For the past 10 years or so, I’ve been a devoted Apple user. I have a MacBook (with TouchBar), a 12.9″ iPad Pro, and a 256GB iPhone X.
But as of the first of the year, I’ve gotten hooked into KDE and the open source software culture. Being accepted and invited to participate and contribute is a huge draw. Knowing code you wrote will make it into the final release of a product used by thousands and thousands of people around the world.
You just don’t get that as an Apple user. You’re immunized from almost all bad things, but you’ve got very little control over your experience.
Now I have a laptop dedicated to running openSUSEKrypton, with the KDE desktop. I use it every day, for everything. Email, Facebook, coding, graphics, etc. The only thing I miss is having iMessage right on my desktop, but my phone is always right next to me.
KDE’s desktop environment is called Plasma, and there’s a small but dedicated team working on Plasma Mobile – which will run on cell phones and tablets. The systems and applications will be interchangeable, with most apps running on the desktop and the mobile device without the need for (much) additional coding. Pretty slick stuff.
The only problem is that I’ve learned that Plasma Mobile is dramatically unfinished and in need of lots of work. It runs well on a pair of Samsung phones, but that’s it, at least in terms of official releases. I’m too addicted to my state-of-the-art iPhone X to trade it in for a phone from 2015. Sorry.
So I figured I’d get a tablet instead. There hasn’t been much work done yet on getting Plasma Mobile on tablets, so I thought I’d give it a try.
My first attempt at buying a used Android tablet went sideways when reseller Blinq sent me the wrong device. So I picked a different tablet, a Samsung Galaxy Tab S2. I went a little over my gadget budget for this one, but it’s a nice, reasonably current (2016) device, and from what I can tell, it should be very possible to get Plasma Mobile running on it.
But today, two days from delivery, I learned, by chatting with some of the developers, that Plasma Mobile isn’t really ready for full-time use. Lots of things still need to be coded; apps as basic as a calculator.
I can contribute to the development by running a “virtual machine”, which simulates and runs Plasma Mobile as a sort of simulation on my laptop.
But in the mean time, I think I’m going to have a fairly spiffy Android tablet without Plasma Mobile. I can’t justify the expense for a lab rat device that barely works.
That doesn’t mean I can’t and won’t hack it, though. I’ll be dog-sitting a fleet of 3 basset hounds this weekend, which means plenty of downtime. The dogs are non-needy blobs of adorable canine laziness (a good example for all of us), so I should have lots of time to play.
And not on an Apple device. Imagine.