2014 Krita Sprint in Deventer, Netherlands

Though the Krita team was one of the first to start the tradition of having sprints, with the first Krita Sprint in Deventer, in 2005, Krita sprints are rather infrequent! But, of course, we also meet each other during the more regular Calligra sprints.

Anyhow… Krita developers and artists met again in Deventer in May 2014. It was the most awful weather you can imagine for a sprint—warm, sunny, bright, lovely to be outside! Long and lazy lunches, discussions out on the roof terrace until after midnight, walks through the park. Is it a wonder nothing much got done?

Wait, that’s wrong! Bravely resisting the lure of the fine spring weather, three artists and six developers got down to some serious work! In the week before the Krita sprint, Boud, Dan, Arjen and Stuart already had a week-long sprint working towards the final release of Krita Gemini on Steam, and on Thursday the others started to arrive. And only by Tuesday the house was empty again…

Krita Sprint Team

Let’s see what got done:

We’ve been working on the Krita 2.9 Fund Raiser since April. It took more work than we’d ever imagined, but now we’ve got a great promo video thanks to Björn Sonnenschein, and together we set up and created the Kickstarter campaign. We’ve got ambitious goals here: not only do we want Dmitry to go on working full-time on Krita, we want to extend that and have Sven (who’s been a Krita hacker for over ten years) work full-time on Krita, too. And if we exceed that goal, well, there’s OSX to conquer! Stay tuned, we expect to go live really soon now!

Krita 2.9 will probably be the last release based on Qt4 and KDE4. It’s a huge and ambitious release, with the fund raiser being based around 24 ambitious goals and then — we also want to finish the resource bundle manager that Victor Lafon from Toulouse started and make it possible to have more than one image open in a window. After the 2.9 release, it’s time to port to Qt5 and KDE Frameworks 5. We spent some time discussing which tiers from the Frameworks we want to use, and how to best approach the port.

With the interest in Krita growing by leaps and bounds—the Windows installer has seen more than half a million downloads—interest in translations is growing, too. It takes some effort to get the volunteers who want to work on translating Krita to push their efforts through the right channels, but that is working out well. And Dmitry Kazakov is in close contact with the Russian translation team. We discovered that Krita’s terminology is a bit of an organically grown mess, and that there are many places where context is missing. So we decided to get Dmitry together with Alexander Potashev and Paul Geraskin in Russia, and they would go through Krita, figure out what needs fixing, and fix it. That effort is underway right now, and might already be merged by the time you’re reading this.

Krita Foundation
The Krita Foundation was created to support the development of Krita by, well, actually paying for development. Time is money, and money gets us time, and accelerated development. Thanks to a big sponsor, Dmitry has been able to work full-time for the entire development period of Krita 2.8. The Foundation is pretty healthy, with money coming in from donations and sales of the DVD, as well as the Krita Development Fund, but we still want to grow and do more and more!

During the sprint, we got mail from Blender’s Ton Roosendaal, proposing to cooperate on having a stand at SIGGRAPH 2014, the foremost conference and trade show for graphics. We’ve found at least one sponsor, and have already reserved some floor space. Now we need to furnish it and find money to travel to Vancouver. It’s an awesome opportunity to be the first KDE project to show off at SIGGRAPH!

User Sessions
Last sprint, in Amsterdam at the Blender Institute in 2011, we sat down our attending artists and made them work with Krita for half an hour, videotaping and recording their work. They were allowed to gripe and whine to their hearts’ content, and the developers were allowed to listen and make notes and fix Krita! Back then, Krita 2.4 hadn’t been released yet, and Krita was, in the words of one of the artists, a very nice amateur application for amateur artists, but not suitable for production work. Well, we’ve come a long way! Sure, one artist made Krita crash (and we fixed the crash within fifteen minutes…), but there was almost no whining, no griping, people could just draw and paint. Still, Dmitry’s notes were extensive, and we’ve got work to do!

Book Sprint
One thing that’s missing is a book on Krita. Wolthera is busy with the manual on userbase and Timothée Giet has proposed to organize a book sprint for Krita. He is currently investigating whether we can get a subsidy for the book sprint!

Yes, in the end, we did enjoy the sunshine, too… It turns out that our lunches were just as productive as the meeting and the hacking sessions, and it’s true about the late nights on the roof, where we were busy sketching, painting, hacking, discussing and planning.

Thanks are due to KDE e.V. who sponsored travel for our hackers and artists! The Krita Foundation paid for the t-shirts. We managed to mostly fit into my place in Deventer, which helped keep the accommodation costs down. It was an awesome sprint, and we’re going to make Krita better, better and better!

Dot Categories:

Ian Wadham, Venerable KDE Programmer

The KDE Applications 4.13 announcement highlighted the delightful new capabilities of Palapeli, the KDE jigsaw puzzle application. What the announcement did not mention is that the Palapeli maintainer, Ian Wadham, is celebrating 50 years of software experience. He’s ready to hand off Palapeli and his other KDE software development responsibilities. Albert Astals Cid called attention to Ian’s achievements and suggested a Dot interview.

A Portrait of the Programmer as a Young Man

Ian Wadham’s bio at a glance

  • 1938 – Born in England
  • 1959 – Graduated in Physics and Mathematics at the University of Cambridge
  • 1960 – Migrated to Australia
  • April 1964 – Became a computer programmer 50 years ago
  • KDE Games developer for about 12 years
  • Currently lives in Melbourne, Australia

What are your thoughts about cutting back on software development?
Regret, but I have had a long innings. I will still potter around on my own, but not following any schedules. If something turns out well, I might commit it.

This is my second retirement. My first, from the workforce, was in 1998. This time I am withdrawing from writing programs for public use. I will continue to present a Science course for seniors at the local U3A (University of the Third Age) .

I seem to be getting involved in moves to make KDE’s portability work better on the Apple Mac OS X platform. And my grandchildren are always a joy.

How did you get started as a coder?
I prefer to call myself a programmer – and never a hacker. A hacker is someone who carves wood with an axe. I see programming as a craft. Sometimes I hack, to get a quick answer to a question, but when I have the result, I always like to go back and program it “properly”. If I do not, I find I cannot understand my own code a few months later.

How I started was one of those accidents of fate. My Ph.D. studies were not working out and I was looking for a new career. My girl-friend at the time was a programmer and she told me no qualifications were required, only an aptitude test, and that the job was interesting and the pay excellent. This was 1964 and I was nearly 26.

So I put in some applications and accepted the offer of my first programming job the night before I was interviewed as a Physics Instructor in the Australian Navy. All next morning I was saying that I had already accepted another job, but the military has its own ways of doing things. I went through the full medical check, the eye test, the IQ test, the psychology interview… Finally I entered a room with a long table and wall-to-wall admirals and captains – gold braid everywhere – and was finally allowed to deliver my news. “Oh, thank you for telling us,” they said.

At that time in Australia, very few physicists were using computers. Computer use was more common in the US, UK and Europe, especially in large, well-financed organizations such as NASA, the Atomic Energy Commission and the US Military.

Computers for individual physicists were an exotic and trendy means of avoiding lengthy and tedious calculations, if you could afford the time and money to acquire one and learn how to use it, but were not yet a routine tool as computers became within the following 10 years.

What major technology shifts have you been involved in?
You name it. It was good luck to join in when transistor hardware, assembly language and Fortran II were taking hold. Some people were still using valve machines and machine language. As a programmer I was involved in the beginnings of operating systems, real-time systems, on-line screens, minicomputers, structured programming, supercomputers, LANs, desktop systems (Xerox Star), relational database systems, C and multi-host commercial Unix systems.

The best company I ever worked for was Control Data Australia, 1965 to 1969. We have a website of memories, and we still keep in touch. On 17 May, we had a biennial reunion. I do not know of any other company group like it.

Control Data Corporation, our US parent company, made the largest and fastest computers in the world. Our chief designer was Seymour Cray and for decades he designed the world’s largest and fastest computers: later in Cray Research, his own company. At Control Data he insisted on seclusion and freedom to work in his private laboratory in his home town, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. There were many legends about him. One of my favorites is that each morning he would walk down to the river near the Falls and an eagle that nested there would fly down and perch on his shoulder.

CDC-160A Personal Computer

My first computer was one of Seymour’s lesser-known designs, a Control Data 160-A. The desk in the foreground is the entire machine. Some say it was the first minicomputer, even the first PC. It was significant too because essentially the same design, shaped as a 20cm cube, went into the ten peripheral processors on the CDC 6600 supercomputer. The 160-A was a wonderful first machine because it was possible for one person to learn everything about it – something that has been impossible with most machines since.

This was your “personal” computer? Wow!
Er, no! I was a young, penniless guy and it cost US$60,000. I meant it was the first computer I worked on, not the first one I owned. It belonged to Australia’s telephone research labs and I was programmer in charge, bureau manager and general dogsbody. If I stayed late at work, I could have a play…

FOSS Projects?
KDE is my only official FOSS project, but I feel that, by avoiding the IBM and Microsoft worlds, I have been able to work on FOSS all along. Free because it came with the hardware and you could modify it or fix bugs (i.e. also free in the Stallman sense). In the 80s and 90s you could still obtain access to source code (UNIX) on minis and megaminis for a fee, but I never found the need.

How did you come to KDE? And how long have you been part of KDE?
Microsoft and its business practices had always turned me off. My first IBM compatible PC (1995) was mainly for work purposes. After retiring in 1998, I started programming again in 2000. My son gave me a set of SuSE CDs for Christmas and it included this new desktop system called KDE 1.

Among the source code, in the Alpha section, I found the first version of KGoldRunner, by Marco Krüger. I had always liked Loderunner’s unique combination of action, strategy and puzzle solving and had always wanted to do something non-trivial in object-oriented programming, ever since Simula and Smalltalk days. So I set to work to learn C++ and Qt and with Marco’s permission produced a new version of KGoldrunner, committed to kdenonbeta (a precursor of playground and review) in March 2002.

Akademy is being held this year in Brno, Czech Republic. Have you been to Akademy?
Yes, Akademy 2008 in Belgium. The talks were great and so were the BOF sessions on games. That Gouden Carolus beer on the river trip and on the dinner night at the brewery in Mechelen was something else again. I now know it to be one of the world’s most powerful beers – and they were serving it in half-litre glasses! The high point of Akademy 2008 for me was to meet my fellow workers on KGoldrunner and take them to dinner in the main square at Mechelen.

You maintain several KDE applications, mostly games. What are they?
KGoldrunner, Kubrick, KJumpingCube, KSudoku and Palapeli. They are about 13% of the KDE Games, but 20-25% of the lines of code.

KGoldrunner is based on my all-time favorite game: Loderunner. One intriguing thing about it is the way bugs become features. One day I was sitting with my son (grown up) when he found out that it was possible for the hero to dig holes while falling through the air. Before I could fix the bug, he had made up a level that exploited it. Now that “feature” is an important part of many creative new games that people from around the world have contributed.

Kubrick was an effort to branch out into 3-D and OpenGL. It’s fine, but I am no good at cubing and I wonder if others enjoy Kubrick.

KJumpingCube and KSudoku I rescued from unmaintained. In KJC I added features and AI to make it more intelligible and also more challenging. In KSudoku, there was a half-finished re-development which left it so that it would generate mainly easy puzzles – no good at all for a serious player like my wife. I found a Python puzzle-generation algorithm on the net and, with the author’s permission, adapted it to C++ and KSudoku. I like KSudoku because it supports so many variations on the basic puzzle. I do not know of any other Sudoku game that does that.

My favorites games to play are KPat (solitaire card games), KSudoku (X and Aztec variations) and Palapeli.

You’ve gotten the applications into good shape, and are ready to hand them off. What type of person would you like to see take over? What will they get out of working on these applications?
I would like to see KDE set up a maintenance group and standards for “maintainability” of code. Programs that reach a reasonably good standard could then be maintained interchangeably by members of the group.

The group could be continually changing. Nobody can stay interested in such work for long. Also the group and its stock of programs would be a good source of Junior Jobs and a place for newbies to start. It would need to have some experienced members, or ready access to such people, because some bugs are too hard for trainees to solve.

This is not a new idea. It is roughly what has been happening everywhere I have worked since about 1967, when the burden of people quitting jobs and leaving behind unmaintainable, half-finished messes became intolerable for most organizations.

What was your experience in the various game transitions from early days to now? Did you play computer games when they were first available?
Games go back a very long way. Some of the earliest computers played music and a few played games. I remember a fellow-student in 1959 giving me a copy of a paper tape as a souvenir. It contained an EDSAC II program to determine if the king was in check.

Even the first supercomputer, the Control Data 6600, in 1966, had a game similar to KSpaceDuel (spaceships orbiting the Sun and shooting missiles). Only the elite and hardware engineers got time late at night to play games on those multi-megadollar machines.

Things became easier with minicomputers. In 1978 I was at a customer’s DEC PDP-11 site presenting a new version of their application system and was asked to finish up early. Why? It was the night the users all got on the computer to play Adventure, the original adventure game. They had made a wall-chart mapping out all the caves.

On our first PC, an Apple IIC, my children and I played a lot of Loderunner and Zork (“You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all of them alike.”). That was in 1983. We wore out several joysticks on Loderunner. We made up levels and challenged each other to solve them. Many of the current KGoldrunner levels come from that time. My Apple IIC still runs and can still play the Loderunner demo, but I used up the last gasp of the last joystick working out design details to be used in KGoldrunner. So I cannot play Loderunner now.

Later I had a Commodore Amiga 500 and became very hooked on Flood and Populous I and II. The Amiga had much better graphics and OS than the IBM PC and Windows, but sadly the Commodore company lost its way. My Amiga also is still in working order.

Later still, on Windows, I worked my way through Myst, Riven and Alpha Centauri. I never liked first person shooters, though.

You’ve added a lot to Palapeli, the jigsaw puzzle application. The new capabilities make it possible to do puzzles with a lot of pieces. It’s fun and challenging. The manual is quite helpful, especially with a lot of pieces. What was the thought process to create the latest version?
Several of us in the KDE Games group had kicked around ideas in 2010. Johannes Löhnert wrote the puzzle Preview class then, but it did not get implemented.

The Book by Juan Gris in Palapeli; 320 pieces; main screen, right edge piece-holder, preview

It seemed necessary to resolve the issues with a practical test, so I bought a 1000 piece puzzle and tried to solve it on a small table, no larger than the completed puzzle, using only the table and the box to hold pieces. As I played, I noted difficulties that arose and how they could be overcome. At the same time, I was mentally trying out analogues of what might be feasible on a computer screen. And of course, I had already tried solving large puzzles with Palapeli 1 and had seen what physical difficulties arose there.

Most of the manual was already written by Johannes Löhnert and Stefan Majewsky. I just added the chapter on large puzzles.

When I was growing up, we often had a jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table. It was a social event. What about adding a capability for working with others on a puzzle with a lot of pieces?
That’s a nice idea. I have never understood how networking is done in KDE Games. Maybe it is time I found out.

It’s hard to beat the computer at KJumpingCube. Do you have any strategy tips?
Only what is in the Handbook. KJC is about to become harder. Inge Wallin has an AI library he would like to try out on it. You have met the AI players Kepler and Newton. Prepare to meet Einstein!

What would you recommend to young programmers?
Read as many of other people’s programs as you can – even bad programs. Try and figure out what makes them good or bad, easy or hard to understand and maintain.

Can people learn to program when they are older?
Yes. My friend Glen, a retired airline pilot, taught himself on an IBM PC when he was fifty something. Within a year or two he became good enough to get work as an independent contractor.

Windows, Mac or Linux? Why?
Apple Macbook Pro, with OS X 10.7, Lion.

One day my Windows/Linux dual-boot system’s hardware died suddenly. I bought a new machine and installed the latest OpenSuSE. When I booted up KDE, my carefully constructed four-part Plasma desktop had been long gone, and I found myself in some new, empty and quite alien-seeming version of KDE and Plasma. It took me two days just to find out how to get rid of the blue glow around active windows, which was hard on my tired old eyes.

Ian Wadham – older, wiser, still gaming

It was important for me to keep working rather than play with settings, so I turned to the MacBook I had been messing around with, which was also supporting my wife’s iPhone and iPad (pre iCloud). I had some KDE and Qt software already installed, with MacPorts, and I was soon able to set up a KDE development environment. OS X really is quite a lot like Unix and Linux.

I like working on the Macbook. The desktop is quiet, unobtrusive and easy on the eyes. I can work for hours without getting tired or being distracted. Also the battery is long-lived, Time Machine does regular backups and the Spotlight indexer collects everything (even my source code) with no perceptible overhead. I feel I am more productive with Mac OS X than I ever was with Windows or KDE because I do not have to think about what the desktop is doing.

I feel as if I have come home.

The traditional KDE interview question—Richard Stallman or Linus Torvalds?
Edsger Dijkstra.

Thank you for the many years of work you’ve dedicated to the advancement of FOSS, and the KDE games in particular. Thanks also for sharing some of your experiences on the front lines of computer development over the fifty years of your active career.

Many thanks to Albert for the idea of interviewing Ian, and to Bob Potter for bringing in technical perspectives.

Dot Categories:

KDE Commit-Digest for 20th April 2014

In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest you can find an interview with Aaron Seigo about KF 5 and a look into KDE SC on devices. And of course, the overview of the development effort is there as every week and includes:
Ktexteditor adds keyword-based completi…

KDE Commit-Digest for 13th April 2014

In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest:
Exponential zoom in/out feature in “Solar System Viewer” of KStars
Lessons pane gets expand / collapse all buttons in Parley
Fixes to placement of KRunner on multi-screen setups
More grid presets and shortcuts for togg…

Plasma Next Beta Ready for Testing

KDE is pleased to announce that Plasma Next Beta 1 has been released. Plasma Next is the codename for the new version of our beautiful desktop workspace built on KDE Frameworks 5. It features the same familiar layout you will be used to but with a si…

KDE Ships May Updates to Applications and Platform

Today KDE released updates for its Applications and Development Platform, the first in a series of monthly stabilization updates to the 4.13 series. This release contains only bugfixes and translation updates, providing a safe and pleasant update for e…

KDE Commit-Digest for 30th March 2014

In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest:
Baloo reduces I/O usage during initial indexing; introduces a new database wrapper which adds features such as combining a writable + read only db and many convenience functions
Plasma Framework makes the desktop scrip…

KDE Commit-Digest for 23rd March 2014

In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest:
KDE Frameworks changes default font settings to Oxygen font
KDevelop improves Custom Buildsystem Plugin, and it is now possible to define macros and add include directories/files through GUI and the GUI is always acces…

KDE Commit-Digest for 16th March 2014

In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest:
KWallet adds support for pam-kwallet in kwalletd
KWin introduces a X-KWin-Internal in kwineffect services
Krita shows rulers in pixel units by default (user can change this)
Smb4k implements permanent (re)mounting of s…

KDE Commit-Digest for 9th March 2014

In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest:
Plasma Desktop can highlight currently open applets
Plasma framework adds an optional EGL/X11 backend for WindowThumbnail QQuickItem
KDE-PIM can create calendar events from e-mail
Kate substantially improves highlighti…

Akademy-es 2014: Visit Málaga and learn about KDE

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 ;).

Akademy-es 2013 group photo (click for larger)

Thank you to Gold Sponsors Digia, Opentia and openSUSE for helping make this happen!

Dot Categories:

KDE PIM 2014 Spring Sprint

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

KOrganizer love

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.

Dot Categories:

Akademy 2014 Call for Papers

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.

Akademy 2013 attendees (click for larger) by Knut Yrvin

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.

Dot Categories:

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

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.

Dot Categories:

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!

Dot Categories:

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…