The primary goal of neon is to offer the latest Plasma experience to users in a distro form. KDE neon User Edition 5.6 is based on the latest version of Plasma 5.6 and aims to showcase the latest KDE technology on a stable foundation.\n\n\nIt is a continuously updated installable image that can be used not just for exploration and testing but as the main operating system for people enthusiastic about the latest desktop software.\n\n\nI talked to Riddell to know more about this release and the state of other KDE projects.\n\n\nCan you point out some of the major highlights of this release?\n\n\nI\u2019m thrilled to be part of the first project to bring KDE\u2019s flagship desktop software to our users direct from the KDE community. We had to fill in a few gaps in what Plasma offers its users to complete the experience but we did that by working in Plasma rather than doing our work separately. \u00a0So we added bootup themes for Grub and Plymouth and we\u2019ve worked to make sure the app store, Discover, covers the whole archive. But the most important feature is what Neon is intended to be, a Plasma 5.6 desktop as the developers intended it.\n\n\nWhat\u2019s the statues of the KDE app store?\n\n\nPlasma Discover has had a lot of work to get all the features we have come to expect from an app store plus a few more. \u00a0It has a pretty user interface and can install packages from your Apt archives but also other sources such as themes from kde-look.org or Plasma Widgets from kde-apps.org. \u00a0The version in Plasma 5.7, coming out next month, contains a lot of these new features, read about them on Aleix Pol\u2019s blog.\n\n\nWhat apps come pre-installed?\n\n\nKDE\u2019s Visual Design Group picked a wee selection of the applications that work best with Plasma. \u00a0We have Firefox for Web browsing, Dolphin for file browsing, VLC for videos, KDE Connect for integration with your mobile phone, plus a few utilities for compressed files, text editing and command line use. \u00a0We\u2019ll add a PDF reader once there is one that fits in, we\u2019re waiting on the Qt 5 port of Okular for that. \u00a0That\u2019s all, we trust the user to install whatever they want after that.\n\n\nI heard that you are taking a DevOps approach towards cloud infrastructure. You are using Jenkins and Docker?\n\n\nYes, it\u2019s pleasingly easy to create a build farm without too many resources these days. \u00a0Our cloud servers work hard to compile KDE software as soon as there are changes. If you\u2019re a fan of KDE or interested in our work then neon is the best way to try it out.\n\n\nWhat\u2019s the basic difference between developer and user editions of neon?\n\n\nWhen KDE software is being developed the code gets saved into Git repositories and the developer editions of KDE neon build packages directly from these repositories. \u00a0It may not have been tested by anyone other than the developer so it might contain bugs or other surprises so we don\u2019t recommend it for most people, but if you\u2019re wanting to help KDE by testing KDE neon it is by far the easiest way to test our in-development software.\n\n\nOnce the developers are happy with the code we release it as source tars. \u00a0In my previous experience there would then be a lot of manual work to update the packages of a distro to use that new release. \u00a0In KDE neon our servers are continuously scanning for a new release and when it notices one it starts the build straight away so it should be available to users within a few hours. \u00a0The User Edition uses this released software so it is of a known quality, but you will get updates to the latest releases as soon as possible.\n\n\nWhat has been the biggest challenge for you and neon after switching from Canonical infrastructure?\n\n\nPhew, the politics was nasty, every effort was made to make me feel bad for asking basic questions about taking money and breaking licences. \u00a0It\u2019s such a shame but the best thing to do is work with people who respect their users and I can\u2019t think of anyone better than the people who make the software in the first place, KDE.\n\n\nWe had some tricky technical issues like getting images booting on UEFI (replacement for BIOS firmware) and some bits of software we depend on such as software-properties have bugs and seem to be unmaintained so we had to fork a few of them rather than patch upstream, which is a shame. \u00a0But after a few months of polishing the setup we\u2019re happy to say it\u2019s usable by our target audience:\n\n\nSomeone who relishes frequent updates of features\n\n\nSomeone who cares what software is on their desktop and is a fan or curious about KDE software\n\n\nAnd we\u2019ll start adding all KDE software to be built in the neon archives now.\n\n\nWhat\u2019s the status of neon on HiDPI?\n\n\nKDE neon is just a compilation of KDE\u2019s software so issues like this are best directed to the Plasma maintainers. \u00a0They\u2019ve done a lot of work to add HiDPI support, but much of it is work done at the Qt level. \u00a0So if there\u2019s issues then do ask there, I recommend testing with a KDE neon Developer Edition unstable branch image first as that way you are sure to be running the latest.\n\n\nWill Neon always remain Ubuntu base or will it be available for other distros as well?\n\n\nIt\u2019s the first project to bring KDE software directly to Linux users; that\u2019s a large change in how free software works, which should offer a new and more efficient way to use our output. I think that\u2019s really exciting and I expect others to follow our lead.\n\n\nWe plan to stay on an Ubuntu foundation. It\u2019s good technology that serves the purpose well. \u00a0But I expect KDE will get into containerized applications soon enough, probably using Flatpak, so our software can be used directly on any Linux distro. That might be part of KDE neon or a whole new project in KDE. For now I\u2019m excited to be getting this up and running.