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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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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.)

KDE: Latte Dock, New Plasma 5 for Slackware, and Kubuntu Council Election Results

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  • Intro to Latte Dock, New Decoration for Kubuntu

    Latte is a new MacOS-like dock desktop decoration for KDE Plasma. It's first released in 14 January 2017 as v0.5.90. It's now installable for Kubuntu from PPA (and other distros via specific channels). If you're a Kubuntu user and waiting for a decent dock, or if you missed the legendary AWN dock, then Latte is for you. This article will show you some pictures (and GIF) and features of Latte. Enjoy!

  • Plasma 5 for Slackware – KDE 5_17.09

    For some time now, no news about Plasma 5 for Slackware appeared on this blog. I just have been too occupied with family life and the demands of my day job.

    But the configuration of my new server, the one I bought last month, finally is at a point where I can use it for running virtual machines and compiling packages. And it is fast… compiling LibreOffice in 90 minutes where in the past it would take me 10 times as long. Therefore I was able to create a new release of Plasma 5 packages while at the same time working on new LibreOffice packages.

  • Kubuntu Council Election Results Announced

    The Kubuntu Council is happy to announce the results of the election, and welcome the following members: Rik Mills, Aaron Honeycutt (returning) and Rick Timmis.

KDE: Kirigami Framework and KDE Applications 17.08

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KDE
  • KDE Frameworks Now Shipping with Kirigami Framework for Building Convergent UIs

    After launching the first point release of the KDE Applications 17.08 software suite, the KDE project announced this week the release of KDE Frameworks 5.38.0, the monthly update to the open-source collection of add-on libraries for the latest Qt 5 technologies.

  • KDE Applications 17.08 Gets First Point Release, More Than 20 Bugs Got Squashed

    Right on the schedule, the latest stable KDE Applications 17.08 software suite got its first point release, versioned 17.08.1, this week, fixing more than 20 recorded bugs and improving support for several KDE apps.

    As expected, KDE Applications 17.08.1 is a bug fix release, addressing various of the bugs, crashes, and other issues reported by users since the launch of the KDE Applications 17.08 stable series in mid-August 2017. Numerous KDE apps received improvements, including bug not limited to Akonadi, Minuet, Akregator, Kdenlive, Ark, Cantor, Cervisia, Gwenview, JuK, Umbrello, Okular, Konsole, and Kontact.

Best KDE Linux Distributions For Your Desktop, Quick Look at Next Kubuntu, and Randa

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KDE
  • Best KDE Linux Distributions For Your Desktop

    best kde linux distributions for your desktop
    KDE remains one of the most popular desktop environments available for Linux users. KDE prioritizes aesthetics and modernity with a user-friendly computing experience. It also comes with a host of applications and features that complete the experience. But which distro does KDE best? I certainly do not know the right answer but what I can do is share some of KDE's best distros in the market now. Some distros certainly do KDE better than others and if you’ve been burnt before, I bet one of these might change your mind. In no particular order, let’s go.

  • Quick Look at Kubuntu Artful Pre-Release

    This is Kubuntu 17.10 Beta 1 "Artful Aardvark", a pre-release version available for development/testing purpose. For you regular users, you are not supposed to install Beta 1 version, unless you want to simply try it and report bugs to Kubuntu Developers. For you not installing I made this short review to see how amazing Kubuntu Artful is already!

  • ERR (En Route to Randa)

    I’m happy to see KDEnlive Joseph and Grace again, and the PIM dudes (although they seem to have slunk off to one of the meeting rooms for Serious Talks already).

    Tomorrow starts at 7:02, when I have kitchen duty to roll out breakfast for 20-or-so Free Software hackers who are hungry from the fresh mountain air, and then after that it’s time to self-organize and sit down to work.

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Servers: DockerCon Coverage, MongoDB IPO

  • DockerCon EU 17 Panel Debates Docker Container Security
    There are many different security capabilities that are part of the Docker container platform, and there are a number of vendors providing container security offerings. At the DockerCon EU 17 conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, eWEEK moderated a panel of leading vendors—Docker, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Aqua Security, Twistlock and StackRox—to discuss the state of the market. To date, there have been no publicly disclosed data breaches attributed to container usage or flaws. However, that doesn't mean that organizations using containers have not been attacked. In fact, Wei Lien Dang, product manager at StackRox, said one of his firm's financial services customers did have a container-related security incident.
  • DockerCon EU: Tips and Tools for Running Container Workloads on AWS
    Amazon Web Services wants to be a welcome home for developers and organizations looking to deploy containers. At the DockerCon EU conference here, a pair of AWS technical evangelists shared their wisdom on the best ways to benefit from container deployments. The terms microservices and containers are often used interchangeably by people. Abby Fuller, technical evangelist at AWS, provided the definition of microservices coined by Adrian Crockford, VP of Cloud Architecture at AWS and formerly the cloud architect at Netflix.
  • Docker CEO: Embracing Kubernetes Removes Conflict
    Steve Singh has ambitious plans for Docker Inc. that are nothing less than transforming the world of legacy applications into a modern cloud-native approach. Singh was named CEO of Docker on May 2 and hosted his first DockerCon event here Oct. 16-19. The highlight of DockerCon EU was the surprise announcement that Docker is going to support the rival open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In a video interview with eWEEK, Singh explained the rationale behind the Kubernetes support and provided insight into his vision for the company he now leads.
  • MongoDB's IPO Beats the Market Out of the Gate
    The folks at MongoDB raised a whole lot of money today in their debut on NASDAQ. Yesterday the open source company announced it was going to be asking $24 a share for the 8 million Class A shares it was letting loose in its IPO, which had some Wall Street investors scratching their heads and wondering if the brains at Mongo were suffering from some kind of undiagnosed damage. Analysts had been estimating an opening price of between $20-22 per share, and on October 6 the company had estimated an opening price in the range of $18-20.

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.