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KDE

Plasma 5.21 review - Very slick, just one or five oily patches

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KDE

Can you hear the drums, Fernando? There's a new Plasma release out there, marked 5.21. Which means test I must and see what the future of this typically phenomenal desktop environment brings us. Now, if you've not followed my KDE adventures lately, then I was kind of pleased with the LTS edition, similarly enthused when it comes to Plasma 5.19, and really happy with 5.20, which I felt should have been the LTS. It was everything I could have hoped, and then some. Well, almost.

This makes today's experiment all the more interesting. There's an almost Ancient Greece drama level of tragic heroism in Linux, so any good or decent release must often follow with a disappointment. But hopefully, it ain't going to be the case today. Begin to explore, we shall.

[...]

Plasma 5.21 is pretty nice. Very refined. But it also has problems, including some there weren't there in the previous release. And this kind of thing always alarms and dismays me. Yes, there will be bugs, but I've yet to find a single Linux-associated project that has ultra-robust, detailed, fully defined, mapped and formalized QA procedure that involves 90% of the total software effort. Alas, no one wants to do the boring stuff. Take the System Monitor as an example - no need for it, KSysGuard could do with minor fixes and maybe a rename, the rev counter dashboard and broken functionality add no value. The font issues are also new. The crashes, well.

That said, this is still one dope desktop environment. It is really way ahead of anything else GUI Linux, and it has hallmarks of a pro product. But not quite. There's always a little bit of that open-source hobbyist chaos lurking around, like an old enemy. Still, I am largely pleased and hope to see more awesomeness from the KDE team. Plasma 5.21 is pretty, elegant, cohesive, consistent, fast, and builds on a solid foundation. Shame about the bugs, but let's hope there will be a fundamental, methodological shift in the approach so that every future Plasma release shines, and there never be random regressions. One can hope. As for 5.21, definitely worth testing and enjoying.

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Kdenlive 20.12.3 is out

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KDE

The last maintenance release of the 20.12 series is out with the usual batch of usability and bug fixes. The highlights include lots of polishing of the Subtitling Tool and adding a spell checking feature. The Titler also got a fair amount of usability improvements most notably fixing the invisible text cursor. Fixes were also made to the chroma key color picker and various clip selection issues. The Windows version received fixes to resetting the config file and finding downloaded title templates and lumas.

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KDE: Meeting of the KDE Itinerary Developers and Exiv2 Project

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KDE
  • KDE Itinerary @ German Open Transport Meetup

    The German Open Transport Meetup started mid last year, as a get-together for anyone interested or involved in mobility or transportation in general, and in Open Data/Free Software in that context in particular.

    Being forced to be virtual from the start due to the pandemic is probably what gave it the critical mass to keep up the unusual high pace for such an event with its bi-weekly rhythm, and with no shortage on topics in sight.

    Many of the things discussed at the meetup so far had immediate impact on KDE Itinerary (and the KPublicTransport library in particular), the biggest example probably being the rental bike/scooter support. A large number of the attendees actually working for local or national transport operators or public administration has also been invaluable for getting first-hand access and insights.

  • Exiv2 project submission to the KDE community
    Ladies and Gentlemen:
    
    I am writing to you on behalf of the Exiv2 project https://exiv2.org.
    
    Exiv2 is a C++ library and a command-line utility to read, write, delete
    and modify Exif, IPTC, XMP and ICC image metadata. It is widely used in the
    Linux ecosystem and part of many applications such as digiKam, Gimp,
    darktable and many more.
    
    The Exiv2 project is hosted at the moment on GitHub (
    https://github.com/Exiv2/exiv2). We would like to evaluate the possibility
    of onboarding the Exiv2 project into the KDE community.
    
    The project is in good shape and the next release is scheduled to ship May
    2021. There is a small group of people who frequently contribute to the
    project.  However the current maintainer, Robin Mills, is retiring at the
    age of 70 after 13 years of service to the project.  Robin has written a
    book about the project and discusses every aspect of both the Exiv2
    Architecture and Image Metadata Standards.
    https://clanmills.com/exiv2/book/
    
    Last Saturday (2021-02-27) there was a meeting concerning the future of the
    Exiv2 and we tried to find a new maintainer.  Regrettably because of the
    time demand imposed on the maintainer, no one volunteered.  By joining the
    KDE community we hope to address this issue and keep this important project
    alive. The meeting notes can be found on the GitHub issue (
    https://github.com/Exiv2/exiv2/issues/1466).
    
    In addition to finding a new maintainer, being part of KDE would bring
    Exiv2 into the Open Invention Network.  We are very interested in this
    aspect of KDE as it mitigates risks involved in patent discussions.
    
    Yours,
    
    Alex Esseling and Robin Mills
    
  • Exiv2 Looks To Team Up With The KDE Project

    Exiv2, the widely-used C++ metadata library / tools for dealing with image metadata via EXIF / IPTC / XMP standards and ICC profiles is looking to join the KDE project.

    This C++ library and CLI tools for dealing with image metadata is widely used already in the open-source world, including by several KDE programs like Krita, digiKam, and KPhotoAlbum. Software outside of KDE like GIMP and Darktable also leverage this image metadata library.

This week in KDE: Adaptive panel opacity and auto-restored unsaved documents in Kate!

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KDE

A big Plasma feature was added this week: adaptive Plasma panel opacity! Now the panel and panel applets are more transparent than they were before, allowing more of a tint from the beautiful wallpaper on your desktop! But what’s this? You’re about to complain that you maximize all your windows so the increased transparency will look ugly? In fact, we now make your panel and panel applets 100% opaque when there are any maximized windows, ensuring no ugly effect! But what if you don’t want that either? Well, if you don’t want adaptive opacity we now let you make your panel and panel applets always transparent, or always opaque! Hopefully that should make everyone happy. Let’s give a round of applause to Niccolò Venerandi and Jan Blackquill for this work, which will show up in Plasma 5.22.

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KDE Developers' Updates

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KDE

KDE’s Apps Update for March 2021 Improves Spectacle, Gwenview, and More

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KDE

KDE Applications 20.12.3 comes a month after KDE’s Apps update for February 2021 to fix even more bugs in several of the included apps and components, most of which are needed or ship by default with the latest KDE Plasma desktop environment series.

Among the improvements implemented in the KDE Applications 20.12.3 update, there’s the ability to set the compression quality in the Spectacle screenshot utility to 100%, support for a newer OpenGL drawing view to support hardware-accelerated transitions on Wayland and a working JPEG quality chooser in the Gwenview image viewer.

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Offline Update Arrives in KDE Neon (Unstable Edition)

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KDE

The team announced the immediate availability of the offline update feature in the KDE Neon unstable edition. Here's how it works.
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KDE Plasma 5.21.2 Update Re-Enabled Key Repeat by Default, Improves System Settings

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KDE

Coming just one week after the KDE Plasma 5.21.1 update, which improved support for Nvidia Optimus laptops, the KDE Plasma 5.21.2 point release is here to re-enable key repeat by default, something that probably many of you out there were complaining about.

In addition, the KDE Plasma 5.21.2 update improves the System Settings by addressing a bug that made it crash when attempting to clear the history from the Activities page and making the screens in the Display Configuration page draggable again.

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KDE Plasma 5.21.2, Bugfix Release for March

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KDE
Security

Plasma 5.21 was released in February with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience.

This release adds a week's worth of new translations and fixes from KDE's contributors. The bugfixes are typically small but important and include...

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Plasma Mobile updates make the user interface more customizable (and a bit more Android-like)

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KDE

There are several different user interfaces available for Linux smartphones, but the one that will probably feel the most familiar to Android users is KDE’s Plasma Mobile.

Like Android, it has a home screen, an app drawer, navigation buttons on the bottom, status notifications at the top, and a quick settings panel that appears when you swipe down from the top of the screen.

Soon, it may work even more like Android – developers plan to add support for multiple home screens that you can scroll through horizontally, giving you more space for app icons and widgets. Support for custom app launchers may also be on the way.

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today's howtos

  • HOWTO: install MongoDB on Slackware

    Today I am going to show you how to install MongoDB, create a database admin account and enforce basic security. Why MongoDB when Slackware already has MariaDB? Well, the two are not comparable. MariaDB is a SQL database server, whereas MongoDB is a “NoSQL” database server, aka “Not only SQL“, and its queries – just like its object storage format – are in JSON. The two types of databases have entirely different usage targets. MongoDB is a ‘general-purpose, document-based database server‘. It has use-cases where it is more powerful than the traditional row/column model of a relational database management system. NoSQL databases, in particular MongoDB, are preferred over RDBMS in Cloud services, Big Data environments and for high-volume web based data processing services. These are typically environments where flexibility is required to handle big amounts of unstructured data and constantly varying schemas. A distributed cluster of MongoDB servers excels at “map-reduce“, the framework invented by Google for condensing large volumes of data into useful aggregated results – the very paradigm that catapulted Google Search into the number one position of search engines shortly after the turn of the millennium.

  • How to install Telegram on Linux Mint 20.1 - YouTube

    In this video, we are looking at how to install Telegram on Linux Mint 20.1.

  • How to install Badlion on a Chromebook

    Today we are looking at how to install Badlion on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below. Please take note that you need the full account of Minecraft to use the application.

  • MariaDB/MySQL Auto-Сlustering with Load Balancing and Replication

    These days high availability and database clustering are very important for highly loaded production applications. If your server is down for a fraction of time, you are losing customers and money. Therefore making a database environment highly available has typically one of the highest priorities. Set up a highly available cluster is not easier for any developers and system administrators.

  • How To Fix The GIMP Eraser Not Working

    GIMP is a free and reasonably good alternative to Photoshop. The app’s UI isn’t the best or the most modern but it has all the tools that you’d find in Photoshop. GIMP has the same tools as Photoshop but many of its tools work differently and the workflow is different. Despite having the same tools, there is a noticeable difference between the two apps.

  • How to use screen command to improve your productivity on Linux terminal

    Similar to many tools utilized by system administrators, the Linux screen command is another great tool that helps with productivity. screen can be seen as an alternative to Tmux, but it has many other useful options outside of just saving screen space. screen allows you to create multiple sessions of terminals/interactive shells. In this tutorial I will give you a quick rundown of screen and present several use cases of the command.

  • Hunting Excel date twins

    Certain versions of Microsoft Excel for Mac counted days from 1 January 1904, while other Excel versions numbered their days from 1 January 1900. Microsoft calls these "the 1904 date system" and "the 1900 date system", and says there are problems you may encounter when you use workbooks that use different date systems. I wrote about one of those problems in a 2017 post for The Linux Rain blog. If you compile a spreadsheet using a mix of "1900" and "1904" dates, you might have the same record represented twice, with dates exactly 4 years and 1 day apart (1462 days). These pseudo-duplicates are "Excel date twins". The first twins I found (by accident) were in the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) and had been imported from the Tasmanian Natural Values Atlas (TNVA). From the ALA they went to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). Both records say that I observed the peripatus species Ooperipatellus cryptus at a certain spot in Tasmania. One record says I did it on 3 February 1976, the other on 2 February 1972. The second date is an Excel date twin and impossible: I first came to Australia in January 1973.

  • Removing qtwebengine from a Gentoo Linux installation | Fitzcarraldo's Blog

    At the beginning of March I updated the world set in Gentoo Testing (~amd64) running the KDE suite (Plasma, Frameworks and Applications) on my secondary laptop, an eleven-year-old Compal NBLB2. It has a first-generation Core i7 CPU and the maximum amount of RAM that can be installed in that model (8 GB).

today's leftovers

  • Distro Hopping Doesn't Make Sense Too Me - YouTube

    I've been using Arch Linux since I first started with Linux and the idea of distro hopping jas just never appealed to me, not to say that I'll never leave Arch it's just that swapping for the sake of swapping seems kind of weird.

  • Quick Unboxing of my new Thelio Major

    I decided to show off the unboxing my my new desktop - I purchased a new Thelio Major desktop from System76. This particular unboxing was very awkward, the box was very tall and hard to position with my tripod. So please excuse the overall clumsiness of this entire video.

  • Run an Edge AI K3s Cluster on NVIDIA Jetson Nano Boards

    For several years I have worked with customers who wanted to use artificial intelligence (AI) in their products (mostly embedded hardware) but ended up relying on the cloud. With the advances of embedded platforms in recent years, this dependency is gradually disappearing, giving rise to the so-called Edge AI.

  • Traditional doesn’t mean staid: how banks should be innovating today

    When looking into a fiduciary for your assets, a bank with a long-standing history may seem like a stable, trustworthy choice. However, that very legacy may be one of the reasons large banks lose out to the competition in an age where customers are expecting open, quick, and real-time banking. Not unique to banks, big companies have a challenge of navigating legacies. These legacies do not just pertain to mainframes with monoliths on them, but also how they work. Along with their associates, senior managers should also show a desire to change. It’s harder to move fast if you are huge, but embracing an open culture from the top down can be a good starting point. I’ve seen huge amounts of talent, smart people, and big budgets hindered by a staid way of working. The strategy still needs to come from the top, but everyone should be enabled—and perhaps more importantly, empowered—to contribute. Regulations have forced banks to be more siloed, and now they continue to operate like that because it is easier, and traceable. IT in a bank was merely a cost center, a service provider until about 10 years ago. Technology was never an enabler, but seen as a cost-sink. We’re still struggling with this mindset today, even though we have continuously seen how technology can be a competitive differentiator. Large banks often don’t know where to start with some of their legacy, often the product of mergers and acquisitions. Then, you throw in a pandemic, during which the world of banking had to transform at a rapid pace to expand digital banking and chatbot services, and it ends up being a lot to take on all at once for large institutions. It can feel easier to keep legacy systems in place to stay afloat. Traditional banks still need help with faster transaction times, integrating artificial intelligence to improve the customer experience, and implementing agile ways of working for their IT teams. The hurdle lies in figuring out a way to get started. As a customer, I saw this innovation from Red Hat.

  • Quick-publishing of poudriere packages

    An essential tool in the FreeBSD porter’s arsenal (“porters” are the people who package third-party software, software like KDE Plasma, Haskell, ..) is poudriere, which is an evolution of the old tinderbox. It leverages ZFS and FreeBSD jails to do clean, consistent builds even on an otherwise occupied workstation, and can build for OS versions and architectures you’re not even running. Using the packages you’ve built can be slightly harder, so here’s some notes. Poudriere has a chapter in the porter’s handbook. There are straightfoward guides to setting it up, also on DigitalOcean. Most of those guides describe setting up nginx to serve the lovely and detailed build progress and results. I tend to follow the build progress in konsole, so I’m not interested in that part. What I do need to do is serve the resulting packages to other machines on my local network (e.g. my laptop) so that everything can enjoy the latest packages. That is doubly useful when trying out things like KDE Plasma on Wayland on FreeBSD, which needs plenty of testing and doesn’t work on all my hardware. tl;dr Install lighttpd, write 2-line configuration file, run lighttpd; on client, configure pkg to use what lighttpd serves.

  • Intel Already Started Working On Linux Driver Code For Lunar Lake - Phoronix

    While Intel 11th Gen Rocket Lake desktop processors are launching this month, Intel's open-source Linux driver developers known for their punctual support are already preparing early code around their 14th Gen "Lunar Lake" platform. Intel's punctual open-source/Linux support across desktop, mobile, and server platforms is one of the strong selling points for those preferring to use something on their PC besides Windows (Intel normally also does more for BSD/FreeBSD than other vendors as well). A year ago Intel began upstreaming their Rocket Lake Linux enablement code and that was quickly followed by Alder Lake, which we'll hopefully see launch before the end of the calendar year. Towards the end of 2020 Intel open-source developers were already working on the initial support around Meteor Lake while now as we end Q1'2021, there are patches beginning to surface for Lunar Lake, the successor to Meteor Lake and what will be Intel's 14th Gen client processors.

Free Software Leftovers

  • The Brave Browser Will Launch Its Own Search Engine

    Google is so synonymous with searching the Internet that it’s become a verb. There are other companies and some browsers that have developed their own search engines, but none of them have really been able to compete. The company behind the Brave browser intends to change that. It’s launching the Brave search engine. [...] Eich says Brave Search already has a waitlist for its launch in the first half of 2021 and vows not to track or profile users. “Brave already has a default anonymous user model with no data collection at all,” boasts the Brave founder. The search engine will do the same – IP addresses will not be collected. His company is exploring how to have both a paid no-ads search engine and a free one supported by ads.

  • Trying Brave Browser. Will it win me over?

    So many people have suggested that I try Brave instead of Firefox. So here's my trying it out. Will it earn my undying affection as it has so many others?

  • MIT/GNU Scheme version 11.2 is released

    This includes a bunch of bug fixes to 11.1, but is otherwise the same. Download from the usual place.

  • LibreOffice QA/Dev Report: February 2021
  • NGI POINTER offers funding for internet/web architects

    The NGI POINTER organization, which is funded by the European Commission, has put out its second open call for providing development/research funding; the first open call was in April 2020. This time around, the organization is looking for individuals or projects that are working on "changing the Internet and Web with European Values at its core". The goal is to "support promising bottom-up projects that are able to build, on top of state-of-the-art research, scalable protocols and tools to assist in the practical transition or migration to new or updated technologies, whilst keeping European Values at the core". Those interested may want to look at some of the previously funded projects; more information can also be found in the Work Programme [PDF].

  • How Open Source Makes SAP More Manageable [Ed: SUSE now doing shameless openwashing of proprietary software of SAP]

    SAP continues to help drive the digital transformation of tens of thousands of companies of all sizes and sectors. In fact, SAP software touches nearly every aspect of how modern businesses are run. And with continued improvements to the platform, SAP is helping businesses to constantly move forward, to make them more capable, powerful, and agile.

Programming Leftovers

  • Fedora Magazine: How to use Poetry to manage your Python projects on Fedora

    Python developers often create a new virtual environment to separate project dependencies and then manage them with tools such as pip, pipenv, etc. Poetry is a tool for simplifying dependency management and packaging in Python. This post will show you how to use Poetry to manage your Python projects on Fedora. Unlike other tools, Poetry uses only a single configuration file for dependency management, packaging, and publishing. This eliminates the need for different files such as Pipfile, MANIFEST.in, setup.py, etc. It is also faster than using multiple tools. Detailed below is a brief overview of commands used when getting started with Poetry.

  • Rakudo Weekly News: 2021.10 Automated Star

    Patrick Spek has announced the release of the Rakudo Star 2021.02.1 package (based on the 2021.02.1 Rakudo Compiler release). This is the first time this has happened using a Github Action workflow. Binary releases are not yet available: like everything in the Raku Programming Language, it is the work of volunteers. To create MacOS and Windows installable packages, a volunteer is needed to create the Github Actions workflow for MacOS and/or Windows! The advantage being that this way, you would only need to do this once instead of for each release! So please, stand up if you have the know-how and time to do it!

  • Git Reset to Remote Head – How to Reset a Remote Branch to Origin

    Branching is a core concept in Git. It can help you set up a distributed workflow for team collaboration and makes your development process more efficient. When you're using version control and you're distributing features across branches, there's a lot of communication between your local computer and your online repository on GitHub. During this process, you might need to reset back to the project's original copy. If resetting a branch scares you, then don't worry – this article will introduce you to remote branches, remote head, and how you can easily reset a remote branch to remote head.

  • Sparse Arrays vs Dense Arrays in JavaScript — Explained with Examples

    I had a really interesting bug recently that, at first glance, completely stumped me.

  • Ravgeet Dhillon: Turn a Google Sheet into a REST API

    What if we can use our Google Sheets as a CMS? What if we want the data in our Google Sheet to be publicly available. This can be done easily using Google Sheets and Google Apps Script. In this blog, we will take a look at how we can convert a Google Sheet into a REST API and access it publicly from any app we want. [...] Let us send a GET request to our published Web App using Postman. The path for the GET request would be our Web App’s URL and query parameter path set to our Google Sheet’s name.

  • Use Scheme functional programming language with LambdaChip Alonzo STM32 board

    Most MCU-based embedded systems come with firmware programmed with assembler, C, and/or C++. But as referenced in a paper published in 2000 entitled ” Point of view: Lisp as an alternative to Java“, functional programming languages like Lisp or Scheme may lead to shorter development times compared to C/C++ or Java. That’s with this idea in mind that LambdaChip was created. It is a lightweight, open-source virtual machine designed to run on embedded systems with limited resources, for instance, an 80MHz microcontroller with 50KB RAM, and programmable with Scheme multi-paradigm programming language, a dialect of Lisp widely used for functional programming research and teaching. The company behind the project, also called LambdaChip, has just created its own hardware with LambdaChip Alonzo, an STM32 Cortex-M4 development board with 512KB flash, 128KB RAM, and that also comes with Bluetooth LE connectivity.

  • What’s coming in Java 16

    Java 16 is scheduled to be released on March 16. Here is a look at what changes you can expect in the release. JEP 338: Vector API (Incubator) This Java Enhancement Proposal (JEP) will provide an initial iteration of an incubator module that can express vector calculations that are compiled at runtime. This module will be clear and concise, platform agnostic, have reliable runtime compilation and performance on x64 and AArch64 architectures, and offer graceful degradation when a vector computation cannot be fully expressed, the OpenJDK team explained.

  • 10 questions for modernizing your old Java applications

    I recently open sourced an application modernization sample, which demonstrates how to modernize an old (2010) Java EE application to become a modern (2021) cloud-native application.