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KDE Releases Applications and Development Platform 4.13

Wed, 16/04/2014 - 5:26pm

April 16 2014 - The KDE Community proudly announces the latest major updates to KDE Applications delivering new features and fixes. Major improvements are made to KDE's Semantic Search technology, benefiting many applications. With Plasma Workspaces and the KDE Development Platform frozen and receiving only long term support, those teams are focusing on the transition to Frameworks 5. This release is translated into 53 languages; more languages are expected to be added in subsequent monthly minor bugfix releases.

KDE Applications 4.13 Benefit From The New Semantic Search, Introduce New Features

The KDE Community is proud to announce the latest major updates to the KDE Applications delivering new features and fixes. Kontact (the personal information manager) has been the subject of intense activity, benefiting from the improvements to KDE's Semantic Search technology and bringing new features. Document viewer Okular and advanced text editor Kate have gotten interface-related and feature improvements. In the education and game areas, we introduce the new foreign speech trainer Artikulate; Marble (the desktop globe) gets support for Sun, Moon, planets, bicycle routing and nautical miles. Palapeli (the jigsaw puzzle application) has leaped to unprecedented new dimensions and capabilities. read the announcement.

KDE Development Platform 4.13 Introduces Improved Semantic Search

The KDE Development Platform libraries are frozen and receive only bugfixes and minor improvements. The upgrade in the version number for the Development Platform is only for packaging convenience. All bug fixes and minor features developed since the release of Applications and Development Platform 4.11 have been included. The only major change in this release is the introduction of an improved Semantic Search, which brings better performance and reliability to searching on the Linux Desktop.

Development of the next generation KDE Development Platform—called KDE Frameworks 5—is in beta stage. Read this article to find out what is coming and see here for the latest announcements.

Improved Semantic Search

The major new addition to the KDE Development Platform is the next generation Semantic Search. To maintain compatibility, this is included as a new component rather than a replacement for the previous Semantic Search. Applications need to be ported to the new search component; most KDE Applications have already been ported. Downstream distributions can decide whether or not to ship the deprecated Semantic Search alongside the new version.

The improvements to search bring significant benefits in terms of faster, more relevant results, greater stability, lower resource usage and less data storage. The upgrade requires a one-time database migration that will take a few minutes of increased processing power.

Spread the Word

Non-technical contributors are an important part of KDE’s success. While proprietary software companies have huge advertising budgets for new software releases, KDE depends on people talking with other people. Even for those who are not software developers, there are many ways to support the 4.13 releases. Report bugs. Encourage others to join the KDE Community. Or support the nonprofit organization behind the KDE community.

Please spread the word on the Social Web. Submit stories to news sites, use channels like delicious, digg, reddit, and twitter. Upload screenshots of your new set-up to services like Facebook, Flickr, ipernity and Picasa, and post them to appropriate groups. Create screencasts and upload them to YouTube, Blip.tv, and Vimeo. Please tag posts and uploaded materials with "KDE". This makes them easy to find, and gives the KDE Promo Team a way to analyze coverage for the 4.13 releases.

Follow what is happening on the social web at the KDE live feed, buzz.kde.org. This site aggregates real-time activity from Twitter, YouTube, flickr, PicasaWeb, blogs, and other social networking sites.

Learning more and getting started

Find more details and download links in the announcement on the KDE website.

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KDE Commit-Digest for 2nd March 2014

Sun, 06/04/2014 - 6:52pm

In this week's KDE Commit-Digest:

Read the rest of the Digest here.

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KDE Commit-Digest for 23rd February 2014

Sat, 05/04/2014 - 8:09pm

In this week's KDE Commit-Digest:

  • KDevelop Clang support adds refactoring / renaming of variables and functions
  • Kate adds jump to next/previous change function and a plugin that allows you to launch the replicode executable with specified settings
  • KDE-PIM implements webdav sharelink, adds optional KAccounts support to the facebook resource
  • Krita has a config option to pick colors with opacity
  • Plasma MediaCenter implements a media cache populated by one or more media sources
  • NetworkManager supports an airplane mode
  • Porting to Frameworks5 continues in rekonq, ksecrets, YaKuake.

Read the rest of the Digest here.

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Interview with Aaron Seigo About Bodega Appstore

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 7:54am

Welcome to the Bodega store!

The openSUSE News site features an interview with Aaron Seigo about Bodega, a content store technology developed under the KDE umbrella. We replicate the KDE-relevant parts of the article here.

What is Bodega?

First off, let’s find out what Bodega is all about. Aaron explains:

Bodega is a store for digital stuff. In fancy words: it creates a catalog of metadata which represents digital assets.

The most important thing is of course the ‘digital asset’ term. That can be anything. For example, applications. Applications can be self contained – think how android does its APK files. Of course, things on Linux are often more complicated. Apache isn’t exactly a self-contained thing. And look further – perl, php, ruby, they all have their own addons like gems that need managing. Generalizing further, there are manuals. And books in general. Music, movies, pictures, you can go on.


Setting up a Bodega account

Of course, the competition has these too – look at Apple or Google.

And how about Linux…

Linux does not have a store where you can get such a wide variety of things. For a game, you can use Appstream, get it from Apper or GNOME’s software center. They all give a view on applications. Unfortunately, that is only useful for desktops and can handle things barely above the level of Angry Birds. If you want a python module as developers – these fancy tools won’t help you. Nor are they useful on servers. For those you have to rely on command line tools or even do things completely by hand. And it is all different between distributions.

Going further, where do you get documentation? For openSUSE, that’s activedoc or the forums or our support database on the wiki. Not from zypper. Music – you can get that from Magnatune and so on.

What if you can have one place where you can get a book, game, applications, isn’t that nice? That is what Bodega is.


The main screen of the store How is Bodega different?

So, Bodega offers a digital store which can handle a wider variety of things than our current solutions. But what sets it apart from proprietary technologies like the Playstore and of course Canonical’s store solution? Aaron:

Most Linux solutions like Appstream assume their audience are users who play Angry Birds and use spreadsheets. Fair enough. Bodega takes a different approach and is far more ambitious.

Bodega has all the meta data in one place and offers ‘stores’ which are views on that data. That means you can have a software developer store, for example listing all languages and their addons separate; and a server section etc. And a separate UI for the angry-bird-and-spreadsheet crowd. All from the same bodega system, filtered by tags (not static categories!).

Talking about Appstream, Bodega can of course benefit from the metadata gathered for Appstream. And GNOME’s Software Center could be reworked to be a front-end to Bodega, adding books, music and lots of other digital data to its store. This is not meant to be a rewrite of what is there, or an isolated effort!


An application in the store And why would you build on Bodega?

Bodega is open: everybody can quite easily add their own stores; or their own data sources; and add content and even sell it through their channels. It is not a closed system, on the contrary.

Open is a must, especially for Linux:

Take the 440.000 users of openSUSE. That would be a minimal amount of sales… The top-10 of paid apps in ubuntu makes less than a $100 per month of sales. Not really worth the effort. But if we could aggregate the sales between distributions, it would become relevant for third-party developers. Bodega as a cross-distribution is important!

And Bodega is useful for people outside of Linux. You can have your store on your own website so it is realistically possible for a independent author to sell their books in a bodega instance on their own website and never even SEE Linux. Yet the openSUSE users can get the books and benefit from the larger ecosystem…

The beauty of it is that it is all Free and Open Source Software, front and back. You can self-host all you want.


Preview of a wallpaper Current state

You might be eager to find out what is there, today. Well, if you’ve seen the screenshots to the side, you know there is an app to access the store. It is build for touch screens but works just fine and you can get it in openSUSE through software.opensuse.org. Once installed, you can fire it up typing “active-addons” in a run command dialog.

Shawn Dunn (of cloverleaf fame) is putting together a more traditional desktop UI, while maintaining these packages as well. You will be able to have a conversation with him as he’s going to be at the openSUSE Conference in Dubrovnik this month where he will present a session about Bodega! He is known as SFaulken online and pretty much always hangs in the #opensuse-kde channel on Freenode where you can ask how to get things running or how to help him break stuff anytime. He’s also yelling at the world on google plus.


Famous books included!

Bodega now contains the entire book set of Project Gutenberg (thousands of awesome, free books) as well as a number of wallpapers and applications. Aaron:

There is work to be done to include all openSUSE Software in Bodega. The store can use a little work too, but is based on QML which makes it very easy to improve. If you’re interested in helping out, let us know!

You can contact Aaron on IRC as aseigo in the #plasma active channel on Freenode, ping him on Google+ or shoot him a mail on aseigo on the KDE.org servers.

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KDE Releases Alpha Version of Next-gen Plasma Workspace

Wed, 02/04/2014 - 12:00pm

Plasma Next: familiar yet polished

KDE today releases the first Alpha version of the next-generation Plasma workspace. This kicks off the public testing phase for the next iteration of the popular Free software workspace, code-named "Plasma Next" (referring to the 'next' Plasma release-see below "A note on versioning and naming"). Plasma Next is built using QML and runs on top of a fully hardware-accelerated graphics stack using Qt 5, QtQuick 2 and an OpenGL(-ES) scenegraph. Plasma Next provides a core desktop experience that will be easy and familiar for current users of KDE workspaces or alternative Free Software or proprietary offerings. Plasma Next is planned to be released as 2014.6 on the 17th of June.

The converged workspace

Modern day computing device abilities are starting to blend with each other. Tablets can be used with a keyboard, phones can stream their screen contents to a television, laptops have gotten flip and touch screens. To deal with this, Plasma Next has been designed as a converged workspace shell. It will be able to switch on demand between workspaces optimized for these different form factors, like a tablet user interface turning into a traditional desktop workspace when paired with a keyboard and a mouse. Plasma will be easily extensible as new form factors emerge.


Smoother Kickoff menu

The mechanism to adapt to different form factors is fully implemented and functional, but, as there is only one workspace available right now, it is not useful at this point. In the months to come, the Plasma team plans to make available additional workspaces, such as the tablet-oriented Plasma Active user experience, and the media-consumption-targeted Plasma Mediacenter.

A note on versioning and naming: The code name "Plasma Next" always points to the upcoming release of Plasma, KDE's end user workspace. The current Alpha will become 2014.6, to be released in June of this year. If the team opts for a 6 month release cycle (still to be determined), Plasma Next will refer to the 2014.12 release once 2014.6 is out.

Ready for testing, not production

The workspace demonstrated in this pre-release is Plasma Desktop. It represents an evolution of known desktop and laptop paradigms. Plasma Next keeps existing workflows intact, while providing incremental visual and interactive improvements. Many of those can be observed in this technology preview, others are still being worked on. Workspaces optimized for other devices will be made available in future releases.

As an Alpha release, this pre-release is not suitable for production use. It is meant as a base for testing and gathering feedback, so that the initial stable release of Plasma Next in June will be a smooth ride for everybody involved and lay a stable foundation for future versions. Plasma Next is intended for end users, but will not provide feature parity with the latest 4.x release (although this is expected to be accomplished in a follow-up release). The team is concentrating on the core desktop features first, instead of trying to transplant every single feature into the new workspaces. The feature set presented in Plasma Next will suffice for most users, though some might miss a knob here and there. This is not because the Plasma team wants to remove features, but simply that not everything has been done yet. Of course, everybody is encouraged to help bringing Plasma back to its original feature set and beyond.


left-to-right, top-to-bottom: Wallpaper dialog, panel toolbox, notifications and network manager in the system tray For developers

Plasma Next builds on top of Qt 5. With this transition, all QML-based UIs—which Plasma is built exclusively with—will make use of a new scenegraph and scripting engine, resulting in huge performance wins as well as architectural benefits, such as being able to render using available graphics hardware.

Plasma Next is the first complex codebase to transition to KDE Frameworks 5, which is a modular evolution of the KDE development platform into leaner, less interdependent libraries.

For users

Users testing this Plasma pre-release are greeted with a more refined visual appearance. The new Breeze Plasma theme debuts in this pre-release with a flatter, cleaner look. Less visual clutter and improved contrast make Plasma Next a noticeable improvement over the current stable Plasma workspaces. There has been some polish to much of Plasma's default functionality, such as the system tray area, the notifications, the settings for the compositor and window manager, and many more. While it will feel familiar, users will notice a more modern workspace.


New Activities chooser Installing and providing feedback

You can install Plasma Next directly from source. KDE's community wiki has instructions. Some distributions have created packages; for an overview of Alpha 1 packages, see this page. You can provide feedback either via the #Plasma IRC channel, Plasma-devel mailing list or report issues via bugzilla. Plasma Next is also discussed on the KDE Forums. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. If you like what the team is doing, please let them know!

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KDE Ships First Beta of Frameworks 5

Tue, 01/04/2014 - 6:00pm

Today KDE makes available the first beta of Frameworks 5. This release is part of a series of releases leading up to the final version planned for June 2014 following the second alpha last month. This release marks the freeze of source incompatible changes and the introduction of the Frameworks 5 Porting Aids.

Frameworks 5 Porting Aids

To ease the porting of KDE Platform 4 based applications, the Frameworks team has brought the 'Porting Aids' group into existence. These Frameworks contain kdelibs4 modules and API's that are being deprecated in KF5 and are provided only to assist applications in porting to KF5. As such these Frameworks will only have a limited support period, currently planned to be three release cycles. Application developers are strongly encouraged to port away from these Frameworks during this support period to prevent dependency on obsolete and unsupported code. Once support is ended, some unofficial development may continue on some modules, but they will not be part of the officially supported Frameworks release.

Currently, the following Frameworks belong to this group:

  • khtml
  • kjs
  • kjsembed
  • krunner
  • kmediaplayer
  • kdelibs4support*

* kdelibs4support contains deprecated API's from modules which no longer exist or deprecated classes from existing modules.

See the announcement on kde.org for more information and links to downloads. For information about Frameworks 5, see this earlier article on the dot.

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KDE Ships April Updates to Applications, Platform and Plasma Workspaces

Tue, 01/04/2014 - 10:06am

Today KDE released updates for its Applications and Development Platform, the fourth in a series of monthly stabilization updates to the 4.12 series. This release also includes an updated Plasma Workspaces 4.11.8. Both releases contain only bugfixes and translation updates, providing a safe and pleasant update for everyone.

More than 20 recorded bugfixes include improvements to Personal Information Management suite Kontact, Umbrello UML Modeller, touch typing application KTouch, web browser Konqueror, file manager Dolphin and others. A more complete list of changes can be found in KDE's issue tracker.

To find out more about the 4.12 versions of KDE Applications and Development Platform, please refer to the 4.12 release notes.

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KDE to Attend Freedesktop Summit 2014

Fri, 28/03/2014 - 5:01pm

Next week, from Monday the 31st of March to the 4th of April (Friday), developers from the major Linux desktops (GNOME, KDE, Unity and RazorQt) will meet in Nuremberg for the second Freedesktop Summit.

The summit is a joint technical meeting of developers working on 'desktop infrastructure' on the major Free Desktop projects. The event aims to support collaboration between projects by discussing specifications and the sharing of platform-level components. David Faure will be KDE's primary representative at this year's summit.

Last year's event led to agreements related to D-Bus and management of trash folders. It also mapped the way forward for joint development and management of specifications that are important to multiple providers of desktop software.

Like last year, the event is supported by SUSE.

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KDE Ships Release Candidate of Applications and Platform 4.13

Fri, 28/03/2014 - 10:37am

KDE has announced the Release Candidate of the 4.13 versions of Applications and Development Platform. With API, dependency and feature freezes in place, the focus is now on fixing bugs and further polishing. We kindly request your assistance with finding and fixing issues.

A partial list of improvements can be found in the 4.13 Feature Plan. A more complete list of the improvements and changes will be available for the final release in the middle of April.

This release candidate release needs a thorough testing in order to improve quality and user experience. A variety of actual users is essential to maintaining high KDE quality, because developers cannot possibly test every configuration. User assistance helps find bugs early so they can be squashed before the final release. Please join the 4.13 team's release effort by installing the release candidate and reporting any bugs. Read this article to find out how you can help testing.

The official announcement has information about how to install the RCs.

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KDE Commit-Digest for 16th February 2014

Sat, 22/03/2014 - 10:45am

In this week's KDE Commit-Digest:

  • Amarok merges advanced track statistics importers (a GSoC project)
  • KDevelop allows language plugins to provide styles to formatters
  • Konsole stores terminal size in the profile, each profile can now set desired column and row size; allows users to specify css file for tab bar style (this can be used to set minimum width of the tabs, distinguish active tab, etc)
  • Kwallet replaces SHA with PBKDF2-SHA512+Salt
  • Porting to Qt5 and Frameworks 5 continues, we have initial ports of kfind and konq.

Read the rest of the Digest here.

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