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Meet Cornelius Schumacher - Akademy Keynote Speaker

Wednesday 27th of August 2014 03:03:44 PM

Cornelius Schumacher
photo by Michal Kubeček

At Akademy 2014, outgoing KDE e.V. Board President Cornelius Schumacher will give the community keynote. He has attended every Akademy and has been amazed and inspired at every one of them. If you want more of what KDE can bring to your life, Cornelius's talk is the perfect elixir.

Here are glimpses of Cornelius that most of us have never seen. They give a sense of what has made him a successful leader of KDE for several years.

Behind the KDE scene
Food?
I like eating, and I like cooking. I'm a recipe type of cook, so I have a large collection of cook books. At the moment Jamie Oliver is one of the favorites in my family. Especially his 30 minute menus fascinate me in terms of well-thought-through procedures. Sometimes I feel the urge to revolutionize the way recipes are presented, though. Especially these kind of sophisticated procedures such as the 30 minutes menus deserve a more accurate and consumable way of being presented, don't they? I see something like flow diagrams in my mind. But that's another project at another time...

Favorite beer?
I'm glad that you asked. I feel lucky to live in a region where the variety and quality of beer is so fabulous that there really is no excuse for drinking bad beer. One of my favorites is Kuchlbauer Weißbier. It's one of the tastiest beers I know, and the brewery is a piece of art in itself. They have a tower dedicated to the idea of beer done as a project with the famous artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. There is an installation of beer dwarves in their cellar, as well as a full-size reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper", along with some interpretation by the founder of the brewery himself. Kind of crazy, but absolutely worth a visit.

Who are you when you are not at work?
The energy from food and beer I don't use for my job or KDE, I spend on one of my bicycles. My career as bicycle racer started and ended with the one race I did when I was sixteen. But I still enjoy going by bike whenever I can. My rough estimate is that I have done something like 100,000 km in total by bike in my life up to now.

What's your tech setup?
I'm standing on the shoulders of giants. I have a stack of computers and devices which have accumulated over the years; some feel gigantic today. What I actually use these days is my current desktop—which is optimized to be silent, and a small laptop I mostly use for traveling. All my computers run openSUSE, which I discovered when it was delivered on floppy disks, and which is still one of the best systems out there.

Recently an Android tablet has sneaked into my life. It is a great device for some things. I only wish there would be more KDE software on it.

Why should someone attend Akademy?
Akademy is the place to be to see the KDE community in action. It's always so amazing to see the high level of community KDE operates on. This hasn't changed at all over the years. I have attended all Akademies and I haven't experienced a single one which didn't amaze me.

The level of energy is incredibly high, and the common passion for writing free software brings together such a diverse group of people. It is an example of what can be achieved by bringing together the right factors of motivation, people who are driven by a common idea, the environment, which allows these people to get stuff done.

Being at Akademy always feels like there are no limits to what a person can do.

Why should someone attend your talk?
I will tell how to become a better person through KDE. KDE is a tremendously supportive environment for growth, and I think we sometimes don't recognize or value that enough. It is worth having a closer look at what happens there and why KDE is such a supportive environment.

I will also tell parts of my personal story, how KDE altered my life. I have been around for quite a while, and I have seen many things that illustrate how KDE facilitates growth. And I do have some embarrassing photos from the past, which work very well to prove this point.

What do you see as the most important issues for free and open technology over the next few years?
There are so many and such strong interests in computing from so many sides today that it really is a challenge to maintain the sovereignty and freedom of the individual there. The only way to prevent abuse of technology and harmful consequences of thoughtless use is to put a strong foundation of values under it and create examples and implementations of how to do things in the right way to protect people. Free software does both of those, so we have to make sure it continues to deliver on them.

What is distinctive and important about FOSS and about KDE in particular?
FOSS provides an environment which is tailored to stimulate the best that we can do with technology. It uses the right mechanisms to bring to the surface what good people can do. KDE has cultivated that to an amazing degree. It shows that we have done that for many, many years, and that we have learned one or two lessons about what works and what doesn't.

Torvalds or Stallman?
I respect and value both of them. Richard for the clarity of thought and the strong vision he provides, Linus for his technical brilliance. If I had to choose, I would choose Richard, though. While I wouldn't want to live without Linux or Git, I do think that technology in itself is not sufficient. It does have to serve a purpose.

Akademy 2014 Brno

For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest FOSS communities in the world—works online 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, propose and consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the following year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work to bring those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, or looking to begin using it.

If you are someone who wants to make a difference with technology, Akademy 2014 in Brno, Czech Republic is the place to be.

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KDE Commit-Digest for 25th May 2014

Monday 25th of August 2014 12:25:56 AM

In this week's KDE Commit-Digest:

  • Amarok implements popular demand to restore scroll location when collection filter is cleared; adds a new option to support icon-view large thumb size (over 256x256 px)
  • Plasma desktop streamlines comment fields of KCMs by applying common language and type-setting to the systemsettings modules in kde-workspace
  • Kopete adds support for SOCKS5 proxy in ICQ protocol
  • Umbrello sees work on UML 2.0
  • Krita adds the indexed color filter
  • Porting to KF5/Qt5 continues, including massif-visualizer and partitionmanager.

Read the rest of the Digest here.

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Meet Sascha Meinrath - Akademy Keynote Speaker

Saturday 23rd of August 2014 09:51:49 PM

Sascha Meinrath
photo from fisl quinze (Fórum Internacional do Software Livre) CC-BY-SA

A few weeks ago, the keynote speakers for Akademy were announced. KDE is fortunate to have Sascha Meinrath at Akademy in Brno, Czech Republic to open our eyes about hot topics and important issues. Sascha's work doesn't fit into limited categories; he's an activist, think tank founder, policy pundit, hacker, futurist, political strategist and more...as the following interview shows.

For people want to know more about you
Tech policy and political strategy work can often be both high-impact and high-stress. To relax, I like to cook -- not the sort of "oh hey, I can cook a few dishes o.k." cooking -- more, "you should open a gourmet restaurant". For the past 8 years, I've been hosting an epicurean feast called "Basque" (long story), which usually brings together 1-5 dozen people for 2-4 dozen courses. We've done everything from cooking with dangerous chemicals to building a KitchenAid-powered lamb rotisserie.

I'm also an avid gardener -- which, I suppose, is an unusual skill for a technologist, having done a lot of permaculture over the years. And I bike around town as much as possible, play guitar, and enjoy working with my hands whenever I get the chance.

Prior to my work in Washington DC, I did a lot with a movement called Indymedia -- which pioneered digital media documentation tactics that are now standard during protests and unrest. I've been chased, lied to, beaten, teargassed, and otherwise had my civil and human rights trampled upon by police while doing nothing more than documenting their behavior -- which was an initial catalyzer for developing the technologies my teams have pioneered over the past 14 years.

What's your setup?
I'm running a (heavily modded) version of Ubuntu on a Lenovo X1 Carbon. Thus, my monitor size is small for day-to-day activities. I also have a multi-media server hooked into a projector that faces a 10+ foot screen (hand built by me to have the perfect dimensions for my media room) -- so either small or mind-blowingly ginormous, depending on whether I'm seeking to kill bad legislation or zombies (sometimes it's difficult to know which is which). I also have a 4-year old daughter, which means I am thoroughly adept at mixing "kiddie cocktails", building towers, sneaking around the house like "cat-princess-ninjas" and being subjected to tickle sneak attacks again and again and again... and again.

Why should someone attend your talk? How will people's realities be affected?
Today, throughout the geekosphere, almost everyone is thinking about how to secure their communications over inherently insecure networks. No one's paying attention to major leaps forward in circumvention technology -- not to just keep personal information private, but also to create entire alternative infrastructures that are far more difficult to surveille, control, censor, and shut down. I'll provide a world-wide survey of the state-of-the-art in circumvention *infrastructure* -- and point to the resources participants need to build their own systems, whether within their neighborhood or community, city, or region. I'll explain tools that are available -- both fully legal and ones whose deployment is the equivalent of electromagnetic jaywalking but may prove vital in many of the worlds' hot spots as well as in people's own back yards.

What are some important issues for different kinds of free and open technology over the next few years?
We need an entire alternative ecosystem -- I worry that we're winning the battle (to create functional equivalents of proprietary software) while losing a war over the basic control of the hardware we use. We're heading into a CryptoWar II epoch -- where surveillance is moving out of the networks and into our edge devices -- which means that we need to think differently about everything from how to maintain our privacy to how we fundamentally communicate. The core fault line is over the locus of control over new technologies -- either it resides with us (the end users) or we're simply serfs in a 21st Century Digital Feudalism. It is a very stark, and very real, battle.

What is distinctive and important about FOSS? And about KDE?
FOSS, as exemplified by KDE, is about placing control in the hands of its users. We are heading into an era that will be exemplified by an "Internet of Things" that surveille, intrude, and control our private lives in ways we currently think unimaginable. Within that near-future, FOSS and KDE are liberatory opportunities -- the potential to develop a different societal trajectory for the future of a computer-mediated world.

Torvalds or Stallman?
I'll definitely take a cranky old bastard who's continuing to push the envelope over a game-changing developer (no matter how talented). To me, Stallman exemplifies the never-ending quest to liberate society writ large -- it's not enough to rest on our laurels or declare things "good enough" -- until everyone is fully liberated from Digital Feudalism, visionaries like Richard Stallman provide leadership and guidance on where we should focus our next efforts.

Akademy 2014 Brno

For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest FOSS communities in the world—works online 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, propose and consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the following year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work to bring those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, or looking to begin using it.

If you are someone who wants to make a difference with technology, Akademy 2014 in Brno, Czech Republic is the place to be.

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LaKademy 2014 - KDE Latin America Summit

Wednesday 20th of August 2014 07:16:07 PM

Two years have passed since the reality of the first Latin American meeting of KDE contributors in 2012 in Porto Alegre, capital of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Now we are proud to announce that the second LaKademy will be held August 27th to 30th in São Paulo, Brazil, at one of the most important and prestigious universities in the world—the University of São Paulo.

In this LaKademy we intend to do something different than what we did in 2012. It's not going to be just an event to bring together KDE contributors in Latin America, who will dedicate time and passion in hacking sessions. This time we be in touch with the KDE user community and attract possible future KDE contributors. Thus, we prepared some activities such as talks and short courses for the public that will be taught by KDE members.

The event will be four days long. Its program reflects the diverse fields of KDE: there will be talks on systems administration, development with Qt (the programming library that forms the foundation under most KDE software), KDE and Qt software on Android, artwork and more. Specific technical sessions will be dedicated to topics such as developing educational software, networks, translation and software internationalization. The event will also include cultural activities, such as the Konvescote at the hackerspace Garoa.

The LaKademy 2014 website has more information about the program, directions to the venue and registration instructions.

Put LaKademy on your calendar and come join KDE community!

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Release 4.14 - KDE Applications get better and better

Wednesday 20th of August 2014 06:26:00 PM

The KDE Community has announced the latest major updates to KDE Applications delivering primarily improvements and bugfixes. Plasma Workspaces and the KDE Development Platform are frozen and receiving only long term support; those teams are focused on the transition to Plasma 5 and Frameworks 5. This 4.14 release is dedicated to long time KDE contributor Volker Lanz who passed away last April. The full announcement has more information and details.


KDE Applications

In the past, KDE has jointly released the three major divisions of KDE software—Plasma Workspaces, KDE Development Platform and KDE Applications. The KDE Development Platform is being reworked into KDE Frameworks. The monolithic libraries that comprise the Development Platform are becoming independent, cross platform modules (KDE Frameworks 5) that will be readily available to all Qt developers. Plasma Workspaces is being moving to a new technology foundation based on Qt5 and KDE Frameworks 5. With the 3 major KDE software components moving at different paces, their release schedules are now separated. For the most part, KDE's 4.14 release involves KDE Applications.

Development Platform/KDE Frameworks 5

The modular Frameworks structure will have widespread benefits for KDE software. In addition, Frameworks is a substantial contribution to the Qt ecosystem by making KDE technology available to all Qt developers.

Plasma Workspaces

Plasma 5 was recently released after 3 years of work; it is on its own release schedule with feature releases every three months and bugfix releases in the intervening months. The Plasma team has built a solid foundation that will support Plasma Workspaces for many years.

KDE Applications

Release 4.14 is not about lots of "new and improved stuff". Many KDE developers are focused on the Next Experience (Plasma 5) or porting to KDE Frameworks (based on Qt5). Mostly, the 4.14 release is needed by aspects of our workflow (such as translations). This release offers more software stability, with little emphasis on new and less-proven stuff. People who want the latest and greatest KDE software may want to experiment with the Plasma 5 Workspace.

There are over 200 actively maintained KDE applications. Many of them are listed in the KDE userbase. Wikipedia also has another list of KDE applications.

Most previous releases had highlights of new features and prominent applications. This gave some people the impression that KDE developers favored new-and-shiny over quality, which is not true. So, for this announcement of the 4.14 release, developers were asked for details—small, incremental improvements and bugfixes that might not even be noticeable to most users. These are the kinds of tasks that most developers work on, the kinds of tasks that allow beginners to make meaningful, mostly invisible contributions. The announcement has examples of the kinds of improvements that KDE developers have made in this release.

Thank you to all KDE developers working on behalf of people all over the world.

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 4.14 release.

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 Frameworks Sprint - How to Release a Platform

Wednesday 13th of August 2014 10:31:46 AM

Konqui finds the Spectacular Montjuic next door to the KDE office.

KDE Frameworks 5 is the result of two years of hard work porting, tidying, modularizing and refactoring KDELibs4 into a new addition to the Qt 5 platform. In January, Alex Fiestas announced The KDE Barcelona Hub—an office where anyone is welcome to come and work on KDE projects. It was just what the Frameworks team needed to finish off the code so it could be released to the world. Read on for some of what happened.

Aurelien Gateau reports:

I spent most of my time working on translation support, ironing out details to get them to install properly and working with David [Faure] on the release tarballs scripts. I also worked a bit on KApidox, the code generating API documentation for KF5 on api.kde.org. I updated the script to match with the latest Framework changes and switched to the Jinja2 template engine. Using Jinja will make it possible to generate an up-to-date list of Frameworks on the landing page, based on the information from the Framework metainfo.yaml files.

api.kde.org now contains a complete list of Frameworks thanks to Aurelien with Frameworks 5 now the default option.

Alex Merry spent his time on the small but tricky tasks all software needs to be of a high enough quality for release.

Friday was spent trying to understand the KItemModels unit tests and figure out why one of the tests was failing. I eventually determined that the pattern of signal emission when moving rows around had probably changed between Qt4 and Qt5, and the fix was fairly simple.

He also reports on other important topics such as install paths, meta data files and writing the Advanced Git tutorial.

One important discussion that took place in Barcelona was on the KDE Frameworks Release Cycle. We made the controversial decision to do away with bugfix releases and instead have monthly feature releases. Although some distribution packagers noted concerns about the lack of stable release updates, this is the pattern Frameworks is now following, which allows for much faster turnaround of new features.


The Post-it notes kept things orderly

Few people have done more to help the Frameworks project than Kévin Ottens who kept the weekend ticking over by sorting the post-it notes with tasks and highlighting notes which were taking longer than expected to progress. He highlights the processes that the team are following to allow for monthly releases:

  • more dog fooding from framework developers;
  • more contributions from application developers;
  • more automated tests and peer reviews;
  • finer grained feature delivery.
  • Aleix Pol spent his time "Mostly moving things around in the CMake, especially install variables that got changed to make them more compatible with Qt 5".

    Alex Fiestas reports "Kai and I worked on Solid, we added QML support and designed the new asynchronous power management api".

    One of the people who has been a constant throughout the development of KDE's platform is David Faure. He spent time working on the scripts that make releases possible without much overhead.

    It was a successful week that wrapped up many of the loose ends that were needed to allow for last month's successful release of Frameworks 5. With Plasma 5 now out and Applications releases on their way, Frameworks can be assured to be a platform for future work for years to come.

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    First Bugfix Update to Plasma 5

    Tuesday 12th of August 2014 06:29:37 PM

    KDE is now getting into the swing of releases numbered 5. Today we add Plasma 5's first bugfix update. The release features KDE's flagship desktop project as well as the base software needed to keep your computer running. Plasma will have feature releases every three months and bugfix releases in the months in between.

    This update adds all the translations for the last month as well as a bunch of fixes for issues such as using the right icons, showing toolbars on second screens, using translations and fixes for right to left text. Grab your distro packages or you can try the new Kubuntu Plasma 5 images.

    First Update to KDE Frameworks 5

    Thursday 7th of August 2014 10:44:00 AM

    KDE has today made the first update to KDE Frameworks 5. Frameworks are our addon libraries for Qt applications which provide numerous useful features using peer reviewed APIs and regular monthly updates. This release has 60 different Frameworks, adding features from Zip file support to Audio file previews. For a full list, see KDE's Qt library archive website Inqlude. In this release KAuth gets a backend so you can again add features which require root access, KWallet gets a migration system from its KDELibs 4 version, and support has been added for AppStream files.

    To code with Frameworks, read the API documentation and install them with Linux distro binary packages or grab the source code directly.

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