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David Edmundson Improving KDE Plasma and GNOME's Tobias Mueller Speaks in ARES 2019

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KDE
GNOME
  • Improving Plasma’s Rendering (Part 1/2)

    Many parts of Plasma are powered by QtQuick, an easy to use API to render shapes/text/buttons etc.
    QtQuick contains a rendering engine powered by OpenGL making full use of the graphics card keeping our drawing super fast, super lightweight and in general amazing…when things work.

  • Tobias Mueller: Talking at ARES 2019 in Canterbury, UK

    The opening keynote was given by Alistair MacWilson from Bletchley Park. Yeah, the same Bletchley Park which Alan Turing worked at. He talked about the importance of academia in closing the cybersecurity talent gap. He said that the deficit of people knowing anything about cybersecurity skills is 3.3M with 380k alone in Europe, but APAC being desperately short of 2.1M professionals. All that is good news for us youngsters in the business, but not so good, he said, if you rely on the security of your IT infrastructure… It’s not getting any better, he said, considering that the number of connected devices and the complexity of our infrastructure is rising. You might think, he said, that highly technical skills are required to perform cybersecurity tasks. But he mentioned that 88% of the security problems that the global 5000 companies have stem from human factors. Inadequate and unfocussed training paired with insufficient resources contribute to that problem, he said. So if you don’t get continuous training then you will fall behind with your skill-set.

    There were many remarkable talks and the papers can be found online; albeit behind a paywall. But I expect SciHub to have copies and authors to be willing to share their work if you ask. Anyway, one talk I remember was about delivering Value Added Services to electric vehicle charging. They said that it is currently not very attractive for commercial operators to provide charging stations, because the margin is low. Hence, additional monetisation in form of Value Added Services (VAS) could be added. They were thinking of updating the software of the vehicle while it is charging. I am not convinced that updating the car’s firmware makes a good VAS but I’m not an economist and what do I know about the world of electric vehicles. Anyway, their proposal to add VAS to the communication protocol might be justified, but their scenario of delivering software updates over that channel seems like a lost opportunity to me. Software updates are currently the most successful approach to protecting users, so it seems warranted to have an update protocol rather than a VAS protocol for electric vehicles.

KDE's KWin To Still Pursue X11 Composite Unredirect, More Wayland Improvements

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Graphics/Benchmarks
KDE

KDE developer Roman Gilg attended the X.Org Developer's Conference last week in Montreal. At XDC2019 he provided the X11/Wayland developers with an overview of KWin's architecture as both an X11 window manager and Wayland compositor along with talking of some of the future plans.

Recent and ongoing work covered includes the night color support for KWin on X11, simplifying the X11 compositor and GLX back-end, redesigning the output management code, and internal clients going through KWin's own QPA. But where the most exciting work is happens to be out in the future work.

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Akademy 2019 in Milan

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KDE

Last month I attended KDE’s annual gathering Akademy, which took place at the University of Bicocca in Milan, Italy. Never before had I been to an Akademy where I was interested in so many workshops and discussions that I hardly wrote any actual code.

[...]

There were so many interesting BoF sessions this year that I had to actually schedule where to go well in advance. Starting off the week early in the morning was a planning session on KDE Frameworks 6, where we came up with a giant work board of things to do. See David’s email for all details. Later that day I attended sessions on Snapcraft (we’re “all about the apps”, after all), openQA, GitLab, and KDE neon.

Tuesday morning I scheduled a BoF on notifications. It was a brainstorming session on how to improve notifications both for application developers and end users. The main focus was how to make the history more useful, what ways there are for applications to manage their notifications properly anytime, no matter if it is currently shown in a popup or two pages down the history. Also, we did some planning for a KNotificationV2 class with fewer dependencies, first-class QML bindings, and proper platform backends for Android, Windows, macOS, etc. See the meeting notes for more information.

The Plasma BoF afterwards was mainly about Wayland (screen rotation, window thumbnails, virtual keyboard improvements, stability), theming, System Settings reorganization, and Plasma Mobile. Following the successful Plasma 5.12 LTS and based on distro feedback we decided that Plasma 5.18 will be another LTS release. Check out the meeting notes, too.

Traditionally Wednesday afternoon is when Akademy attendees venture out explore the area they all traveled to. This year’s day trip went to the North to Varenna near Lake Como, where we hiked up to Vezio Castle, and took the ferry to the other side of the lake. Of course, with sunny weather and beautiful landscape around, we just had to take a swim in the lake.

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Akademy 2019: new goals, new board, new president

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KDE

As every year during Akademy we held the general assembly of KDE e.V. and elected new board members for the two open positions. I’m delighted to welcome Adriaan and Neofytos to the board.

After the election it was time to decide on the board positions. I have been on the board of KDE e.V. for 8 years now and the president for 5 years. Leading this organisation has been one of the most important things I have done so far and I believe I have made an impact. At the same time I am convinced that it is not healthy for an organisation to be lead by the same person for too long. That’s why at the start of my current term we discussed how we see the future of the organisation and our role in it. It was clear that Aleix has been doing invaluable work on the board as the vice president and would clearly be a good choice to lead the organisation in the future. We decided that we will have at least one year at the end of our current term where I will be on the board to support and advice and ensure a smooth transition for Aleix. This time has come now. I would like to ask you all welcome Aleix as the new president of KDE e.V. and provide him with all the support he needs. I am looking forward to working with our new Board and see where we will take KDE e.V. together in the next years.

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This week in KDE: apps, apps apps!

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KDE

It’s been a big week for Dolphin with some new features, plus various improvements for other apps. Among them, KDE developer Christoph Cullmann went on a High DPI rampage and and fixed visual glitches in Kate and Okular on Windows when using a High DPI scale factor, and made great progress towards fixing the infamous line glitches in Konsole when using fractional scaling. Though still not quite perfect, it’s much better now.

Beyond that, a bunch of great things are in development which I can’t announce yet, but I guarantee that you’ll like them once they land in the coming weeks!

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Also: KDE Kicked Off October With Dolphin Improvements, Continued HiDPI Work

KDE and GNOME/GTK Development

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KDE
GNOME
  • Recently Used ioslave

    With D7446 landing, the new ioslave recentlyused:/ ioslave will become user visible with KDE Frameworks 5.63. This differential revision adds two entries "Recent Files" and "Recent Locations" to the place panel (in dolphin and open/save dialogs)

    It leverages the ioslave recentlyused:/ introduced in D22144, allowing to access KActivity data. KActivity is the service that provides "recent" elements to kickoff menu and is activity aware as the name suggests.

    [...]

    When working on this new feature, It was a great time to improve KActivity. So I allowed KActivity to ingest data from gtk applications in differential D23112.

    I want to thank Ivan Lukić for building KActivity service and library and reviewing most of this work. And I want to thank all the other reviewers involved.

  • Incremental present in GTK4

    When working with graphical applications, there are multiple constraints and techniques applied in order to reduce the number of pixels that are being uploaded to the GPU, swapped on screen, or being manipulated. Even with highly optimized GPUs, the massive number of pixels we have to deal with (a 1080p monitor, for example, has 2 million pixels!) forces everyone to have some level of scrutiny.

    When it comes to Linux compositors and clients, a widely adopted technique is regional rendering. GTK tracks which parts of the window actually changed and only redraws that part; then sends this information to the compositor so that the compositor itself can redraw only the new contents of the window.

    Fortunately, the entire graphics stack is well optimized for doing that! When using EGL, we can use eglSwapBuffersWithDamageEXT(), which receives a list of rectangles representing the parts of the window that changed. Mutter also uses a similar API after compositing the desktop.

  • GTK4 Now Allows More Efficient Usage With Its Vulkan Renderer

    This week the GTK 4.0 development code picked up support for making use of the VK_KHR_incremental_present extension with its Vulkan renderer in order to allow much more efficient behavior.

    VK_KHR_incremental_present is akin to EGL's eglSwapBuffersWithDamageEXT behavior in being able to specify changed regions of the display for updating, rather than resorting to updating the entire screen. Up to now, each time the entire contents of the GTK4 windows when rendered via their new Vulkan renderer would be updated.

Krita 4.2.7 Released

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KDE
Software

Today, we’re releasing the sixth bug fix release of Krita 4.2. As discussed in our development update, we intend to release a few more monthly 4.2 bug fix releases before releasing Krita 4.3. There are a lot of bug fixes!

And to celebrate the release, we have a new video by Ramon Miranda which comes with a very nice present: a free new bundle of six sketching brush presets!

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Also: Fall Season

Planet KDE and GNOME

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KDE
GNOME
  • The Planet is on Reddit

    For many years planet.kde.org was the goto page for news around KDE. This is still the case nowadays - many KDE contributors have their blog synchronized to talk about all sorts of KDE related cool stuff.

    However, what changed significantly is how these blogs are discussed afterwards.

    In the old days each blog typically had its own comment section. Nowadays, blogs may still have this comment section, but most of the time the blogs are discussed in the respective reddit subgroup. For instance, a popular subreddit is reddit/r/kde. There, you can find many KDE developers as well as many KDE users, giving direct feedback, asking questions, sometimes mentioning bug reports. While KDE of course has a dedicated bug tracker bugzilla that should be used, discussing a bug or wish on reddit often reaches a broader audience, putting some focus on specific bugs.

  • GUADEC 2019

    Meeting my fellow GNOMies is something I look forward to every year. For eight years now I have traveled to participate in GUADEC and returned home with my head thinking of next year’s edition of the conference.

    This year, I was busy with lots of activities, but still, I managed to chill with the friends I work with online throughout the whole year. Putting faces into new names is also something very pleasant in these opportunities.

    In the pre-registration party, I hosted a “Newcomers dinner“. Not many people could attend because of their personal travel plans, but those that participated were excited about being at the conference and getting to know so many cool people.

    Besides that, it was the first GUADEC that we had a trained Code of Conduct Incident Response Team. We did an extensive training workshop with Otter Tech. Highly recommended!

    Right at the first talks day, I hosted the interns’ lightning talks, that thanks to the amazing local team, are recorded and available online. The audience (and myself) were enthusiastic about hearing from the interns. After a few years of organizing these activities, I can still remember myself being an intern and giving my lightning talk back in 2012. Time flies!

  • VDA 0.90 Beta 1 Released

    Vala Data Access library has reached a 0.90 Beta 1 release.

    VDA provides a set of interfaces to wraps database connection, execution of SQL commands and access to returned values of the queries. Read the previous introduction post.

  • Ismael Olea: A new time and life next steps

    Since the beginning of my career in 1998 I’ve been related with Linux and opensource in me or other way. From sysadmin I grow to distro making, hardware certification and finally consulting, plus some other added skills. Parallel I developed a personal career in libre software communities and got the privilege to give lots of talks particularly in Spain and Ibero-America. That was a big time. All this stopped in 2011 with the combination of the big economic crisis in Spain and a personal psychological situation. All lead me to go back from Madrid to my home city, Almería, to look for health recovering. Now, after several years here I’m ready to take a new step and reboot my career.

    Not all this time has been wasted. I dedicated lots of hours to a new project which in several senses has been the inverse of the typical practices in opensource communities. Indeed, I’ve tried to apply most of them but instead in the world-wide Internet now with a 100% hyper-local focus. This mean working in the context of a medium-small city (less than 200k inhabitants) with intensive in-person meetings and Internet communications support. Not all the results has been as successful as I pretended, probably because I kept very big expectations; as Antonio Gramsci said «I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will» Smile The effort was developed in what we named HackLab Almería and some time ago I wrote a recap about my experience. To me was both an experiment and a recovering therapy.

Test Plasma 5.17 Beta

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KDE

Plasma 5.17 Beta is out for testing and it needs you to give it a try. Do the panels show up where they should? Can you control your media players from the task manager? Do the obscure plasmoids you like still work? Download the KDE neon Testing edition ISO now to give it a try.

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Kube 0.8.0 is out!

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KDE

After a waaaaaay to long “break” I have finally tagged another release.

The largest change in this release is the addition of the calendar view, which is not only useful, but also marks an important milestone in our development roadmap; We finally have all the pieces together from a technology perspective.

The work done so far solves most of the important challenges, but there are also definitely a couple of holes in it still, such as no drag and drop support.

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Debian reconsiders init-system diversity

The immediate motivation for a reconsideration would appear to be the proposed addition of elogind, a standalone fork of the systemd-logind daemon, to Debian. Elogind would provide support for systemd's D-Bus-based login mechanism — needed to support small projects like the GNOME desktop — without the need for systemd itself. The addition of elogind has been controversial; it is a difficult package to integrate for a number of reasons. Much of the discussion has evidently been carried out away from the mailing lists, but some context on the problem can be found in this bug report. In short: merging elogind appears to be complex enough that it would be hard to justify in the absence of a strong commitment to the support of non-systemd init systems. It seems possible that this commitment no longer exists across the distribution as a whole; the purpose of a general resolution would be to determine whether that is the case or not. Read more

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What you need to know about burnout in open source communities

Earlier this year, I was burned out. Coincidentally, at the time, I was also researching the subject of burnout. It's taken some time for me to take what I researched and experienced and put it into words. Recently, the International Classification of Diseases classified burnout as an occupational phenomenon. It defines burnout as a "syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed." Read more

Raspberry Pi 4: Chronicling the Desktop Experience – Web Browsing – Week 4

This is a weekly blog about the Raspberry Pi 4 (“RPI4”), the latest product in the popular Raspberry Pi range of computers. This week’s blog focuses on an absolutely essential desktop activity. Surfing the web. A web browser is the quintessential desktop application. Everyone needs one, and there is not a desktop Linux distribution around that does not make a web browser available. For Linux, there’s a web browser for every need. There’s heavyweight browsers jammed with a large feature set with addons and extensions. Then there’s leaner web browsers which still offer an attractive graphical interface. And there’s lightweight browsers including console based web browsers too. Read more