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Updated: 5 hours 39 min ago

Ruqola on FreeBSD

Tuesday 24th of September 2019 10:00:00 PM

Ruqola is a Rocket.chat client in QML for use on the desktop.

Ruqola has a long-ish history within the KDE community, with students Veluri and Vasudha working on it. The code recently completed the KDE incubation process and has been moved to a regular release cycle by Jonathan.

So as the KDE community welcomes Ruqola, FreeBSD welcomes it too. Tobias has added this new entry in the IM category. No screenshot here, since I’m not sure I’ve installed it correctly (so it looks funny when I use it and doesn’t render emoji, for instance). That’s something for a next iteration of the port.

Oh, also KDE Frameworks 5.62 have landed, and Qt 5.13 is real close now (as usual, it’s lagging a bit on QtWebEngine, although the fantastic efforts by Kai are reducing the lag considerably).

Qt Quick on Vulkan, Metal, and Direct3D - Part 3

Tuesday 24th of September 2019 07:00:00 AM

In part 3 of our series on Qt graphics (part 1, part 2), we will look at how shaders are handled in Qt Quick in Qt 5.14 when switching the scenegraph over to rendering through QRhi, the Qt Rendering Hardware Interface. We choose to cover shader handling before digging into the RHI itself because Qt Quick applications using ShaderEffect items or custom materials have to provide fragment and/or vertex shader code themselves, and therefore they need to be aware of (and by Qt 6, migrate to) the new approach to shader handling.

Speaking of Qt 6: while everything described here applies to, and only to, Qt 5.14, and may change in later releases, what we have here will likely form the foundation of graphics and compute shader handling in Qt 6, once the few remaining rough edges are eliminated.

Welcome Malayalam

Monday 23rd of September 2019 10:00:00 PM

During Akademy, I chatted with Aish about Malayalam, a language of Kerala state. It stands out for me as a language with a beautiful script.

Not two days after Akademy, I was approached by two people on IRC about adding a Malayalam translation for Calamares, the Linux installer. I think it was largely independent. In any case, Subin and Balasankar now run the Malayalam translation team on Transifex for Calamares. In ten days or so they’ve reached 50% translation state, which means that they land in the “ok” list of languages. The next release of Calamares will have Malayalam translations enabled and selectable from the language drop-down on startup.

Whether it looks good when used is another thing, though: for instance my FreeBSD machine didn’t display any characters (only boxes) while my Netrunner development VM did. Installing another 300MB of fonts gets me this 50%-state (I still think that’s gorgeous writing, and with the team working like they are, I expect that the front page will soon be all Malayalam):

Thanks to all the translator contributors in the team!

When I couldn’t make it to Nuremberg Sprint 2019

Monday 23rd of September 2019 03:09:18 PM
Featured Image Credits: Neofytos Kolokotronis

Back when I was selected as a Google Summer of Code 2019 student for my project Porting KDE Connect to Windows, it was a sheer stroke of luck when incidentally I got invited by my mentor Simon Redman, to come to the Nuremberg Mega sprint for hacking on KDE Connect with the team!

It was an awesome opportunity, but to be able to get to the sprint, I had to travel abroad, which needs the most difficult document I had to procure till date- a Schengen VISA. There are multiple kinds of VISA- short term, long term, and some schengen states have more or less categories of short term Visa that you can apply through. You can read more about schengen VISAs here.

I did not get the VISA to Germany even after applying TWICE. On the bright side, I learnt a lot about VISA applications. But still, it did cost me a bit of money to get that knowledge!

While I did not make it to the sprint, I was able to meet the team virtually over a video call.

I finally met the team in real life (well, almost ) and I was able to share my current progress on KDE Connect for Windows with the team in real time, demonstrating the progress of Notifications Plugin and the SFTP Plugin. I shared a new build with the team to try out, so they could try it out at their leisure.

This little hiccup taught me tons about VISA procedures, and just prepared me for my next opportunity- Akademy 2019!

you bet I am!

Happy KDEing!

Akademy Behind!

Sunday 22nd of September 2019 10:00:00 PM

I think it’s a yearly-recurring theme: going to Akademy! crickets .. woo! Back from Akademy but it’s been a while, wow!

This year is, of course, no different.

I gave two talks at Akademy,

  • QuatBot: manage your meetings with Matrix which is a mix of here-is-a-library and here-is-a-usecase. It’s unfortunate that other Matrix talks didn’t happen, since now QuatBot felt a little out-of-place. It’s still a useful tool for work-work to keep notes and manage a meeting, though.
  • There’s a Framework for that tried to cover some bits and pieces of KDE Frameworks. There’s a lot of them, and there’s less publicity around them than there might be. So I did a whirlwind tour of just the names of 32 tier-1 frameworks (no dependencies outside of Qt) and then looked a little more closely at KOSRelease and KMacroExpander.

The framework-for-that idea lives on, though: today I was looking for something to extract the Exec= line from a .desktop file, and there’s a framework for that (KIO does the job, but that’s a pretty heavy dependency for what I wanted; I’ll need to think about it some).

Third year running (Almeria, Vienna, Milan), I presented the BoF wrap-up session at the end of the day – that’s mostly acting as MC to get other people to tell their stories. Here’s thursday and friday for instance, via the dot. Videos are on YouTube.

For next year, I’d like to train some other people to do the presentation – because there are so many other faces in KDE. I have high hopes for Caio (of KPMCore and other things) and Aish (GCompris) who I’d like to see out there fronting for the KDE community.

For being a loud person I’ve now been appropriately punished, by being voted on to the board of KDE e.V. (that page needs an update). I’ll be doing generally useful things, I hope, which means massaging the community code of conduct and spending money from our donors on events all over the world where people from all corners of the KDE community can participate.

There were dinners and architecture and stunning views over the lake and a castle and maze-like university buildings and all that. Other people have taken – and posted – much better pictures than I would, so I’m going to skip over my crappy pics and move on to the thanks section:

  • Arjen and Bhushan for being cool roommates
  • Aleix, Andy, Eike, Helio, Kai-Uwe, Lydia, Neofytos and Thomas for their board efforts
  • Kenny and Kenny for being the driving force behind Akademy’s year-after-year organization
  • Riccardo for being the local driving force
  • Myriam for steering for food
  • Aish and Timothée for company during walks

One cool photo is the group photo of attendees, where you can match names to faces (and for those with no name yet, help out with our crowd-sourced recognition scheme).

Akademy 2019

Sunday 22nd of September 2019 08:56:10 PM




It's 10 days already since Akademy 2019 finished and I'm already missing it :/

Akademy is a week-long action-packed conference, talks, BoFs, daytrip, dinner with old and new friends, it's all a great combination and shows how amazing KDE (yes, the community, that's our name) is.

On the talks side i missed some that i wanted to attend because i had to extend my time at the registration booth helping fellow KDE people that had forgotten to register (yes, our setup could be a bit easier, doesn't help that you have to register for talks, for travel support and for the actual conference in three different places), but I am not complaining, you get to interact with lots of people in the registration desk, it's a good way to meet people you may not have met otherwise, so please make sure you volunteer next year ;)

One of the talks i want to highlight is Dan Vrátil's talk about C++, I agree with him that we could do much better in making our APIs more expressive using the power of "modern" C++ (when do we stop it calling modern?). It's a pity that the slides are not up so you'll have to live with Kévin Ottens sketch of it for now.



My talk was sadly not very well attended since i was sharing time with the more interesting talk by Marco and Bhushan about Plasma in embedded devices (i would have gone there if it wasn't because i had a talk) so if you're interested in fuzzing please read my slides and give me a shout if you want to volunteer to help us fuzz all the things!

On the BoFs side one of the hardest but most interesting we had was the one about KDE Applications (the N things we release monthly in one go) vs KDE applications (all applications made by us), and i think we may be on the right track there, there's a plan, needs finishing out, but I'm confident it may actually work :)

One of the things that shows how amazing this conference is and how many interesting things are happening is the fact that i made a small list of bugs i wanted to work on if i ever got bored of the talks or the BoFs, i don't think i even started on any of them ^_^

Akademy 2020

Akademy is a core event for KDE and we need to find people to help us organising it every year. If you think you can help, please have a look at the call for hosts document.

Thanks

I would like to thank the UnixMiB friends for hosting us, i know it's lots of work and i hope you know we all very much appreciate the effort you put in.

I would like to thank the Akademy-team on KDE's side too, you are amazing and pull out great work year after year, keep it up!

I would like to thank the KDE e.V. for partially sponsoring my attendance to Akademy, please donate to KDE if you think the work done at Akademy is important.

Political activism in KDE

Sunday 22nd of September 2019 01:00:00 PM

At the very beginning of this blog I mentioned that I might not only talk about technical topics but also about political or philosophical ones. Until now I successfully managed to avoid that but over three years later this is the first article about such a topic.

It is though directly related to me being part of the KDE community and my work on KDE software. In the last few weeks I noticed a rise in political activism in KDE what I see critical. The climax was two days ago an official endorsement of the Global Climate Strike on KDE's social media accounts. Why this straw broke the camel's back and how if at all I think KDE can be political, I will expand upon in the following.

Worse activism

Let us first dive into some current political activism in KDE and why I see it as damaging to the community.

Grasping at plastic straws

Talking about straws there is a discussion ongoing already since July on the member mailing list of the KDE e.V. (that is the legal body representing the KDE community in official matters) about an environment responsibility policy for KDE.

I would not feel comfortable bringing this discussion in detail to the public without prior consent of the KDE e.V. board or the people involved so please excuse me that I won't expand on it much more. But what I can say is that the current draft still reads like the law book of a cult covering every little aspect of its members' lives.

For example people are supposed to have QR Codes on their business cards so that other people can scan these instead of having to hand over – and by that wasting – a paper card. I am not sure if the battery power used for scanning a QR code with a smart phone offsets the energy involved to produce a single business card but it would be an uninteresting thing to calculate for sure.

In all fairness the draft would likely go through several further iterations smoothing out lots of the weird and extreme demands before having a chance of becoming a policy but that we even have to spend time discussing such nonsensical ideas is difficult to comprehend.

Especially if one thinks of how little impact this will make with the 5 to 100 nerds going to a KDE event each time.

This reminds one of the discussion about plastic in the ocean often exemplified in the media by plastic straws we use in drinks and so on. But even without knowing any numbers it should be obvious to anybody that plastic straws can not be a huge polluter to our environment in comparison to all the other packaging private persons and the industry use up on a daily basis. Still the general public and even politicians like to concentrate on straws instead of real issues.

Hashtag ClimateStrike

Why do we talk about plastic straws and not other packaging or fishing gear? Because the first is easy to understand. We all know what it is and how it looks. We have an image of it in our heads. The straw is a symbol.

One could think it does not matter if all the details are right, symbols are more important. There needs to be something easy to grasp so people can rally behind it. By this logic also the Global Climate Strike (or any other strike) is a symbol to generate alertness and all kind of internal conflict that the loss of detail induces is justifiable by that. So all good?

Not really. KDE's primary objective is and must stay free software. This is what unites us in KDE independent of our other believes, opinions or socioeconomic and cultural background. Using KDE as a platform to grow interest into other maybe also important but unrelated topics through political symbolism will erode this base on what the community stands.

And that this will be the outcome is easy to see. Just look at the responses the KDE climate strike endorsement received on Twitter or Facebook.

On Twitter besides evoking people that call themselves Don Trumpeone and Anarcho-Taoist we have the marketing lead of KDE telling another user and self-proclaimed "KDE fan" that he should not use our software anymore because the user has the wrong opinion about climate change.

Personally I also think that the user's opinion about climate change is wrong but I would never tell him that he should not use free software anymore because of this. These reactions are divisive to the core and it was already the outcome only few hours after the original endorsement was published.

The conflicts this activism creates are the one thing. On the other side I just do not want to believe you have to use simplified symbols to gain people's interest in political topics, I do not want to believe that even today we can not make the world better without shouting at each other and hating people for their different opinions.

I think the modern tools we have nowadays could allow us to be better in this regard. But more about such tools and what role KDE could play here at the end of this article.

Hey guys!

Before that another topic I want to strive quickly because it is getting on my nerves: the constant reminder of a handful of people at KDE events, in particular Akademy, to use inclusive language like addressing a group of women and men as "people" or "humans" instead of "guys".

I get it! Tech is not diverse, there are a lot more men than women and you want to change that for whatever reason you see fit. Personally I don't see an issue per se. I think most women just like to do different things, that sexes are different in this respect. But on the other side modern gender science also has some interesting arguments worth considering. And putting some resources into outreach programs might still be a good idea. After all especially in young years men and women are influenced by their peers and such programs could counterbalance.

But whatever your opinion is, stop trying to shove it everyone else in the face by telling them they should not use the word "guys" which is totally common in the above context. Especially don't do it when the person you think about lecturing is at the moment holding a talk about free software in front of hundreds of people. It is annoying for the people in the audience and quite frankly rude to the presenter to disrupt his talk.

My own theory is that this speech regulation is just another form of elitism to differentiate the money and cultural rich from the poor. At least it reminds me of French being the language of the nobles some hundred years ago and I have yet to meet the child of a working class family that does not find this inclusive language utter nonsense.

Stallman

When we are talking about speech regulations I want to also quickly address the resignations of Richard Stallman since it happened recently and some people in KDE showed their support of that rather openly.

From what I read the media twisted his words on what he had to resign for in the end. On the other side it was reported by multiple credible sources that he also showed some unprofessional behavior in the past in regards to women. Then again does this already warrant his expulsion? Or that he published some questionable statements in his blog years ago? On the other side do his overall behavior and antics not hinder the spread of free and open source software overall?

So we can see that it is complicated. Also neither did I know him personally nor did I ever read his blog. When judging one way or the other it would be good if more people admitted this to themselves and would just say "I do not know". That said there are certain things to keep in mind regardless of how well one knows the circumstances when we talk about accusations of bad thoughts or behavior.

People should be given the opportunity to express their opinions freely and without fear of repercussions and they should be allowed to change their opinions again if they got convinced they were wrong. This holds also or even more true for people in power. Otherwise they might hide their real opinions and form policies with hidden agendas. Or we just get opportunists without opinions. Also not ideal.

If a person in an official position is hindering the progress of open source for certain reasons then this person should be replaced. But for these reasons and not because of something unrelated he said on an internal mailing list or on a personal blog years ago that got read probably only by a handful of people. And of course one should give this person the chance to better himself before demanding his resignation.

At last ask yourself who benefits from a call for resignation. Maybe the people's motives are pure, but own interest might be involved as well. Especially when a company asks for it. Most companies are still there first of all for their own profits. On the other side do not drift into conspiracy theories, just be wary and give the criticized person the benefit of the doubt.

Better politics

After criticizing some of the current damaging activism in KDE I want to give some ideas what political goals our community actually could unite around besides the promotion of free and open source software. I will keep this part short but if there is interest in some of these ideas future articles could go deeper.

Code literacy

I believe the number one skill to learn in the future besides reading and writing will be to code. And with that I don't only mean learning the formal rules of some programming language but to think in logical steps, test own hypotheses and find the right level of abstraction to understand and solve a problem.

This is not only a program for the western world. It can give rise to the living standards and social conditions of people in any culture.

KDE with contributors from all around the world and with different levels of coding knowledge is in a prime position to promote code literacy everywhere and to help governments and schools in achieving it.

Open government

How modern technology and in particular the web has changed our understanding of how politicians should interact with the public and how the public should influence the political discourse and its decision-making is a wide and interesting field.

And it does not stop at public institutions. Also private entities, in particular companies in quasi-monopolistic positions, must open up to the public discourse in reasonable ways.

In any case free and open source software is for me the foundation on what other ideas can grow in this area. If the public does not have access to the code the government or the platform holder uses for its open government program there will be only minimal and one-sided innovation.

KDE is in a unique position of providing free software, having this software been deployed in municipal governments already and being independent of any commercial or governmental influence. How about we reach out to one of the NGOs doing work in this important field already and see what opportunities there are?

Effective public discourse

This is somewhat related to open government but also to the overall topic on how we want to communicate with each other in the community and with the outside.

Again how and where we share thoughts and discuss topics has been changed dramatically with modern information technology. But sometimes when looking through discussions on Facebook or Twitter one could think for the worse.

I believe though there is no real change to us, just a rise in supply of opportunities to express ourselves. It covers the earlier unfulfilled demand. But this does not mean that already all possibilities have been exhausted and we can not improve any more on the current state.

I think the technology for effective ways of sharing thoughts, discussing ideas and finding consent is not yet fully developed. There are likely better ways and KDE with a legal body, an online community of individuals and many other official and private stakeholders has all the right reasons to look for and promote new technical solutions for fostering civil discourse and finding common ground.

Progressive solutions instead of divisive activism

The quintessence is neither that the KDE community should keep out of all political topics besides free software nor that it may only be active in one of the three areas I circumscribed above. For example I would very much support work on environmental friendly technology in KDE which would then also justify some political engagement.

But there must be work on such technology first and then the political engagement grounded on that, not the other way around. I am sure if people come forward with specific solutions instead of general opinions there will be no divisiveness afterwards.

And that is the overarching theme when I think of KDE. I joined the community also because it always felt like a collective of diverse people from all around the world being interested in creating pragmatic yet proper free software solutions for everyone no matter their race, gender, social background or political opinions to improve their own daily life, their education or their income. I hope we find ways to apply this down-to-earth technical mentality also to whatever related political goals we strive for in the future.

KMyMoney 5.0.7 released

Sunday 22nd of September 2019 12:38:03 PM

The KMyMoney development team today announces the immediate availability of version 5.0.7 of its open source Personal Finance Manager.

This release becomes necessary due to the new regulations of the PSD2 which affects the online banking availability for German users. To make KMyMoney compatible with them, especially the Strong Customer Authentication part, KMyMoney had to be adapted to updated APIs of the Gwenhywfar and AqBanking libraries which provide the banking protocol implementations. KMyMoney now requires a Gwenhywfar minimum version of 4.99.16 and an AqBanking version of 5.99.32.

Users who have a working setup with an older AqBanking version need to consult the AqBanking Wiki for update instructions before launching KMyMoney 5.0.7 for the first time.

Before the online functions are ready for use again, some more adjustments are necessary. Instruction are also provided on the AqBanking Wiki. These adjustments can be performed via the Settings/Configure AqBanking dialog accessible from within KMyMoney 5.0.7 and have to be performed per institution.

We and – more important – our users now eagerly wait for installable packages for the various platforms Linux/Mac/Windows and distributions to arrive. So all you packagers out there: it’s your turn.

Despite even more testing we understand that some bugs may have slipped past our best efforts. If you find one of them, please forgive us, and be sure to report it, either to the mailing list or on bugs.kde.org.

From here, we will continue to fix reported bugs, and working to add many requested additions and enhancements, as well as further improving performance.

Please feel free to visit our overview page of the CI builds at https://kmymoney.org/build.php and maybe try out the lastest and greatest by using a daily crafted AppImage version build from the stable branch.

The details

Here is the list of the bugs which have been fixed. A list of all changes between v5.0.6 and v5.0.7 can be found in the ChangeLog.

  • 374123 Date Entry change to land on month part instead of day part
  • 389944 Copy SEPA credit transfer fails
  • 395977 Schedule Reports show both sides of transactions
  • 400846 Outbox can’t edit a saved item
  • 407072 Scheduled Transaction Report does not show amount
  • 410391 Unable to change forecast days

This week in KDE: a metric avalanche of amazing things

Sunday 22nd of September 2019 04:35:19 AM

Get ready for a massive load of improvement! And it’s all pretty darn shiny too because in addition to a ton of work on apps, we polished up Plasma to be as smooth as a marble for the 5.17 beta version (numbered 5.16.90), which is now available. The final product is due to be released in about a month, and as you’ll see, KDE contributors have been hard at work making it as awesome as humanly possible! A few things have slipped until the Plasma 5.18 LTS release, but that’s okay because it means 3 more months to polish them up.

Oh, one more thing before we begin: like Kate, Okular is now also available on the Microsoft store! This work is so important because Windows users who become accustomed to using free open source software on Windows are more easily able to switch to a fully FOSS platform, like a Linux distro running KDE Plasma.

New Features Bugfixes & Performance Improvements User Interface Improvements How You Can Help

Do you like the idea of enticing Windows users by making KDE apps more available to them? If so, check out this post by Kate developer Christoph Cullmann. Relevant skills include build systems, packaging, and promotion It’s very important work, and a key part of the new “all about the apps” initiative.

You can also check out https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved, and find out other ways to help be a part of something that really matters. You don’t have to already be a programmer. I wasn’t when I got started. Try it, you’ll like it! We don’t bite!

Finally, consider making a tax-deductible donation to the KDE e.V. foundation.

KDE applications on Windows

Saturday 21st of September 2019 09:13:00 PM
KDE applications on Windows?

One of the new goals of KDE is to spread the use of the applications created by the KDE community. This doesn’t only include the use of them on Linux & other Unix-like operating systems, but Windows, too.

The Successes :)

The KDE community has some successfully cross-platform applications out there, like Krita and GCompris. The teams behind these applications did some great job to both develop & market them for all operating systems, including Windows.

The Remaining Stuff :(

Wheres many KDE application can already be built on Windows since years, they have not found a wide spread use there.

For example Kate, the text editor I maintain, is there mostly unknown. Actually most of the applications we ship with the KDE Applications releases are not widely known on Windows (nor used).

The Plan!

Already last year we came up with the task to bring more of our applications to the official Microsoft Store to increase their visibility for the average Windows user.

The Building Blocks

Hannah von Reth & Kevin Funk provided the means to achieve this:

  • Craft - a meta build system / package manager that can be used on Windows for our stuff
  • KDE Binary Factory - a CI that actually even creates fully signed installers and packages for the store!

Without their work, nothing would have happened for the “we publish stuff in the store” task.

More details about that can be found in the wiki and older blog posts:

Our Progress :=)

Based on that work, some applications got now published with the KDE e.V. account to the Microsoft Store. The first was KStars and after a long gap Kate & Okular followed.

Direct links to the store entries can be found below (the screenshots are in German, made in a Win10 VM, yes, i18n works on Windows just fine):

Help Wanted!

At the moment, this is the effort of only a few people and it will only be sustainable if we gain more support.

Therefore, if you are interested in bringing more of our applications to Windows and helping to maintain them, join in at this Phabricator task.

The tooling might still be a bit rough to use in some places and the documentation is not perfect, but this can be improved!

Why all that?

I think there is a large user base on Windows that might benefit from our applications and we will benefit from potential more contributors, too.

Some might say: “Why shall we provide our applications on a proprietary operating system? People shall use fully open systems!”

I say: “Why shall we ignore all the people that are stuck with a proprietary operating system out of whatever reason?”

P.S.

And no, the idea is not to publish the stuff exclusively in the Microsoft Store.

The KDE Binary Factory outputs normal installers and portable archives, too.

The Microsoft Store is just a good way to advertise our applications to a broader scope of potential users. The KDE e.V. published applications are there available for free but you can use any other means to install them.

Feel free to join the discussion at the KDE reddit.

External Tools Plugin is Back

Saturday 21st of September 2019 07:50:00 PM

Back in 2011, we decided to remove the External Tools plugin in Kate for the KDE 4.8 release, since it was unmaintained and we got more and more bugs that were not fixed. However, over the years, we got many requests (and complaints) to bring this plugin back to life, since it was very useful to start little helper scripts with just a shortcut, via the command line, or the menu.

The good news is that for the KDE Applications 19.12 release, the External Tools plugin will be back! And it is much improved compared to the previous version.

I’ve been looking at many external tools implementations, including Microsoft Visual Studio, Visual Studio Code, CLion, KDevelop, Eclipse, and Qt Creator. And I must say the implementation in Qt Creator was by far the most flexible one, so that’s what I used as reference.

So let’s have a look. Once you enable the plugin, a new entry “External Tools” appears in the config page. Selecting the “External Tools” entry, you will be presented with several tools by default:

Editing a tool opens a config dialog that allows fine-grained configuration of the tool:

As you can see, many details can be defined, namely:

  • Name: The name of the tool, which will later appear in the menu.
  • Icon: Optional icon that is visible in the menu.
  • Executable: the executable. You can either provide an absolute path, or your executable must be in the PATH environment variable.
  • Arguments: Optional arguments that are passed to the process.
  • Input: Optional input that is passed to the process via stdin.
  • Working directory: The working directory the tool will be started in. If empty, the working directory is set to the current document’s path.
  • Mime types: If set, the tool is active only if the current document’s mime type matches.
  • Save: When invoked, saves none, the current document, or all documents.
  • [ ] Reload current document after execution: Useful when the current file is modified on disk.
  • Output: The output defines the target of stdout.
  • Editor command: Optional command that can be used to invoke the external tool via Kate’s built-in command line (by default shortcut F7).
Support for Variables

The Executable, the Arguments, the Input and the Working Directory support variables that are expanded on tool invocation. This is indicated by the icon {} that appears once one of these text input fields has focus (cf. red circle):

Hovering over one of these text inputs also shows a tooltip with the current expanded text. Further, clicking on the {} action will open a dialog that lists all available variables:

This feature provides a lot of flexibility when defining an external tool since all variables of the form %{...} are expanded when the tool gets invoked. There are two kind of variables supported:

  1. %{variable-name}
  2. %{variable-name:<value>}

The first form %{variable-name} simply replaces the variable with its contents. For instance, the variable %{Document:FileName} is replaced by the current document’s filename without its path. The second form %{variable-name:<value>} gets the <value> as contents. For example, this can be used to expand an environment variable with %{ENV:HOME}. Or you can obtain the current date in your preferred format like %{Date:yyyy-MM-dd}.

Developer info: The concept of variable expansion was added to the KTextEditor framework with version 5.63 (cf. API documentation).

Supported variables include:

  • Document:FileBaseName: File base name without path and suffix of the current document.
  • Document:FileExtension: File extension of the current document.
  • Document:FileName: File name without path of the current document.
  • Document:FilePath: Full path of the current document including the file name.
  • Document:Text: Contents of the current document.
  • Document:Path: Full path of the current document excluding the file name.
  • Document:NativeFilePath: Full document path including file name, with native path separator (backslash on Windows).
  • Document:NativePath: Full document path excluding file name, with native path separator (backslash on Windows).
  • Document:Cursor:Line: Line number of the text cursor position in current document (starts with 0).
  • Document:Cursor:Column: Column number of the text cursor position in current document (starts with 0).
  • Document:Cursor:XPos: X component in global screen coordinates of the cursor position.
  • Document:Cursor:YPos: Y component in global screen coordinates of the cursor position.
  • Document:Selection:Text: Text selection of the current document.
  • Document:Selection:StartLine: Start line of selected text of the current document.
  • Document:Selection:StartColumn: Start column of selected text of the current document.
  • Document:Selection:EndLine: End line of selected text of the current document.
  • Document:Selection:EndColumn: End column of selected text of the current document.
  • Document:RowCount: Number of rows of the current document.
  • Date:Locale: The current date in current locale format.
  • Date:ISO: The current date (ISO).
  • Date:<value>: The current date (QDate formatstring).
  • Time:Locale: The current time in current locale format.
  • Time:ISO: The current time (ISO).
  • Time:<value>: The current time (QTime formatstring).
  • ENV:<value>: Access to environment variables.
  • JS:<expression>: Evaluate simple JavaScript statements.
  • UUID: Generate a new UUID.
List of Default Tools

Some tools are shipped by default. These tools mostly came to my mind, but if you have more useful tools please let us know at kwrite-devel@kde.org so that we can add them to this list.

git-cola

git-cola is a graphical git client that enables you to easily stage and commit changes. If installed, it is available also through the command line with “git-cola”.

  • Name: git-cola
  • Icon: git-cola
  • Executable: git-cola
  • Arguments: -r %{Document:Path}
  • Editor command: git-cola
gitk

gitk is a git client as well that allows to nicely visualize the git history.

  • Name: gitk
  • Icon: git-gui
  • Executable: gitk
  • Working directory: %{Document:Path}
  • Editor command: gitk
git blame

Starts git blame to easily follow git changes in the current file.

  • Name: git blame
  • Executable: git
  • Arguments: gui blame %{Document:FileName}
  • Save: Current Document
  • Working directory: %{Document:Path}
  • Editor command: git-blame
Run Shell Script

Starts an external konsole in which the current document is executed.

  • Name: Run Shell Script
  • Icon: system-run
  • Executable: konsole
  • Arguments: -e sh -c “cd %{Document:Path} && pwd && chmod -vc a+x %{Document:FileName} && ./%{Document:FileName} ; echo Press any key to continue. && read -n 1”
  • Working directory: %{Document:Path}
  • Save: Current Document
  • Editor command: run-script
Google Selected Text

Search in google for the selected text.

Insert UUID

Inserts a new UUID each time this action is invoked.

  • Name: Insert UUID
  • Executable: echo
  • Arguments: %{UUID}
  • Output: Insert at Cursor Position
  • Editor command: uuid
Clang Format Full File

Runs clang-format on the current file on disk. The document is reloaded afterwards.

  • Name: Clang Format Full File
  • Executable: clang-format
  • Arguments: -i %{Document:FileName}
  • Working directory: %{Document:Path}
  • Save: Current Document
  • Reload: yes
  • Editor command: clang-format-file
Clang Format Selected Text

Runs clang-format just on the selected text in the current document.

  • Name: Clang Format Selected Text
  • Executable: clang-format
  • Arguments: -assume-fileName: %{Document:FileName}
  • Working directory: %{Document:Path}
  • Input: %{Document:Selection:Text}
  • Output: Replace Selected Text
  • Editor command: clang-format-selection
Qt Quick 2 Preview (qmlscene)

Previews the current qml file in qmlscene.

  • Name: Qt Quick 2 Preview (qmlscene)
  • Executable: qmlscene
  • Arguments: %{Document:FileName}
  • Save: Current Document
  • Working directory: %{Document:Path}
  • Editor command: qml-preview

Feel free to join the discussion at the KDE reddit.

Akademy 2019 is over.

Saturday 21st of September 2019 02:38:56 PM

Akademy 2019 took place in Milan, IT, at the University of Milano Bicocca from 7th to 13th of September. I arrived on Friday 6th and left Milan on Tuesday 10th.

Akademy 2019 group photo

This year Akademy was a little bit different for me. I joined MBition recently to push Open Source and, giving the kind of activity and technologies we use, KDE is an community we can learn a lot from. We have many things in common.

MBition decided to sponsor the event at the Supporter level and my colleague Julia König came with me for a couple of days to learn more about these kind of events and this community in particular.

We attended to the welcome event, the sponsors dinner and the first days of talks together. During the second day of talks, I introduced the company to the attendees during the sponsors talk.

It was also great to see my former employer, Codethink Ltd, as sponsor once again.

Several of the talks were very interesting although in general I did not attended to many. I spent quite some time outside talking to old friends, some new young contributors and other sponsors.

In terms of talks, the highlight of the event was Lars Knoll, CTO of the The Qt company. The interview published a few days before his talk is worth reading. He presented the most relevant plans about the coming Qt 6.

One of the things that have improved in KDE is our communication with the outer world. And Akademy reports are just an example. Check out the report about the first couple of days (talks).

On Saturday several talks reported about the accomplishments and challenges of the goals the community have been focusing on the last couple of years. The new goals were presented on Sunday, the second days of Akademy.

On Monday 10th, part of the day was invested in the KDE eV General Assembly. Some BoFs also took place that day. You can watch the report published on The Dot.

As mentioned, I came back to Málaga on Tuesday morning but you can read the reports about the Hands on Sessions and discussions tat took place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Last but not least, do not miss the interview with Leonardo Favario, Project Leader at the Italian Digital Transformation Team. It is a good one.

Thank you to the organizers and sponsors as well as the rest of the people who made Akademy a great event, in record time. It would be a great sign for MBition to be able to come back next year.

KDE is looking for a place and a team to host the event next year. If you are interested in gaining some traction locally to your Open Source efforts and are willing to meet a whole bunch of crazy, smart and friendly developers, think about applying to organizase Akademy 2020 (download the brochure).

I would like to finish this article sending my condolences to the family and friends of Guillermo Amaral, now that it has been made public that he passed away, victim of a cancer he fought hard.

Guillermo Amaral. Pic from one of his videos.

Guillermo was a great person. He had magnetism and an unique sense of humor. I cannot say but good things about him. He did great stuff.

Life is not fair.

KDE Mindmap – Akademy 2019

Saturday 21st of September 2019 11:03:38 AM

Akademy is over. =/ And now that I have a little of time I will talk to you about a Birds of Feather that I’ve hosted during the Milan edition of Akademy that was the Mindmap of the community.

Since I’ve joined KDE I don’t have a clear picture what the structure of the community looks like. And that’s why I hosted this BoF to try to fix that.

So after an hour of discussions with Lydia, Valorie and other amazing people of this community, we came with the following result:

The dotted lines means that there’s some connection between the nodes. Like the Community WG it’s connected to the root of KDE.

So I hope that this graph can give you a clear picture of our community. It’s a working in progress and I will make this map and the original source available soon under the Community Wiki.

Any feedbacks and comments are welcome.

That’s all folks!

Icecream 1.3 and Icemon 3.3 released

Saturday 21st of September 2019 10:48:18 AM

A new version 1.3 of the distributed C/C++ compilation tool Icecream has been released. To accompany it, version 3.3 of the GUI monitor Icemon has been released as well.

The changelogs are here and here. In a less changelog-y way, the changes are:

  • Compiler location are no longer hardcoded anywhere. Previously the compiler automatically packaged and sent to remote nodes was always /usr/bin/gcc (g++, clang, clang++). That might not match the actual compiler used and the workaround was to manually package the proper one using icecc-create-env. But now it's possible to build even with e.g. CXX=/my/own/build/of/clang and it'll simply work. This should also mean that explicitly setting $ICECC_VERSION now should be needed only for cross-compiling.
  • Slightly better job scheduling, both for remote and local builds. For example, the local machine should no longer be possibly overloaded by running way too many local preprocessor steps.
  • Better compression, both for sending data and packaged compilers. Compilation data is compressed using zstd if the other node supports it, compiler environments can be compiled using zstd or xz. This improves performance by reducing both network and CPU usage. Note that while compilation compression falls back to the older method if not supported by the other side, for compiler environments this is more tricky and so it has to be set up manually. You can set e.g. ICECC_ENV_COMPRESSION=xz , but the daemon will not fall back to using any other mechanism. Which means it will use only nodes that are at least version 1.3, the scheduler should also be from 1.3 (run another one if needed, the newest one wins) and the remote node needs to support the compression (1.3 uses newly uses libarchive, which supports zstd only in its relatively recent releases). So this is mainly useful if you have full control over the Icecream cluster, but by default the compression is the old gzip, for backwards compatibility.
  • Speaking of which, the maximum cache size for compiler environments now defaults to 256MiB. Use the --cache-size option of iceccd for different sizes.
  • Objective C/C++ support has been fixed.
  • Some special workarounds for GCC's -fdirectives-only option that is used when sending sources to remote nodes, as it breaks in some corner cases.
  • The --interface option of the daemons (and scheduler) now allow binding only to a specific network interface, if needed. Note that Icecream still assumes it runs in a trusted network and if that's not so it's up to you to ensure it by using tools such as a firewall.
  • Icemon now displays in the defailed host view what protocol a node supports (1.3 has protocol version 42, env_xz/env_zstd mean it supports compiler environments compiled using xz/zstd).
  • And various other fixes.

KItinerary Command Line Extractor

Saturday 21st of September 2019 08:30:00 AM

The KItinerary data extraction engine recently got a command line interface, which can be pointed at any file KItinerary can consume (HTML, PDF, plain text, iCal, Apple Wallet passes, etc) and which then outputs JSON-LD according to the schema.org data model with the information that could be found in there. Adding this has been motivated by two separate goals: Increasing extractor robustness, and easing integration into 3rd party applications.

Robustness

Regarding robustness we have the problem that the problem that the extractor when used in an email application is essentially exposed directly to remotely provided (hostile) content. When running in-process accidentally or intentionally corrupt documents might trigger hangs or crashes of the email application. That’s especially a problem for some of the more complex document types we deal with, such as PDF.

An effective way to mitigate this is moving the dangerous operations to a separate process. This way the host application is not only isolated from possible crashes, it also allows us to sandbox the extractor using tools like Bubblewrap or seccomp, to reduce the impact of possible security issues in the extractor or the underlying parsing libraries.

For users of the KItinerary API, such as the KMail plug-in this is straightforward to use:

KItinerary::ExtractorEngine engine; engine.setUseSeparateProcess(true); engine.setData(...); auto result = engine.extract();

Besides enabling the out-of-process mode, it’s important to feed raw data rather than pre-parsed documents in, otherwise the dangerous part of the process happens in the host application after all.

Integration

Another motivation for having external process for the data extraction is that it provides an easy way to integrate with applications that cannot or do not want to link against KItinerary and its dependencies, or for whom linking would bring in additional complications at this point. The browser integration work is such an example benefiting from this, there we have to deal with unaligned release cycles and two very different technology stacks.

Using the out-of-process extractor of course is not for free. The entire test suite currently needs about 8.5 seconds for extracting almost 600 samples, with out-of-process mode this roughly doubles. Per document that is about 15 and 30 miliseconds respectively, which isn’t all that bad. That is the average over all test samples though, PDFs tend to be more expensive to process than plain text files for example, while the overhead of spawning a new process is largely constant.

Prototyping

But even if the final integration might involve directly linking against the KItinerary stack, the command line interface can be useful for the initial evaluation and for building prototypes. To support this there’s a nightly Flatpak build available in KDE’s Flatpak repo. This is obviously not meant for production deployments, maintained distribution packages based on official releases are better for that. It however allows very fast turnaround times to receive the latest improvements in the extractor engine while still having the convenience of pre-built packages and co-installability.

Trying this is fairly straightforward:

$ flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo $ flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists kdeapps --from https://distribute.kde.org/kdeapps.flatpakrepo $ flatpak install kdeapps org.kde.kitinerary-extractor $ cat trainticket.pdf | flatpak run org.kde.kitinerary-extractor [ { "@context": "http://schema.org", "@type": "TrainReservation", ... } ] Contribute

As always, sample data donations are of invaluable help with this work! Of particular interest at the moment would be multi-leg Renfe tickets, as well as those with at least one international destination :)

For contributing in other ways than donating test data please see our Phabricator workboard for what’s on the todo list, for coordinating work and for collecting ideas. For questions and suggestions, please feel free to join us on the KDE PIM mailing list or in the #kontact channel on Freenode or Matrix.

Plasma 5.16.90 (Plasma 5.17 Beta) Available for Testing

Friday 20th of September 2019 10:02:00 AM

Are you using Kubuntu 19.04 Disco Dingo, our current Stable release? Or are you already running our development builds of the upcoming 19.10 Eoan Ermine?

We currently have Plasma 5.16.90 (Plasma 5.17 Beta)  available in our Beta PPA for Kubuntu 19.04 and 19.10.

This is a Beta Plasma release, so testers should be aware that bugs and issues may exist.

If you are prepared to test, then…..

Add the PPA and then upgrade

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kubuntu-ppa/beta && sudo apt update && sudo apt full-upgrade -y

Then reboot. If you cannot reboot from the application launcher,

systemctl reboot

from the terminal.

In case of issues, testers should be prepare to use ppa-purge to remove the PPA and revert/downgrade packages.

IMPORTANT: This is especially required if you plan to upgrade a Disco system to Eoan when it is released, as Eoan will ship with Plasma 5.16 by default. Attempting to upgrade a system to Eoan without 1st purging the beta PPA will fail, due the PPA packages being built against and so requiring an older version of Qt than is found in Eoan.

Kubuntu is part of the KDE community, so this testing will benefit both Kubuntu as well as upstream KDE Plasma software, which is used by many other distributions too.

  • If you believe you might have found a packaging bug, you can use a launchpad.net to post testing feedback to the Kubuntu team as a bug, or give feedback on IRC [1], Telegram [2] or mailing lists [3].
  • If you believe you have found a bug in the underlying software, then bugs.kde.org is the best place to file your bug report.

Please review the release announcement and changelog.

[Test Case]

* General tests:
– Does plasma desktop start as normal with no apparent regressions over 5.15.5 or 5.16.5?
– General workflow – testers should carry out their normal tasks, using the plasma features they normally do, and test common subsystems such as audio, settings changes, compositing, desktop affects, suspend etc.

* Specific tests:
– Check the changelog:
– Identify items with front/user facing changes capable of specific testing. e.g. “clock combobox instead of tri-state checkbox for 12/24 hour display.”
– Test the ‘fixed’ functionality.

Testing involves some technical set up to do, so while you do not need to be a highly advanced K/Ubuntu user, some proficiently in apt-based package management is advisable.

Testing is very important to the quality of the software Ubuntu and Kubuntu developers package and release.

We need your help to get this important beta release in shape for Kubuntu and the KDE community as a whole.

Thanks! Please stop by the Kubuntu-devel IRC channel or Telegram group if you need clarification of any of the steps to follow.

[1] – irc://irc.freenode.net/kubuntu-devel
[2] – https://t.me/kubuntu_support
[3] – https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/kubuntu-devel

Qt Contributors' Summit 2019

Wednesday 18th of September 2019 01:48:22 PM

Contributors, mark your calendars!

Qt Quick on Vulkan, Metal, and Direct3D - Part 2

Wednesday 18th of September 2019 06:00:00 AM

Let's continue where we left off in the first post. We saw an example of a Qt Quick application running on Linux on top of OpenGL and Vulkan. We also saw a Vulkan frame capture in RenderDoc, which is not just an invaluable tool during Qt development work, but can also be useful to anyone who wants to dig deeper and understand better how Qt Quick renders a frame (or for that matter troubleshoot problems in an application's rendering). Now in this post we are going to focus on what Qt 5.14 offers for macOS and Windows.

Metal on macOS

Quite unsprisingly, running the qt5-cinematic-experience demo with QSG_RHI=1 (and QSG_INFO=1) on macOS 10.13 or 10.14 results in:

Chocolatey package for LabPlot available

Tuesday 17th of September 2019 08:40:53 AM

While we’re spending quite some time now finalizing the next release of LabPlot which will be announced soon, we continue getting feedback from our users and we try to incorporate as much as possible into the upcoming release.

This feedback usually consists of different discussions around the existing features in LabPlot or features that need to be added in near future, around bugs, etc. Recently we’ve got a somewhat different feedback informing us about the availability of a Chocolatey package for LabPlot.

Chocolatey is an advanced package manager for Windows allowing to manage the installation, configuration, update and uninstallation of applications on Windows.

Installing LabPlot on Windows with chocolatey from the PowerShell is as simple as
C:\> choco install labplot

Similarly, upgrading to a new version is done via
C:\> choco upgrade labplot

Great news!

SFXR Qt 1.3.0

Monday 16th of September 2019 06:32:12 PM

I just released version 1.3.0 of SFXR Qt, my Qt port of the SFXR sound effect generator.

There aren't that many new features for end users:

  • A new wave form: Triangle.
  • A new file format: SFXJ.

The new file format opens the road to adding new features. I have a few ideas in mind, will see how it goes.

Nevertheless, this release brings several under the hood changes:

  • Improved error handling so that you get a message dialog when the app cannot load or save a file.
  • Unit-tests using Catch2, which I really like.
  • Continuous Integration through Travis CI.

Finally, I borrowed Nanonote CMake code for packaging, so deb and rpm packages are available on the release page. Let me know if they work for you.

That's it, hope you enjoy generating fun sound effects!

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