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KDE and GNOME: KUnity, Presentations, GitLab and Flatpaks

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  • A year as a KDE developer | The KUnity Setup

    It has been more than a year that I had push rights for all the KDE repositories. So this is an obligatory anniversary post.

    I got introduced to Linux while searching for development environments that came with all sorts of compilers & interpreters by default and I don't have to manually install those stuff. It was 2012 as far as I remember, Ubuntu 12.04 just came out and it was the first solution suggested by the search engines. Though the unavailability of a proper internet connection meant, that I had to wait a couple more years when one of my friends downloaded a copy of Ubuntu 14.04 for me.

  • FOSDEM and Plasma Mobile Sprint 2020

    This was the 20th anniversary for FOSDEM, I first attended 15 years ago, but this year was the first time I actually managed to present a talk there. The subject was, unsurprisingly, KDE Itinerary. You can find the slides and the video recording on the corresponding FOSDEM talk page.

    KDE had a very busy presence at FOSDEM, Plasma Mobile draw a lot of attention, as did efforts for truly free and user-controlled mobile platforms in general. I’m particularly happy seeing the cross-community collaborations going on in that space.

    FOSDEM is a great place to connect and coordinate with other communities, and by now that’s probably one of the main reasons for me to attend. The collaboration with Nextcloud on integrating itinerary extraction into Nextcloud Hub started there last year for example.

    FOSDEM two years ago saw the first successful flight using a KDE Itinerary rendered boarding pass, this year we had the first ever Thalys ride with a ticket presented in KDE Itinerary. We also made a bit of progress with decoding Thalys binary barcodes, more samples would help a lot here though.

  • Presentations Archive

    Some time ago I ran across remark-cmake, a CMake framework for building remark.js-based presentations. Since I’m a sucker for CMake I started using it, even if my presentations are rarely big-and-complicated enough to warrant a build-system.

    Since then I’ve submitted a few pull-requests to remark-cmake, but also given eight (8) presentations using that framework at four (4) different conferences in four countries on two continents. Current scheduling suggests that one more continent and at least four more talks will be added before summer.

  • Clean and linear history with GitLab

    Many GNOME projects still use clean and linear commit history without merge commits even after porting to GitLab. That means that each commit represents one comprehensive feature or bug fix and there are not any side branches. I am not about to discuss the pros and cons of this approach here, you can find many and many posts on this topic on the internet. I would like to explain some common issues for newcomers when using GitLab forks.

    To make some contribution, one has to create a fork of some repository, push desired changes in a new branch and create a merge request to the original project. Please be sure that the “Allows commits from members who can merge to the target branch” checkbox is checked when creating the merge request (or later using the “Edit” button on the top of the page). This is needed to simplify the consequent workflow for the contributor (and maintainers as well). One of the reasons, why this is needed is the fact, that the changes need to be often rebased before they can be merged (to ensure the linear history). Maintainers can’t do this when this feature is not enabled and have to ask contributors to do so. Another reason is that the maintainers can do some changes when the contributor needs help or doesn’t have time to do the changes itself.

  • Robocode and others

    As expressed in a previous post, I prefer to spend my free time with my kids than with technology (for technology I already have my job). However, when there is an exception to that, I do like to do some sort of smaller projects, like “porting” stuff to Flatpak.

    I did my share of Debian and RPM packaging in the past, and honestly I have never enjoyed it (for a number of reasons not really interesting for this post). But “flatpaking” stuff is completely different to me. Maybe it’s my early involvement with it, or maybe it’s my admiration for how its designed, but the feeling when making a Flatpak is of reward, rather than a chore.

WebKitGTK 2.28 Seeing Flatpak Sandbox Support, WebGL + WebAudio

  • WebKitGTK 2.28 Seeing Flatpak Sandbox Support, WebGL + WebAudio By Default

    Following this weekend's GNOME 3.36 beta, WebKitGTK 2.27.90 is available as a snapshot of this GTK-catered version of the WebKit layout engine on its path towards version 2.28.

    With WebKitGTK 2.27.90 there are many new features baking for WebKitGTK 2.28: Flatpak sandboxing support, WebGL and WebAudio are finally enabled by default in WebKitSettings, support for same-site cookies, support for the webkit-font-smoothing CSS property, support for inspecting service workers to the remote inspector, and various other changes.

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  • 2nd video review of Zenwalk 15.0 Milestone 2020

    Here's a nice video review which can also be useful as a step by step setup tutorial (thanks to DJ Ware). Note that the DJ didn't use netpkg : the Zenwalk package manager, and he should have ;) (flathub is NOT a package manager : it's more to be considered as a "play store").

  • Bringing Microsoft Media Foundation to GStreamer

    NOTE : Strictly speaking, the UWP video capture implementation is not part of the Media Foundation API. The internal implementation is based on the Windows.Media.Capture API. Due to the structural similarity between Media Foundation and WinRT Media API however, it makes sense to include the UWP video capture implementation in this plugin. Media Foundation is known as the successor of DirectShow. As DirectShow does, Media Foundation provides various media-related functionality, but most of the features (muxing, demuxing, capturing, rendering, decoding/encoding and pipelining of relevant processing functionality) of Media Foundation can be replaced with GStreamer.

  • ReactOS Hires Developer To Work On Their Open-Source Windows Storage Stack

    The storage capabilities for ReactOS as the "open-source Windows" project has long been in poor shape relative to the other subsystems, but ReactOS Deutschland has hired a developer to work full-time on making improvements in storage and related areas. For at least the next quarter, ReactOS Deutschland is funding a former GSoC ReactOS contributor to work on making their scsiport driver plug-and-play-aware, fixing plug-and-play bugs within their kernel and related work to improve USB storage support and compatibility with Windows storage drivers. Victor Perevertkin previously wrote the Btrfs boot sector code for ReactOS and has been making other improvements over the past two years.

  • Announcing elections for the next TDF Membership Committee

    we hereby officially announce the upcoming elections for the next Membership Committee of The Document Foundation. As per § 12 II of our statutes (binding version in German and non-binding translation), the Membership Committee’s term lasts two years. The current Membership Committee started its duty on September 19, 2018. Therefore, the old Membership Committee remains in charge until the end of September 18, 2020, so the new MC will be in charge the day after that, which is September 19, 2020. That upcoming term will then (regularly) end on September 18, 2022, so the next election of the Membership Committee will take place before. As per § 6 III, only members of the Board of Trustees of The Document Foundation, as well as current members of any of its bodies, are eligible to be elected into the Membership Committee, and the election is overseen by the Board of Directors (§ 12 II). The active electoral right is reserved to those who have been members of the Board of Trustees before this announcement (§ 12 II).

  • WordPress 5.5 Beta 2

    This software is still in development, so it’s not recommended to run this version on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with the new version.

  • This Iowa Town Is Building An Open Access Fiber Broadband Network. Google Fiber Is Its First Customer

    West Des Moines, Iowa this week announced that it would be building a massive, open access fiber network. The city is one of roughly 750 towns and cities that, frustrated by high prices, limited competition, and patchy availability of US broadband, have decided to instead build their own networks. Well, assuming that AT&T and Comcast haven't bribed your state officials to pass laws banning such efforts yet.

  • Study: Only 5% of Conservation Journals Comply With Principles for Fair and Open Access
  • Measure The Impact Of The ONC’s New Interoperability Rules Now

    We begin with measures available or implementable now to assess current behaviors and whether they begin to shift in line with the regulations. These initial indicators have shortcomings, however, and we describe ways to address them and improve future measurement.

  • MechBoard64 | Replacement Commodore 64 Keyboard

    Every day, when I walk back to my “healing bench,” the place I fix my kids toys or things I break around the house, I see my extra, empty bread-bin box Commodore 64 shell. It has been sitting empty since sometime in the early 90s and my mind will wonder to a place where that would be a functional computer once again. Not that I need another Commodore 64, but I am thinking, often, I would like to have a modern re-implementation of the Commodore 64, specifically, with that Ultimate 64. When I play games or do IRC with the Commodore 64, I am periodically reminded that old hardware can have some unwelcome hiccups and remind me why we moved beyond the 8-bit era. Some behaviors of it are just not very welcome. Glitching out, occasional crashing after hours of usage, lack of complete drive compatibility with the SD2IEC device and so forth. I would like to have the best of both worlds, 8-bit fun and charm along with the modern conveniences of storage and reliability. Is that too much to ask?

  • Apple Silicon: The Passing of Wintel

    Apple isn’t simply dropping a proudly designed homegrown CPU in place of an Intel chip on Mac motherboards. Moving to Apple Silicon is an expensive undertaking that affects hardware and software engineering, developer relationships, marketing… If the switch to Apple Silicon were a mere CPU replacement, billions of dollars would burn in a bonfire of vanity.

    No. Apple sees its SoC as a means to make the Mac better. Of course, “better” is a dangerously vague adjective that needs some evidence.

Debian Developers' Blogs on Technical Work

  • Markus Koschany: My Free Software Activities in June 2020

    Welcome to gambaru.de. Here is my monthly report (+ the first week in July) that covers what I have been doing for Debian. If you’re interested in Java, Games and LTS topics, this might be interesting for you.

  • MessagePack vs CBOR (RFC7049)

    I recently wanted to choose a binary encoding. This was for a project using Rust serde, so I looked at the list of formats there. I ended up reading about CBOR and MessagePack. Both of these are binary formats for a JSON-like data model. Both of them are "schemaless", meaning you can decode them without knowing the structure. (This also provides some forwards compatibility.) They are, in fact, quite similar (although they are totally incompatible). This is no accident: CBOR is, effectively, a fork of MessagePack. Both formats continue to exist and both are being used in new programs. I needed to make a choice but lacked enough information. I thought I would try to examine the reasons and nature of the split, and to make some kind of judgement about the situation. So I did a lot of reading [11]. Here are my conclusions.

  • Debian PPC64EL Emulation

    In my post on Debian S390X Emulation [1] I mentioned having problems booting a Debian PPC64EL kernel under QEMU. Giovanni commented that they had PPC64EL working and gave a link to their site with Debian QEMU images for various architectures [2]. I tried their image which worked then tried mine again which also worked – it seemed that a recent update in Debian/Unstable fixed the bug that made QEMU not work with the PPC64EL kernel. Here are the instructions on how to do it.