Having the Plasma and Usability & Productivity sprints held at the same time and place had an unexpected benefit: we were able to come up with a way to make it easier to test a custom-compiled version of Plasma!
Previously, we had some documentation that asked people to create a shell script on their computers, copy files to various locations, and perform a few other steps. Unfortunately, many of the details were out of date, and the whole process was quite error-prone. It turned out that almost none of the Plasma developers at the sprint were actually using this method, and each had cobbled together something for themselves. Some (including myself) had given up on it and were doing Plasma development in a virtual machine.
So we put some time into easing this pain by making Plasma itself produce all the right pieces automatically when compiled from source. Then, we created a simple script to install everything properly.
So now all you have to do is compile Plasma and run this script once:
This will install all the necessary bits to make your compiled-from-source Plasma appear in the SDDM login screen’s session chooser. You even get both the X11 and Wayland versions!
Thereafter, you can just log out of your distro-provided Plasma session and log into your custom-compiled Plasma session whenever you want. It’s super easy:
There are a few quirks surrounding DBus and Polkit that you can read about on the wiki, but it totally works and now it’s super duper simple to test and use your custom-compiled Plasma without polluting your base system. I’ve been using the Plasma Wayland session from git master with no VM for my daily computing and development needs for the past three days and it feels *amazing* to be able to do this. Many thanks to veteran KDE developer Aleix Pol Gonzalez for this work.
So now you really have no excuse not to build plasma from source! 😉 Check out the developer documentation and give it a try!