KDE Plasma 5’s Task Manager Gets A Revamped Backend

A 16 years old code, KDE’s default task manager finally gets the attention it deserves due to Wayland’s upcoming arrival.

Jun 4, 2016News
Plasma task manager revamped

Windows users will probably feel more comfortable with the term Task Manager than their Mac counterparts which are accustomed to having a Launcher instead.

Either way, if you’re now a Linux KDE user then you must have experienced Plasma’s task manager – a “plasmoid” that is responsible for showing and manipulating tasks (or simply, that thing the arrows point to in the picture).

As it turns out during the late vigorous efforts of getting KDE ready for the next generation display server – Wayland. The backend code from which the current task manager is comprised of is actually (and not surprisingly) targeted at making the most of the aging Xorg.

However, what’s good for Xorg isn’t necessarily what’s good for Wayland, therefore rewriting of the venerable plasmoid, which some of its code dates back 16 years ago, has finally became necessary.

Eike Hein, an experienced KDE developer, has already started working on the project:

“During the last several months, I’ve been rewriting the backend for Plasma’s Task Manager, the strip of launchers and windows embedded into the panel at the bottom of the screen.

… the old code was heavily tied to X11 concepts … [it] had some fundamental limitations and problems that badly needed addressing…”

According to Eike, the new backend has already gained a few noticeable improvements including better: performance, behavior and memory usage in addition to improved Wayland support.

Although there’s still some work left to be done, the general expectation over at the KDE camp is leaning towards the possibility of shipping the improved TM along the upcoming Plasma 5.7 release.