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Best KDE/Plasma distro of 2016

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GNU
KDE
Linux

The end is near. I mean, 2016 has less than a month left on its credit. We should now step back and contemplate. Which distribution merits our highest regard, most excitement, best praise, prolonged use? However, before we can declare the final result, we need to do it step by step. First, Plasma.

Overall, Year 2016 was a fairly tough one for us Linux users. Whether you like it or not, Ubuntu plays a very big part in how the world of distros turns. The pendulum of fortune sways heavily toward the gravitational pull of what Canonical does, and when Ubuntu mis-delivers, a large number of other distributions suffers for it, both directly as they be based on Ubuntu, and also indirectly, through the erosion of hope and good karma. Still, despite these challenges, we can sift through all the trouble and search for the nuggets of happiness. The desktop environment candidate for this article is Plasma, and to some extent, KDE.

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KDE Leftovers

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KDE
  • 7 Things to do After Installing KDE Plasma

    Even for other Linux users, KDE Plasma can seem like a different operating system. Except for a few standards like LibreOffice, the apps are different, and so is the design philosophy, which tends to cram in every possible feature. As a result, once they install, users are likely to wonder what to do next.

  • KDE Framworks 5 Content Snap Techno

    In the previous post on Snapping KDE Applications we looked at the high-level implication and use of the KDE Frameworks 5 content snap to snapcraft snap bundles for binary distribution. Today I want to get a bit more technical and look at the actual building and inner workings of the content snap itself.

    The KDE Frameworks 5 snap is a content snap. Content snaps are really just ordinary snaps that define a content interface. Namely, they expose part or all of their file tree for use by another snap but otherwise can be regular snaps and have their own applications etc.

    KDE Frameworks 5’s snap is special in terms of size and scope. The whole set of KDE Frameworks 5, combined with Qt 5, combined with a large chunk of the graphic stack that is not part of the ubuntu-core snap. All in all just for the Qt5 and KF5 parts we are talking about close to 100 distinct source tarballs that need building to compose the full frameworks stack. KDE is in the fortunate position of already having builds of all these available through KDE neon. This allows us to simply repack existing work into the content snap. This is for the most part just as good as doing everything from scratch, but has the advantage of saving both maintenance effort and build resources.

  • Calligra 3.0 Is Ready As A Qt5 / KDE Frameworks 5 Office Suite

    It's been quite a while since last having anything to report on the KDE Calligra open-source graphics/office suite while surprisingly this morning it was pleasant to see Calligra 3.0 tagged for release.

  • KDE Applications 16.12 Up to Release Candidate State, Final Arrives December 15

    The KDE development team was proud to announce the availability of the Release Candidate (RC) build of the upcoming KDE Applications 16.12 software suite for the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment.

    Work on KDE Applications 16.12 started about a month ago, on November 10, when the third and last maintenance update of the current stable KDE Applications 16.08 release was announced, marking the end of life of the series. Until today, KDE Applications 16.12 received a Beta development version, tagged as build 16.11.80, and now we're seeing the Release Candidate, tagged as build 16.11.90.

KDE Leftovers

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KDE

KDevelop 5.0.3 released

Filed under
KDE

Today, we are happy to announce the release of KDevelop 5.0.3, the third bugfix and stabilization release for KDevelop 5.0. An upgrade to 5.0.3 is strongly recommended to all users of 5.0.0, 5.0.1 or 5.0.2.

Together with the source code, we again provide a prebuilt one-file-executable for 64-bit Linux, as well as binary installers for 32- and 64-bit Microsoft Windows. You can find them on our download page.

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Qt Creator 4.2 RC1 released

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KDE

We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.2 RC1.

Since the release of the Beta, we’ve been busy with polishing things and fixing bugs. Just to name a few:

We fixed that the run button could spuriously stay disabled after parsing QMake projects.
Qt Creator is no longer blocked while the iOS Simulator is starting up.
We added preliminary support for MSVC2017 (based on its RC).

For an overview of the new features in 4.2 please head over to the Beta release blog post. See our change log for a more detailed view on what has changed.

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Also: Qt Creator 4.2 RC1 Released

KDE Leftovers

Filed under
KDE
  • Chakra GNU/Linux Users Get KDE Plasma 5.8.4, Apps 16.08.3, and Frameworks 5.28.0

    On November 27, 2016, Chakra GNU/Linux developer Neofytos Kolokotronis informs the community about the availability of a set of new software updates for the rolling distro originally based on Arch Linux.

    A week ago, we reported on the availability of the cups 2.1.4-3 and pepperflashplugin 23.0.0.207-1 packages in the Chakra GNU/Linux repositories, which required manual intervention from the user. And, after some issues with their hosting provider, the promised KDE goodies are finally here, along with numerous other updates.

  • Google Code-in begins soon; KDE mentors welcome students

    The KDE community will once more be participating in Google Code-in, which pairs KDE mentors with students beween the ages of 13 and 18 to work on tasks which both help the KDE community and teach the students how to contribute to free and open source projects. Not only coding, but also documentation and training, outreach and research, quality assurance and user interface tasks will be offered.

  • KDE Developer Guide needs a new home and some fresh content

    As I just posted in the Mission Forum, our KDE Developer Guide needs a new home. Currently it is "not found" where it is supposed to be.

    We had great luck using markdown files in git for the chapters of the Frameworks Cookbook, so the Devel Guide should be stored and developed in a like manner. I've been reading about Sphinx lately as a way to write documentation, which is another possibility. Kubuntu uses Sphinx for docs.

    In any case, I do not have the time or skills to get, restructure and re-place this handy guide for our GSoC students and other new KDE contributors.

KDE Leftovers

Filed under
KDE
  • Gwenview Importer is back

    I spent some time over the last weeks to port Gwenview Importer to KDE Frameworks 5, as I was getting frustrated with importing pictures by hand. It's a straight port: no new features.

    Here is a screenshot after I filled my SD Card with random pictures of my daughter and cat for the purpose of illustrating this blog post Smile

  • Time to craft

    It's time for KDE Emerge to emerge as Craft.

    After many years of being the KDE Windows build tool we want to make KDE Emerge more visible and a tool for all developers.

    People associate Emerge with Gentoo, and they are right about it. This was a problem for many years now.

    For that reason Emerge will be called Craft from now on.

  • Functional reactive programming at Meeting C++

    There were couple of really nice talks – some less technical like the one from Jon Kalb of CppCon to the low level ones like the Rainer’s talk about the memory model of C++. Also, seing Bjarne Stroustrup in-person was a pleasure.

  • New Supernovae Data Source in KStars!

    The initial support for Supernovae in KStars was added back in 2011, but it relied on parsing an HTML page using a Python script to extract the necessary information on the latest discovered supernovae. It was obviously a very crude and hackish way to get the data, and I longed to rely on a better source for our data.

    The Harvard page we were relying on for supernovae updates suddenly stopped posting any further updates, its last update was made in 2015. Thankfully, we discovered a new gold trove of information: The Open Supernovae Catalog project!

  • Watching org.libelektra with Qt

    libelektra is a configuration library and tools set. It provides very many capabilities. Here I’d like to show how to observe data model changes from key/value manipulations outside of the actual application inside a user desktop. libelektra broadcasts changes as D-Bus messages. The Oyranos projects will use this method to sync the settings views of GUI’s, like qcmsevents, Synnefo and KDE’s KolorManager with libOyranos and it’s CLI tools in the next release.

  • Windows installer for Kate 16.08.3 KF5.28
  • Welcome new Kubuntu Members

    Friday November 18 was a productive day for the Kubuntu Community, as three new people were questioned and then elected into Membership. Welcome Simon Quigley, José Manuel Santamaría, and Walter Lapchynski as they package, work on our tooling, promote Kubuntu and help users.

  • Testing the untestable

    Admit it: how many times you have seen “software from this branch is completely untested, use it at your own risk” when you checked the latest code from any FOSS project? I bet you have, many times. For any reasonably modern project, this is not entirely true: Continuous Integration and automated testing are a huge help in ensuring that the code builds and at least does what it is supposed to do. KDE is no exception to this, thanks to build.kde.org and a growing number of unit tests.

  • From window killing to screenshot

    Last week I concentrated most of my development work on screenshot support through spectacle in a KWin Wayland session. Now I am happy to announce that we merged support for capturing a screenshot of a window with the help of an external application like spectacle.

    To explain why this is a great achievement we first need to look at X11. On X11 taking a screenshot of a window is easy. It’s part of the X protocol to read the pixmap data of the root window and you get the position and size of each window. Thus one is able to cut out the window and have it as a screenshot. That’s the most simple variant to do it, spectacle and previously ksnapshot do it differently. More on that later on.

  • New features in Ark 16.12

    Ark, the file archiver and compressor developed by KDE, has seen a lot of development for the upcoming 16.12 release. This blog post provides a summary of the most important changes.

KDE Plasma 5.8.4 LTS Desktop Environment Released for Linux with More Bug Fixes

Filed under
KDE
Security

Today, November 22, 2016, KDE announced the release of the fourth maintenance update to the long-term supported KDE Plasma 5.8 desktop environment for Linux-based operating systems.

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KDE Leftovers

Filed under
KDE
  • fill bug reports!

    Everything starts with a good idea or a bug report. Someone asked for an app icon for claws mail (https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=371914) and Jens Reuterberg make one. As I don’t think that every application need an breeze specific app icon, I’m look more for a consistent look of the applications so I made an claws breeze icon theme. You can download the icon pack from the claws webpage and dont’t forget to give me feedback cause I don’t use claws.

  • Cutelyst benchmarks on TechEmpower round 13

    Right on my first blog post about Cutelyst users asked me about more “realistic” benchmarks and mentioned TechEmpower benchmarks. Though it was a sort of easy task to build the tests at that time it didn’t seem to be useful to waste time as Cutelyst was moving target.

  • KDE Applications 16.12 branches created
  • KSyntaxHighlighting – A new Syntax Highlighting Framework

    This year, on March 31st, KDE’s advanced text editor Kate had its 15th birthday. 15 years are a long time in the software world, and during this time Kate won the hearts of many users and developers. As text editing component, Kate uses the KTextEditor framework, which is used also by applications such as KDevelop or Kile.

    The KTextEditor framework essentially is an embeddable text editing component. It ships everything from painting the line numbers, the background color, the text lines with syntax highlighting, the blinking cursor to code completion and many more features. One major feature is its very powerful syntax highlighting engine, enabling us to properly highlight around 275 languages.

    Each syntax highlighting is defined in terms of an xml file (many examples), as described in Kate’s documentation. These xml files are read by KTextEditor and the context based highlighting rules in these files are then used to highlight the file contents.

  • KStars 2.7.2 for Windows is released

    Less than a month from the release 2.7.0, KStars v2.7.2 for Windows 64bit is now available for download on KStars website! Get it now and give it a go.

  • Multiple notifications across multiple monitors in KDE Plasma 5?

    I have 3 monitors, and on each monitor, I have a Plasma panel at the bottom. When any notification pops up, I get 3 notifications on each monitor. I have a full fledged panel on each monitor with everything including task bar and system tray.

  • Interview with Katharina

    I love the professionality of Krita. It really does not need to hide behind the big guys in business. You can use your photoshop or whatever brushes and formats and many more, there is no “Meh, that brush is not made by us, you can’t use it!“. The user interface is smart and chic, the brushes work smooth and I never had any problems with my hardware. It simply combines everything I need, without the need to check a manual too often. It feels effortless to use it! And also it is nice to find other Krita artists randomly on the internet, it is always a nice way to start a conversation.

  • Wiki(1.0), what’s going on? (Part17)
  • Minuet in KDE Applications 16.12: code convergence, tablet UX and Windows release

    Yesterday was the feature freeze for KDE Applications 16.12 and that's the time where you look forward for all the new awesome features will land at users devices at 15th December. As for the Minuet land, I'd like to disappointingly let you know no new features are coming but that doesn't mean things are not progressing. After some days of quite intense work ‒ trying to find some spare time between daily job, my fluffy 10 month old baby <3, and the work on the KDE e.V. board ‒ I'm right now enjoying some booze while writing these words about recent advances in Minuet.

Kubuntu 16.10 Yakkety Yak - Cautiously good?

Filed under
KDE
Reviews

Let us draw the verdict. It's a strange one. Oddly, this is probably the best Kubuntu that I've tested in a long time. Sadly, that's like saying losing one finger in a freak chainsaw accident is better than losing two fingers. Not the best measure stick. Not something to be proud of. There are many, many problems in Yakkety Yak Plasma, including but not limited to the application stack, stability, performance, package management, and the ability to customize. That's not a happy list.

Brave face on, we also have a lot of goodies to focus on. A very decent - and FIRST for Plasma - smartphone support stack and multimedia playback as they should be. Lots of old bugs have been fixed. If only we had Samba printing support out of the box, and the network card driver was given a little bit of love, this might be a reasonable distro.

Kubuntu 16.10 Yakkety Yak is nothing to be proud of, but it is an okay Plasma release that has redeemed a whole generation of failed distributions in the past year or so. It's funny how it's gone from being my favorite to a pariah, and now it's slowly recovering. Such a waste of effort. And why? There was really no need for this whole regression saga. Anyhow, the road to success is still a long and perilous one. It will take a lot more before Kubuntu becomes a recommended household item again. But at the very least, 16.10 is showing a little of that promise. 7/10, if I'm being generous, more like 6/10, but you might want to give it a spin and see what gives. QED.

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