Besides helping Ana get the new widget explorer in place and handling the usual set of important distractions, I've been looking into various ways to help with performance in Plasma. Marco and Alexis have done a ton of great work already here, improving our SVG caching system substantially in recent months.
Today I managed to get rid of one in memory pixmap for every Plasma::Applet with a background and cut back on the use of the SVG cache at the same time; in doing so I found a couple of subtle bugs in the use of the SVG cache by Plasma::FrameSvg and fixed those as well. The end result is that Plasma now uses a bit less X11 pixmap memory (or whatever the equivalent of that is on the host system if it isn't x.org based), backgrounds for Plasma::Applet objects are correctly cached and the blast of disk activity that was being triggered while resizing widgets is gone.
Now that parts of Plasma, particularly libplasma, are maturing we are able to go through and do more of this kind of work. As we work on Plasma Netbook more (Marco has been doing a stupidly awesome job recently, but more on that whole scene tomorrow) and target smaller devices, this becomes ever more important. We already run quite well on quite modest hardware, but we can do even better.
In other terrific news, Alex Merry killed the last known major crasher in the tasks widget recently. The fix will be in the next 4.3 release as well as 4.4. Way to go, Alex! :) There's also a patch on review board to preserve the manual ordering of the panel when the tasks widget has manual ordering/grouping set and a feature like "show only windows on the current desktop" or "show only windows on this screen" are turned on.
Small steps, perhaps, but it's the small stuff that makes the polish that takes it all to the next level. We have much more to do, but we're getting there.
In the next two months I'll continue to work on such things, but mostly I'll be concentrating on two sets of features: a new activity overview mode to replace the current zooming system we have and Kiosk action restrictions with the goal of surpassing the flexibility that Kicker and KDesktop offered sys admins.