Release 4.14 – KDE Applications get better and better

The KDE Community has announced the latest major updates to KDE Applications delivering primarily improvements and bugfixes. Plasma Workspaces and the KDE Development Platform are frozen and receiving only long term support; those teams are focused on the transition to Plasma 5 and Frameworks 5. This 4.14 release is dedicated to long time KDE contributor Volker Lanz who passed away last April. The full announcement has more information and details.

KDE Applications

In the past, KDE has jointly released the three major divisions of KDE software—Plasma Workspaces, KDE Development Platform and KDE Applications. The KDE Development Platform is being reworked into KDE Frameworks. The monolithic libraries that comprise the Development Platform are becoming independent, cross platform modules (KDE Frameworks 5) that will be readily available to all Qt developers. Plasma Workspaces is being moving to a new technology foundation based on Qt5 and KDE Frameworks 5. With the 3 major KDE software components moving at different paces, their release schedules are now separated. For the most part, KDE’s 4.14 release involves KDE Applications.

Development Platform/KDE Frameworks 5

The modular Frameworks structure will have widespread benefits for KDE software. In addition, Frameworks is a substantial contribution to the Qt ecosystem by making KDE technology available to all Qt developers.

Plasma Workspaces

Plasma 5 was recently released after 3 years of work; it is on its own release schedule with feature releases every three months and bugfix releases in the intervening months. The Plasma team has built a solid foundation that will support Plasma Workspaces for many years.

KDE Applications

Release 4.14 is not about lots of “new and improved stuff”. Many KDE developers are focused on the Next Experience (Plasma 5) or porting to KDE Frameworks (based on Qt5). Mostly, the 4.14 release is needed by aspects of our workflow (such as translations). This release offers more software stability, with little emphasis on new and less-proven stuff. People who want the latest and greatest KDE software may want to experiment with the Plasma 5 Workspace.

There are over 200 actively maintained KDE applications. Many of them are listed in the KDE userbase. Wikipedia also has another list of KDE applications.

Most previous releases had highlights of new features and prominent applications. This gave some people the impression that KDE developers favored new-and-shiny over quality, which is not true. So, for this announcement of the 4.14 release, developers were asked for details—small, incremental improvements and bugfixes that might not even be noticeable to most users. These are the kinds of tasks that most developers work on, the kinds of tasks that allow beginners to make meaningful, mostly invisible contributions. The announcement has examples of the kinds of improvements that KDE developers have made in this release.

Thank you to all KDE developers working on behalf of people all over the world.

Spread the Word

Non-technical contributors are an important part of KDE’s success. While proprietary software companies have huge advertising budgets for new software releases, KDE depends on people talking with other people. Even for those who are not software developers, there are many ways to support the 4.13 releases. Report bugs. Encourage others to join the KDE Community. Or support the nonprofit 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, ipernity 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 4.14 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.

Learning more and getting started

Find more details and download links in the announcement on the KDE website.

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KDE Frameworks Sprint – How to Release a Platform

DSC_0538
Konqui finds the Spectacular Montjuic next door to the KDE office.

KDE Frameworks 5 is the result of two years of hard work porting, tidying, modularizing and refactoring KDELibs4 into a new addition to the Qt 5 platform. In January, Alex Fiestas announced The KDE Barcelona Hub—an office where anyone is welcome to come and work on KDE projects. It was just what the Frameworks team needed to finish off the code so it could be released to the world. Read on for some of what happened.

Aurelien Gateau reports:

I spent most of my time working on translation support, ironing out details to get them to install properly and working with David [Faure] on the release tarballs scripts. I also worked a bit on KApidox, the code generating API documentation for KF5 on api.kde.org. I updated the script to match with the latest Framework changes and switched to the Jinja2 template engine. Using Jinja will make it possible to generate an up-to-date list of Frameworks on the landing page, based on the information from the Framework metainfo.yaml files.

api.kde.org now contains a complete list of Frameworks thanks to Aurelien with Frameworks 5 now the default option.

Alex Merry spent his time on the small but tricky tasks all software needs to be of a high enough quality for release.

Friday was spent trying to understand the KItemModels unit tests and figure out why one of the tests was failing. I eventually determined that the pattern of signal emission when moving rows around had probably changed between Qt4 and Qt5, and the fix was fairly simple.

He also reports on other important topics such as install paths, meta data files and writing the Advanced Git tutorial.

One important discussion that took place in Barcelona was on the KDE Frameworks Release Cycle. We made the controversial decision to do away with bugfix releases and instead have monthly feature releases. Although some distribution packagers noted concerns about the lack of stable release updates, this is the pattern Frameworks is now following, which allows for much faster turnaround of new features.


The Post-it notes kept things orderly

Few people have done more to help the Frameworks project than Kévin Ottens who kept the weekend ticking over by sorting the post-it notes with tasks and highlighting notes which were taking longer than expected to progress. He highlights the processes that the team are following to allow for monthly releases:

  • more dog fooding from framework developers;
  • more contributions from application developers;
  • more automated tests and peer reviews;
  • finer grained feature delivery.
  • Aleix Pol spent his time “Mostly moving things around in the CMake, especially install variables that got changed to make them more compatible with Qt 5“.

    Alex Fiestas reports “Kai and I worked on Solid, we added QML support and designed the new asynchronous power management api“.

    One of the people who has been a constant throughout the development of KDE’s platform is David Faure. He spent time working on the scripts that make releases possible without much overhead.

    It was a successful week that wrapped up many of the loose ends that were needed to allow for last month’s successful release of Frameworks 5. With Plasma 5 now out and Applications releases on their way, Frameworks can be assured to be a platform for future work for years to come.

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    First Bugfix Update to Plasma 5

    KDE is now getting into the swing of releases numbered 5. Today we add Plasma 5’s first bugfix update. The release features KDE’s flagship desktop project as well as the base software needed to keep your computer running. Plasma will have feature r…

    First Update to KDE Frameworks 5

    KDE has today made the first update to KDE Frameworks 5. Frameworks are our addon libraries for Qt applications which provide numerous useful features using peer reviewed APIs and regular monthly updates. This release has 60 different Frameworks, ad…

    Akademy 2014 Program Schedule: Fast, fun, inspiring

    The Akademy Program Committee is excited to announce the Akademy 2014 Program. It is worth the wait! We waded through many high quality proposals and found that it would take more than a week to include all the ones we like. However we managed to bring together a concise and (still packed) schedule.

    Sharing

    As we wrote in the Call for Papers, sharing is an important goal of Akademy. So on Saturday and Sunday in the morning, there will be a single track in the main room which will start with a keynote, followed by 9 short talks. These cover a wide range of KDE-related topics including technical, governance, design, social issues and more, providing inspiration and material for further conversation and debate. Some examples are:

    In the afternoon, there are two tracks of longer, more traditional talks, with a stronger-than-usual in-depth focus. The goal of these sessions is to share knowledge and experience, to learn from each other. In these sessions, you can explore:

    The entire schedule is here.

    The Akademy Program is packed with goodies for many interests. And there will be many opportunities to learn, contribute, and work hard throughout Akademy. We urge you to register now if you haven’t already!

    Akademy 2014 Brno

    For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest FOSS 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, propose and consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the following year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work to bring those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, or looking to begin using it.

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    Randa Meetings Interview Four: Myriam Schweingruber


    Myriam Schweingruber

    In one week the Randa Meetings 2014 will start and this is possible because of you. You supported us (and can still support us 😉 and thanks to you we will be able to improve your beloved KDE software even more. So it’s time to give you something new. Here is another interview with one of the persons who will be participating in this year’s meetings (and participated since the start in 2009). And watch out for some other interviews to come in the next days and weeks.

    Here is a glimpse into Myriam Schweingruber’s life and her dedication and love for KDE.

    Myriam; could you tell us a bit about yourself and where you live?

    I am 55 years old and a trained pharmacist from Switzerland. I currently work as a part-time scientific translator in the fields of pharmacy and medicine. I am also an avid computer user since the very first days of the Commodore 64 and the PC; you could describe me as kind of a nerd! I’ve been living in Germany for the last few years.

    How did you first get involved with KDE?

    When I first tried my hands on Linux in the late 90’s, KDE was the only sane desktop available. It must have been version 1 something and of course is not comparable to what we see now. Over the years I have tried a lot of other window managers and desktop solutions, but KDE applications and the Plasma desktop remain my solution of choice when I switch on the computer.

    Wow. That sounds so interesting. You’ve been with KDE for a very long time. How would you describe the evolution of KDE over the years? Any specific jumps/breakthroughs/changes that have been strongly imprinted in your mind? I’m sure everyone who’s been fairly new to KDE would love to hear about its history!

    Well, I have used KDE software since the first versions of it, but I only got involved as a contributor later. I think what we all fell in love with what was KDE 3: it was really a desktop way ahead and left all the freedom to the user who could configure whatever they liked. This was indeed the true spirit of freedom as an indication of what Free Software means. I don’t think there were other desktops around at that time that came up to par with it.

    And KDE SC 4 was yet another big step to pave the way onto how a modern computer works; but also a new challenge that was hard to meet and didn’t go without glitches. I remember to have been an early adopter of KDE SC 4 since the 4.0 previews, and I continuously had to remind myself that I was actually testing a technical preview, not a finished product. With the amount of applications that had to be moved to Qt4 it took years to get it polished, something maybe people were not aware of. What I usually reminded them of was to compare what is comparable: proprietary desktops get new releases every 5 or 6 years, at most, and there is a lot of money behind it. KDE SC 4 did it in just 3-4 years, and most of the work was done in our free time while still maintaining the Qt3 branches.

    Why is KDE so special to you?

    First of all; the community is awesome, as there is a spot for everybody who wants to get involved, regardless of your skills or background. It is probably also the only Free Software community out there who never had problems with integrating people. I am a member of KDE Women, of course. But while it is a stepping stone to attract more women into KDE it is certainly not needed as a hide-out; as women like all other groups have always been an integral part of the community.

    It is so amazing to find a lady so passionate about technology and coding which as per the old fashioned norms has largely been viewed as a male’s domain. What is your message to all the girls out there who are budding tech geeks and wish to be involved with coding and FOSS? How would you motivate them to make their space in a male driven area of interest? Any words to get them to try their hand at technology and venture into different spaces?

    One word: don’t be shy! We have the same capabilities as men do, and remember: the first computer programmers were almost exclusively women! I would suggest all women making their way into IT to read up the history of computers: both the Zuse as well as the ENIAC and other early computers were programmed by women, as men thought that it was like kitchen recipes, so it couldn’t be that difficult!

    Could you talk about how KDE in particular is working for more involvement of women and how gender biases as well as any other forms of discrimination are actually metamorphosed into encouragement and due equality so as to have a community where everyone feels just as welcome and no one is left out?

    Well, I don’t think we do anything special in the KDE community, we just consider every contributor as equals, and since we do that, we really don’t need any specific groups. Everybody is welcome to contribute, what we value is the contributor, regardless of their background. Unlike other women groups, KDE Women doesn’t act like a place where women come in and then stay there, it is just another door to the KDE Community. So the activity of KDE Women is rather low, we try to organize something on Ada Lovelace Day to get new contributors, but for the rest of the time it is just an open door and we never lock it!

    Which specific area of KDE applications do you contribute to?

    I am part of the Amarok team. I also contribute to the Bugsquad and the KDE testing team.

    Could you pinpoint any particular role you play in KDE when it comes to contributing?

    I don’t think I have a specific role, I just work on what I can contribute to, so currently I triage bugs, mostly for Amarok and Phonon, and also work on other non-coding areas in Amarok (promotion, user support, documentation, etc).

    Could you give a brief description of your experience in the past few years at Randa Meetings and your involvement?

    The very first Randa Meeting was actually a Plasma sprint and took place in the family chalet of Mario Fux. I and Mark were living in Switzerland at that time and went for a visit. During a walk I remembered the summer camps I spent in Randa as a kid and spotted the old house where I’ve spent many summers. We (Mario, Mark and I) had the idea of checking if the house could actually be used to host other sprints and that is how everything started. I have since then attended every sprint in Randa and those have always been the most productive ones I ever attended.

    Wow. So I think that I can very aptly label you as one of the founding fathers errr sorry; founding mother of the Randa Meetings! Any particular funny/memorable/scary incident in particular at any Randa Meet that you’d like to share?

    Don’t give too much credit to me, I was only one of the people who were at that particular sprint and Mario already had a similar idea, maybe I was just another push to move the idea forward.

    Have you got anything in particular planned for Randa this year?

    Randa has always been the place where we got a tremendous amount of work done. The gorgeous surroundings, the good air and the lack of local distractions make working in Randa very productive. So yes, I plan to concentrate on my usual work, namely triaging bugs and updating the current documentation and user handbook to the latest changes, as well as adapting the website theme so that we can make the transition to a newer Drupal instance. We also plan to prepare for the Amarok 2.9 release that will integrate a lot of the work done over the last year.

    What will you be looking forward to the most in Randa? Any particular people or projects you are eager to meet and collaborate with?

    First of all: meeting all the old friends who gather in Randa that we rarely see in real life, as all of us are from different places around the world and Randa is the perfect place to finally get together again. Unlike Akademy, it is a more intimate gathering, focused on working on our projects, without the distractions of the talks and sightseeing. For me it is also the perfect occasion to meet the team members again, and finally also meet a GSoC student who is working with us since quite some time. Of course collaboration with the other KDE multimedia people is something I am also looking forward to, and of course the great food!

    How important has Randa been for you in your journey with KDE and FOSS contribution through the past few years?

    I think it is important not only for me, but for all who’ve been in Randa before, and we can all agree that it really is the best place to get a lot of work done. In the last few gatherings we managed to do a lot of work that needed active collaboration, like documentation, just to name one specific field. One of the Randa sprints was probably the week where we fixed more Amarok bugs than we did in the whole year before the meeting, just because we had everybody together in the same place.

    Why do you think Meetings such as Randa are very important for KDE and FOSS communities around the globe?

    While a lot of the work in Free Software is done over the internet, nothing replaces the real life meetings, as it provides an extra drive in terms of motivation. Modern software development is mostly agile, something even corporate software development is using more and more. Due to the global distribution of our contributors; Free Software development has always been agile to start with, even if we didn’t put a label on it in the early days.

    And in agile development; sprints are a very important element to push the project forward. While sprints can be done over the web, they are hindered by time-zones, external distractions, availability of contributors, etc. Having real life sprints, even if those are few, are more productive as all the hindrances of the web meetings are eliminated and the productivity is greatly enhanced.

    Why do you think supporting such meetings is of importance and how has the support helped you as a KDE developer?

    The support allows us to bring developers together who would not be able to attend the sprints and would then have to be involved with it remotely, with all the downsides of remote work.

    Could you give a brief description of what your typical day in Randa was like in the past few years?

    Get up early, grab a great breakfast and meet the team members at the breakfast table; plan the day, eventually schedule a meeting for later during the day or attend the meetings scheduled in advance. Then discuss specific problems with the people on site, get some work done, lunch break, short walk to get fresh air, discussions during walks, get work done, grab some fruit, work again, oh, it is already supper time! After supper, continue work, relax with friends and discuss more plans, eventually get aware that time flies and it is already midnight and try to get some sleep.

    During the whole day tea and coffee are available, as well as fruits and sweets. Since all teams have specific rooms you always know where to find somebody, and of course we all use IRC to communicate and eventually schedule a meeting within 5 minutes.

    Lastly; any particular message to the people of the world?

    Support KDE and the Randa Meetings!

    Thanks a lot, Myriam, for your time for the interview and dedication to Amarok and the KDE community.

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    Akademy 2014 Keynotes: Sascha Meinrath and Cornelius Schumacher

    Akademy 2014 will kick off on September 6 in Brno, Czech Republic; our keynote speakers will be opening the first two days. Continuing a tradition, the first keynote speaker is from outside the KDE community, while the second is somebody you all know. On Saturday, Sascha Meinrath will speak about the dangerous waters he sees our society sailing into, and what is being done to help us steer clear of the cliffs. Outgoing KDE e.V. Board President, Cornelius Schumacher, will open Sunday’s sessions with a talk about what it is to be KDE and why it matters.


    Sascha Meinrath – photo by Faith Swords

    Sascha Meinrath on the Internet of Things

    Sascha Meinrath is well-known in the broad FOSS community. Wikipedia describes him as an “Internet culture leader and community Internet pioneer”. He was a leading voice in the successful opposition to the U.S. SOPA and PIPA legislation, and is the founder of the Open Technology Institute (OTI), a public policy think tank advocating policy and regulations that are healthy for open source, open standards and innovation. OTI also works on lowering the barrier to wireless communication (Commotion Wireless) and advancing network research in the Measurement Lab. Recently, Sascha started the X-Lab, which anticipates technology directions and develops public policy for them, rather than reacting afterward with the risk of being caught off guard.

    Sascha looks ahead at potential challenges, aware of the ways governments and companies abuse technology or could do so. With the Akademy program committee, he discussed “digital feudalism—the interlocking system of devices and applications that are reducing us to a serf-like state”. Having coined this term, he is in a good position to explain the ways in which private and government forces are undermining the democratic, participatory platform of the Internet. And how this subterfuge has further broad impacts that reduce our freedom.

    Resolving this dilemma cannot be solely a technical endeavor. Sascha said, “I see the work with the Commotion Wireless Project or fighting against NSA surveillance or on major spectrum licensure reform as different facets of the same problem, but am most worried about what happens with the so-called ‘Internet of Things’—which I view with extreme skepticism”. The Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to transform communication networks massively. Enormous security implications aren’t even the biggest concern. Sascha notes that “there are tremendous opportunities for building open ecosystems and privacy-protecting equivalents to mainstream products—but that has to be combined with strong pushes in governmental/policy circles as well as in outreach/PR”.

    In other words, it is Sascha’s intention to ensure that this transition to the Internet of Things—whatever shape it will have—is built on open standards, protocols and strong protection of individual freedom. “And if that disrupts the dominant business model of many major corporations today (who all want to commoditize your private data), so be it”.

    Sascha Meinrath is one of Time Magazine’s “Most Influential Minds in Tech” and Newsweek’s “Digital Power Index Top 100 Influencers”. KDE is in a strong position to provide technical innovation and has consistently demonstrated the power of community, freedom and openness. At Akademy 2014 in Brno, there is a strong possibility that this partnership will produce outcomes that will benefit people the world over. Anyone who is committed to having technology make a difference owes it to themselves to be part of Akademy.


    Cornelius in the (g)olden days – photo by Helge Heß

    Cornelius Schumacher on How KDE Makes You a Better Person

    A strikingly related subject will be brought to the Akademy audience on Sunday. Cornelius Schumacher, president of KDE e.V., has been a KDE contributor since 1999. He has seen changes in every direction and has been at the heart of several of them. Cornelius will talk about the tremendous opportunity KDE provides to learn and grow, not only technology, but also people. He will show how the community consistently acts as a breeding ground for software and for personal growth as well. “I joined KDE for the technology, but stayed for the community”, Cornelius says. “I have never stopped being amazed by the people around me in KDE, the talent, the friendship, the passion to do something for the greater good. I learned so much from these people and owe a big part of my career and personal development to the community.”

    Over the years Cornelius has seen many people join KDE and grow, and often outgrow the community. Roots for industry-changing technology and for amazing careers can be found in KDE. But what makes this environment so special? What holds it together over the many years where hundreds, even thousands of people contribute and form the KDE community? Cornelius gives a hint: “If the community is the soil, freedom is the fertilizer. The ideals of free software create the foundation that makes KDE possible, and these ideals extend to more than just software. Within KDE, it’s a commonly felt responsibility to give everybody access to great technology, retaining individual freedoms and control about not only your computing, but your life.”

    Cornelius’s topic is not just abstract or conceptual; it is something which relates to all of us on a personal level. This is a challenge and a chance. In the end Cornelius will reveal the secret of how KDE makes you a better person.

    Akademy 2014 Brno

    For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest FOSS 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, propose and consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the following year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work to bring those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, or looking to begin using it.

    If you are someone who believes that it’s possible for technology to make a difference in the world, Akademy 2014 in Brno, Czech Republic is the place to be.

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    First Okular Sprint ever at Barcelona

    In May a group of three Okular developers met for four days at the Blue Systems Barcelona office to hack on the KDE universal document viewer.
    Albert Astals Cid, Luigi Toscano and Fabio D’Urso

    The first day the team triaged a lot of bugs resulting in …

    2014 Calligra Sprint in Deventer

    From the fourth to the sixth of July, the Calligra team got together in sunny Deventer (Netherlands) for the yearly developer sprint at the same location as the last Krita sprint. Apart from seeing the sights and having our group photo in front of one …

    KDE Ships Third Beta of Applications and Platform 4.14

    KDE has released the third beta of the 4.14 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 is requested!
    A more detailed lis…

    KDE Ships July Updates and Second Beta of Applications and Platform 4.14

    This week KDE released updates for its Applications and Development Platform, the third and last in a series of monthly stabilization updates to the 4.13 series. This release also includes an updated Plasma Workspaces 4.11.11. Both releases contain …

    Plasma 5 Brings a Cleaner Interface on Top of a New Graphics Stack

    Plasma 5.0

    The first release of Plasma 5 is out now. We have worked long and hard over the last three years to tidy up the internals and move to new technologies to bring a solid foundation for KDE’s Plasma desktop for years to come. The UI has bee…

    KDE Ships First Beta of Applications and Platform 4.14

    KDE has released the first beta of the 4.14 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 is requested!
    A more detailed list…

    KDE Frameworks 5 Makes KDE Software More Accessible for all Qt Developers

    Today, the KDE community has made available the first stable release of Frameworks 5. At the Randa Meetings back in 2011, we started work on porting KDE Platform 4 to Qt 5. But as part of this effort, we also began modularizing our libraries, integrat…

    People of KDE is back

    As Michael Bohlender (known to some e.g. for his GSoC project about Kmail Active last year) needed to do some interviews for his anthropology course at the university he decided to reactive the People behind KDE series or, as they are now named, the Pe…

    KDE Commit-Digest for 4th May 2014

    In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest:
    KDE-PIM sees huge performance improvement for POP3 users with large maildirs
    KAddressbook adds a category filter
    Krita implements support for more types of palettes
    Also in Calligra, Docx export filter has partial supp…

    KDE Commit-Digest for 27th April 2014

    In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest:
    Umbrello adds find text in tree view, current diagram and all diagrams feature
    KDE Telepathy can share images over common image sharing networks
    Sflphone-kde adds security evaluation framework with GUI
    Punctuation data…

    Randa Meetings Interview One: Cristian Oneț


    Cristian Oneț

    This is one of our first interviews with the excited attendees of the Randa meetings and today you shall get a glimpse into the mind, workings and makings of Cristian Oneț who has been with KDE since quite some time now and has been a prominent contributor.

    Could you describe yourself in a few lines and tell us where you’re from?

    My name is Cristian Oneț, I’m a software developer. I live in Timișoara, Romania. At my day job I work on developing/maintaining a suite of desktop applications on Windows (using Qt lately). I’m also a member of the KMyMoney development team.

    How did you first chance upon KDE? Could you describe your journey in short?

    My first contact with KDE was back in the 3.x days (I think it was 3.2). I was just starting to get familiar with Linux (first years at the Computer Science Faculty) and I was looking for a desktop that looked and felt good. KDE’s workspace was my pick then and it stayed that way ever since.

    Why is KDE so special to you?

    It’s the most visible part of my computer. By using it and contributing to its improvement it allowed me to grow as a developer. It feels good to be able contribute to something you find useful and to do it in a fun way.

    Will this be your first time in Randa?

    Yes it’s my first time.

    When did you first hear about the meetings in Randa and why do you wish to be a part of it?

    I’ve heard about previous meetings in Randa from reading Planet KDE. I didn’t really think that I’ll ever participate but this year I was contacted by Mario Fux with the proposal to help port KMyMoney to KF5. After a short exchange of e-mails I decided that it would be nice to be there.

    Which specific area of KDE software do you contribute to? Could you give a brief overview?

    I’m a part of the team that develops KMyMoney the KDE personal finances manager application. I also had small contributions (mostly small patches) in other parts of KDE software (kdepim, kdelibs), most of these were fixes for problems that I encountered using KDE software or developing KMyMoney. Last but not least, I also contributed with Romanian translations since I believe that software should be properly internationalized.

    As a KMyMoney developer one of the biggest task that I contributed to was porting it to KDE Platform 4. This was a great chance to get familiar with Qt’s MVC programming. That period was one of the biggest wave of development on the project lately. After porting the application to KDE Platform 4 the port to Windows followed. That was also fun since I got to know some KDE Windows project members on the way.

    How do you manage to balance your job and contribution to KDE?

    I try to do both in a way that makes me happy with the work I’m doing. My KDE contribution can keep me happy as a developer which is not always possible at my job. There is also a limit to what I can do when it comes to contribution and if the time’s consumed by my job I can’t really contribute much. I’m usually productive as an Open Source contributor after my summer holiday. Contributions are also influenced by the feedback of the community and the development team. I find that it is usually easier to fix problems that effect a lot of people.

    You work on the windows platform during your job and have an in-depth understanding of it. But you prefer to use Linux as your primary OS. Could you give us a few reasons why someone should make the switch to Open Source?

    Yes, I always preferred Linux but that preference is pretty influenced by the way I relate to computers. I think that anyone who desires freedom of information should use Open Source, but of course, this is a disputable statement. The counter argument would be that one is only free if he has the knowledge and time to fix stuff that’s broken. It’s nice that the knowledge is out there but that does not really help somebody who just needs things to work.

    I came a long way learning about computers by using Linux (Gentoo Linux that is) and I’m thankful for that. Still, I find myself once in a while after an update mumbling about some stuff that just broke because somebody thought it should be re-written from scratch. Not trying to send forth a wrong message, I know that there are problems on other platforms as well but on Linux they tend to be more frequent (probably caused by the faster release cycles). That’s when the freedom to change stuff gets handy.

    As a person who has been with KDE since his student days; what would your advice be to the students who are currently contributing to KDE to keep them motivated to continue development when they start working on a fully fledged job?

    I would advise them to do what they enjoy doing. If they enjoy contributing to Open Source now then that probably won’t change and they will keep doing it after they have a job. If they really enjoy Open Source they could be looking for a job on an Open Source project if they have the opportunity. Meeting the people they work with in Open Source could be also creating a kind of connection that would keep them contributing even when they have less free time in the future. Last but not least Open Source can be a kind of “escape” where one can really do the things they like when there is no such freedom at a job.


    The Randa Meetings organizers use KMyMoney for their finances.

    Since you are working on KMyMoney on both Windows and Linux could you describe the particulars of the development process in both and which one you prefer to work on?

    I only developed KMyMoney on Linux, on Windows I only work on platform specific issues. But I can compare the two development platforms using the experience I have in C++ development on Windows at my job. My opinion is that except for the debugger; the tools on Linux are much more developer friendly. I use KDevelop, I love it’s syntax highlighting, symbol navigation and documentation features but it still crashes once in a while (mainly while switching branches in Git). It’s great to edit code but the integration with gdb does not seem so smooth as Microsoft Visual Studio’s debugger. Code highlighting and navigation can also be improved on Windows with some add-ons. I have heard a lot about Qt Designer but I really like KDevelop and I can live with the debugger (it works 90 % of the time).

    The KDE Platform is still pretty unstable on Windows and this was causing a lot of issues with the deployment once the application was ported. I guess this is caused by the fact that KDE software is mainly developed on Linux. The KDE on Windows team did a great job of trying to patch things to make them work on Windows but it seems it’s hard to keep up with the pace KDE software is being developed. That’s why, once we had our hands on a good KDE Windows release (that was 4.10.5 but it still needed custom patches), we stuck with it in the standalone installer that we provide. I would like KDE to focus on making the platform more stable than always looking at the next big thing in UI design.

    I think that on Windows users only care about applications, if they would like to use the whole desktop they would definitely switch to Linux.

    So the answer to your question is: I prefer to develop on Linux but I would also like the framework to be cross platform and so I would like to contribute to improve this situation.

    Have you got anything in particular planned for Randa?

    As I mentioned earlier hopefully I will be able to finish my task of porting KMyMoney to KF5 as well as meet KDE Windows project members, learn how KF5 will improve packaging on Windows and have fun while doing all that.

    What will you be looking forward to the most in the Randa Sprint? Any expectations or hopes of what it will be like? Any particular people or projects you are looking to collaborate on/with in Randa? Any targets set on completing with respect to development?

    The most interesting will be meeting the people that attend. I would start with some KDE Windows project members since I’ve been working with some of them while we ported KMyMoney to Windows. Packaging on Windows is still pretty hard so I would expect this to be improved. I would like to discuss about this and see if I could contribute since I’m at home in C++ development on Windows (it’s my job).

    What does KDE mean to you and what role has it played in shaping you as a contributor/developer?

    It’s my desktop of choice which I’ve been using for more than 10 years now. I really enjoy working with KDE/Qt as a developer since I think both have some of the most well designed API in the world of C++ frameworks/libraries. Since we use Qt at my job it was pretty useful to have previously worked with it.

    Why do you think Meetings such as Randa are very important for KDE and for Open Source communities around the globe?

    I’ve participated only once at a KDE related developer meeting. It was the KDE Finances Sprint in 2010. I felt that it was really nice that I could meet the people I was working with face to face. Such a meeting can create different kind of connections than an acquaintance using the usual (e-mail, irc) communication channels.

    Why do you think supporting them is of importance and how has the support helped you as a KDE developer and an Open Source contributor?

    Building on my previous answer I think that it’s important to build well knit teams. People who meet in person work better together, at least that is the experience I’ve had while working on KMyMoney.  Our meeting gave the team a big boost so if KDE is to move forward at a good pace it needs to encourage and support developer meetings. As for me as a developer it was a real pleasure to get to know my colleagues who came from different parts of the world to see the similarities and the differences between us.

    Could you briefly describe a rough outline of what you’d imagine your typical day in Randa this time around to be?

    I guess it will be similar to the days we had at the KDE Finances sprint. After breakfast meetings, lunch then meetings again then some socializing over a beer in the evening.

    Is this your first time to Switzerland? Are you excited about being in another country?

    Yes, I’ve never been to Switzerland before, being able to visit it was one of the reasons I’ve decided to attend the meeting. At first I’ve declined since the period was overlapping with my family holiday but after I found out that it would be OK to spend a few days working at the meeting and the rest I could spend with my wife (we will be there together) I’ve decided to go.

    Thanks a lot, Cristian, for your time for the interview and dedication to KMyMoney and the KDE community.

    Please support us in the organization of the Randa Meetings 2014.

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    Krita Kicks Off 2.9 Development Effort with a Kickstarter Campaign


    Krita Fundraiser on Kickstarter

    Five years ago, the Krita team decided raise funds to raise Krita to the level of a professional applications . That fundraiser was successful beyond all expectations and enabled us to release Krita 2.4, the first version of Krita ready for professional artists!

    Now, it’s time for another fundraiser, much, much more ambitious in scope! Dmitry Kazakov has worked full-time on Krita 2.8, and now we want him to work full-time on Krita 2.9, too. And it’s not just Dmitry: Sven, who has contributed to Krita for over ten years now, has recently finished university and is available as well.

    So, we’ve setup a base goal that would cover Dmitry’s work, a stretch goal that would cover Sven’s work and a super-stretch goal that would cover porting Krita to the last remaining OS we don’t cover: OS X.

    Since 2009, the Krita project has had three more sponsored projects, and all of them delivered: the Comics with Krita and Muses training DVD’s and Dmitry’s work on Krita 2.8. With Krita 2.4, Krita could be used by professional artists, with Krita 2.8, artists all over the world started taking notice and with 2.9, well — we’ll make Krita irresistible!

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

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    Plasma 5 Second Beta Needs Testing

    The next generation desktop from KDE is taking shape and the second beta is out now for testing. The developers have settled on a name – Plasma 5, and there is only one month to go until the first release so please test packages from your distro or do…