Another KDE success story – the Incubator – Part 4




Kdenlive is the leading video editor on Linux

To wrap up the KDE Incubator success stories, here’s a bit from the Kdenlive folks.

Kdenlive, one of the rare free-as-in-speech video editors, started its life more than 12 years ago using KDE3 libraries. At that time, it was mostly the effort of a single person—coding, fixing bugs, publishing releases, managing the website. There was no real connection with the KDE Community. Good contributions came in from other people, but no team was built, a risky situation. In 2013, the main developer, Jean-Baptiste Mardelle, was not able to work on the project, so it was on hold for several months and had some technical problems. We tracked him down like a “Giant Spy” to get the project running until his return! That taught us a lesson. When Mario Fux presented the KDE Manifesto, it was the exact answer to our problem.

Kdenlive had already started to use KDE git, forums and translation power after its first contact with the KDE Community at the Randa Meetings in 2011 (where we heard about the KDE Manifesto). Completing the incubation process in 2014 allowed us to benefit from all offered help. Transferring the website (with mailing lists) to the KDE sysadmin team was a great relief for us, the overbooked non-specialists. Joining KDE Applications a few months ago gave us relief from the release tasks, which lets us put the code in good shape 4 times a year instead of once.

We had heard plenty about KDE being much more than a set of libraries or a technical infrastructure, that it is a community. The Kdenlive team needed to experience it. Now that we’ve been to the Randa Meetings and Akademy, we understand why it is worthwhile to interact with people in real life, in focused coding jam sessions. It greatly boosts motivation (smileys can’t beat real smiles), helps us build a clear vision for the future (I’m not developing for myself only, but can’t satisfy everyone…what should the focus be?), and offers opportunity to build bridges with other applications (want to work with drawn animations? Hey, Krita is doing that!). These contacts with many different people—designers, artists, developers, project managers, and users—who are contributing to KDE are also valuable feedback and a source of ideas to make our project evolve in exciting directions.

Kdenlive raised some money in 2013 to fund a huge refactoring task that is only coming out now. However we had refused other donations since then as we were not sure we could use that money fairly. Now we have tasted in-person meetings, but we can’t spend all our pocket money. So no problem; every single cent is welcome 😉

Please donate to the KDE Sprint fundraising campaign. You’ll be helping Kdenlive and other important KDE projects as well.

Thanks to Vincent Pinon and Jean-Baptiste Mardelle for this report.

Donate to the KDE Sprints 2015 fundraising campaign

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KDE Applications 15.08 – Kontact Suite Technical Preview and Dolphin 5




Dolphin’s new look – based on KDE Frameworks 5

Today KDE released KDE Applications 15.08, the collection of more than 150 applications. This release features the Kontact Suite and Dolphin ported to KDE Frameworks 5.

Kontact Suite technical preview

Over the past several months, the KDE PIM team put a lot of effort into porting Kontact to Qt 5 and KDE Frameworks 5. In addition, data access performance has been improved considerably by an optimized communication layer. The KDE PIM team is focused on further polishing the Kontact Suite, and would appreciate feedback. For detailed information about KDE PIM changes, see Laurent Montel’s blog.

Kdenlive and Okular

This release of Kdenlive includes fixes in the DVD wizard, along with many bug-fixes and other features, including the integration of some bigger refactorings. More information about Kdenlive changes can be seen in its changelog. Okular now supports Fade transition in the presentation mode.




KSudoku with a character puzzle

Dolphin, Edu and Games

Dolphin was ported to KDE Frameworks 5. Marble now has improved UTM support as well as better support for annotations, editing and “KML overlays.

Ark has had numerous commits including many small fixes. Kstars commits include improving the flat Analog to Digital Unit (ADU) algorithm and checking for out of bound values, saving Meridian Flip, Guide Deviation, and Autofocus HFR limit in the sequence file, and adding telescope rate and unpark support. KSudoku just got better, with commits that include: add GUI and engine for entering in Mathdoku and Killer Sudoku puzzles, and add a new solver based on Donald Knuth’s Dancing Links (DLX) algorithm.

Other Releases

This release continues the new style of releases, introduced with the latest KDE Applications 14.12 release. Along with this release, KDE Workspaces (aka Plasma 4) will be published for the last time in its Long Term Support version (version 4.11.22).

More than half of the KDE Applications have now been ported to KDE Frameworks 5 (KF5). The complete list of the Applications is available on the KDE Applications 15.08 release notes.

See the full list of changes in KDE Applications 15.08. In the next three months, there will be smaller bugfix releases for the KDE Applications, and then a next bigger release in December.


KDE App Dragons

Spread the Word

Non-technical contributors are an important part of KDE’s success. While proprietary software companies have huge advertising budgets, KDE depends on people like you talking with other people! Even for those who are not software developers, there are many ways to support our community and our products. Report bugs. Encourage others to join the KDE Community. Or support the non-profit organization behind the KDE Community.

Please spread the word on the Social Web. Submit stories to news sites, use channels like Delicious, Digg, Reddit and Twitter. Upload screenshots of your new set-up to services like Facebook, Flickr and Picasa and post them to appropriate groups. Create screencasts and upload them to YouTube, Blip.tv, and Vimeo. Please tag posts and uploaded materials with “KDE”. This makes them easy to find, and gives the KDE Promo Team a way to analyze coverage for the 15.08 KDE Applications release.
Follow what is happening on the social web at the KDE live feed, buzz.kde.org. This site aggregates real-time activity from Twitter, YouTube, flickr, PicasaWeb, blogs, and other social networking sites.

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You can help making KDE technologies even better!

Modern life has become increasingly dependent on software systems. Many daily used devices rely on Free Software for their basic functionality or additional services. TV sets, ATMs, smartphones, media centers and in-flight entertainment systems are ex…

Randa – Bring Touch to KDE

About a year ago, we talked with several people who were going to work together in Randa, Switzerland. These people were united by a love of KDE and had common motives—to make KDE technology better and have tons of fun while doing it!

The 5th edition of the Randa Meetings high in the Swiss Alps in August 2014 was a huge success, with many new features and major new additions to KDE technology, through the dedicated efforts of about 50 KDE developers taking a week out of their busy lives to bring great software to users.

Among the attendees last year was Călin Cruceru, an enthusiastic Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2014 student working on Marble, the virtual globe and world atlas. He was one of the youngest members of KDE, and worked ardently in Randa along with his mentors and fellow GSoC students during the week. The 2014 Randa Meetings were productive for the Marble project, and quite an experience for Călin who was in his first KDE sprint.

All of this was possible because of your donations to the fundraiser for the Randa Meetings. We are asking you to continue with your financial support this year; we are excited about the Randa Meetings in 2015 with the theme Bring Touch to KDE.

This year the campaign has been expanded to raise funds for all KDE sprints. The Randa Meetings are big, but they are only one of the sprints that KDE sponsors throughout the year. The KDE Community is centered around development, and sprints allow for in-person coding that is much more effective than working online and communicating by email. Sprints involve hard work and long days, but it’s exhilarating, not tiring. During sprints, developers accomplish more in a few days than they thought possible. It’s inspiring to be surrounded by committed, top KDE developers. So while the focus of this fundraising campaign is on the Randa Meetings, all money raised will go towards the high quality, innovative KDE technology that sprints produce.

In this interview, we go back in time for a glimpse into Călin’s excitement and eagerness before he attended Randa Meetings 2014 and his anticipation for it. With your support and donations, you can help other newcomers have their first Randa experience this year!

We look forward to bringing you the stories and results from the Randa Meetings 2015.


Călin Cruceru – Marble Developer

Hi Călin, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Călin Cruceru and I’m in my second year studying Computer Science and Engineering at Polytechnic University of Bucharest, Romania. I am passionate about technology and I love contributing to open-source projects and surrounding myself with optimistic people.

You’ve just started being involved with open source. Why did you pick KDE? What were your expectations and have they been fulfilled?
Indeed, I just started contributing seriously to open-source projects about 6 months ago. In fact, ‘just’ is not the best word here, because it certainly does not feel like a short period of time. It all began with a thought that it might be a good experience for me to work on an application which is useful to many people. I had been using KDE as my desktop environment for a year by then and so I thought that the best choice would be something I use often, something I’d been a ‘user’ of.

To me it was fondly named ‘Marble’. And here I am; helping Marble be a better product since February 2014. I’m considering contributing to other KDE projects, but due to limited time this summer I haven’t been able to do so.

Regarding my expectations, I think that everything went even better than I could have possibly imagined. At the beginning I was a bit skeptical about my chances of getting involved because I thought I wasn’t technically prepared. But my doubt turned out to be an illusion; especially when I received so much help from such a friendly community.

Getting selected for Google Summer of Code to work on a Marble project as well as the feeling of really doing something useful for the application is how I know that all my expectations have been fulfilled.

How difficult is it for you to manage your school work and involvement with KDE?
It is not easy for sure and I usually do not have a lot of spare time; but I’m trying to get the best of both. And I think I am managing it pretty well.

How has your experience been with real world programming, especially contributing to software used by millions of people around the world?
There is an enormous difference between writing code for school/personal projects and real world applications. Like many other students, I’ve done a lot of coding for academic projects but getting involved with the development of a real application used by millions of people is a completely different experience. You get to know what it feels like to be a part of a big community, which you can’t normally do while working on school projects. You learn how to write code responsibly, knowing that every single line will have an impact on users. Also, you discover ‘best practices’ when writing real world applications, which improves your skills as a programmer.

­Many students are introduced to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) through mentoring programs, and remain associated with it only during the mentoring project. What message do you have for students who want to contribute to FOSS, but who are waiting for acceptance into a mentoring program?
I think this happens mostly because a lot of students want to improve their resumes and they think that this can be done only by participating in well-known programs. I use the words ‘they think’ because this is certainly not true, since companies tend to appreciate any open-source contributions (even if they are not part of mentoring programs). I think it is more impressive to see a long-term pattern of contributions without getting any accreditation other than the credits for patches.

What I mention here is just a consequence of an essential ingredient: the sheer passion for FOSS, for the feeling that you too can write code which eases people’s lives in some way. So my advice for those students is to take some time and think of what they would prefer to do when their favorite application crashes: wait for the developers to first consider their bug report and then repair it (the only option in closed-source projects), or to get the application’s sources and try to fix the problem on their own. Which one describes the qualities of a ‘true programmer’?

When did you hear about the Randa Meetings and why do you want to be there?
I heard about the Randa Meetings after the registrations had closed, but Mario (the main Randa Meetings organizer) noticed me on IRC congratulating a Marble colleague for participating in Randa and mentioning my regret over not knowing of the event earlier. Mario contacted me and said he might still be able to find a place for me at Randa. After just a day, everything was a certainty.

I’m very enthusiastic about this meeting because I will finally get to meet in person a lot of great people with whom I’ve been in contact daily for a couple of months now, but only virtually. I am also eager to get involved in the discussions about the future plans for improving KDE. I obviously expect to write a lot of code too!

Have you got anything in particular planned for Randa?
Yes, I do. I want to work on the User Interface of the plugin I have been working on since the beginning of GSoC. I plan to do this in Randa because I can work alongside my GSOC mentors, Torsten Rahn and Dennis Nienhüser. This is one of the most challenging parts of my project; face to face discussions about the UI will lead to a better looking and functioning solution.

What are you looking forward to in the Randa Meetings?
I am really looking forward to meeting the people behind these great applications, used by millions of people, including myself. To me they are superstars. I want to make new connections within this community that I want to be a part of for quite a long time. I am particularly interested in collaborating with the main people involved with KDE Edu (which Marble is a part of) and contributing to it.

As far as the targets of completion are concerned, I want to make sure that by the 9th of August, the first day at Randa, all the features I added during the summer are fully functional and polished.

What important things have you learned from the KDE Community?
I’ve learned that being able to work in a team is a great virtue. I’ve also discovered many tricks and ‘best practices’ applied in the design of applications. One more important thing is that I’ve developed an ability to ‘feel’ when a piece of code is, say, error prone or is a victim of bad design.

Why do you think meetings such as Randa are important for KDE?
Such meetings are very important for open-source communities such as KDE mostly because they are the only times when developers gather under the same roof to plan and design new features and to hack on them. A face to face conversation is usually much more productive than any form of virtual communication.

Why is it important for people to support these meetings? How has the support helped you?
I think that people should support free and open-source software development so that they can enjoy the software they love without paying for the software. Donations are a small price to pay for the value people receive; even small donations help. FOSS gives developers the opportunity to customize existing software without having to start from scratch. In my case, people’s support has really helped; if it were not for their donations, Mario could not have organized my participation in this years’ Randa Meeting.

How do you imagine your typical day in Randa?
Wake up; have breakfast; socialize until everybody is up; discuss what is of utmost importance to be improved/added; have lunch; continue these discussions; write some code; continue discussions, focusing on specific projects; breathe fresh air from the Alps to get refreshed; work more; have dinner; socialize more; sleep. That’s just the first day.

Any other thoughts?
I want to send a big thank you to Mario Fux. Without his help I would not have been able to be a part of the trip to Randa. I also want to send the heartiest thanks to my GSoC mentors, Torsten Rahn and Dennis Nienhüser, as well as to my Marble GSoC fellows, Sanjiban and Abhinav, who encouraged me to participate in this meeting.

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Akademy 2015 coming to an end

For an overview of what happened in the BoFs, meetings and hacking sessions during the second half of the week, you can watch the wrap-up session video

Friday marks the end of Akademy as friends old and new return home, enthused and inspired.

What is KDE?

During the BoF days from Monday to Thursday, a great many tiny videos were shot of many of the attendees by Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen. These have been edited and cut up and turned into a video explaining, very shortly, what KDE really is. Being a community of people contributing to the development of software, the conclusion is straight forward. See the unsurprising conclusion in the video entitled What is KDE? (webm, mp4, vimeo), created as a tribute to the KDE community and all the amazing people in it.

About Akademy 2015, A Coruña, Spain

For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest free and open software communities in the world—works online by email, IRC, forums and mailing lists. Akademy provides all KDE contributors the opportunity to meet in person to foster social bonds, work on concrete technology issues, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work bringing those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, and those that are looking for opportunities. For more information, please contact The Akademy Team.

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KDE at FISL 16

Many of you already know that FISL (The International Free Software Forum) is one of the biggest FLOSS conferences in the world. From 8 to 11 July 2015, 5281 free software passionate people met in Porto Alegre (South Brazil) for the 16th FISL edition, enjoying activities such as talks, panels, hackathons, workshops, and community meetings. All kinds of FLOSS-related topics were in place: development, translation, artwork, education, robotics, entrepreneurship, audio-visual, women and gender, politics, academia and research … Phew! that’s tiring :) KDE has a long and memorable history at FISL and it wasn’t different this year.

An inspiring keynote talk by Cornelius

The International Free Software Workshop (WSL) is a FISL co-located meeting devoted to the publishing, presentation, and discussion of peer-reviewed scientific work regarding FLOSS. This year, WSL had the honor of having Cornelius Schumacher (previous KDE e.V. President) as the keynote speaker. In his inspiring talk entitled “Learning to Grow”, Cornelius enumerated eleven powers of free software communities that provide the fundamental substratum that allows FLOSS newcomers to exercise and leverage their technical, administrative, and social skills.


Cornelius’s talk at the XVI International Free Software Workshop (WSL)

KDE’s impressive exhibit

This year, the KDE Community members were comfortably installed in a nice 6m2 booth in the exhibitors’ area. There we could install our newly printed out Konqi poster (many thanks to the KDE Visual Design Group for some nice tips), show off KDE technologies to visitors, and sell our merchandise. We were glad to have six different KDE t-shirts models, some Konqi pins, and some mugs for people who want to demonstrate their love for KDE :).


The KDE booth at FISL 16

When newcomers approached the exhibit with diverse questions about Linux, distros, and KDE, it was clear how rich and sometimes tricky the FLOSS world can be. Getting used to the roles played by the diverse actors and understanding how communities interweave each other can be confusing. A couple of times we had visitors joining us for an explanation about the Linux/Qt/KDE ecosystem, the motivations for contributing in KDE, and the basic steps for doing so.


Filipe showing off the KDE technologies in our booth

Attracting new contributors

It’s widely known that making one’s first contributions to FLOSS projects means overcoming various barriers, particularly in regions that lack the culture, incentives, and proper support for getting involved. Communicating how easy the KDE Community is and having inspiring and informal chats with notorious veterans may significantly lower these barriers and give a boost in young people’s motivations. In the third day of FISL, there was a Q&A session with Cornelius and a group of CS students from the Federal Institute of Education, Science, and Technology of Bahia (IFBA) – a public university in northeastern Brazil. It was nice to see many interesting questions being raised and have the students being gifted with all Cornelius’ experience.


Q&A session with Cornelius and some CS students from IFBA

Women in technology with Aracele

A particular topic which has been relentlessly discussed in FLOSS conferences in Brazil is the participation of women in technology. FISL 16 had four panels devoted to that subject–one each conference day. The goals are to help in identifying barriers and harassment situations, to characterize women’s involvement in FLOSS communities, and to share experiences as a means to stimulate new contributors. Aracele presented a nice testimony about her Master’s dissertation about the GNU Project, how she got involved in KDE and what keeps her dedicating some time to FLOSS projects.


FISL’s “Women in Technology” panel

KDE Community meeting

We have a tradition of running a KDE community meeting at FISL. It’s a moment to better understand our users, get some feedback, and present the amazing things we build. Although building local FLOSS communities isn’t that easy, it was quite rewarding to see four generations of Brazilian KDE contributors sharing the same room and telling about their experiences, troubles, and motivations.


KDE community meeting at FISL 16

Thanks – até a próxima

That’s all! KDE had a great time at FISL 16. We look forward to the next edition, but until then we still need to plan our presence at the Latin-American Free Software Conference – Latinoware, another great FLOSS meeting in Brazil. Many thanks to KDE e.V., FISL’s organizing team, and all members of Latin-American KDE community for all inestimable support.

But, wait! :) Help us promote the 2nd episode of Engrenagem – the Portuguese language video series about all sorts of KDE related things. The episode was aired on 18 July, 10:30 a.m. GMT-3, and was about the role of Qt in KDE community (but could easily be named the role of KDE in the Qt Community :)).

Check out KDE at FISL 16 photos!
More FISL 16 photos!

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Akademy Day 4

Today continued the BoFs, meetings and hacking sessions. For an overview of what happened today you can watch the wrap-up session video

About Akademy 2015, A Coruña, Spain

For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest free and open software communities in the world—works online by email, IRC, forums and mailing lists. Akademy provides all KDE contributors the opportunity to meet in person to foster social bonds, work on concrete technology issues, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work bringing those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, and those that are looking for opportunities.

For more information, please contact The Akademy Team.

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Akademy 2015 videos available

Video recordings of the Akademy talks are now available in a low quality version to enable them to be released quickly. Higher quality version will be available later.
You can find these linked from the talks schedule or look through the video files di…

Akademy Day 3 the start of BoFs, meetings and workshops

Akademy Awards


Each year the KDE Community presents Akademy Awards to people who have made special contributions. The jury this year was made up of recipients from last year.

Last night the 2015 recipients were announced:

  • Best Application: Milian Wolff and the KDevelop team
  • Best Non-Application: Jens Reuterberg and the Visual Design Group for the Breeze interface design
  • Jury’s Award: Albert Vaca for the KDE Connect application.
  • Jury’s Award: Scarlett Clark for her work advancing the continuous integration infrastructure to more platforms and modules

BoFs, meetings and workshops

Following the weekend of talks inspiring and informing the community, the focus shifted today to working on details.

For an overview of what happened today you can watch the wrap-up session video

About Akademy 2015, A Coruña, Spain

For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest free and open software communities in the world—works online by email, IRC, forums and mailing lists. Akademy provides all KDE contributors the opportunity to meet in person to foster social bonds, work on concrete technology issues, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work bringing those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, and those that are looking for opportunities.

For more information, please contact The Akademy Team.

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KDE Arrives in A Coruña for Akademy

Photo by slideshow bob

KDE is de-camping to the far west of Europe today to A Coruña in Galicia. In this north west corner of the Iberian Peninsula the sun is warm and the air is fresh. KDE contributors of all varieties will be spending a week in talks, discussions, hacking, renewing old friendships and getting to know people new to our KDE Community.

Topics will include our flagship Plasma desktop but also an exciting announcement from the Plasma developers which will take Plasma beyond the desktop again. We’ll be hearing about the next version of e-mail and calendar middle layer Akonadi. KDE is moving out of its transitional desktop ecosystem as seen in a talk about WifiFM. One of our flagship but new to the community applications is Kdenlive and we’ll be reviewing the previous 10 years of this application and looking at the next 10. A project called Shashlik, which has been exciting the social media world, will be revealed.

A week of Birds of a Feather sessions follows the talks including some bling in VDG UI Design Open Session, a little je ne sais quoi in KDE France BoF, our desktop and beyond in Plasma General Topics, a day for planning life beyond X with Wayland and two half days planning for life in the leaderless Kubuntu.

DSC_0009
Deep in the code at Akademy-ES

IMG_5931
Alex Talks at Akademy-ES

The fun has already started with the annual conference in Spain, Akademy-ES which is happening yesterday and today. Spain has one of the most dynamic and active free software communities and Akademy-ES always fills up with talks for those who habla Castellano. Talks have included discussing Microsoft’s attitude to standards and documenting, the history of search frameworks Baloo, behind the code by Victor the Sysadmin and lighting talks including one on the successful Barcelona Free Software Hackers meetup.

Also today is the Annual General Meeting of KDE e.V. our legal body. Here we have voted on a new board member Sandro Andrade from Brazil. Sandro has been talking about KDE and Qt at conferences across the continent such as FISL and organising Lakademy, he recently finished his PhD and was looking for new challenges to fill in spare time, KDE e.V. has just filled that slot. We also voted on new board members of the KDE League, reviewed the outcome from Lydia’s Evolving KDE questionnaire and heard from the sysadmin and community working groups about their work for the last year. A video from our treasurer Marta reviewed the accounts over the last year which while full of challenges are in a pleasingly stable state.

DSC_0016
The Annual KDE e.V. Beauty Contest Ended with Sandro (centre) as Your New Board Member

811829974_75499
The Galacian Opening Ceremony to Welcome Absent Friends Video

About Akademy 2015, A Coruña, Spain

For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest free and open software communities in the world—works online by email, IRC, forums and mailing lists. Akademy provides all KDE contributors the opportunity to meet in person to foster social bonds, work on concrete technology issues, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work bringing those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, and those that are looking for opportunities.

For more information, please contact The Akademy Team.

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Akademy 2015 Keynote: Matthias Kirschner

At Akademy 2015, one of the most awaited keynotes this year will be that by Matthias Kirschner and here we have a conversation with his charming self in person.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

Hey there, I am Matthias from Berlin, I work for the Free Software Foundation Europe, and I love it. Describing oneself is one of those really difficult tasks, you will hopefully know a little more about me after this interview. Or better still, why don’t you just find out for yourself at this year’s Akademy!


Matthias Kirschner

Which was the first ever Linux Distribution you’d used and how did you chance upon it? And what made you never turn back to your previous non FOSS system?

In 1999, my family had two computers at home: an Intel Pentium II MMX and an Intel 486. For the Pentium we had a modem, and there was an Ethernet connection to the 486. One day I wanted to send e-mails from the Pentium to the 486 without the internet connection. It did not make a lot of sense, as both computers were in the same room, but I was eager to see, if I could make it work. Although both computers had “email programs” installed, I was not able to figure out how to directly end mails from one computer to the other.

When I complained about this in school, a friend suggested a solution and brought me some SuSE 6.0 floppies, CDs and books the next day. That’s how it all started. Several hours later I had my first GNU/Linux installation. To be more precise, at the beginning I just had a command line, no working X server, no audio setup, nor a working printer.

Together with some friends we visited the LinuxTag in Stuttgart and afterwards founded a local Free Software user group. We helped each other to install Free Software on our computers, configuring them to be routers, mail/print or file servers. I enjoyed learning with others, exchanging ideas, trying to fix problems. I subscribed to many mailing lists, and was eager to participate in Free Software events.

So I ended up installing every GNU/Linux distribution I could get my hands on. I did not have a dual boot on these computers, but a quintuple or sextuple boot. The only limitation at that time was disk space; and I did not want to waste it with a non-free operating system.

I read some where that you studied Political and Administrative Science and yet are so deeply involved with technology. How did the two seemingly diverging domains fit together in your head and how exactly are they interlinked as far as you are concerned?

I got active in politics because of Free Software.

After some time using Free Software, learning more about computers on a technical level I stumbled over the GNU GPL. Reading the preamble made me curious. I wanted to know more, therefore I read the GNU philosophy pages with all the articles by Richard Stallman. This made me realise: Free Software is a political as well as a technical issue.

The more I thought about it, the more I realised that software freedom is crucial for a democratic society. Software is deeply involved in all aspects of our lives. I am convinced that this technology has to empower society not restrict it. It would represent a great danger to democracy if software were controlled by only a small group. We need to balance power, as we do in a democracy. For me, the best safeguard for this is software freedom.

When did you get started with FSFE and how did that happen?

During my studies at the University of Konstanz we had to do a 7 month internship to gather work experience. A friend of mine, who is a Debian Developer, suggested the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) and the Free Software Foundation Europe.

I could not find any information about internships with the FSFE, but the more I read, the more I was convinced that I wanted to get to know this place. The first response I got was that FSFE had never had an intern before, and that they did not have an office. I replied that I would still be interested. The next reply was that they could not pay me, to which I replied that I still wanted to do it.

Then Georg Greve, the president at that time, replied that my “perseverance deserved a qualified and fair evaluation and reply”. Sometime afterwards when I’d already subscribed myself to several public FSFE mailing lists, he sent me his travel schedule, and we agreed to meet at the Geneva airport for an internship interview. As a chance coincidence, and a spotting of his GNU pin, we bumped into each other on the train to Geneva. At the start of it, we had a long talk about the internship, but very soon bifurcated to talks about all kinds of Free Software details.

When Georg boarded his plane, we both knew we wanted to work together. It was an amazing experience. Georg and I worked together in his small one-room apartment: he at the desk, I with my laptop on the sofa. I also traveled with Georg to Istanbul, Dublin and other places.

After the end of my internship, Georg convinced me to switch from the university of Konstanz to Potsdam, so that I could do volunteer work for FSFE in Berlin. It was so much fun that most of the time I ended up studying even more owing to my work for FSFE rather than the other way around. Finally, I was hired by the FSFE in 2009 and set up its Berlin office.

Would you call yourself a tech geek? Any instances or examples from your lifestyle (besides the obvious ones) to support your claim?

That’s a difficult one, because I know so many people who are way more into tech than I am.

When I am at FOSDEM; I wouldn’t dare to call myself a tech geek. But when I am in the parliament; I am seen as one.

Also, in the past, a lot of people did call me a nerd or a geek. For example in school I was carrying around a huge laptop, which was not exactly considered cool at that time. At university I often was the only one using a laptop in the seminar. I was “the guy with the laptop”, and later fellow students thought I was geeky because I was using tiling window managers, several xterms, running mutt, and writing my university notes in Latex with VI, VI, VI the editor of the beast.

What is a normal day in your life like?

Our baby son was born at the end of last year, so at the moment there is no such thing as a normal day. Every day something new happens, and I love it that way.

As the Vice President of FSFE, which is a huge position, what does your work basically involve?

There are many different tasks involved: lots of e-mail discussions, giving talks and convincing new audiences about the importance of software freedom, analysing policy drafts, speaking with politicians and civil servants, writing articles, newsletters, blog entries, press releases and answering press inquiries, meeting and discussing issues with other Free Software contributors, moderating internal discussions, trying to get rid of problems for volunteers and staff so they can do their work, brainstorming about new activities or managing ongoing activities, or convincing people to donate to FSFE.

Could you give a brief overview of what your keynote at Akademy is going to be about?

My keynote at Akademy is about the threat to the computer as a universal machine and how companies arbitrarily limit what we as a society can do with those machines, and how they use technical measures to take away rights from us, which we usually receive when we buy a product. I will give an overview about those developments, and raise some questions which I hope will lead to good discussions during Akademy.

Any thing special that first pops up into your head when you hear the word KDE? Or Akademy?

First thing that pops up is sitting in front of my computer seeing my first “K Desktop Environment” (I think it was version 1.0) when I first successfully got it running after a long phone support session with a friend.


KDE 1.1

The next thing which pops up are all those people I know in KDE who form this community. Lydia, who often comes to the KDE office in the evening, Claudia with whom I searched for a shared office for KDE and FSFE in Berlin and with whom I worked in the same space for over 4 years. And also the many interesting discussions with lots of KDE contributors at Free Software events in the last decade come to mind.

Could you tell us about your alter ego’s ‘Into the Wild’ foray? Any memorable incidences related to your hobby of conducting wilderness seminars, which you’d like to share?

In my spare time I assist in wilderness first aid seminars.

Since I was a child I have loved outdoor activities. I liked caving for several years, later hiked with little equipment and far away from a power plug. In my caving team I heard about an accident where someone in the team died in the cave. And I knew then that first aid can be crucial in such situations when it takes the doctor a long time to arrive.

To prepare myself for the worst case, I participated in a wilderness first aid seminar organised by a German non-profit organisation. In realistic scenarios you learn how to evaluate the situation, how to check for consciousness, breathing, pulse, how to detect shock, dyspnoea, and hypothermia, as well as a detailed examination, immobilisation, wound treatment, and how to organise an evacuation, or an emergency camp.

From there on I participated at least every two years and have become part of the team. Beside enabling others to save lives, the seminars have led me to amazing places and experiences, like sleeping in the snow at the polar circle or plunging myself into the WhiteWater torrents at a swift water rescue technician training.

On an everyday note, I somehow often end up helping with emergencies on the streets or subway lines of Berlin.

How, in a brief summary, would you say is Free Software so intricately linked to the progress and development of society?

Free Software allows everybody to take part. There are no artificial barriers, so people from all over the world can learn, and can come up with new ideas. We will be able to solve many problems of our world with software, because we have intelligent people with new ideas and the will to change something for the better. It is crucial that no central entities can dictate to others what they can and cannot do with software.

Your favourite books and music?

To keep it short: First there is Lawrence Lessig’s “Code and other laws of cyberspace”, which helped me a lot to understand the connection between software and politics. Second, the comic book Transmetropolitan is just brilliant, and if you have not yet read it, I strongly recommend that you do and am a bit jealous that you still have that pleasure before you.

For music, I am a big fan of the German band “Die Ärzte”. Some FOSDEM visitors might have had the bad luck of eating mussels in the same restaurant where several FSFE folks were singing “Die Ärzte” songs, while Reinhard Müller was simultaneously translating into English. This has been followed by doing Monty Python’s silly walk back to our Brussels hotel. My apology to everybody who suffered under this; but it might happen again at Akademy…

If these reasons seem like a lure enough to you, come to Akademy in A Coruña, and do not forget to attend Matthias’ keynote!

About Akademy 2015, A Coruña, Spain

For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest free and open software communities in the world—works online by email, IRC, forums and mailing lists. Akademy provides all KDE contributors the opportunity to meet in person to foster social bonds, work on concrete technology issues, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work bringing those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, and those that are looking for opportunities.

For more information, please contact The Akademy Team.

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June Update for KDE Applications 15.04

KDE App Dragons
Today, the KDE Community is happy to announce the release of KDE Applications 15.04.2.
More than 30 recorded bugfixes include improvements to Gwenview, Kate, Kdenlive, the Kontact Suite, Konsole, Marble, KGpg, Kig, the KDE Telepathy cal…

Full Circle Magazine #97

Only three more issues then we hit the big 100! This month: * Command & Conquer * How-To : Run Android Apps in Ubuntu, LibreOffice, Using LaTeX, and Programming JavaScript * Graphics : Inkscape. * Chrome Cult * Linux Labs: IP Camera with Powerline Adapter * Ubuntu Phones * Review: KDE Plasma 5 * Ubuntu Games: This War of Mine plus: News, Arduino, Q&A, and soooo much more. Get it while it’s hot! http://fullcirclemagazine.org/issue-97/

Plasma 5.3.1 Fixes Important Bugs


Plasma 5.3

Plasma 5.3

Today KDE releases a bugfix update to Plasma 5, versioned 5.3.1. Plasma 5.3 was released in January with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience.

This release adds a month’s worth of new translations and fixes from KDE’s contributors. The bugfixes are typically small but important for example:


Full Plasma 5.3.1 changelog


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.

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Qt – 20 years leading cross-platform development

Today we celebrate 20 years since the first release of Qt was uploaded to sunsite.unc.edu and announced, six days later, at comp.os.linux.announce. Over these years, Qt evolved from a two person Norwegian project to a full-fledged, social-technical world-wide organism that underpins free software projects, profitable companies, universities, government-related organizations, and more. It’s been an exciting journey.

From the early days of Trolltech in 1999, through an evolution of licensing (from the original FreeQt, to QPL, to GPL, to LGPL today), corporate cooperation from Nokia and Digia, Open Governance, and leading edge technology refinements, Qt has supported the spirit of free software, thriving communities, and high quality products.

The KDE Community thanks everyone who helps keep Qt rocking; we share our pride in being part of this history. Since 1997, Qt has provided the foundation upon which KDE has developed its workspaces, applications, and development environments. Moreover, Qt has contributed to a fruitful symbiosis where goals, contributions, and discussions blur the boundaries between the Qt and KDE projects. As a result, today KDE is the biggest Qt showcase in the world, and there’s evidence that this successful and long-running partnership will continue.

The Qt/KDE partnership

There are several fundamental aspects of this strong relationship.

  • KDE has always worked hard to keep Qt free and open through the KDE Free Qt Foundation. Since its creation in 1998, the Foundation makes continuous updates in its statutes, aiming not only at more precise and complete terms but also to accommodate new situations involving Qt’s development.
  • KDE people make 40-60% of the weekly commits in the QtBase repository. As in every major transition between Qt versions, KDE had close and active participation during the development of Qt 5, contributing many new features and enhancements which expanded benefits to the whole class of Qt applications. Furthermore, since Qt adopted the Open Governance model in October 2011, contributing to Qt has become even easier, not only for KDE people but for anyone interested in the project’s trends, roadmap, and technologies.
  • Conceiving KDE Frameworks 5 as a set of fine-grained and independent Qt 5 add-on modules demonstrates our confidence in Qt’s commitment to KDE efforts. In turn, KDE Frameworks 5 contributes to the entire ecosystem of Qt developers by making available many high-quality libraries—based on over 18 years of KDE experience in building Qt applications.
  • Many people interested in Qt development start their efforts in KDE projects with seasoned mentors. KDE offers several opportunities for young people to do real-world work. As a consequence, over time, KDE is the first Qt experience for a growing number of highly skilled Qt developers, who have learned the Qt way of doing things from the beginning.

Congratulations!

Because of all this, we say again with much appreciation: congratulations to all of Qt. Thank you, and keep counting on KDE!

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Performance and Animation: Krita Kickstarter Kicks Off

Last year, we held the first Kickstarter campaign for Krita. We raised more than €20,000 for Krita development, blowing past the fundraising goal. Thanks to this funding, a year later a dozen new features have been implemented, ranging from transform masks to High Dynamic Range (HDR) painting, from layer styles to improved vector objects. The Krita team did all that was promised…and much more.

It was a great year for Krita all-round, with the Steam release, a booth at SIGGRAPH, and the Artists’ Choice award in ImagineFX magazine.

Now, it’s time for another Kickstarter! This year, we’re even more ambitious. If there’s one thing that’s always held back free graphics software, it’s raw interactive performance. That’s true for Krita as well. So that is what we’ll focus on first!

Next is extended animation support. Together with Google Summer of Code student Jouni Pentikäinen, we’ll be putting hand-drawn 2D animation right into the core of Krita. That will require many of the optimizations Dmitry Kazakov will be working on.

And if we go over the initial goal—well, there are 24 stretch goals. For every additional €1500 over the initial goal another stretch goal will be added. After the dust settles, the backers will be asked to vote for their favorite goals!

Help us spread the word and make this campaign a big success!

Check out the Krita Kickstarter video. Here’s a video of Krita in action (Layerstyles Work in Progress).

https://www.krita.org/kickstarter

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Plasma 5.3 Adds Improved Power Management and Media Center Preview

Today KDE makes a feature release of Plasma 5, versioned 5.3.Plasma 5.3
Highlights
Battery applet now informs what is blocking power savingNew energy usage monitor
Enhanced Power Management
Power management settings can be configured
differently for ce…

LaKademy 2015 in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil


LaKademy 2014

The KDE Community in Brazil will host LaKademy 2015 June 3rd through 6th. The conference is an opportunity for KDE users and contributors to meet in person to make plans, work on software and other aspects of KDE technology. There will also be outreach to potential new contributors. The group is raising money for conference expenses and to offset travel costs for attendees.

Brazil has had great success with Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) initiatives, often due to the leadership of KDE people. LaKademy is a way to continue this advocacy, while making technical advances and strengthening the KDE presence. Certainly LaKademy provides local benefits. But the value created also has wider consequences. Brazil joins Spain and India in promoting the global reach and stature of KDE technology.

The fundraising goal is modest—R$ 10,000 (slightly more than € 3000). The LaKademy 2015 video features previous editions of LaKademy as well as more information about the upcoming conference. Please support this important event.

Information about LaKademy and donating in Spanish.

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KDE Applications 15.04 Adds KDE Telepathy Chat and Kdenlive Video Editing




Kdenlive is the leading video editor on Linux

Today KDE released KDE Applications 15.04 our suite of 150 applications. Notable additions in this release include Kdenlive the leading video editor on Linux and KDE Telepathy the chat application to unify your instant messaging.

Kdenlive is one of the best non-linear video editing software available. It recently finished its incubation process to become an official KDE project and was ported to KDE Frameworks 5. The team behind this masterpiece decided that Kdenlive should be released together with KDE Applications 15.04. Some new features are the autosaving function of new projects and a fixed clip stabilization. For the future the team plans to refactor big parts of the application and to bring back the MacOSX and Windows versions.

KDE Telepathy is our app for instant messaging. It was ported to KF5 and Qt5 and is a new member of the KDE Applications releases. It comes along with KAccounts which is a new system for setting up all your online accounts at one place.




KAccounts lets applications connect to internet accounts

The KDE Education team have been busy. Andreas Cord-Landwehr turned Rocs upside down: he rewrote the graph theory core and reworked many other things. KHangman was ported to QML and given a fresh coat of paint in the process. Cantor got some new features around its Python support. And KAnagram received a new 2-player mode and the letters are now clickable buttons and can be typed like before. In addition several of the KDE Games were ported to KF5.

This release continues the new style of releases, introduced with the latest KDE Applications 14.12 release. Along with this release is KDE Workspaces 4.11.18 as part of the LTS version of our Plasma 4 desktop which will end in August and the KDE PIM applications in their 4.14.7 versions.

Half the applications have now been ported to KDE Frameworks 5 (KF5), bringing the total to 72. The complete list of the applications is available on the KDE Applications 15.04 release notes.

Looking forward to August it is planned to see the first KF5-based versions of Dolphin and the Kontact Suite.

See the full list of changes in KDE Applications 15.04.


KDE App Dragons

Spread the Word

Non-technical contributors are an important part of KDE’s success. While proprietary software companies have huge advertising budgets, KDE depends on people like you talking with other people! Even for those who are not software developers, there are many ways to support our community and our product. Report bugs. Encourage others to join the KDE Community. Or support the non-profit organization behind the KDE community.

Please spread the word on the Social Web. Submit stories to news sites, use channels like Delicious, Digg, Reddit and Twitter. Upload screenshots of your new set-up to services like Facebook, Flickr and Picasa and post them to appropriate groups. Create screencasts and upload them to YouTube, Blip.tv, and Vimeo. Please tag posts and uploaded materials with “KDE”. This makes them easy to find, and gives the KDE Promo Team a way to analyze coverage for the 15.04 KDE Applications release.
Follow what is happening on the social web at the KDE live feed, buzz.kde.org. This site aggregates real-time activity from Twitter, YouTube, flickr, PicasaWeb, blogs, and other social networking sites.

Plasma 5.3 Beta Improves Power Management and Adds Media Centre Preview

Tuesday, 14 April 2015. Today KDE releases a beta release of Plasma 5, versioned 5.2.95.


Plasma 5.3 Beta

Plasma 5.3 Beta


Highlights


Inform what is blocking power saving

Battery applet now informs what is blocking power saving


Energy Usage monitor

New energy usage monitor

Enhanced Power Management

  • Power management settings can be configured differently for certain activities
  • Laptop will not suspend when closing the lid while an external monitor is connected (‘cinema mode’, by default, can be turned off)
  • Power management inhibitions block lock screen too
  • Screen brightness changes are now animated on most hardware
  • No longer suspends when closing the lid while shutting down
  • Support for keyboard button brightness controls on lock screen
  • KInfoCenter provides statistics about energy consumption
  • Battery monitor now shows which applications are currently holding a power management inhibition for example (‘Chrome is currently suppressing PM: Playing video’)


Bluedevil

The new Bluedevil Applet

Better Bluetooth Capabilities

  • New Bluetooth applet
  • Bluedevil was ported to a new library from KDE, BluezQt
  • Added support for blocking and unblocking Bluetooth
  • Connected devices with Browse Files (ObexFTP) support are now displayed in the file dialog’s Places panel


Configure your Touchpad

Configure your Touchpad

A touchpad configuration module has been added


Application Menu can access contacts

Application Menu can access contacts


Application Menu can show recent contacts

Application Menu can show recent contacts

Improved Plasma Widgets

  • Clipboard applet gains support for showing barcodes
  • The Desktop and Folder View containment codebases were
    unified, and have seen performance improvements

  • The Recent Documents and Recent Applications sections in
    Application Menu (Kicker) are now powered by KDE activities
  • Comics widget returns
  • System monitor plasmoids return, such as CPU Load Monitor and Hard Disk usage

Plasma Media Center – Tech Preview


Plasma Media Center

Plasma Media Center

Plasma Media Center is added as a tech preview in this beta. It is fully stable but misses a few features compared to version 1. You can log directly into a Plasma Media Center session if you want to use it on a media device such as a television or projector or you can run it from Plasma Desktop. It will scan for videos, music and pictures on your computer to let you browse and play them.


Plasma is now able to start a nested XWayland server

Plasma is now able to start a nested XWayland server

Big Steps Towards Wayland Support

  • Plasma 5.3 makes a huge step towards to supporting the Wayland windowing system in addition to the default X11 windowing system. Plasma’s window manager and compositor KWin is now able to start a nested XWayland server, which acts as a bridge between the old (X11) and the new (Wayland) world. X11 windows can connect to this server as if it were a normal X server, for KWin it looks like a Wayland window, though. This means that KWin learned to handle Wayland windows in this release, though full integration is only expected for Plasma 5.4.

  • In addition KWin gained new output modes for Wayland allowing to start a nested KWin on X11 and to start KWin directly on a framebuffer device, which will be the fallback for the case that OpenGL and/or kernel mode settings are not supported. A rendering backend on kernel mode settings is expected for Plasma 5.4. More information about these new backends and how to test them can be found in the KWin wiki pages. Please keep in mind that this is only a development preview and highly experimental new code.

Bug Fixes Galore

348 bugs were fixed giving fewer crashes and more reliable use.


Full Plasma 5.2.95 changelog

Live Images

The easiest way to try out Plasma is the with a live image booted off a USB disk.

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.