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Updated: 3 hours 46 min ago

Mycroft AI on Plasma

Friday 23rd of February 2018 11:46:48 AM

Did you know you can install an AI personal assistant on your Plasma desktop?

Mycroft is running through the last 24 hours of the crowdfunding campaign for its Mark II assistant. The machine looks awesome and offers similar functionality to other proprietary alternatives, but with none of the spying and leaking of personal data.

The Mark 2 will be delivered to backers at the end of this year, but you can enjoy the pleasures of giving orders to an AI right now by installing the Mycroft widget on Plasma courtesy of KDE hacker Aditya Mehra.

As the widget is still experimental software, the installation is currently slightly cumbersome. The users have to build it from source and write to directories that should usually be accessible only to the administrator account. The widget also uses Python 2, which is a bit old at this stage.

However, a little dicky bird from openSUSE has told us that they are solving these issues, migrating the software to Python 3 and packaging RPMs. They said they will have packages for Tumbleweed *maybe* as early as next week.

Enjoy being an overlord to the AIs while you can.

KDE receives 200,000 USD-donation from the Pineapple Fund

Monday 19th of February 2018 07:53:18 AM

KDE e.V. is announcing today it has received a donation of 200,000 USD from the Pineapple Fund.

With this donation, the Pineapple Fund recognizes that KDE as a community creates software which benefits the general public, advances the use of Free Software on all kinds of platforms, and protects users' privacy by putting first-class and easy to use tools in the hands of the people at zero cost. KDE joins a long list of prestigious charities, organizations and communities that the Pineapple Fund has so generously donated to.

"KDE is immensely grateful for this donation. We would like to express our deeply felt appreciation towards the Pineapple Fund for their generosity" said Lydia Pintscher, President of KDE e.V.. "We will use the funds to further our cause to make Free Software accessible to everyone and on all platforms. The money will help us realize our vision of creating a world in which everyone has control over their digital life and enjoys freedom and privacy".

"KDE is a vibrant community that has been developing a number of awesome products like Plasma that empower the user's freedom." said a spokesperson for the Pineapple Fund. "I especially admire the UX and design of KDE's products, as they are approachable to new audiences who are not Linux geeks. I hope this donation can power further KDE development!".

This donation will allow KDE to organize events that bring the community together; sponsor development sprints to improve the usability and performance of existing tools; pay expenses for contributors traveling from distant locations; attract more contributors and build a more inclusive community; create new and safer programs; and carry out research for future generations of KDE's environments and applications.

A KDE Love Story: Translating Kalzium into Chinese

Wednesday 14th of February 2018 10:07:02 AM


Today is "I Love Free Software Day"!

We're celebrating by shining a spotlight on our contributors and on our collaboration with other FOSS communities and organizations. Free Software is an integral part of our lives, and it's important to show appreciation, support, and gratitude to everyone who works on making it better every day.

One of those people is Franklin Weng, a KDE contributor who started his Free Software journey by translating Kalzium. Franklin's contributions led him to amazing opportunities and projects. Read on to find out why he loves KDE so much.

Kalzium – The Start of An Amazing Journey

by Franklin Weng

When I was a high school student, chemistry was not my cup of tea. My grades in chemistry were not bad either, but I hated memorizing those organic compounds. Then, I decided to major in computer science at university, and from that moment, destiny tightly bonded me and Free and Open Source Software.

Around 2001 or 2002, I started to use and later contribute to KDE. However, Kalzium is the start of another amazing story for me. It happened in 2007...


A throwback to the old look of Kalzium - in Chinese!

I started translating KDE software around 2005. At the time, the Traditional Chinese language packages had almost been abandoned by KDE because of the very slow translation rate. Some senior FOSS community members called to others to "save" Traditional Chinese, and finally we did. From that moment on, I kept translating KDE because I simply asked myself: "Since I'm using this desktop environment, why not do it?"

So I translated everything in KDE. Everything. I started with KMail because I wanted a mail client that would reside in my system tray. Then I translated more KDE PIM applications, KDE Multimedia, KDE Graphics, KDE Games,... even KOffice. And of course, KDE Edu applications - from the simple, lovely ones, like KTuberling, KTouch, and KHangman, to huge ones like KStars and KGeography (that last one is enormous). Kalzium was just another one for me; I even translated KMyMoney - without any accounting background.

Then in 2007, I got an email.


Franklin's credits as the translator of the app.

"I saw you translated the Kalzium software. Could we meet and talk about that?"

That email was from my now friend, Eric Sun, who was (and still is) the Executive Secretary of the Open Source Software Application Consulting Center (OSSACC), a project launched by the Ministry of Education in Taiwan. The project promotes free software for use in primary and high schools. At first I had no idea why this guy would like to meet me. Would he discuss chemistry with me? I wasn't a chemistry-aholic at all!

We met at a Burger King in Taipei. He introduced himself and told me about his idea, which made me appreciate him a lot! He, as the Executive Secretary and also an FOSS enthusiast like me, wanted to introduce educational Free Software applications to teachers and students to help them acquire knowledge from many different fields, without any financial cost.

To promote those Free Software applications, the first step is, of course, to localize them. Teachers and students, especially in primary schools, would never accept software with English interfaces. He noticed that there had been some software with Traditional Chinese translations, and he was curious about who did it. Bingo! It was me.


This is what Kalzium looks like these days.

We started a series of plans. The main plan was a customized Linux distribution named ezgo - which I have already introduced here in October of 2013.

After that, we have also done a lot of work together, mostly introducing public domain educational resources, including FOSS to schools. I became one of KDE e.V. members and the president of the BoD of Software Liberty Association Taiwan, an NPO which promotes FOSS in Taiwan. In recent years, we have helped Taiwan governments to migrate to LibreOffice and ODF.

Thinking about the past 10 amazing years on the road of promoting FOSS, the start point was that I translated Kalzium. Of course, I wasn't aware that contributing translations to KDE would give me such an amazing tour in my life. Nevertheless, I always use this as an example to tell my young friends in Taiwan: "See? Chemistry is not my thing, but translating Kalzium (and many other KDE applications) made my life wonderful!"

Big thanks to Franklin for contributing to KDE for so many years, and for spreading the word about our software and its educational potential!

Do you have a story about how you fell in love with KDE? Let us know in the comments!

The New KDE Slimbook II: A sleek and powerful Plasma-based Ultrabook

Thursday 8th of February 2018 05:03:37 PM

There is a new KDE Slimbook on sale as from today. The KDE Slimbook II is svelte and smart on the outside, but powerful and fast on the inside.

To start with, it comes with a choice between an Intel i5: 2.5 GHz Turbo Boost 3.1 GHz - 3M Cache CPU, or an Intel i7: 2.7 GHz Turbo Boost 3.5 GHz with a 4M Cache. This makes the KDE Slimbook II 15% faster on average than its predecessor. The RAM has also been upgraded, and the KDE Slimbook now sports 4, 8, or 16 GBs of DDR4 RAM which is 33% faster than the DDR3 RAM installed on last year's model.

Other things to look forward to include:

  • a crisp FullHD 13.3'' screen,
  • the dual hard drive bay that gives you room for a second hard disk,
  • a bigger multi-touch touchpad that supports all kinds of gestures and clicks,
  • a slick backlit keyboard, more powerful WiFi antennas,
  • and 3 full-sized USB ports, one of which is the new reversible USB-C standard.
  • You can check out the KDE Slimbook's full specs here (note that the Katana II is made by the same people and is the same hardware, but does not come with KDE neon pre-installed and pre-configured).

    The KDE community has worked closely with Slimbook to make sure that everything works as it should. After test-running the KDE Slimbook II extensively, we can confirm it is sleek, we can confirm it is powerful, and we can confirm that beginners and power users alike will enjoy this full-featured and modern Plasma-based laptop.

    Plasma 5.12 is out, and it is faster, stabler, and has more features than ever

    Tuesday 6th of February 2018 11:46:48 AM

    Although performance and stability have been the prime goals for this version of Plasma, some of the new features include spring-loaded folder views, improved Wayland support, interactive notifications, and more.

    Plasma 5.12 LTS is the second long-term support release from the Plasma 5 team. Developers have been working hard, focusing on speed and stability for this release. Boot time to desktop has been improved by reviewing the code for anything which blocks execution. The team has fixed bugs in every aspect of the codebase, tidied up the artwork, removed corner cases, and ensured cross-desktop integration. For the first time, Plasma offers experimental Wayland integration on long-term support, so you can be sure it will continue to improve the Wayland experience.

    Also, you can now control music playback from the lock screen, interact with notifications, use "spring-load" folders to move files around without actually opening Dolphin, and change your applications to use global menus à la macOS.

    Read more about the release of Plasma 5.12 LTS here.

    More in Tux Machines

    OSS Leftovers

    • Sunjun partners with Collabora to offer LibreOffice in the Cloud
    • Tackling the most important issue in a DevOps transformation
      You've been appointed the DevOps champion in your organisation: congratulations. So, what's the most important issue that you need to address?
    • PSBJ Innovator of the Year: Hacking cells at the Allen Institute
    • SUNY math professor makes the case for free and open educational resources
      The open educational resources (OER) movement has been gaining momentum over the past few years, as educators—from kindergarten classes to graduate schools—turn to free and open source educational content to counter the high cost of textbooks. Over the past year, the pace has accelerated. In 2017, OERs were a featured topic at the high-profile SXSW EDU Conference and Festival. Also last year, New York State generated a lot of excitement when it made an $8 million investment in developing OERs, with the goal of lowering the costs of college education in the state. David Usinski, a math and computer science professor and assistant chair of developmental education at the State University of New York's Erie Community College, is an advocate of OER content in the classroom. Before he joined SUNY Erie's staff in 2007, he spent a few years working for the Erie County public school system as a technology staff developer, training teachers how to infuse technology into the classroom.

    Mozilla: Wireless Innovation for a Networked Society, New AirMozilla Audience Demo, Firefox Telemetry

    • Net Neutrality, NSF and Mozilla's WINS Challenge Winners, openSUSE Updates and More
      The National Science Foundation and Mozilla recently announced the first round of winners from their Wireless Innovation for a Networked Society (WINS) challenges—$2 million in prizes for "big ideas to connect the unconnected across the US". According to the press release, the winners "are building mesh networks, solar-powered Wi-Fi, and network infrastructure that fits inside a single backpack" and that the common denominator for all of them is "they're affordable, scalable, open-source and secure."
    • New AirMozilla Audience Demo
      The legacy AirMozilla platform will be decommissioned later this year. The reasons for the change are multiple; however, the urgency of the change is driven by deprecated support of both the complex back-end infrastructure by IT and the user interface by Firefox engineering teams in 2016. Additional reasons include a complex user workflow resulting in a poor user experience, no self-service model, poor usability metrics and a lack of integrated, required features.
    • Perplexing Graphs: The Case of the 0KB Virtual Memory Allocations
      Every Monday and Thursday around 3pm I check dev-telemetry-alerts to see if there have been any changes detected in the distribution of any of the 1500-or-so pieces of anonymous usage statistics we record in Firefox using Firefox Telemetry.

    Games: All Walls Must Fall, Tales of Maj'Eyal

    • All Walls Must Fall, the quirky tech-noir tactics game, comes out of Early Access
      This isometric tactical RPG blends in sci-fi, a Cold War that never ended and lots of spirited action. It’s powered by Unreal Engine 4 and has good Linux support.
    • Non-Linux FOSS: Tales of Maj'Eyal
      I love gaming, but I have two main problems with being a gamer. First, I'm terrible at video games. Really. Second, I don't have the time to invest in order to increase my skills. So for me, a game that is easy to get started with while also providing an extensive gaming experience is key. It's also fairly rare. All the great games tend to have a horribly steep learning curve, and all the simple games seem to involve crushing candy. Thankfully, there are a few games like Tales of Maj'Eyal that are complex but with a really easy learning curve.

    KDE and GNOME: KDE Discover, Okular, Librsvg, and Phone's UI Shell

    • This week in Discover, part 7
      The quest to make Discover the most-loved Linux app store continues at Warp 9 speed! You may laugh, but it’s happening! Mark my words, in a year Discover will be a beloved crown jewel of the KDE experience.
    • Okular gains some more JavaScript support
      With it we support recalculation of some fields based on others. An example that calculates sum, average, product, minimum and maximum of three numbers can be found in this youtube video.
    • Librsvg's continuous integration pipeline
      With the pre-built images, and caching of Rust artifacts, Jordan was able to reduce the time for the "test on every commit" builds from around 20 minutes, to little under 4 minutes in the current iteration. This will get even faster if the builds start using ccache and parallel builds from GNU make. Currently we have a problem in that tests are failing on 32-bit builds, and haven't had a chance to investigate the root cause. Hopefully we can add 32-bit jobs to the CI pipeline to catch this breakage as soon as possible.
    • Design report #3: designing the UI Shell, part 2
      Peter has been quite busy thinking about the most ergonomic mobile gestures and came up with a complete UI shell design. While the last design report was describing the design of the lock screen and the home screen, we will discuss here about navigating within the different features of the shell.