KDE Dot News
Thursday, 16 June 2016. Today KDE releases a beta update to its desktop software, Plasma 5.7.More Refined Breeze Experience
This release brings an all-new login screen design completing the Breeze startup experience we trialed in Plasma 5.6. The layout has been tidied up and is more suitable for workstations that are part of a domain or company network. The Air and Oxygen Plasma themes which we still fully support for users that prefer a more three-dimensional design have also been improved.
For improved accessibility, Breeze icons within applications are now tinted depending on the color scheme, similarly to how it's done within Plasma. This resolves situations where our default dark icons might show up on dark surfaces.
In our previous release we added Jump List Actions for quicker access to certain tasks within an application. This has feature has been extended and those actions are also found through KRunner now.
Plasma 5.7 marks the return of the agenda view in the calendar, which provides a quick and easily accessible overview of upcoming appointments and holidays.
Many improvements have been added to the Volume Control applet: it gained the ability to control volume on a per-application basis and allows you to move application output between devices using drag and drop. Also implemented is the ability to raise the volume above 100%.
Better Kiosk Support
The Kiosk Framework provides means of restricting the customazibility of the workspace, in order to keep users in an enterprise or public environment from performing unwanted actions or modifications. Plasma 5.7 brings many corrections about enforcing such restrictions. Notably, the Application Launcher will become read-only if widgets are locked through Kiosk policies, i.e. favorites are locked in place and applications can no longer be edited. Also, the Run Command restriction will prevent KRunner from even starting in the first place.New System Tray and Task Manager
The System Tray has been rewrittten from scratch to allow for a simpler and more maintaineable codebase. While its user interface has only seen some minor fixes and polishing, many issues caused by the complex nature of the applet housing applets and application icons within have been resolved.
Similarly, the task bar has gained a completely rewamped backend, replacing the old one that has already been around in the early days of our workspace. While the old backend got many features added over the period of time it was used, the new one has a remarkably better performance and could be engineered more cleanly and straight-forward as the requirements were known beforehand. All of this will ensure a greatly increased reliability and it also adds support for Wayland which was one of the most visible omissions in our Wayland tech previews.
Huge Steps Towards Wayland
This release brings Plasma closer to the new windowing system Wayland. Wayland is the successor of the decades-old X11 windowing system and brings many improvements, especially when it comes to tear-free and flicker-free rendering as well as security. The development of Plasma 5.7 for Wayland focused on quality in the Wayland compositor KWin. Over 5,000 lines of auto tests were added to KWin and another 5,000 lines were added to KWayland which is now released as part of KDE Frameworks 5.
The already implemented workflows got stabilized and are ensured to work correctly, with basic workflows now fully functional. More complex workflows are not yet fully implemented and might not provide the same experience as on X11. To aid debugging a new debug console got added, which can be launched through KRunner using the keyword “KWin” and integrates functionality known from the xprop, xwininfo, xev and xinput tools.
Other improvements include:
- When no hardware keyboard is connected, a virtual keyboard is shown instead, bringing a smooth converged experience to tablets and convertibles
- The sub-surface protocol is now supported which means that System Settings works correctly and no longer errorneously opens multiple windows.
- Mouse settings, such as pointer acceleration, are honored and the touchpad can be enabled/disabled through a global shortcut. Touchpad configuration is still missing.
Virtual Keyboard Support in Plasma Wayland
Today we are delighted to announce that KDE e.V. is joining the advisory board of The Document Foundation, the foundation backing LibreOffice and the Document Liberation Project. The Document Foundation also joins KDE e.V.'s group of advising community partners as an affiliate.
The KDE Community has been creating Free Software since 1996 and shares a lot of values around Free Software and open document formats with The Document Foundation, and brings the experience of running a Free Software organization for almost two decades to their advisory board. Both organizations are working in the OASIS technical committee for the OpenDocument Format. We also collaborate on common aspects of development of office software, such as usability and visual design. The affiliation of KDE e.V. and The Document Foundation on an organizational level will help to move forward with the shared goal of giving end users control of their computing needs through Free Software.
"The KDE community is one of the essential pieces of the FLOSS desktop initiative, and we are most happy to liaise with them now also on an organizational level. Beyond the shared goal of liberating people's software experience, there are also lots of synergies in areas ranging from document filter technologies over to volunteer-driven governance to explore", says Thorsten Behrens, founder and member of the board at The Document Foundation.
Lydia Pintscher, president of KDE e.V., says "KDE e.V. was one of the first Free Software non-profit organizations incorporated according to German law. We are happy to share some of the learnings we have made over the many years running KDE e.V. Free software and open formats are two of the cornerstones which unite us with many other organizations, such as The Document Foundation, working on establishing freedom for users of digital devices everywhere. In order to achieve our vision of a world in which everyone has control over their digital life and enjoys freedom and privacy we need strong partnerships with like-minded organizations like The Document Foundation."Dot Categories:
As already hinted at in the article about KDE's Vision, the next step in setting our path into the future is defining KDE's Mission statement. Right after our Vision was published, a group of people started drafting a Mission statement and discussing it on the kde-community mailing list.
While we agreed on most aspects of the Mission, it became obvious that on some key issues, we just had quite different individual opinions. Even if an individual opinion prevailed in our discussion, we would not know whether that opinion was shared by the majority of the KDE community. This is a problem, because especially in a volunteer-driven community where a Mission cannot be enforced from the top down, it can only have a practical effect if the majority of those doing the work agree with it. However it became obvious that not that many KDE contributors both had the time and were comfortable with contributing to the discussion on the mailing list.
Therefore, in order to still be able to find out what the majority of the community considers the right approach towards our Vision, we set up an online survey, hoping that this would make it easier for people to voice their opinion in an easy, anonymous way. Since we always focus on our users, we are also interested in the opinion of interested users, so we opened up the survey for everyone.
So, regardless of whether you consider yourself a KDE contributor or "just" an interested user, please
Participate in our survey
It should not take more than 5-10 minutes and providing your input on what KDE should do will help us move towards our Vision!
LaKademy 2016 group photo
KDE is a free software community full of diversity and, as such, we foster several meetings and welcome people from all over the world. The 4th Latin-America KDE Summit (LaKademy 2016) took place from 26-29 May at Federal University of State of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO), Brazil. Since 2014, LaKademy has become a yearly meeting (it happened every two years since 2010) and that has proven to be a quite important step to create a "sprint culture", narrow the ties with the global community, and better support newcomers. In every new edition, old LaKademy participants are more experienced about how sprints work and, therefore, more skillful in the task of guiding newcomers through their way into the Free Software world.
This year, LaKademy brought together eighteen KDE fellows from Brazil, Argentina, and Peru ‒ interested in contributing to development, translation, artwork, promotion, and sysadmin. Contributions have covered projects such as Cantor, Minuet, Umbrello, BRPrint-3D, Plasma widgets, Plasma Network Manager, and color themes in breeze-gtk, as well as a revamp in pt_BR translation infrastructure/workflow, the creation of docker images for building KDE applications and the automation of KDE server configuration.
Filipe and Fernando did a quite comprehensive bug triage for Cantor and worked on improving the Sage backend and fixing some bugs on Python3 and R backends. Wagner started investigating the use of CERN's Root project as a new Cantor backend. Henrique worked on his script for converting colors in GTK themes. The goal is to support GTK themes with any color scheme defined in Plasma, in addition to the already existing Breeze and Breeze Dark GTK themes. Lamarque helped Lays with compiling VTK as a Qt5 plugin (for use in BRPrint-3D), investigated some bugs in Plasma Network Manager and submitted a patch to a bug in libQt5Qml. He also helped Lays and Ronnie with doing their QML coding for BR-Print3D and porting KPeg to QML, respectively.
Enoque ‒ who was attending his very first LaKademy ‒ worked on the development of new Plasma widgets for interacting with Phabricator and also did the first steps towards the implementation of an Android version for Akregator. Ícaro started the development of a new application for teaching Control Theory as a car race game. He worked closely with Gabriela Shima, a designer who joined us during LaKademy and helped with the game UX inception. Sandro focused on some architecture refactoring for Minuet and helped Ícaro and Enoque in their tasks during LaKademy. Lays did some bug fixing for Umbrello, as part of her Google Summer of Code project, and took the chance to do some improvements in the QML UI for BR-Print3D.
For the first time ever, LaKademy had a small group devoted to do sysadmin tasks. Nicolás and Rafael worked to get KDE infrastructure configured using Ansible, starting with teleirc (bridge between IRC and Telegram) and created some docker images for easing the build of Cantor and other KDE applications. As for translation activities, Camila, Aracele, and Fred worked hard on reviewing package localization, came up with a proposal for a new software for managing the KDE glossary and analyzed the use of the Brazilian standard vocabulary. Camila and Aracele also worked on the creation of a LaKademy pre-meeting checklist and post-meeting metrics.
On Saturday morning, we had the traditional promo meeting, where we discuss all sort of actions to boost KDE presence in Latin America, review our current practices, find out ways to improve it, and plan how to widen our community in the continent. The promo meeting is usually a quite exhausting time, but it has proven to be worthy since we are today more focused, organized, and compelling when doing promotion, handling finances, and supporting newcomers, just to mention a few benefits. As the outcome, we got a reviewed and up to date todo list with a lot of work to be done in upcoming months.
And that's it! The good news is that we already have a considerably firm proposal for LaKademy 2017 ‒ it should happen from 28th April to 1st May in Belo Horizonte, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Until then, stay tuned for more exciting news from KDE in Latin America. Now you can checkout the full LaKademy 2016 photo set and enjoy the LaKademy 2016 video:
LaKademy 2016 video
KDE is one of the biggest free software communities in the world and has been delivering high quality technology and spreading the principles of hacker culture for nearly two decades. KDE brings together users, developers, maintainers, translators and many more contributors from across six continents and over fifty countries, all of them working with the bonds and spirits of a truthful community.
KDE has a vision:A world in which everyone has control over their digital life and enjoys freedom and privacy
Randa Meetings is the largest sprint organized by KDE. Roughly fifty KDE contributors meet yearly at Swiss alps to enjoy seven days of intense in-person work, pushing KDE technologies forward and discussing how to address the next-generation demands for software systems. One of the biggest challenges we've historically had for KDE technology is that we haven't completely reached the platforms where all of our users work. Aligned with our vision and pursuing the delivery of KDE technologies to every user, Randa Meetings 2016 ‒ which happens from 12th to 19th June ‒ will be centered on bringing KDE technology on every device.
This fundraising campaign aims at supporting the continuity of KDE efforts, over the year, towards the following goal:KDE technology on every device; be it in your pocket, in your bag or perched on your table; with the clear intention to start delivering software that will empower its users regardless of the platform they use
Different teams will be working in this direction at Randa Meetings 2016 and later on. Making software work on the platforms is not everything that's needed. We'll also need to have the infrastructure that makes sure this effort will have continuity over time, maintaining the quality our users deserve. This also means investing quite some effort in the KDE DevOps technology such as the CI (Continuous Integration) system for the different platforms and mechanisms to properly distribute binaries.How will we do that?
Randa Meetings 2016 activities and subsequent efforts will be centered around three important topics:
- Have a defined set of KDE Applications ported to specific platform of interest.
- Come up with a reasonably generic plan to distribute on each platform.
- Come up with a sustainability plan for keeping those applications and binaries up to date.
For a glimpse of what is to come in the upcoming days, here's a list of applications and platforms that will be tackled by Randa Meetings 2016 participants: Marble on Android and Linux; Kdenlive on Windows; Artikulate on Android; Calligra on Android; KDE Frameworks on Android and Windows; Kate on OS X and Windows; KDevelop on OS X and Windows; Kube on Windows, OS X, and Android; KDE Connect on Windows; and LabPlot on OS X and Windows.
Make your donation or simply help spreading the word!
KDE is thrilled to announce the first at-large version of KDE neon User Edition.
KDE neon User Edition 5.6 installer
KDE neon User Edition 5.6 is based on the latest version of Plasma 5.6 and intends to showcase the latest KDE technology on a stable foundation. It is a continuously updated installable image that can be used not just for exploration and testing but as the main operating system for people enthusiastic about the latest desktop software.
It comes with a slim selection of apps, assuming the user's capacity to install her own applications after installation, to avoid cruft and meaningless weight to the ISO. The KDE neon team will now start adding all of KDE's applications to the neon archive.
Since the announcement of the project four months ago the team has been working on rolling out our infrastructure, using current best-practice devops technologies. A continuous integration Jenkins system scans the download servers for new releases and automatically fires up computers with Docker instances to build packages. We work in the open and as a KDE project any KDE developer has access to our packaging Git repository and can make fixes, improvements and inspect our work.
With the major infrastructure now in place we will start adding continuous builds of all KDE applications and projects.
Before installation of KDE neon User Edition, we suggest you read the release notes, eye over information about the latest release of Plasma, check minimum requirements, notable issues and follow the install instructions.
For developers and advanced testers we have the KDE neon Developer Edition available with the latest in-development Plasma straight from Git.
Hard at work on KDE neon
KDE neon Developer Editions are also available for those wanting to test the latest code straight from Git, either stable or unstable branches.
"We're really exited to be bringing KDE software directly to users who are enthusiastic about open source and picky about their operating system," said KDE neon developer Jonathan Riddell "although there will always be plenty of options for getting KDE software, by working directly with the KDE teams writing the software and using modern deployment techniques we aim to give the best experience to the fans that they deserve."