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KDE

Kubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver - Long-term uncertainty

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KDE
Reviews

The day of reckoning is upon us. Kubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver has been released, and with five years of promised support, it's potentially a great candidate for a production desktop setup. The emphasis is on the adverb used in the previous sentence, as we know how fickle and erratic and regressive Linux distros can be.

But I am genuinely intrigued. I may want this in my production setup. After all, Kubuntu Zesty was the ultimate Plasma release, the best Kubuntu ever, and among the finest Linux systems released in the past decade, and it spiked my interest and desire to deploy Plasma on my serious big-boy machines. With such gentle expectations, let us commence.

[...]

First impressions are everything. I remember trying Trusty, and instantly I knew, this was going to be my LTS darling. I don't feel that way about Kubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver. Let's start with the good things: decent app set, good performance, excellent fonts, multimedia and smartphone support, solid and slick Plasma desktop. Were this the focus on my review, we'd be celebrating with champagne now.

Alas, there were issues. Various cosmetic ones, which Plasma needs to fix, but I can sort of ignore those. The package manager is useless. Samba connectivity, a thousand unicorns died from misery over this. And worst of all, desktop crashes and freezes. That has no place in an LTS edition. That's pure amateurism. That's so bad there are no words to describe it. Yes, the memory-eating bug in Baloo will be fixed, blah blah, but the emotional scars cannot be healed with makeup and fake smiles.

Bottom line, I was expecting zero issues. I got more than a fair share of crap. In two months, this will most likely be a usable distro, perhaps much more so than most other LTS-like candidates, maybe, but for now, it's just an average offering from the forges of mediocrity and apathy. And it highlights the cardinal issue with Linux since day one. Dev-centric development, done in isolation and with no validation. Well, there you go. My first take on Beaver KDE. I will also run an in-vivo upgrade to see what gives, and follow up in a few weeks once the turds are polished. You should check it, but please rein in your colts of enthusiasm. 5/10. For now, Trusty stays.

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8 KDE Plasma Irritations

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KDE

If you think that I am ungratefully complaining, think again. So far as I am concerned, Plasma is the most advanced desktop available on any platform. I only have to compare it to Cinnamon, an admirable desktop in its own right with its own reputation for innovation, to see how far ahead Plasma is.

In fact, that may be the problem. Over the years, Plasma has outgrown other annoyances, such as dumping new features into an Advanced tab while developers figured where the features belonged, and produced a desktop whose advantages are so obvious that the problems are emphasized, too.

To me, it seems that the greatest challenges currently facing Plasma developers is to think through some of their innovations, and to adjust existing tools or add new ones that will allow users to take full of advantage of what the desktop has to offer. If they begin such tasks, then Plasma will start to realize its full potential.

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KDE Development Reports

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KDE
  • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 16: new lock and login screens

    Get ready for a Usability & Productivity avalanche! There’s so much to announce this week that I’m breaking it up into two posts! I’m super excited to announce that in addition to the normal stream of little quality-of-life improvements, a major and long-simmering change has landed: we’ve overhauled the lock and login screens to provide better usability and aesthetics, and more features!

  • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 16: everything else
  • GSoC' 2018: I am in Smile

    Wooo... I am accepted as a GSoC student this year to hack on Falkon. Currently Falkon supports extensions but in C++ and Python. My project is to implement JavaScript/QML extension support for Falkon so that its both easy to develop and distribute.

Elisa music player – Fur Elise

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KDE
Reviews

Elisa is an early beginning of something that might one day transpire into a good, meaningful, exciting project. Or become yet another pile of code created without a greater strategic imperative aimed at satisfying a primal need. At the moment, it’s a bit early to tell, but the initial showing is just okay. Reasonable looks, reasonable behavior, some bugs, and simple functionality that is neither here nor there. I would like to see more. Better yet, I’d like to see something new and unique.

In other words, think, what would make you switch? What would make you abandon your current music player and opt for Elisa as your primary choice? And what does it have that we haven’t already seen or tried in dozens of other players? At the moment, not much. True, another effort does not hurt anyone, and why not. But then, why not is not the foundation on which greatness is built. Plasma is taking off, and recently, it’s become more robust, more consistent, more professional. All and every future effort needs to align to this core mission, and Elisa should follow suit. This beginning ain’t bad, but I want more. Worth testing, just don’t expect any miracles.

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KDE's Kdenlive Sprint and GNOME's GUADEC Needs Talks

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KDE
GNOME
  • Kdenlive sprint news #1

    Part of the Kdenlive team is currently meeting in Paris at the La cité des sciences e de l’industrie to improve the project. We’ve tackled several goals, starting with being together. The magic of this kind of project leads to situations where we work together without meeting each other. Thus, we were able to live, share and especially spend good times to work together in a good mood. It was also useful for making important decisions after rich and lively discussions, exchanging varied points of view related to our respective experiences. Expect big changes very soon. Do you want to know more? Come join us at our new Telegram group!

  • Submit your talk for GUADEC!

    GUADEC 2018 is taking place in Almerîa, Spain this year and now is the time to submit your proposals! The submission deadline for talk submissions is tomorrow, on the 29th April.

Software/KDE/GNOME: Atelier/AtCore, Pitivi, Unite Extension, and GNOME at FOSS North

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KDE
Software
GNOME
  • Atelier/AtCore First Brainstorm

    I’m here today to invite you to participate in Atelier/AtCore first Brainstorm. But why are we going to do a brainstorm in the first place?

    Since July/2016 we’ve been working on AtCore, adding features and tools to help us on development. On 20th of January of 2018, we did our first tagging of the project and launched AtCore 1.0. Since then, more than 100 commits were already added to AtCore, including new features.

  • Dropping support for non-square pixels in Pitivi

    GStreamer Editing Services (GES), the library used by Pitivi for video processing, is very flexible and allows using videos of any video format in the same project. However, normally, in a “pro” setup, most video editing applications are very strict about the formats they accept as input, so Pitivi and GES were a bit unconventional with the “anything goes” approach.

  • Make Gnome Shell More Like Unity With Unite Extension

    Users coming to Ubuntu 18.04 from 16.04 with Unity might find it easier to switch (or at least feel more "at home") to Gnome Shell with the use of an extension called Unite.

  • GNOME at FOSS North

    FOSS North is a nordic free software conference happening annually in Gothenburg, Sweden. I have attended most of them since it started. It is no more than a ferry ride away from me and I also enjoy the conference size. Bastien and Kat coordinated that the event box was sent to my address in good time. Additionally, Nuritzi and Carlos sent additional GNOME stickers which I packed down along with some 20 pairs of GNOME Socks in various sizes.

KDE at FOSS-North and Cutelyst 2.2.0 Release

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KDE
  • KDE at FOSS-North

    Over the weekend, while some KDE people were in Toulouse improving Akonadi, and other KDE people were in Berlin improving Plasma, I was in Goteborg at FOSS-North showing off some KDE things.

    Anyone who saw our FOSDEM booth knows the setup. We still had the same blue table (thanks, Sune) and selection of low-power ARM blinkenlights, the Pine64 and a Pinebook. I still think that “hey, Plasma runs fine on an overpowered x86 laptop” is not particularly interesting, but that “the past six months have seen serious work on reducing Plasma’s resource usage aimed specifically at this kind of device” is. Different from FOSDEM is that I could now run one of the just-released Netrunner images for the Pinebook.

  • Cutelyst 2.2.0 is out

    Thanks to the release of Virtlyst – a web manager for virtual machines, several bugs were found and fixed in Cutelyst, the most important one in this release is the WebSockets implementation that broke due the addition of HTTP/2 to cutelyst-wsgi2.

    Fixing this was quite interesting as when I fixed the issue the first time, it started to make deleteLater() calls on null objects which didn’t crash but since Qt warn’s you about that it was hurting performance. Then I fixed the deleteLater() calls and WebSockets broke again

KDE: Plasma Widgets, PIM Update and More

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KDE
  • 3 Students Accepted for Google Summer of Code 2018

    Since 2006, we have had the opportunity for Google to sponsor students to help out with Krita. For 2018 we have 3 talented students working over the summer. Over the next few months they will be getting more familiar with the Krita code base and working on their projects. They will be blogging about their experience and what they are learning along the way. We will be sure to share any progress or information along the way.

    Here is a summary of their projects and what they hope to achieve.

  • Plasma widgets – Beltway Bandit Unlimited

    The concept of addons is an interesting one. At some point over the past decade or two, companies developing (successful) software realized that bundling an ever-growing code base into their products in order to meet the spiraling tower of requests from their users would result in unsustainable bloat and complexity that would not warrant the new functionality. And so, the idea of addons was born.

    Addons come in many flavors – extensions, plugins, applets, scripts, and of course, widgets. A large number of popular programs have incorporated them, and when done with style, the extra functionality becomes as important as the core application itself. Examples that come to mind: Firefox, Notepad++, VLC, Blender. And then, there’s the Plasma desktop environment. Since inception, KDE has prided itself on offering complete solutions, and the last incarnation of its UI framework is no different. Which begs the question, what, how and why would anyone need Plasma widgets? We explore.

    [...]

    Conclusion

    A good mean needs no seasoning, indeed. And Plasma is a proof of that, with the widgets the best example. Remarkably, this desktop environment manages to juggle the million different usage needs and create a balanced compromise that offers pretty much everything without over-simplifying the usage in any particular category. It’s a really amazing achievement, because normally, the sum of all requests is a boring, useless muddle.

    Plasma’s default showing is rich, layered, complex yet accessible, and consistent. And that means it does not really need any widgets. This shows. The extras are largely redundant, with some brilliant occasional usage models here and there, but nothing drastic or critical that you don’t get out of the box. This makes Plasma different from most other addons-blessed frameworks, as they do significantly benefit from the extras, and in some cases, the extensions and plugins are critical in supplementing the missing basics.

    And so, if you wonder, whether you’ll embark on a wonderful journey of discovery and fun with Plasma widgets, the answer is no. Plasma offers 99% of everything you may need right there, and the extras are more to keep people busy rather than give you anything cardinal. After all, if it’s missing, it should be an integral part of the desktop environment, and the KDE folks know this. So if you’re disappointed with this article, don’t be. It means the baseline is solid, and that’s where you journey of wonders and adventure should and will be focused. 

  • My KDE PIM Update

    This blog post is long overdue, but now that I’m back home from the KDE PIM Sprint in Toulouse, which took place last weekend, there’s some more news to report.

  • KDAB at QtDay 2018

    QtDay is the yearly Italian conference about Qt and Qt-related technologies. Its 2018 edition (the seventh so far!) will be once more in the beautiful city of Florence, on May 23 and 24. And, once more, KDAB will be there.

  • Google Summer of Code 2018 with KDE

    It’s been 2 days since the GSoC accepted student list was announced and I’m still getting goosebumps thinking about the moment I saw my name on the website.

    I started contributing to open source after attending a GSoC session in our college by one of our senior and a previous GSoC student with KDE: Aroonav Mishra. I was very inspired by the program and that defined the turning point of my life.

    [...]

    Then I came across GCompris and it caught my eye. I started contributing to it and the mentors are really very helpful and supportive. They always guided me whenever I needed any help  or was stuck at anything. Under their guidance, I learnt many things during the period of my contributions. I had never thought I would get this far.

Exploring Contributors Centrality Over Time

Filed under
Development
KDE

At the end of my previous post we concluded with yet another question. Indeed, on the 2017 KDEPIM contributor network we found out that Christian Mollekopf while being a very consistent committer didn't appear as centrality as we would expect. Yet from the topology he seemed to act as a bridge between the core contributors and contributors with a very low centrality. This time we'll try to look into this and figure out what might be going on.

My first attempt at this was to try to look into the contributor network on a different time period and see how it goes. If we take two snapshots of the network for the two semesters of 2017, how would it look? Well, easy to do with my current scripts so let's see!

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KDE: Elisa 0.1.1, KDE Plasma 5.13 and More

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KDE
  • 0.1.1 Release of Elisa

    The Elisa team is happy to announce the first bug fix release for the 0.1 version.

  • KDE Plasma 5.13 Is Making Great Improvements On Its Wayland Support

    KDE Plasma 5.13 that is due for release in June will have a great number of improvements to its Wayland support for allowing the KDE Plasma desktop to work much better on this alternative to the X.Org Server.

    KDE developer Roman Gilg has provided a nice summary of some of the Wayland improvements in the queue for the Plasma 5.13.0 release due out towards the middle of June.

  • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 15

    I’ve initiated a big project: overhauling KDE Open & Save dialogs for greater usability and productivity.

  • Latte bug fix release v0.7.5

    Latte Dock v0.7.5   has been released containing important fixes and improvements! Hopefullly this is going to be the last stable version for v0.7.x family. During the next months the next stable branch (v0.8.x) is going to appear.

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More in Tux Machines

Graphics: XWayland, Ozone-GBM, Freedreno, X.Org, RadeonSI

  • The Latest Batch Of XWayland / EGLStream Improvements Merged
    While the initial EGLStreams-based support for using the NVIDIA proprietary driver with XWayland was merged for the recent X.Org Server 1.20 release, the next xorg-server release will feature more improvements.
  • Making Use Of Chrome's Ozone-GBM Intel Graphics Support On The Linux Desktop
    Intel open-source developer Joone Hur has provided a guide about using the Chrome OS graphics stack on Intel-based Linux desktop systems. In particular, using the Chrome OS graphics stack on the Linux desktop is primarily about using the Ozone-GBM back-end to Ozone that allows for direct interaction with Intel DRM/KMS support and evdev for input.
  • Freedreno Reaches OpenGL ES 3.1 Support, Not Far From OpenGL 3.3
    The Freedreno Gallium3D driver now supports all extensions required by OpenGL ES 3.1 and is also quite close to supporting desktop OpenGL 3.3.
  • X.Org Is Looking For A North American Host For XDC2019
    If software development isn't your forte but are looking to help out a leading open-source project while logistics and hospitality are where you excel, the X.Org Foundation is soliciting bids for the XDC2019 conference. The X.Org Foundation is looking for proposals where in North America that the annual X.Org Developers' Conference should be hosted in 2019. This year it's being hosted in Spain and with the usual rotation it means that in 2019 they will jump back over the pond.
  • RadeonSI Compatibility Profile Is Close To OpenGL 4.4 Support
    It was just a few days ago that the OpenGL compatibility profile support in Mesa reached OpenGL 3.3 compliance for RadeonSI while now thanks to the latest batch of patches from one of the Valve Linux developers, it's soon going to hit OpenGL 4.4. Legendary open-source graphics driver contributor Timothy Arceri at Valve has posted 11 more patches for advancing RadeonSI's OpenGL compatibility profile support, the alternative context to the OpenGL core profile that allows mixing in deprecated OpenGL functionality. The GL compatibility profile mode is generally used by long-standing workstation software and also a small subset of Linux games.

Software, KDE and GNOME Leftovers

  • Drawing Feynman Diagrams for Fun and Profit with JaxoDraw
    When first developed, theoretical physics was mostly done either with pen and paper or on a chalkboard. Not much thought was given as to how you could render these drawings within a document being written on a computer. JaxoDraw is meant to help fill in that gap in document layout and provide the ability to render these drawings correctly and give output you can use in your own documents. JaxoDraw is written in Java, so it should run under almost any operating system. Unfortunately, it isn't likely to be in the package repository for most distributions, so you'll need to download it from the project's website. But, because it's packaged as a jar file, it's relatively easy to run.
  • Kodi v18 Leia - Alpha 2
    We have been relatively quiet for a while and several months have past since the first pre-release Alpha build. Today we present you the second official Alpha build in this pre-release trilogy. It is a continuation of the first one which was released beginning of March and contains our continous battle against the dark side that consist of bugs and usability problems.
  • Kodi 18 Alpha 2 Released With Stability & Usability Improvements + New Wayland Code
    It's been a few months since the Kodi 18 Alpha while available today is the second alpha release of this major update to the open-source, cross-platform HTPC software. Kodi developers have been spending the past few months working on a range of stability and usability enhancements to this software formerly known as XBMC. Kodi 18's latest additions include live TV viewing improvements, Windows support improvements, continued Android integration enhancements, re-introducing Wayland protocol support, video player enhancements, and more.
  • LibreOffice color selector as GTK widgets
    Here's what the native GTK widget mode for the color picker looks like at the moment under Wayland. A GtkMenuButton displaying a color preview of the currently selected color and a GtkPopover containing the color selection widgetry.
  • TenFourFox FPR8 available
    TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 8 final is now available (downloads, hashes, release notes). There are no changes from the beta except for outstanding security patches. As usual, it will go live Monday night, assuming no changes.
KDE:
  • Latte Dock, Beta 1 for v0.8 (v0.7.95)
    Hello everyone Latte Dock v0.7.95 which is the first beta of v0.8 is here. Latte v0.8 is a huge release and one of its main goals is to make the user feel with it very natural and comfortable. [...] Important for contributors: Beta1 will last 10 days, during these days translators will be able to report string improvements at bugs.kde.org. English isnt my native language, (proof reading / simpler expanations) might be necessary. When Beta2 is released around 3 to 5 July the string freeze will take place. Beta2 period will last 10 more days. So v0.8 is scheduled for 13 to 15 Jully. During all these days improvements and fixes can be landed through review process at kde phabricator.
  • Musing About Communities Size And Activity
    If you remember my previous installment I raised a couple more questions which I pointed out as tougher to address and I'd keep on the side for a while. Well, I decided to look at something simpler in the meantime... which unexpectedly took more time than expected. First I thought I'd try to reproduce the cohesion graph from Paul's Akademy 2014 talk... but it looks like we have a reproducibility issue on that one. However hard I try I don't manage to reproduce it. What I get is very different, so either there's a bug in my tentative script or there was a bug in Paul's script or somehow the input data is different. So one more mysteries to explore, I'm at a loss about what's going on with that one so far.
  • Second Post and First Weekly
    Because of the last one, I have been refactoring related code in the last month. The refactoring is generally completed, with KisDlgInternalColorSelector being the last dependency that haven’t been moved to enable KisPaletteView to be used everywhere needed.
GNOME:
  • Ubuntu Developers Working On Improvements To GNOME Software Store
    Canonical/Ubuntu developers are working on improvements to the GNOME Software "app store" and recently held an in-person design sprint along with one upstream GNOME developer for coming up with improvements. The Ubuntu developers working on improvements to GNOME Software were joined by prolific GNOME contributor Richard Hughes for brainstorming improvements to better GNOME Software over the months to come.
  • App Launching From GNOME Shell Now More Robust Under Memory Pressure & Faster
    Right now on systems with low amounts of available system memory, GNOME Shell can sometimes fail to launch applications due to an error over not being able to allocate memory in the fork process. With the latest rounds of Glib optimizations, this should no longer be the case.
  • GNOME Web Browser is Adding a Reader Mode
    An experimental reader mode will ship in the next version of GNOME Web, aka Epiphany. The feature is already available to try in the latest development builds of the GTK Webkit-based web browser, released this week as part of the GNOME 3.29.3 milestone.

today's howtos

Wine 3.11 Released and Turok Remastered Roars on to Linux

  • Wine Announcement
    The Wine development release 3.11 is now available.
  • Wine 3.11 Brings Debugging Support For WoW64 Processes, Better Reporting Of HT CPUs
    Wine 3.11 is now available as the newest bi-weekly development release of this software for running Windows programs/games/applications on Linux and other operating systems. With Wine 3.11 there is better debugger support for WoW64 (Windows 32-bit on Windows 64-bit) processes, support for SHA256/SHA384 hashes inside ECDSA signatures, better reporting of virtual CPU cores via Hyper Threading / SMT, improvements to the standard Task Dialog, and a total of 12 known bug fixes.
  • Turok Remastered Roars on to Linux
    A remastered version of ‘Turok: Dinosaur Hunter’ has arrived on Linux. The game first found fame on the Nintendo 64 back way back in 1997, where it helped define the fledgling first-person shooter genre for an entire generation of gamers. Now a high-definition, remastered port is available to play on Linux, having stomped its way on to the Xbox One in May,