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KDE Commit-Digest for 11th May 2014

Lun, 06/30/2014 - 01:27

In this week's KDE Commit-Digest:

  • Clang backend of KDevelop gains basic implementation of adjust signature assistant
  • Kscreen KCM has been rewritten; the interface has two parts: a view with monitors that can be dragged around to reposition screens, and a widget-based part, that provides detailed configuration for each screen, like resolution, rotation, etc
  • The screen locker gets the KCM back too
  • Akonadi gets incremental changes for MERGE and tag support for MERGE and APPEND
  • KMyMoney supports SQLCipher database driver
  • Plasma Media Center prioritizes photos taken by a camera-like device.

Read the rest of the Digest here.

Dot Categories:

Randa Meetings Interview Three: Vedant Agrawal

Vie, 06/27/2014 - 06:28

Vedant Agarwala

Thanks again for your further support of the Randa Meetings fundraising. We have now reached almost 40% of the our goal and there is still time to go. Please help even more and spread the word. If we reach our goal we can have an even more stable Kdenlive, more applications ported to KDE Frameworks 5, further progress on Phonon, a look at Amarok 3, even better KDE educational applications, a finished port of GCompris to Qt and KDE technologies, an updated KDE Book, more work on Gluon and a new and amazing KDE SDK!

Here is another little snippet of the musings of a young student, Vedant Agarwala, from India who is doing his Google Summer of Code project with KDE this year.

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

I am a Computer Science Engineer, currently in my final year of graduation from National Institute of Technology, Durgapur.

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

Towards the end of my first year in college I wanted to do some real world coding - code that actually had some meaning and that would be really useful to someone - as opposed to college assignments/evaluations - and so I had a talk with one of my college seniors who was a two-time Google Summer of Code student. He was a KDE developer and suggested I do the same. That was the beginning of my journey into Linux, Open Source and KDE. It has been uphill since and two years later; here I am; eagerly awaiting arrival at a KDE Sprint.

Could you describe your Google Summer of Code experience and GSoC project in short?

So far my GSoC experience is really nice. Some really busy times researching, coding, testing, debugging. I am improving the way lyrics are fetched and displayed in Amarok. Personally; I like to follow the lyrics of the song that is playing; so I added this idea to the Ideas Page for GSoC 2014. And now here I am, working on it. The goal of my project is to highlight the particular line from the entire lyrics text that is being played.
My ultimate goal is to add the features that I have promised. I hope I achieve it. Not only would it improve the Amarok experience, it would pave the way to developments in Amarok; like karaoke. I love karaoke (even though I am very bad at it). Though it is out of the scope of this project to implement a karaoke feature, implementing LRC support is halfway to karaoke.


Amarok - a powerful music player for Linux, Unix and Windows

Could you tell us how GSoC helps many students like you both in increasing their knowledge as well as in experience?

GSoC is a great program for us students who get paid for working on Free Software. A lot is learnt while writing code over a period of three months. It is different from bug fixes that take typically a week. Also, the mentorship and two evaluations by Google (on which the stipend depends) are great motivators.
Rather than spending time writing closed source code for companies (in internships), students can spend their summer vacation contributing to the world of Free Software.

Why is KDE so special to you?

KDE to me is freedom. I used windows before KDE software and I felt like a bird let out of a cage.

Is this your first time at Randa?

Yes it is my first time. To any KDE conference actually.

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

I heard about this meeting in Randa from Myriam on IRC. I'd heard that she, Mark and other developers of Amarok and KDE were going to be there and so I thought that it would be a nice opportunity to meet them in person.

Which specific area of KDE Applications do you contribute to?

I work on Amarok - KDE's music player.

What is your specific role in the particular group of KDE Applications that you are a part of and how long have you been working?

I contribute code, do some code reviews, and fix bugs. I have been working on it for one and half years now.

Have you got anything in particular planned for Randa?

I have planned to talk about porting Amarok to Qt5 and talk with Amarok developers to decide what Amarok 3.0 will be like.

Why do you think meetings such as Randa are very important for KDE and for Free Software communities around the globe?

The contributors of Free Software do not receive any monetary perks for the work they do. Sponsored meetings like this is a nice incentive, especially for students.

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

I went to Switzerland when I was 5 years old. I haven't been abroad after that. Those memories are a haze but I would love to re-live them this time.

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

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

Dot Categories:

Randa Meetings Interview Three: Vedant Agrawal

Vie, 06/27/2014 - 06:28

Vedant Agarwala

Thanks again for your further support of the Randa Meetings fundraising. We have now reached almost 40% of the our goal and there is still time to go. Please help even more and spread the word. If we reach our goal we can have an even more stable Kdenlive, more applications ported to KDE Frameworks 5, further progress on Phonon, a look at Amarok 3, even better KDE educational applications, a finished port of GCompris to Qt and KDE technologies, an updated KDE Book, more work on Gluon and a new and amazing KDE SDK!

Here is another little snippet of the musings of a young student, Vedant Agarwala, from India who is doing his Google Summer of Code project with KDE this year.

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

I am a Computer Science Engineer, currently in my final year of graduation from National Institute of Technology, Durgapur.

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

Towards the end of my first year in college I wanted to do some real world coding - code that actually had some meaning and that would be really useful to someone - as opposed to college assignments/evaluations - and so I had a talk with one of my college seniors who was a two-time Google Summer of Code student. He was a KDE developer and suggested I do the same. That was the beginning of my journey into Linux, Open Source and KDE. It has been uphill since and two years later; here I am; eagerly awaiting arrival at a KDE Sprint.

Could you describe your Google Summer of Code experience and GSoC project in short?

So far my GSoC experience is really nice. Some really busy times researching, coding, testing, debugging. I am improving the way lyrics are fetched and displayed in Amarok. Personally; I like to follow the lyrics of the song that is playing; so I added this idea to the Ideas Page for GSoC 2014. And now here I am, working on it. The goal of my project is to highlight the particular line from the entire lyrics text that is being played.
My ultimate goal is to add the features that I have promised. I hope I achieve it. Not only would it improve the Amarok experience, it would pave the way to developments in Amarok; like karaoke. I love karaoke (even though I am very bad at it). Though it is out of the scope of this project to implement a karaoke feature, implementing LRC support is halfway to karaoke.


Amarok - a powerful music player for Linux, Unix and Windows

Could you tell us how GSoC helps many students like you both in increasing their knowledge as well as in experience?

GSoC is a great program for us students who get paid for working on Free Software. A lot is learnt while writing code over a period of three months. It is different from bug fixes that take typically a week. Also, the mentorship and two evaluations by Google (on which the stipend depends) are great motivators.
Rather than spending time writing closed source code for companies (in internships), students can spend their summer vacation contributing to the world of Free Software.

Why is KDE so special to you?

KDE to me is freedom. I used windows before KDE software and I felt like a bird let out of a cage.

Is this your first time at Randa?

Yes it is my first time. To any KDE conference actually.

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

I heard about this meeting in Randa from Myriam on IRC. I'd heard that she, Mark and other developers of Amarok and KDE were going to be there and so I thought that it would be a nice opportunity to meet them in person.

Which specific area of KDE Applications do you contribute to?

I work on Amarok - KDE's music player.

What is your specific role in the particular group of KDE Applications that you are a part of and how long have you been working?

I contribute code, do some code reviews, and fix bugs. I have been working on it for one and half years now.

Have you got anything in particular planned for Randa?

I have planned to talk about porting Amarok to Qt5 and talk with Amarok developers to decide what Amarok 3.0 will be like.

Why do you think meetings such as Randa are very important for KDE and for Free Software communities around the globe?

The contributors of Free Software do not receive any monetary perks for the work they do. Sponsored meetings like this is a nice incentive, especially for students.

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

I went to Switzerland when I was 5 years old. I haven't been abroad after that. Those memories are a haze but I would love to re-live them this time.

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

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

Dot Categories:

Where KDE is going - Part 1

Mié, 06/25/2014 - 22:01

This article explores where the KDE community currently stands and where it is going. Frameworks, Plasma, KDE e.V., Qt5, KDE Free Qt Foundation, QtAddons - you heard some of these terms and want to know what all the fuss is about? A set of articles on the Dot aims to bring some clarity in the changes and constants of the KDE community in 2014 and further. This is the first article, diving into the technical side of things: Plasma, applications and libraries.

KDE is People

Today our technology goes much further than the humble beginnings in 1996, when we started out building a 'Desktop Environment'. KDE today has many hundreds of active developers. They make not only a 'desktop' (Plasma Desktop) but also a variant for tablets (Plasma Active) and TVs (Plasma Media Center); Plasma Netbook is already 5 years old!

Meanwhile, the KDE applications have gone beyond simple clocks and calculators – we have a full office suite, mail and calendaring, video and image editors and much more. Not only that, KDE applications are being ported to multiple platforms - not just Windows and Mac, but also Android and other mobile operating systems. And our libraries (being renamed to Frameworks 5) are going modular, making them freely available to a far wider audience than just KDE developers.

Today, KDE is no longer a Unix Desktop Environment. Today, KDE is people: Us. You and me. And our technologies—Plasma, Applications and Frameworks—are doing more today than ever before. Let's explore where they are going, starting with Plasma, central to our desktop interface.

Plasma by KDE

Plasma was conceived as the next generation of KDE's desktop technology. When its architecture was drafted in 2006 and 2007, the goal of the developers was to build a modular base suitable for multiple different user interfaces. It is easy to see this as an obvious goal in a world with high resolution displays, tablets, mobile phones, media centers and so on. But as argued here, until today, KDE technology is unique in its ability to converge the different form factors at a code level. Others are still either attempting to build one interface for a wide variety of devices, looking for a middle ground or have realized that user interface convergence is a futile exercise and created separate interfaces.


Multiple Plasma Workspaces in March 2011 Plasma 5

Plasma took some time to mature, in part due to its ambitious design, in part because the technologies it built upon were not mature enough for the needs of Plasma. This is still somewhat of a problem today, and the 4.x series has workarounds to deal with the deficiencies in the platforms below it.

This is where the next generation of Plasma technology comes in. Conveniently named Plasma 5, it will bring pixel-perfect design and super smooth performance thanks to the QML and Qt 5 technologies and fully hardware accelerated display rendering. High DPI support and the ability to work with Wayland (Linux's next generation display server) are planned as well, but neither are expected to be fully finished with the first release.


A scalable UI

With Plasma 5 the team can start working on bringing seamless switching of work-spaces when moving from device to device. For example, plugging a keyboard and mouse into a tablet can trigger Plasma to transform its tablet-and-touch optimized UI into the desktop interface. And the applications, being notified of the change, can follow adapting to the new form factor. The current Plasma technology already can hint to applications which QML/ Javascript/ graphics files fit the current form factor and is already being used in Plasma Active, the tablet-optimized workspace of Plasma. None of this requires logging out-and-in – you can just continue working with the document you were working in or keep reading that web site!

These capabilities put the current Plasma far ahead of any competitor and the gap will only increase with the release of Plasma 5. But these advanced features do not take away from the familiar interface. The Plasma team is fully aware of value of established work flows of computer users and the need of not disrupting them. This means that there will be minimal feature loss or changes in the setup of the desktop. Just butter-smooth performance, polished look and more flexibility.

The Visual Design Group, Interaction Design and Usability
A new design for Plasma

Aside from technical work, there is design and usability work going on. The idea behind the Visual Design Group was to build a team in KDE which would focus on design. This is done in a rather novel way, led by the enthusiasm of Jens Reuterberg, a FOSS enthusiast and designer from Sweden. Since the inception of the design team, there has been work in many areas. There have been new icons and improvements to existing design elements of KDE software but the majority of work has been focused on Plasma 5. A widget theme is in development, a cursor theme as well and icons are being discussed. And Plasma 5.0 will move to the Oxygen font by default. But the team also looks at interaction design and work flows in the interface, working together with the KDE usability team.

The usability team keeps developers and designers experimenting with new user interfaces close to the ground, making sure the user impact of their work is evaluated. The team conducts surveys and tests as well as using its own expertise to help the KDE developers design powerful but easy to use applications.


The new lock screen

Usability experts have been giving feedback in various areas of KDE's software, for example working closely with the developers of a new network manager interface for Plasma. Another example is the chat room experience in KDE Telepathy. Currently, work is being put into redesigning Systemsettings and many other things.


A redesigned battery applet

At events like Akademy, the usability team gives developers training in testing user interfaces with real users. Aside of working directly with developers and training them, the usability team has been reworking KDE's Human Interface Guidelines.

Work in progress

The first release of this new generation Plasma will not be without its issues. With a substantial change in underlying stack come exciting new crashes and problems that need time to be shaken out. This can also lead to visual artifacts. While QML2 brings better looks due to its seamless integration of openGL and more precise positioning, the immaturity of Qt Quick Controls, the successor to the 15 year old widget technology in Qt, will bring some rough edges in other areas. Moreover, as the latest Beta announcement points out, performance is also heavily dependent on specific hardware and software configuration:

In some scenarios, Plasma 5 will display the buttery smooth performance it is capable off - while at other times, it will be hampered by various shortcomings. These can and will be addressed, however, much is dependent on components like Qt, Mesa and hardware drivers lower in the stack. This will need time, as fixes made in Qt now simply won't be released by the time the first Plasma 5 version becomes available.” Plasma 5.0 is scheduled for release July 2014.

Read more:

The KDE Applications

Compared to the desktop and libraries, the situation with KDE's applications is simpler. Currently at 4.13, the next release will be 4.14, coming in August. After that there will be another release (together with KF5-based applications) but what comes next is still up for discussion. KDE's release team has been experimenting with shortening the release cycle. Shorter release cycles seem to be a trend throughout the ecosystem, facilitated by improved tools and processes.

A very fast release cycle?

Experiences in the world of mobile and web applications have shown that users are far more likely to start using features and appreciate small batches instead of large dumps. Short release cycles can bring bug fixes and improvements to our users much faster. On the other hand, most users of KDE software access their software and updates through the downstream distributions which are on slower release cycles even though they have repositories for updated software. Therefor this is a discussion which needs to include the distributions as much as the upstream developers.

And in any case, both our release infrastructure and our promotion will have to be adjusted as well. This has been started on the KDE Community mailing list, with proposals involving a clean up of the KDE Applications and changes in the release cadence.

Moving to Frameworks 5

The trend towards shorter release cycles requires many questions answered before it becomes feasible in practice. But a move to Frameworks 5 is certain to happen at some point, the question merely is when. Some applications have already started porting, encouraged by the swift progress being made on Frameworks 5. However most have not; it is not likely that most applications will have been ported to Frameworks 5 by the end of the year. Porting is relatively easy but the teams vary in focus and goals so we will have a Frameworks 5 based Applications release next to a 4.x series for a while.

Here again, KDE developers want the upgrade process to be smooth for users. In short, the 4.x series will be with us for the time being, and a Frameworks 5 series will be available in parallel. Regardless of the series, applications will work fine under any desktop. Developers want to ensure that migration is not an issue.

Read more:

KDE Libraries

When KDE began more than 15 years ago, development was application-driven. Libraries were intended to share work, making development easier and faster. New functionality in the libraries was added based on simple rules. For example, if a particular functionality was used in more than one place, it was put into a shared library. Today, the KDE libraries provide high-level functionality like toolbars and menus, spell checking and file access. They are also used occasionally to fix or work around issues in Qt and other libraries that KDE software depends upon. Distributed as a single set of interconnected libraries, they form a common code base for (almost) all KDE applications.

Frameworks 5

Under the KDE Frameworks efforts, these libraries are being methodically reworked into independent, cross platform modules that will be readily available to all Qt developers. Some functions have already been adopted as Qt standards. The KDE Frameworks—designed as drop-in Qt Addon libraries—will enrich Qt as a development environment. The Frameworks can simplify, accelerate and reduce the cost of Qt development by eliminating the need to reinvent key functions. Qt is growing in popularity. Ubuntu is building on Qt and QML for Ubuntu Phone and planning to move over the desktop in the future. The LXDE desktop and GCompris projects are in the process of porting over to Qt. Subsurface (a divelog project made famous by having Linus Torvalds as core contributor) has had its first Qt based release.

With Frameworks, KDE is getting closer to Qt, benefiting both, as well as more and more users and developers. The Frameworks team plans to go for monthly releases with 'branch-less development'. This means that everything will be developed in master, so each release will contain a few new features and bugfixes. Of course, this type of release cycle comes with a price of its own. Features in released modules can only be introduced in a very fine grained way so as to not jeopardize stability and our continuous integration and testing tools will be taken very seriously. All modified code has to come with corresponding tests and there is a strong focus on peer review. This model is still under discussion with the distribution teams, considering the impact on their release practices. KDE Frameworks 5.0 is planned to be released in the first week of July 2014.

Read more:

Conclusion

Now, we've covered the Frameworks, Applications and Plasma—the full gamut of KDE technologies. By summer of this year we can expect new generation Frameworks and Plasma to be available. The Applications will take a tad longer, but should run on any desktop. All have release cycle changes, no longer releasing as part of the full "KDE Software Compilation". Compared to the previous major change in platform (KDE 4.0), these will be incremental on a technical level. Plasma 5 and Frameworks 5 are very much about taking advantage of the fact that our infrastructure has caught up with our ambitions. We intend to deliver these benefits in the form of a great experience for our users!

Next week, we'll publish part two of the 'where KDE is going' mini-series, with a look at KDE's governance and how our community has been changing.

These articles are based on a talk given at conf.kde.in by Jos Poortvliet with lots of input from KDE contributors. A more extensive version of these articles, quoting members of the KDE community for more background, can be found in the upcoming (August) issue of Linux Voice magazine, 'the magazine that gives back to the Free Software community'

Dot Categories:

Where KDE is going - Part 1

Mié, 06/25/2014 - 22:01

This article explores where the KDE community currently stands and where it is going. Frameworks, Plasma, KDE e.V., Qt5, KDE Free Qt Foundation, QtAddons - you heard some of these terms and want to know what all the fuss is about? A set of articles on the Dot aims to bring some clarity in the changes and constants of the KDE community in 2014 and further. This is the first article, diving into the technical side of things: Plasma, applications and libraries.

KDE is People

Today our technology goes much further than the humble beginnings in 1996, when we started out building a 'Desktop Environment'. KDE today has many hundreds of active developers. They make not only a 'desktop' (Plasma Desktop) but also a variant for tablets (Plasma Active) and TVs (Plasma Media Center); Plasma Netbook is already 5 years old!

Meanwhile, the KDE applications have gone beyond simple clocks and calculators – we have a full office suite, mail and calendaring, video and image editors and much more. Not only that, KDE applications are being ported to multiple platforms - not just Windows and Mac, but also Android and other mobile operating systems. And our libraries (being renamed to Frameworks 5) are going modular, making them freely available to a far wider audience than just KDE developers.

Today, KDE is no longer a Unix Desktop Environment. Today, KDE is people: Us. You and me. And our technologies—Plasma, Applications and Frameworks—are doing more today than ever before. Let's explore where they are going, starting with Plasma, central to our desktop interface.

Plasma by KDE

Plasma was conceived as the next generation of KDE's desktop technology. When its architecture was drafted in 2006 and 2007, the goal of the developers was to build a modular base suitable for multiple different user interfaces. It is easy to see this as an obvious goal in a world with high resolution displays, tablets, mobile phones, media centers and so on. But as argued here, until today, KDE technology is unique in its ability to converge the different form factors at a code level. Others are still either attempting to build one interface for a wide variety of devices, looking for a middle ground or have realized that user interface convergence is a futile exercise and created separate interfaces.


Multiple Plasma Workspaces in March 2011 Plasma 5

Plasma took some time to mature, in part due to its ambitious design, in part because the technologies it built upon were not mature enough for the needs of Plasma. This is still somewhat of a problem today, and the 4.x series has workarounds to deal with the deficiencies in the platforms below it.

This is where the next generation of Plasma technology comes in. Conveniently named Plasma 5, it will bring pixel-perfect design and super smooth performance thanks to the QML and Qt 5 technologies and fully hardware accelerated display rendering. High DPI support and the ability to work with Wayland (Linux's next generation display server) are planned as well, but neither are expected to be fully finished with the first release.


A scalable UI

With Plasma 5 the team can start working on bringing seamless switching of work-spaces when moving from device to device. For example, plugging a keyboard and mouse into a tablet can trigger Plasma to transform its tablet-and-touch optimized UI into the desktop interface. And the applications, being notified of the change, can follow adapting to the new form factor. The current Plasma technology already can hint to applications which QML/ Javascript/ graphics files fit the current form factor and is already being used in Plasma Active, the tablet-optimized workspace of Plasma. None of this requires logging out-and-in – you can just continue working with the document you were working in or keep reading that web site!

These capabilities put the current Plasma far ahead of any competitor and the gap will only increase with the release of Plasma 5. But these advanced features do not take away from the familiar interface. The Plasma team is fully aware of value of established work flows of computer users and the need of not disrupting them. This means that there will be minimal feature loss or changes in the setup of the desktop. Just butter-smooth performance, polished look and more flexibility.

The Visual Design Group, Interaction Design and Usability
A new design for Plasma

Aside from technical work, there is design and usability work going on. The idea behind the Visual Design Group was to build a team in KDE which would focus on design. This is done in a rather novel way, led by the enthusiasm of Jens Reuterberg, a FOSS enthusiast and designer from Sweden. Since the inception of the design team, there has been work in many areas. There have been new icons and improvements to existing design elements of KDE software but the majority of work has been focused on Plasma 5. A widget theme is in development, a cursor theme as well and icons are being discussed. And Plasma 5.0 will move to the Oxygen font by default. But the team also looks at interaction design and work flows in the interface, working together with the KDE usability team.

The usability team keeps developers and designers experimenting with new user interfaces close to the ground, making sure the user impact of their work is evaluated. The team conducts surveys and tests as well as using its own expertise to help the KDE developers design powerful but easy to use applications.


The new lock screen

Usability experts have been giving feedback in various areas of KDE's software, for example working closely with the developers of a new network manager interface for Plasma. Another example is the chat room experience in KDE Telepathy. Currently, work is being put into redesigning Systemsettings and many other things.


A redesigned battery applet

At events like Akademy, the usability team gives developers training in testing user interfaces with real users. Aside of working directly with developers and training them, the usability team has been reworking KDE's Human Interface Guidelines.

Work in progress

The first release of this new generation Plasma will not be without its issues. With a substantial change in underlying stack come exciting new crashes and problems that need time to be shaken out. This can also lead to visual artifacts. While QML2 brings better looks due to its seamless integration of openGL and more precise positioning, the immaturity of Qt Quick Controls, the successor to the 15 year old widget technology in Qt, will bring some rough edges in other areas. Moreover, as the latest Beta announcement points out, performance is also heavily dependent on specific hardware and software configuration:

In some scenarios, Plasma 5 will display the buttery smooth performance it is capable off - while at other times, it will be hampered by various shortcomings. These can and will be addressed, however, much is dependent on components like Qt, Mesa and hardware drivers lower in the stack. This will need time, as fixes made in Qt now simply won't be released by the time the first Plasma 5 version becomes available.” Plasma 5.0 is scheduled for release July 2014.

Read more:

The KDE Applications

Compared to the desktop and libraries, the situation with KDE's applications is simpler. Currently at 4.13, the next release will be 4.14, coming in August. After that there will be another release (together with KF5-based applications) but what comes next is still up for discussion. KDE's release team has been experimenting with shortening the release cycle. Shorter release cycles seem to be a trend throughout the ecosystem, facilitated by improved tools and processes.

A very fast release cycle?

Experiences in the world of mobile and web applications have shown that users are far more likely to start using features and appreciate small batches instead of large dumps. Short release cycles can bring bug fixes and improvements to our users much faster. On the other hand, most users of KDE software access their software and updates through the downstream distributions which are on slower release cycles even though they have repositories for updated software. Therefor this is a discussion which needs to include the distributions as much as the upstream developers.

And in any case, both our release infrastructure and our promotion will have to be adjusted as well. This has been started on the KDE Community mailing list, with proposals involving a clean up of the KDE Applications and changes in the release cadence.

Moving to Frameworks 5

The trend towards shorter release cycles requires many questions answered before it becomes feasible in practice. But a move to Frameworks 5 is certain to happen at some point, the question merely is when. Some applications have already started porting, encouraged by the swift progress being made on Frameworks 5. However most have not; it is not likely that most applications will have been ported to Frameworks 5 by the end of the year. Porting is relatively easy but the teams vary in focus and goals so we will have a Frameworks 5 based Applications release next to a 4.x series for a while.

Here again, KDE developers want the upgrade process to be smooth for users. In short, the 4.x series will be with us for the time being, and a Frameworks 5 series will be available in parallel. Regardless of the series, applications will work fine under any desktop. Developers want to ensure that migration is not an issue.

Read more:

KDE Libraries

When KDE began more than 15 years ago, development was application-driven. Libraries were intended to share work, making development easier and faster. New functionality in the libraries was added based on simple rules. For example, if a particular functionality was used in more than one place, it was put into a shared library. Today, the KDE libraries provide high-level functionality like toolbars and menus, spell checking and file access. They are also used occasionally to fix or work around issues in Qt and other libraries that KDE software depends upon. Distributed as a single set of interconnected libraries, they form a common code base for (almost) all KDE applications.

Frameworks 5

Under the KDE Frameworks efforts, these libraries are being methodically reworked into independent, cross platform modules that will be readily available to all Qt developers. Some functions have already been adopted as Qt standards. The KDE Frameworks—designed as drop-in Qt Addon libraries—will enrich Qt as a development environment. The Frameworks can simplify, accelerate and reduce the cost of Qt development by eliminating the need to reinvent key functions. Qt is growing in popularity. Ubuntu is building on Qt and QML for Ubuntu Phone and planning to move over the desktop in the future. The LXDE desktop and GCompris projects are in the process of porting over to Qt. Subsurface (a divelog project made famous by having Linus Torvalds as core contributor) has had its first Qt based release.

With Frameworks, KDE is getting closer to Qt, benefiting both, as well as more and more users and developers. The Frameworks team plans to go for monthly releases with 'branch-less development'. This means that everything will be developed in master, so each release will contain a few new features and bugfixes. Of course, this type of release cycle comes with a price of its own. Features in released modules can only be introduced in a very fine grained way so as to not jeopardize stability and our continuous integration and testing tools will be taken very seriously. All modified code has to come with corresponding tests and there is a strong focus on peer review. This model is still under discussion with the distribution teams, considering the impact on their release practices. KDE Frameworks 5.0 is planned to be released in the first week of July 2014.

Read more:

Conclusion

Now, we've covered the Frameworks, Applications and Plasma—the full gamut of KDE technologies. By summer of this year we can expect new generation Frameworks and Plasma to be available. The Applications will take a tad longer, but should run on any desktop. All have release cycle changes, no longer releasing as part of the full "KDE Software Compilation". Compared to the previous major change in platform (KDE 4.0), these will be incremental on a technical level. Plasma 5 and Frameworks 5 are very much about taking advantage of the fact that our infrastructure has caught up with our ambitions. We intend to deliver these benefits in the form of a great experience for our users!

Next week, we'll publish part two of the 'where KDE is going' mini-series, with a look at KDE's governance and how our community has been changing.

These articles are based on a talk given at conf.kde.in by Jos Poortvliet with lots of input from KDE contributors. A more extensive version of these articles, quoting members of the KDE community for more background, can be found in the upcoming (August) issue of Linux Voice magazine, 'the magazine that gives back to the Free Software community'

Dot Categories:

Plasma Media Center 1.3 Available

Lun, 06/23/2014 - 14:05

Plasma Media Center 1.2 was released as a Christmas gift. Now, we bring to you Plasma Media Center 1.3! As always, we have made sure to make it easier to enjoy your favorite videos, music and photos - both from your collection as well as online sources. A big focus has been performance improvements when showing you the media on your computer as well as general polish for the UI.


Plasma Media Center in action What is new?
  • Support for fetching media from Baloo
    Plasma Media Center now supports fetching your media collection from the new KDE Semantic Search - Baloo.
    This means your media library loads faster than ever. However, PMC continues to support Nepomuk if you have KDE libraries installed.
  • MPRIS support
    This lets you use any sort of controller that supports MPRIS to control PMC - this ranges from taskbar previews, Now Playing plasmoid and many more!
  • (Experimental) support for a simple filesystem based media scanner
    For when you don't have Nepomuk or Baloo installed
  • More details in All Music mode
    We now show more details about media in the All Music mode, like artist, album and duration.
  • Improved GStreamer compatibility
    A conflict between GStreamer0.10 and GStreamer1.0 in some distros will no longer break playback (Launchpad Bug)
  • We now have tests for the PMC core libs
    This will lead to less bugs in the future!
  • Numerous bug fixes and UI polish

MPRIS support allows deep desktop integration Installing PMC 1.3

Here is the source tarball link.

Follow instructions here to install Plasma Media Center on your machine from source. For binary packages, check with your distro if they have. If you're a packager (or know someone who is), we will be glad to help if you have any questions.

Learning more and contributing

To know more about Plasma Media Center, check out the wiki. If you want to contribute, this will get you started.

Bugs

Found any bug in PMC or want to have your favourite feature included in future release? File a bug!

Coming up

While this release was more focused on switching desktop search and UI polish, we have some exciting features lined up for the next release. These include:

  • Plasma Media Center for Plasma Next - your Plasma desktop will magically transform into a Media Center (current status)
  • DVB support (i.e you can watch TV in PMC if you have DVB at your home) (current status)
  • Voice recognition support - so you say it, we play it! (current status)
  • And some more surprises ;).

Thanks to all the developers, testers and people for useful feedback on improving Plasma Media Center. And of course a thanks to all our users: we hope you enjoy the new release!

Dot Categories:

Plasma Media Center 1.3 Available

Lun, 06/23/2014 - 14:05

Plasma Media Center 1.2 was released as a Christmas gift. Now, we bring to you Plasma Media Center 1.3! As always, we have made sure to make it easier to enjoy your favorite videos, music and photos - both from your collection as well as online sources. A big focus has been performance improvements when showing you the media on your computer as well as general polish for the UI.


Plasma Media Center in action What is new?
  • Support for fetching media from Baloo
    Plasma Media Center now supports fetching your media collection from the new KDE Semantic Search - Baloo.
    This means your media library loads faster than ever. However, PMC continues to support Nepomuk if you have KDE libraries installed.
  • MPRIS support
    This lets you use any sort of controller that supports MPRIS to control PMC - this ranges from taskbar previews, Now Playing plasmoid and many more!
  • (Experimental) support for a simple filesystem based media scanner
    For when you don't have Nepomuk or Baloo installed
  • More details in All Music mode
    We now show more details about media in the All Music mode, like artist, album and duration.
  • Improved GStreamer compatibility
    A conflict between GStreamer0.10 and GStreamer1.0 in some distros will no longer break playback (Launchpad Bug)
  • We now have tests for the PMC core libs
    This will lead to less bugs in the future!
  • Numerous bug fixes and UI polish

MPRIS support allows deep desktop integration Installing PMC 1.3

Here is the source tarball link.

Follow instructions here to install Plasma Media Center on your machine from source. For binary packages, check with your distro if they have. If you're a packager (or know someone who is), we will be glad to help if you have any questions.

Learning more and contributing

To know more about Plasma Media Center, check out the wiki. If you want to contribute, this will get you started.

Bugs

Found any bug in PMC or want to have your favourite feature included in future release? File a bug!

Coming up

While this release was more focused on switching desktop search and UI polish, we have some exciting features lined up for the next release. These include:

  • Plasma Media Center for Plasma Next - your Plasma desktop will magically transform into a Media Center (current status)
  • DVB support (i.e you can watch TV in PMC if you have DVB at your home) (current status)
  • Voice recognition support - so you say it, we play it! (current status)
  • And some more surprises ;).

Thanks to all the developers, testers and people for useful feedback on improving Plasma Media Center. And of course a thanks to all our users: we hope you enjoy the new release!

Dot Categories:

People of KDE is back

Lun, 06/23/2014 - 07:32

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 People of KDE series.

In the first episode (as computer scientists call it: Episode 0) he had a video chat with Mario Fux, best known for the organization of the Randa Meetings. Watch this 30 minutes episode to get more information about what Mario does in KDE, about the history of the Randa Meetings and why it is well worth to support them.


GCompris

After the test run Michael had another video chat with Bruno Coudoin this week. Bruno is best known for his work on GCompris a great educational application for kids between 2 and 10 years old (and older ones ;-). Some months ago he decided to rewrite his application and chose Qt Quick as the technology to reach out to other platforms like Android and Co. As Bruno and his team need to rewrite more than 140 activities this will need some dedicated hacking time and they will participate in the Randa Meeting this August. You can take a look of the current state of porting GCompris from GTK to Qt in this video.

A big thank you to Michael for his interviews, we are looking forward for more episodes of People of KDE!

Dot Categories:

People of KDE is back

Lun, 06/23/2014 - 07:32

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 People of KDE series.

In the first episode (as computer scientists call it: Episode 0) he had a video chat with Mario Fux, best known for the organization of the Randa Meetings. Watch this 30 minutes episode to get more information about what Mario does in KDE, about the history of the Randa Meetings and why it is well worth to support them.


GCompris

After the test run Michael had another video chat with Bruno Coudoin this week. Bruno is best known for his work on GCompris a great educational application for kids between 2 and 10 years old (and older ones ;-). Some months ago he decided to rewrite his application and chose Qt Quick as the technology to reach out to other platforms like Android and Co. As Bruno and his team need to rewrite more than 140 activities this will need some dedicated hacking time and they will participate in the Randa Meeting this August. You can take a look of the current state of porting GCompris from GTK to Qt in this video.

A big thank you to Michael for his interviews, we are looking forward for more episodes of People of KDE!

Dot Categories:

KDE e.V. Quarterly Report for Q4 2013

Jue, 06/19/2014 - 06:01

The KDE e.V. Quarterly Report for the fourth quarter of 2013 features a brief note of all the activities and events carried out, supported and funded by KDE e.V in this span of time, as well as a short overview of the major events, conferences and mentoring programs. !ll of this in one document that you should not miss out on to know about almost everything that has been KDE in those four months!

Contents

The featured article covers all the students of GSoC 2013 with personal quotes and a first-hand note of their experiences and time and an overview of each student's project and contributions followed by another article covering the young participants of Google Code-in and the massive feats that school children achieve in such a short span of time. KDE has been involved with such mentoring programs since quite a while now but the enthusiasm, productivity and talent in the youth is something which still doesn't cease to surprise and awe the community members; same goes for all the participants who make KDE an integral part of their lives through such associations.

Another must read is the synopsis of the member activities around the globe - the Qt Developer Days in both Europe and US organized by John Layt and Carl Symons with Dario Freddi; respectively; the KDE EDU Sprint in October - which brought to light, discussion and loads of work - important issues such as KDE Frameworks 5/Qt Migration, math and language learning applications and many more such areas of focus. The KDEPIM Sprint in November has been covered in a fun and witty manner by Kevin Krammer and it is an article surely not to be missed in the report. A brief of the community events in France, primarily Akademy-fr in Toulouse and the occurrences at the event have been covered in another article.

For all those with a stronger affinity for numbers than letters; the finances for KDE e.V. for 2013 have been mentioned at the end.

The entire report can be found here.

Now since everything that was exciting for 2013 has been noted by you, a glimpse of what's in store for 2014 can be obtained here. The Randa Meetings 2014 is scheduled soon, 9th to 15th of August to be precise. We could strongly use your support in its organization.

Dot Categories:

KDE e.V. Quarterly Report for Q4 2013

Jue, 06/19/2014 - 06:01

The KDE e.V. Quarterly Report for the fourth quarter of 2013 features a brief note of all the activities and events carried out, supported and funded by KDE e.V in this span of time, as well as a short overview of the major events, conferences and mentoring programs. !ll of this in one document that you should not miss out on to know about almost everything that has been KDE in those four months!

Contents

The featured article covers all the students of GSoC 2013 with personal quotes and a first-hand note of their experiences and time and an overview of each student's project and contributions followed by another article covering the young participants of Google Code-in and the massive feats that school children achieve in such a short span of time. KDE has been involved with such mentoring programs since quite a while now but the enthusiasm, productivity and talent in the youth is something which still doesn't cease to surprise and awe the community members; same goes for all the participants who make KDE an integral part of their lives through such associations.

Another must read is the synopsis of the member activities around the globe - the Qt Developer Days in both Europe and US organized by John Layt and Carl Symons with Dario Freddi; respectively; the KDE EDU Sprint in October - which brought to light, discussion and loads of work - important issues such as KDE Frameworks 5/Qt Migration, math and language learning applications and many more such areas of focus. The KDEPIM Sprint in November has been covered in a fun and witty manner by Kevin Krammer and it is an article surely not to be missed in the report. A brief of the community events in France, primarily Akademy-fr in Toulouse and the occurrences at the event have been covered in another article.

For all those with a stronger affinity for numbers than letters; the finances for KDE e.V. for 2013 have been mentioned at the end.

The entire report can be found here.

Now since everything that was exciting for 2013 has been noted by you, a glimpse of what's in store for 2014 can be obtained here. The Randa Meetings 2014 is scheduled soon, 9th to 15th of August to be precise. We could strongly use your support in its organization.

Dot Categories:

Randa Meetings Interview Two: Sanjiban Bairagya

Mié, 06/18/2014 - 10:50

Sanjiban Bairagya

First and foremost we would like to thank everybody that already supported the Randa Meetings fundraising. We have reached almost 1/3 of the our goal. Please help more and spread the word. If we reach our goal we can have an even more stable Kdenlive, more applications ported to KDE Frameworks 5, further progress on Phonon, a look at Amarok 3, even better KDE educational applications, a finished port of GCompris to Qt and KDE technologies, an updated KDE Book, more work on Gluon and a new and amazing KDE SDK!

Here we are in conversation with Sanjiban Bairagya, a current Google Summer of Code 2014 intern who is working on Marble for KDE and is one of the younger, fresher, newer lots at KDE and has quite a bit to offer in terms of enthusiasm and brilliant ideas as well as zeal!

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

I'm a B.Tech student of Information Technology studying in the National Institute of Technology, Durgapur, India. I am a FOSS enthusiast and have been contributing to KDE since April of last year, and have been selected for Google Summer of Code this year. I am currently working on implementing interactive tours in Marble, with Dennis Nienhüser and Torsten Rahn as my mentors.

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

KDE is seen very importantly in the university I study in. Some of my seniors before me have been working on KDE for a long time, and the juniors were told were told by them (I was a junior once) about the friendly and helpful nature of the community. So I also thought of giving it a shot and I started my "research" on KDE. I found it to be a really cool desktop environment to work in. After a few months of playing around, I came across this list of junior jobs in bugs.kde.org, so i started scrolling through them and wanted somehow to contribute to Marble since that was one software I did use regularly. And so I did. I just started solving bugs, one after the other. Then applied for GSoC this year, and got selected. Ah, just to mention, a few months before GSoC, we (me and a couple of more guys) even held a talk in our college, specifically about KDE. I spoke about Marble. Vedant spoke about Amarok, etc. Anyways, that's it. That's my "journey" (which is still ongoing) in KDE.

Why is KDE so special to you?

KDE is actually the most special thing to me. It gave me something nothing else could: a job related with real world software, with real world actual core developers. Plus, this global acknowledgement is simply amazing. In fact, I think that the single-most significant best thing which has happened to me at university was finding KDE. As I say to myself, "KDE gave me wings". I am just proud to be a member of a community so rich with knowledge, that I find myself kind of privileged to be in it.

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

I was going through a conversation in #marble, where Mario had mentioned the term Randa to Dennis, asking him whether he will be going to it or not, so I asked Dennis whether this Randa thing was related to KDE in some way or not. And he said yes, and gave me the link, so that's how I got to know about it. I want to participate in it, firstly because Dennis is going there and I would love to meet him in person, and secondly, because I will be able to sit down and code away all day with so many more brilliant developers. Plus, I also heard (and I was going through the previous years' pics as well) that the folks have pretty good fun over there. So that is also one of the reasons. Mainly I want to go there for the experiences and the new things I will learn. I also have a few goals/points related to Marble as well, which I want to finish while I am there.

Which specific area of KDE applications do you contribute to? Could you describe it in short?

I contribute to an application under KDE Edu, called Marble. It is a virtual globe, with which you can view the planet Earth (and moon as well) in a humongously different number of ways, with different map themes, routes and directions, tracks, satellite maps, weather maps, temperature maps, precipitation maps and even historical maps. Whatever you need when it comes to maps is there.


Marble is a virtual globe and world atlas — your swiss army knife for maps.

What is your specific role in the particular group of KDE Applications that you are a part of and how long have you been working?

My role is just writing code like every other Marble developer out there. Right now I am working on my GSoC project. And I have been working on Marble since April, 2013.

Have you got anything in particular planned for Randa?

Yes, I will be working on Map theme tours on Marble (taking tours on different themes on Marble), implementing Gpsies services to Marble, and I am also planning on working on the QML or mobile part of Marble as well while in Randa.

What will you be looking forward to the most in the Randa Sprint? Any expectations or hopes of what it will be like?

I am looking forward to having a great time there in Randa, making new friends, meeting new people, and just keep learning more and more.

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

KDE means everything to me. It is the only thing which I have been this serious about. It sharpened my skills of object oriented programming, from A to Z. All thanks goes to none other than my mentor Dennis Nienhüser who has been patient enough to guide me thoroughly in this journey. All my contributions to KDE that I have been able to make so far, I owe to him. And I am very sure all the others in KDE are also as helpful as him.

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

Meetings such as these, in my opinion, are very important, because these are the events, in which top developers get to discuss their ideas face to face, and come up with great plans, and then execute them. And all this happens within one week, which is really amazing. These meetings are very important for having a lot of progress, in a short duration of time.

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?

It is very important, since open source contributions should be increased more and more, so that people with ideas and skills, can get them executed, for free.

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

My typical day in Randa I would imagine, would start with some good food and then some coding, and then having some fun and hanging around. But, seriously, I don't even have the slightest idea. Which is what I am going to find out there.

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

Not even Switzerland, this is actually the first time I am going to any country outside of India. In fact, it is only after knowing about Randa, that I applied for a passport. I am tremendously excited about this trip. I am pretty sure, that it's gonna be a hell of a bumpy ride. So, see you all in Randa then!

Thanks a lot, Sanjiban, for your time for the interview and dedication to Marble and the KDE community.

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

Dot Categories:

Randa Meetings Interview Two: Sanjiban Bairagya

Mié, 06/18/2014 - 10:50

Sanjiban Bairagya

First and foremost we would like to thank everybody that already supported the Randa Meetings fundraising. We have reached almost 1/3 of the our goal. Please help more and spread the word. If we reach our goal we can have an even more stable Kdenlive, more applications ported to KDE Frameworks 5, further progress on Phonon, a look at Amarok 3, even better KDE educational applications, a finished port of GCompris to Qt and KDE technologies, an updated KDE Book, more work on Gluon and a new and amazing KDE SDK!

Here we are in conversation with Sanjiban Bairagya, a current Google Summer of Code 2014 intern who is working on Marble for KDE and is one of the younger, fresher, newer lots at KDE and has quite a bit to offer in terms of enthusiasm and brilliant ideas as well as zeal!

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

I'm a B.Tech student of Information Technology studying in the National Institute of Technology, Durgapur, India. I am a FOSS enthusiast and have been contributing to KDE since April of last year, and have been selected for Google Summer of Code this year. I am currently working on implementing interactive tours in Marble, with Dennis Nienhüser and Torsten Rahn as my mentors.

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

KDE is seen very importantly in the university I study in. Some of my seniors before me have been working on KDE for a long time, and the juniors were told were told by them (I was a junior once) about the friendly and helpful nature of the community. So I also thought of giving it a shot and I started my "research" on KDE. I found it to be a really cool desktop environment to work in. After a few months of playing around, I came across this list of junior jobs in bugs.kde.org, so i started scrolling through them and wanted somehow to contribute to Marble since that was one software I did use regularly. And so I did. I just started solving bugs, one after the other. Then applied for GSoC this year, and got selected. Ah, just to mention, a few months before GSoC, we (me and a couple of more guys) even held a talk in our college, specifically about KDE. I spoke about Marble. Vedant spoke about Amarok, etc. Anyways, that's it. That's my "journey" (which is still ongoing) in KDE.

Why is KDE so special to you?

KDE is actually the most special thing to me. It gave me something nothing else could: a job related with real world software, with real world actual core developers. Plus, this global acknowledgement is simply amazing. In fact, I think that the single-most significant best thing which has happened to me at university was finding KDE. As I say to myself, "KDE gave me wings". I am just proud to be a member of a community so rich with knowledge, that I find myself kind of privileged to be in it.

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

I was going through a conversation in #marble, where Mario had mentioned the term Randa to Dennis, asking him whether he will be going to it or not, so I asked Dennis whether this Randa thing was related to KDE in some way or not. And he said yes, and gave me the link, so that's how I got to know about it. I want to participate in it, firstly because Dennis is going there and I would love to meet him in person, and secondly, because I will be able to sit down and code away all day with so many more brilliant developers. Plus, I also heard (and I was going through the previous years' pics as well) that the folks have pretty good fun over there. So that is also one of the reasons. Mainly I want to go there for the experiences and the new things I will learn. I also have a few goals/points related to Marble as well, which I want to finish while I am there.

Which specific area of KDE applications do you contribute to? Could you describe it in short?

I contribute to an application under KDE Edu, called Marble. It is a virtual globe, with which you can view the planet Earth (and moon as well) in a humongously different number of ways, with different map themes, routes and directions, tracks, satellite maps, weather maps, temperature maps, precipitation maps and even historical maps. Whatever you need when it comes to maps is there.


Marble is a virtual globe and world atlas — your swiss army knife for maps.

What is your specific role in the particular group of KDE Applications that you are a part of and how long have you been working?

My role is just writing code like every other Marble developer out there. Right now I am working on my GSoC project. And I have been working on Marble since April, 2013.

Have you got anything in particular planned for Randa?

Yes, I will be working on Map theme tours on Marble (taking tours on different themes on Marble), implementing Gpsies services to Marble, and I am also planning on working on the QML or mobile part of Marble as well while in Randa.

What will you be looking forward to the most in the Randa Sprint? Any expectations or hopes of what it will be like?

I am looking forward to having a great time there in Randa, making new friends, meeting new people, and just keep learning more and more.

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

KDE means everything to me. It is the only thing which I have been this serious about. It sharpened my skills of object oriented programming, from A to Z. All thanks goes to none other than my mentor Dennis Nienhüser who has been patient enough to guide me thoroughly in this journey. All my contributions to KDE that I have been able to make so far, I owe to him. And I am very sure all the others in KDE are also as helpful as him.

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

Meetings such as these, in my opinion, are very important, because these are the events, in which top developers get to discuss their ideas face to face, and come up with great plans, and then execute them. And all this happens within one week, which is really amazing. These meetings are very important for having a lot of progress, in a short duration of time.

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?

It is very important, since open source contributions should be increased more and more, so that people with ideas and skills, can get them executed, for free.

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

My typical day in Randa I would imagine, would start with some good food and then some coding, and then having some fun and hanging around. But, seriously, I don't even have the slightest idea. Which is what I am going to find out there.

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

Not even Switzerland, this is actually the first time I am going to any country outside of India. In fact, it is only after knowing about Randa, that I applied for a passport. I am tremendously excited about this trip. I am pretty sure, that it's gonna be a hell of a bumpy ride. So, see you all in Randa then!

Thanks a lot, Sanjiban, for your time for the interview and dedication to Marble and the KDE community.

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

Dot Categories:

KDE Commit-Digest for 4th May 2014

Dom, 06/15/2014 - 12:46

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 support for comments
  • Digikam sees work on better support of multicore CPUs with important performance improvements
  • Bluedevil has an initial port to KF5.

Read the rest of the Digest here.

Dot Categories:

KDE Commit-Digest for 4th May 2014

Dom, 06/15/2014 - 12:46

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 support for comments
  • Digikam sees work on better support of multicore CPUs with important performance improvements
  • Bluedevil has an initial port to KF5.

Read the rest of the Digest here.

Dot Categories:

KDE Commit-Digest for 27th April 2014

Dom, 06/15/2014 - 12:44

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 is accessible to Jovie
  • Initial import of Application Menu aka (Homerun) Kicker
  • In IMAP-Resource, refactoring of retrieveitemstask introduces multiple improvements
  • Kexi is on the way to Qt5: Forms ported to Qt4's scroll area.

Read the rest of the Digest here.

Dot Categories:

Randa Meetings Interview One: Cristian Oneț

Vie, 06/13/2014 - 07:07

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

Mié, 06/11/2014 - 06:07

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

Mar, 06/10/2014 - 18:33

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 download the Neon 5 Live ISO to see what is working and what needs fixed.

The main layout of the desktop remains similar to previous versions, no massive new workflows here, but it has been entirely remade in Qt Quick to give it a smoother, more dynamic feel. The new Breeze artwork from the Visual Design Group is taking shape and various elements made more consistent so the widget explorer, window and activity switcher now share a common feel. As with any major release some features are yet to be ported and some new problems will have slipped in, do let use know how you find it.

KDE Ships June Updates to Applications, Platform and Plasma Workspaces

Mar, 06/10/2014 - 05:06

Today KDE released updates for its Applications and Development Platform, the second in a series of monthly stabilization updates to the 4.13 series. This release also includes an updated Plasma Workspaces 4.11.10. Both releases contain only bugfixes and translation updates, providing a safe and pleasant update for everyone.

More than 40 recorded bugfixes include improvements to Personal Information Management suite Kontact, Umbrello UML Modeller, the Desktop search functionality, web browser Konqueror and the file manager Dolphin. A more complete list of changes can be found in KDE's issue tracker.

Additional and noteworthy: this release of KDE Applications includes a number of important fixes for Kopete: a decrease in the exit time of Kopete with enabled statistics plugin, a fix for the compilation of jabber libjingle for non x86 architectures and another fix for voice call support in the jabber libjingle library. Without this last fix, voice calls worked only with the old Google Talk windows jingle client. Now after applying the patches it was tested with GMail web plugin, old Google Talk windows client, telepathy-gabble and other Kopete versions.

To find out more about the 4.13 versions of KDE Applications and Development Platform, please refer to the 4.13 release notes.

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