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Updated: 2 hours 52 min ago

Reasons to Get Excited about KDE in 2018

Tuesday 16th of January 2018 09:00:03 AM

Despite the security meltdown that swept over the tech community, our 2018 started out great - and it's all thanks to you. Your donations helped us reach the goal of our end-of-year fundraiser.

We would like to thank everyone who participated in the fundraiser, and also to all our community members who spread the word about it on social media and their blogs. You are all a wonderful community, and we are proud to be a part of this journey with you.

With our funds recharged and our hearts full of gratitude, we are ready to take on the new year and all the challenges it brings. The work is already in full swing - we released a bugfix update for KDE Applications and a new version of KDE Frameworks. But what else is there to look forward to in 2018? Read on to find out.

Plasma 5.12 Puts the "S" in Speed (and Stability)

Having released an update for Plasma 5.11 just at the beginning of 2018, Plasma developers are now gearing up for the first major release of the year. Plasma 5.12 will be the new LTS (Long-Term Support) version, replacing Plasma 5.8.


Discover, now with better application screenshots.

Since many Linux distributions will rely on this version of Plasma, the developers wanted to make it as stable and fast as possible. Startup speed and memory usage will be visibly improved, particularly on low-end devices.

The KScreen utility will allow Wayland users to adjust the output resolution as well as enable and disable selected outputs. Discover, the software management application, will support the dist-upgrade command for new major releases of distributions. Application screenshots will look better than ever, and support some useful options such as navigation between images. A lot of work has been done on Flatpak support in Discover, and plenty of critical, usability-impeding bugs have been fixed.

It is important to note that new features for KWin on X11 will no longer be developed after Plasma 5.12. Moving forward, only the features relevant to Wayland will be added.

Krita Paints Masterpiece Features


Krita 4.0 is almost here!

Digital artists, rejoice! A major Krita release with big, beautiful changes is coming this year. With Krita 3.3.3 released just recently, all the attention is now shifting towards Krita 4.0. This version will bring improved integration with Inkscape, allowing the users to copy and paste shapes directly between the two applications.

Krita 4.0 supports Python scripting, comes with a new text tool, and allows bigger brush sizes. Expect two major changes related to file formats, too - instead of ODG, SVG will be the new default vector format. Additionally, the file format for color palettes will change, and the new one will let users create their own color groups.

If you're feeling brave enough, you can already try Krita 4.0 Beta today, and don't forget to report bugs if you find any!

New Apps Take the Stage

We're always happy when new or small projects take off and grow to become an important part of the KDE Community. Here's a small selection of some interesting KDE applications to keep an eye on:

Atelier

If you're into 3D printing, you should try Atelier. Along with its backend, AtCore, Atelier allows you to control your 3D printer, calibrate printer settings, check its status, and send print jobs to the printer. Although the application is still in beta, you can use it on Linux, macOS, and Windows, and there is even an AppImage if you'd prefer not bother with dependencies.

A major redesign of the user interface is in progress, so you can expect better views and multiple workspaces that will allow you to manage more than one 3D printer using one instance of Atelier.

Zanshin


With Zanshin, you'll never forget to buy those kiwis.

Productivity isn't such a hot buzzword anymore, but people are still looking for better ways to organize their tasks. Enter Zanshin, a small but powerful app grounded in the philosophy of simplicity. It allows you to sort your tasks into projects and divide them into different contexts.

Zanshin integrates with the KDE PIM suite and KRunner, making it easy to add new tasks from incoming email or display them in your calendar. A new version of Zanshin just came out, with features such as recurrent tasks, support for attachments, and the ability to focus on the currently active task to minimize distraction.

Latte Dock

Latte Dock officially became a KDE project (as part of our Extragear collection) at the end of 2017, but it has been a community favorite for a long time.

This highly configurable dock allows you to organize your launchers and running applications, and new features are added constantly. Recent changes made it possible to share custom dock layouts with other users (and download theirs), and improved dynamic backgrounds for application windows that interact with the dock.

Elisa


Elisa is simple by default, powerful when needed.

A new music player on the KDE stage, Elisa is still in development, but it's an exciting project to follow. One of its main features is music indexing, which optimizes the speed of your music collection. Elisa allows you to browse music by artist and album, or display all tracks, as well as create custom playlists. The developers are currently focused on improving the interface. You can try Elisa on Linux and Windows.

Akademy on the Blue Danube

August may seem far away, but we're already preparing for the biggest KDE Community event of the year - Akademy 2018! The annual gathering of KDE community members will take place in Vienna, Austria, from the 11th to the 17th of August at the University of Technology (TU Wien).

The call for participation is now open, and you can send your proposals for talks, panels, and workshops until March 12th, 2018. Of course, you can also simply come as an attendee -- after all, there is no admission fee, and everyone is welcome. Whether you're a seasoned KDE contributor or someone who just started using KDE software two days ago, we would like to meet you!

More Ways for You to Contribute

During our end-of-year fundraiser, many people asked us about using cryptocurrency to support KDE. We listened, and we made it possible - now you can donate Bitcoin using bitpay. You can also donate directly from our Facebook page, or participate in our Join the Game project, where you can become a supporting member of KDE and take part in our General Assembly meetings.

Of course, it's not all about the money. If you would like to contribute to KDE as a developer, take a look at our Season of KDE mentorship project. Want to write articles about KDE for this website? Get in touch with the KDE Promo team, and they will help you get started. There are so many venues to becoming a KDE contributor, and as part of our long-term goals, we will work on making the process of joining easier.

Let's konquer 2018 together!

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Akademy 2018 Call for Participation

Thursday 11th of January 2018 10:50:50 AM

Akademy Poster by Jens Reuterberg

Akademy is the KDE Community conference. The 2018 edition is from Saturday 11th to Friday 17th August in Vienna, Austria. If you are working on topics relevant to KDE or Qt, this is your chance to present your work and ideas at the Conference. The days for talks are Saturday and Sunday, 11th and 12th. The rest of the week will be BoFs, unconference sessions and workshops.

What we are looking for

The goal of the conference section of Akademy is to learn and teach new skills and share our passion around what we're doing in KDE with each other.

For the sharing of ideas, experiences and state of things, we will have short Fast Track sessions in a single-track section of Akademy. Teaching and sharing technical details is done through longer sessions in the multi-track section of Akademy.

If you think you have something important to present, please tell us about it. If you know of someone else who should present, please encourage them. For more details see the proposal guidelines and the Call for Participation.

The submission deadline is 12th March, 23:59:59 CET.

Accommodation & Travel information

Information about how to get to Vienna and the recommended accommodation is now available on the Akademy website

About Akademy

For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest free and open software communities in the world—works on-line by email, IRC, forums and mailing lists. Akademy provides all KDE contributors the opportunity to meet in person to foster social bonds, work on concrete technology issues, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work bringing those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, and those that are looking for opportunities. For more information, please contact The Akademy Team.

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The KDE Community in 2017

Thursday 28th of December 2017 12:00:00 AM

Remember to donate to our End of Year fundraiser and support our community and its work.

It's the time of year for recaps. We already talked about the advancements in KDE's software, and it makes sense we talk about that first. To many people and for many years, "KDE" was synonymous with a desktop environment and its applications. That is, KDE was its software.

However, these days “KDE” stands for the community and the work we carry out – and that is more than just code. KDE sponsors students and budding developers, meets in events and works in sprints. All of this ultimately, yes, helps KDE produce more and better software. But more importantly, it encourages a large number of people to work together for the common good.

With that in mind, here goes our tribute to the larger KDE community and the landmarks reached in 2017:

KDE Sponsored


Anu visits Akademy.
Photos by Anu Mittal.

New developers and students were brought into the KDE fold in 2017. We showed them how to start contributing to Free Software, opened up career opportunities for them, and helped them realise their full potential.

Among other things, this year we sponsored 24 students who have participated in the Google Summer of Code. Their projects ranged from developing new tools for existing apps, like the new heal tool to remove dust and scratches from photos added to DigiKam, or the possibility of exploring indoor plans to Marble; to improving libraries to adapt to new technology, like the library that allows KDE apps to make the most of High-DPI monitors, or the Brooklyn bridge that allows Instant Messaging users to communicate with other users using different IM systems.

KDE also sponsored developers and supporters to allow them to visit events far from their homes. We helped Lays Rodrigues from Brazil get to the developer sprint we run every year in Randa, Switzerland. Lays is working on Atelier, a graphical interface for controlling 3D printers.

A sponsorship for Anu Mittal (a software engineer) and Vasudha Mathur (a student software engineer) allowed them to make it to Akademy in Spain all the way from India. Anu is a contributor to several applications in KDE's educational suite of programs, and Vasudha is writing a Qt interface to Rocket Chat, a free, open source team chat system for enterprises. Vasudha's implementation will work both on desktop and mobile devices.

Talking of Akademy...

KDE Socialized

This year the KDE community met in full force in August in Almería, in the south of Spain. Akademy provides all KDE contributors the opportunity to meet in person to foster social bonds, work on concrete technology issues, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year.

This year's event attracted over 110 attendees travelling mainly from Europe, but also from North and South America, and Asia. Over the weekend, visitors were able to attend more than 40 different talks on all kinds of topics, ranging from developing applications for mobile phones to best ways for collaboration between communities.

And then, thanks to our sponsors and donations from community members, KDE developers assembled again in Randa, Switzerland, ready to tackle the challenges of accessibility. Voice feedback and keyboard navigation got added to Plasma, Marble got smoother and developers started working on a better text-to-speech engine for the mapping app. The developers also discussed accessibility best practices and decided testers should check if an app can be used only with the keyboard and then only with a mouse. They also agreed that customizations should be kept to a minimum. In summary, KDE developers made everything better for everybody.


Team KDE at QtWS.

The Qt World Summit (QtWS), held in Berlin in October, was a meeting of another kind altogether. Our target at this event was to convince people from enterprises and a wider developer community to Power Up using KDE-based libraries and framework. Visitors could try Plasma Mobile working on an actual handset, and also play with the upcoming Pinebook, a Plasma-enabled ultra-notebook built around the Pine 64 SBC. Attendees could also recharge literally, relaxing at our ample sitting space with comfy cushions in an open and informal atmosphere, while topping up the batteries of their devices with the plugs and USB charging stations strategically placed all around the sitting area. Our aim was to make visitors feel welcome not only to our booth, but also to our community.

But helping people discover Free Software by discovering KDE is only one of the ways we helped further FLOSS in 2017...

KDE Advocated

We supported the cause for a wider adoption of Free Software in several ways during 2017. We partnered with Purism to work on getting Plasma Mobile ready for their Free smartphone, Librem5. We are proud that KDE's early participation in the crowdfunding campaign was instrumental in pushing it over the finishing line and then some. Not only did we help them surpass their initial goal of $1.5 million and then reach 2 million dollars, but we also precipitated a flurry of endorsements from other Free Software projects, such as Gnome and Monero. The end result is that a fully open and privacy-respecting Linux-based phone is much nearer than you think.

And then we helped the Free Software Foundation Europe campaign push for increased adoption of Free Software in public institutions. The Public Money? Public Code! campaign advocates for software developed using public funds to be released and shared under Free Software licenses. We raised awareness by blogging about it, and published an article about the campaign here, in the Dot. We then spread the news through our social media accounts.

Talking of which...

KDE Expanded


Mastodon became our favorite way
of meeting new people in 2017.

It has been a good year for growth of the KDE community. We have ramped up our activity on social media to help more people become aware of the benefits of Free Software in general, and of KDE environments and applications in particular.

Our Twitter following has swelled to well over 51,000 users, and our subreddit now has more than 10,000 subscribers. This is a massive audience that re-tweets, comments and posts about what we do, helping us reach an evergrowing audience. We have also increased our presence on Facebook and G+.

But probably the most interesting social network we started using in 2017 is Mastodon. We created our account on this free and federated microblogging network back in July, and have seen our audience grow along with the service itself. We are currently averaging 17 new followers a week and have recently surpassed the 500 mark.

Thanks to these outlets, we get to talk to more and more people every day. Our social media accounts allow for a two-way conversation with users we would otherwise never hear from.

More than Software

Although it may sound trite, the long and short of it is that KDE nowadays is more about people than about writing code. Of course, we love our software and adore the talented developers, but we see beyond developing apps and environments. We consider our technology a force for good; a way to help bring usable, accessible and powerful software to the people.

Over the years, we have discovered that we need more than excellent developers to do that. We need a whole community willing to contribute a wide variety of skills, technical and otherwise. Fortunately, KDE has managed to build a strong community, and it is thanks to you and people like you. None of the above milestones would have been possible without your support and your contributions. You can help us even more by donating to our End of Year fundraiser or by spreading this article far and wide, raising awareness of the work we all do together.

Thank you because you made 2017 wonderful, and thank you again because we know you'll make 2018 even better.

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Mozilla Firefox 58

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    We accept things in the online world that we wouldn’t accept in the physical one. For instance, how would you feel if you popped your head in a store and that store now had the ability to keep sending you flyers even if you didn’t buy anything? Online, we often visit sites that track us, but it isn’t clear when this is happening or how the information is being used. Adding insult to injury, this often invisible tracking actually slows down web pages.
  • Firefox 58 Arrives With Continued Speed Optimizations
    Mozilla has set free Firefox 58.0 today as their latest "Firefox Quantum" release that continues work on being a performant web browser.
  • Firefox Quantum 58 builds on performance gains, improves screenshots tool
    Mozilla is rolling out Firefox Quantum 58.0 for desktop, along with Firefox for Android 58.0. It arrives over two months after the landmark release of Firefox Quantum 57.0. The latest build focuses on performance and security, while an update to Firefox’s user profile feature means it’s no longer backwards compatible with previous versions. Android users also gain the ability to pin favorite websites to their home screen for use like native apps.
  • Firefox 58 Released for Linux, Mac, and Windows
    The Mozilla Foundation has made Firefox 58 files available for download on its official FTP servers. An official announcement will be made later today when the organization will also release the final changelog.
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    We just can’t stop making Firefox faster — and with our most recent release, we also made it easier for you to control how much you’re tracked.
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LibreOffice 6.0 Will Launch with Many Design Improvements, Use Elementary Icons

The major LibreOffice 6.0 release is coming next week, and The Document Foundation's Mike Saunders talked with members of the community to get their perspectives on LibreOffice's new design. While it won't bring a massive redesign, as most users may have expected, LibreOffice 6.0 will include a few noteworthy design changes, including new table styles, new gradients, updated motif/splash screen, improved Notebookbars, menu and toolbar improvements, and the Elementary icons. Read more

Linux Foundation introduces the LF Networking Fund, harmonizes​ open source, open standards

The Linux Foundation is taking the first step to bring some commonality across its myriad network efforts by creating the LF Networking Fund (LFN). By creating a combined administrative structure, Linux Foundation said LFN will provide a platform for cross-project collaboration. LFN will form the foundation for collaboration across the network stack: the data plane into the control plane, to orchestration, automation and testing. Read more

Openwashing Surveillance

  • Facebook Open Sources Detectron Object Detection
    The way big companies are open sourcing significant AI is both gratifying and slightly worrying. AI is the biggest revolution since we discovered fire and started making tools. FaceBook AI Research has added to the list of what is available by open sourcing its Detectron project.
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    Facebook's artificial intelligence research (FAIR) team today announced it would open-source its object detection platform Detectron, as well as the research the team has done on it.
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    acebook has brought us one step closer to a Skynet future made a commitment to computer vision boffinry by open-sourcing its codebase for object detection, Detectron. Written in Python and powered by the Caffe2 deep learning framework, the codebase – which implements object-sniffing algos such as Mask R-CNN and RetinaNet – is available under the Apache 2.0 licence.