Plasma Media Center 0.9 Beta Released !!

I am very happy that after lots of hard work building upon the solid foundation laid 3 years back, Plasma Media Center is now ready to be out in the wild. I’m pretty sure many of you will have questions regarding PMC, let me answer some of these-

  • Why did it take so long?

Well, as they say, nothing is static but change. Something similar happened with Plasma Media Center. Back in 2009 when Alessandro started writing PMC, we did not have this awesome stuff called Qt Quick and that led to lots and lots of C++ code written for PMC UI. When QtQuick was released, we gave it a thought and decided that it is time to move on to QtQuick. If you think of it, QtQuick is the best match for a Media Center that we had envisioned.
So yeah, there was almost a complete rewrite of the shell, and recently the media components rewrite – and that is what took so long. I guess that is both the advantage and disadvantage of being a FOSS project – you are free to experiment with new stuff.
But, having said that, PMC has a pretty solid architecture and works pretty nicely now.

  • Why QML components instead of Plasma applets?

This was a tough one, both have their advantages, but the primary reason that Plasma Applets were chosen to model PMC’s components is because back then that was the only technology that let us componentize things. However, with QtQuick Components we can achieve the same thing now. The primary reason of using QML Components instead of Plasma Applets is that keyboard handling is lot easier in the former (and its still not perfect, so you can get an idea)

  • Why does it feel slow sometimes when using metadata stuff?

The answer to this one is that PMC relies on Plasma Active’s Metadata Models for all its metadata information, so if that is slow, PMC’s metadata backends become slow. This typically happens if you have loads of media indexed. Partly this can be improved by making PA metadata models work in a thread (Marco is working on this, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds) and by improving Nepomuk’s query results. For the latter, if you’re interested in contributing, head to Sebastian Trueg’s blog (under Faster Desktop Queries) and show your support.

  • I like it, how do I give feedback?

If you like something, tell us, there’s nothing better than people appreciating your hard work. Head on to #plasma-mediacenter, or just post on KDE’s Plasma mailing list and hand us a cookie 🙂

  • Whats next?

PMC is far from perfect and very basic right now, and we need your help to find out what matters. We are working on setting up PMC on bugs.kde.org, till then if you have something to say, either comment on this blog, or use the methods listed in the previous answer.

Hope that answers some questions, if you have more, don’t be shy, comment 🙂

Finally, thanks for everyone that helped in making Plasma Media Center a reality, guess this screenshot should help (thanks Shantanu for the screenie)-

Special thanks to Alessandro for laying the foundation and Marco for patiently listening and helpful ideas.

Getting it while its hot-
Hop to the following link and get the tarball, compilation is usual CMake way (check the README for help) –
http://download.kde.org/unstable/plasma-mediacenter/0.9/src/plasma-mediacenter-0.9-beta.tar.gz
Or, for the bleeding edge, https://projects.kde.org/projects/playground/multimedia/plasma-mediacenter/repository

Note to packagers: We need you! If you can create packages for PMC for ${YOUR_FAV_DISTRO}, please send a mail to ksinny at gmail or comment on this post.

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