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KDE: Qt, Slimbook, Brooklyn, KWayland and KWin, Akademy

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KDE
  • Let There Be More Shapes!

    As a follow-up to the previous post about the upcoming new Shape element, I am happy to share that the feature set is going to be bigger than previously expected, and this applies already to the upcoming 5.10 release of Qt.

  • A laptop by KDE

    Earlier this year we announced a joint venture between KDE and Slimbook that we named the KDE Slimbook.

    Last Akademy we had the opportunity to meet the Slimbook team and discuss its purpose and future. I’m quite happy about the discussions, here’s my feedback.

  • How to extend Brooklyn with new chat protocols

    Do you like Brooklyn but you use a chat protocol which is not officially supported?
    All you have to do is following this tutorial step by step!

    First of all, you have to check if there is a Java library for the protocol whereby you want to create the bot.
    If it doesn't exist, you've to write it by yourself (as I did to support Rocket.Chat). Then, add the library you have just created to Maven.
    Finally import it on Brooklyn through Maven.

  • Another iteration and one tough bug

    I didn’t want to give up and so I looked through the KWayland and KWin code related to pointer locking and confinement, which is a lot. Hours later I finally found the root cause: KWin creates small on screen notifications when a pointer is locked or confined to a window. Most of the time this works without problem, but with the above patch to Xwayland the client sends in quick succession the pointer confine and lock requests to KWin and for some reason when trying to show both notifications at the same time KWin or maybe the QML engine for the notification can’t process any further. Without the patch Xwayland always only sent the confinement request and nothing blocked. I don’t know how Martin would like to have this issue solved so I created a bug report for now. It’s weird that it was such a petty cause in the end with such huge consequences, but that’s how it goes.

  • Akademy (22-27) 2017

Latte Dock 0.7

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KDE
Software

KDE: Qt 5.10, Akademy and More

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KDE
  • [Development] First Qt 5.10 (pre-alpha) binary snapshot available

    We have finally first binary snapshot (pre-alpha) available for Qt 5.10 via online installer. You can do clean installation by using online installer or add this under existing online installation by using its maintenance tool (detailed instructions here: https://wiki.qt.io/How_to_get_snapshot_via_online_installer). You will find Qt 5.10 under 'preview' node from installer UI.

  • A Binary Snapshot Of Qt 5.10 To Begin Testing This Next Toolkit Update

    It's considered pre-alpha quality so most of you will probably want to avoid it, but those wanting to easily test out the early Qt 5.10 state at least now have a binary package.

    Jani Heikkinen of The Qt Company announced this morning a pre-alpha binary snapshot of Qt 5.10 using their online installer. Details or to grab it via this mailing list post.

  • One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

    Back in 2013, when I last wrote something on the topic, I suppose I was having to manage the transition of Kubuntu from KDE 3 to KDE 4 on another person’s computer, perhaps not having to encounter this yet on my own Debian system. This transition required me to confront the arguably dubious user interface design decisions made for KDE 4. I had to deal with things like the way the desktop background no longer behaved as it had done on most systems for many years, requiring things like the “folder view” widget to show desktop icons. Disappointingly, my most recent experience involved revisiting and replaying some of these annoyances.

  • Another successful Akademy! Neon team BoF, snappy and more.

    This year's akademy held in Almeria, Spain was a great success.

    We ( the neon team ) have decided to move to using snappy container format for KDE applications in KDE Neon.
    This will begin in the dev/unstable builds while we sort out the kinks and heavily test it. We still have some roadblocks to overcome, but hope to work with the snappy team to resolve them.

  • Akademy; at 20, KDE reaches out

    Some of the talks, initiatives, conversations, and workshops that inspired me at Akademy. Thanks so much for the e.V. for sponsoring me.

KDE: Akademy 2017 and Brooklyn 0.2

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KDE
  • Akademy 2017 Review

    Akademy 2017 was held in Almeria, Spain for a week full of discussion around the Plasma project. Our VDG team was represented by Jens Reutenberg (jensreu) and Andy Betts (anditosan). Our aim at the event was to provide help to many of the developers who gathered at the event and needed help in designing new applications using guidelines or just coming up with design ideas.

  • Akademy group photo time series

    Akademy is the oldest yearly meeting of KDE programmers. This year I attended for the tenth time.

    Dublin in 2006 was my first Akademy. I will never forget it. It was my first time meeting the people from whom I learned so much.

  • KDE Brooklyn Chat Bridge Declared Production-Ready

    The GSoC student developer working on "Brooklyn", the protocol-independent chat bridge for KDE systems and written in Java, has declared his project a success. In ending out the GSoC summer work, he has released Brooklyn v0.2 and has deemed it ready for production use.

    The Brooklyn chat program for KDE as of version 0.2 supports the Telegram, IRC, and Rocket Chat services.

  • Brooklyn 0.2 released, ready for production

    For Debian 9 users who want to use it without too many configurations, there is an Ansible config ready to be used.

KDE Plasma 5: The Silent Revolution

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KDE

For years, I fell into the habit that the age of innovation in desktop environments had ended because of users protesting new releases of GNOME and KDE, and the lukewarm response to Ubuntu's Unity. After about 2012, the largest innovations on the desktop appeared to be coming from Linux Mint, half of whose efforts were devoted to MATE, a fork of GNOME 2, which was first released in 2002, and half to developing Cinnamon as a full- featured desktop,a process now well-advanced.

Armed with this view, I frequently characterized Plasma 4 as a kitchen-sink desktop, more concerned with cramming in any remotely useful feature than in improving the user experience. In marked contrast to GNOME 3, Plasma 4 frequently repositioned features. Particularly in the Systems Settings, new features were dumped in an Advanced tab, and took several releases to be suitably positioned.

Meanwhile, Plasma 5 came out in 2014. It was discussed mostly in terms of updating Plasma to use the Qt 5 toolkit and streamlining the code. Moreover, because KDE projects have different releases schedules, most distributions were slow to switch to Plasma 5. I saw it in virtual machines, but I rarely used it for prolonged periods.

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Also: Akademy 2017 in Retrospect

KDE and Qt: GCompris, Krita, Qt and QML

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KDE
  • GCompris- Digital Electricity

    The Digital Electricity activity in GCompris aims at creating and simulating a digital electric schema. Currently, there exists a “Free Mode”, where a user can freely create and check the working of a circuit on their own. During the final month of the GSoC period, I will be adding a “Tutorial Mode” alongside the existing free mode. The tutorial mode is aimed at teaching the users how the individual components work in a digital circuit.

  • Krita 3.2.0: We Have a Release Candidate!

    After last week’s rollercoaster ride (if you haven’t seen it, check the news, then the update!), it was hard to get back into making releases and writing code. Yet, here is the release candidate for Krita 3.2.0.

  • New in Qt 5.10: Diagnostics when breaking QML bindings

    Property bindings are one of the most interesting features of the QML language. In QML, when we set a value on a property, the right hand side expression isn’t evaluated just once to produce a value, like in a ordinary imperative language.

  • Qt talks at CppCon 2017

    CppCon is the annual conference for the C++ community: five days packed with over 100 talks, as well as inspiring keynotes, panel discussions, hallway chats, fun evening events and much more. CppCon is a project of the Standard C++ Foundation, a not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to support the C++ software developer community and promote the understanding and use of modern, standard C++ on all compilers and platforms.

  • If your software should be cross platform and accessible, forget about Qt

    A few years ago, I started to write software which primary audience is going to be blind musicians. I did a small presentation of the UI at DebConf15.

    Most of the functionality is in a compiler-alike backend. But eventually, I wanted to create a user interface to improve the interactive experience.

    So, the problem again: which toolkit to choose which would be accessible on most platforms? Last time I needed to solve a similar problem, I used Java/Swing. This has its problems, but it actually works on Windows, Linux and (supposedly) Mac. This time around, my implementation language is C++, so Swing didn't look that interesting. It appears there is not much that fullfils these requirements. Qt looked like it could. But since I had my bad experiences already with Qt claiming accessibility they really never implemented, I was at least a bit cautious. Around 10 years ago, when Qt 4 was released, I found that the documentation claimed that Qt4 was accessible on Linux, but it really never was until a very late 4.x release. This information was a blatant lie, trying to lure uninformed programmers into using Qt, much to the disservice of their disabled users. If you ask a random blind Windows user who knows a bit about toolkits, they will readily tell you that they hate every app written in Qt.

KDE: Neon, ISO Image Writer, Akademy 2017, Mycroft Plasmoid and More

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KDE
  • Neon CI was down, Why?

    This post is public service announcement regarding the KDE Neon infrastructure.

    Earlier we KDE neon developers decided that we should build the armhf and/or arm64 packages on Neon CI itself instead of the different Plasma Mobile specific Jenkins Instance. First step to make this happen was the adding ARM architecture in the KDE Neon package archive. We are using the Aptly for serving the packages.

  • ISO Image Writer Alpha 0.2
  • Akademy 2017: it’s great to be part of KDE.

    I am pleased with the Akademy Awards this year. All were well deserved but I am specially happy of the one received by Cornelius Schumacher for his contributions throughout many years to KDE. I am specially proud of having shared with him two years at the KDE e.V. Board of Directors, having him as leader (President). The award received by the KDE representatives in the Free Qt Foundation was well deserved too. Olaf and Martin has done a terrific job over the years to ensure Qt remains open no matter who develops it. KDE needs to promote more the relevance of this foundation and the benefits for the entire KDE and Qt ecosystems. Thanks Olaf and Martin.

  • Akademy 2017.. and 2018!

    The talks were genuinely informative, I especially enjoyed the wonderful future we will see in Plasma Mobile, and how we can enlarge our (developer) community by supporting further international writing systems. Features of new C++ releases were shown, we got on overview on how we can make use of functional constructs and got some insight into debugging QML. There were so many informative talks, I unfortunately can’t list all of them!

  • [Video] Mycroft Plasmoid Version 2.0

    Introducing The Updated Mycroft Plasmoid Version 2 for KDE Plasma Desktop.

  • Mycroft Plasmoid Version 2.0 & My First Akademy

    I’d like to start this blog by thanking the KDE e.V. and the awesome KDE community for giving me the opportunity and sponsoring my travel to showcase and present my work on Mycroft at KDE Akademy, 2017 in Almeria, Spain this year. It was a very insightful experience where I got to learn about other interesting projects in KDE and also an awesome opportunity to meet other community members. I also got the chance to hold a Birds of a Feather session on Mycroft on the desktop where I gained some very valuable feedback and talk opportunities for integrating with other interesting projects to which I look forward too.

  • Keyboard Layouts the way Sun Microsystems Intended Them

    Anyway, I still use the Sun keyboard most of the time, but it is a decade old by now, and starting to show its age. And sometimes I use other hardware, like the KDE Slimbook, which has the control-key in the wrong place (next to the penguin, or meta-key). I have had a setxkbmap + xmodmap script that I have used since forever, but really that it a bit foolish: there are KDE settings to achieve the same thing.

  • GSoC-Second month analysis

How KDE’s Vast Open-Source Community Has Been Developing Technologies to Bring Reliable, Monopoly-Free Computing to the World for 20+ Years

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KDE

In 1996, Matthias Ettrich found himself frustrated with the absence of a user-friendly, inexpensive work environment for the Linux operating system. Most people employing Linux at the time were running it on Unix; however, the platform didn’t offer a workspace that presented an intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) that was both effective and easy on the eyes.

Matthias had the idea and the basic framework for an improved alternative in mind, but he knew he’d need help to create the platform. So he posted a call to action asking the Linux development community to join him, and, thus, KDE was born. Matthias’s note eventually resulted in the creation of KDE’s flagship product, Plasma — a cross-device, customizable work environment that gives users full control over workflows.

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Software: CloudBerry Backup, Gitano, Krita, GCompris

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KDE
Software
  • CloudBerry Backup for Linux: Review and Installation

    When it comes to backups, experience says it’s better to be safe than sorry. Better to have much than not enough – you get the point. In this article, we will present CloudBerry Backup for Linux, a cross-platform cloud backup and disaster recovery software.

  • Gitano 1.1

    Today marks the release of Gitano 1.1. Richard(s) and I have spent quite a lot of time and effort on this release, and there's plenty of good stuff in it. We also released new versions of Lace, Supple, Luxio, and Gall to go alongside it, with bugfixes and improvements.

  • Krita Foundation: Update

    When we posted the news about our tax wrangle yesterday, we did expect to make some waves. We didn’t expect the incredible response from all of you! A day later, over 500 awesome people have donated a total of €9562 (at the time of writing, check the fancy progress bar we’ve finally managed to create!). Fourteen people have joined the development fund, too! Thank you all!

  • Milestone Report 2: GSoC’17 Tasks Implementation
  • GCompris at Akademy 2017

    I didn’t blog yet about my experience during this year’s Akedemy, the annual conference and gathering of the KDE community.

    This time it was in Almería, Spain. The organizers made a wonderful work, and everything went perfectly good. The event was well covered locally, with at least three newspaper articles.

Plasma rocks Akademy

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KDE

Right after the first day's keynote (slides), Marco Martin and Sebastian Kügler caught the general audience up in their presentation "Plasma: State of the Union". Sebas talked about how the architecture around Frameworks 5 and Plasma 5 worked out very well, and how the 5.8 LTS release was received positively, especially by the users who value stability and predictability.

Marco then presented a number of new features that have been added to Plasma since last year's Akademy and that are planned for the upcoming 5.11 release. There is the improved integration for web browsers, better support for touchscreens, enhancements in the taskbar, return of the App Menu (Global Menu), encrypted volumes through Plasma Vault, more elegant artwork, a redesign of the System Settings user interface, and many more.

The KDE Store has gained a lot of traction since its relaunch at Akademy 2016, and now even allows its contributors to receive donations directly from happy users. (Full disclosure: Your editor was able to buy a pizza last week from donations coming through this new feature in the KDE Store).

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