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Akademy 2019 Talks Videos

Monday 14th of October 2019 12:53:18 PM

We now have the Akademy 2019 videos ready for you to enjoy, see the previous summary of talks on the dot for some inspiration on what to watch. The talk schedule has the full list

We had keynotes on Developers Italia and the New Guidelines: Let the Open Source Revolution Start! by Leonardo Favario and Towards Qt 6 by Lars Knoll

We also got updates on KDE Community's goals

Another thing to check out are the previously announced BoF wrapups letting you know what went on during the week following the talks

Recommendations

Here are some talks recommended by attendees:


Your browser does not support the video tag.
What we do in the Promos
What we do in the Promos
Piyush: i attended Paul's talk. It was really nice to have an insight on promo's day to day tasks and challenges!


Your browser does not support the video tag. Strengthen Code Review Culture: rm -rf ‘Toxic Behaviors’
Strengthen Code Review Culture: rm -rf ‘Toxic Behaviors’
Philip: I liked the code review one
Valorie: and I agree, Aniketh's Code Review talk was excellent



Your browser does not support the video tag.
Software Distribution: lightning talks & discussion
Jon: Software Distribution talk! (although I prefer my original name for it of Getting KDE Software to Users)



Your browser does not support the video tag. Taking KDE to the skies: Making the drone ground control Kirogi
Taking KDE to the skies: Making the drone ground control Kirogi
Ivana: I nominate Eike's talk about Kirogi. It was such a cool talk that told the story of developing an app in a way that even non-devs could understand, and I think it really showcased how KDE is still going strong and taking the lead in the innovation game
Hannah: The talk was horrible.... It made me want to buy a drone


Your browser does not support the video tag. Mycroft on Plasma Automobile Demo
Mycroft on Plasma Automobile Demo
Bhushan: Automative demo one


About Akademy


Akademy 2019, Milan

For most of the year, KDE - one of the largest free and open software 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, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work bringing those plans to reality. The KDE community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, and those that are looking for opportunities. For more information, please contact the Akademy Team.

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KDE is All About the Apps: October Update

Monday 7th of October 2019 01:39:30 PM

KDE is all about the Apps!

We are a community of thousands of contributors who make hundreds of Apps using collaborative open source methods. Our apps run on Linux with Plasma, of course, but also fit in well with GNOME, Enlightenment, XFCE, or any other desktop you happen to be using. Many of our apps run on Windows, Android and macOS.

A new goal for the KDE community is to push how we are All About the Apps. We will be highlighting our best software and promoting it to increase its adoption outside the circle of current KDE fans (who we still love very much!). This is a monthly update of what's new in our apps. If you'd like to help out with this community goal, take a look at the All About the Apps workboard, and join us in our Matrix chat channel.

App Updates

The elite painting app Krita received a monthly bugfix release, 4.2.7. The developers have improved the layout and functionality of the color selection dialog, and made it possible to save group layers to file layers even if they are empty. The sort order of images imported as frames was fixed, a bunch of crashes removed, and dozens of other bugs tidied up.

To celebrate, the Krita team also made a video with artist Ramon Miranda that offers some advice for improving your sketches. Krita is available in your favorite Linux distribution, for Windows, macOS, as a Linux AppImage, on Flathub, and in the Snap store.

KMyMoney, the app for managing your finances, also got a new release - 5.0.7. This release introduces updates required for the new regulations of the Payment Services Directive, which affects the online capabilities for German bank users.

To make KMyMoney compatible with those regulations (especially the strong customer authentication part), developers had to adapt it to updated APIs of the Gwenhywfar and AqBanking libraries which provide the banking protocol implementations.

Coming from KDE and used by many of us, the distributed compiler cluster Icecream and Icecream Monitor have been updated. The new release improves Objective C and C++ support, removes hardcoded compiler paths, and fixes job preloading to again allow sending one extra job to a fully busy node. In the monitor app several new ice cream flavors have also been added, we're not quite sure what this means but it sounds delicious.

In the last month, Latte Dock (panel for the Plasma desktop) had two new releases, making improvements to its new Win Indicator look.

KDevelop, the discerning coder's IDE, published a bugfix release - 5.4.2. You can get it from your Linux distribution or as an AppImage, and you can also compile versions for Windows and macOS.

RSIBreak, the app that helps you prevent damage to your wrists got a new release versioned 0.12.11.

Photo management and editing app digiKam released the version 6.3. The highlight of the new release is the G'Mic plugin.
G'Mic is the image processing library with over 950 different filters, so you can make all your photos truly beautiful. digiKam can be installed from your Linux distro, AppImage bundles, macOS package, and Windows 32/64-bit installers.

Telescope and astronomy app KStars also had a new release, versioned 3.3.6. The KStars Live Video window can now show debayer frames in real-time, making it possible to create color video streams.

The weather data can be directly displayed in the Observatory Module, and the user interface has been improved in a number of ways. As one of the most feature-rich free astronomy apps, KStars caters to a wide variety of use cases, so you will surely find tools that are useful to you regardless of your level of experience. KStars is available pretty much everywhere - as a Windows installer, macOS installer, Android app, Snap package, and in your Linux distribution.

Bug Fixes

We are continually improving our apps, so plenty of bug fixes have been made. Here are some highlights.

  • Our document viewer Okular gained support for HighDPI screens. This one-line fix to add automatic scaling based on the pixel density of the monitor will make viewing documents on fancy monitors so much better.
  • The advanced text editor Kate was similarly updated to work with HiDPI screens throughout.
  • The chess game Knights had a one-line fix in version 19.08.2. Thanks to the fix, you can now start a game when the second player is a computer engine again.
  • Video editor Kdenlive fixed screengrabs in Linux to eliminate crashes, and in Windows to correctly grab the audio.
  • CD burner app K3b fixed a crash where it couldn't find the supporting command-line tool mkisofs.
Supporting Bits

Libraries and artwork support our apps to make our software work beautifully.

The Breeze icon theme got new icons for activities, trash, batteries, QR codes, and more. Libical, which is used by Kontact to talk to iCalendar protocols and data formats, had a bugfix release (3.0.6).

Snorenotify is a notification framework supporting Linux, Windows and macOS. Snoretoast is a command-line application used within Snorenotify for Windows Toast notifications. It is also used in Quassel and Tomahawk, and the good news is that it got a new release this month (0.7.0).

New in App Stores

Our software is increasingly available directly through app stores. To celebrate and highlight this (and to help you find them more easily!), this month we added Windows Store links to the KDE Applications web page.

More KDE applications found their way to the Windows Store:

Welcoming New Projects

New projects are started in the KDE community all the time. When those projects are ready for wider use, they go through a process called "KDE review", where other KDE contributors will check them for code quality, features, licensing, and how well they work on different platforms. Last but not least, we decide whether we are happy to give it the KDE stamp of approval.

In KDE review this month is Ruqola, a chat app which talks on the Rocket Chat network and uses the Kirigami UI framework. For the more technically-inclined, Elf-Inspector is an app providing tools for inspecting, analyzing, and optimizing ELF files (the executable file format used on Linux).

Saying Goodbye

Sometimes, apps are left behind when their code does not keep up with the rest of the world.

This month, a new version of our multimedia library Phonon was released. In this version, we removed Qt4 support - sensible enough, as Qt4 hasn't been supported since 2015. As a result, the music player app Amarok has become deprecated (at least for now). Don't lose hope, though: the Qt5 port is progressing, but it's not there yet.

The web browser Rekonq was marked as unmaintained, meaning it's unlikely to ever come back. However, the work carries on in Falkon, so make sure to check out and support the project if you are interested in lightweight web browsers. Also considered unmaintained is the bootup configuration tool systemd-kcm.

Enjoy your apps from KDE, and stay tuned for more updates!

Meet KDE e.V.'s New Board

Friday 27th of September 2019 10:36:21 AM

Akademy 2019 brought the KDE community some exciting news and major changes. The new community-wide goals have been announced, and KDE contributors presented new ideas and projects they are working on.

One important change that took place during Akademy 2019 is related to the KDE e.V., the foundation that legally represents the KDE community. Members of KDE e.V. elected two new members for the KDE e.V. Board. For the next couple of years, they will be the people who will legally represent the KDE community and manage the day-to-day running of KDE e.V.

Let’s meet the new members of the KDE e.V. Board!


Aleix Pol

Aleix Pol is KDE e.V.'s new President. Aleix has been involved with KDE since he was a student back in 2007. In those early days, he worked on KDevelop in several Google Summer of Code projects, and has gone on to create and maintain Discover, Kalgebra, and other high-profile KDE projects. Aleix's whole adult life has been linked to KDE one way or another and, among other things, he co-founded and was one of the first presidents of KDE España, the Spanish KDE association. Aleix has been a KDE e.V. Board member and vice-president since he was elected to the post during the 2014 Akademy held in Brno, Czech Republic.


Lydia Pintscher

Lydia Pintscher has moved on from the presidency, staying on the Board as vice-president. Lydia, a computer scientist with a degree from Karlsruhe University and Product Manager for Wikidata, has been a member of the board since 2011 and president of KDE e.V. since 2014. During her tenure, KDE has evolved and developed a vision statement, and instated the "Goals" initiative that gives the community clear targets to work towards.

KDE also started scaling up during Lydia's presidency, which resulted in employing promotion and documentation experts who are helping with community growth. In a similar bid, the Board headed by Lydia started building up a network of like-minded organizations and companies around KDE that led to the constitution of the Advisory Board.

Lydia has now moved on to a vice-presidency post, alongside Eike Hein. Eike is also the Treasurer of KDE e.V.. Since Eike has become Treasurer, KDE has received an unprecedented number of donations and new sponsorships - not only proof that more and more companies see KDE as a reliable FLOSS project, but also a testimony to Eike's persistence. Eike also maintains Konversation, KDE's IRC/IM client, and has written many core UI pieces of the Plasma 5 desktop, such as the taskbar, the menus, the desktop icon file management, and more. He recently started a new pet project, Kirogi: a ground control application for piloting drones.


Andy Betts

The outgoing Board members are Andy Betts and Thomas Pfeiffer. Andy, who has a a Master in Business Administration, brought his management skills to his post and helped KDE e.V. improve its processes. He is also a talented graphics designer, and has provided advice and skills to the Visual Design Group and Promo and Communications team. Unfortunately, Andy had to give up his seat to tend to other time-consuming matters.


Thomas Pfeiffer

Thomas, on the other hand, has been an expert in UX (User Experience) and Usability, the branch of design that seeks to make tools and computer interfaces easier to use, since his university days. On the KDE e.V. Board, Thomas was instrumental in setting up the Advisory Board and managed it, ensuring a healthy communication with our industry and community partners. He was also key in supporting the process towards defining KDE's vision statement, and started the discussion about reducing KDE e.V.'s environmental footprint, which is still ongoing. Apart from his work on the Board, he provided feedback and helped improve the interfaces of Plasma and many of KDE's applications.

The new members stepping in for Andy and Thomas are Neofytos Kolokotronis and Adriaan de Groot.


Neofytos Kolokotronis

To describe Neofytos’ tenure within KDE as "meteoric" would be an understatement. He became active in the community in 2017, proposed a community goal, Streamline Onboarding of new community members, and managed to get it picked. He was then elected as a member of the Financial Working Group, and now, in 2019, is a Board member of KDE e.V..

But Neofytos is not a newcomer to the FLOSS world by any means. Although he studied medicine and holds a degree in psychology, his day job revolves around consulting in technology and innovation, mostly doing project management. He uses those skills to improve the communities he works with.


Adriaan de Groot

While Neofytos is a relatively new hand within KDE e.V., Adriaan de Groot is anything but. Indeed, Adriaan is a KDE veteran who already served on the Board 10 years ago. If you have had any contact with KDE at events at all, you may have met him: he is the tall, congenial KDE-booth staffer and master-of-ceremonies at the BoF wrapups during Akademy. Adriaan is the main developer of Calamares, the universal distribution installer. Calamares is what allows you to easily install Manjaro, Neon, Netrunner, Open Mandriva, and so many other independent distributions. Adriaan is also a diehard FreeBSD hacker and user, among many other things.

Leading a community as large and diverse as KDE is not an easy task. Thankfully, the Board has always been made up of talented, persistent and savvy people, and this new iteration is no exception. With Aleix, Lydia, Eike, Neofytos and Adriaan at the helm, KDE is guaranteed a bright future. Congratulations to the new Board members! We can’t wait to see what the community will achieve with their support!

Plasma 5.17 Beta Out for Testing

Thursday 19th of September 2019 03:56:25 PM





KDE Plasma 5.17 Beta

Thursday, 19 September 2019.

Today KDE launches the beta release of Plasma 5.17.

We've added a bunch of new features and improvements to KDE's lightweight yet full featured desktop environment.

Plasma's updated web page gives more background on why you should use it on your computer.





Guillermo Amaral

System Settings has gained new features to help you manage your fancy Thunderbolt hardware, plus Night Color is now on X11 and a bunch of pages got redesigned to help you get your configuration done easier. Our notifications continue to improve with a new icon and automatic do-not-disturb mode for presentations. Our Breeze GTK theme now provides a better appearance for the Chromium/Chrome web browsers and applies your color scheme to GTK and GNOME apps. The window manager KWin has received many HiDPI and multi-screen improvements, and now supports fractional scaling on Wayland.

You can test the Plasma 5.17 beta for the next three weeks until the final release in mid-October. Give it a whirl with your favorite distribution!

The Plasma 5.17 series is dedicated to our friend Guillermo Amaral. Guillermo was an enthusiastic KDE developer who rightly self described as 'an incredibly handsome multidisciplinary self-taught engineer'. He brought cheer to anyone he met. He lost his battle with cancer last summer but will be remembered as a friend to all he met.


Plasma





Unsplash Pic of the Day




KRunner now converts fractional units




Improved Notifications widget and widget editing UX

  • Do Not Disturb mode is automatically enabled when mirroring screens (e.g. when delivering a presentation)
  • The Notifications widget now uses an improved icon instead of displaying the number of unread notifications
  • Improved widget positioning UX, particularly for touch
  • Improved the Task Manager's middle-click behavior: middle-clicking on an open app's task opens a new instance, while middle-clicking on its thumbnail will close that instance
  • Slight RGB hinting is now the default font rendering mode
  • Plasma now starts even faster!
  • Conversion of fractional units into other units (e.g. 3/16" == 4.76 mm) in KRunner and Kickoff
  • Wallpaper slideshows can now have user-chosen ordering rather than always being random
  • New Unsplash picture of the day wallpaper source with categories
  • Much better support for public WiFi login
  • Added the ability to set a maximum volume that's lower than 100%
  • Pasting text into a sticky note strips the formatting by default
  • Kickoff's recent documents section now works with GNOME/GTK apps
  • Fixed Kickoff tab appearance being broken with vertical panels


System Settings: Thunderbolt, X11 Night Color and Overhauled Interfaces





Night Color settings are now available on X11 too




Thunderbolt device management




Reorganized Appearance settings, consistent sidebars and headers

  • New settings panel for managing and configuring Thunderbolt devices
  • The Night Color settings are now available on X11 too. It gets a modernized and redesigned user interface, and the feature can be manually invoked in the settings or with a keyboard shortcut.
  • Overhauled the user interface for the Displays, Energy, Activities, Boot Splash, Desktop Effects, Screen Locking, Screen Edges, Touch Screen, and Window Behavior settings pages and the SDDM advanced settings tab
  • Reorganized and renamed some settings pages in the Appearance section
  • Basic system information is now available through System Settings
  • Added accessibility feature to move your cursor with the keyboard when using Libinput
  • You can now apply a user's font, color scheme, icon theme, and other settings to the SDDM login screen to ensure visual continuity on single-user systems
  • New 'sleep for a few hours and then hibernate' feature
  • The Colors page now displays the color scheme's titlebar colors
  • It is now possible to assign a global keyboard shortcut to turn off the screen
  • Standardized appearance for list headers
  • The 'Automatically switch all running streams when a new output becomes available' feature now works properly


Breeze Theme





Window borders are now turned off by default

  • The Breeze GTK theme now respects your chosen color scheme
  • Active and inactive tabs in Google Chrome and Chromium now look visually distinct
  • Window borders are now turned off by default
  • Sidebars in settings windows now have a consistent modernized appearance


System Monitor





CGroups in System Monitor

  • System Monitor can now show CGroup details to look at container limits
  • Each process can now report its network usage statistics
  • It is now possible to see NVidia GPU stats


Discover





Discover now has icons on the sidebar

  • Real progress bars and spinners in various parts of the UI to better communicate progress information
  • Better 'No connection' error messages
  • Icons in the sidebar and icons for Snap apps


KWin: Improved Display Management
  • Fractional scaling added on Wayland
  • It is now once again possible to close windows in the Present Windows effect with a middle-click
  • Option to configure whether screen settings apply only for the current screen arrangement or to all screen arrangements
  • Many multi-screen and HiDPI improvements
  • On Wayland, it is now possible to resize GTK headerbar windows from window edges
  • Scrolling with a wheel mouse on Wayland now always scrolls the correct number of lines
  • On X11, it is now possible to use the Meta key as a modifier for the window switcher that's bound to Alt+Tab by default


Full Plasma 5.16.90 changelog


Live Images

The easiest way to try it out is with a live image booted off a USB disk. Docker images also provide a quick and easy way to test Plasma.

Download live images with Plasma 5
Download Docker images with Plasma 5

Package Downloads

Distributions have created, or are in the process of creating, packages listed on our wiki page.

Get KDE Software on Your Linux Distro wiki page

Source Downloads

You can install Plasma 5 directly from source.

Community instructions to compile it
Source Info Page

Feedback

Discuss Plasma 5 on the KDE Forums Plasma 5 board.

You can provide feedback direct to the developers via the Plasma Matrix chat room, Plasma-devel mailing list or report issues via bugzilla. If you like what the team is doing, please let them know!

Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Akademy 2019 Wednesday and Thursday BoF Wrapup

Thursday 12th of September 2019 10:26:34 PM

Wednesday continued the Akademy BoFs, group sessions and hacking in the morning followed by the daytrip in the afternoon to Lake Como, to have some fun, get away from laptops and get to know each other better. Thursday was back to BoFs, meetings and hacking culminating in a wrapup session at the end covering the last two days so that what happened in the different rooms can be shared with everyone including those not present.

Watch Thursday's wrapup session in the video below



Your browser does not support the video tag.
Wednesday and Thursday BoF Wrapup video

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Akademy 2019 Talks: Here's What You Missed

Tuesday 10th of September 2019 09:30:50 PM

According to the now traditional schedule, Akademy 2019 started with two days of conference talks. Hosted by unixMIB at the University of Milano-Bicocca in Milan, Italy, the central conference of the KDE community attracted more than a hundred attendees during this past weekend. Many of them were attending Akademy for the first time ever, which is always a reason to celebrate.

For those of you who were not able to join us, we've prepared a recap of all the talks from this year's Akademy. The conference program on both Saturday and Sunday was split into two tracks after the lunch break, and included plenty of time for socializing (and hacking!) in between.

Day 1 - Saturday, September 7: Goals, Reports, and the Future of Qt

Akademy 2019 started in the morning of September 7 with an introductory session by Lydia Pintscher, President of KDE e.V., followed by the first keynote. In the keynote, Lars Knoll from Qt presented the path towards Qt 6 all the way from the very beginning of the project. Lars also spoke of what upcoming changes in Qt 6 may potentially impact the KDE ecosystem.

The next batch of talks was dedicated to the KDE community goals. Ivan Čukić started by presenting the progress of the Privacy and Security goal in his talk "Everything to hide: Helping protect the privacy of our users". Ivan pointed out that security and privacy should come before usability, even if some users hate it, because it's our duty and responsibility to protect them.


Ivan shows how to capture a password from an insecure application.

Eike Hein talked about the Usability and Productivity goal and wondered: "Are we there yet?". Massive improvements have been made to KDE software as part of this goal, and Eike emphasized the importance of communicating this progress (as illustrated in weekly blog posts by Nate Graham). The achievements of the third community goal - Onboarding New Contributors - were presented by Neofytos Kolokotronis, who listed the adoption of Matrix as a communication tool, the on-going adoption of GitLab, and the creation of the KDE Welcome team as some of the major moments.

After looking back at the previous set of goals, it was time to look forward to the new ones. During the panel with Ivan Čukić, Eike Hein, and Neofytos Kolokotronis, Lydia Pintscher announced the three new goals that the KDE community is going to focus on. The creators of the goal proposals spent some time talking about their plans and tasks that will kick off the new goals.

In the afternoon round of quick talks, Adriaan de Groot presented QuatBot, a meeting-managing bot he wrote for the Matrix IM service, and talked about the power and versatility of KDE Frameworks. Attendees also got a chance to hear how Carl Schwan brought in new contributors from Reddit and Aleix Pol dispensing valuable advice on how to organize a sprint.

Over in the Security track, Albert Astals talked about the cool ways developers can use oss-fuzz to test their code, and encouraged KDE developers to use it for projects such as Baloo, kfilemetadata, and PIM-related code. Volker Krause presented parts of the work carried out for the Privacy goal in his talk "Secure HTTP Usage", and warned about the importance of having secure defaults in KDE software.

The Community session included a talk on building developer portals by Ivana Isadora Devcic, followed by Ray Paik's talk on making a difference in the community. As a Community Manager at GitLab, Ray shared his experience with identifying crucial community metrics, attracting new contributors, and improving leadership and inclusivity efforts.

Meanwhile, the tech talk session continued with Marco Martin and Bhushan Shah discussing the future of Plasma on embedded devices. They rightfully pointed out that the assumption your software will only be used on a desktop is not true anymore, and explained how KDE Frameworks enable creating software for different platforms. Aleix Pol talked about the details of optimizing Plasma to run fast on low-end hardware; more specifically, on the Pinebook. Aditya Mehra presented a demo of Plasma and Mycroft being used to voice-control a car, and Kai Uwe Broulik gave an in-depth look into the overhauled notification system shipped with the latest version of Plasma.


Aditya shows us how some day KDE tech may control your car.

The first day of Akademy 2019 closed with reports by Google Summer of Code students developing fresh new code for KDE, and the KDE e.V. Board and Working Group reports that provided an insight into growth and health of the KDE community.

Day 2 - Sunday, September 8: New Technology, FOSS Revolution in Italy, and Akademy Awards

The second day of Akademy 2019 opened with a keynote "Developers Italia and the New Guidelines: Let the Open Source Revolution Start" by Leonardo Favario from the Team Digitale IT. Leonardo presented the work that his team has been doing to establish guidelines for Free and open source software distribution in the Italian administration. Continuing on a similar topic, Michiel Leenaars talked about NGIO (Next Generation Internet Zero); a EU initiative focused on helping non-profit organizations build a better Internet for everyone.

The tech talks on Sunday were fascinating, with new, innovative technology introduced left and right. Cristoph Haag explained how Collabora made Plasma desktop usable in a Virtual Reality environment, and set up demos that the attendees could play with during the day. Trung Thanh Dinh showed how AI face recognition can be used in digiKam, KDE's photo management app, and Eike Hein presented a completely new KDE application called Kirogi, which provides a FLOSS ground control for consumer drones that works on mobile devices.


Eike points to the skies, which is where KDE is going next with Kirogi.

In the afternoon sessions, Katarina Behrens from the Document Foundation talked about integrating LibreOffice products with KDE Plasma, while Timothée Giet and Aiswarya Kaitheri Kandoth told the story of how a single floppy disk with LaTeX on it resulted in schools using GNU/Linux and GCompris in Kerala, India.

Volker Krause gave two more talks - one about the development and usage of KPublicTransport, a framework for interacting with data from public transport operators; and another on how the limitations of the Android development platform impact KDE Frameworks. In another developer-oriented talk, Daniel Vràtil gave his perspective on using C++ to build APIs. Attendees also heard from Caio Jordao Carvalho, who presented the progress on kpmcore, the heart of KDE's partitioning and disk management tools.

Meanwhile, a session on different ways to package and distribute KDE software was chaired by Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, with participants explaining advantages and shortcomings of different solutions (AppImage, Flatpak, Snap, Steam, Google Play...).

The session was followed by two community-related talks. In "What We Do in the Promos", Paul Brown gave a realistic look into how people outside the FOSS bubble perceive (or do not perceive) KDE software, and explained the reasoning behind activities carried out by KDE Promo. Afterwards, Aniketh Girish explained how code reviews can be toxic and put off new contributors, so he offered some advice to prevent that. Last but not least, Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen presented the "Get Hot New Stuff" project and its development.

Following the lightning talks from Akademy 2019 sponsors, the second day of the conference closed with the announcement of Akademy Awards winners:

  • Best Application: Marco Martin for work on the Kirigami framework
  • Best Non-Application: Nate Graham for persistent work on the "KDE Usability & Productivity" blog
  • Jury Award: Volker Krause for long-term contributions to KDE including KNode, KDE PIM, KDE Itinerary and the UserFeedback framework

The organizers win a special award for an excellent Akademy.

Akademy 2019 continues this week with daily BoF (Birds of a Feather) sessions, meetings, and various activities that help us strengthen the community bonds. The recap video of the first BoF day is already available - stay tuned for more. And for something completely different, take a look at the sketchnotes from Akademy 2019 talks by Kevin Ottens.


Kevin sketches Akademy talks. About Akademy


Akademy 2019, Milano

For most of the year, KDE - one of the largest free and open software 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, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work bringing those plans to reality. The KDE community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, and those that are looking for opportunities. For more information, please contact the Akademy Team.

Akademy 2019 Tuesday BoF Wrapup

Tuesday 10th of September 2019 08:06:16 PM

Tuesday continued the Akademy BoFs, group sessions and hacking. There is a wrapup session at the end of the day so that what happened in the different rooms can be shared with everyone including those not present.

Watch Tuesday's wrapup session in the video below



Your browser does not support the video tag.
Tuesday BoF Wrapup video

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Akademy 2019 Monday BoF Wrapup

Monday 9th of September 2019 09:26:53 PM

Monday was the first day of Akademy BoFs, group sessions and hacking. There is a wrapup session at the end of the day so that what happened in the different rooms can be shared with everyone including those not present.

Watch Monday's wrapup session in the video below



Your browser does not support the video tag.
Monday BoF Wrapup video

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KDE Decides the Three New Challenges: Wayland, Consistency, and Apps

Saturday 7th of September 2019 05:13:14 PM

Lydia Pintscher, Eike Hein, Ivan Cukic and Neofytos Kolokotronis discuss the results of the past goals.

The KDE Community has spoken! On the first day of Akademy 2019, Lydia Pintscher, President of KDE e.V., announced the three new goals we will prioritize over the next 2 years.

The goals were selected by community vote from a dozen proposals, all created by community members. Read on to learn more details about each of the new goals.

Finalize the transition to Wayland and embrace the future of desktop

Despite its many merits, the X server has become very long in the tooth, and Wayland is poised to become a more modern and dependable alternative. However, KDE's software is still quite far off from being completely implemented on the newer protocol.

"As technology and the needs of modern computer users advance, X server has been proven less and less capable to keep up", says Fanis Bampaloukas, author of the first proposal. "I propose to make our goal to migrate the core of the Plasma desktop, and make X server an optional compile and runtime dependency".

To achieve this goal, Fanis says KDE will have to fix major breakages and implement missing features.


Jonathan Riddell and Niccolò Venerandi explain their ideas for new KDE goals. Improve consistency across the board

As KDE relies on "volunteers, each with different ideas and "scratching their own itches", there is often a lack of organization and consistency within the app ecosystem" says Niccolò Venerandi, author of the second goal proposal. Niccolò points out that inconsistencies are not only found in the design of applications, but also in their features. Tabs, for example, are implemented differently on Falkon, Konsole, Dolphin and Kate, making them confusing for users and difficult to fix for developers.

To solve inconsistencies, Niccolò suggests the unification of behavior in app elements (such as sidebars, hamburger menus and tabs), ending the fragmentation of apps with overlapping features (like having several multimedia players), and laying down criteria for hosting application websites, among many other things.

KDE is all about the apps

"KDE has over 200 applications and countless add-ons, plugins and Plasmoids" says Jonathan Riddell, author of the third proposal. "But much of the support we offer has fallen short; until recently there wasn't even an up-to-date website listing them all".

The importance of KDE's app ecosystem cannot be stressed enough. Often it is the gateway to other apps, the Plasma desktop, and to becoming a member of the KDE community. In his proposal, Jonathan recommends modernizing the platforms through which KDE developers communicate with users, improving the way each app is packaged, and continuing with reworking to the documentation and metadata supplied with the apps.

Past Goals

The previous three goals were chosen by the community back in 2017.

All goals have had a net positive impact on the community. The Onboarding initiative, for example, has led to a substantial increase in the number of new contributors - especially young students - that has brought a renewed vigor to the community.

The Privacy project has encouraged developers to implement measures for keeping users secure and their data private.

Finally, the Usability project has removed hundreds of design flaws and niggling papercuts. As a result, using Plasma and KDE applications in general is now a much more enjoyable experience.

KDE goals give the community focus and solve problems that otherwise may not be fully addressed. The same way 2017 proposals helped make KDE a better community with better software, this year's goals will help push the project towards a brighter future.

About Akademy


Akademy 2018, Vienna

For most of the year, KDE - one of the largest free and open software 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, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work bringing those plans to reality. The KDE community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, and those that are looking for opportunities. For more information, please contact the Akademy Team.

Developers Italia and the New Guidelines: Let the Open Source Revolution Start! An Interview with Leonardo Favario

Thursday 5th of September 2019 06:21:58 AM


Leonardo Favario, Open Source Project Leader at the Italian Digital Transformation Team.

Leonardo Favario is the Open Source Project Leader at the Italian Digital Transformation Team. Italy has an ambitious agenda to move government IT to open source. In principle, all software written by government should be published as open source. This is a big change from the past and requires many changes in how software is being developed.

Leonardo will present this work to the KDE community in an Akademy keynote on Sunday, September 8. We were interested in hearing more about this initiative, and Leonardo kindly sat down with us for an interview.

Jos van den Oever: Hello Leonardo, you’re the speaker of the second keynote at Akademy 2019. Thank you for agreeing to this interview. We’re very happy to have a keynote from our Italian host with such wonderful Free Software developments.

Leonardo Favario: Hello Jos and thanks for contacting us! I can do an interview even though it's been quite hectic lately.

Jos: Your bio on the Team Digitale website is wonderfully written. You have been in software and even Free Software from an early age. Do you contribute to any FOSS communities?

Leonardo: Yes, I must admit that for me the Free Software movement was love-at-first-sight! I immediately felt it was a natural tool to empower people and I really enjoyed the thriving communities that were flourishing around even small pieces of wonderfully written code. As such, as many youngsters do, I jumped from channel to channel trying to fit all the small pieces together and get the complete puzzle in place. Soon I decided that lurking was not my way of being, so I started to create communities around Free Software, getting friends to work together. I am particularly fond of communities striving to improve education by using technology and that’s where I have been active lately, especially in Italy. One example is the Open edX community where it’s possible to find a great combination of actors, ranging from full stack devs to educators, all trying to work together on the future of education. That’s something that I love about FOSS communities.

Jos: You have a background in education and communication, which seems like a good fit for the work that Team Digitale does. How did you get into the team and what is your role there?

Leonardo: I am a computer engineer by training, but I decided to get my PhD in Control and Computer Engineering to dive deeper into the research world and understand the ways we can still improve the world we live in through software.

Well, Team Digitale does exactly that! Formally speaking, its name is the “Italian Digital Transformation Team” and I felt a strong connection with each of those words. I was lucky to join this awesome combination of extremely talented folks at the very beginning of this year as an Open Source Project Leader. My role, as the name suggests, is focused on drafting strategies regarding Free and open source software for everything related to Developers Italia, the community of public service developers.

Jos: Can you tell us more about Team Digitale? How did it come to be and where is it going?

Leonardo: The Italian Digital Transformation Team (from now on Team Digitale) was born at the end of 2016 to build "the Operating System” for the country. We refer to the OS to indicate a series of fundamental components on top of which we can build simpler and more efficient services for the citizens, the Public Administration and businesses, through innovative digital products.

We are now exactly at the end of the third year of operations and a lot has been accomplished so far. First and foremost, the Team consists of around 35 people, generally way younger than the average age of the Italian Public Administration employees. These young people did not have a formal experience in government before joining. This allows us to tackle every issue from a different perspective, and I believe this is a great advantage in order to come up with innovative solutions.


The Digital Transformation Team.

From an organizational standpoint, Team Digitale is divided into subteams, each one focused on different topics ranging from APIs to Data Analytics.

Jos: Your presentation will cover publiccode.yml, a way to describe software projects. Can you give us a bit of background on this project, and tell us where it's headed?

Leonardo: Exactly, I will talk about Developers Italia and the new open source catalog that we have been building during the past months. In fact, in order to make open source software easily discoverable and indexable, the Team created a catalog which is automatically populated by a crawler every night. As such, you may understand that we needed to collect information regarding each piece of software in a standard way to later publish them in our catalog. That’s why we crafted a metadata specification, called publiccode.yml. This helps to achieve exactly that goal. Consequently, by creating a specific publiccode.yml file for the software and inserting it into the source code repository, the government entity that is publishing the software can transparently communicate the metadata. Our crawler can automatically recognize it, extract the information from the file, create the related info page, and show the information in the catalog.

Technically speaking, the specification format is interesting because it can be written and read by non-tech experts as well; for example, by Public Administration (PA) managers. This can help its adoption in wider circles.

Jos: How is this information you collect used by Italians?

Leonardo: Right now, there are packages in the catalog that are already reused by many local administrations. See for example the one for managing a public call or the software to insert and manage events.

The existence of the catalog itself is a big change, because it is necessary to evaluate, study, and test an application before actually reusing it. The absence of a real browsable container makes such tasks difficult to accomplish. Since we started the catalog in late May of this year, we are witnessing a positive spread among different players, and this is reflected in the discussions arising in various communication channels.

Jos: KDE projects have an AppStream description. Is this comparable to publiccode.yml?

Leonardo: Yes and no. As far as I can see, the AppStream description goes into details which are relevant for packaging, managing dependencies, and so on. The publiccode.yml format, instead, is designed for reusability: it contains standard metadata (which may overlap with some of the typical entries of AppStream like, title, description, development state...). However, the publiccode.yml format introduces some information that a PA expects to find, such as the maintenance contracts together with the contractor details, or the information regarding the legal context in which the software has been designed.

Furthermore, it contains information regarding the tree of forks (which is useful for understanding the root that originated the current version) or information regarding the dependencies, which can be open or closed. This is crucial when deciding if a piece software can be reused inside a PA environment.

Additional keys have been specifically crafted to endorse the PA use cases in order to be able to easily fulfill all the possible needs during the selection and validation phase.

Jos: Is the Italian government pushing towards having most off-the-shelf and custom software published in the open? Do you have any insight into the percentage of the tax money that is spent on code that goes public, versus the code that stays closed?

Leonardo: Well, I want to say that the Italian legislation regarding Free and open source software is one of the most advanced in the world (but I’m happy to be proven wrong). In fact, we have the Digital Administration Code which states - in articles 68 and 69 - that PAs must prefer FOSS in the acquisition phase, and must always release their code when developing something from scratch. Team Digitale played a consistent role in this initiative. The new guidelines regarding the acquisition and reuse (which are the topic of my talk) reinforce those statements, and underline how to properly complete the process of releasing software. As such, the Developers Italia catalog is a strong action in this direction - helping PAs find and publish open source software.

Jos: Do you see communities forming around government source code? Are they mostly Italian or also international?

Leonardo: I would say that in the last two to three years, something started happening, and I am not just happy but optimistic about this. In many conferences and events around the world, the phrase “Open Government” has been circulating a lot. If we don’t start to understand that we have to go FOSS-by-default, it will continue to be a just buzzword. So yes, I am excited to see that some communities are starting to form, and I am also proud to state that we are going exactly in this direction with Developers Italia. For example, our chat channel has more than 2600 people subscribed, and the Forum reached nearly 90 000 page views in the last month. This clearly indicates that if we put private citizens, Public Administrators, and small/medium enterprises all together in the same channel, it is possible to start a chain reaction that can lead to positive outcomes. I personally believe that we are still in the very early stages of this sort of community building, but the future looks golden.

Jos: The Government of Belgium is extending the Public Sector Information directive to cover computer programs so even if code is not actively published, citizens can still request it. What is the status of Italy in this regard?

Leonardo: As I already mentioned above, our legislation framework is quite strong when it comes to the ad-hoc designed software, or when dealing with an acquisition of an already existing one. However, a lot of software has not been released yet and this has to change in the future.

There are many reasons why this is happening; we could have a discussion around this for weeks. But, I believe that the freshly published guidelines go exactly in the right direction, since they contain practical down-to-earth guides on how to design, write, and maintain software in the open. This practical approach is starting to pay off: in just a few weeks, we have already collected more than 40 software packages in the catalog, and many more are coming.

I believe it’s a matter of getting things started, and finding a way to provide support where and when it’s needed. Let’s catch up in a year and I’ll let you know if my optimistic view was correct. :)

Jos: I've worked in the Dutch government and that is still mostly a Windows environment. It's impossible to do work when avoiding proprietary software. How does Team Digitale solve this problem?

Leonardo: We prefer Free and open source technologies when they are available, according to our national policy. Our initiative is mainly focused on ensuring that custom software developed by or for the government gets released as open source, since the expense for custom software is huge and its quality is quite low. We push this FOSS route by showing that it’s convenient and it delivers quality.

That said, our team members don’t have particular restrictions regarding the OS or the software they use, and this freedom allows each one of us to pick the tools that best fit our needs.

Jos: Can Team Digitale help reduce the dependency of government on proprietary cloud solutions?

Leonardo: Right now the Italian panorama is highly fragmented with regard to IT infrastructure, and a strong cloud migration strategy is needed to improve the reliability of services and their security. So we have a dedicated team handling such issues, tracing possibilities for different use cases.

Of course, the team’s mission is to facilitate the migration while avoiding the introduction of new vendor lock-in or strong dependencies on proprietary software.

Jos: Do you use any KDE software and if so, what are your impressions? What do you hope to achieve with your presentation and your presence at Akademy?

Leonardo: Personally, yes. I’ve been using KDE for many years and I just can’t live without Kdenlive! Hopefully I’ll be able to contribute to it in the future.

Regarding Akademy I’m excited, it’s a great opportunity to get to know the great KDE community, show what we’re doing for the FOSS ecosystem, and learn a lot! See you there!

About Akademy


Akademy 2018, Vienna

For most of the year, KDE - one of the largest free and open software 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, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work bringing those plans to reality. The KDE community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, and those that are looking for opportunities. For more information, please contact the Akademy Team.

Lars Knoll, CTO at Qt and Keynote Speaker at Akademy 2019

Thursday 29th of August 2019 08:29:29 AM


Lars Knoll at the Qt Company's headquarters.

Lars Knoll has been working on Qt for a long time. It is now 20 years since he joined Trolltech and even longer since he started developing crucial pieces of the KDE ecosystem. In that time, he went from theoretical physicist to software engineer to project leader, and survived the many roughs-and-tumbles Qt went through, including the event that nearly killed the project brought on by a certain company from Redmond.

Lars will be delivering the opening keynote at this year's Akademy and he kindly agreed to talk to us about the past, present and future of Qt.

Paul Brown: Hello Lars, how are you this morning? You seem very busy...

Lars Knoll: Hi Paul, I'm doing good. There's more than enough to do, but I had a good weekend.

Paul: Great! So tell me a bit about yourself. Looking over your résumé, you seem to have been in software production forever. Is this something you always wanted to do, since you were young?

Lars: No, not really. Of course I played around with computers a bit when I was young. I had a Commodore 64 back then, but I mostly used it for games.

I actually went and studied physics when I went to University, and had quite a few years where I did very little with computers.

Things started picking up again during my masters and PhD thesis time in Heidelberg. I needed to use computers a lot to analyze the data that we collected during our experiments. We used Linux computers and Unix machines at that time, and I had to do quite a bit of my programming in Fortran. I really didn't like that language, so I started teaching myself C and some C++ to have a better language to work with. That was around 1996, 1997, if I remember correctly.

At that time, I also read about KDE for the first time, as a project to create a Desktop for Linux. That was something that also triggered my interest, and I started looking into it a bit and started subsequently to use it, as it was way easier than FVWM which is what I was using before.

Paul: So... Wait a second... It was KDE that led you to Qt and not the other way around?

Lars: Yes, I heard about KDE before Qt. I found creating a desktop for Linux interesting and started looking a bit into what was happening there.

The first thing I did was triggered by a need I had. I had my computer hooked up to a modem and wanted to use that as an answering machine for my phone. There were some command line based apps and tools available for Linux, but nothing graphical. So I started writing my own app, and I used the KDE/Qt libraries to do that. That's how I then slowly got involved with KDE. I started reading the newsgroups and mailing lists and fixed some bugs in different parts of KDE. Mainly in the apps I used myself, like KMail and the file manager for example.

Paul: The famous "scratching your own itch" that gets most people started down the road to Free Software.

Lars: Pretty much. At least at the beginning that's what got me started.

KDE had in it's first versions a small web browser based on a library called khtmlw. It was doing HTML 3.2 quite ok, but was getting old pretty fast. That's when HTML 4 was announced and websites started using more and more CSS and Javascript.

I still remember that around '98, Martin Jones, who was contributing a lot to KDE at that time and later went on to work for Trolltech, sent a mail to the kfm-devel mailing list saying that we needed to rewrite that engine. I didn't react at that time, but half a year later, I had some time and interest and sat down and read through the HTML and CSS specs and started writing some code trying to generate a DOM API from the IDL in the specs.

It worked out pretty well and I announced that on the mailing list almost exactly 20 years ago. That was basically the start of khtml, which became a HTML 4 compatible browser engine. As most people in the KDE community know, it got picked up by Apple in 2002 for their web browser and finally became the basis for the WebKit open source project.

In any case, I guess that got me lots of contacts with different people in the KDE community. I went to one of the first KDE meetings (they weren't yet called Akademy back then) and I met many community members in person for the first time there.

Matthias Ettrich, who founded KDE, went to work for Trolltech in '98 or '99. In Winter of '99, I got a call from Eirik Chambe-Eng, one of the founders of Trolltech. He invited me over for a job interview.

I had about 6 months of my PhD left, and was open to working abroad for some time after that. I went to Oslo in March and really liked the company and signed up there and then. I started working for them in July of 2000.

Paul: Wow. Just to think there may be some of your code still floating around in Webkit...

Lars: My copyright is certainly still there. So is the copyright of many of the old KDE people that worked on it with me.

Paul: Have you contributed anything else to KDE since then?

Lars: Not directly. I worked on khtml until around 2003 in KDE. After that I contributed some bug fixes and smaller things here and there until around 2005. But most of my work has involved contributing to Qt. I still felt very connected to KDE, but I also saw that the work I did on Qt was helping KDE a lot as well.

And then, in 2005, my daughter was born, and that also naturally left a lot less time to do coding in my spare time.

Paul: Qt has gone through a lot and you have been on it for nearly all of it. What has made you stick with it?

Lars: The 20 years with Qt have certainly sometimes felt a bit like a roller-coaster ride. We've gone through lots of ups and downs. Especially combining open source and a business has not always been easy and is a constant balancing act.

But there's been lots of things that made me stay around. One thing is the technology that I really love. When I first came in contact with Qt during the KDE years, I really fell in love with the framework. It is something that made it easy and fun to develop with. Developing that further and thinking about how to make the lives of other developers easier is something I find very gratifying.

The other part is certainly the people I've been and am working with. Lots of incredibly talented people work on Qt and it's fun and interesting to work with them, both in our office, but also remotely through the Qt project and open governance.

Another part that kept me around is that my work is very varied. In my current position, I do quite a lot of different jobs, from presentations to low level programming. In addition, with Qt being such a wide framework, there's always something new to look into and learn about.

Paul: You have lived through a lot of, let's say... interesting moments: the buy out of Trolltech by Nokia, then the Nokia-Microsoft fracas, then Nokia went from being the most important mobile phones manufacturer to... well... whatever it is today, and Qt was then sold off again... What was the most tense moment?

Lars: That's a difficult one to answer. There have been quite a few tense moments. If I have to pick something, I'd say the year from the Nokia-Microsoft announcement until we were sold to Digia was the most tense.

After the Microsoft announcement I was extremely close to quitting my job. I had worked very hard to try to get Nokia to move into the right direction. Just when we were starting to see the first successes, with Symbian phones having Qt on it, a working App Store and the N9 almost out, Nokia completely changed direction and threw it all into the trash can.

I only stayed because some people convinced me to stick around with Qt. We got sold out of Nokia a year later after the final project we were working on got canceled. I had another tense three months where our future was uncertain and I tried hard to keep at least some of the good engineers around.

Paul: Ah yes! I remember reading about the exodus of engineers.

Lars: That's what happens when things are uncertain and there's a need for good engineers around. In Oslo for example, pretty much everybody immediately got lots of calls from different recruiters.

But yes, after we came out of Nokia, we had quite a few scars and lost many good people, but we were able to start building things up again.

Things weren't all that easy in the first Digia years either. Qt and the rest of Digia had very different business models. With all of Qt being available under LGPL v2 it wasn't even clear whether we could build a business on top of it. At least not whether that business could live from selling the product and not consultancy.

Building the business on doing consultancy was not an option we wanted to take, as it would have stalled product development to a very large degree, leading to a model that would not have been sustainable in the long term.

Paul: Fast forwarding to the present... so how are things today? What is your business model now?

Lars: As with any business, things are never really easy. But we've been managing to grow the business over the years. But we still don't have as many engineers working on the product as we had in Nokia times. This also means that we need to grow further to make this sustainable.

The business model is basically the same as what we had in Trolltech times: we have a product that is dual licensed and available under (L)GPL and also a commercial license. The OSS licenses help us create, maintain and grow a large ecosystem and we earn a living from the people that need a commercial license for various reasons.

To help us get here, we've been changing the license of Qt to LGPLv3 (after negotiating a new agreement with KDE), and are introducing some of the new functionality we develop under GPL.

Paul: Talking of which. What new stuff are you and your team working on now?

Lars: Well, some of that is going to be the focus of my talk at Akademy. We are now looking into the next major version of Qt, Qt 6.

Paul: There's a lot of buzz about that...

Lars: I've recently posted a longer blog post about some of my ideas for it. To name a few here: We need to do quite a bit of work on our graphics stack. OpenGL isn't the only 3D API in town anymore, and we need to make sure Qt can work with Vulkan, Metal and Direct3D. In addition, many users want to easily integrate 3D content into their UIs and we need to prepare Qt for that.

QML has been really important for Qt's success over the last years, but we see that there are quite a few things we could have done better. We are now looking into developing the next generation of the QML language, one in which we can improve on some of those things.

I also would like to make it a lot easier to integrate UX designers into the workflow. This is something that we've been working on already for some time, but my goal is that Qt 6 helps us take the next steps there.

Paul: What do you mean by that? Making Qt Creator friendlier for designers?

Lars: Qt Design Studio is exactly that: it's Qt Creator made designer-friendly.

Paul: Right.

Lars: Other things for Qt 6 will be upgrading to C++17 and see what we can use from the new C++ standards, hopefully expose some of the concepts that we added in QML to C++ (especially the concept of bindings), and of course do some house cleaning.

Paul: How do you think this will affect KDE?

Lars: That's a good question, and something I hope to be able to discuss with people at Akademy. My goal for Qt 6 is that it be mostly source compatible with Qt 5.15 so KDE should be able to easily port over to it. But traditionally, major version changes in Qt have also triggered larger changes in KDE. Let's see if this happens again this time.

Paul: Fascinating stuff, Lars. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us!

Lars: Of course! It's been a pleasure talking to you.

Paul: We all look forward to your keynote. See you in Akademy 2019!

About Akademy


Akademy 2018, Vienna

For most of the year, KDE - one of the largest free and open software 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, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work bringing those plans to reality. The KDE community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, and those that are looking for opportunities. For more information, please contact the Akademy Team.

KDE Applications 19.08 Brings New Features to Konsole, Dolphin, Kdenlive, Okular and Dozens of Other Apps

Thursday 15th of August 2019 11:12:42 AM

Can you believe we've already passed the half-year mark? That means it's just the right time for a new release of KDE Applications! Our developers have worked hard on resolving bugs and introducing features that will help you be more productive as you get back to school, or return to work after your summer vacation.

The KDE Applications 19.08 release brings several improvements that truly elevate your favorite KDE apps to the next level. Take Konsole, our powerful terminal emulator, which has seen major improvements to its tiling abilities. We've made tiling a bit more advanced, so now you can split your tabs as many times as you want, both horizontally and vertically. The layout is completely customizable, so feel free to drag and drop the panes inside Konsole to achieve the perfect workspace for your needs.



Dolphin, KDE's file explorer, introduces features that will help you step up your file management game. Let's start with bookmarks, a feature that allows you to create a quick-access link to a folder, or save a group of specific tabs for future reference. We've also made tab management smarter to help you declutter your desktop. Dolphin will now automatically open folders from other apps in new tabs of an existing window, instead of in their own separate windows. Other improvements include a more usable information panel and a new global shortcut for launching Dolphin - press Meta + E to try it out!

Okular, our document viewer, continues with a steady stream of usability improvements for your document-viewing pleasure. In Applications 19.08, we have made annotations easier to configure, customize, and manage. Okular's ePub support has also greatly improved in this release, so Okular is now more stable and works better when previewing large files.

All this sounds exciting for those who read and sort through documents, but what about those who write a lot of text or emails? They will be glad to hear we've made Kate, our advanced text editor, better at sorting recent files. Similar to Dolphin, Kate will now focus on an existing window when opening files from other apps. Your email-writing experience also receives a boost with the new version of Kontact, or more specifically, KMail. After updating to Applications 19.08, you'll be able to write your emails in Markdown, and insert - wait for it - emoji into them! The new integration with grammar-checking tools like LanguageTool and Grammalecte will help you prevent embarrassing mistakes and typos that always seem to creep into the most important business emails.

Photographers and other creatives will appreciate changes to Gwenview, KDE's image viewer. Gwenview can now display extended EXIF metadata for RAW images, share photos and access remote files more easily, and generate better thumbnails. If you are pressed for system resources, Gwenview has your back with the "Low usage resource mode" that you can enable at will. In the video-editing department, Kdenlive shines with a new set of keyboard+mouse combinations and improved 3-point editing operations.

We should also mention Spectacle, KDE's screenshot application. The new version lets you open the screenshot (or its containing folder) right after you've saved it. Our developers introduced a number of nice and useful touches to the Delay functionality. For example, you may notice a progress bar in the panel, indicating the remaining time until the screenshot is done. Sometimes, it's the small details that make using KDE Applications and Plasma so enjoyable.



Speaking of details, to find out more about other changes in KDE Applications 19.08, make sure to read the official announcement.

Happy updating!

If you happen to be in or close to Milan, Italy this September, come and join us at Akademy, our annual conference. It's a great opportunity to meet the creators of your favorite KDE apps in person, and get an early sneak peek at all the things we have in store for the future of KDE.

Trusted IT Consulting Firms Directory Provides Businesses with KDE Support

Thursday 1st of August 2019 06:57:52 AM

KDE's Trusted IT Consulting Firms directory provides you with the support and the direct line to developers you and your business need.

Finding support or fulfilling a need is sometimes tricky when it comes to software. Proprietary providers often become unreachable, hiding behind helpdesks staffed with interns reading from a manual. Bugs can take months, sometimes years, before they are squashed. Getting proprietary software manufacturers to implement a feature specifically for your company is to all effects impossible.

Free Software is better in that you can often talk directly to the developers themselves and many will be sympathetic to your requirements. However, Free Software projects are often run by volunteers and everybody has bandwidth limit. Being able to communicate with the people that can implement a change, doesn't mean that it will happen as soon as you would like.

Fortunately, the main tenant of Open Sourcedom is that anybody can modify the code. And KDE knows the companies that can do that for you:

KDE's Trusted IT Consulting Firms directory provides you with the names and web addresses of enterprises that can help you with support, customization and implementation of KDE-based software. All the companies listed have long track records building and evolving KDE software and are ready to give you the support you need.

To send in a query or to find out more about the Trusted IT Consulting Firms, email us at consulting@kde.org and we'll advise you on the best way of solving your problem.

Top photo by Alex Kotliarskyi available at Unsplash.

The Linux Application Summit is coming to Barcelona in November

Wednesday 31st of July 2019 05:03:05 PM

The KDE and GNOME Communities are pleased to announce Linux App Summit 2019.

LAS 2019 will be held in Barcelona, Spain from November 12th to November 15th. Our Call for Participation opens on July 31st, and will run until August 18th.

LAS is a conference focused on building an application market. Through LAS, the GNOME and KDE communities intend to help build an ecosystem that will encourage the creation of quality applications, seek ways of compensating application developers, and foster a thriving market for the Linux operating system. We are excited about combining our efforts in app development for Linux and we aim to take on an active role leading the way into the future.

Venue

The inside of the La Lleialtat Santsenca building where LAS will take place. Photo credit: @ttncat and @SeguimFils

The conference will take place in the beautiful Lleialtat Santsenca, a community space that hosts many meetups and conferences, and which has been featured in architectural articles due to the startling contrast between its art deco facade and its überfunctional minimalist interior. The core conference days will be from November 12th to 14th, and November 15th will be reserved for BoFs and hackathons. Participants are welcome to stay longer and hack together over the weekend. We encourage participants to collaborate and not just meet and talk about change, but actually make it happen.

Previous iterations of this conference (under the name Linux Application Summit) have been held in the United States, in Portland, Oregon, and Denver, Colorado. This year, Barcelona, Spain was chosen as the hosting location due to growing international interest. Barcelona is known for embracing open source technology, and in fact made headlines back in 2017 when it announced that it would no longer use Microsoft and instead use Linux (Spanish language article). Apart from enthusiastically embracing open source, Barcelona is known as one of the world's most influential cities, and is a major touristic and cultural attraction. We are thrilled to have the first international version of the Linux App Summit hosted there.

Everyone is invited to attend LAS, and there will be travel sponsorship available for those who need it in order to make the event more inclusive. A special invitation will be extended to companies, media, and individuals who are interested in learning more about the Linux desktop application space and growing their user base.

Important Dates
  • 31 July - CfP opens. Submit your talk idea! Visit our Call for Participation (CfP) page for more information.
  • 31 Aug - CfP closes.
  • Week of 9 Sept - Speaker notification begins.
  • 12 to 15 Nov - LAS conference dates. There will be 3 core days and 1 day for BoFs and hackathons. Participants are welcome to remain longer and plan BoFs or hackathons over the weekend.
Join Us!

The organizing team, GNOME and KDE, are excited about the possibilities of our combined influence. We will no longer sit passive, but will lead and plan for the future. Join us in Barcelona!

Sponsor LAS 2019! Find out about the available packages contacting us at sponsors@linuxappsummit.org. If you have any questions, contact info@linuxappsummit.org. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter @LinuxAppSummit.

Top image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

enioka Haute Couture Becomes a KDE Patron

Monday 22nd of July 2019 10:15:54 AM

enioka Haute Couture is joining KDE as a Patron and will support the work of KDE e.V. through the corporate membership program.

enioka Haute Couture is a software development house that creates complete and tailor-made solutions. enioka strives to return ownership of the software development and innovation to its customers. To that effect, it co-creates the software with its customers' teams to allow them to retain control of their projects in complex systems or organizations.

"We are excited to welcome enioka Haute Couture as a Patron of KDE. They truly understand what it means to empower people when creating software; something KDE cares deeply about", said Lydia Pintscher, President of KDE e.V.

"enioka Haute Couture is a company driven by its values and its manifesto, in the same vein as KDE which we've chosen to support. We are grateful for the existence of all the communities creating Free Software. They are a real enabler in our mission to give back control of their development to our customers. It is time for us to express our gratitude by supporting a community like KDE", said Marc-Antoine Gouillart, CTO at enioka Haute Couture.

enioka Haute Couture will join KDE's other Patrons: Private Internet Access, The Qt Company, SUSE, Google, Blue Systems and Canonical to continue supporting Free Software and KDE development through the KDE e.V.

Powered by Plasma: ALBA Synchrotron in Barcelona, Spain

Friday 19th of July 2019 08:57:19 AM

As you go about your daily tasks, you’re probably unaware that Plasma runs on the computers in one of Europe’s largest research facilities. We were also oblivious – until we met Sergi Blanch-Torné at FOSDEM 2019.

We’re always looking for interesting stories from people who use KDE software at their workplace, in school, or in government institutions. You can imagine our delight, then, when we met Sergi Blanch-Torné at this year’s FOSDEM.

Sergi is a Controls Software Engineer at ALBA, a KDE user, and a Free software advocate and contributor. Not only was he willing to tell us about his favorite KDE apps, but he also works at one of the most amazing places on Earth! In this interview, he tells us what it’s like to work at ALBA, and answers the burning question: “what even is a synchrotron?”.

ALBA is a third-generation synchrotron radiation facility in the Barcelona Synchrotron Park, in Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain. Managed by the Consortium for the Construction, Equipping and Exploitation of the Synchrotron Light Source (CELLS), it is jointly funded by the Spanish and the Catalonian Administration.

Aerial view of the ALBA facility. Source: CELLS media gallery.

With its eight operational beamlines (and additional four in construction), ALBA has been serving more than 2000 researchers every year since first opening for experiments in 2010. It comprises a complex of electron accelerators that produce synchrotron light – electromagnetic radiation covering a continuum of wavelengths, ranging from infrared to hard X rays (including visible light). Synchrotron light is millions of times brighter than the surface of the Sun, which allows scientists to visualize atomic structures in extremely high resolutions.

ALBA also happens to be the place where Plasma powers the majority of desktop computers in the controls department. Read more on this, plus a bunch of fascinating details on how synchrotrons work, in our interview with Sergi.

Ivana Devcic: Sergi, thank you for accepting our invitation to the interview, and for taking the time out of your day to do this! Our story begins at this year's FOSDEM, where you met with developers from the KDE community, is that right?

Sergi Blanch-Torné: That's right. I'm pretty much a regular at FOSDEM at this point. I think I attended it for the first time in 2004. One day at work, we had some trouble with Plasma. Conveniently, it was a few weeks before FOSDEM. I told my boss that there will surely be KDE people to ask for help, and there really were! And it was fun to find out they are from Catalonia too.

So we arranged a visit with Aleix Pol and Albert Astals. They looked at the issue and found the right configuration that solved it.

Ivana: Glad to hear you solved the issue! It would make for an awkward start to our interview otherwise. Could you please introduce yourself a bit to our readers?

Sergi: Of course. I'm from Juneda, a small village in the west of Catalonia. Just 20 km away from the province capital Lleida. An hour and a half from the capital, Barcelona. I studied computer science at the University of Lleida. It was there that I started using KDE software, back in 1998. They are Linux evangelists at my university, and KDE's desktop environment was (and still is) the default desktop on the computers running Linux. I still contribute to my university with a yearly talk on how a computer scientist can end up in a weirder job than expected.

After getting my Bachelor's degree, I went to an Erasmus project to the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, Netherlands. That's where I improved my English a lot. When I came back from Erasmus, I tried moving to another country, but ended up in Barcelona.

The final project for my Bachelor's degree was related to Free software. I've had a great relationship with the Mathematics department, and there is a research group that works on cryptography. We thought of doing something practical that could be used by the Free Software community. At the time, the elliptic curve crypto wasn't really known to the general public, so we decided to prepare an implementation for GnuPG. I still maintain the website of our project.

Sadly, I don't have the time to contribute with code any more, but I like to be in contact with the community. That's why every year at FOSDEM, we meet with Werner Koch, the project leader of GnuPG.

Ivana: You've been involved with Free Software for quite a while. How did this lead to working at ALBA?

Sergi: When I was looking for a job abroad after returning from Erasmus, I heard about the ESRF (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility), the biggest synchrotron in Europe. I applied for a position there, and in one of the interviews in the hiring process they told me that a synchrotron was in construction near Barcelona. So I also applied there. Many of my current supervisors at ALBA were working at ESRF before.

General view inside the facility. Photo by Sergi Blanch-Torné.

Here at ALBA, I got a position in the controls section. We're part of the computing division that has different sections. One is called the Management Information System. That's where engineers who work mainly with the web and administrative applications. Then there are the people from infrastructure systems. And the sections for electronics and controls, that we have a lot in common with.

Ivana: The controls section... Sounds exciting. But what exactly do you control from there?

Sergi: To help you understand how it all works, maybe I should abstract first what a synchrotron is. A synchrotron is a kind of particle accelerator. In our case, it is an electron accelerator. You've probably heard about the LHC in CERN -- that's a collider, a very different facility, but also an accelerator.

The difference is in the scale and in the purpose. At the LHC they have 27 kilometers in the circumference perimeter. We have about 400 meters. Colliders are made to produce those collisions we read about in the press, for discovering particles like the Higgs Boson. When those electrons in the accelerator are bent to maintain the circumference, they produce photons - basically, they generate light. In the LHC or other colliders, they like to set this light generation to the minimum. But in the synchrotrons, it is the light that is actually used.

We could say that the accelerator itself is a bulb that generates an incredibly brilliant light. And it is because of this brilliance that those facilities are used, instead of other alternatives such as X-rays. There are experiments that require this kind of facility, because with a normal X-ray generator researchers would not be able to see what the experiment requires. In essence, you could also say that this is a big machine we use to see small things. We could even simplify it to the point of saying a synchrotron is like a huge microscope.

It has applications in biology, chemistry, pharmacology... also in paleontology, or even art. Here at ALBA we did experiments on how a virus passes the membrane of a cell. We looked at the mechanisms of how the cell is invaded, and took pictures of that. We can also take a fossil and see inside - without having to crack it open and break it, we are able to see the remaining structure inside. Or we can stress a plastic to know how it will degrade under certain conditions. Sometimes famous artists used layers of paint to draw over something. We can see what's under the paint without destroying the layers.

Beamline 24 end station, where the experiments happen. Photo by Sergi Blanch-Torné.

Ivana: Fascinating!

Sergi: It really is. And my job is to have the instruments under control and integrated to allow an experiment to be carried out. We provide the researchers with the tools they need, but we are rarely there when they're using the synchrotron.

To make sure an accelerator works correctly, many elements need to work together seamlessly. The electron beam is like, say, a train with its carriages. There is not a single electron, but a bunch revolving around in a circle. They are packed in bunches, and those bunches are separated from each other by 2 nanoseconds. So an extremely high level of precision is needed.

First, there is a linear accelerator, with an electron gun that generates those bunches of electrons. We call it linac for short. This linac produces electron beams that travel at speeds close to the speed of light. Then they are passed through a booster ring, where they are accelerated even more. Even closer to the speed of light, but never reaching its physical bound. This acceleration process is repeated 3 times per second, and the beam is stored in a ring that is designed to generate this extremely brilliant light.

For this whole process, there are hundreds or even thousands of elements to control. They have to work together, they have to be prepared to act just in that one precise moment. There are stepper motors, encoders, detectors, cameras, oscilloscopes, and even other weirder elements that need to work together. And we make sure they work properly.

Ivana: Do you use any specialized software in your work?

Sergi: Currently, the control room is running Debian 9 with Plasma. Almost everything in the controls section runs Linux. There are a few computers that require Windows because some manufacturers didn't provide the drivers for Linux...

Computers in the control room, powered by Plasma. Photo by Sergi Blanch-Torné.

As for the tools we use, the ESRF has been publishing the controls system as Free Software for decades now. There is a community of synchrotrons in Europe and many institutions and research facilities participate in this community. It's all about collaboration of several institutions and engineers like me in other facilities. In a way, it's exactly like in FOSS communities: we work on solving something that others can benefit from, and vice versa. To be more specific in terms of software, the distributed control system we use is called Tango.

Ivana: It really does sound like your work has a lot in common with FOSS communities and their principles. After all, science and software freedom have always been intertwined. If I understood you correctly, you also write your own software at ALBA?

Sergi: Yes, we make Free Software, and it's one of the reasons why I work here. I'm happy to have a job that produces Free Software.

We are a public institution and, even though we make Free Software, there are things we still don't publish. That's why we have to keep pushing in this direction. Some of us have also participated in the FSFE “Public Money? Public Code!” campaign. It's an incredibly important initiative.

Ivana: Can you share an example of what kind of software you produce?

Sergi: Sure! From the control room, the people in charge of the facility need to have precise control of all the elements to ensure the stable control of the beam. They are not close to those elements, so it's necessary to be able to control everything remotely, from the network. And those people like graphical interfaces, so, a long time ago, we started a project based on Qt to build a framework that would make it easier to build those graphical interfaces.

We called it Taurus. This is a LGPL framework, and since the latest release (4.5 at the time of writing), it supports Plasma 5.

Screenshot of the Taurus software, courtesy of Sergi Blanch-Torné.

Ivana: It’s nice to hear that. :) Apart from using Plasma as the desktop environment on your computers, do you use any other KDE apps at ALBA?

Sergi: We are a scientific paper factory, so we use Kile and Okular all the time. In the controls section, we use Kate and KWrite quite often. Of course, there are also the Emacs people and the Vim users...

Personally, I use KMail, Amarok, digiKam, and for my astronomy hobby, KStars. Whenever I show someone new how to start playing with a (domestic) telescope, KStars is the perfect application to learn everything you need to know.

Ivana: We’ll make sure to forward the praise to the KStars team. Do you have any advice for young scientists who would like to work at ALBA or similar institutions? What kinds of skills should they have? Any particular programming languages that would be good to know?

Sergi: For sure! The important thing is to apply. Apply to any job you think will make you happy. If there's a nice work opportunity, don't pass up on it.

At ALBA, we work with C/C++ and Python. Sometimes, but rarely in Java. I use Cython very often.

There is a variety of skills that we, as a group, provide. One single person can't do everything alone, so the community aspect is crucial to us. Our work ranges from kernel drivers to graphical interfaces. Some of us are better in one area, some in another. The important thing is that in the end, the group is capable of working on the full stack. And the main driving force is that we're all contributing to science.

Ivana: We hope you know your contributions are very much appreciated. This has been a fantastic interview – we’ve learned so many things! Thank you, Sergi. It would make us all happy if you could come to Akademy, KDE’s annual conference, so please think about it. :)

Sergi: Thanks for having me! The next Akademy is in Italy, isn't it? I’ll be there.

Would you like to meet KDE developers, or learn how to use Plasma in your company? Come to Milan, Italy, from September 7th to 13th and join us at Akademy! Our community conference is free and open to everyone.

Akademy 2019: Talk Schedule is out!

Thursday 11th of July 2019 08:03:46 AM



The schedule for Akademy 2019 is out and it is full of interesting and intriguing talks, panels and keynotes.

On day one (Saturday, September 7), the teams that have been working on the community goals over the last two years will discuss how things worked out and what has been achieved (spoiler: a lot). As many of the procedures and processes developed for the goals have now been worked into the everyday ways the KDE community operates and builds things, it is time to look for new goals. That is precisely what will be happening next, when the panel unveils what the community has decided to work on in the next two years.

Apart from goals, there will also be time for the bleeding-edge tech KDE is so well-known for. You will find out from Aleix Pol how developers managed to make a complex graphical environment like the Plasma desktop start up faster, and Marco Martin and Bhushan Shah will show us how Plasma can work everywhere, including on embedded devices. Taking things a step further still, Aditya Mehra will demonstrate how the open source Mycroft AI assistant can be the next great thing to assist you while you drive your car.

On Sunday, the schedule is equally full of challenging ideas and fun stuff. You will see what's new in KDE's effort to create a completely open, privacy-protecting travel assistant, courtesy of Volker Krause. In Akademy 2018 Volker introduced KItinerary and this year he will be talking about KPublicTransport. Having teamed up with the Open Transport community, KDE is now building a framework which will allow apps to give users a complete travel solution without having to depend on leaky proprietary services.

As projects like Mycroft show, KDE is working on integrating AI into the desktop. Trung Thanh Dinh will be explaining how AI can also be used in the area of face recognition, and how that can be leveraged by KDE's applications. Another thing on the list of revolutionary technologies is that KDE is setting its sights on virtual reality. Cristoph Haag will explain how VR requires a completely different approach to user interfaces from what we are used to.

Obviously, that is not all. It is but a small cross-section of what you will be able to see at Akademy 2019. Soon we will also unveil our two keynote speakers with interviews here, on the Dot. After the weekend of talks, panels and keynotes, the rest of the week will be dedicated to BoFs (Birds of a Feather sessions), where community members with similar interests get together and work on their projects, as well as coding sessions, meetings, and social activities.

Do not miss Akademy 2019! Join us, register for the event now, book your accommodation soon (Milan gets busy!) and meet up with all your KDE friends.

Besides. did we say it is in Milan? That means pasta, pizza, gelato and Gothic architecture. What's not to love?

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About Akademy


Akademy 2018, Vienna

For most of the year, KDE - one of the largest free and open software 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, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work bringing those plans to reality. The KDE community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, and those that are looking for opportunities. For more information, please contact the Akademy Team.

Plasma + Usability & Productivity Sprint in Valencia, Spain

Thursday 4th of July 2019 04:42:19 PM

The KDE Plasma and Usability teams recently converged on the beautiful Spanish city of Valencia for a combined development sprint. The teams admired Valencia's medieval architecture and stayed up until midnight eating sumptuous Mediterranean food. But of course, the real purpose was work!

We camped out in the offices of the Slimbook company, which were generously made available for the sprint. The aim was not only to hack on Plasma and the Usability & Productivity initiative, but also to benefit from the cross-pollination opportunities provided by hosting both sprints at the same time and place.

The result was a huge amount of work done on Plasma, KWin, Dolphin, Spectacle, and many other bits of KDE software.

Present for the Plasma sprint were Kai Uwe Broulik, David Edmundson, Nicolas Fella, Eike Hein, Roman Gilg, Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Marco Martin, and Bhushan Shah. They had quite a busy agenda:

  • Plasma 5.16's new notification system received a great deal of polish
  • Fixed a ton of bugs in the Plasma Browser Integration
  • Rewrote the widget positioning code for the desktop, making it much more robust, future-proof, and usable on touch:



  • Started work on making the Task Manager understand window stacking order, which will allow it to implement new interaction modes for grouped windows (e.g. bring forward the last-used window when clicked)
  • Worked on architecture improvements for the Task Manager to unify its different presentation modes and improve code robustness
  • Worked on a variety of architecture improvements for KWin to make it more future-proof, which, among other things, will improve multi-screen handling
  • Improved the user interface for the System Tray's settings window
  • Added calculator and unit conversion functionality to Kickoff and Application Dashboard

Kickoff now integrates a calculator and a unit conversion utility.

In addition to making technical progress, the Plasma and Usability teams got together to discuss a number of long-standing Plasma issues, and figure out how to resolve them:

We wanted to make it easier to test a custom-compiled version of Plasma. To do so, we implemented changes that allow you to integrate your custom-compiled Plasma into SDDM by running a single command, after which you can log into it normally. For more information, see this article.

We thought it would be a good idea to make more it obvious and discoverable that Plasma is made up of widgets, and show how they are configured. To do this, we decided to create a new "global edit mode" that's triggerable from within System Settings, as this is where new users generally expect everything to be configured. In this global edit mode, all widgets become visibly configurable, editable, removable, etc. We also want to make it easy to change the wallpaper in this mode. With all that done, we'll be able to remove the Desktop Toolbox as it currently exists.

There was a need to unify the disparate scaling methods, so we decided to visually connect the scale factor chooser with the "Force Fonts DPI" setting, since the former actually affects the latter, but not the other way around. This should make it clear that the scaling slider is the primary way to scale the screen, and the "force fonts DPI" control is nothing more than a way to tweak things further.

We needed Plasma to respect the system-wide scale factor on X11, so we came up with a path forward and a plan for getting it done!

We planned out how to add power actions to the lock screen. We concluded that not only does this make sense, but it will be necessary for Plasma Mobile anyway. In a multi-user environment, the user will have to enter an admin password to shut down or restart the machine when other users are also logged in.

Even during down time, KDE carries on coding!

Over in the Usability & Productivity room we had Méven Car, Albert Astals Cid, Noah Davis, Filip Fila, Nate Graham, and David Redondo. The agenda was similarly jam-packed, and included the following:

  • We ported Spectacle to use KGlobalAccel and away from KHotKeys, made the quit-after-copy feature finally work, and added support for drawing annotations on newly-taken screenshots
  • We implemented user-configurable sort ordering for wallpaper slideshows
  • Dolphin received human-readable sort order text and an auto-play-on-hover feature for media files
  • We added inline name feedback when creating new files or folders
  • Users can optionally close windows in the Present Windows effect with a middle-click
  • Many user interface improvements have been made to the Purpose framework, which implements sharing support in many apps (Dolphin, Spectacle, Okular, Gwenview as of recently, and so on)
  • We started working on improving the default selection of pictures available for user account avatars
  • Initial work has been done on a new "Recently used" feature for Dolphin and the file dialogs that will pull its data from a single consistent location and actually notice everything

We also came to some significant conclusions related to higher-level goals. For example, we plan to pay for professional user research to generate new "personas" and target user groups that represent the people using our software. We will use these personas as the basis for professional usability testing for Plasma, Dolphin, Gwenview, Okular, and other components of a basic desktop.

Additionally, we discussed how we can add release notes data to our apps' AppStream data, so that it shows up in software center apps like Discover. The big blocker was getting the required translations added to the tarball. We've started a dialogue with AppStream maintainer Matthias Klumpp regarding a new feature to pull translations from a remote location, which would support our workflow. The conversation is proceeding nicely so far.

Finally, VDG member Noah Davis dug deep into Breeze to work on visual consistency improvements related to selection highlights. Given his growing familiarity with the code, he's well on his way to becoming the next Breeze maintainer!

All in all, it was a very productive week. KDE Plasma and apps are in a great place right now, and the team's effort to further improve things will reach you in upcoming versions, so stay tuned!

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