Announcing the KDE Advisory Board

With KDE having grown from a hobby project by a few volunteers 20 years ago to the large and central Free Software community it is now, our interactions with other organizations have become increasingly important for us. KDE software is available on s…

Deathmatch | Tales of Nomad | Currency Pouch | Fae Weapons

This week’s update has everything from PvP to Nomad lore and even fae weapons.

BTS | Tales of Nomad & Deathmatch | Double XP Weekend is live!

Next week’s update covers a lot of ground so it’s a good job that our JMods are at hand!

Opera’s Free VPN Takes On Internet Privacy Challenge

Opera earlier this week released a new version of its browser, Opera 40, which comes with a free virtual private network service built in. The official rollout follows five months of user experimentation with a beta version. After evaluating beta users’ feedback, the company brought on additional servers, added options for global or private browsing, and created iOS and Android versions.

Double XP Weekend Top Tips

Less than a day to go before Double XP kicks off. Make sure you’re prepared!

A new look for Drupal.org

As you can see we’ve put a fresh coat of paint on Drupal.org – but the changes run below the surface. This latest iteration of the front page brings the key concepts of our design system to the forefront: Clean, Modern, Technical.

This change also bri…

GNOME: GNOME 3.22 Released: the Future is Now

GNOME 3.22 was released today, marking the culmination of 6 months work by the GNOME community. The new release introduces major new features as well as many smaller enhancements and fixes. Announcing the release, Matthias Clasen said: “This six-month effort wouldn’t have been possible without the whole GNOME community, made of contributors and friends from all around the world: developers, designers, documentation writers, usability and accessibility specialists, translators, maintainers, students, system administrators, companies, artists, testers and last, not least, users. GNOME would not exist without all of you. Thank you to everyone!”.

The latest GNOME release introduces comprehensive Flatpak integration for the first time. Flatpak, the next generation application framework for Linux, provides cross-distribution applications that are more secure than traditional Linux apps. GNOME 3.22 makes it easy to install Flatpak apps using the Software application. GNOME’s developer technologies also make it easy to take full advantage of Flatpak’s security features.

GNOME’s Files application has a wealth of improvements in 3.22. A powerful new feature allows multiple files to be renamed at once and compressed file functionality has also been integrated. There are also numerous other user interface improvements.

Other major new features for GNOME 3.22 include a new Photo sharing feature, redesigned keyboard settings, NickServ integration in Polari (GNOME’s IRC application), enhanced support for the Wayland display server, and a much improved Software application.

software
batch-rename
photo-sharing
files
keyboard-settings
builder

GNOME 3.22 is significant for developers, also. GTK+, GNOME’s interface toolkit, has introduced a new stable release series which will make it easier for application developers to use the many enhancements introduced during the 3.x series. GLib and GTK+ now provide transparent access to Flatpak “portals”, which allow isolated sandboxed applications to be developed. Builder, the GNOME IDE, has a range of enhancements, including a new built-in profiler. Other improvements include the introduction of CSS blend modes in GTK+, support for OpenGL for Embedded Systems (known as OpenGL ES or GLES) in GtkGLArea and a comprehensive upgrade to GLib’s logging functions.

More information about the latest version of GNOME can be found in the release notes.

GNOME 3.22 is codenamed “Karlsruhe”, in recognition of this year’s GUADEC organizing team.

Press

This article can be freely reproduced with no attribution required. Press queries can be directed to gnome-press-contact@gnome.org. A screenshot pack is available for download.

Drupal 8.1.10 released

Drupal 8.1.10, a maintenance release which contains fixes for security vulnerabilities, is now available for download.
See the Drupal 8.1.10 release notes for further information.
Download Drupal 8.1.10
Upgrading your existing Drupal 8 sites is strong…

RuneScape Reveals Recap & Survey

Catch up on 2017’s biggest updates, and let us know what you think!

Latest Firefox Expands Multi-Process Support and Delivers New Features for Desktop and Android

With the change of the season, we’ve worked hard to release a new version of Firefox that delivers the best possible experience across desktop and Android. Expanding Multiprocess Support Last month, we began rolling out the most significant update in … Continue reading

Dagannoth Kings & Wilderness Dungeon Reworks | Double XP Weekend | Invention Fix

Get in game for gorgeous reworks and to gear up for a Double XP Weekend.

Wine 1.9.19 Released

The Wine development release 1.9.19 is now available.
What’s new in this release:

Initial version of a udev bus driver for HID.
Various improvements in joystick support.
Initial implementation of…

Watch RuneFest 16 Now! | Stream Schedule

Join us live from the stage of the Battersea Evolution in London – reveals and interviews, ahoy, folks!

RuneScape 2017 Reveals

Mod Osborne stood up at RuneFest to reveal what’s in store for 2017.

Tune in to the RuneFest Stream Tomorrow

There’s no BTS video today but tune into RuneScape Reveals tomorrow for something special!

KDE at 20: Plasma 5.8 LTS Beta. Here for the Long Term.

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KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS

KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS Beta

Thursday, 15 September 2016. Today KDE releases a beta of its first Long Term Support edition of its flagship desktop software, Plasma. This marks the point where the developers and designers are happy to recommend Plasma for the widest possible audience be they enterprise or non-techy home users. If you tried a KDE desktop previously and have moved away, now is the time to re-assess, Plasma is simple by default, powerful when needed.

Plasma’s Comprehensive Features

Take a look at what Plasma offers, a comprehensive selection of features unparalleled in any desktop software.

Desktop Widgets


Desktop Widgets

Desktop Widgets

Cover your desktop in useful widgets to keep you up to date with weather, amused with comics or helping with calculations.

Get Hot New Stuff


Get Hot New Stuff

Get Hot New Stuff

Download wallpapers, window style, widgets, desktop effects and dozens of other resources straight to your desktop. We work with the new KDE Store to bring you a wide selection of addons for you to install.

Desktop Search


Desktop Search

Desktop Search

Plasma will let you easily search your desktop for applications, folders, music, video, files… everything you have.

Unified Look


Unified Look

Unified Look

Plasma’s default Breeze theme has a unified look across all the common programmer toolkits – Qt 4 & 5, GTK 2 & 3, even LibreOffice.

Phone Integration


Phone Integration

Phone Integration

Using KDE Connect you’ll be notified on your desktop of text message, can easily transfer files, have your music silenced during calls and even use your phone as a remote control.

Infinitely Customisable


Infinitely Customisable

Infinitely Customisable

Plasma is simple by default but you can customise it however you like with new widgets, panels, screens and styles.

New in Plasma 5.8

Unified Boot to Shutdown Artwork


Unified Boot to Shutdown Artwork

Unified Boot to Shutdown Artwork

This release brings an all-new login screen design giving you a complete Breeze startup to shutdown experience. The layout has been tidied up and is more suitable for workstations that are part of a domain or company network. While it is much more streamlined, it also allows for greater customizability: for instance, all Plasma wallpaper plugins, such as slideshows and animated wallpapers, can now be used on the lock screen.

Right-to-Left Language Support


Right-to-Left Language Support

Right-to-Left Language Support

Support for Semitic right-to-left written languages, such as Hebrew and Arabic, has been greatly improved. Contents of panels, the desktop, and configuration dialogs are mirrored in this configuration. Plasma’s sidebars, such as widget explorer, window switcher, activity manager, show up on the right side of the screen.

Improved Applets


Context Menu Media Controls

Context Menu Media Controls

The virtual desktop switcher (“Pager”) and window list applets have been rewritten, using the new task manager back-end we introduced in Plasma 5.7. This allows them to use the same dataset as the task manager and improves their performance while reducing memory consumption. The virtual desktop switcher also acquired an option to show only the current screen in multi-screen setups and now shares most of its code with the activity switcher applet.

Task manager gained further productivity features in this release. Media controls that were previously available in task manager tooltips only are now accessible in the context menus as well. In addition to bringing windows to the front during a drag and drop operation, dropping files onto task manager entries themselves will now open them in the associated application. Lastly, the popup for grouped windows can now be navigated using the keyboard and text rendering of its labels has been improved.

Simplified Global Shortcuts


Global Shortcuts Setup

Global Shortcuts Setup

Global shortcuts configuration has been simplified to focus on the most common task, that is launching applications. Building upon the jump list functionality added in previous releases, global shortcuts can now be configured to jump to specific tasks within an application.

Thanks to our Wayland effort, we can finally offer so-called “modifier-only shortcuts”, enabling you to open the application menu by just pressing the Meta key. Due to popular demand, this feature also got backported to the X11 session.

Other improvements


Plasma Discover's new UI

Plasma Discover’s new UI

This release sees many bugfixes in multi-screen support and, together with Qt 5.6.1, should significantly improve your experience with docking stations and projectors.

KWin, Plasma’s window manager, now allows compositing through llvmpipe, easing the deployment on exotic hardware and embedded devices. Now that there is a standardized and widely-used interface for applications to request turning off compositing, the “Unredirect Fullscreen” option has been removed. It often lead to stability issues and because of that was already disabled for many drivers.

Now that Kirigami, our set of versatile cross-platform UI components, has been released, we’re pleased to bring you a revamped version of Plasma Discover based on Kirigami.

We have new default fonts, the Noto font from Google covers all scripts available in the Unicode standard while our new monospace font Hack is perfect for coders and terminal users.

We’re in Wayland!


Plasma on Wayland Now with GTK+ support

Plasma on Wayland Now with GTK+ support

Plasma on Wayland has come a long way in the past months. While our long term support promise does not apply to the fast-evolving Wayland stack, we think it is ready to be tested by a broader audience. There will still be minor glitches and missing features, but we are now at a point where we can ask you to give it a try and report bugs. Notable improvements in this release include:

  • Support for xdg-shell, i.e. GTK+ applications are now supported
  • Much improved touch screen support
  • Support for touchpad gestures – the infrastructure is there, there aren’t any gestures by default yet
  • The “Sliding Popups” effect is now supported
  • Clipboard contents are synced between X11 and Wayland applications

Full Plasma 5.7.95 LTS changelog

Plasma 5.8 announcement


Live Images

The easiest way to try it out is with a live image booted off a USB disk. You can find a list of Live Images with Plasma 5 on the KDE Community Wiki.

Package Downloads

Distributions have created, or are in the process of creating, packages listed on our wiki page.

Source Downloads

You can install Plasma 5 directly from source. KDE’s community wiki has instructions to compile it. Note that Plasma 5 does not co-install with Plasma 4, you will need to uninstall older versions or install into a separate prefix.

Feedback

You can give us feedback and get updates on Facebook or Twitter or Google+.

Discuss Plasma 5 on the KDE Forums Plasma 5 board.

You can provide feedback direct to the developers via the #Plasma IRC channel, Plasma-devel mailing list or report issues via bugzilla. If you like what the team is doing, please let them know!

Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Udacity Fuels Autonomous Vehicle Engineering Dreams

Online education company Udacity on Tuesday introduced a new “nanodegree” program in self-driving auto engineering. President Sebastian Thrun made the announcement. The goal is to build a crowdsourced, open source self-driving car, he said. Students will learn the skills and techniques used by self-driving car teams at the most innovative companies in the world, Udacity has promised.

Can Drupal outdo native applications?

Republished from buytaert.net

I’ve made no secret of my interest in the open web, so it won’t come as a surprise that I’d love to see more web applications and fewer native applications. Nonetheless, many argue that “the future of the internet isn’t the web” and that it’s only a matter of time before walled gardens like Facebook and Google — and the native applications which serve as their gatekeepers — overwhelm the web as we know it today: a public, inclusive, and decentralized common good.

I’m not convinced. Native applications seem to be winning because they offer a better user experience. So the question is: can open web applications, like those powered by Drupal, ever match up to the user experience exemplified by native applications? In this blog post, I want to describe inversion of control, a technique now common in web applications and that could benefit Drupal’s own user experience.

Native applications versus web applications

Using a native application — for the first time — is usually a high-friction, low-performance experience because you need to download, install, and open the application (Android’s streamed apps notwithstanding). Once installed, native applications offer unique access to smartphone capabilities such as hardware APIs (e.g. microphone, GPS, fingerprint sensors, camera), events such as push notifications, and gestures such as swipes and pinch-and-zoom. Unfortunately, most of these don’t have corresponding APIs for web applications.

A web application, on the other hand, is a low-friction experience upon opening it for the first time. While native applications can require a large amount of time to download initially, web applications usually don’t have to be installed and launched. Nevertheless, web applications do incur the constraint of low performance when there is significant code weight or dozens of assets that have to be downloaded from the server. As such, one of the unique challenges facing web applications today is how to emulate a native user experience without the drawbacks that come with a closed, opaque, and proprietary ecosystem.

Inversion of control

In the spirit of open source, the Drupal Association invited experts from the wider front-end community to speak at DrupalCon New Orleans, including from Ember and Angular. Ed Faulkner, a member of the Ember core team and contributor to the API-first initiative, delivered a fascinating presentation about how Drupal and Ember working in tandem can enrich the user experience.

One of Ember’s primary objectives is to demonstrate how web applications can be indistinguishable from native applications. And one of the key ideas of JavaScript frameworks like Ember is inversion of control, in which the client side essentially “takes over” from the server side by driving requirements and initiating actions. In the traditional page delivery model, the server is in charge, and the end user has to wait for the next page to be delivered and rendered through a page refresh. With inversion of control, the client is in charge, which enables fluid transitions from one place in the web application to another, just like native applications.

Before the advent of JavaScript and AJAX, distinct states in web applications could be defined only on the server side as individual pages and requested and transmitted via a round trip to the server, i.e. a full page refresh. Today, the client can retrieve application states asynchronously rather than depending on the server for a completely new page load. This improves perceived performance. I discuss the history of this trend in more detail in this blog post.

Through inversion of control, JavaScript frameworks like Ember provide much more than seamless interactions and perceived performance enhancements; they also offer client-side storage and offline functionality when the client has no access to the server. As a result, inversion of control opens a door to other features requiring the empowerment of the client beyond just client-driven interactions. In fact, because the JavaScript code is run on a client such as a smartphone rather than on the server, it would be well-positioned to access other hardware APIs, like near-field communication, as web APIs become available.

Inversion of control in end user experiences

Animated transition between pages

When a user clicks a teaser image on the homepage of an Ember-enhanced Drupal.com, the page seamlessly transitions into the full content page for that teaser, with the teaser image as a reference point, even though the URL changes.

In response to our recent evaluation of JavaScript frameworks and their compatibility with Drupal, Ed applied the inversion of control principle to Drupal.com using Ember. Ed’s goal was to enhance Drupal.com’s end user experience with Ember to make it more application-like, while also preserving Drupal’s editorial and rendering capabilities as much as possible.

Ed’s changes are not in production on Drupal.com, but in his demo, clicking a teaser image causes it to “explode” to become the hero image of the destination page. Pairing Ember with Drupal in this way allows a user to visually and mentally transition from a piece of teaser content to its corresponding page via an animated transition between pages — all without a page refresh. The animation is very impressive and the animated GIF above doesn’t do it full justice. While this transition across pages is similar to behavior found in native mobile applications, it’s not currently possible out of the box in Drupal without extensive client-side control.

Rather than the progressively decoupled approach, which embeds JavaScript-driven components into a Drupal-rendered page, Ed’s implementation inverts control by allowing Ember to render what is emitted by Drupal. Ember maintains control over how URLs are loaded in the browser by controlling URLs under its responsibility; take a look at Ed’s DrupalCon presentation to better understand how Drupal and Ember interact in this model.

These impressive interactions are possible using the Ember plugin Liquid Fire. Fewer than 20 lines of code were needed to build the animations in Ed’s demo, much like how SDKs for native mobile applications provide easy-to-implement animations out of the box. Of course, Ember isn’t the only tool capable of this kind of functionality. The RefreshLess module for Drupal by Wim Leers (Acquia) also uses client-side control to enable navigating across pages with minimal server requests. Unfortunately, RefreshLess can’t tap into Liquid Fire or other Ember plugins.

Inversion of control in editorial experiences

Animated transitions between editorial features

In CardStack Editor, an editorial interface with transitions and animations is superimposed onto the content page in a manner similar to outside-in, and the editor benefits from an in-context, in-preview experience that updates in real time.

We can apply this principle of inversion of control not only to the end user experience but also to editorial experiences. The last demos in Ed’s presentation depict CardStack Editor, a fully decoupled Ember application that uses inversion of control to overlay an administrative interface to edit Drupal content, much like in-place editing.

CardStack Editor communicates with Drupal’s web services in order to retrieve and manipulate content to be edited, and in this example Drupal serves solely as a central content repository. This is why the API-first initiative is so important; it enables developers to use JavaScript frameworks to build application-like experiences on top of and backed by Drupal. And with the help of SDKs like Waterwheel.js (a native JavaScript library for interacting with Drupal’s REST API), Drupal can become a preferred choice for JavaScript developers.

Inversion of control as the rule or exception?

Those of you following the outside-in work might have noticed some striking similarities between outside-in and the work Ed has been doing: both use inversion of control. The primary purpose of our outside-in interfaces is to provide for an in-context editing experience in which state changes take effect live before your eyes; hence the need for inversion of control.

Thinking about the future, we have to answer the following question: does Drupal want inversion of control to be the rule or the exception? We don’t have to answer that question today or tomorrow, but at some point we should.

If the answer to that question is “the rule”, we should consider embracing a JavaScript framework like Ember. The constellation of tools we have in jQuery, Backbone, and the Drupal AJAX framework makes using inversion of control much harder to implement than it could be. With a JavaScript framework like Ember as a standard, implementation could accelerate by becoming considerably easier. That said, there are many other factors to consider, including the costs of developing and hosting two codebases in different languages.

In the longer term, client-side frameworks like Ember will allow us to build web applications which compete with and even exceed native applications with regard to perceived performance, built-in interactions, and a better developer experience. But these frameworks will also enrich interactions between web applications and device hardware, potentially allowing them to react to pinch-and-zoom, issue native push notifications, and even interact with lower-level devices.

In the meantime, I maintain my recommendation of (1) progressive decoupling as a means to begin exploring inversion of control and (2) a continued focus on the API-first initiative to enable application-like experiences to be developed on Drupal.

Conclusion

I’m hopeful Drupal can exemplify how the open web will ultimately succeed over native applications and walled gardens. Through the API-first initiative, Drupal will provide the underpinnings for web and native applications. But is it enough?

Inversion of control is an important principle that we can apply to Drupal to improve how we power our user interactions and build robust experiences for end users and editors that rival native applications. Doing so will enable us to enhance our user experience long into the future in ways that we may not even be able to think of now. I encourage the community to experiment with these ideas around inversion of control and consider how we can apply them to Drupal.

Special thanks to Preston So for contributions to this blog post and to Angie ByronWim LeersKevin O’LearyMatt Grill, and Ted Bowman for their feedback during its writing.

Treasure Hunter | Harvest Festival

As we head into autumn, Treasure Hunter gets a little festive.

KDE at FISL 2016

The 17th edition of the International Free Software Forum (FISL) took place, as usual, at Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul’s Convention Center, city of Porto Alegre, from 13th to 16th July. FISL is the largest FOSS conference in Latin America and a quite traditional venue to get a comprehensive panorama of all sorts of FOSS-related new topics: technical advances, adoption cases, FOSS and education, hacker culture, just to mention a few.

This year, FISL started an effort which aims at strengthening the respect for diversity in FOSS communities. Many activities were led by and/or had the participation of minority groups, emphasizing the need for respect and diversity regarding gender identity, special needs, sexual orientation, physical appearance, race, ethnicity, religion and socioeconomic status.

Another novelty in FISL 2016 was the micro-conferences: whole day meetings devoted to specific FOSS communities. Five communities held their micro-conferences at FISL 2016: PyLadies Brazil, Drupal, Mozilla Brazil, PostgreSQL, and ‒ of course ‒ KDE. The KDE micro-conference was named Engrenagem (‘gear’ in Portuguese) and was a nice way to enhance KDE visibility through a set of talks presented by our special guest and by Brazilian KDE contributors. This year we had the pleasure of having David Edmundson opening our micro-conference with his talk: Plasma 5 ‒ Infinity and Beyond.


David Edmundson at FISL 2016

Our micro-conference continued with Aracele’s talk, entitled “20 Years of KDE: from Desktop to FOSS Umbrella”. Aracele presented how KDE emerged in the GNU/FOSS panorama in the early nineties and provided a nice overview of the many changes our community has undergone over the many years of its existence. Then, Fernando Teles talked about his experience as a student of Season of KDE, working on Cantor. He highlighted the importance of such a mentoring program and gave some tips on how to succeed in a first-time FOSS contribution experience. Henrique Sant’Anna presented a quite rich talk about all the versatility and power provided by KDE Plasma 5. Adapting Plasma to many users’ workflows and using some not common features were some of the highlights of his talk.

Ícaro Jerry talked about the first steps and the many opportunities for contribution in KDE. Illustrated by his own story, he presented the main obstacles and tips to overcome the usual initial barriers faced by newcomers in FOSS communities. In the talk “Stubbornness, Campus Party and KDE”, Lays Rodrigues talked about her journey (and perseverance) into FOSS communities and KDE in particular. A different perspective about contributing to FOSS communities was presented by Rafael Gomes, in his talk “Contributing as a Sysadmin in KDE”. He presented the particularities of working in this area and the current main demands in KDE. Ícaro Jerry was again on the stage to present an overview talk about KDE-Edu, where practical cases for some educational applications were presented. Our micro-conference finished with two talks presented by Sandro Andrade. The first one was about Minuet ‒ the KDE-Edu software for music education, where he presented the motivations, technical aspects and roadmap for this applications. Then, he concluded with a talk about mobile applications development with Qt, where the main features for developing Android and iOS applications with Qt were demonstrated.

As last year, we had a nice booth at FISL, amazingly decorated with all the bells and whistles KDE deserves to celebrate its 20 years of existence. This year, we had a considerably higher number of people coming to talk to us about KDE in our booth. Some of them had done some port of an old KDE game to JavaScript, while others were interested in knowing more about mobile development and KDE contribution in general. We hope that this somehow turns into more contributors joining KDE in the next months.


KDE booth at FISL 2016

On Friday evening, we had an amazing commemorative cake and a lively 20 years party at our booth. KDE turns 20 at 14th October 2016, but we couldn’t fail to celebrate such an important achievement at FISL. As when sharing knowledge :), people rapidly lined up for taking their piece of cake and enjoyed our celebration.


Commemorative cake for the 20th anniversary of KDE

Check the full set of KDE at FISL 2016 photos.

See you at FISL 2017!