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

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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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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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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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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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KStars v3.5.2 is released

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KStars v3.5.2 is is released on March 1st, 2021 for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. This release incorporates significant improvements to Ekos Polar Alignment Tool in addition to supporting manual rotations in the Alignment Module.

Brodrick Bassham added a manual rotation dialog to the Alignment module in Ekos for Load & Slew. Now users without motorized rotators can adjust their camera manually in order to achieve the desired frame orientation. Check the video below for a demonstration of this feature.

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KDE’s Plasma Mobile Gets Improved Homescreen and Settings, Lots of App Updates

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KDE

In February 2021, Plasma Mobile received an improved homescreen to make the drawer behave as an applications list, an initial implementation of horizontal pages for widgets and apps, as well as support for those who want to create new custom launchers.

The revamped homescreen is pretty neat and you can check it out in action on PINE64’s PinePhone Linux phone in the video below, courtesy of Plasma Mobile developer Marco Martin who did all the awesome work.

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Review: Artix Linux in 2021

Artix Linux is a fork (or continuation as an autonomous project) of the Arch-OpenRC and Manjaro-OpenRC projects. Artix Linux offers a lightweight, rolling-release operating system featuring alternative init software options, including OpenRC, runit, and s6. The distribution is available in many editions, including Base, Cinnamon, LXDE, LXQt, MATE, KDE Plasma and Xfce. With all of the desktop options, combined with the available init choices, there are 21 editions, not including community spins from which to choose. All editions appear to be built for 64-bit (x86_64) machines. Picking randomly, I selected Artix's Plasma edition featuring the runit init software. The download for this edition is is 1.3GB. Browsing the other editions it looks like most flavours are about 1.1GB to 1.3GB in size, though the minimal Base edition is a compact 618MB. The project's live media boots to the KDE Plasma desktop. On the desktop we find multiple documentation and README icons. There is also an icon for launching the system installer. The default layout places a panel at bottom of the screen where we can find the application menu and system tray. The default wallpaper is a soft blue while the theme for windows and menus is dark with high contrast fonts. [...] Artix Linux is one of those distributions I really enjoy using and yet struggle to review in a meaningful way because it doesn't really go out of its way to introduce new or exciting features and everything works smoothly. The distribution is wonderfully easy to install, offers top-notch performance, and is unusually light on resources. Artix is somewhat minimal, but still ships enough software to be immediately useful right out of the gate. We can browse the web, install packages, view files, and play videos. Meanwhile the application menu isn't cluttered with a lot of extras. The developers clearly expect us to install the functionality we need, while doing a really good job of providing enough for the desktop environment to feel base-line useful right from the start. Artix does a nice job of balancing performance and functionality while also juggling ease of use against not getting in the way. There is a little documentation, but no initial welcome screen or configuration wizards that might distract the user. The one piece I felt was missing was a graphical package manager which would have made it easier to build the extra functionality I wanted on top of the base distribution. However, that one piece aside, I felt as though Artix was really well designed and put together, at lease for someone like me. It's not a distribution geared toward beginners, it's not a "first distro". It is a bit minimal and requires command line knowledge. However, for someone with a little experience with Linux, for someone who doesn't mind the occasional trip to the command line or installing new applications as needed, then Artix provides an excellent experience. It's fast, light, looks (in my opinion) great with the default theme, and elegantly walks the line between minimalism and having enough applications ready to go out of the box to be immediately useful. I'm unusually impressed with how smooth and trouble-free my experience was with this distribution and the fact it offers such a range of desktop and init diversity is all the more appealing. Read more

Alpine Linux Review: Ultimate Distro for Power Users

Alpine Linux is gathering a lot of attention because of its super-small size and focus on security. However, Alpine is different from some of the other lightweight distros we covered on FOSSLinux. It isn’t your typical desktop distribution as it is terminal-based like Arch and is marketed as a “general purpose distro.” It is currently widely adopted as a Docker container thanks to its ultra-small footprint. However, it can be used for all sorts of Linux deployments that benefit from small, resource-efficient Linux distros. Now, that statement might feel too generic. But don’t worry, as we have put together an in-depth and comprehensive review of Alpine Linux, giving you a detailed look at what it has under the hood and how to use it. As such, by the end, you should have a clear understanding of whether you should consider Alpine Linux as your next Linux distro. So without further ado, let’s dive in. Read more

Programming Leftovers

  • How to manipulate strings in bash

    Without explicit support for variable types, all bash variables are by default treated as character strings. Therefore more often than not, you need to manipulate string variables in various fashions while working on your bash script. Unless you are well-versed in this department, you may end up constantly coming back to Google and searching for tips and examples to handle your specific use case. In the spirit of saving your time and thus boosting your productivity in shell scripting, I compile in this tutorial a comprehensive list of useful string manipulation tips for bash scripting. Where possible I will try to use bash's built-in mechanisms (e.g., parameter expansion) to manipulate strings instead of invoking external tools such as awk, sed or grep. If you find any missing tips, feel free to suggest it in the comment. I will be happy to incorporate it in the article.

  • Python Generators

    Python generators are very powerful for handling operations which require large amount of memory.

  • We got lucky

    If you’re having enough production incidents to be able to evaluate your preparation, you’re probably either unlucky or unprepared ;) If you have infrequent incidents you may be well prepared but it’s hard to tell. Chaos engineering experiments are a great way to test your preparation, and practice incident response in a less stressful context. It may seem like a huge leap from your current level of preparation to running automated chaos monkeys in production, but you don’t need to go straight there. Why not start with practice drills? You could have a game host who comes up with a failure scenario. You can work up to chaos in production.

  • React Testing Library – Tutorial with JavaScript Code Examples

    This post will help you to learn what React Testing Library is, and how you can use it to test your React application. This tutorial will assume you already know some basic JavaScript and understand the basics of how React works. React Testing Library is a testing utility tool that's built to test the actual DOM tree rendered by React on the browser. The goal of the library is to help you write tests that resembles how a user would use your application, so that you'll have more confidence that your application work as intended when a real user do use it.

  • Why I Moved From Ops to DevOps (and why you might want to)