Posted 2 days ago by Sebastian Kügler (sebas)
In the Plasma team, we’re working frantically towards the next release of the Plasma workspaces, code-named “Plasma Next”. With the architectural work well in place, we’ve been filling in missing bits and pieces in the past ... [More] months, and are now really close to the intended feature set for the first stable release. A good time to give you an impression of what it’s looking like right now. Keep in mind that we’re talking Alpha software here, and that we still have almost three months to iron out problems. I’m sure you’ll be able to observe something broken, but also something new and shiny.
For the first stable release of Plasma Next, we decided to focus on core functionality. It’s impossible to get every single feature that’s available in our long-term support release KDE Plasma workspaces 4.11 into Plasma Next at once. We therefore decided to not spread ourselves too thin, and set aside some not-quite-core functionality for now. So we’re not aiming at complete feature parity yet, but at a stable core desktop that gets the work done, even if it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that some of our users might be used to, yet.
Apart from “quite boring”, underlying “system stuff”, we’ve also worked on the visuals. In the video, you can see an improved contrast in Plasma popups, effects in kwin have been polished up to make the desktop feel snappier. We’ve started the work on a new Plasma theme, that will sport a flatter look with more pronounced typography than the venerable Air, and animations can now be globally disabled, so the whole thing runs more efficiently on systems with slow painting performance, for example across a network. These are only some of the changes, there are many more, visible and invisible.
We’re not quite done yet, but we have moved our focus from feature development to bugfixing, the results of that are very visible if you follow the development closely. Annoying problems are being fixed every day, and at this rate of development, I think we’re looking at a very shiny first stable release. Between today and that unicorn-dances-on-rainbows release lie almost three months of hard work, though, and that’s what we’ll do. While the whole thing already runs very smooth on my computers, we still have a lot of work to do in the integration department, and to translate this stability to the general case. Systems out there are diverse and different, and only wide-spread testing can help us make the experience a good one for everybody. [Less]
Posted 2 days ago by Martin Gräßlin
One of the new features in KWin 5 is a completely rewritten configuration module for our Desktop Effects. In KWin 4 our module was based on KPluginSelector, which is a great widget for a small list of plugins, but it was never a really good solution ... [More] for the needs of KWin.
Also we noticed that a QWidget based user interface is not flexible enough for what we would like to provide (e.g. preview videos). So when QtQuick came around we had the first experiments with reimplementing the selector with QtQuick, but with the lack of what today is QtQuick Controls it never left the prototype state. But it encouraged us to use one GSoC project on redesigning the control module from scratch and Antonis did a great job there to lay the foundation for what we have now in the upcoming alpha release.
The most noticeable change is that the new control module just focuses on the Desktop Effects. What we learned from our users is that they are only interested in configuring the effects and that the other options exposed in that control module bare the risk of users changing and breaking their system. Thus we decided to give the users what they need and move all other options into another control module.
In order to give the users the possibility to focus on the effects we also did some cleanup in the list and all effects which are not supported by the currently used compositing backend are hidden by default (e.g. OpenGL effects when using XRender). Also all internal or helper effects are hidden by default. These are effects which replace functionality from KWin Core or provide interaction with other elements of the desktop shell. Normally there is no reason for users to change that except if they want to break their system. That’s of course a valid use case and so there is a configuration button to modify the filtering of the list to show also those effects.
Last but not least our effects got extended by information on whether they are mutual exclusive to other effects. For example one would only want to activate the minimize or the magic lamp effect. Both at the same time result in broken animations. For effects in a mutual exclusive group the UI uses radio buttons and manages that only one of the effects can be activated. That’s the change I’m most happy about.
Check out the video to see the new configuration module in action and also see some of the new features I haven’t talked about. Please don’t tell me in the comments about padding issues and rendering problems. We can see those, too, and are quite aware of them. If you want to help iron out issues with Oxygen and QtQuick Controls check have a look to our wiki page. [Less]
Posted 2 days ago by Aaron Seigo (aseigo)
I've used Kontact (KDE's full feature groupware app) since it was available. I used KMail on its own before that. In that time I had never (!) reset the configuration or started from a clean start. I just migrated from version to version carrying ... [More] over all my settings and local mail as new version became available.
This means I went through the various epochs: when IMAP became the better supported system; grouwpare server support; akonadi; semantic search integration (both Nepomuk and Baloo) with the same configuration and data on disk.
The last several months had become amazingly painful with Kontact, however. Frequently folders would lock up and the caches would fall out of sync; switching folders would take forever; loading mail content was also often painful. Restarting Kontact became a multi-day affair, and dropping Akonadi caches was becoming increasingly frequent. I chalked this up to running bleeding edge master, but my patience was growing thin. I filed bug reports, I started looking through the code to see where problems might be and I even considered what I could migrate to. (Nothing really comes close to Kontact, however ...)
So the other week I decided to take a drastic measure before going any further: I blew away all of the configuration and data files related to Kontact (including the individual apps such as KMail and KOrganizer) and Akonadi, keeping only my local maildir folders and started from scratch.
Since then it has been a night-and-day difference. Kontact actually works again. It's like having my old trusty friend back. Both my POP and IMAP accounts work well; all the SMTP outgoing is flawless; Kolab works a treat alongside my local maildir folders; local and server-side filters are both humming cheerily sorting my mail for me ... amazing!
When I mentioned this on irc the other day, someone else said they had just done the exact same thing. Sooo .. if you've been using Kontact for a while and finding it is suddenly not living up to your expectations after the next upgrade, consider taking the plunge. Yes, it means setting things up again, though thankfully that doesn't take very long with Kontact if you know where the various settings are (and/or use the included wizards). I happily chalk that investment of time into the "win" column though, given how smooth everything now is.
.. and if you haven't ever seriously tried using Kontact (perhaps because versions in past year left you with a sour taste for one reason or another), give it another try when 4.13 comes out. We migrated one person in the house from Thunderbird to Kontact after they started using Kolab (mostly for the shared calendaring; coordination ftw!) and despite having tried and dropped Kontact twice in the past they are now a very happy user. Old emails were imported accurately, new accounts set up smoothly, multiple IMAP accounts (and a local maildir one for good measure) and integrated calendaring, TODOs and contacts .. what more could one want? ;) [Less]
Posted 2 days ago by Roland Wolters (liquidat)
I created an Ansbile Cheat Sheet for Wall-Skills.com which was published today. It covers most of the important bits and pieces on one neat single page and thus should hang on your office wall. And since even customers recently approached me ... [More] regarding using Ansible on Ubuntu/Debian I figure and hope that this cheat sheet will be of help to others.
By the way, thanks to pastjean who is the creator of the famous Git Cheat Sheet which was published on Wall-Skills not long ago in an adapted version: the Git Cheat Sheet inspired me to write my own cheat sheet for Ansible, and the design follows similar principles.
Filed under: Business, Debian, Fedora, Linux, Office, Shell, Short Tip, Technology, Ubuntu [Less]
Posted 2 days ago by jospoortvliet
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 ... [More] users!
What's to be tested?
Let's go over a list of major and minor changes in this release, and areas where developers have explicitly asked us for help.
A major new improvement is the introduction of KDE’s next generation Semantic Search. This makes search faster, saves memory, improves stability, and generates more reliable search results. And it could use a good testing.
Various applications use the search abilities, most notably Dolphin and KDE PIM (see the next section). Also tagging (Gwenview!) and KRunner (Alt-F2 run command dialog) can use some attention.
Some of your existing data will need to be migrated from the current Nepomuk backend to the new 'Baloo' backend. Running the nepomukbaloomigrator should take care of that. The old Nepomuk support is considered “legacy” (but it is still provided). The programs that have not yet been ported to the new architecture have Nepomuk integration disabled. One significant regression is file-activity linking, which will not work until KDE Applications and Platform 4.14. If you rely on this feature, we recommend not upgrading at this time. For the final release, distributions might choose to optionally have the old search (Nepomuk) available.
The Kontact Suite (email, calendaring, contacts and more) benefits from the improvements in search; there is also a new quick filter bar and search. IMAP will be more reliable, and performance should be massively improved. There is also a brand new sieve editor and integration with cloud storage functions, where Kontact can automatically put big attachments on Box/DropBox/Hubic/Kolab/ownCloud/UbuntuOne/WebDav/YousendIt and link to them.
Okular, Kate and Umbrello
Document viewer Okular has a lot of new features like tabs, media handling and a magnifier, improved Find and Undo/Redo.
Text editor Kate has gotten a lot of attention, so there are many new features in the areas of further VIM style support, bracket matching, highlighting and more. You can read the blogs on the Kate site and test some of that awesome.
The UML modeling application Umbrello received some improvements and bugfixes. If you use it, now is a good time to help out a little and see if it works better! There is new duplication of diagrams and improvements to the context menus (which only shows relevant actions).
Education and Games
We received a special request from developer Ian Wadham:
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:
set up your testing environment
pick something to test
back to 2 until something unexpected/bad happens
check if what you found is really a bug
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
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.
Dot Categories: Developer [Less]
Posted 2 days ago by Laurent Montel (mlaurent)
In 4.12 I fixed KNotes. It was totally unmaintained. So I decided to fix all bugs that I found, and improve it.
For 4.13 my focus was to port it to Akonadi. KNotes used KResources until now and in KF5 it will removed, so it was necessary to port ... [More] it to Akonadi.
I did it in 4.13.
So I created a knotes-migrator for migrate old data to akonadi.
So no data lose
As you know we can put an alarm on a note but it was never displayed when knotes was not started.
With Akonadi we are able to create an “Agent”,. Now we have a new agent named “NotesAgent” which allows to inform you when a note sent an alarm.
In Knotes we can also send a note in network, NoteAgent is used to receive it too.
What are the others improvements ? Now we use “baloo” for searching notes.
As it uses same data as KJots we can see them in Kjots too.
I hope that it will motivate you to use it
I don’t have idea for the future yet
Feel free to send idea:) [Less]
Posted 3 days ago by Valorie Zimmerman (valorie)
Greetings to all you students we've been talking with in IRC (#kde-soc and your chosen team's channel(s)) and on the mailing lists. By now, hopefully you have met and talked with your teams, and begun formulating your plan for GSoC, with advice from ... [More] your prospective mentor(s).
I hope you have followed Myriam's advice and done your homework. If you have worked on some junior jobs, have your KDE developer credentials, joined the necessary lists *including KDE-soc*, you have a good foundation built.
Pro-tip: always check out the links in the /topic of your IRC channels. The #kde-soc channel topic is particularly rich.
Many prospective mentors hang out in that channel, but not all. Us admins are there as often as possible as well. I'm always willing to help edit a proposal for grammar, spelling, organization, formatting, etc. And I can be brutally honest, so if you ask my opinion, be aware that I won't waste your time with anything but the truth.
Now is the time to log into melange, and submit your proposals. If you have not yet had a team member vet your plan, give them the link to your melange proposal and ask. Don't waste their time with mere ideas; you need a clear plan of action, and a realistic timeline.
Go, go, go! [Less]
Posted 3 days ago by Jonathan Riddell (riddell)
KDE Project: DCOPScarlett has been working hard on packaging KDE Frameworks 5 Alpha 2 and the build status page shows a sea of green (the only yellow is when a framework is asking for a package which doesn't exist yet). Just in time for Plasma Next ... [More] to get its Alpha release this week coming :) Grab the KF5 packages from the experimental PPA for Kubuntu Trusty. [Less]
Posted 4 days ago by Jens Reuterberg (jensreuterberg)
Where in we talk more about the value of community design, talk about creating resources for developers, why it's cool checking out other designers work, show some details from the coming Plasma Theme (and a sneaky special gift to our fine readers ;) ... [More] ) and then end with a short comment on politics.
From Marco Martins blog and Desktop. Plasma Next.
What a week, what a week... One of my favorite things is going in to the VDG forums at the KDE-forum and read and reply to posts. There are too many awesome things to talk about going on and ALL IN THE OPEN. Some would call it "design by committee" I call it "social design work"!
First off the Awesome Community Icon's need a mention. The idea came from a while back when a proposed set of monochrome icons to be used in applications and widgets based of the Awesome Font was talked about. It never really got further than that but now that work has started up again in earnest. The idea being to make a simple, lean and above all symbolic icon language to be used in Open Source projects and KDE projects especially. By being monochrome, it can also use the coming effect of changing to the color of the chosen text color in the color theme.
Right now a group of community members (me included) are sifting through the available icons and sorting them into the correct places, community member Davidwright will then work it into a git-thing and hopefully a member of the VDG will sort out a project page with all icons accessible and nice so anyone can use them. Hopefully we will also be able to describe all icon sets and what the name of the icon mean so further icon design work is made simpler.
We're also hoping to include monochrome versions of LegnaVI's Krita icons to create some kind of unification in this project, trying to make all KDE apps to use the same iconset.
If you feel like helping out KDE, join in the fun and help out - the beginning of the thread has links to the Google Spreadsheet we're using for work and the Awesome Font page we're using as base for all icons. Do it!
Then Leroux also finished his network icons that I posted about earlier and I suggest anyone who feels a passion for icons and themeing should check them out and perhaps use them in a theme (contact him so you guys can collaborate). Hopefully we will be able to use part of them in the AKI (yes "Awesome Kommunity Icons").
A wild debated has started about a new form of sidebar in the forums - a plethora of mockups and design idea's are being hammered out and I for one is right now lurking in the thread reading every little idea and notion with interest.
(Future Plasma Design leak: part of the design ideas are being used in the sketches for the next Plasma Kickoff Launcher... don't tell anyone, iiih exciting)
The Kmymoney project is also shaping up nicely - due to the brililant work of community member lucashappy, they now have a new application icon and thoughts are being worked on working the AKI icons into a future design for them.
Now there is also a large debate going on System Settings and the future of them in the forums. For now it will be a slow and bit-by-bit thing but when it takes off a large chunk of the work is done so far so if you want to get in on that, join the debate!
The System Settings also had a split today in how we handle Desktop Effects. Due to technical reasons it was split into Compositing and [Desktop Effects]. One being more technical and "please don't play too much with this" and the other the same collection of effects we as KDE and Plasma users have come to love and adore. That means naming should be talked about... and it is! In the forums!
Now all this is to say: if you have a problem with something, you have an idea how to solve it - we have a massive community, together we can fix things design-wise, we can come up with new ideas and amazing concepts in an air of togetherness, kindness and cooperation. So don't just say that you don't like something somewhere on a blog, write a proper suggestion for a solution (without smacktalking anyone, respect is key) in the forums instead. Join in the fun!
Also this week I have been installing different kinds of desktop environments to check them out and see how they solved their issues. The plan was to post that report yesterday (along with an illustration tutorial) but things got in the way so it'll be coming next week.
Safe to say, don't expect any "Unity/Gnome/Openbox/whatever sucks!" texts from me. I have nothing but admiration and respect for the work done by ALL Open Source and Linux designers. All. Even if I use Plasma by choice it doesn't mean I have to hate on them instead of seeing how they did different. So this is my shoutout to the designers of those desktop environments: "Great work boys and girls, you're an inspiration! <3"
Also I will start writing a column in Full Circle Magazine about Open Source and Design which will have its basis in my experiences with the KDE Community and the design work there. I think the first short one will be in the next issue.
From Marco Martins blog and desktop
But what about Plasma Next? Well the work is ticking on. The first screenshots from Plasma Next using our light theme are out on Marco Martins blog and everything is being worked on and tested right now to hopefully get into the Alpha of Plasma Next. We've soon to begin the work on a dark theme which hopefully will roll out the doors any second.
As a matter of fact... consider this a rare treat: We've bundled the preview we have that you can use in Plasma Current, it won't look exactly the same and it is massively a WORK IN PROGRESS - but we've added a color theme, an Aurorae theme for the window decoration and a Qtcurve theme for the widget - also a quick fix to make Chrome or Chromium look nice. So don't say we never did anything for you ;)
Now remember, this is massively a work in progress and hardly a final - the clock and logout and other bits need refining (and some lines etc). If you're on Plasma Next then it might be a bit more correct with the correct blurring effect on the panels - but anyway, enough talk you can download a tar of it here! Now it will say "no preview" but just press download and everything is ticketyboo.
All this is due to the massive work undertaken by Andrew Lake of the VDG - Andrew, what would we do without you?
Politics. Concerning the recent events in Malmö I just want to add a short #kämpashowan and that during the recent surge of right wing extremist violence and politics in Europe it is important to remember Edmund Burkes words: "the only thing necessary for the triumph for evil is for good men to do nothing", that is all for now and probably the last I will talk about politics in this blog.
Next week we will have some icon work to look at, some refinements to check out with the theme (maybe another sneak preview to our dedicated readers, hmm?) until then, take care! [Less]
Posted 4 days ago by devaja
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 ... [More] delegates from Europe, the USA and different parts of India. A platform for the exchange of ideas, and spontaneous discussions about goals and thoughts regarding open source as well as technological advancements. Also how to make paper planes.
What came before
Conf.kde.in was first organized in 2011 in Bangalore; last year a KDE India Meetup took place at DA-IICT. Both of those helped bring forth an expanded conf.kde.in 2014. The growing KDE community in India welcomed new, cheerful friends. And the open source community in India welcomed a new generation of stalwarts.
Where it was
Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology (DA-IICT), Gandhinagar is an institution of higher learning located in one of the most thriving technological hubs of western India. It has been fostering young minds in the fields of computer science and information technology for many years and features an active local community. It was the perfect location for conf.kde.in to reach out to more young minds. With the conference at the institutional level, KDE and top talent made a solid connection.
What it was all about
conf.kde.in 2014 was a fertile environment for getting people started with open source contribution, telling them about KDE technology and the community, introducing them to various applications, answering questions, and appealing to them to make the switch to open source. There were about 260 attendees for the event.
Peter in action
The first day - the 21st of February saw the start of the conference with a talk by Pradeepto Bhattacharya (a member of the KDE e.V. Board) on the essence of the KDE Community. That was followed by a Qt hands-on session, with the students experiencing the power of Qt by fiddling with it, rather than just listening and trying to imagine how to use it. Some people couldn't keep up with the pace, but by the end of the day, almost everyone had a fully functioning Linux system running on their laptop and was beginning to explore the power of Open Source. There was a general level of satisfaction with the learning opportunities, no matter the person's starting skill level. People's willingness to help others made a big difference.
The second day - on the 22nd of February there was a huge line up of talks - spread out over different realms of open source. The sessions by Sinny Kumari, Chandan Kumar, Samikshan Bairagya, Smit Shah, Shubham Chaudhary were specific to the projects they are working on—Plasma Media Center, Artikulate (the language trainer application), Localization Team Management tool, KDE Multimedia and others. There was also some informal bug solving. The point of these sessions was to introduce the students to various KDE projects, projects that students have worked on previously as a part of the Google Summer of Code, the Season of KDE and other mentoring programs. This helped them understand real life applications of coding techniques and skills, and the value of direction and guidance from mentors. It also showed them how to get started contributing to open source.
The talks by Nikhil Marathe, Vishesh Handa, Siteshwar Vashisht and Shantanu Tushar Jha went deeper into specifics and covered technical details of various KDE applications. They covered topics such as memory and synchronization management with RAII, the Mer Project, Baloo (dealing with meta data and search indexing). These presentations expanded the attendees' horizons and helped them explore advanced issues and technologies.
The non-technical talks—on various facets of open source and FOSS communities—were given by Kévin Ottens and Jos Poortvliet. They talked about Free and Open Source Software and how its principles operate within the KDE Community. Their presentations emphasized the practical aspects of FOSS on KDE's work and beliefs. Conference participants got a clear view into KDE as an open source organization, further broadening their horizons.
On February 23rd, Bhushan Shah, Sayantan Datta, Rishabh Arora, Punit Mehta and Peter Grasch talked about their KDE projects which are (respectively):
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.
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.
Dot Categories: Community and Events [Less]