Today, Akademy 2014 kicked off hard. As always, there is a lot of excitement. The first Akademy day is always overwhelming. Meeting old friends, making new ones, learning new things and sharing what you know. To keep things a simpler, we started this year with a single track in the morning, with two tracks in the afternoon. With all attendees in one room listening to 10 minute fast track presentations, there are plenty of topics to talk about during the breaks.
Yesterday KDE contributors from around the world arrived in Brno for Akademy, our annual meeting. Over the next week, we will share ideas, discover common problems and their solutions, and rekindle offline friendships for another year. We have traveled from around the world to work on free software in the spirit of community and cooperation. This year we can celebrate the success of the last 12 months when we released major new versions of our platform—KDE Frameworks—and our desktop—Plasma 5. This work has been well received by the press and our community of users, but we know there is much more to do to keep KDE Software relevant for the years to come in a world where desktops are only one way of using computer software. We'll be discussing and planning how to make the best desktop software for Linux and how to expand to new platforms.
Some sources rate us as the largest FOSS community. This can be seen as success. This achievement can have hidden dangers, however. When Catmull ran into trouble, in spite of his 'open door' management style, he found that the good stuff was hiding the bad stuff.... When downsides coexist with upsides, as they often do, people are reluctant to explore what's bugging them for fear of being labeled complainers.[p. 63] This is really dangerous. Those downsides are poison, and they must be exposed to the light, dealt with, fixed, or they will destroy a community or a part of a community. On the upside, the KDE community created the Community Working Group (CWG), and empowered us to do our job properly. On the downside, often people hide their misgivings, their irritations, their fears, until they explode. Not only does such an explosion shock the people surrounding the damage, but it shocks the person exploding as well. And afterwards, the most we can do is often damage control, rather than helping the team grow healthier, and find more creative ways to deal with those downsides.
My overall conclusion with Netrunner Rolling is that there is no better Arch platformed Linux distro with KDE as the default environment out there. It just works. It gets out of the way and it gives the end user a clean, crisp and efficient desktop right out of the gate. You don’t have to know binary to get it installed, updated, and running. You don’t have to sacrifice a goat to Cthulhu (I’ve heard that comes later?) to have a pleasing KDE experience for your desktop. I keep saying this, but it just works.
I found it really odd that I hadn’t heard very much about Netrunner in the past but I readily admit that I hadn’t kept up with KDE based distributions in the past few years due to my fascination with Openbox. Netrunner has won me over though…I will definitely be paying attention to this fine distribution in the future as it has taken its place as the top KDE distribution I’ve ever tried. I hope you’ll give it a try in the future (if you haven’t already) and kudos the developers and community of Netrunner.
The introduction of the new Breeze icon set in KDE let us again wonder, what aspects of an icon set actually takes what impact on the usability of it. We investigated Oxygen and Tango Icons for the LibreOffice project before, but our focus then was on checking all icons of the standard tool bar. This time we focus on different icon sets and will use 13 common actions to compare them.
With this series we are going to test at least 10 different free icon sets: Breeze, Oxygen, Tango, Faenza, Nuvola, Nitrux, Elementary, Crystal Project, Humanity and Treepata. These icon sets differ on various aspects: use of color and details, flat or not and sometimes even on the metaphor used.
Akademy is a non-commercial event, free of charge for all who want to attend. Generous sponsor support helps make Akademy possible. Most of the Akademy budget goes towards travel support for KDE community members from all over the world, contributors who would not be able to attend the conference otherwise. The wide diversity of attendees is essential to the success of the annual in-person Akademy conference. Many thanks to Akademy 2014 sponsors.
Desktops on Linux. They’re a concept completely alien to users of other operating systems because they never having to think about them. Desktops must feel like the abstract idea of time to the Amondawa tribe, a thought that doesn’t have any use until you’re in a different environment. But here it is – on Linux you don’t have to use the graphical environment lurking beneath your mouse cursor. You can change it for something completely different. If you don’t like windows, switch to xmonad. If you like full-screen apps, try Gnome. And if you’re after the most powerful and configurable point-and-click desktop, there’s KDE.
KDE is wonderful, as they all are in their own way. But in our opinion, KDE in particular suffers from poor default configuration and a rather allusive learning curve. This is doubly frustrating, firstly because it has been quietly growing more brilliant over the last couple of years, and secondly, because KDE should be the first choice for users unhappy with their old desktop – in particular, Windows 8 users pining for an interface that makes sense.
But fear not. We’re going to use a decade’s worth of KDE firefighting to bring you the definitive guide to making KDE look good and function slightly more like how you might expect it to. We’re not going to look at KDE’s applications, other than perhaps Dolphin; we’re instead going to look at the functionality in the desktop environment itself. And while our guinea pig distribution is going to be Mageia, this guide will be equally applicable to any recent KDE desktop running from almost any distribution, so don’t let the default Mageia background put you off.
I meant to write a post about the upcoming Akademy for a while now. Since I submitted quite a few sessions (obviously requiring preparation) and I had to prepare for the KDE Frameworks BoF, I never quite found the time... until now! I'm all done! Actually I just have to pack my bags and hit the road at that point. It's probably the first Akademy where I'm ready four days before the first flight of my journey.