals on volume, or possibly holding the kernel sources ransom. CordiaTab [cordiatab.com] was trying to do this earlier this year, but got stopped due to the OEM demanding $6000 for the kernel sources after they had been distributed in binary on tablets (the Dreambook W7.)

      So it could be a screwjob by the Shenzen OEM as well.

      • The all do that, and in part hide behind the chipset manufacturers who provides the initial version.
        Actually the offer of the CordiaTab manufacturer is quite "acceptable" (compared to many others).

        And the key "takehome" info is that since the manufacturing of PC is now 100% Chinese, and mass market oriented, you cannot launch this kind of project without the cash to make at the very least 100K devices, so if you do not have at the very least 10 M$ do not try, you'll end up wasting everybody's time, your one

  • an interface intended for all types of tablets, smartphones and touch computing devices such as settop boxes, smart TVs (plasma!), home automation or in-vehicle infotainment. Plasma Active is a joint project by the KDE community, basysKom and open-slx.
  • It came pre-installed with the computer, and I couldn't be bothered to replace it

    • by devent (1627873)

      Why do you need an excuse? In fact, pro-linux.de [pro-linux.de] run a poll what is the most used desktop environment. KDE is with 43% the most used, Gnome3 is 12% and Gnome2 is 14% and all the others are lower.

      So I would say that KDE is very much used, maybe more than Gnome.

      • KDE 3, not KDE 4 has that high usage rate... says a lot if you think about it. A lot about the usability of polls with a very niche audience. German readers of a linux mag that bother with online polls. Wouldn't suprise me if 43% is in reality 2 people in this sample group.

        • Nope, it's KDE 4. KDE 3 has 1%. You read it wrong (which is pretty easy to do, since the graph is quite shitty). Also, you do know 2 people could never be 43%, right? Unless you dismember one or more integrants.

      • by comrade k (787383)
        Isn't KDE substantially more popular in Deutschland than anywhere else?
        I mean, the KDE founder was given the German Federal Cross of Merit [kde.org] for pete's sake
  • Bad tablet (Score:5, Informative)

    by dmesg0 (1342071) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @10:59AM (#38857213)

    ZT-180 C71 has a slow single core AML8726-M CPU (despite being based on ARM A9 which is usually found in dual or quad core configurations), low resolution screen and just 512M of RAM. It costs 120$-130$ including international shipping.

    There are much better Chinese tablets now (with higher resolution, 1GB ram, IPS screens. Even dual core cpus, though not as good as branded offerings).

  • And it will suck (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @11:37AM (#38857427) Homepage

    I have been down the Linux, Gnome,KDE tablet road several times. and they dont have Handwriting recognition or on screen keyboard as a part of the window manager. It will suck unless they built those into the WM.

    All the Linux UI's need to have tablet specific code in them. Make them rotate orientation smoothly without wierd artifacts or location issues,etc...

    Linux Tablets have a future if the UI devs stop with the eye candy crap and focus on adding in Tablet specific features that 90% of the UI users(I.E. non tablet users) will never use.

    • Re:And it will suck (Score:4, Informative)

      by Teun (17872) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @12:27PM (#38857739) Homepage
      It's not exactly a tablet but I've got standard Kubuntu installed on an HP TouchSmart and there are several on-screen keyboards to choose from.
      And they work quite well.
      • Re:And it will suck (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Lumpy (12016) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @03:07PM (#38858815) Homepage

        and none of them pop up the second you click on a text field. It's an epic fail that I have to go hunting for it or take up 1/5 of the screen all the time with it.

        • by Teun (17872)
          Yes that's a remarkable omission, maybe the programmers haven't yet perceived much need?
          I've set one of them up to show a small 'always on top' icon so it can be enabled manually.
          But yes, it would be nice when someone codes a nice utility to call it up once you enter an input field.

          Because such is available in maemo and the likes the starting point is there.

    • Re:And it will suck (Score:5, Informative)

      by SomeKDEUser (1243392) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @12:40PM (#38857827)

      Plasma active _is_ a tablet-specific UI. The whole point of plasma as a foundation for the KDE desktop was that you got a generic library for making interfaces.

      They have a desktop interface, but the also have a netbook interface. Active is their tablet interface. I have played around with it on an asus T91MT, and it works quite well. In fact, it is perhaps the only tablet interface which does multitasking in a clever way.

      And yes the on-screen keyboard pops up when you touch a text entry field. And they also provide touch-friendly interfaces for common apps.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        I need to try the latest then, as the last time I tried it, it did not pop up for anything in firefox or Chrome.

        • I don't know if that works. I use konqueror of rekonq... They provide a browser optimised for touch, though, which is similar to the one you find on the ipad.

        • I would imagine that it only works for KDE and Qt apps, which neither Firefox nor Chrome are.

    • by suy (1908306)

      (...) on screen keyboard as a part of the window manager.

      Why exactly the virtual keyboard has to be part of the window manager? Plasma has excellent integration with KWin (obviously). I fail to see the reason why it has to be exactly part of the WM.

      Oh, and the virtual keyboard on the Nokia N9 (Maliit [maliit.org], open source BTW) has received lots of positive reviews, and I've never seen it described as part of the WM.

    • ...Handwriting recognition or on screen keyboard as a part of the window manager. It will suck unless they built those into the WM.

      Why should handwriting recognition or an on screen keyboard be part of the Window Manager, the part of the GUI that controls window positioning, moving and resizing? Yes, it needs to be part of the User Interface, not tacked on later as an afterthought, but the WM isn't the component that should be controlling it.
  • The obvious non-nerd question

  • by wjcofkc (964165)
    I am all for Plasma based tablets. We need the competition. However, the last time I saw KDE Plasma on a touchscreen device, it was sticking heavily to the desktop paradigm and didn't look all that useful. This wasn't to long ago. I'm sure I am missing something here. Are there any screenshots, videos, or other demos of a new touchscreen paradigm refined Plasma interface?
    • Re:GUI? (Score:4, Informative)

      by unixisc (2429386) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @01:40PM (#38858329)

      As SomeKDEUser pointed out above, KDE has different workspaces (as they call it) for desktops and netbooks/tablets. They don't try to force desktop users to use a tablet UI, as do Microsoft, Canonical & Gnome. Nor do they try to have a desktop UX on a tablet. That way, they can fine tune each workspace to its target platform.

      The Active Plasma screenshots [kde.org] show how they've finetuned the interface for a tablet. More details can be found on the KDE website

      • by wjcofkc (964165)
        Thanks. That does look a whole lot more intuitive for the format than the last time I saw screenshots.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        The link you provided is Plasma Netbook. Plasma Active is a different beast http://www.plasma-active.org/

  • by eyegone (644831) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @01:00PM (#38858015)

    At least the KDE guys aren't trying to shove one uber-interface to rule them all down our throats.

    A similar announcement from GNOME would have included a list of all the functionality that was removed from the desktop interface to make it tablet-friendly.

    • Actually, I doubt that Gnome would have to remove much, if anything from Gnome 3 to get it to run on a tablet. From what I can see of it, it was designed as a tablet UI in the first place, then jammed onto a desktop environment.
  • Several posts here talk about how "Linux" is somehow bad or unsatisfactory on tablets, then go on to talk about how Android somehow satisfactory. That makes no sense. Android is Linux. If you think a specific variety of Linux is bad, then say so. Stop making these overgeneralizations about "Linux" when you're clearly wrong.

    • Pragmatically, when most people talk about Linux, they really mean kernel + GNU userspace + X. Android has a matching kernel, but its userspace is very different. From app perspective (which is the one that matters for most), Android is just as alien as OS X.

      • by Meditato (1613545)

        I understand, but my point is that the "when most people talk about Linux" argument is purely based on an inaccurate popular perception. Any system that relies on the services of the Linux kernel is a Linux system. To talk about Android and Linux as if they are separate entities is just as wrong as if I used the terms "Ubuntu" and "Linux" distinctly when talking about the same issue. If the userspace framework is the critical difference, then talk about that! Don't generically refer to the underlying kernel

        • by iceaxe (18903)

          You may be right, but I wasn't confused by the ambiguity. Anyone who was confused by it, raise your hand...

          • by Meditato (1613545)

            I don't know what your point is. If someone tells me that 2+2=5, virtually no one else will be stupid enough to think that 2 added to 2 actually equals 5. However, the fact that no one was fooled does not mean we can't criticize the person for being wrong, or in this case, for fueling incorrect perceptions that others may have.

  • Thats asking a bit much for an arm + cheap 7" lcd. 800x480 is probably one of the cheapest panel available. The cheapest being the 480x272, perhaps the second 848x480 (which is closer to 16:9 than 800x480)
  • The small amount of research I just did on the zenithink c71, indicates that they have a very very high failure rate. Something like that could easily douse this spark before it ignites.

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