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Updated: 2 hours 33 min ago

Mycroft AI on Plasma

17 hours 44 min ago

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

    Security Leftovers

    today's howtos

    Software: Audacity, Geary, GNOME Photos, Business Apps, Mir, Nix, KubeVirt, Top Projects and Apoxi

    • Audacity 2.2.2 Released with a Stack of New Features & Improvements
      This update also builds upon the major changes introduced in the release of Audacity 2.2.0 last year, as well that of the minor 2.2.1 update earlier this year.
    • Geary Email Client Mails Out a Bug Fix Update
      A new version of the Geary email client for Linux desktops is available to download. Although a (relative) minor update when compared to the huge Geary 0.12 release last year, Geary 0.12.1 is worthwhile. The update solves a stack of crashes and server compatibility issues, while also updating translations in the interface and user manual to ensure as many people can use Geary as possible.
    • GNOME Photos – An Elegant Alternative for Organizing and Sharing Photos
      How many GNU/Linux photo managers do you know have a beautiful UI for browsing photos and organizing them into collections coupled with inbuilt editing tools and cloud integration? This one goes by the name of GNOME Photos. GNOME Photos is a simple and yet elegant photo management app with which you can organize, share, and intuitively edit your photos on your Linux workstation. It features a file manager-like environment for easy navigation and cloud integration via GNOME Online Accounts.
    • Linux Means Business – Best Free Business Apps
      Let’s deal with the issue of cost up front. Every single application featured in this article is available to download without payment. This, in itself, helps to keep IT costs within a tight budget. And cost can be a very important driver when seeking an IT solution for firms – particularly for freelancers, entrepreneurs, start-ups, small businesses, and educational establishments. Naturally, these types of people and organizations will have some sort of IT budget. From a business perspective, open source business applications won’t necessarily be zero cost. Using unfamiliar software entails training costs for a firm — the costs are not limited to time itself. And then there’s the expense of obtaining support for the software, or even hiring development time to customize certain aspects of the software to add additional functionality. Off-the-shelf software is unlikely to completely address a company’s needs. But if a proprietary solution is sought, it’s likely that this development will be more expensive. It is sometimes thought that Linux software cannot rival Microsoft applications in a commercial setting because the strength of Linux comes from its price. In fact, Linux’s strength derives from other considerations such as flexibility, stability, security, cutting-edge technology, and ease of use. Additionally, the virtues of open source software are invaluable to commercial organizations whatever their size. With full access to source code, companies can easily develop extensions to the software, tailor made to their own specific needs and requirements. Moreover they are not reliant on the goodwill of a single vendor in order to do business: Linux is about freedom and choice and that is just as important to an organisation as to an individual.
    • Mir's Wayland Support Will Now Let You Drag Around Windows
      I was surprised to learn that up until this week, Mir's initial Wayland support didn't allow for windows of Wayland clients to be moved around the screen. Fortunately, that has now been resolved with allowing window movement to be initiated by Wayland clients running on Mir. Now you can enjoy Qt, GTK apps, and even the Weston Terminal to be moved around the screen. Previously there was just server-side support for moving windows in Wayland while now is client-side support.
    • Nix 2.0 Package Manager Released With A Ton Of Changes
      Nix 2.0 is now available as the latest major update to this functional package manager most commonly associated with the NixOS Linux distribution.
    • KubeVirt v0.3.0-alpha.3: Kubernetes native networking and storage
      First post for quite some time. A side effect of being busy to get streamline our KubeVirt user experience. KubeVirt v0.3.0 was not released at the beginnig of the month. That release was intended to be a little bigger, because it included a large architecture change (to the good). The change itself was amazingly friendly and went in without much problems - even if it took some time. But, the work which was building upon this patch in the storage and network areas was delayed and didn’t make it in time. Thus we skipped the release in order to let storage and network catch up.
    • Top 5 open source projects for 2018
      In our increasingly collaborative world, open source technology is a top trend that is having a major impact on the development and implementation of cutting edge capabilities. Open source is when source code connected to a program is made freely available, giving users the opportunity to make modifications and to share with other users. The common alternative to this is proprietary software, source code that remains under the strict control of an organisation, team or individual, ensuring that the integral code remains private and controlled by its owner.
    • DataTorrent Glues Open Source Componentry with ‘Apoxi’
      Building an enterprise-grade big data application with open source components is not easy. Anybody who has worked with Apache Hadoop ecosystem technology can tell you that. But the folks at DataTorrent say they’ve found a way to accelerate the delivery of secure and scalable big data applications with Apoxi, a new framework they created to stitch together major open source components like Hadoop, Spark, and Kafka, in an extensible and pluggable fashion.

    GNOME and Fedora

    • RFC: Integrating rsvg-rs into librsvg
      I have started an RFC to integrate rsvg-rs into librsvg. rsvg-rs is the Rust binding to librsvg. Like the gtk-rs bindings, it gets generated from a pre-built GIR file.
    • 1+ year of Fedora and GNOME hardware enablement
      A year and a couple of months ago, Christian Schaller asked me to pivot a little bit from working full time on Fleet Commander to manage a new team we were building to work on client hardware enablement for Fedora and GNOME with an emphasis on upstream. The idea was to fill the gap in the organization where nobody really owned the problem of bringing up new client hardware features vertically across the stack (from shell down to the kernel), or rather, ensure Fedora and GNOME both work great on modern laptops. Part of that deal was to take over the bootloader and start working closer to customers and hardware manufacturing parnters.
    • Fedora Atomic Workstation: Works on the beach
      My trip is getting really close, so I decided to upgrade my system to rawhide. Wait, what ? That is usually what everybody would tell you not to do. Rawhide has this reputation for frequent breakage, and who knows if my apps will work any given day. Not something you want to deal with while traveling.
    • 4 cool new projects to try in COPR for February