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Updated: 15 min 52 sec ago

KDE Talks at FOSDEM

Wednesday 22nd of February 2017 01:04:56 AM

KDE had 4 talks at this year's FOSDEM conference. Here's the recordings.

From Gtk to Qt: A Strange Journey, part 2

The continuation of the original talk from Dirk Hohndel and Linus Torvalds about the port of Subsurface from Gtk to Qt, now with mobile in mind.


Video tag not supported. Download the video here.

Kube

The next generation communication and collaboration client


Video tag not supported. Download the video here.

Bundling KDE

Where does KDE land in the Snap and Flatpak world?


Video tag not supported. Download the video here.

KDE SlimBook Q&A

Video tag not supported. Download the video here.

How to Create a Look and Feel Theme

Wednesday 22nd of February 2017 12:38:15 AM

Interview: Thomas Weissel Installing Plasma in Austrian Schools

Monday 20th of February 2017 04:52:20 PM


A lab running Thomas' current rollout of Plasma 4 With Plasma 5 having reached maturity for widespread use we are starting to see rollouts of it in large environments. Dot News interviewed the admin behind one such rollout in Austrian schools.

Please introduce yourself and your work

Hi, my name is Thomas Weissel. Among many other things I'm a free open source software enthusiast, teacher, web developer and father - not necessarily in that particular order. I studied computer science in Vienna/Austria at the TU Wien and I teach computer science, philosophy and psychology for living. Currently i am working on a secure exam environment for Austrian schools based on Linux and KDE Plasma.

You say you will roll out Plasma into your school. Which users will get it?

About 34 classrooms, 2 consulting rooms, the room for teachers and one computer lab just got upgraded to a custom "distribution" based on Kubuntu and KDE neon. At least 75 teachers are going to work with the system. Most of the 700+ students are not going to touch these computers (because they are locked away) but in their 5th grade every one of them gets a live USB flash-drive in order to work with the very same system in the computer lab. The system has been extended by a lot of custom applications to allow students for example to copy their bootable USB flash-drives with a mouse click or to reset the configuration to the defaults. Next week I'm going to make the basic system "life" bundled with the secure exam environment "life-exam" available online and I hope many other people (schools) are going to use the system in the future.

What hardware do you use?

In most classrooms we still have aged Asus eee PCs. We switched to more powerful Acer laptops with 4-8 GB of memory for new acquisitions. One of our computer labs just got an upgrade to new HP desktop PCs with big Samsung screens. On these computers everything works like charm.

What distro will you use?

KDE neon !

What problems do you anticipate as part of installing Plasma?

We had a slight problem "mirroring" the displays to the projector without losing the configured widgets but this bug is fixed now in plasma 5.9.2 thanks to Marco Martin. Other than that getting rid of problems was the reason why i migrated to Linux in the first place. For one and a half years now we are working with Linux and Plasma 4 in the classrooms and from a system-administrator's point of view the migration was a huge success. Three to five support calls every week because of weird system problems with Windows 7 suddenly were reduced to one or two per week but not a single one was due to a problem with the system itself. We used live USB flash drives in the classrooms and the teachers unplugged them all the time despite a big sticker with a "do not remove" warning. That was the source for those support calls. We fixed that by installing the system to the hard drive last week :-) The only problem i anticipate now is not with Plasma but with the office suite. We had a lot of conversion (layout) problems with docx, pptx, and xlsx. One source of the problem is the extensive use of proprietary fonts like "Calibri". Automatically replacing "Calibri" with "Carlito" (metric-compatible) is a good start but a lot of the problems remain. I installed Word Online and Excel Online as Chrome-Apps to work around this problem. Most Teachers just installed LibreOffice to make sure everything works well but PowerPoint is still a better program than Impress in my opinion. WPS Office Presentation is very good alternative for pptx files (but not free as in free speech).

How did you pick Plasma rather than any other desktop or operating system?

As well as all the small problems with our Windows installations, hours lost in updating Java, Flash, Quicktime, Silverlight and so on, Microsoft turned off the KMS server in Vienna and this introduced new problems with the key management service. Let's make it short -- I wanted to get rid of Windows in the classroom and enforce free and open standards. I have this weird belief that proprietary pseudo-standards like OOXML Transitional and expensive software like Photoshop, MS Office and so on have no reason for existence in public schools. Therefore Gimp, Calligra Suite and LibreOffice took over and the world keeps spinning. I bet on Plasma because I can easily make it work and look like Windows 7 and this was very important for the acceptance of the teachers. I also chose Plasma because I wanted to present the best possible and most customizable desktop to the students. I wanted them to like working with the system and Plasma made that easy. The first hour working with students is all about 3D effects, custom fonts, widgets and custom themes. After half an hour every single student desktop looks completely different and the students start to see it as "their own" system. In the classrooms this is different of course. It is absolutely necessary that everyone leaves the computer in a usable state for the next teacher. That's yet another reason why i picked Plasmashell: The KIOSK system. I reported a lot of issues with the KIOSK system and Plasma developers did an amazing job finding and fixing all the bugs i've found for 5.8. We now have a desktop that is completely locked to make sure nobody accidentally removes or reconfigures important parts of the user interface.

What applications will you run with it?

The whole list is too long for this interview. In the classrooms LibreOffice and Firefox are probably the most used applications. In the computer lab we start programming in Scratch (Byob) - later we code in Kate, edit photos in Gimp, animate in Synfig Studio. The school's OwnCloud server is widely used to sync and access private files.

What has the reaction been from your users so far?

Most students just don't care - some are completely hooked because of the endless possibilities you have with Plasma and Linux - others just install Steam and Minecraft on their flash drives and are satisfied. The teachers don't care either. I think most of them didn't even realize that i switched the operating system underneath the user software. The only thing they want is their documents to be rendered correctly. As a person who observes this "format war" for many years now i can tell that this problem is not going away. The only "real" solution to this is to stop using those formats and completely switch to the "open document format". Shouldn't be a problem in a public school but the individual vendor lock-in of the teachers is not to be underestimated. Installing Microsoft fonts and the newest version of LibreOffice and teaching the teachers how to export to PDF helped a lot. The idea is that students and teachers are empowered to use the same software they use in school at home without the need to invest a lot of money in order to do so.

What is the attitude to Free and Open Source Software in Austria generally?

The education authority in Lower Austria recommended a Linux based live USB system as well as the Microsoft solution for secure exam environments. There was the LinuxAdvanced project that provided the idea for LIFE and there is the desktop4education project that aims to replace any complex Windows infrastructure and as far as i know the Free Software Foundation is very active in Vienna. Other than that I'd say that the situation in Austria is not really good. Wienux (a selfmade Linux Distribution) that should replace Windows XP in Vienna's administrations was killed before it even started. Schools get Microsoft licenses for Office and Windows whether they want them or not. There are contracts in place that run for 3 years and usually get extended for additional 3 years and so on. There even is a EU directive to use free and open standards wherever possible in public institutions but no one seems to even know (or care) about this.

How can communities like KDE bridge the gap from the enthusiast world to the mass market?

Plasma 5.9 is a wonderful piece of software. KDE Connect is a feature that wows everybody and even NetworkManager is nowadays a tool Windows-admins look at with envy. With Google searching for a way without Linux for their future OS, Apple that is never going to think different and Microsoft going into the cloud with Windows I don't see a world where everybody is using KDE and Linux. But the mass market suitability is already here. In my opinion the way to get to a wider userbase is through public services and schools. There is absolutely no need to use any other software in schools than free open source software. If our schoolchildren realize that they can do everything with free software they will consider using it later in life when they start their own company. IMHO that's the way to go therefore I'm working on it :-)

Discussion about this and similar projects takes place on the KDE Enterprise mailing list.

Stay with Free Software, City of Munich!

Tuesday 14th of February 2017 03:30:49 PM

The city of Munich is currently considering a move away from Free Software back to Microsoft products. We consider this to be a mistake and urge the decision makers to reconsider.

For many years now the City of Munich has been using a mix of software by KDE, LibreOffice and Ubuntu, among others. Mayor Dieter Reiter (a self-proclaimed Microsoft-fan who helped Microsoft move offices to Munich) asked Accenture (a Microsoft partner) to produce a report about the situation of the City of Munich's IT infrastructure. That resulted in a 450-page document. This report is now being misused to push for a move away from Free Software. However the main issues listed in the report were identified to be organizational ones and not related to Free Software operating systems and applications.

The City of Munich is of course free to decide on their IT infrastructure. Nonetheless we believe the move away from Free Software would be a big mistake and feel compelled to speak up. Specifically the move away from Free Software will

  • not actually fix the issues identified in the report by Accenture
  • remove vendor-independence which was one of the core arguments for moving to Free Software in the first place
  • incur estimated costs of €90 Million to be paid by tax-payer money. Another €15 Million are expected to be spent on replacing or upgrading hardware that cannot cope with the requirements of Windows 10 but runs fine with Linux.

The City of Munich has always been a poster child of Free Software in public administrations. It is a showcase of what can be done with Free Software in this setting. The step back by the City of Munich from Free Software would therefore not just be a blow for this particular deployment but also have more far-reaching effects into other similar deployments.

That said, we take this opportunity to invite all other administrations to leverage the work done by the City of Munich over the last years and are willing to help resolve remaining issues in the City of Munich related to our software.

Lydia Pintscher
President, KDE e.V.

Please also read the statement by The Document Foundation.

Dot Categories:

Beautiful New Design on kde.org

Saturday 11th of February 2017 09:25:15 AM

KDE's main website www.kde.org has gained a beautiful new design.


www.kde.org

While in KDE we pride ourselves on making beautiful software our website has lagged behind modern requirements and trends. Visual Design Group member Ken Vermette has quietly worked away with key stakeholders to create a design and update the content. The new site uses correct HTML5 and is responsive to working on mobiles and tablets. It includes an introduction to our products, community and how you can get involved.

The scope of KDE projects continues to grow as we evolve from the original desktop environment to become an umbrella organisation hosting projects as diverse as WikiToLearn academic textbook collaboration or KDE Store content distribution site. The new website reflects this change in direction while still focusing on our flagship Plasma desktop.

This change is only to the front pages and many more pages on kde.org still use the old theme but these will be transitioned over in the weeks to come. Many other websites under kde.org are expected and encouraged to adopt the new theme.

If you find problems please check for them and report them on our bug tracker or discuss on kde-www mailing list.

Beautiful New Design on kde.org

Friday 10th of February 2017 11:09:35 AM

KDE's main website www.kde.org has gained a beautiful new design.


www.kde.org

While in KDE we pride ourselves on making beautiful software our website has lagged behind modern requirements and trends. Visual Design Group member Ken Vermette has quietly worked away with key stakeholders to create a design and update the content. The new site uses correct HTML5 and is responsive to working on mobiles and tablets. It includes an introduction to our products, community and how you can get involved.

The scope of KDE projects continues to grow as we evolve from the original desktop environment to become an umbrella organisation hosting projects as diverse as WikiToLearn academic textbook collaboration or KDE Store content distribution site. The new website reflects this change in direction while still focusing on our flagship Plasma desktop.

This change is only to the front pages and many more pages on kde.org still use the old theme but these will be transitioned over in the weeks to come. Many other websites under kde.org are expected and encouraged to adopt the new theme.

If you find problems please check for them and report them on our bug tracker or discuss on kde-www mailing list.

Plasma 5.9 Kicks off 2017 in Style

Tuesday 31st of January 2017 12:31:12 PM
*/



 





KDE Plasma 5.9

Tuesday, 31 January 2017. Today KDE releases this year’s first Plasma feature update, Plasma 5.9. While this release brings many exciting new features to your desktop, we'll continue to provide bugfixes to Plasma 5.8 LTS.


Be even more productive





Spectacle screenshot notifications can now be dragged into e-mail composers (including web mail)

In our ongoing effort to make you more productive with Plasma we added interactive previews to our notifications. This is most noticeable when you take a screenshot using Spectacle's global keyboard shortcuts (Shift+Print Scr): you can drag the resulting file from the notification popup directly into a chat window, an email composer or a web browser form, without ever having to leave the application you're currently working with. Drag and drop was improved throughout the desktop, with new drag and drop functionality to add widgets directly to the system tray. Widgets can also be added directly from the full screen Application Dashboard launcher.







Icon Widget Properties

The icon widget that is created for you when you drag an application or document onto your desktop or a panel sees the return of a settings dialog: you can now change the icon, label text, working directory, and other properties. Its context menu now also sports an 'Open with' section as well as a link to open the folder the file it points to is located in.







Muting from Panel Task Manager

Due to popular demand we implemented switching between windows in Task Manager using Meta + number shortcuts for heavy multi-tasking. Also new in Task Manager is the ability to pin different applications in each of your activities. And should you rather want to focus on one particular task, applications currently playing audio are marked in Task Manager similar to how it’s done in modern web browsers. Together with a button to mute the offending application, this can help you stay focused.







Search Actions

The Quick Launch applet now supports jump list actions, bringing it to feature parity with the other launchers in Plasma. KRunner actions, such as “Run in Terminal” and “Open containing folder” are now also shown for the KRunner-powered search results in the application launchers.

A new applet was added restoring an earlier KDE 4 feature of being able to group multiple widgets together in a single widget operated by a tabbed interface. This allows you to quickly access multiple arrangements and setups at your fingertips.


More streamlined visuals







New Breeze Scrollbar Design

Improvements have been made to the look and feel of the Plasma Desktop and its applications. Scroll bars in the Breeze style, for instance, have transitioned to a more compact and beautiful design, giving our applications a sleek and modern look.


Global Menus





Global Menus in a Plasma Widget



Global Menus in the Window Bar

Global Menus have returned. KDE's pioneering feature to separate the menu bar from the application window allows for new user interface paradigm with either a Plasma Widget showing the menu or neatly tucked away in the window bar.







Neat Task Manager Tooltips

Task Manager tooltips have been redesigned to provide more information while being significantly more compact. Folder View is now able to display file emblems which are used, for example, to indicate symlinks. Overall user experience when navigating and renaming files has been greatly improved.


More powerful Look and Feel import & export

Look and Feel Themes

The global Look and Feel desktop themes now support changing the window decoration as well – the 'lookandfeelexplorer' theme creation utility will export your current window decoration to the theme you create.

If you install, from the KDE store, themes that depend on other artwork packs also present on the KDE store (such as Plasma themes and Icon themes) they will be automatically downloaded, in order to give you the full experience intended by the theme creator.

New network configuration module







Network Connections Configuration

A new configuration module for network connections has been added to System Settings, using QML and bringing a new fresh look. Design of the module is inspired by our network applet, while the configuration functionality itself is based on the previous Connection Editor. This means that although it features a new design, functionality remains using the proven codebase.


Wayland



Plasma with Wayland Can Now Take Screenshots and Pick Colors

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Pointer Gesture Support



Wayland Touchpad Configuration

Wayland has been an ongoing transitional task, getting closer to feature completion with every release. This release makes it even more accessible for enthusiastic followers to try Wayland and start reporting any bugs they might find. Notable improvements in this release include:

An ability to take screenshots or use a color picker. Fullscreen users will be pleased at borderless maximized windows.

Pointers can now be confined by applications, gestures are supported (see video right) and relative motions used by games were added. Input devices were made more configurable and now save between sessions. There is also a new settings tool for touchpads.

Using the Breeze style you can now drag applications by clicking on an empty area of the UI just like in X. When running X applications the window icon will show up properly on the panel. Panels can now auto-hide. Custom color schemes can be set for windows, useful for accessibility.

Full Plasma 5.9.0 changelog

More in Tux Machines

Red Hat News

Leftovers: Ubuntu

Linux Devices

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    In a previous article, I published a small userspace image and Linux kernel for the Zenwatch 3 that enables root access with SSH over USB on the watch. By now, I reached my initial goal to get AsteroidOS, the alternative Android Wear operating system, running on the Zenwatch 3. Similar to SailfishOS and Ubuntu Touch, AsteroidOS uses the original Android kernel - a patched Linux kernel - with a GNU/Linux userspace that, in turn, also uses some of the original, closed-source Android libraries to access certain hardware like the GPU. As the Android libraries expect a different software ecosystem, e.g., a different C library called bionic, we cannot simply call the Android libraries from within a common GNU/Linux application. Instead, we need an additional software layer that translates between the Android and the common GNU/Linux world. This layer is called libhybris.
  • How Ironic: Harman Kardon’s Microsoft Cortana Speaker Is Powered by Linux
    Harman Kardon, the company recently acquired by Samsung, has developed its very own Cortana speaker, which is very similar to the Amazon Echo but featuring Microsoft’s famous digital assistant. And since Cortana is the key feature of this little device, it only makes sense for Harman Kardon to turn to Windows 10 to power the device. And yet, it looks like the so-called Harman Kardon is actually running Linux.
  • MontaVista® Launches Carrier Grade eXpress®(CGX) 2.2 Linux® for 5G and IoT at MWC 2017
  • The Numbers Article for Mobile in 2017 - All the Statistics You Could Ask For
    Mobile is the hottest industry. Banking and payments are rushing to mobile. Governments doing healthcare and education with mobile. Travel from airlines to taxis to trains and busses to hotel bookings is going mobile. Your driver's licence is migrating to the mobile phone as are your keys to your home. And all the other big tech stories from Internet of Things (IoT) to 'Big Data' analytics to Cloud computing - are all dependent on mobile. And next week we have the massive industry event in Barcelona, Mobile World Congress. My brand new TomiAhonen Almanac 2017 is now finished and is released today. So this is the perfect time to do my annual 'State of Mobile' blog of the major statistics. What are the big numbers. Lets start with reach. Yes, mobile is by far the most widely-spread communication technology humankind has ever witnessed.
  • Tizen Store Expands Its Service Coverage to 222 Countries
    The Tizen Store, as the name suggests, is the Tizen Application Store for developers to publish their free and paid for Tizen apps. In April 2015, we saw the store expand it’s coverage to include 182 countries, which was mainly for FREE apps, but we saw this as setting the foundation for providing paid for apps further down the road.

Android Leftovers