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Updated: 3 hours 10 min ago

Private Internet Access becomes a KDE Patron

Monday 16th of October 2017 09:10:32 PM

Private Internet Access is joining KDE as a Patron and pledges to support the work of KDE e.V. through the corporate membership program.

"We are very happy to have the Private Internet Access/London Trust Media as a KDE Patron and KDE e.V. Advisory Board member. The values of Internet openness are deeply rooted in both organisations, as well as those of privacy and security. Working together will allow us to build better systems and a better Internet for everyone", said Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Vice-President of the KDE e.V.

"Private Internet Access is highly committed to giving back to those communities that have helped the brand and its parent company get to where it is today, and we are very much aware that vast proportions of the infrastructure we use on a daily basis, in the office and at home, is powered by Free and Open Source Software. We have made a pledge to show our gratitude by supporting FOSS projects to help encourage development and growth. We are proud to be supporting KDE and the crucial work that the project does for the Linux Desktop" said Christel Dahlskjear, Director of Sponsorships and Events at Private Internet Access.

Private Internet Access provides VPN services specializing in secure, encrypted VPN tunnels. Those tunnels create several layers of privacy and security for a more effective safety for users on the Internet. Private Internet Access's VPN Service is backed by multiple gateways worldwide, with VPN Tunnel access in 25+ countries and 37+ regions.

Private Internet Access will join KDE's other Patrons: The Qt Company, SUSE, Google, Blue Systems and Canonical to continue supporting Free Software and KDE development through the KDE e.V.

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KDE Powers up the Qt World Summit

Friday 13th of October 2017 09:55:00 AM

The motto of our space at QtWS this year has been "Power up!". We put it into practice in more than one way and in the most literal of senses.

First we designed our allocated space so that attendees could come, sit and relax, and recover their energies. We made sure there was ample sitting space with comfy cushions in an open and informal atmosphere.


Team KDE.

We also wanted to make it easy for visitors to power up their devices, so we placed plugs and USB charging stations all over our booth. Our visitors came, sat, chatted, re-charged their bodies, minds and devices, while at the same time finding out why KDE is the driving force behind many a software project. This turned out to be winning idea. A lot of people came by the "Power up!" space, and the buzz gave us the chance to demonstrate exactly how KDE could also power up their software and hardware projects. Many still perceive KDE exclusively as the creator of a desktop, but, at the ripe age of twenty, KDE is much more than that.


Visitors could power up
in more ways than one.

Twenty years of development means that KDE has made many different kinds of software. Primary device UI, end-user apps, communication apps, business apps, content creation apps, mobile apps, and on and on. This means we have had to solve many problems and create many libraries in the process. Our libraries complement Qt and are very easy to use by any Qt-based application. Many have few or no dependencies aside from Qt itself. These libraries are free to use and licensed in a way that is compatible even with commercial apps. They also run on many different platforms.

To leverage all the libraries and frameworks we have created, we have also built many development tools, including a full IDE that supports both static and dynamic languages (KDevelop), an advanced editor especially designed for developers (Kate), debugging tools (Kdbg, Massif Visualizer), etc. They all support Qt and C++ and again run on a variety of platforms.


Plasma Mobile running on
Nexus 5x at QtWS 2017.

Our most valuable asset is our community. The KDE community is the real power behind KDE's projects. The community fosters personal and professional development, helping programmers become better Qt developers in a welcoming environment. Also, just by contributing to KDE, you get to help us decide where we should take our projects next and help us keep KDE code up-to-date and secure.

To prove our point, we had on display two examples of how KDE powers much more than desktop devices. We showed off the Pinebook running Plasma Desktop. The Pinebook is a low-cost ultra-netbook (only $99 for the 14'' version) built around the Pine, an ARM-based 64 bit single board computer -- similar to a the Raspberry Pi, but more powerful. The Pinebook is not only a good example of a cheap machine you can take anywhere, but also of how KDE technologies can provide a full-fledged working environment on all sorts of devices.

To drive the matter home even more, visitors were also able to play with Plasma Mobile, our environment for smartphones. Plasma Mobile has been in the news recently thanks to the fact that Purism, manufacturers of high-end laptops that come with Linux pre-installed, and KDE have agreed to work together on the Librem 5, an open and privacy-respecting smartphone. As the Librem 5 hasn't been built yet, at QtWS 2017 we showed how Plasma Mobile works fine on an off-the-shelf device; in this case, a Nexus 5x. Plasma Mobile running on an actual device is living and breathing proof of the power KDE delivers to developers.

Thanks to Halium, for example, you can sit different graphical environments (including Plasma Mobile) on top of an Android base, and Halium will manage communication between the graphical environment and the kernel. Then we have Kirigami, a framework that helps developers create apps that will work within all sorts of environments, not only on the Plasma Desktop. With Kirigami, you can deliver apps to the two Plasmas, Desktop and Mobile, Windows, MacOS X, Android, and iOS.

These powerful technologies are developed and maintained by KDE, and are examples of how KDE can power up your projects.

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More in Tux Machines

LWN on Linux: LTS, API, Pointer Leaks and Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC)

  • Cramming features into LTS kernel releases
    While the 4.14 development cycle has not been the busiest ever (12,500 changesets merged as of this writing, slightly more than 4.13 at this stage of the cycle), it has been seen as a rougher experience than its predecessors. There are all kinds of reasons why one cycle might be smoother than another, but it is not unreasonable to wonder whether the fact that 4.14 is a long-term support (LTS) release has affected how this cycle has gone. Indeed, when he released 4.14-rc3, Linus Torvalds complained that this cycle was more painful than most, and suggested that the long-term support status may be a part of the problem. A couple of recent pulls into the mainline highlight the pressures that, increasingly, apply to LTS releases. As was discussed in this article, the 4.14 kernel will include some changes to the kernel timer API aimed at making it more efficient, more like contemporary in-kernel APIs, and easier to harden. While API changes are normally confined to the merge window, this change was pulled into the mainline for the 4.14-rc3 release. The late merge has led to a small amount of grumbling in the community.
  • Improving the kernel timers API
    The kernel's timer interface has been around for a long time, and its API shows it. Beyond a lack of conformance with current in-kernel interface patterns, the timer API is not as efficient as it could be and stands in the way of ongoing kernel-hardening efforts. A late addition to the 4.14 kernel paves the way toward a wholesale change of this API to address these problems.
  • What's the best way to prevent kernel pointer leaks?
    An attacker who seeks to compromise a running kernel by overwriting kernel data structures or forcing a jump to specific kernel code must, in either case, have some idea of where the target objects are in memory. Techniques like kernel address-space layout randomization have been created in the hope of denying that knowledge, but that effort is wasted if the kernel leaks information about where it has been placed in memory. Developers have been plugging pointer leaks for years but, as a recent discussion shows, there is still some disagreement over the best way to prevent attackers from learning about the kernel's address-space layout. There are a number of ways for a kernel pointer value to find its way out to user space, but the most common path by far is the printk() function. There are on the order of 50,000 printk() calls in the kernel, any of which might include the value of a kernel pointer. Other places in the kernel use the underlying vsprintf() mechanism to format data for virtual files; they, too, often leak pointer values. A blanket ban on printing pointer values could solve this problem — if it could be properly enforced — but it would also prevent printing such values when they are really needed. Debugging kernel problems is one obvious use case for printing pointers, but there are others.
  • Continuous-integration testing for Intel graphics
    Two separate talks, at two different venues, give us a look into the kinds of testing that the Intel graphics team is doing. Daniel Vetter had a short presentation as part of the Testing and Fuzzing microconference at the Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC). His colleague, Martin Peres, gave a somewhat longer talk, complete with demos, at the X.Org Developers Conference (XDC). The picture they paint is a pleasing one: there is lots of testing going on there. But there are problems as well; that amount of testing runs afoul of bugs elsewhere in the kernel, which makes the job harder. Developing for upstream requires good testing, Peres said. If the development team is not doing that, features that land in the upstream kernel will be broken, which is not desirable. Using continuous-integration (CI) along with pre-merge testing allows the person making a change to make sure they did not break anything else in the process of landing their feature. That scales better as the number of developers grows and it allows developers to concentrate on feature development, rather than bug fixing when someone else finds the problem. It also promotes a better understanding of the code base; developers learn more "by breaking stuff", which lets them see the connections and dependencies between different parts of the code.

An update on GnuPG

The GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG) is one of the fundamental tools that allows a distributed group to have trust in its communications. Werner Koch, lead developer of GnuPG, spoke about it at Kernel Recipes: what's in the new 2.2 version, when older versions will reach their end of life, and how development will proceed going forward. He also spoke at some length on the issue of best-practice key management and how GnuPG is evolving to assist. It is less than three years since attention was focused on the perilous position of GnuPG; because of systematic failure of the community to fund its development, Koch was considering packing it all in. The Snowden revelations persuaded him to keep going a little longer, then in the wake of Heartbleed there was a resurgent interest in funding the things we all rely on. Heartbleed led to the founding of the Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII). A grant from CII joined commitments from several companies and other organizations and an upsurge in community funding has put GnuPG on a more secure footing going forward. Read more

Ubuntu: GNOME, New Video, Ubuntu Podcast, Refreshing the Xubuntu Logo

  • Ubuntu 17.10: We're coming GNOME! Plenty that's Artful in Aardvark, with a few Wayland wails
    Ubuntu has done a good job of integrating a few plugins that improve GNOME's user experience compared to stock GNOME – most notably a modified version of the Dash-to-Dock and the App Indicator extensions, which go a long way toward making GNOME a bit more like Unity. It's worth noting that Ubuntu's fork of Dash-to-Dock lacks some features of the original, but you can uninstall the Ubuntu version in favour of the original if you prefer. In fact you can really revert to a pretty stock GNOME desktop with just a few tweaks. Canonical said it wasn't going to heavily modify GNOME and indeed it hasn't.
  • What’s New in Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark
  • Ubuntu Podcast: S10E33 – Aggressive Judicious Frame
    This week we’ve been protecting our privacy with LineageOS and playing Rust. Telegram get fined, your cloud is being used to mine BitCoin, Google announces a new privacy focused product tier, North Korea hacks a UK TV studio, a new fully branded attack vector is unveiled and Purism reach their funding goal for the Librem 5.
  • Refreshing the Xubuntu logo
    Earlier this year I worked a bit with our logo to propose a small change to it – first change to the logo in 5 years. The team approved, but for various reasons the new logo did not make it to 17.10. Now we’re ready to push it out to the world.

Intel Linux and GCC Work

  • Intel Begins Landing GFNI Support In GCC 8
    Intel compiler engineers have begun landing "GFNI" support within the GNU Compiler Collection as one of the new ISA extensions not expected until the Icelake processor debut.
  • Control-Flow Enforcement Technology Begins To Land In GCC 8
    Intel Control-flow Enforcement Technology (CET) support has begun landing within the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) for this code safety feature. Patches have been in the works for several months while now the start of the patches are being merged to mainline. Coincidentally, at the same time Intel is also landing their GFNI instruction patches in GCC as well.
  • Intel Continues Landing New i915 DRM Features For Linux 4.15
    Jani Nikula has sent in another drm-intel-next update for David Airlie's DRM-Next tree. They continue prepping more updates to their Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) for targeting the upcoming Linux 4.15 cycle. There have already been several Intel "i915" DRM driver updates queued in DRM-Next for this new kernel version. Past pulls have included marking Coffeelake graphics as stable, continued Cannonlake "Gen 10" graphics enablement, various display improvements, and quite a lot of other low-level code improvements.