By chance, we gave it another go, and thanks to the fabulous work of the Plasma developers, only minor changes had to be made to get a working Plasma root window. Step-by-step, we made more and more Plasmoids and functions available.
As KDE 4.2 is ahead of us now, we are trying to have a decent and nicely working Plasma replacement for the Windows default shell. We still need to do a lot of system integration work (which is also a more general task for KDE-on-Windows). Often, we are asked why we take this effort upon us - the answer is most of the time "because it is possible". Windows provides a way to customize the shell (think of the Windows Vista Aero shell), and as we think KDE is a better replacement, we are trying to seize the opportunity.
We are aware that there may not a big userbase for either KDE-on-Windows nor Plasma-for-Windows yet, but we hope that KDE can become truly cross-platform this way.
We are still at an early stage of the port, but most of the things work and what we need to do now is focus on the integration of Plasma with Windows, so that one day we'll have a full shell replacement.
Things that work include: panels, adding/removing Plasmoids, global shortcuts, and session locking. Porting Plasma itself to Windows was easy but a lot of work is still buried within the system-dependent libraries, like Solid (for the "Notify" and "Battery" applets), and kdeui for the global shortcuts.
On a final note, here are some fun stats for KDE-on-Windows:
- the installer has been downloaded 160,000 times since April 2008
- kdebase-runtime-msvc: 43,379 times
- kdebase-runtime-mingw: 8,418 times
- 4.0.83 binary packages: 69,398 packages downloaded
- 4.1.0 packages: 152,133 packages downloaded