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KDE and GNOME: Kubuntu Site, Marble Maps, Kube in Randa, and UX in GNOME

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KDE
GNOME
  • Call for design: Artful Banner for Kubuntu.org website

    Kubuntu 17.10 — code-named Artful Aardvark — will be released on October 19th, 2017. We need a new banner for the website, and invite artists and designers to submit designs to us based on the Plasma wallpaper and perhaps the mascot design.

  • Randa 2017 Report – Marble Maps

    Just came back home yesterday from Randa Meetings 2017. This year, even though my major motive for the sprint was to use Qt 5.8’s Qt Speech module instead of custom Java for text-to-speech during navigation, that could not be achieved because of a bug which made the routes not appear in the app in the first place. And this bug is reproducible both by using latest code, and old-enough code, and is even there in the prod app in the Google Play Store itself. So, although most of my time had gone in deep-diving on the issue, unfortunately I was not able to find the root-cause to it eventually. I will need to pick up on that in the coming weeks again when I get time, to get it fixed.

  • Kube in Randa

    I’ve spent the last few days with fellow KDE hackers in beautiful Randa in the Swiss Mountains.
    It’s an annual event that focuses on a specific topic every year, and this time accessibility was up, so Michael and me made our way up here to improve Kube in that direction (and to enjoy the scenic surroundings of course).

  • Usability testing for early-stage software prototypes

    In this article, Ciarrai Cunneen and I describe how to do a paper-based usability test, using an early redesign of the GNOME Settings app as an example. The updated Settings features in GNOME 3.26, released on September 13.

    When writing open source software, we often obsess about making our logic elegant and concise, coming up with clever ways to execute tasks and demonstrate ideas. But we sometimes forget a key fact: Software is not useful if it is not easy to use.

    To make sure our programs can be used by our intended audience, we need usability testing. Usability is basically asking the question, "Can people easily use this thing?" or "Can real people use the software to do real tasks in a reasonable amount of time?" Usability is crucial to the creative process of building anything user-based. If real people can't use our software, then all the hard work of creating it is pointless.

    [...]

    In early 2016, GNOME decided to make a major UI update to its Settings application. This visual refresh shifts from an icon-based menu to drop-down lists and adds important changes to several individual Settings panels. The GNOME design team wanted to test these early-stage design changes to see how easily real people could navigate the new GNOME Settings application. Previously, GNOME relied on traditional usability tests, where users explore the software's UI directly. But this wouldn't work, since the software updates hadn't been completed.

KDE: Plasma Mobile in Randa, Calligra Suite Rant, Kubuntu Updates

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KDE
  • Plasma Mobile in Randa(aaaaaaaa)

    Last week I had a chance to attend the Randa meetings 2017, my plan was to work on the Plasma Mobile during the sprint, improve the state of current images.

  • Progress On KDE Plasma Mobile From Randa 2017

    KDE contributor Bhushan Shah has shared some highlights of Plasma Mobile progress made from this year's Randa Meetings in Switzerland.

    At this annual KDE developer event in the Swiss mountains, some of the Plasma Mobile advancements worked on or reviewed included:

    - Plasma Mobile images are now being assembled by the KDE Neon build system rather than the Plasma Mobile CI.

  • Calligra Suite does not suit me

    It pains me to say so, but the split from KOffice to Calligra has given this program only a temporary infusion of hope, and looking back at my 2013 trial, it's not made any progress since. On the contrary. Calligra Suite is slow, difficult to use, and it comes with less than ideal file format support. My conclusion here is much the same regarding different Linux software, be it distros or desktop environments. 90% of it just shouldn't exist, and the effort must be focused on just one or two select programs with the highest quality and chance of making it big. The infinite forking doesn't do anyone any good.

    Calligra Suite has the potential, but it's far, far from realizing it, and the world of Plasma has left it behind. The interface split is bad, too much equity is taken by a confusing maze of options, the performance is dreadful, the stability flaky, and the rest does not scale or compare against LibreOffice, let alone Microsoft Office. I wish my findings were different, but it cannot be. Ah well. Like so many other flowers of the open-source world, this one must wilt. I'll keep an eye, but I doubt there is ever going to be enough focus or love to make Calligra into a serious competitor. Dedoimedo's sad prose out.

  • Plasma 5.11 beta available in unofficial PPA for testing on Artful

    Adventurous users and developers running the Artful development release can now also test the beta version of Plasma 5.11. This is experimental and can possibly kill kittens!

  • Kubuntu: Writing Japanese (Kanji, Hiragana, Katakana) Easily

    On Kubuntu system, we can write Japanese easily using Fcitx-Mozc tool! This awesome tool eases you with word-suggestions popup on-the-fly, with ability to switch between Kanji-Hiragana-Katakana-ASCII as simple as one click. It's very well integrated to the whole screens inside KDE Plasma desktop, enables you to write Japanese in Firefox browser, LibreOffice, Kate text editor, and even Konsole terminal.

GNOME and KDE: Dash to Dock, GNOME Shell, Librem 5, Krita and Randa

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KDE
GNOME
  • Dash to Dock v61 Released with Unity-Style Launcher Backlights

    An updated version of Dash to Dock — the hugely popular desktop dock for GNOME Shell — is available to install.

    Dash to Dock v61 adds official support for the recent GNOME 3.26 release, an addition that will be of particular note to those of you running Ubuntu 17.10.

  • Replacement Telegram Tray Icons for GNOME Shell

    This posts shows you how to replace the colorful Telegram tray icon on Linux with a GNOME Shell colored white set. It's a simple tweak that anyone can do.

  • Librem 5 Crosses $400k In Funding After Plasma Mobile Announcement

    Since announcing earlier this week that KDE is working on Plasma Mobile support for the Librem 5, Purism has managed to raise over $100k more towards their goal of building a free software GNU/Linux smartphone, but remain around 1.1 million dollars short of their goal.

    The announcement of Plasma Mobile support -- while still planning to support GNOME on their device and it not being known yet if KDE/GNOME will be the default on the phone -- managed to gain a number of new supporters with crossing the $400k crowdfunding threshold this weekend.

  • David Revoy teaches Krita course at local university in Paris
  • Randa Report Part 2

    And now for the serious part: in my last blog post, I talked about achieving our main goal for this year’s Randa meetings – we successfully ported the entire Kontact away from the obsoleted KDateTime class. Since we finished this on Thursday, there was still enough time left to start working on something new and exciting.

    Volker and Frederik went on to work on a KWin plugin to simulate various kinds of color blindness which will help developers to see how visually impaired users see their software, I did a bit more code clean-up after the porting and a bit of code-review.

GNOME and KDE: Librem 5, KDE Accessibility, and GNOME 3.26 Release Video

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KDE
GNOME
  • Encrypted, Open Source Phone That Won’t Track Users Launches Crowdfunding Campaign

    Here’s the weird thing about ears: you can’t shut them. You can shut your eyes, but you can’t shut your ears.

    The same is true for our devices. While no one builds devices with built in covers for cameras, it’s easy to add one. Microphones are trickier. In fact, there’s a persistent conspiracy theory that Facebook constantly listens for buzzwords to trigger ads through the microphones on people’s phones.

  • ​KDE Partners With Purism To Create The “First Truly Free” Linux Smartphone

    Just last month, we told you about a new crowdfunding project launched by privacy-focused hardware maker Purism. The device was named Librem 5 and it was expected to ship with PureOS, an open source Debian GNU/Linux derivative.

  • Testing Applications for Color Blindness

    At the Randa Meeting 2017 Volker and I decided to write a little KWin plugin. Activating this plugin you can simulate various types of color vision deficiencies, either on individual windows or full-screen. The plugin works by running a fragment shader on the respective window/screen.

  • The Official GNOME 3.26 Release Video Has Arrived

    The GNOME 3.26 release arrived earlier this week, and now an official release video has popped out to help promote it.

    The 1 minute 51 second clip zips through all of the pertinent new details, including support for color emoji, many of the core app updates, and (of course) the spiffy new search layout and streamlined Settings app.

KDE: Plasma Accessibility, Randa Report, KMarkdownWebView 0.1.0, and PureOS

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KDE
  • Plasma accessibility updates

    Marco Martin recently posted about some of the improvements in krunner, today I want to show some of the effort into navigating the Plasma panels.

    This video shows a user navigating the plasma panel using voice and keyboard. A shortcut focusses the panel, and then one can use tab and cursor keys as normal. In future we will improve our key-focus visual indicators, and allow for richer interaction.

  • Randa Report: The Fall of KDateTime

    The main goal for me and Volker for this year Randa Meeting was to port KCalCore, our calendaring library, away from KDateTime. KDateTime/KTimeZone are classes for handling date, time and time zones which were used back in the KDE4 (and earlier) days when Qt’s QDateTime wasn’t good enough for us, mainly due to missing time zone support.

    In Qt5 QDateTime finally gained all the necessary features we need which made it possible for us to leave KDateTime behind. But we couldn’t just go and replace “K” with “Q” everywhere – there are many subtle (and not-so-subtle) differences in API, behavior and some missing features of QDateTime that required us to carefully consider each step. The fact that we started working on this over 2 years ago shows how challenging task this was.

  • KMarkdownWebView 0.1.0

    The KMarkdownWebView software provides a KParts plugin for rendered display of Markdown files, using web technologies (webpage with JavaScript library which creates HTML from the plaintext handed in). This enables KParts-using applications (like the archiving tool Ark or the file manager Krusader) to show Markdown files in the target format. It is also prepared for the upcoming “Live Preview” plugin for KTextEditor-based applications like the editors/IDEs Kate & KDevelop (see introduction).

  • ​KDE is partnering with Purism to create a Linux smartphone

    Most people are happy to use Android smartphones. Others love their Apple iPhones. But there's some folks who really want a free-software smartphone without a trace of proprietary code or firmware. For these folks, Purism and KDE are partnering to create the Purism Librem 5 smartphone.

KDE: More on Plasma 5.11 Beta and KDE Plasma Mobile

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KDE
  • Plasma 5.11 Beta

    Thursday, 14 Sep 2017. Today KDE publishes a testing release of this autumn's Plasma feature release, KDE Plasma 5.11, to be released in mid-October 2017. Plasma 5.11 will bring a redesigned settings app, improved notifications, a more powerful task manager. Plasma 5.11 will be the first release to contain the new “Vault”, a system to allow the user to encrypt and open sets of documents in a secure and user-friendly way, making Plasma an excellent choice for people dealing with private and confidential information.

  • KDE Plasma 5.11 Rolls Into Beta With New System Settings, Better Wayland Support

    The beta is now available of the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.11. There have been many changes baking for the Plasma 5.11 milestone.

    Plasma 5.11 is rolling out a new system settings design, notification history, task manager improvements, Plasma Vault for making it easy to deal with file encryption, app launcher menu improvements, and better Wayland support.

  • Help us create a privacy-focused Free software smartphone!

    The news is out! KDE and Purism are working together on a Free software smartphone featuring Plasma Mobile. Purism is running a crowdfunding campaign right now, and if that succeeds, with the help of KDE, the plan is to deliver a smartphone based on Plasma Mobile in January 2019.

  • KDE Plasma Mobile Is Coming to the Purism Librem 5

    KDE Plasma Mobile is coming to the Purism Librem 5. Purism and KDE have today announced a partnership that will see both projects work together to bring Plasma Mobile to the Librem 5 handset with the pooling of resources, developers and expertise.

KDE Plasma 5.11 Enters Beta, Introduces Plasma Vault, Revamped Settings and More

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KDE

Today, the KDE project launched the Beta version of its upcoming Plasma 5.11 desktop environment for personal computers, giving the KDE community the first glimpse of what to expect from the final release later this fall.

Read more

Plasma Mobile and Purism's Librem 5 Free Smartphone

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KDE

Purism, Todd's company, produces the Librem computers, laptops with components that, where possible, are guaranteed to be respectful of the user's privacy. Their covers sport two hardware kill-switches, for example. One shuts off the camera. The other closes down WiFi and Bluetooth.

And, although not all components are open hardware,
Purism is perfectly transparent about this, recognizes it's not ideal, and aims to replace them when it becomes possible. Purism's ultimate aim is to achieve what they call Purism Purist state, in which every single chip and board is totally free and open, with all the schematics published under a free licence.

Read more

Also: KDE Joins Purism in an Attempt to Build World's First Privacy-Focused Smartphone

Librem 5 Smartphone Now Plans To Ship With KDE Plasma

KDE: Elisa, Randa, and Qt Con Brazil

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KDE
  • Last week development in Elisa

    I have decided to try to publish a short or not too short blog post each week some development happen in Elisa Git repository. I am inspired amongst others by the current posts about development of Kube.

    [...]

    I am still working on the notifications and a small progress has been made for the integration of visualizations when playing music.

  • Accessibility at Randa

    This year the Randa KDE meeting it’s all about Accessibility: a big effort has been concentrated around two very intertwined things: keyboard navigation and screen reader support.

  • Accessibility improvements in Randa

    Accessibility in KDE and Qt is constantly improving. Sometimes a change of scenery helps focusing and brings up productivity. Mix that with a bunch of great people and good things will start happening. It has been possible to create accessible Qt applications on Linux for a while, but of course not everything will just work out of the box untested. A while back Mario asked me to join this year’s Randa Meeting where KDE people discuss and fix issues. It turns out that was a great idea. I haven’t been able to focus much on applications and user experience lately, but with this backdrop it works

  • Discovering South America – Qt Con Brazil

    Few weeks ago I attended QtCon Brasil, an event organised by Brazilian members in the KDE Community who wanted to have an outreach event to the local technology community about Qt and beyond. It was great.

KDE: New digiKam (Version 5.7) and Randa Meeting Roundups

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KDE
  • digiKam 5.7.0 is released

    Following the release of 5.6.0 published in June, the digiKam team is proud to announce the new release 5.7.0 of the digiKam Software Collection. In this version a lot of work has happened behind the scenes and in fixing bugs, which does not mean there is no enhancements: A new tool to create print layouts has been introduces, albums can now be exported by mail, support for Hugin 2017 was added and GPS traces are storable as KML.

  • digiKam 5.7 Released With Print Creator & Email Sending Support

    For fans of the Qt-powered Digikam photo management software, the 5.7 release is out today with many bug fixes and underlying improvements along with some new user features.

  • digiKam 5.7 Image Editor Lets You Create Print Layouts, Export Albums by Email

    digiKam 5.7.0 was released today as the latest maintenance update to the open-source and cross-platform image editor, viewer and organizer software that introduces a couple of new features and many improvements.

    Two and a half months in development, digiKam 5.7.0 is here to introduce two new tools, namely "Send by Mail" and "Print Creator." The first one will allow users to send photos by email directly from the app, supporting popular email clients like Mozilla Thunderbird, Evolution, KMail, Claws Mail, Sylpheed, Balsa, and Netscape.

  • Randa Roundup - Part II

    The last time we wrote about Randa Meetings 2017, preparations for the event were still in progress. The developer sprint is now in full swing. Everyone is settled in and ready to start improving, debugging and adding features to KDE's apps and frameworks. But what exactly will the developers work on during Randa 2017? Here are some more details.

    As you're probably already aware, the theme of Randa Meetings 2017 is accessibility. This doesn't include only desktop software, but also extends to mobile apps. Sanjiban Bairagya is working on the Marble Maps Android app, KDE's answer to Google Earth. His accessibility-related tasks include making the turn-by-turn navigation experience more visually intuitive in real-time. He will also be switching Marble to the Qt 5.8 Speech module instead of using Java for text-to-speech support in navigation. Another thing Sanjiban wants to do is find a way to let users add notes to any place on the map.

  • Take Randa and Stuff It

    (O yeah, lunch was pretty expansive and tasty, so we’re stuffed. And in Randa.)

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