KDE Dot News
KDE has released the first beta of the 4.13 versions of Applications and Development Platform. With API, dependency and feature freezes in place, the focus is now on fixing bugs and further polishing. Your assistance with finding and fixing issues is requested!
A partial list of improvements can be found in the 4.13 Feature Plan. A more complete list of the improvements and changes will be available for the final release in the middle of April.
This first beta release needs a thorough testing in order to improve quality and user experience. A variety of actual users is essential to maintaining high KDE quality, because developers cannot possibly test every configuration. User assistance helps find bugs early so they can be squashed before the final release. Please join the 4.13 team's release effort by installing the beta and reporting any bugs.
The official announcement has information about how to install the betas.Dot Categories:
- Artikulate improves filtering, can show phrases containing native speaker recordings
- KDE-PIM adds email filtering and contact auto-completion via Baloo
- Skrooge offers new "responsive" template for monthly reports
- Bug fixes in Calligra, KGet.
The Calligra team is proud and pleased to announce the release of version 2.8 of the Calligra Suite, Calligra Active and the Calligra Office Engine. This version is the result of thousands of commits which provide new features, polishing of the user experience and bug fixes.New in This Release
Major new features in this release are comments support in Author and Words, improved Pivot tables in Sheets, improved stability and the ability to open hyperlinks in Kexi. Flow introduces SVG based stencils and as usual there are many new features in Krita including touch screens support and a wraparound painting mode for the creation of textures and tiles.
You can find more details in the official announcement on the calligra site.Dot Categories:
Today KDE released updates for its Applications and Development Platform, the third in a series of monthly stabilization updates to the 4.12 series. This release also includes an updated Plasma Workspaces 4.11.7. Both releases contain only bugfixes and translation updates, providing a safe and pleasant update for everyone.
More than 30 recorded bugfixes include improvements to Personal Information Management suite Kontact, Umbrello UML Modeller, image viewer Gwenview, web browser Konqueror, file manager Dolphin and others. A more complete list of changes can be found in KDE's issue tracker.
To find out more about the 4.12 versions of KDE Applications and Development Platform, please refer to the 4.12 release notes.Dot Categories:
Frameworks 5 based apps on Wayland
Today KDE released the second alpha of Frameworks 5, part of a series of releases leading up to the final version planned for June 2014. This release includes progress since the previous alpha last month.
KDE PIM sprint Nov 2013
In early 2013, it was established that "Osnabrück is not a place". Meaning that the KDE PIM spring sprint, which traditionally takes place in Osnabrück, could happen at a different location and still be a continuation of the tradition.
KDE PIM's autumn sprint has traditionally been in Berlin, but since the team decided that "Berlin is not a place" applies as well, this year's installment of the sprint took place in Brno in the Czech Republic.
Even people without the exceptional skills of Sherlock Holmes have certainly deduced by now that KDE PIM sprints happen in cities that are not places but coincidentally contain the letters B, R and N.
Unlike with most other sprints, where all but some local people arrive on the first day of the sprint, there had already been a week of intense KDE hacking been going on.
Bob - you remember Bob? - and his merry henchmen from the KDE Barcelona Squad, had already arrived earlier that week and hacked on various pieces of KDE software and had beer delivered to them on trains. Yes, trains! That's the Czech Republic for you.Notes
We're sorry to have to notify you of the fact that nobody worked on KNotes. There were plenty of old school sticky notes though. Because Kevin Ottens likes to draw rectangles on white boards and sticky notes are a natural choice for filling them.
There were also a lot of notes taken, notably on the outcome of the discussions which were scheduled by moving notes on the whiteboard.
This kind of structured handling of topics is a noteworthy improvement over some of the previous sprints and very necessary given the increased number of people who nowadays attend and take note of them.
Back row: Lukas Tinkl, John Layt, Michael Bohlender, David Edmundson, Ingo Klöcker, Daniel Vratil
Middle row: Kevin Krammer, Martin Klapetek, Mark Gaiser
Front row: Christian Mollekopf, Alex Fiestas, Vishesh Handa, Jan Grulich Bugs
As has become tradition, a significant portion of the meeting was dedicated to mercilessly squashing those nasty little buggers. David Faure, a man who certainly needs no further introduction, used the presence of several component maintainers to get issues fixed. "Getting fixed" meaning he did the actual fixing, being aided by the aforementioned component specialists with insight into inner workings and assumptions of the respective code.
The previous and current maintainers of Akonadi had fun with things so deep down in the guts of the system that not even the author of this article would be able to fully understand them. Those people are way smarter than him!
In addition to fixes in the sense of correcting erroneous behavior, this also included several improvements in the area of runtime performance. And a faster KDE PIM makes everybody happy.Progress
One of the other fun aspects of a sprint, aside from the obvious awesomeness of hanging out with great people and doing interesting code work, is to ponder and prototype potential progressive programming pieces.
Big ass pizza!
Mark Gaiser, Michael Bohlender and Thomas Pfeiffer had a closer look at how to get beyond quaint, dare I say boring, user interfaces and enable QtQuick-based applications to tap into the power provided by KDE PIM libraries. Some example code was written, plans were drawn - but much is still to be done.Secrets
Naturally the presence of the KDE Barcelona Squad made secrecy a paramount objective. Not only do we need to hide their identities, a job made easy by several Squad members disguising themselves with enormous fake beards, we are bound by oath—under threat of dragonian punishment—to not talk about rocket science like advances in PIM data search. Well, "rocket science" doesn't even cut it, more likely on the level of warp science!
Editor's note: recent leaks have nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with our ability to keep things, you know, secret. Really!Dot Categories:
- KDevelop gets a new widget for the code assistant, which is more flexible in how it looks and behaves; adds a possibility to (de)serialize problems from/to disk; sees various optimizations
- KDE-PIM adds support for interval refresh of Google calendars and contacts
- In Skrooge, monthly report is now able to display reports on months, quarters, semesters and years
- Baloo adds a plugin for Akonadi
- libmm-qt implements OMA (Open Mobile Alliance) interface
- Umbrello adds additional debug support
- Ktexteditor adds a status bar.
KDE is happy to announce that it has been accepted as a mentoring organization for Google Summer of Code 2014. This will allow students from around the world to work with mentors on KDE software projects. Successful students will receive stipends from Google.
The Google Summer of Code program offers development funding as well as mentors to students who want to work on open source software projects. The program provides students the opportunity to learn more about coding, work within structured software development environments, and push bug fixes and new features into real-world, production software. For Google and the rest of the world, the program provides improvements to the software that millions of people use on a daily basis.
The ideas on what a student entering the GSoC program might work on are offered from developers and users alike. The KDE project has a list of potential projects for 2014 on the Community Wiki. Depending on what students choose to develop, this could mean it will be a big year for popular KDE software such as Amarok, digiKam, Marble, Krita and the PIM suite as well as more niche applications and libraries.Dot Categories:
For years, KDE software has included a semantic (relationship-based) searching infrastructure. KDE's Semantic Search was built around concepts previously developed in a European Union-funded research project NEPOMUK which explored the use of relationships between data to improve search results. Based on these ideas, KDE's implementation of Semantic Search made it possible to search for all pictures - taken in - a particular place. On top of that, it added text search and tagging.Incremental improvements
Since its implementation, our developers received and digested a lot of feedback. Application developers requested and received easier to use APIs (Application Programming Interfaces, glue for integration) and widgets (such as the star rating and tagging user interface). For end users, stability and performance were crucial. Much work was put into improving the speed of indexing, keeping it out of the way of users and making Search more reliable.
Vishesh Handa talking about relationships* at conf.kde.in
(*the technical kind) What is coming
The upcoming release of KDE Applications (version 4.13) will introduce the next step in the effort to improve the performance and stability of search features in KDE software. The improved Semantic Search is lighter on resources and more reliable than it was previously, but, thanks to considerable reuse of existing code, it is mature and offers a complete feature set. Users will find that features such as search are exposed in the same, familiar manner - but searching in a variety of applications will be faster and more reliable.
To accomplish this, developers looked at how Search was being used in practice. The major use-cases they identified are:
- Finding objects (like files) based on their content, requiring a full text index of files on a system
- Storing and retrieving simple objects such as tags, ratings, activities etc.
- Storing and searching through relationships like this file is related to this contact
With a better understanding of use-cases that developed during years of deployment and development, the improved Search technology was specifically designed to do these three things and do them well.Advancements for end users
The improved Semantic Search brings our users a number of tangible benefits. Its design is more robust, delivering search results quicker and with less overhead. The simplicity of the design will not only reduce failures, but will also make it easier for current and new contributors to add and improve functionality.
Improvements that users will notice:
- Faster searching and indexing
- Searching is more accurate
- More reliability
- Faster software development
Applications like the Kontact Suite, Dolphin and Gwenview, as well as the Plasma Desktop itself, already benefit from the changes.For developers
The changes are small enough to make it relatively easy for application developers to move their applications over to the improved Semantic Search, which many have already done for the 4.13 release of KDE Applications. Instead of having a single RDF-based database for all information, Semantic Search now provides separate data stores and search interfaces. This allows it to store and search each type of content in an optimal way. Under the hood, the Semantic Search infrastructure uses SQLite and Xapian to index and retrieve data. More information about the information retrieval architecture can be found on the Community Wiki.
As of today, Semantic Search offers developers:
- An API for searching
- A way of storing relations between entities
- File indexing
- Email and contact indexing
- Timeline KIO slave
Developers can find more information on the Baloo wiki page.KDE Platform 4 and KDE Frameworks 5
When upgrading to KDE Platform 4.13, existing tags, ratings and comments will be transparently migrated to the new storage system. Looking forward even further, Semantic Search is in the process of being ported to Frameworks 5. This Frameworks 5 version will use the same storage system as the version included in Platform 4.13 (and newer) and will be fully compatible with it.
Learn more about Frameworks 5 in the tech preview announcement.Conclusion
The change to Semantic Search in KDE is a natural next step in the process of taking technology that came out of an academic research project and adapting it to real world use cases. KDE's Semantic Search is at a point where it has become a core part of our infrastructure. It is now well positioned to provide the required robustness and functionality.
Article contributed by Vishesh Handa (KDE Search project maintainer), Stuart Jarvis, Aaron Seigo and Jos PoortvlietDot Categories:
- Kate gets new features in the vim mode
- All built-in effects move into a library KWin links against
- KTranscript module for dynamic translation moved from KJS to QtScript
- KDE-PIM starts supporting gdrive and Box.com
- KNavalbattle makes the ship red if it cannot be placed instead of hiding it
- Umbrello makes Enable/Disable Undo option work
- Bug fixes in Okular, Konsole, KDE-PIM, Calligra.
Today we proudly feature an interview with Bernard Gray from De Bortoli Wines, an Australian winemaking company.
Hot and Dry in Australia
We spoke with Bernard Gray who has worked for the company for over 10 years in an IT project management and development role. He is, in his own words: "a tertiary qualified programmer, and has been involved in either core development or supporting development with a few Open Source distros/projects over the years".
De Bortoli Wines is one of Australia's largest family-owned wine makers. Bernard: "The company started in 1928, and is now under the leadership of the third generation of the De Bortoli Family. Our approach as a company is innovative, forward thinking, and sustainable – this is inherent in all areas of our business, not least with our IT approach."
We started by asking him how long they have been using Linux.
"As a company, our first production Linux server was deployed in the mid-late 90s. Personally, I first used Linux in 1999 when I started University – I had very little idea of computing at the time, let alone Operating Systems and their differentiating qualities. It wasn't until 2003 that I really began to get my teeth into Linux when I started developing the Linux based Live CD environment that we've internally branded “GTs” (Graphical Terminals, originally designed to replace our thin-client telnet terminals)."
"The beauty of these devices is that we could purchase commodity PC hardware, outsource hardware support, maintain a single image Live CD based operating system environment with its read-only root filesystem rendering it “unbreakable” so to speak. Combined with the fact that it runs out of a ramdisk and on generously spec'd desktop hardware, we finally managed to nail the trifecta of Cheap, Fast AND Good."
"We deployed our first "GT" in production in April 2004."
The Dot: Could you tell us a bit about the migration, both the reasons for it and the experiences you had with it?
"Our original GT shipped with an early 2.x Gnome release. This had more to do with my general lack of skills with package management and live image building than by design. Since the distro I was using at the time shipped Gnome by default – I went along with it. Since then, we've migrated to KDE 3.5, back to Gnome 2.8 and finally to KDE 4.9 which we've just completed the rollout for, and which now makes up approximately three quarters of our 250+ desktop fleet."
"The key to all smooth migrations we've found is Desktop Environment consistency. Keep the major applications cross-platform where we can (browsers, office suites, assorted tools). Keep the icons where people are expecting them (they're in the same spot on our Windows desktops too)."
"Still on the development side, the KDE techbase site has been an invaluable source of information for me, as has the KDE community–both users and developers. Often large technical communities struggle with a high amount of enthusiastic users but without a lot of knowledge, which make the skilled base hard to find/interact with for solving more difficult issues. With KDE I have had nothing but good experiences - it's worth a special mention for a particular Okular bug we were experiencing which was resolved in record time after I contacted the Okular developers mailing list."
"All these things combine to greatly reduce the development and training load requirement on our small team - which keeps us, and most importantly our users, happy and productive."
That is great to hear! Thank you Bernard for taking the time to answer our questions. We wish you and De Bortoli wines a great time with our software.Dot Categories:
Today KDE released the first alpha of Frameworks 5, part of a series of releases leading up to the final version planned for June 2014. This release includes progress since the Frameworks 5 Tech Preview in the beginning of this year.
- KDM has been removed
- KDE-PIM improves the attachment editor; better ability to switch between inline and linked attachments, allows undo/redo archive mail
- Skrooge adds options in "Income & Expenditure" dashboard widget
- Nepomuk adds Baloo migrator
- KGeography porting to KF5 in progress
- Bug fixes in KDevelop and more.