In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest:
From May 16th to 18th, Málaga is hosting Akademy-es 2014 in Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieria de Telecomunicación of Universidad de Málaga. This event is organized by KDE España, Linux Málaga and Bitvalley, and represents the return of a KDE event to Málaga 9 years after it hosted Akademy 2005.
This Akademy-es will have a wide range of talks from informing users about KDE software to programming with QtQuick and ASAN. There will also be introductory talks for people who want to start contributing to KDE.
As always the event is free to attend, but you should register to make it easier for the organization and to get a printed badge instead of a handwritten one ;).
Thank you to Gold Sponsors Digia, Opentia and openSUSE for helping make this happen!
We continue the tradition of having the PIM sprint in a place that starts with a “B”. The last 3 PIM sprints were in Berlin (twice) and Brno. The Spring edition of this year took place in Barcelona, continuing the tradition. Add to this the name of the company hosting us which conveniently starts with a “B” as well (BlueSystems).
From left to right, top row: Martin Klapetek, Christian Mollekopf, Mark Gaiser, Alex Fiestas
Bottom row: Vishesh Handa, Daniel Vrátil, David Edmundson, Sergio Martins, Sandro Knauß
One of our regular attendees, Christian Mollekopf, had a nice surprise for us at the sprint. He works for Kolab Systems and told us about some of their plans in terms of the upcoming deployment of KDE PIM in the city of Munich. This should bring some usability improvements, including work on KOrganizer which should be able to better address a situation where a user literally has access to thousands of calendars. Kolab Systems is also working on bug fixes, stabilization improvements and optimizations throughout the KOrganizer product and entire KDE PIM application. The best thing is that all changes will be sent back for the KDE community to enjoy. The regular KDE software user will begin to see these changes in the KDE Applications release 4.14.
With the upcoming releases of KDE Frameworks and Plasma 2014.06, there is a need to port the heart of PIM applications to Qt 5. Some sprint attendees started work in that area which will make it possible to do things such as KMail running on top of Plasma 2014.06. We also decided that applications without a maintainer won’t be ported to Qt 5. Applications that will probably not be ported are KNode and KAddressbook. The latter is currently being rewritten in a GSoC project.
Bugs and performance
A habit in sprints is to take a look at those pesky issues that are difficult to figure out alone. Quite a few bugs were resolved and performance has been improved throughout the PIM applications. Many of these changes are already available in the recently released KDE Applications 4.13.
KDE software is developed mostly by volunteers. Most sprint attendees are volunteers (and some are fortunate to do KDE software development as a daily job). We spend much of our free time improving the experience of our users. Having a sprint is made possible by a company willing to host us and our KDE e.V. organization willing to cover the traveling and hotel costs. We are rely on your donations to continue this. If you want to support KDE software development and have the financial means, please consider hitting the donations link.
Akademy is the KDE Community conference. It is where we meet, discuss plans for the future, get inspired, learn and get work done. If you are working on topics relevant to KDE, this is your chance to present your work and ideas at the Conference from September 6-12 in Brno, Czech Republic. The main days for talks are Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th of September. The rest of the week will be BoFs, unconference sessions and workshops.
What we are looking for
The goal of the conference section of Akademy is to learn and teach new skills and share our passion around what we’re doing in KDE with each other.
For the sharing of ideas, experiences and state of things, we will have short Fast Track sessions in a single-track section of Akademy. Teaching and sharing technical details is done through longer sessions in the multi-track section of Akademy.
If you think you have something important to present, please tell us about it. If you know of someone else who should present, please nominate them. For more details see the proposal guidelines and the Call for Papers. The submission deadline is Sunday 18th May, 23:59:59 CEST.
About Akademy 2014 Brno, Czech Republic
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 who are looking for opportunities.
For more information, please contact The Akademy Team.
Today KDE released updates for its Applications and Development Platform, the fifth in a series of monthly stabilization updates to the 4.12 series. This release also includes an updated Plasma Workspaces 4.11.9. Both releases contain only bugfixes…
In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest:
In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest:
What is Bodega?
First off, let’s find out what Bodega is all about. Aaron explains:
The most important thing is of course the ‘digital asset’ term. That can be anything. For example, applications. Applications can be self contained – think how android does its APK files. Of course, things on Linux are often more complicated. Apache isn’t exactly a self-contained thing. And look further – perl, php, ruby, they all have their own addons like gems that need managing. Generalizing further, there are manuals. And books in general. Music, movies, pictures, you can go on.
Of course, the competition has these too – look at Apple or Google.
And how about Linux…
Linux does not have a store where you can get such a wide variety of things. For a game, you can use Appstream, get it from Apper or GNOME’s software center. They all give a view on applications. Unfortunately, that is only useful for desktops and can handle things barely above the level of Angry Birds. If you want a python module as developers – these fancy tools won’t help you. Nor are they useful on servers. For those you have to rely on command line tools or even do things completely by hand. And it is all different between distributions.
How is Bodega different?
So, Bodega offers a digital store which can handle a wider variety of things than our current solutions. But what sets it apart from proprietary technologies like the Playstore and of course Canonical’s store solution? Aaron:
Bodega has all the meta data in one place and offers ‘stores’ which are views on that data. That means you can have a software developer store, for example listing all languages and their addons separate; and a server section etc. And a separate UI for the angry-bird-and-spreadsheet crowd. All from the same bodega system, filtered by tags (not static categories!).
Talking about Appstream, Bodega can of course benefit from the metadata gathered for Appstream. And GNOME’s Software Center could be reworked to be a front-end to Bodega, adding books, music and lots of other digital data to its store. This is not meant to be a rewrite of what is there, or an isolated effort!
And why would you build on Bodega?
Bodega is open: everybody can quite easily add their own stores; or their own data sources; and add content and even sell it through their channels. It is not a closed system, on the contrary.
Open is a must, especially for Linux:
And Bodega is useful for people outside of Linux. You can have your store on your own website so it is realistically possible for a independent author to sell their books in a bodega instance on their own website and never even SEE Linux. Yet the openSUSE users can get the books and benefit from the larger ecosystem…
You might be eager to find out what is there, today. Well, if you’ve seen the screenshots to the side, you know there is an app to access the store. It is build for touch screens but works just fine and you can get it in openSUSE through software.opensuse.org. Once installed, you can fire it up typing “active-addons” in a run command dialog.
Shawn Dunn (of cloverleaf fame) is putting together a more traditional desktop UI, while maintaining these packages as well. You will be able to have a conversation with him as he’s going to be at the openSUSE Conference in Dubrovnik this month where he will present a session about Bodega! He is known as SFaulken online and pretty much always hangs in the #opensuse-kde channel on Freenode where you can ask how to get things running or how to help him break stuff anytime. He’s also yelling at the world on google plus.
Bodega now contains the entire book set of Project Gutenberg (thousands of awesome, free books) as well as a number of wallpapers and applications. Aaron:
KDE today releases the first Alpha version of the next-generation Plasma workspace. This kicks off the public testing phase for the next iteration of the popular Free software workspace, code-named “Plasma Next” (referring to the ‘next’ Plasma release-see below “A note on versioning and naming”). Plasma Next is built using QML and runs on top of a fully hardware-accelerated graphics stack using Qt 5, QtQuick 2 and an OpenGL(-ES) scenegraph. Plasma Next provides a core desktop experience that will be easy and familiar for current users of KDE workspaces or alternative Free Software or proprietary offerings. Plasma Next is planned to be released as 2014.6 on the 17th of June.
The converged workspace
Modern day computing device abilities are starting to blend with each other. Tablets can be used with a keyboard, phones can stream their screen contents to a television, laptops have gotten flip and touch screens. To deal with this, Plasma Next has been designed as a converged workspace shell. It will be able to switch on demand between workspaces optimized for these different form factors, like a tablet user interface turning into a traditional desktop workspace when paired with a keyboard and a mouse. Plasma will be easily extensible as new form factors emerge.
The mechanism to adapt to different form factors is fully implemented and functional, but, as there is only one workspace available right now, it is not useful at this point. In the months to come, the Plasma team plans to make available additional workspaces, such as the tablet-oriented Plasma Active user experience, and the media-consumption-targeted Plasma Mediacenter.
A note on versioning and naming: The code name “Plasma Next” always points to the upcoming release of Plasma, KDE’s end user workspace. The current Alpha will become 2014.6, to be released in June of this year. If the team opts for a 6 month release cycle (still to be determined), Plasma Next will refer to the 2014.12 release once 2014.6 is out.
Ready for testing, not production
The workspace demonstrated in this pre-release is Plasma Desktop. It represents an evolution of known desktop and laptop paradigms. Plasma Next keeps existing workflows intact, while providing incremental visual and interactive improvements. Many of those can be observed in this technology preview, others are still being worked on. Workspaces optimized for other devices will be made available in future releases.
As an Alpha release, this pre-release is not suitable for production use. It is meant as a base for testing and gathering feedback, so that the initial stable release of Plasma Next in June will be a smooth ride for everybody involved and lay a stable foundation for future versions. Plasma Next is intended for end users, but will not provide feature parity with the latest 4.x release (although this is expected to be accomplished in a follow-up release). The team is concentrating on the core desktop features first, instead of trying to transplant every single feature into the new workspaces. The feature set presented in Plasma Next will suffice for most users, though some might miss a knob here and there. This is not because the Plasma team wants to remove features, but simply that not everything has been done yet. Of course, everybody is encouraged to help bringing Plasma back to its original feature set and beyond.
left-to-right, top-to-bottom: Wallpaper dialog, panel toolbox, notifications and network manager in the system tray
Plasma Next builds on top of Qt 5. With this transition, all QML-based UIs—which Plasma is built exclusively with—will make use of a new scenegraph and scripting engine, resulting in huge performance wins as well as architectural benefits, such as being able to render using available graphics hardware.
Plasma Next is the first complex codebase to transition to KDE Frameworks 5, which is a modular evolution of the KDE development platform into leaner, less interdependent libraries.
Users testing this Plasma pre-release are greeted with a more refined visual appearance. The new Breeze Plasma theme debuts in this pre-release with a flatter, cleaner look. Less visual clutter and improved contrast make Plasma Next a noticeable improvement over the current stable Plasma workspaces. There has been some polish to much of Plasma’s default functionality, such as the system tray area, the notifications, the settings for the compositor and window manager, and many more. While it will feel familiar, users will notice a more modern workspace.
Installing and providing feedback
You can install Plasma Next directly from source. KDE’s community wiki has instructions. Some distributions have created packages; for an overview of Alpha 1 packages, see this page. You can provide feedback either via the #Plasma IRC channel, Plasma-devel mailing list or report issues via bugzilla. Plasma Next is also discussed on the KDE Forums. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. If you like what the team is doing, please let them know!
Today KDE makes available the first beta of Frameworks 5. This release is part of a series of releases leading up to the final version planned for June 2014 following the second alpha last month. This release marks the freeze of source incompatible ch…
Today KDE released updates for its Applications and Development Platform, the fourth in a series of monthly stabilization updates to the 4.12 series. This release also includes an updated Plasma Workspaces 4.11.8. Both releases contain only bugfixes…
Next week, from Monday the 31st of March to the 4th of April (Friday), developers from the major Linux desktops (GNOME, KDE, Unity and RazorQt) will meet in Nuremberg for the second Freedesktop Summit.
KDE has announced the Release Candidate of the 4.13 versions of Applications and Development Platform. With API, dependency and feature freezes in place, the focus is now on fixing bugs and further polishing. We kindly request your assistance with find…
In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest:
The KDE community today released the third beta of Applications and Development Platform 4.13. With API, dependency and feature freezes in place, the focus is now on fixing bugs and further polishing. We kindly request your assistance with finding an…
Last week at CeBIT, KDE won the Linux New Media Readers Choice Award 2014 (link to German language Linux Magazine) for the best Linux Desktop Environment. 46% of the readers of Linux New Media’s global publications voted for KDE. Runner-ups were GNOME …
In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest:
The KDE community today released the second beta of Applications and Development Platform 4.13. With API, dependency and feature freezes in place, the focus is now on fixing bugs and further polishing. We kindly request your assistance with finding a…
Last week, the first beta of Applications and Platform 4.13 was released. This week, beta 2 is coming. The openSUSE team has already asked its users to start the testing engines and that request extends to the entire community of KDE users!
What’s to be tested?
Let’s go over a list of major and minor changes in this release, and areas where developers have explicitly asked us for help.
A major new improvement is the introduction of KDE’s next generation Semantic Search. This makes search faster, saves memory, improves stability, and generates more reliable search results. And it could use a good testing.
Various applications use the search abilities, most notably Dolphin and KDE PIM (see the next section). Also tagging (Gwenview!) and KRunner (Alt-F2 run command dialog) can use some attention.
Some of your existing data will need to be migrated from the current Nepomuk backend to the new ‘Baloo’ backend. Running the nepomukbaloomigrator should take care of that. The old Nepomuk support is considered “legacy” (but it is still provided). The programs that have not yet been ported to the new architecture have Nepomuk integration disabled. One significant regression is file-activity linking, which will not work until KDE Applications and Platform 4.14. If you rely on this feature, we recommend not upgrading at this time. For the final release, distributions might choose to optionally have the old search (Nepomuk) available.
The Kontact Suite (email, calendaring, contacts and more) benefits from the improvements in search; there is also a new quick filter bar and search. IMAP will be more reliable, and performance should be massively improved. There is also a brand new sieve editor and integration with cloud storage functions, where Kontact can automatically put big attachments on Box/DropBox/Hubic/Kolab/ownCloud/UbuntuOne/WebDav/YousendIt and link to them.
Okular, Kate and Umbrello
Document viewer Okular has a lot of new features like tabs, media handling and a magnifier, improved Find and Undo/Redo.
Text editor Kate has gotten a lot of attention, so there are many new features in the areas of further VIM style support, bracket matching, highlighting and more. You can read the blogs on the Kate site and test some of that awesome.
The UML modeling application Umbrello received some improvements and bugfixes. If you use it, now is a good time to help out a little and see if it works better! There is new duplication of diagrams and improvements to the context menus (which only shows relevant actions).
Education and Games
We received a special request from developer Ian Wadham:
And how does that work?
Testing follows these steps:
You’re not alone!
In KDE, testing is not only an individual action by our users but it’s also coordinated through the KDE Quality team. That does not mean you must work or coordinate with them, but it sure helps! You can reach them on IRC, as well as on their mailing list.
The testing of this beta is also coordinated on this forum page for those more comfortable on forums.
Get the beta and prepare
To get testing, you can either build the source of the Beta or RC, or grab packages for your distribution. If your distro is not on that list but you know there are packages, you can add them there!
The second step is to create a testing user account. We recommend this to prevent destroying data on your current account. Many users also use a separate installation of KDE software on a separate partition.
On most flavors of Linux, creating a new user is easy. On the command line, it goes a bit like this (as root):
And now you’ve created a user kde-test and given the account a password. Just switch user accounts (menu – leave – switch user or Alt-F2 – switch) and have fun testing!
The real testing
Testing is a matter of trying out some scenarios you decide to test, for example, pairing your Android phone to your computer with KDE Connect. If it works – awesome, move on. If it doesn’t, find out as much as you can about why it doesn’t and use that for a bug report.
This is the stage where you should see if your issue is already reported by checking on the forum, IRC channel or mailing list. It might even be fixed, sometimes! It can also be fruitful to contact the developers on the relevant mailing list.
Finally, if the issue you bump into is a clear bug and the developers are not aware of it, file it on bugs.kde.org.
How else can I help?
Another useful contribution is triaging bugs:
If you can’t reproduce a bug, the bug might have to be marked as “WORKSFORME” or “NEEDINFO” if you can’t reproduce it due to a lack of information. And in some cases, the bug report is plain wrong (“Plasma doesn’t make coffee“) and must be closed as “INVALID”. You can find more information in the Ultimate Bug Triaging Guide. As long as you can’t close bugs on bugzilla, you can just add your information as comments and they will be picked up by a maintainer – it is just as useful!
It is a big help!
We’re very grateful for your help in this. Not all areas of our many applications receive the same amount of care and attention, and there may not always be an immediate reply to bug reports. However, developers greatly appreciate the attention given to their applications by users and testers.
conf.kde.in 2014 was held at DA-IICT (Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology) in Ghandinagar, India during the weekend of 22nd to 24th February. It was a big mashup of many different cultures with speakers and delegates from Europe, the USA and different parts of India. A platform for the exchange of ideas, and spontaneous discussions about goals and thoughts regarding open source as well as technological advancements. Also how to make paper planes.
What came before
Conf.kde.in was first organized in 2011 in Bangalore; last year a KDE India Meetup took place at DA-IICT. Both of those helped bring forth an expanded conf.kde.in 2014. The growing KDE community in India welcomed new, cheerful friends. And the open source community in India welcomed a new generation of stalwarts.
Where it was
Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology (DA-IICT), Gandhinagar is an institution of higher learning located in one of the most thriving technological hubs of western India. It has been fostering young minds in the fields of computer science and information technology for many years and features an active local community. It was the perfect location for conf.kde.in to reach out to more young minds. With the conference at the institutional level, KDE and top talent made a solid connection.
What it was all about
conf.kde.in 2014 was a fertile environment for getting people started with open source contribution, telling them about KDE technology and the community, introducing them to various applications, answering questions, and appealing to them to make the switch to open source. There were about 260 attendees for the event.
The first day – the 21st of February saw the start of the conference with a talk by Pradeepto Bhattacharya (a member of the KDE e.V. Board) on the essence of the KDE Community. That was followed by a Qt hands-on session, with the students experiencing the power of Qt by fiddling with it, rather than just listening and trying to imagine how to use it. Some people couldn’t keep up with the pace, but by the end of the day, almost everyone had a fully functioning Linux system running on their laptop and was beginning to explore the power of Open Source. There was a general level of satisfaction with the learning opportunities, no matter the person’s starting skill level. People’s willingness to help others made a big difference.
The second day – on the 22nd of February there was a huge line up of talks – spread out over different realms of open source. The sessions by Sinny Kumari, Chandan Kumar, Samikshan Bairagya, Smit Shah, Shubham Chaudhary were specific to the projects they are working on—Plasma Media Center, Artikulate (the language trainer application), Localization Team Management tool, KDE Multimedia and others. There was also some informal bug solving. The point of these sessions was to introduce the students to various KDE projects, projects that students have worked on previously as a part of the Google Summer of Code, the Season of KDE and other mentoring programs. This helped them understand real life applications of coding techniques and skills, and the value of direction and guidance from mentors. It also showed them how to get started contributing to open source.
The talks by Nikhil Marathe, Vishesh Handa, Siteshwar Vashisht and Shantanu Tushar Jha went deeper into specifics and covered technical details of various KDE applications. They covered topics such as memory and synchronization management with RAII, the Mer Project, Baloo (dealing with meta data and search indexing). These presentations expanded the attendees’ horizons and helped them explore advanced issues and technologies.
The non-technical talks—on various facets of open source and FOSS communities—were given by Kévin Ottens and Jos Poortvliet. They talked about Free and Open Source Software and how its principles operate within the KDE Community. Their presentations emphasized the practical aspects of FOSS on KDE’s work and beliefs. Conference participants got a clear view into KDE as an open source organization, further broadening their horizons.
On February 23rd, Bhushan Shah, Sayantan Datta, Rishabh Arora, Punit Mehta and Peter Grasch talked about their KDE projects which are (respectively):
Students could choose a project and experiment with code, documentation and testing. Of course, everyone had the opportunity to use open source technology and experience its power. Kévin Ottens and Prashant Udupa spoke briefly about specific technologies such as C++11 and Generic Component Framework.
The primary goal of the conference was to encourage people to get involved with open source and to understand its power and its reach. We also wanted to help them get started by teaching them the basics and by getting them to know more about KDE. When the conference was over, it didn’t matter how many lines of code anyone could understand or even actually write. If some people were convinced of the magic of open source and of KDE, and are now willing to be contributors to this noble cause even if only slightly, then the event accomplished its aim. Events, speakers and mentors like these add fuel to the fire inside. Students were inspired to reach out and experience the power of free and open source technology.
Be free. Live KDE.
Editors’ note: Also, on the last day, a competition in building paper airplanes took place. No correlation was found between C++ coding skills and the distance airplanes flew.