The next generation of KDE libraries, Frameworks 5, has reached its first beta.
A tech preview of KDE Frameworks 5 was released at the beginning of the year with an alpha leading up to today’s beta release.
The beta comes with a number of “Porting Aids” that will help developers port their KDE Platform 4 applications to Frameworks 5. KDE caution that these additional packages contain kdelibs4 modules that are deprecated in Frameworks 5, so their support period will be limited to “three release cycles” while developers makes the jump.
About KDE Frameworks 5
KDE Frameworks 5 is the culmination of 3 years of work to move the KDE platform into a more modular set of components – Qt add-ons to be precise – that should winnow dependency lists for KDE applications that, up to now, seemingly download the entire KDE desktop with them.
Instead of a set of “interconnected libraries” as in KDE Platform 4, Frameworks 5 has rejigged components into modularised frameworks split into various tiers and types depending on the number and types of dependencies each framework has.
The kcoreaddons framework, for example, is a Tier 1 framework that has a single dependency on the Qt5 Core library. kauth on the other hand is a Tier 2 framework that depends on a number of Qt libraries and a Tier 1 framework.
The net effect is that applications only making use of the kauth library don’t need to pull in KDE’s archive, image editing, or GUI frameworks with them. Moreover, Qt apps only needing kcoreaddons will only need a single KDE framework on top of Qt’s libraries. Though some frameworks, like khtml, will still pull in a fair number of KDE dependencies, the modularisation of KDE’s libraries will go a long way to keeping dependency lists small and increasing the proliferation of KDE frameworks within the wider Qt community.
Getting KDE Frameworks 5 Beta 1
KDE Frameworks 5 is due for release in June. If you can’t wait to get your hands on the shiny new KDE libraries, packages are available for Kubuntu, openSUSE, Arch, Fedora, and others. As always, exercise caution with prerelease software.
If you’re a willing tester (and know what you’re doing), the Kubuntu Experimental PPA and Project Neon PPAs should have the beta packages available soon. Project Neon is also a great way for newcomers to get started with contributing to KDE.