KDE Dot News
With KDE having grown to a large and central Free Software community over the last 20 years, our interactions with other organizations have become increasingly important for us. KDE software is available on several platforms, is shipped by numerous distributions large and small, and KDE has become the go-to Free Software community when it comes to Qt. In addition to those who cooperate with KDE on a technical level, organizations which fight for the same vision as ours are our natural allies as well.
To put these alliances on a more formal level, the KDE e.V. hereby introduces the KDE e.V. Advisory Board as a means to offer a space for communication between organizations which are allied with KDE, from both the corporate and the non-profit worlds.
One of the core goals of the Advisory Board is to provide KDE with insights into the needs of the various organizations that surround us. We are very aware that we need the ability to combine our efforts for greater impact and the only way we can do that is by adopting a more diverse view from outside of our organization on topics that are relevant to us. This will allow all of us to benefit from one another's experience.
"KDE's vision of a world in which everyone has control over their digital life and enjoys freedom and privacy cannot be realized by KDE alone. We need strong allies. I am therefore excited that we are formalizing our relationship with a number of these strong allies with the Advisory Board and what that will bring for them, for KDE, our users and Free Software as a whole." says Lydia Pintscher, President of KDE e.V.
We are proud to already announce the first members of the Advisory Board:
From its very beginning Canonical has been a major investor in the Free Software desktop. They work with PC manufacturers such as Dell, HP and Lenovo to ship the best Free Software to millions of desktop users worldwide.
Canonical will be working with the KDE community to keep making the latest KDE technology available to Ubuntu and Kubuntu users, and expanding that into making Snap packages of KDE frameworks and applications that are easily installable by users of any Linux desktop.
SUSE, a pioneer in open source software, provides reliable, interoperable Linux, cloud infrastructure and storage solutions that give enterprises greater control and flexibility. More than 20 years of engineering excellence, exceptional service and an unrivaled partner ecosystem provide the basis for SUSE Linux Enterprise products as well as supporting the openSUSE community which produces the Tumbleweed and Leap community-driven distributions.
It was natural for SUSE & openSUSE, being long standing joint KDE patrons, to join the KDE Advisory Board. This new channel will foster the already good communications between the KDE community and SUSE/openSUSE, which will bring mutual benefits for all.
Following its motto "Liberating Technology", Blue Systems not only produces the two Linux distributions Maui and Netrunner, but also invests directly in several KDE projects, such as Plasma (Desktop and Mobile) or KDE neon. Being part of the Advisory Board further enhances the collaboration between Blue Systems and KDE on all levels
Founded in 1998, the Open Source Initiative protects and promotes open source by providing a foundation for community success. It champions open source in society through education, infrastructure and collaboration. The OSI is a California public benefit corporation, with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.
Free and Open Source software projects are developed by diverse and dynamic groups that not only share common goals in the development of technologies, but share common values in the creation of communities. The OSI is joining KDE's advisory board to fulfill their mission of building bridges among different constituencies in the open source community, a critical factor to ensure the ongoing success of both Free and Open Source projects and contributors that support them.
FOSS Nigeria is a non-profit organization with the aim of educating Nigerians on KDE and other FOSS applications.
The first contact between FOSS Nigeria was In 2009 when Adrian de Groot and Jonathan Riddell had a talk about KDE and Qt projects before more than 300 participants during the first Nigerian international conference on free and open source software, and Frederik Gladhorn joined Adrian de Groot in the following year's conference.
KDE e.V helped in making FOSSng and the KDE Nigeria user group what it is today. Participation of people like Adrian de Groot, Jonathan Riddell and Fredrick Gladhorn plays a vital role for the major breakthrough behind the spread of KDE in Nigeria from 2009 to date.
Every two months the KDE Nigeria user group meets and discusses the future of KDE in Nigeria. The organisers of FOSS Nigeria 2017 are proposing that 55% of the conference papers will focus on KDE and Qt.
Since 2009, KDE and the FSFE share rooms for their offices in Berlin, and regularly exchange ideas how to improve the work for software freedom. "It just felt natural and the right thing to do for the FSFE to join the advisory board after we have been asked if we would be interested.", says Matthias Kirschner, President of the FSFE.
April is the main French advocacy association which has been promoting and defending Free Software in France and Europe since 1996. April brings together several thousand individual members and a few hundred organisations (businesses, nonprofits, local governments, educational institutions).
Through the work of its volunteers and permanent staff, April is able to carry out a number of different campaigns to defend the freedoms of computer users. You can join April, or support it, by making a donation.
The Document Foundation is the home of LibreOffice, the world's most widely-used free office suite, and the Document Liberation Project, a community of developers focused on providing powerful tools for the conversion of proprietary documents into ODF files. It was created in the belief that the culture born of an independent foundation brings out the best in contributors and will deliver the best software for users.
"We share with KDE the same commitment to Free Software and open standards, and we have both invested a significant amount of time for the development and the growth of the Open Document Format", says Thorsten Behrens, Director at The Document Foundation. "By joining KDE Advisory Board, we want to underline potential synergies between large free software projects, to grow the ecosystem and improve the quality of end user solutions".
In 2003 the city administration of Munich, one of the largest cities in Germany, evaluated the migration to Open-Source desktop software. Within the LiMux project from 2005 until 2013 around 18,000 desktop computers were migrated from Microsoft Windows to a Linux-based desktop with KDE and OpenOffice.org. Remaining Windows-based desktop computers for special use cases and applications are equipped as much as possible with Open-Source applications like Firefox and Thunderbird. In the beginning of the project, KDE 3.x was chosen as the desktop environment for the LiMux client to ensure a smooth transition in handling of graphical user interfaces for the users who were used to the, at that time, established Windows 2000 desktop. Current LiMux client versions ship with KDE Plasma 4.x desktop.
The desktop environment and its applications play a major role in the user experience of the desktop system. Many of the around 44,000 employees of the city administration use KDE applications for their work on a daily basis. Some of them are more and some are less computer-oriented and therefore the preconfiguration of the desktop is rather conservative and geared towards continuity.
The city of Munich has often the need to customize the system-wide standard configuration of the desktop environment and its applications. In order to communicate and discuss such issues and with the KDE community and to find solutions, developers from Munich regularly attend Akademy. Our goal is to make, together with the KDE community, the Plasma Desktop suitable for a large enterprise environment.
The Free Software Foundation is a 30-year-old nonprofit with a worldwide mission to promote computer user freedom. They defend the rights of all software users. KDE has an important part to play in achieving that mission, because of its excellent work creating a free and user-friendly application environment. KDE's free, powerful, and exceptionally usable software both demonstrates that a future world of everyday computer users using entirely free software is entirely possible, and helps us get there. We're looking forward to closer collaboration and are honored to be part of the advisory board.
If you would like an organization you're with to be part of the KDE e.V. Advisory Board, you can read more about the program here:
For more information, don't hesitate to send an e-mail to email@example.com
Thursday, 15 September 2016. Today KDE releases a beta of its first Long Term Support edition of its flagship desktop software, Plasma. This marks the point where the developers and designers are happy to recommend Plasma for the widest possible audience be they enterprise or non-techy home users. If you tried a KDE desktop previously and have moved away, now is the time to re-assess, Plasma is simple by default, powerful when needed.
Plasma's Comprehensive Features
Take a look at what Plasma offers, a comprehensive selection of features unparalleled in any desktop software.Desktop Widgets
Cover your desktop in useful widgets to keep you up to date with weather, amused with comics or helping with calculations.
Get Hot New Stuff
Download wallpapers, window style, widgets, desktop effects and dozens of other resources straight to your desktop. We work with the new KDE Store to bring you a wide selection of addons for you to install.
Plasma will let you easily search your desktop for applications, folders, music, video, files... everything you have.
Plasma's default Breeze theme has a unified look across all the common programmer toolkits - Qt 4 & 5, GTK 2 & 3, even LibreOffice.
Using KDE Connect you'll be notified on your desktop of text message, can easily transfer files, have your music silenced during calls and even use your phone as a remote control.
Plasma is simple by default but you can customise it however you like with new widgets, panels, screens and styles.
New in Plasma 5.8
Unified Boot to Shutdown Artwork
This release brings an all-new login screen design giving you a complete Breeze startup to shutdown experience. The layout has been tidied up and is more suitable for workstations that are part of a domain or company network. While it is much more streamlined, it also allows for greater customizability: for instance, all Plasma wallpaper plugins, such as slideshows and animated wallpapers, can now be used on the lock screen.
Right-to-Left Language Support
Support for Semitic right-to-left written languages, such as Hebrew and Arabic, has been greatly improved. Contents of panels, the desktop, and configuration dialogs are mirrored in this configuration. Plasma’s sidebars, such as widget explorer, window switcher, activity manager, show up on the right side of the screen.
The virtual desktop switcher (“Pager”) and window list applets have been rewritten, using the new task manager back-end we introduced in Plasma 5.7. This allows them to use the same dataset as the task manager and improves their performance while reducing memory consumption. The virtual desktop switcher also acquired an option to show only the current screen in multi-screen setups and now shares most of its code with the activity switcher applet.
Task manager gained further productivity features in this release. Media controls that were previously available in task manager tooltips only are now accessible in the context menus as well. In addition to bringing windows to the front during a drag and drop operation, dropping files onto task manager entries themselves will now open them in the associated application. Lastly, the popup for grouped windows can now be navigated using the keyboard and text rendering of its labels has been improved.
Simplified Global Shortcuts
Global shortcuts configuration has been simplified to focus on the most common task, that is launching applications. Building upon the jump list functionality added in previous releases, global shortcuts can now be configured to jump to specific tasks within an application.
Thanks to our Wayland effort, we can finally offer so-called “modifier-only shortcuts”, enabling you to open the application menu by just pressing the Meta key. Due to popular demand, this feature also got backported to the X11 session.
This release sees many bugfixes in multi-screen support and, together with Qt 5.6.1, should significantly improve your experience with docking stations and projectors.
KWin, Plasma’s window manager, now allows compositing through llvmpipe, easing the deployment on exotic hardware and embedded devices. Now that there is a standardized and widely-used interface for applications to request turning off compositing, the "Unredirect Fullscreen” option has been removed. It often lead to stability issues and because of that was already disabled for many drivers.
Now that Kirigami, our set of versatile cross-platform UI components, has been released, we’re pleased to bring you a revamped version of Plasma Discover based on Kirigami.
We have new default fonts, the Noto font from Google covers all scripts available in the Unicode standard while our new monospace font Hack is perfect for coders and terminal users.
We’re in Wayland!
Plasma on Wayland has come a long way in the past months. While our long term support promise does not apply to the fast-evolving Wayland stack, we think it is ready to be tested by a broader audience. There will still be minor glitches and missing features, but we are now at a point where we can ask you to give it a try and report bugs. Notable improvements in this release include:
- Support for xdg-shell, i.e. GTK+ applications are now supported
- Much improved touch screen support
- Support for touchpad gestures – the infrastructure is there, there aren't any gestures by default yet
- The “Sliding Popups” effect is now supported
- Clipboard contents are synced between X11 and Wayland applications
The easiest way to try it out is with a live image booted off a USB disk. You can find a list of Live Images with Plasma 5 on the KDE Community Wiki.Package Downloads
Distributions have created, or are in the process of creating, packages listed on our wiki page.
You can install Plasma 5 directly from source. KDE's community wiki has instructions to compile it. Note that Plasma 5 does not co-install with Plasma 4, you will need to uninstall older versions or install into a separate prefix.
Discuss Plasma 5 on the KDE Forums Plasma 5 board.
Your feedback is greatly appreciated.
The 17th edition of the International Free Software Forum (FISL) took place, as usual, at Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul's Convention Center, city of Porto Alegre, from 13th to 16th July. FISL is the largest FOSS conference in Latin America and a quite traditional venue to get a comprehensive panorama of all sorts of FOSS-related new topics: technical advances, adoption cases, FOSS and education, hacker culture, just to mention a few.
This year, FISL started an effort which aims at strengthening the respect for diversity in FOSS communities. Many activities were led by and/or had the participation of minority groups, emphasizing the need for respect and diversity regarding gender identity, special needs, sexual orientation, physical appearance, race, ethnicity, religion and socioeconomic status.
Another novelty in FISL 2016 was the micro-conferences: whole day meetings devoted to specific FOSS communities. Five communities held their micro-conferences at FISL 2016: PyLadies Brazil, Drupal, Mozilla Brazil, PostgreSQL, and ‒ of course ‒ KDE. The KDE micro-conference was named Engrenagem ('gear' in Portuguese) and was a nice way to enhance KDE visibility through a set of talks presented by our special guest and by Brazilian KDE contributors. This year we had the pleasure of having David Edmundson opening our micro-conference with his talk: Plasma 5 ‒ Infinity and Beyond.
David Edmundson at FISL 2016
Our micro-conference continued with Aracele's talk, entitled "20 Years of KDE: from Desktop to FOSS Umbrella". Aracele presented how KDE emerged in the GNU/FOSS panorama in the early nineties and provided a nice overview of the many changes our community has undergone over the many years of its existence. Then, Fernando Teles talked about his experience as a student of Season of KDE, working on Cantor. He highlighted the importance of such a mentoring program and gave some tips on how to succeed in a first-time FOSS contribution experience. Henrique Sant'Anna presented a quite rich talk about all the versatility and power provided by KDE Plasma 5. Adapting Plasma to many users' workflows and using some not common features were some of the highlights of his talk.
Ícaro Jerry talked about the first steps and the many opportunities for contribution in KDE. Illustrated by his own story, he presented the main obstacles and tips to overcome the usual initial barriers faced by newcomers in FOSS communities. In the talk "Stubbornness, Campus Party and KDE", Lays Rodrigues talked about her journey (and perseverance) into FOSS communities and KDE in particular. A different perspective about contributing to FOSS communities was presented by Rafael Gomes, in his talk "Contributing as a Sysadmin in KDE". He presented the particularities of working in this area and the current main demands in KDE. Ícaro Jerry was again on the stage to present an overview talk about KDE-Edu, where practical cases for some educational applications were presented. Our micro-conference finished with two talks presented by Sandro Andrade. The first one was about Minuet ‒ the KDE-Edu software for music education, where he presented the motivations, technical aspects and roadmap for this applications. Then, he concluded with a talk about mobile applications development with Qt, where the main features for developing Android and iOS applications with Qt were demonstrated.
KDE booth at FISL 2016
On Friday evening, we had an amazing commemorative cake and a lively 20 years party at our booth. KDE turns 20 at 14th October 2016, but we couldn't fail to celebrate such an important achievement at FISL. As when sharing knowledge :), people rapidly lined up for taking their piece of cake and enjoyed our celebration.
Commemorative cake for the 20th anniversary of KDE
Check the full set of KDE at FISL 2016 photos.
See you at FISL 2017!
KDE has finished its fantastic week, celebrating 20 years of hacking and freedom fighting together with Qt, VLC and FSFE in Berlin. We finished our week with a fun day trip to Pfaueninsel, Berlin's Peacock Island.
Many thanks to the organisers of the conference. We have now returned to our homes around the world to implement our plans for the next 20 years of being the best community for end-user software.
Peacock Island Dot Categories:
In today's BoF wrapup at Akademy find out the future of Plasma music player, the Frameworks LTS and the future of KDE neon.
KDE is celebrating 20 years as the original and best free software end-user creating community. The milestones of our project are marked on our 20 Years of KDE timeline. Find out the meetings and releases which defined KDE. Learn about the early and recent KDE gatherings around the world and how we have evolved over the years. What was your first KDE release?
For all the gearheads around the world, the occasion of KDE's 20th birthday brings with it the traditional yet unconventional slice of our virtual birthday cake - our brand new book called 20 Years of KDE: Past, Present and Future scribbled in icing on top.
With the birth of KDE came about the birth of change, the birth of a little bit of brilliancy, and a presence across five continents that was unimaginable at the time of its conception. It was the start of something significant. And even though we've known KDE for so long, have been responsible for shaping it and making it what it is today and have interacted with it on a personal level since quite some time, there is a lot more about KDE that not all of us know and a whole lot more about it that we are yet to discover. As we stand today with a vision in our pocket trying to learn, decide, imagine and tame the unforseeable future of KDE, we also find strength, satisfaction and validation in our past and in the large part of the never-ending journey that we have already traveled. Our destination terminates not in perfection, but in freedom and power infinite. Power to you, and to KDE.
The book, in its nostalgic travel through our timeline, gives the reader insights into KDE like never before. The many stories and the many ways in which our contributors have envisioned the path ahead for us, are there for you to read in '20 Years of KDE'. Matthias Ettrich, the founder of KDE, gives you one such very important side and story about the inception of KDE when he says, "Like any other complex project, KDE was created twice. At first as an idea, and secondly as an implementation of the idea in the real world." With people who've been around at times drastically different from now, Richard Moore shares a humbling reflection down the memory lane saying ''If you had said to me at the time that KSnapshot would continue to be developed and released for 18 years I wouldn't have believed you.'' Albert Vaca expands more on what might be in store for KDE in the book saying "Our future software will run on devices we have yet to conceive of and will do things for our users that have yet to even be dreamed of. Yet one thing will remain the same – the creation of software people love – that will inspire the next group of contributors to our community." Andreas Cord-Landwehr rightly marks this milestone in the book when he states, "In a community we are people of various backgrounds, educations and ages, and with twenty years completed, we finished what one can call a generation."
Kevin Ottens sums up the need to go and get your copy at the earliest, "Why am I telling you all this you may ask? Well, I just want you, dear readers, to realize that it has been an awfully long time!" So, Happy Birthday KDE! I hope you like your birthday cake. Find more details about the book at 20years.kde.org/book!Dot Categories:
QtCon talks are over, and today we start the discussion groups and hacking sessions to plan out work on the KDE community's projects over the coming year. If you want to learn what's going on in KDE technologies and community you can spend some time watching over the videos from the QtCon KDE talks.
KDE Dot News sent its roving reporter Devaja round the stalls at QtCon to ask them what they were promoting and of their experience of the conference.
Julia Reda MEP
The talks are over after the three days of QtCon Akademy 2016 which means the BoF sessions and hacking days are about to begin. To close the talks at the conference we had a finishing keynote by Julia Reda, Member of the European Parliament and member of the Pirate Party.
She began by saying that on a fundamental level government is all of us, and it provides the infrastructure for our culture. Software used by the government is also a public service and the only philosophy that takes responsibility for that is free and open source software. Getting governments to use free and open source software is more important then ever because of the importance of technology in society. Computers are no longer limited to some parts of our lives, they are integral to everything we do. She gave the example of the VW Dieselgate scandal which is linked to cars being computers on wheels. There are no check that the software that is tested by regulators is the same that is run by the car hardware. Another interesting aspect is limitations on diesel control can be turned off to save the engine which means in practice they do this a lot and don't even need to tell the regulators. VW had a function programmed into the car which turned off the fuel saving if it deviated from the testing procedures.
Another area were we see the importance of software is robotics. A friend who wears a cochlear implant hearing aid has software which can control what you hear. Software on a pacemaker can be more scary. The source code for her friend's pacemaker had a bug and to test it they had to put her on a treadmill to debug it as there was no other way with the code not being available. Julia wants to know what software is run on her body. The EU parliament is discussing this issue.
An older debate is the use of technology in elections. In US voting infrastructure isn't considered critical infrastructure so it's not treated like an issue even when it has known problems. It's important to be able to inspect any software which has important functions. A more social issue is the debate about whether Facebook algorithms can influence elections. Predictive policing can encourage racist stereotypes, if that's done with software and we don't know how it works any biases can be very dangerous.
If you have Windows 10 running on your fridge there are more fun ways your software can fail. In some fields you might become legally barred from inspecting and tinkering your hardware. Freedom to tinker is important for education and also autonomy and it should be protected in a similar way as a freedom of speech. Information is governed differently from physical goods. Books can have owners but e-books are licensed and can't necessarily be given to your children when you die. Manufacturers will try to get us to rent things rather than buy them. There are tractors where the manufacturer told the owners they could not modify the tractor because that was not in their license. Circumvention of technological protections (such as DVD encryption) should be allowed. Even though these common sense demands were supported by the EU parliament, the EU Commission's proposals are different and e.g. want charges on news aggregators. There are no positive developments yet in copyright to give us more control. Another concerning area is trade secrets, which started as defending uncompetitive behaviour. If you break into the office of a competitor and steal plans that would be covered. But now manufacturers can claim the software is a trade secret and the regulator can't see it, which makes no sense. The US is introducing this into trade agreements to stop say China reading the software from US companies, so we have to make sure governments at least are able to see the software.
Posing for the Group Photo (to be published soon)
There are social developments that make free software significant. Some companies will restrict functions on their products by software which is dangerous. Finally there are moves for laws on what software can be installed on wifi hubs. Manufacturers should make sure users don't use the wrong spectrum but to allow competition, the US FCC has insisted you should allow 3rd party software. So we may have to have trusted computing type signed images for routers which makes installation of Linux on them much more challenging. What can government do about these issues? It's important we make the point governments rely on free and open software. Governments need to start taking responsibility of free software. There's a Prototype Fund in Germany where money is given to free software projects and helps with bureaucracy. With HeartBleed and ShellShock we saw a lot of infrastructure relies on free software but there's no responsibility from manufacturers to take care of it. The EU has started FOSSA, a project to audit free software. Asked in a survey which projects the EU should audit, most votes were for Apache HTTP and Keypass. The 2 year pilot project is coming to an end but they want to continue it and get a permanent budget. Also they want a bug bounty budget. In the future it's important to work within the system and build networks with free software communities and the EU commission. In Bulgaria and the US there are source code policies, they are not perfect but the US has a goal of publishing 20% of software as open source which is a lot better than many other governments. The EU commission has an open source policy but it only commits to not disadvantage open source solution in procurement. So her call for action is to move to a sustainable public procurement system and every government in the EU have a free software policy. The goal should be to make governments not just tolerate Free Software but to promote and improve it.
To close the conference we had the annual KDE Akademy Awards and finally representatives of KDAB, KDE, FSFE and VLC came on stage to thank the organisers and wish us a successful onward conference with Akademy.
Winners Kenny, Dan, Christoph, Dominik, Aleix
QtCon talks closed with our annual awards ceremony, the Akademy Awards. Given each year to the most valued and hardest working KDE contributors, they are awarded by the jury from the previous year. This year's winners are:Best Non-Application Contribution
Aleix Pol who for many years has worked hard not just on KDE code but also on the community with KDE e.V. as a board member and KDE España.Best Application
Dominik Haumann and Christoph Cullmann for their work making Kate and the related parts. We all rely on a quality text editor and KDE has the finest one.Jury Award
To Daniel Vrátil and the KDE PIMsters for creating and maintaining the largest suite of communication applications in the world.The Organisers
As is traditional, an award was given to the organisers of Akademy, this year represented by Kenny Coyle who has been helping out for nearly a decade running the videos and many other tasks.
A second packed day of talks has taken place at QtCon, the largest and most diverse and dynamic gathering of end-user software communities for open development ever. KDE contributors gave talks next to pure Qt coders, the VLC team pondered the merits of porting to Telsa cars and the FSF-E celebrated 15 years with their annual awards.
Red Hat (and former Google Summer of Code) community manage Lesley Hawthorn took the brave decision to speak not about code but about emotions and interpersonal dynamics: empathy. Without empathy we create projects that are terrible and communities where very few people want to participate. People who are empathetic tend to get promoted more quickly and report greater workplace satisfaction. Empathy is something we chose to exercise. Geeks often chose not to be empathetic and say "I'm not good at being understanding" but empathy is a skill that can be learnt and isn't innate. Every day practice self awareness by asking "what has happened to me in the last week that I found really useful and enjoyed" and conversely moments that sucked and why. Practice active listening if you want to make yourself more empathetic. Active listening is the process of mirroring what someone has said, summarising it in a way that show you understand what they said and how they felt. You will find that people respond to you better in conversation.
Step two to cultivate empathy is read fiction, so if you like reading stories then science says this is good. It stimulates the centres in your brain for the practice of empathy. Avoid assumptions and be curious. One of the fastest ways to shut down empathy is to not talk to someone or ask after them. (By the way, this was highlighted in Jens' keynote yesterday when he said the same is needed from designers.) Be explicit about your values and make them inclusive, or new people may not know or support them. Discourage HiPPOing, "Highest Paid Person's Opinion is the only one that matters". Allow for people who make mistakes and make it okay to fail (alert readers will also remember this theme from Jens' keynote yesterday).Peruse
Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen presented his comic viewer Peruse, a dedicated viewer which reads several formats for comics. One problem he wanted to solve is that people need to download the comics which currently means dodgy downloads. The solution is OCS but he explained the current libraries for using OCS and how he is refactoring and updating KNewStuff to make it less dependency-heavy and work with QtQuick.Student Talks
The student presentations was an opportunity for some of the students from Google Summer of Code show their work for the last three months. Arnav Dhamija showed kio-stash an kioslave which creates virtual folders of files. For example if you have a new phone and you want to copy some songs to it you can create a virtual folder to select which files you want before copying them. This avoids the actual file being duplicated and taking up extra disk space. There was discussion about the best way of putting it in the UI of Dolphin and a suggestion that Arnav become a maintainer of Dolphin which he wasn't against.VLC
There was no parking available in the VLC talks room
Jean Baptiste Kempf opened the VLC track with a state of the union of VLC. VLC aims to run everywhere and it has versions on Windows XP, Linux 2.6, Mac OS 10.7, recent ChromeOS, Android 2.2, iOS 7, WinRT 8.1 and Android TV, Apple TV and maybe even XBox. But VLC versions have been inconsistent, so 3.0 will try to be the first release where all platforms use the same version. The new subtitle engine has better rendering of fonts, coded by a Syrian guy with two hours of electricity a day in the middle of a war, so nobody is more hardcore in VLC than him. There were also updates for VLC on Android and Mac including the TV variants of these. Nobody wants to touch Microsoft Car Player but if anyone has a Tesla to donate that would be welcome.Network Manager, KDE on BSD
Jan Grulich from Red Hat gave a talk on using NetworkManager in Qt, a technical look into how to code using NetworkManager.
Marie Louise Nolden gave an update on the state of KDE software on BSD. In FreeBSD KDE 4 has been supported for several years, with Plasma 5 (which they call KDE 5) is still a work in progress. KDevelop 5 has been added while Calligra and other projects are still on KDE 4 version. NetBSD and also have KDE teams but they lack porters. NetBSD still uses GCC (FreeBSD switched to CLang) and has X11 by default. NetBSD has Qt 3, 4 and 5 with Plasma 5 in preparation. Porters are working to get patches upstream in Qt so it can compile out the box. OpenBSD removes system calls they consider insecure. X11 is shipped as part of OS and packages are available for KDE 3 and 4, Plamsa 5 is in preparation. But OpenBSD uses an old GCC version to avoid GPL 3. There is a strategy for all the KDE teams on the BSDs to work together so exchange issues and fixes and get them upstream as has happened with Qt. WebEngine currently doesn't compile and Google won't accept patches as BSD not a target for them.Desktop Security?
Martin Graesslin spoke about the pitiful state of Linux security when it comes to preventing one malicious application doing nasty things to other applications. He showed how it was trivial and in fact part of the design for one application to be able to take passwords entered into another application. Wayland gives us the possibility for a secure desktop but we still have work to do to give our users a secure desktop and give them the privacy they need.Rust
Jos van den Oever tried to convince us to learn Rust, a new programming language which can integrate with c++ libraries. He showed a comparison of a C++ and a Rust Hello World application; they both had an error and the c++ one carried on regardless and the error could not even be detected in Valgrind while the Rust equivalent successfully showed the error. For Qt there's no complete bindings but he's using QMLRS bindings.Parties and Celebration KDE's Simon Wächter winner of FSFE award
This is only a small selection of the many talks here at QtCon and of course doesn't cover the all important hallway conversations. The partying continues tonight at Berlin's underground and riverside hacker lab CBase where we had the 15th anniversary celebration of the Free Software Foundation Europe. There were talks about the history and achievements of the FSF-E and the annual award which this year was won by KDE contributor Simon Wächter for creating the website Freedomvote.ch to profile Swiss political candidates for digital rights values. No photographs allowed unfortunately, these hackers like their privacy so you'll just have to imagine the late night open air chats, drinking and cavorting.
At this year's Akademy, KDE announced The KDE Store. The new store replaces the services provided by openDesktop.org with a Free-as-in-Freedom software sharing platform.A Bit of History
OpenDesktop, founded in 2001 was one of the first of its kind, very innovative and perhaps even a bit ahead of its time. OpenDesktop served addons such as themes, wallpapers and other non-compiled assets for applications or the desktop. It never established itself as a platform for distribution of applications, or even binary packages. Nevertheless, openDesktop offered users of KDE software (and other desktops as well) a way to extend their apps, and creators a way to share their work with users.
In recent years, openDesktop hasn't seen much love other than keeping it running, there weren't any new features and no solution for offering binary packages. Compared to modern software stores, it fell short.A New Beginning
In January 2016, Blue Systems acquired hive01 from Frank Karlitschek and restarted work on openDesktop. Since then, content has been cleaned up, the server backend has been replaced by a more modern and scalable solution, and some future plans have been made. Today, KDE announced that the source code for this new service has been released as Free software under the AGPL, fixing a long standing bug in KDE software: reliance on a proprietary web service. The source code for this new web service has been incubated into KDE and is now actively developed under the KDE umbrella. The new store allows users to easily donate to the creator, so artists, developers and contributors now have a clear revenue model when they upload their content.Sustainability Guaranteed
KDE e.V. has entered a contract with PLING, a sister company of Blue Systems who run the KDE Store service on behalf of KDE. This agreement guarantees KDE the availability of the source code and data, KDE will receive regular data dumps from PLING, so KDE e.V. can, if that situation should arise, take over operation of the KDE Store. The reliance on a third party has also been reduced. The license of the software, the open development process and the availability of the data put KDE (and its users) in a much better place with respect to the sustainability of this service.Containerized Apps
Freeing and migrating the openDesktop services is just the first step. KDE is already looking into also offering applications in containerized form in the software store. This may lead to a much more direct way of distributing software. It will allow users get their software from the developer, thereby cutting out the middle man and reducing the time it takes for an update to reach the users. KDE is currently experimenting with different containerized app technologies, such as Flatpak, Snappy and AppImage. The jury is still out there on which of these will be the most useful formats, as the technologies are very much work in progress, a progress KDE is happy to be at the centre of.Upwards and Onwards
The new KDE store offers users and developers more freedom, it gives creators a revenue model and users a way to thank them, and if offers interesting perspectives on software distribution for the future.
Perhaps most importantly, it puts all those things in the hands of the community.
There is so much about QtCon and all its diversity and enthusiasm right from the Traffic Cone hats to the Ratatouille to the parallel KDE, FSFE, Qt tracks that all of it can't be summed up even across numerous dot stories. So this article in particular aims at giving a detailed summary of some of the talks not covered in the previous dot story and a more detailed version of the lightning talks for those who prefer a quick read over watching videos.
Governments Migrating to Free Software
Sonia Montegiove gave a talk on the Migration of Italian Ministry of Defense, in which she detailed the process that they undertook to install LibreOffice suites on the computers of the IMD. Libreitalia, her organisation, works to create more awareness about LibreOffice and to spread the word about it. She gave the average novice person in the audience an idea of what FLOSS is using the particular example of Libreoffice. Libreitalia promotes LibreOffice in public administration, schools and other academic institutions. Last year that they signed an MoU with the Italian Defense Ministry to use LibreOffice in place of Microsoft Office. They are also in the process of adopting odf as the standard format for all their documents. Sonia explained that LibreOffice can be marketed to such institutions by emphasizing how the money saved by not buying proprietary software licenses can actually be used to invest in other processes and other resources for the organisation. She also mentioned that the Italian law states that organisations are supposed to choose and use a FOSS software over a proprietary software if it is equally equipped enough to serve the required purpose. In spite of such legal provisions, organisations still choose to go ahead with proprietary software. That might be changed by spreading awareness among them regarding the independence from software vendors that using FOSS software supplies. Besides the Italian government, the French government has 5 million PCs across 15 ministries that use FOSS and so does the Commitat Valencia on a different scale.
Sonia discussed the individual steps of acclimatizing the office staff to the change in their work stations and how to make the integration with the office suite as smooth and uninterrupted a process as possible with their existing IT infrastructure. It is also very important to start the migration process with communication. The managers and employees should know why they are using Free Software and that it isn't a makeshift solution. They should be absolutely convinced of the objectives and the philosophy behind moving to LibreOffice. The migration process was communicated to the people at the top ranks as well and there were also training sessions given to the office trainers and the internal support staff so that they can guide the people better with the process. Eight thousand migrations to LibreOffice have already been carried out and they also have twenty video lessons highlighting the differences between MS Office and LibreOffice. Among the future plans there is going to be a provision for additional training lessons by late 2016 and also for translations to sign language. She highlighted five questions as the main issues of migration that the end-user may ask, and they were mainly to do with justifying the user of the time spent in the process of migration, assuring them of a smooth process of adapting to the new system owing to the good support teams and community, clearing the myth about destruction/re-creation of existing data and documents, the hesitance in trying out something new and the doubts regarding the replaceability of the old software with the new one. Libredifesa, with it's large number of volunteers and the massive end impact on the FOSS ecosystem, can serve as an excellent reference for people involved in outreach efforts and looking for a successful model for a smooth migration process for the end users.
As a part of the Qt track there were a number of interesting talks ranging from adaptation to car systems and Qt 3D to better testing tools.
Helio Chissini de Castro spoke of how the IT department at BMW Cars adapted QtCreator as their development IDE. When it came to embedded development, QtCreator was a strong choice since many developers of car IT have considerable experience and background in QT technologies and FOSS. Dr. Mashrab Kuvatov was the one who started and developed the project and it uses a head unit SDK with the concept of jail root to compile the yocto based system. Helio highlighted a few of the basic requisites that were essential for the specific usage of QtCreator for car systems and they included code completion from the native SDK, plugins to control the SDK and the respective toolchain and a seamless integration with the development environment and dynamic code compilation to code post installation. The current plugin requires modifications on the QtCreator main source code since it can't be compiled standalone and needs manual first setup to the SDK. It is also limited to particular network environments to the head unit. But the in-queue planning for the QtCreator Plugin includes improving the system to not need any external code behind QtCreator and to contribute upstream.
There was also a discussion of the possibility of the plugin compilation outside QtCreator. It is currently limited to Ubuntu Linux and requires custom packages and deploys only a clean setup and demands full source code recompilation on every new release. The eventual aim is to cover the most significant Linux distributions and to deploy the plugin on the distro QtCreator install base and to have a predefined setup for the SDK and to recompile the plugin only on new release. The code completion uses a modification of source code detection and is restricted to the old parsing model and it uses the SDK but not the system and there is no clear separation on what is native and what isn't. There shall be more efforts to improve upstream relationship to provide contributions to QtCreator's parent project and to reduce local maintenance and these changes and advances shall see an influx of a greater scope for QtCreator as the IDE of choice in numerous car IT departments all over.
Right after lunch, there was an interesting talk titled CityBikes, data policies and the big elephant by Lluis Esquerda. Citybikes started out as an android app for the local bike sharing system but when they had difficulties in procuring data since there was no open data available for them, they decided to expand Citybikes to a project providing open bike sharing data to everyone. Pybikes is a python library containing all the scraping logic that can give you access to bike sharing data from bike sharing networks across the world. And Pybikes provided the necessary data to Citybikes for it's own android application. And as a result, Citybikes was an API used by numerous developers who have adapted the app for Google Glass and IOS and also for different app uses. There was also a proper distribution displayed of the amount of data that they procured via scraping, via licenced deeds and via other sources and scraping was the major contributor. He also talked about the presence of PPAs (Public Private Partnership) which is when a private company makes an agreement with a public party like the city council to be able to use their data in exchange for the app or facility that they provide them with using the data. These leads to a monopolisation of the data and a closed control of it in the hands of the contracted private company and so there needs to be a proper awareness regarding Open Data especially for institutions like the City Council and how it would lead to better quality services like bike sharing if the data is openly accessible since many more people can work on it and keep on improving the system as opposed to a single corporation. Open Data shall lead to a better world and a better future, and Citybikes aimed to do just that by their magnanimous efforts in rallying for it.
Kevin Ottens gave a talk on Qt 3D basics and about the architecture and what the API looks like. It isn't just about 3D rendering but is multi purpose and not just limited to game engines. It has been designed to be scalable and extensible and flexible and gives you the ability to add more domains in the simulation since the core of the simulation engine is not inherently about 3D and so it can deal with several domains at once including AI, logic, audio and more and also allows you to write complex simulation systems. It is scalable since there is a frontend-backend split and the frontend is lightweight and is on the main thread and the backend is executed on a secondary thread where the actual simulation runs. For flexibility there are also domains that can be added via independent aspects. Qt3D provides both C++ and QML APIs and it integrates well with the rest of Qt. The entity component system which is an architectural pattern popular in game engines that favours composition over inheritance is used in Qt 3D to combine behaviours in your own objects. Essentially, an entity is a general purpose object and the entity gets its behaviour by combining data which comes from typed Components.
Using the example of a simple game he explained the difference between Inheritance and Composition using numerous cases and one such instance was adding the feature of emitting sound to the base class to add it to all entities but which wouldn't allow you to scale to more properties and similarly the complexities with multiple inheritance and mixed scale inheritance were demonstrated with appropriate examples. In Qt 5.7, Qt3D provides Qt3DCore, Qt3DRender, Qt3DInput, Qt3DLogic, Qt3DExtras and Scene3D which you can read about in depth on their site, and Kevin furthermore demonstrated the Hello Donut example to demonstrate the entity component model. The Qt3D Simulation wherein the Aspects have no API of their own and are all on the components was talked about as was Transformations and Spatial representations of simulations in Qt 3D. Geometries, materials, textures and lights and their available effects for the entities with Qt 3D were discussed and demonstrated via appropriate examples and what future developments can be expected in Qt 3D including animation, collision detection, geometry processor and physics aspect were talked about. Automating HMI and System Tests for Qt and QML frontends was, as the title suggests a demonstration of how testing can be automated and how system tests can be visually verified as well. The basic different tests including unit tests, system tests, functional tests, non-functional tests and integration tests were briefly talked about and the automation of some of them were discussed and demonstrated including checks of misplacement of buttons or text errors or sizing of text boxes and so on.
Harri Porten talked about Code Coverage for Qt C++ and QML code. The challenges posed by Qt applications in measuring code coverage were demonstrated and presented through numerous examples.
Among the lightning talks in room B09, Jesus Fernandez talked about OAuth and Qt and demonstrated it by using it to log in to a third party application using a Twitter social networking account. OAuth user login allows any user of the developer's app to authorise themselves on an ArcGIS portal and to access permitted secure resources without the handlage of the user's credentials by the application and the app receives a unique alphanumeric token that provides proof to the server of successful authentication.
Design, dummy! was a lightning talk by Jens on 10 easy rules to improve all your designs. He demonstrated numerous design faux pas via actual usage in his slide designs. His main advice was to not overuse colours and to stick with the standard gray, black and white since extravagant colours like red are used to draw attention to particular points instead of the entire application area. He also emphasized the importance of Font weight placement and size and the need for adequate space placements and limited menu/button/choice options for the design. He also mentioned that using too many animations is a design blunder and advised organizing the information to be conveyed to the user in a meaningful manner. He parted with the general mottos of not copying design, make your own as much as you can, study the design rules but to be sure to break them every once in a while.
The WikitoLearn lightning talk by Riccardo Lacconelli was a summary of the entire journey of the WikiLearn Community in the past year with their first official sprint in September and first partnerships in October and academical partnerships in December. They organised a larger sprint at CERN in March and then highlighted a goal to achieve in the coming years by getting twenty of the best educational institutes in the world to participate with WikitoLearn. With over 800 chapters created within a year and greatly surpassing Wikiversita's record, WikitoLearn is growing at a tremendous pace and has much more ambition for the future.
Daniel Pocock gave a talk on Postbooks which was essentially based on accounting using SQL- derived as a combination of PostgreSQL and QuickBooks and is the FOSS version of Xtuoke. It was originally developed in the U.S. and more adapted for use there ,but has now been expanded for global use and is used widely in the manufacturing and distribution sector. The double entry accounting system as an introduction to the basics of accounting was explained by him in terms of the debit and credit for your account and it was also demonstrated using PostBooks on the test data. He also gave some insight on how web based accounting was good for remote work and for accountants handling multiple accounts with multiple organisations whereas a Full GUI such as PostBooks was better for users with specific focuses and for those who require more options and advanced features and more flexibility.Dot Categories: