KDE Ships second April Updates to Applications, Platform and Plasma Workspaces

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…

KDE Commit-Digest for 2nd March 2014

In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest:
Parley adds support for sound in multiple modes, allows the use of image instead of word for flashcard training
Okular adds Magnifier and play/pause in the presentation mode
KDE-PIM adds KAccounts support to Google res…

KDE Commit-Digest for 23rd February 2014

In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest:
KDevelop Clang support adds refactoring / renaming of variables and functions
Kate adds jump to next/previous change function and a plugin that allows you to launch the replicode executable with specified settings
KDE-…

Interview with Aaron Seigo About Bodega Appstore


Welcome to the Bodega store!

The openSUSE News site features an interview with Aaron Seigo about Bodega, a content store technology developed under the KDE umbrella. We replicate the KDE-relevant parts of the article here.

What is Bodega?

First off, let’s find out what Bodega is all about. Aaron explains:

Bodega is a store for digital stuff. In fancy words: it creates a catalog of metadata which represents digital assets.

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.


Setting up a Bodega account

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.

Going further, where do you get documentation? For openSUSE, that’s activedoc or the forums or our support database on the wiki. Not from zypper. Music – you can get that from Magnatune and so on.

What if you can have one place where you can get a book, game, applications, isn’t that nice? That is what Bodega is.


The main screen of the store

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:

Most Linux solutions like Appstream assume their audience are users who play Angry Birds and use spreadsheets. Fair enough. Bodega takes a different approach and is far more ambitious.

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!


An application in the store

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:

Take the 440.000 users of openSUSE. That would be a minimal amount of sales… The top-10 of paid apps in ubuntu makes less than a $100 per month of sales. Not really worth the effort. But if we could aggregate the sales between distributions, it would become relevant for third-party developers. Bodega as a cross-distribution is important!

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…

The beauty of it is that it is all Free and Open Source Software, front and back. You can self-host all you want.


Preview of a wallpaper

Current state

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.


Famous books included!

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:

There is work to be done to include all openSUSE Software in Bodega. The store can use a little work too, but is based on QML which makes it very easy to improve. If you’re interested in helping out, let us know!

You can contact Aaron on IRC as aseigo in the #plasma active channel on Freenode, ping him on Google+ or shoot him a mail on aseigo on the KDE.org servers.

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KDE Releases Alpha Version of Next-gen Plasma Workspace


Plasma Next: familiar yet polished

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.


Smoother Kickoff menu

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

For developers

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.

For users

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.


New Activities chooser

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!

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KDE Ships First Beta of Frameworks 5

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…

KDE Ships April Updates to Applications, Platform and Plasma Workspaces

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…

KDE to Attend Freedesktop Summit 2014

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.
The summit is a joint technical meeting of develop…

KDE Ships Release Candidate of Applications and Platform 4.13

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…

KDE Commit-Digest for 16th February 2014

In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest:
Amarok merges advanced track statistics importers (a GSoC project)
KDevelop allows language plugins to provide styles to formatters
Konsole stores terminal size in the profile, each profile can now set desired column a…

KDE Ships Third Beta of Applications and Platform 4.13

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…

KDE wins Linux New Media Readers Choice Award 2014

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 …

KDE Commit-Digest for 9th February 2014

In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest:
Akonadi server now supports searching via 3rd party search plugins which means it can retrieve results very quickly; it also supports server-search (searching items not indexed by a local indexing service)
Systemtray a…

KDE Ships Second Beta of Applications and Platform 4.13

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…

Applications 4.13 Coming Soon, Help Us Test!

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.

Search

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.

Kontact

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:

Please give the new version of Palapeli jigsaw puzzling a whirl. This contribution to KDE is my celebration of 50 years as a programmer. I started in April 1964.

If you ever enjoyed jigsaw puzzles, especially those 500 and 1,000 piece boxed puzzles, please take a look at the new version of Palapeli. The main thing is its attempt to make solving large puzzles (300 to 10,000 pieces) possible, realistic and enjoyable on a small screen. You can make your own large puzzle from any photo or picture file you fancy.

So I am very interested in *usability* feedback (look and feel). As well as bugs, of course. I am currently “testing” on a 10,000 piece puzzle … The Handbook changes should be finished in a few days, but there is already a long help message that appears when you start a large puzzle (> 300 pieces).

The new features are described, but in a technical way, in the usual place.

Have fun, everyone.

Artikulate (technical information) is a brand new application in KDE Edu and will have its first official release with KDE Applications 4.13. Find some information about it on community.kde.org.

And how does that work?

Testing follows these steps:

  1. set up your testing environment
  2. pick something to test
  3. test it
  4. back to 2 until something unexpected/bad happens
  5. check if what you found is really a bug
  6. file the bug

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.

The KDE Quality Team wiki page is worth a read if you’re unexperienced. There is even a real tutorial on becoming a KDE tester!

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):

  • useradd -m kde-test
  • passwd kde-test

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:

  • determine if it’s really a bug (it can be reproduced)
  • find out which component has the bug and
  • assign or cc the maintainer of that component

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.

KDEntomologists rule!

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Conf.kde.in 2014 – Knowledge. Power. Freedom.

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.


Group discussion

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.


Group photo!

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.


Peter in action

Starting

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.

Going deeper

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.


Lunch!

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):

  • Plasma Workspace
  • Digikam – photo editing
  • KStars – astronomical sky guide
  • Khipu – mathematical graph plotting
  • Simon – speech recognition software

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.


Paper planes

Closing thoughts

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.

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KDE Ships First Beta of Applications and Platform 4.13

KDE has released the first beta 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. Your assistance with finding and fixing issues is r…

KDE Commit-Digest for 2nd February 2014

In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest:
Artikulate improves filtering, can show phrases containing native speaker recordings
KDE-PIM adds email filtering and contact auto-completion via Baloo
Skrooge offers new “responsive” template for monthly reports
Bug f…

Calligra 2.8 Released

The Calligra team is proud and pleased to announce the release of version 2.8 of the Calligra Suite, Calligra Active and the Calligra Office Engine. This version is the result of thousands of commits which provide new features, polishing of the user e…

KDE Ships March Updates to Applications, Platform and Plasma Workspaces

Today KDE released updates for its Applications and Development Platform, the third in a series of monthly stabilization updates to the 4.12 series. This release also includes an updated Plasma Workspaces 4.11.7. Both releases contain only bugfixes and…