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Plasma Active / Installation

Here is some installation instructions for installing Plasma Active courtesy of the KDE Wiki:

Installing Plasma Active

Live Images

These can be used as testing base and to track progress.

Balsam Professional

open-slx creates regularly updated packages of Balsam Professional for Plasma Active. You can try the Live ISO from a USB stick. Download the Balsam Professional live image, which is based on openSUSE here (use the highest version numbered iso file).

MeeGo Plasma Active

basysKom creates regularly updated packages of Plasma Active based on MeeGo.
This image is an adaption of the public meego-tablet-ia32-pinetrail variant and it is bootable on x86 based devices like WeTab, ExoPC or the Idea Pad. Login Data: User meego passwd meego; User root passwd meego
You can try the installable Live ISO from a USB stick. Download the latest demo and stable release live image (sha1).
If you want to try new but not yet released versions you can find here the latest testing live image (sha1).
The scope of Plasma Active Contour UX development is for usage on tablet devices. If you want to activate the mouse cursor eg on a netbook, start “System Settings” application and select under “Workspace Appearance/Cursor Theme” a non-empty theme.

Deploying a Plasma Active ISO Image to a Flashdrive

After you have downloaded the ISO image its a good idea to validate the image against transmission errors. An checksum file should be available for every image.

Validate and Deploy on Microsoft Windows

On Windows you can compare the hash on equality between image and related checksum file by the fciv.exe tool. You will find all needed information about usage on this site.
With the win32-image-writer tool you can easily deploy a plasma active image to a USB Flashdrive. For a detailed description how to work with this tool please see the MeeGo Windows instructions.

Validate and Deploy on Linux

On Linux you can compare the hash on equality between image and related checksum file via following command (with both the image and the checksum file in the same directory):

   user@host# sha1sum -c <checksum file>
   user@host# md5sum -c <checksum file>

If the command retuns “<image name>: FAILED”, please download the image one more time and check again.
After validation feel free to deploy the image to an not mounted USB flashdrive. In the following example we use the tool ‘dd’ for this:

   root@host# dd if=<image file> of=/dev/<USB flashdrive> bs=1M

Please note, the usage of this tool is potential dangerous! In case of an mistaken output device, all data on it will be unrecoverable lost.
To get the correct output device for the this tool, please follow the described steps below:

1. Remove all mobile flashdrives from your host system.
2. Call the command below and note the output.
   user@host# cat /proc/partitions
   major minor  #blocks  name
     8     0    3000000  sda
     8     1    2999998  sda1
3. Plug the Flashdrive for deploying into the host system.
4. Call the following command and note the output again.
   user@host# cat /proc/partitions
   major minor  #blocks  name
     8     0    30000000 sda
     8     1    29999998 sda1
     8     16    3872256 sdb
     8     17     594944 sdb1
5. In this example the correct dd parameter is sdb in the position of <USB flashdrive>.

Running a Plasma Active in a Virtual Machine

When running Plasma Active in a virtual machine, consider that performance will not be as good as when it runs natively on the devices it has been designed for. For testing, we strongly recommend to run Plasma Active on a device. The following limitations need consideration when using a virtual machine instead of a real device:

  • Performance, especially graphics, boot and application startup might be reduced
  • Advanced visual effects might not be available or work correctly in the virtual machine, this can lead to degradation of certain features, performance, visual effects and possibly stability
  • User interfaces designed for touch-screens often work less efficient for mouse and keyboard based input methods, or feel less natural.

We have found VirtualBox basically working, albeit in some cases noted the above problems. Read on for instructions how to have a first look at Plasma Active, even without suitable hardware.

Virtual Box

Before you can start the image via VirtualBox, please configure the virtual device like below.
VirtualBox OSE Manager

  ├── General
  │   └── Basic
  │       ├── Name --> e.g. Plasma-contour
  │       ├── Operating System --> Linux
  │       └── Version --> Linux 2.6
  ├── System
  │   ├── Motherboard
  │   │   ├── Boot Order
  │   │   │   ├── CD/DVD-ROM
  │   │   │   └── Hard Disk
  │   │   └── Base Memory --> 1024MB
  │   └── Processor
  │       └── Enable PAE/NX
  ├── Display
  │   └── Video
  │       ├── Video Memory --> 128 MB
  │       └── Enable 3D Acceleration
  └── Storage
      ├── IDE Controller
      │   └── IDE Secondary Master
      │       └── Set up the virtual CD/DVD drive
      │           └── <ISO image>
      └── SATA Controller
          └── Hard Disk
              └── Set up the virtual hard disk
                  ├── Dynamically expanding storage
                  └── Virtual Size --> 8.00 GB

Please note, only live image since 2011-07-20-10-50-meego-plasma-contour-in-progress-USB-live.iso are runnable via VirtualBox.
Please note, if you like to install our live image to an VirtualBox hard drive, you have to remove the live image form the virtual CD/DVD-ROM after installation. This will be done after Power off the machine via VirtualBox OSE Manager.

  └── System
      └── Motherboard
          └── Boot Order
              ├── CD/DVD-ROM --> disable
              └── Hard Disk

Once MeeGo/Plasma Active is installed, you may want to enable the mouse cursor.

Booting the Live Image on a WeTab/ExoPC

1. Plug the flashdrive to the WeTab/ExoPC.
2. Get the WeTab/ExoPC running.
3. Press the power (top left underside) + softtouch (top left upperside) button till reboot.
4. Choose inside the boot menu via softtouch button the installation or live mode (short tab to switch entry, long tab to choose).

Installation on Balsam Professional or openSUSE

In order to install the latest development snapshots on Balsam Professional or openSUSE 11.4, you have to add two repositories to your system. These update kdelibs and kde-runtime to a patched 4.7 which contains additions in QML bindings and improvements needed to run the development version for Plasma Active. If you would like to try it in a virtual machine, we recommend Virtualbox, which provides accelerated graphics capable of “desktop effects” (see above).
Important: this procedure will upgrade your KDE installation to a patched version of 4.7, replacing any KDE packages you have installed. Some versions of these packages, for example kdepim4 and kdepim4-runtime, are built for a mobile target and the desktop versions of their apps will not run properly. Running a newer version of KDE may update users’ configuration files in a way that is not backward-compatible with previous versions of the applications, so it is advised to use a development installation or backup your KDE configuration. If you don’t know how to do this, stay with the Live image.

Installation Recipe


For initial installation, mouse and keyboard are helpful.
Install openSUSE 11.4 Live KDE via USB stick from the openSUSE download page. Direct download link
As you are going to install packages from a different source, or so-called “vendor”, you can make your life easier by telling zypper to automatically resolve packages across vendors. In /etc/zypp/zypp.conf, change the following line
solver.allowVendorChange = false
solver.allowVendorChange = true
Due to a bug in the 11.4 DVD installation, you may be using static network configuration using YaST instead of NetworkManager. To change it to use NetworkManager, launch YAST, select “Network Settings” and under “Global Options” change the setting to “User Controlled with NetworkManager”. You can then enable wireless and configure it as normal.

Repository Setup

Register KDE:Release:47 and KDE:Active repositories:

zypper addrepo --refresh
   http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/KDE:/Release:/47/openSUSE_11.4 kr47
zypper addrepo --refresh
    http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/KDE:/Active/openSUSE_11.4/ plasma-active

Increase KDE:Active packages’ priority relative to KDE:Release:47, because the git snapshot versioning is otherwise lower than those in KDE:Release:47, and we want the KDE:Active versions that are built with Active-specific options:

zypper modifyrepo --priority 90 plasma-active

Package Installation

Update all packages to the latest versions, trust the keys for the repos. NOTE: if you have other additional repositories than these registered in your system, YOU are responsible for making sure they are compatible.

zypper dist-upgrade

The default kernel in 11.4 doesn’t correctly support the touchscreen in the exopc so you should install the newer kernel from the active repository:

zypper in plasma-active:kernel-desktop  plasma-active:kernel-desktop-base

For some reason GRUB isn’t always updated to make the new kernel the default when installing this new kernel, so check in YAST, System, Boot Loader
If you used openSUSE 11.4 on a WeTab already you may have had to manually calibrate the touchscreen according to these guides. With the new kernel the suggested xorg configuration file causes the touchscreenscreen to be mis_calibrated and unresponsive to taps, so remove it:

  rm /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/99-calibration.conf

Finally, install the Plasma Active specific packages:

zypper install plasma-contour-config

This will install and setup the Plasma Active shell, which is contained in the plasma-mobile package (plasma-mobile has different sets of QML user interfaces per UI profile). zypper will ask you to accept the key. It will also suggests vendor changes for some packages. Accept these options.

Running Plasma Active

If you have installed the plasma-tablet-config package, your system will automatically start into Plasma Active. Just make sure you have autologin enabled in Yast and restart your system.
By default in openSUSE, Nepomuk is not enabled. Contour uses Nepomuk so you should enable it and Strigi in System Settings->Desktop Search. You will also probably want modify the profiles in the Power section to set the device to go to sleep when the button on the back is pressed.
From a full Plasma Desktop (or Netbook) user experience, you can also switch at runtime to Plasma Active as follows (as user logged into the the X11 session):

# Quit your plasma session
kquitapp plasma-desktop
kquitapp plasma-netbook
# Start Plasma Active
# It is also possible to run Plasma Active in a window,
# this is useful for testing purposes:
plasma-device --nodesktop

Installation of Plasma Active from sources

While the recommended way to test Plasma Active is with the above recipe using the binary packages, it is possible to build Plasma Active from the source repository, who wants to try the bleeding edge repository can build plasma-mobile from sources. The recommended way is to follow the usual kde from sources build instructions. It is also possible to use the binary kde packages as a base.
It is necessary to install some packages (and their dependencies) to have a working development environment: sudo zypper install gcc gcc-c++ git cmake, kdelibs-devel
Now clone the plasma mobile source repository and build:

 git clone git://anongit.kde.org/plasma-mobile
 cd plasma-mobile
 mkdir build
 cd build
 sudo make install

Installing Additional Software

There are a few KDE projects that have created touch friendly versions of their applications already. These versions are included in the plasma-active repository. Currently, these are:

  • Calligra Active – Install package calligra-active
  • Kontact Touch – Install package kontact

In addition, some applications already work quite well together with active. The following is a list of applications that work ok on a touchscreen:

  • Okular – For viewing documents.
  • Marble – Virtual globe, includes routing support.
  • Bangarang – Media player, uses Nepomuk for listing media.
  • Dolphin – File manager.

Some of these applications, like Bangarang, are not included in either the KDE:Release or plasma-active repositories. Instead, they can be installed from the KDE:Extra repository by adding it to zypper with the following command:

#Add KDE:Extra repository
zypper addrepo --refresh  http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/KDE:/Extra/KDE_Release_47_openSUSE_11.4 kde-extra
#Install Bangarang
zypper install bangarang



A repository of most of KDE components, including Plasma Active for MeeGo is at https://build.pub.meego.com/project/show?project=Project%3AKDE%3ATrunk%3ATesting and is available for both i586 and ARM, which is added by running the following command if you are using MeeGo trunk

zypper ar http://repo.pub.meego.com/Project:/KDE:/Trunk:/Testing/Trunk/Project:KDE:Trunk:Testing.repo

or for MeeGo 1.2 users:

zypper ar http://repo.pub.meego.com/Project:/KDE:/Trunk:/Testing/MeeGo_1.2_oss/Project:KDE:Trunk:Testing.repo

To install the software run the following command:

zypper install plasma-contour-config

UX Launch

uxlaunch is the MeeGo component that actually launches the shell. There are two ways of switching the default MeeGo Tablet UX shell to Plasma.

Changing UX permanently

Edit /etc/sysconfig/uxlaunch and change the session key to “/usr/bin/startkde”.

Dynamic UX selection at boot

Finally, to switch to using the plasma tablet UX in MeeGo, use the uxselector project, following the instructions found here: http://wiki.meego.com/MeeGo_Desktop/Changing_Desktops#UXSelect_Switcher_Tool_.28alpha.29 – edit the /etc/xdg/aard/uxselect.conf file to include the following section:

 name=Plasma Active
 description=The Plasma Active Tablet UX

and add the text plasma text to the uxlist property in the General section.

Known Issues

The Meego tablet UX installs a number of files in /etc/xdg/autostart that are also executed when running Plasma Active, resulting in elements of the Meego tablet UX showing up nevertheless. Workaround is to rename/remove that folder.

Installing Additional Software

There are a few KDE projects that have created touch friendly versions of their applications already. These versions are included in the MeeGo repository. Currently, these are:

  • Calligra Active – Install package calligra-active
  • Kontact Touch – Install package kontact-touch

In addition, some applications already work quite well together with Active. The following is a list of applications that work ok on a touchscreen:

  • Okular – For viewing documents.
  • Marble – Virtual globe, includes routing support.
  • Konsole – Support for virtual keyboard

MeeGo system image

For a complete ready to go image of Plasma Active see Live Images.

Other Systems

If you have installed Plasma Active on a system not yet listed here, please add detailed installation instructions in a new section.
Source Community KDE Wiki

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