• Akademy 2018 - Vienna, Austria - 11-17 August (KDE)

    Vienna Calling! This is not only a song by the famous austrian singer Falco, but could also the motto for next years Akademy.

    In 2018 Akademy will be held at the University of Technology (TU Wien) in Vienna, Austria, from Saturday 11th to Friday 17th August.

    The conference is expected to draw hundreds of attendees from the global KDE Community to discuss and plan the future of the Community and its technology. Many participants from the broad free and open source software community, local organizations and software companies will also attend.

    Akademy 2018 is being organized together with Fachschaft Informatik (FSINF). Apart from representing and counseling computer science students, they engage in diverse political topics e.g. FOSS, Privacy and social justice.

    Akademy 2018 Program

    Akademy 2018 will start with a 2-day conference on Sat 11th of August & Sunday 12th of August, followed by 5 days of workshops, Birds of a Feather (BoF) and coding sessions.

    Vienna and Akademy

    Vienna, the capital of Austria, has around 1.8 million inhabitants. It is located in the middle of Central Europe, next to the river Danube. With it's rich history, ranging from Roman times via being the capital city of the Habsburg Empire to being a modern city, rated Number one in diverse studies on quality of living.

    TU Wien and Akademy

    Almost all buildings of TU Wien are very close to the city center. From the venue a 10 minute walk will bring you directly to the inner city. With a total of around 30000 students, 6000 are studying Computer Science at TU Wien.

    About Akademy

    For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest free and open software communities in the world—works on-line by email, IRC, forums and mailing lists. Akademy provides all KDE contributors the opportunity to meet in person to foster social bonds, work on concrete technology issues, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work bringing those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, and those that are looking for opportunities. For more information, please contact The Akademy Team.

    Akademy 2017, Almería

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  • 2017 KDE Edu Sprint (KDE)

    Members of the KDE Edu team at this year's
    From left to right: Albert Astals (Ktuberling),
    Filipe Saraiva (Cantor),
    Mirko Boehm (Endocode),
    Aleix Pol (KAlgebra), David Narvaez (Kig),
    Sandro Andrade (Minuet),
    Timothée Giet (GCompris),
    Rishabh Gupta (Gcompris, Cantor), and
    Sanjiban Bairagya (Marble).

    Between the 7th and 9th October the KDE Edu team met in the Endocode offices in Berlin to work on and plan KDE's educational software.

    We split up the work into three general areas: organization, infrastructure and coding.

    The KDE Edu team is diverse in that there are different people interested in different tools. A sprint such as this one is the ideal meeting place to work on making sure that we are headed in the same direction. We discussed the website and how we present our projects to the outside world. We also covered improvements to our usage of Phabricator and our roles on the different goals we set for ourselves. We wanted to make sure all our members are aware and on board with them.

    One of the interesting perks of having your project in KDE, besides meeting amazing teams such as ours, is that we can provide you with tools that will benefit the rest of KDE software. You can find educational software users on every platform, and we don't want to leave anyone behind. That's why we spent some time figuring out how to make sure our applications would also reach Windows and Android in the best of conditions. We also looked into our Flatpak packages to discover what the showstoppers are and to make improvements. At some point we will be able to offer fresh and stable versions of our software right into everybody's device.

    And of course, we coded. Meetings are great for discussions, but it's also nice to be able to sit with your friends, in front of a laptop with a warm coffee, and start looking into the issues that have been holding us back. We pushed improvements for Cantor and its integration with several languages, we released a new version of KTuberling for Android, and a new GCompris version for classrooms. We worked on Marble's routing features and got Minuet running on Windows.

    All in all, the sprint helped us push forward and overcome some crucial roadblocks. Now the apps in KDE Edu are better than ever.

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  • Canonical joins GNOME Foundation Advisory Board (GNOME)
    ORINDA, CA – November 1st, 2017 – The GNOME Foundation is pleased to announce that Canonical, creator of the Ubuntu operating system, has joined the GNOME Foundation advisory board. The Advisory Board is a body of stakeholder organizations and companies who support the GNOME Project by providing funding and expert consultation. The board includes Google, […]
  • Private Internet Access becomes a KDE Patron (KDE)

    Private Internet Access is joining KDE as a Patron and pledges to support the work of KDE e.V. through the corporate membership program.

    "We are very happy to have the Private Internet Access/London Trust Media as a KDE Patron and KDE e.V. Advisory Board member. The values of Internet openness are deeply rooted in both organisations, as well as those of privacy and security. Working together will allow us to build better systems and a better Internet for everyone", said Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Vice-President of the KDE e.V.

    "Private Internet Access is highly committed to giving back to those communities that have helped the brand and its parent company get to where it is today, and we are very much aware that vast proportions of the infrastructure we use on a daily basis, in the office and at home, is powered by Free and Open Source Software. We have made a pledge to show our gratitude by supporting FOSS projects to help encourage development and growth. We are proud to be supporting KDE and the crucial work that the project does for the Linux Desktop" said Christel Dahlskjear, Director of Sponsorships and Events at Private Internet Access.

    Private Internet Access provides VPN services specializing in secure, encrypted VPN tunnels. Those tunnels create several layers of privacy and security for a more effective safety for users on the Internet. Private Internet Access's VPN Service is backed by multiple gateways worldwide, with VPN Tunnel access in 25+ countries and 37+ regions.

    Private Internet Access will join KDE's other Patrons: The Qt Company, SUSE, Google, Blue Systems and Canonical to continue supporting Free Software and KDE development through the KDE e.V.

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  • KDE Powers up the Qt World Summit (KDE)

    The motto of our space at QtWS this year has been "Power up!". We put it into practice in more than one way and in the most literal of senses.

    First we designed our allocated space so that attendees could come, sit and relax, and recover their energies. We made sure there was ample sitting space with comfy cushions in an open and informal atmosphere.

    Team KDE.

    We also wanted to make it easy for visitors to power up their devices, so we placed plugs and USB charging stations all over our booth. Our visitors came, sat, chatted, re-charged their bodies, minds and devices, while at the same time finding out why KDE is the driving force behind many a software project. This turned out to be winning idea. A lot of people came by the "Power up!" space, and the buzz gave us the chance to demonstrate exactly how KDE could also power up their software and hardware projects. Many still perceive KDE exclusively as the creator of a desktop, but, at the ripe age of twenty, KDE is much more than that.

    Visitors could power up
    in more ways than one.

    Twenty years of development means that KDE has made many different kinds of software. Primary device UI, end-user apps, communication apps, business apps, content creation apps, mobile apps, and on and on. This means we have had to solve many problems and create many libraries in the process. Our libraries complement Qt and are very easy to use by any Qt-based application. Many have few or no dependencies aside from Qt itself. These libraries are free to use and licensed in a way that is compatible even with commercial apps. They also run on many different platforms.

    To leverage all the libraries and frameworks we have created, we have also built many development tools, including a full IDE that supports both static and dynamic languages (KDevelop), an advanced editor especially designed for developers (Kate), debugging tools (Kdbg, Massif Visualizer), etc. They all support Qt and C++ and again run on a variety of platforms.

    Plasma Mobile running on
    Nexus 5x at QtWS 2017.

    Our most valuable asset is our community. The KDE community is the real power behind KDE's projects. The community fosters personal and professional development, helping programmers become better Qt developers in a welcoming environment. Also, just by contributing to KDE, you get to help us decide where we should take our projects next and help us keep KDE code up-to-date and secure.

    To prove our point, we had on display two examples of how KDE powers much more than desktop devices. We showed off the Pinebook running Plasma Desktop. The Pinebook is a low-cost ultra-netbook (only $99 for the 14'' version) built around the Pine, an ARM-based 64 bit single board computer -- similar to a the Raspberry Pi, but more powerful. The Pinebook is not only a good example of a cheap machine you can take anywhere, but also of how KDE technologies can provide a full-fledged working environment on all sorts of devices.

    To drive the matter home even more, visitors were also able to play with Plasma Mobile, our environment for smartphones. Plasma Mobile has been in the news recently thanks to the fact that Purism, manufacturers of high-end laptops that come with Linux pre-installed, and KDE have agreed to work together on the Librem 5, an open and privacy-respecting smartphone. As the Librem 5 hasn't been built yet, at QtWS 2017 we showed how Plasma Mobile works fine on an off-the-shelf device; in this case, a Nexus 5x. Plasma Mobile running on an actual device is living and breathing proof of the power KDE delivers to developers.

    Thanks to Halium, for example, you can sit different graphical environments (including Plasma Mobile) on top of an Android base, and Halium will manage communication between the graphical environment and the kernel. Then we have Kirigami, a framework that helps developers create apps that will work within all sorts of environments, not only on the Plasma Desktop. With Kirigami, you can deliver apps to the two Plasmas, Desktop and Mobile, Windows, MacOS X, Android, and iOS.

    These powerful technologies are developed and maintained by KDE, and are examples of how KDE can power up your projects.

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  • GNOME Foundation partners with Purism to support its efforts to build the Librem 5 smartphone (GNOME)
    Orinda, CA/San Francisco, September 19, 2017 – The GNOME Foundation has provided their endorsement and support of Purism’s efforts to build the Librem 5, which if successful will be the world’s first free and open smartphone with end-to-end encryption and enhanced user protections. The Librem 5 is a hardware platform the Foundation is interested in […]
  • Plasma Mobile and Purism's Librem 5 Free Smartphone (KDE)

    Artist's impression of what Plasma Mobile
    would look like on the Librem 5.

    "This was the plan all along", said Todd Weaver during a conference call we held with him last week. He was referring to building a free, open, and privacy-respecting smartphone.

    [Read the official press release here.]

    Purism, Todd's company, produces the Librem computers, laptops with components that, where possible, are guaranteed to be respectful of the user's privacy. Their covers sport two hardware kill-switches, for example. One shuts off the camera. The other closes down WiFi and Bluetooth.

    And, although not all components are open hardware,
    Purism is perfectly transparent about this, recognizes it's not ideal, and aims to replace them when it becomes possible. Purism's ultimate aim is to achieve what they call Purism Purist state, in which every single chip and board is totally free and open, with all the schematics published under a free licence.

    Naturally, the Librem laptops come with GNU/Linux pre-installed.

    Now, Purism has set its aims on the smartphone market. Unhappy with the dominance of a few gigantic (and gigantically powerful) multinational corporations that actively crush any competition and leech data from customers wholesale, Todd and his team are raising money to fund a phone that, like the Librem laptops, is as free and open as possible, and respects users' privacy.

    This aligns well with KDE's vision of what software should do for the users, and we are actively developing Plasma Mobile, which right now is at a stage where the platform actually works. It seemed logical that we should team up with Purism and work towards the common goal of creating a free and open, commercially viable smartphone.

    It is true that Purism has not committed to any given platform yet. What they have done is agreed to help KDE adapt Plasma Mobile to their device, and for that they are committing resources, human and otherwise.

    This is a win on both sides. KDE gets to try out Plasma Mobile on a device without having to go through all the guesswork of reverse engineering undocumented hardware. Purism gets to test-run Plasma Mobile on their device and help steer its development so it is fully supported. This gives Plasma Mobile a good chance of becoming the default interface for the Librem 5, although that decision is ultimately one Purism has to take.

    However, our first step is to help make the Librem 5 a reality. The success of the crowdfunding effort will be a net gain for the Free Software community regardless of which environment finally gets to run on the hardware.

    This is a step we cannot take alone. Support the crowdfunding campaign and you won't only help us succeed, but you can also become part of the project: donate now and you can get your hands on developer kits and early-bird devices!

  • GNOME 3.26 Released (GNOME)
    The GNOME Project is excited to announce the release of version 3.26, the latest version of GNOME 3. The new version is the result of six months’ hard work by the GNOME community, and comes packed with improvements and new features. Announcing the release, Matthias Clasen of the GNOME Release Team, said “We are happy […]
  • Public Money? Public Code! - Join the FSFE Campaign (KDE)

    Public institutions spend millions of Euros every year for the development of new software that is specifically tailored to their needs.

    Unfortunately, most of this software is closed source.

    This means that your tax money is being used to pay for software that cannot be modified or even studied. Most public institutions pay to develop programs that they do not or cannot release to the public. When other institutions need to solve similar problems, they have to develop the same software again. And each time the public - including you - has to foot the bill.

    Paying a company to provide closed software also leads to vendor lock-in. Vendor lock-in is when an institution contracts a certain provider and later discovers it is very hard to switch to another one.

    Companies with a stranglehold on an institution can artificially restrict usage and features of their products. They can forbid you to install their programs on more than a handful of computers, disable saving your work in a certain format, or hike the prices of licenses for no reason.

    The biggest problem, however, is the safety of your data.

    Closed software makes solving flaws especially hard and expensive. Even if you know how to solve its vulnerabilities, you would not be legally allowed to do so. Many branches of our public administration often have to keep running insecure software because they cannot afford to pay for the newer version.

    Furthermore, closed source providers often include in their software code that collects data they have no business in collecting. This data can end up in the power of foreign security agencies, sold to unscrupulous advertising companies, or worse.

    How can we put our trust in public bodies if they don't have full control over the software they are using?
    Shouldn't your money be used to develop software that benefits you and other citizens?

    The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) thinks it should - and we at KDE Community agree.

    That is why we are supporting the FSFE campaign called Public Money? Public Code!.
    The campaign proposes that all software financed with public money should be distributed as Free Software.

    Public Money? Public Code! from Free Software Foundation Europe on Vimeo.

    Although publishing/sharing publicly funded software under a free licence generates great benefits for governments and civil society, policy makers are still reluctant to move forward with decisive legislation. The purpose of this campaign is to convince them.


    With Free Software, independent researchers can report earlier on errors, before even miscreants can use them. Experts from anywhere can provide solutions for applications because they can study the code. They can also audit the software to eliminate backdoors or other malicious code.

    By using Free Software, citizens' data is kept safer and the chances of successful attacks from criminals goes down. Free Software can also be used as the foundation for better applications, building upon it to create more efficient and safer programs.

    In short, Free Software can help us build a better society for everyone.

    Join the Campaign!

    More than 30 organizations and individuals have already endorsed the campaign, including Edward Snowden, President of Freedom of the Press Foundation.

    You, too, can join the "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign. Sign the open letter that explains to politicians and policy makers why using public money to fund public code is a good idea. FSFE will send it to political representatives several times over the next months.

    You can also share the link to the campaign website on social media and online forums. Send it to your friends and coworkers, and encourage them to sign the open letter.

    Spread the word about the campaign by writing about it on your website, or by contacting the media in your country.

    Show that you care about the future of digital infrastructure, because you will be paying for it one way or another.

  • Randa Roundup - Part II (KDE)

    Marble, KDE's mapping app, will get
    better turn-by-turn navigation features.

    The last time we wrote about Randa Meetings 2017, preparations for the event were still in progress. The developer sprint is now in full swing. Everyone is settled in and ready to start improving, debugging and adding features to KDE's apps and frameworks. But what exactly will the developers work on during Randa 2017? Here are some more details.

    As you're probably already aware, the theme of Randa Meetings 2017 is accessibility. This doesn't include only desktop software, but also extends to mobile apps. Sanjiban Bairagya is working on the Marble Maps Android app, KDE's answer to Google Earth. His accessibility-related tasks include making the turn-by-turn navigation experience more visually intuitive in real-time. He will also be switching Marble to the Qt 5.8 Speech module instead of using Java for text-to-speech support in navigation. Another thing Sanjiban wants to do is find a way to let users add notes to any place on the map.

    Bhushan Shah will mostly focus on Plasma in all its shapes and sizes. During Randa 2017, he will work on making Plasma even better and snappier with Wayland, as well as on making PIM apps work better on Plasma Mobile.

    Plenty of new things are in store for digiKam. Simon Frei will work on improving the user interface, as well as the way digiKam handles metadata. Gilles Caulier will be busy with digiKam documentation and tools for exporting images to web services.

    Dan Vratil will be busy with KDE PIM and Akonadi. He plans to discuss accessibility in Kontact with other KDE PIM developers, and complete the process of porting all PIM code away from KDE4.

    You Can Be Part of Randa 2017, Too

    digiKam will have several developers working on it all at the
    same time.

    KDE software is developed every day by people from all around the world. For some of them, Randa Meetings are a unique, rare opportunity to finally meet other KDE developers in person. After many months, or sometimes even years, of communicating exclusively via email and IRC, the developers can sit down and work together on resolving the most pressing issues. Apart from writing code, they also discuss long-term goals and decide on the future of KDE projects.

    Even if you're not a developer, you can also participate in Randa Meetings 2017 by donating to our fundraiser. Donations are used to cover accommodation and travel costs, and to make sure the developers are not hungry and thirsty during the sprint. This is your chance to support Free and open source software, and to directly contribute to the KDE Community.

    Don't miss out!

  • KDE and Google Summer of Code 2017: Fun, Features, Bugs, Blogs (KDE)

    While you were enjoying your summer vacation, our Google Summer of Code (GSoC) students were working hard on their projects. They developed new features for KDE software, stomped bugs, wrote blog posts to report on their progress, and still managed to have fun while doing all that. With the final results announcement just around the corner, let's take a look at what the students accomplished in the past three months.

    This year, 24 students contributed to more than 20 KDE projects as part of GSoC. As you probably already know, GSoC is a yearly program organized by Google for students from all over the world. The aim of GSoC is to motivate young developers to join open source organizations, and those who successfully complete their project receive a stipend from Google.

    KDE has been participating in GSoC since the very beginning in 2005, and we're proud to say that many of our students remain active contributors and members of the KDE Community.

    If you haven't been following our GSoC students' blog updates (a mistake you can easily fix by subscribing to Planet KDE), here's a recap of their activities. Most, if not all of their work will show up as new and improved features in the upcoming versions of KDE software.

    More Power to the Creatives

    Digital artists will be happy to hear that Krita and digiKam received some power-ups from our GSoC 2017 students. Aniketh Girish improved the user interface of Krita's Resource Manager, making it easier to create and edit bundles. He also created a dialog that enables interaction and content exchange with the website.

    Krita's new content downloader.

    Alexey Kapustin worked on a touchy subject - implementing telemetry into Krita. Of course, this feature will be completely opt-in, and the information collected will help Krita developers understand the behavior and needs of their users.

    Grigory Tantsevov developed a watercolor brush engine that emulates the look and behavior of real watercolors, and Eliakin Costa worked on making Krita more scriptable to save time on repetitive actions.

    Choosing a face recognition algorithm in digiKam.

    Along the way, Eliakin also improved and developed several plugins, including the Document Tools Plugin, Ten Scripts Plugin, and the Last Documents Thumbnails Docker.

    Ahmed Fathy Shaban worked on implementing a DLNA server directly into the digiKam core, and Yingjie Liu achieved 99% face recognition accuracy in digiKam by adding new face recognition algorithms.

    Last but not least, Shaza Ismail Kaoud created a useful healing clone tool for digiKam. See the tool in action in this video clip.

    Boosting KDE Edu

    Applications for all levels of education, from preschool to PhD, received a boost from GSoC students. Thanks to Stefan Toncu, users of Minuet can now choose an instrument for exercise visualization, instead of always being stuck with the keyboard.

    GCompris Family activity.

    Divyam Madaan and Rudra Nil Basu added a bunch of activities to GCompris: Oware, Computer parts, Piano composition and note names, Pilot a Submarine, Family, and Digital Electronics.

    Deeper in the scientific territory, Rishabh Gupta ported the Lua, R, and Qalculate backends in Cantor to QProcess, and Fabian Kristof Szabolcs implemented support for live streaming data in LabPlot.

    Csaba Kertesz worked on modernizing the KStars codebase, and Cristian Baldi developed a responsive web app for WikiToLearn from scratch. His project also included building offline browsing right into the WikiToLearn website, and allowing Android users to install the website on their phone just like any other regular app.

    Kirigami Welcomes New Apps

    Speaking of mobile apps, Judit Bartha worked on the Android version of Marble Maps. Judit implemented bookmark management and redesigned the app to fit the Material Design guidelines using the Kirigami framework. Mohammed Nafees worked on extending Marble Maps to support indoor maps, such as building floor plans.

    Marble Maps for Android: old interface on the left, and the redesigned one on the right.

    Atul Sharma ported Koko, a simple image viewer, to Kirigami.

    Chatting Anywhere, Anytime

    Ruqola, the Qt-based client for Rocket.Chat.

    Chat applications keep multiplying, and users expect native clients for their Linux desktops. Vasudha Mathur developed Ruqola, the first generic cross-platform interface to Rocket.Chat. She used Kirigami and Qt technologies to shape the application for both desktop and mobile platforms.

    Davide Riva developed a protocol-independent chat bridge that supports IRC, Telegram, and Rocket.Chat, allowing for future expansions thanks to its modularity. The bridge is called Brooklyn, and it is already on its 0.2 release.

    Vijay Krishnavanshi and Paulo Lieuthier worked on Kopete. Vijay ported the remaining KDE4 parts of Kopete to KF5, and Paulo created a new plugin for chat history management.

    Making KDE Software Better

    Plenty of improvements have been implemented across the KDE applications ecosystem. Chinmoy Ranjan Pradhan worked on adding Polkit support to KIO, the system library used by KDE software to access and manage files. Polkit allows non-root users to perform file management operations that would usually require admin privileges. With this feature, opening Dolphin as root should finally become a thing of the past.

    Lukas Hetzenecker examined HiDPI rendering issues in KDE applications (Gwenview, Spectacle, Okular) and set out to fix them. Mikhail Ivchenko focused on KDevelop, and worked on stabilizing the support for the Go programming language.

    Looking Forward to Next Year

    Taking part in GSoC is a great opportunity for professional development. In addition to expanding their programming skills, the students earn valuable project management experience, as they are expected to plan and report on every step of their project.

    Despite all those benefits, GSoC is not always so peachy for everyone. Sometimes students encounter code-shattering bugs, or have to rewrite entire software components in another programming language. This is where the mentors step in. Mentors offer guidance when students get stuck, and provide advice in making key decisions. Without their support, GSoC wouldn't be so successful, so here's a big "thank you" to all our GSoC 2017 mentors!

    To all our students who passed the final evaluation: Congratulations! We're delighted to have been a part of this journey with you, and we hope you'll stick around in the KDE Community. And if you didn't pass, don't despair. We still greatly value your contribution and effort, and you're more than welcome to keep contributing to KDE.

    It's never too early to start preparing for the next Google Summer of Code. If you're a student interested in Free and open source software, join us today!

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  • Randa Roundup - Part I (KDE)

    Kdenlive will be easier to use by the end of the sprint.

    Our intrepid developers are getting ready to make their way to Randa, the location for KDE's autumn coding sprint, and we are gradually finding out what they will be doing up there in the Swiss mountains.

    As Valorie said in a recent blog post, accessibility is useful for everybody at some point or another. Clear, highly contrasted icons, easy to reach keyboard shortcuts, and scalable fonts are things we can all appreciate most of the time, whether we have any sort of physical disability or not.

    With that in mind, Jean-Baptiste Mardelle will be working on Kdenlive, KDE's video editing software. He'll be reviewing the user interface; that is, the different panels, toolbars, etc., to make it easier to use for people who start editing for the first time. He'll also be working on packaging - creating AppImages and Flatpaks - so the latest versions of Kdenlive can be installed anywhere without having to worry about dependencies.

    Kube is the new app for email, calendars, tasks,
    notes and more.

    Marco Martin will be working on Kirigami, the framework that helps developers create apps seamlessly for desktops and mobile phones. His accessibility work will also extend to Plasma Mobile. If he has time, Marco says he would also like to work on Kube, a new groupware client to manage your emails, contacts, tasks, calendars and so on.

    When asked what they would be working on, Christian Mollekopf and Michael Bohlender both chanted "Kube, Kube, Kube!". Although the work they will be carrying out is not specifically related to accessibility, one of the main aims of Kube is to offer a friendlier, more intuitive and more attractive user interface, making it easier to use than its alternatives.

    KMyMoney will get consistent keyboard functionailty.

    Another dynamic duo, Thomas Baumgart and Lukasz Wojnilowicz, will be working on KMyMoney, KDE's personal finance manager. T & L will be working on making KMyMoney's keyboard functionality more consistent. They will also improve porting KMyMoney to Windows, creating an opportunity for a larger audience to use the app.

    And then, of course, there will be the invaluable work of the organisers. Mario Fux is the main coordinator of the event, and he will be making sure everybody is fed and watered during the meetings. Simon Wächter and Fox will be helping developers by catering to their needs, plying them with Swiss chocolate, and dispensing hugs for moral support when their code misbehaves.

    Essential stuff.

    You too can help make Randa 2017 a success -- contribute to our crowdfunding! A few euros go a long way to making KDE better for everybody.

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  • Happy 20th Birthday, GNOME! (GNOME)
    ORINDA, CA. Today, the GNOME Project proudly celebrates its 20th Birthday. Founded by Miguel de Icaza and Federico Mena Quintero on August 15, 1997, GNOME has since become a pillar of the Free Software community. There have been 33 stable releases since the initial release of GNOME 1.0 in 1999. The latest stable release, GNOME 3.24 […]
  • GNOME Board of Directors Announced for 2017-2018 (GNOME)
    ORINDA, CA. The GNOME Foundation welcomes its new Board of Directors for the 2017 – 2018 term: Alexandre Franke Allan Day Carlos Soriano Cosimo Cecchi Meg Ford Nuritzi Sanchez Zeeshan Ali Congratulations! This year we had 225 registered voters, 110 of which sent in valid ballots. Elections ran during the months of May and June, and […]
  • Randa Meetings 2017: It's All About Accessibility (KDE)

    Attendees of the 2016 Randa Sprint in the Swiss Alps.

    Randa 2015 was about bringing touch to KDE apps and interfaces. At Randa 2016, developers worked on building frameworks that would allow KDE apps to work on a wider range of operating systems, like Windows, MacOS and Android.

    Randa Meetings 2017 will be all about accessibility.

    At KDE, we understand that using an application - be it an email client, a video editor, or even educational games aimed at children - is not always easy. Different conditions and abilities require different ways of interacting with apps. The same app design will not work equally well for somebody with 20/20 vision and for somebody visually impaired. You cannot expect somebody with reduced mobility to be able to nimbly click around your dialogue boxes.

    This year we want to focus on things that have had a tendency to fall by the wayside; on solving the problems that are annoying, even deal-breaking for some, but not for everyone.

    Beta tester trying out new features during the 2015 sprint.

    To that end, KDE developers will be gathering in the quietness of the Swiss mountains and will push several different projects in that direction. David Edmundson, for example, plans to spend his time improving navigation on Plasma for those who prefer, or, indeed, need to use a keyboard over a mouse. This will help users with reduced mobility that find moving a mouse around cumbersome. And Adriaan de Groot will be working on Calamares, an application that helps install operating systems. Adriaan will make Calamares more accessible to visually impaired users by improving integration with the Orca screenreader. Sanjiban Bairagya will be working on text-to-speech on Marble, KDE's mapping application. He wants to make the app's turn-by-turn navigation experience more intuitive by integrating Qt's Speech module.

    Apart from the projects mentioned above, we will also have developers from Kdenlive, Kubuntu, KMyMoney, Kontact, Kube, Atelier, KDEEdu, digiKam, WikiToLearn and Krita, all working together, intent on solving the most pressing accessibility issues.

    But to make Randa Meetings possible, we need your help. Please donate to our funding campaign so we can make KDE more accessible for everyone.

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  • Akademy 2017 in Retrospect (KDE)

    The 2017 edition of Akademy was held in Almería, Spain. Starting officially on the 22nd of July and ending on the 27th, the weekend was dedicated to talks, as is customary. The rest of the following week, from Monday to Thursday, was dedicated to workshops and BoFsBirds of a Feather — sessions in which community members interested in the same things meet and work together.

    This year's event attracted over 110 attendees. Attendees traveled mainly from Europe, but also from North and South America, and Asia. Over the weekend, visitors were able to attend over 40 different talks on all kinds of topics, ranging from developing applications for mobile phones to best ways for collaboration between communities.

    Attendees of the 2017 Akademy. Click on the image
    to see a larger, interactive version with
    participants' names.

    From Monday to Thursday, Akademy was dedicated to BoFs and workshops where a specific topic or area is focused on. For most participants, this part is a primary motivation for attending Akademy, since it gives them the chance to sit down with their colleagues in the flesh. They can discuss and code together without having to relay messages over email or IRC. Each day attendees met, discussed, and worked side by side, pushing KDE forward.

    One of the hottest topics was Plasma. Plasma is KDE's graphical desktop and mobile environment. Dedicating a large chunk of the meetings to Plasma makes perfect sense. Although most KDE apps work on a wide range of platforms (including Windows, MacOS and Android), the first platform KDE developers would want to target is their own. With as much time dedicated to mobile frameworks, such as Kirigami and Halium, as to Plasma on desktop computers, it is clear the developers are very seriously committed to the effort of taking over smartphones and breaking the Android/iOS duopoly.

    KDE developers know very well that a rich software catalogue is essential to attract end users, hence many of the talks and BoFs where dedicated to app development. There were slots on how to port applications to the upcoming Wayland display server protocol which, like winter, is definitely coming someday. Aleix Pol dedicated time to explaining how developers could package apps for Flatpak, a universal packaging system for all GNU/Linux distributions. Scattered throughout the week were also several sessions and talks about QML, Qt 3D, and other KDE-related technologies.

    As for the steps the applications should actually go through — from concept to working utility on the desktop or your phone's screen — during Akademy 2017 the community reached an agreement on the new Applications Lifecycle Policy. The overhaul of this policy had already been discussed at some length on KDE's Community mailing list, but the conversation hadn't reached a satisfactory conclusion. However, a few hours of face-to-face negotiation led to an acceptable solution which Jonathan Riddell announced on Wednesday in the half-day wrap-up session.

    According to Jonathan, the new policy...

    "[D]efines how projects enter KDE, which is either through Incubator for projects which started outside KDE, or just starting it in Playground. It defines the sort of things that get reviewed in KDEReview and it explains how to choose where to put the application, (Frameworks, self released, Applications, Plasma) which in turn defines how and when it gets released. Finally, it defines options when a project is no longer useful: either ask the Gardening team to update it or move it to unmaintained."

    On the non-technical front, there were all-important discussion on how to make KDE technologies more accessible to end users, and how to make the community more open to potential contributors. Improving communication aimed at non-technical users, reaching out and cooperating with other communities, and implementing policies that promote inclusiveness were some of the areas participants pledged to work on.

    This was another solid Akademy. Knowledge was shared, agreements reached, and code got written. Even though the KDE community discussed a wide variety of topics, there was clearly a common underlying theme of how members of KDE want to shape the world of tech to their vision — the vision of a world in which everyone has control over their digital life and enjoys freedom and privacy.

    After this year's hot Andalusian sun, Akademy will be moving next year to the heart of Europe: Vienna. See you there in 2018!

    About Akademy

    For most of the year, KDE — one of the largest free and open software communities in the world—works on-line by email, IRC, forums and mailing lists. Akademy provides all KDE contributors the opportunity to meet in person to foster social bonds, work on concrete technology issues, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work bringing those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, and those that are looking for opportunities.

    For more information, please contact the Akademy Team.

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  • How KDE's Open Source community has built reliable, monopoly-free computing for 20+ years (KDE) runs a story How KDE’s Vast Open-Source Community Has Been Developing Technologies to Bring Reliable, Monopoly-Free Computing to the World for 20+ Years. The article gives background to the how and why of KDE, and includes an interview with KDE's Sebastian Kügler for some more in-depth insights. From the article:

    At the time, Sebastian was only a student and was shocked that his work could have such a huge impact on so many people. That’s when he became dedicated to helping further KDE’s mission to foster a community of experts committed to experimentation and the development of software applications that optimize the way we work, communicate, and interact in the digital space.

    “With enough determination, you can really make a difference in the world,” Sebastian said. “The more I realized this, the more I knew KDE was the right place to do it.”

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  • Plasma rocks Akademy (KDE)

    KDE's yearly world conference - Akademy - was held last week in Almería, Spain. Lots of interesting things happened in the Plasma-verse during Akademy 2017.

    State of the Union

    Sebastian Kügler and Marco Martin.

    Right after the first day's keynote (slides), Marco Martin and Sebastian Kügler caught the general audience up in their presentation "Plasma: State of the Union". Sebas talked about how the architecture around Frameworks 5 and Plasma 5 worked out very well, and how the 5.8 LTS release was received positively, especially by the users who value stability and predictability.

    Marco then presented a number of new features that have been added to Plasma since last year's Akademy and that are planned for the upcoming 5.11 release. There is the improved integration for web browsers, better support for touchscreens, enhancements in the taskbar, return of the App Menu (Global Menu), encrypted volumes through Plasma Vault, more elegant artwork, a redesign of the System Settings user interface, and many more.

    The KDE Store has gained a lot of traction since its relaunch at Akademy 2016, and now even allows its contributors to receive donations directly from happy users. (Full disclosure: Your editor was able to buy a pizza last week from donations coming through this new feature in the KDE Store).

    Plans for the future of Plasma include getting the Wayland port ready for end-users, and thereby delivering on the promise of smoother graphics, a leaner graphics stack, better protocol semantics, improved high-DPI support and more features for touchscreens and convertible devices (such as edge-swipe support).

    Plasma's Vision

    Another talking point which deserves a special mention is Plasma's vision statement. The statement had been discussed on Plasma's mailing list and on KDE's Phabricator collaboration tool over the last couple of months, and it is now finalized. Plasma's vision statement reads:

    "Plasma is a cross-device work environment by the KDE Community where trust is put on the user's capacity to best define her own workflow and preferences.
    Plasma is simple by default, a clean work area for real-world usage which intends to stay out of your way. Plasma is powerful when needed, enabling the user to create the workflow that makes her more effective to complete her tasks.
    Plasma never dictates the user's needs, it only strives to solve them. Plasma never defines what the user is allowed to do, it only ensures that she can.
    Our motivation is to enable actual work to happen, across devices, across different platforms, using any application needed.
    We build to be durable, we create to be usable, we design to be elegant."

    Its cornerstones are stability, usability (which includes features to make the users' lives easier) and elegance, meaning that the team aims to create stable software that helps users get their job done elegantly, but swiftly and with pleasure. For a more detailed explanation of Plasma's vision, head over to sebas' weblog.

    Halium Unifies Mobile Linux

    Bhushan Shah, maintainer of Plasma's user interface for mobile devices, talked in detail (slides) about the latest endeavour - Project Halium. Halium is a collaboration that aims to share the development effort among several groups. By creating a common base, Project Halium wants to make it easier to bring Plasma Mobile to a wider range of devices. In just a few months, Halium has not only allowed Plasma Mobile to run on its new reference device (the Google Nexus 5X), but has also provided the basis for ports to the Fairphone 2 and a few other handsets.

    With other Free software mobile stacks (such as Ubuntu Touch and Firefox OS) being discontinued, Plasma Mobile positions itself as the best option to create truly Free and community-developed mobile devices. While its development is not very fast-paced, its continued improvements begin to bear fruit. This makes Plasma Mobile an increasingly attractive platform for people and companies that want to escape the Duopoly of today's smartphone market and bring something entirely new to the table.

    Kirigami Makes Convergence

    System Settings' new user interface.

    Most of today's applications are written using QWidgets, which is still the most powerful tool for certain kinds of applications. QWidgets does have some graphical limitations, which may sound bad, but this limitation leads to more consistent UIs across applications. Using QWidgets makes it difficult to deviate from the human interface guidelines (HIG) too much, thus enforcing visual consistency.

    This is about to change. Qt is investing heavily into QML, which has fewer graphical limitations, putting more power into developers' hands. A side-effect, however, is that it makes it (too) easy to create applications visually and interactively inconsistent with each other.

    Kirigami was born both as a human interface guideline (HIG) and a framework implementing it. Kirigami has been stabilized over the past year and will be released together with KDE Frameworks 5 starting August 2017.
    Kirigami provides the skeleton for applications, allowing developers to write visually and interactively consistent applications with little effort. While it seems that Kirigami limits the endless flexibility that QtQuick-based UIs offer, it solves common problems of in-app navigation. Moreover, it solves the lack of consistency across applications, providing uniformity and reducing the need to 'learn' a new application. In order to think outside of the box, you need a box in the first place, and Kirigami provides that box.

    One example of a Kirigami app is Koko, a simple QML-based image viewer. Although Koko never received any real designer input, it has been resurrected as a Google Summer of Code project by Atul Sharma, and has been redesigned to be a textbook case for Kirigami. Other Kirigami-based applications are Discover (Plasma's software center), the new System Settings user interface (to be released with Plasma 5.11), and of course, Kirigami's first adopter: Subsurface Mobile, an application for logging scuba dives. Kirigami provides a morphing UI, which allows creating applications that work equally well on desktop and mobile. With Kirigami, creating a convergent application is a breeze.

    The main target platforms for Kirigami are Plasma Desktop and Plasma Mobile, with the convenient side-effect of working nicely on Android. While we care a lot about following the look of Material on Android, we're not interested so much in the feel. With Plasma Mobile, we want to innovate without the legacy that Android and iOS have on their top-heavy UIs. Such interfaces are very hard to use with a single hand on big screen phones, and this is something we want to avoid.

    Kai Uwe Broulik wins Akademy Award for Plasma

    Kai Uwe Broulik, a Plasma Hacker extraordinaire, was lauded an Akademy Award this year for his work on Plasma. As the developer behind features like the App Menu, web-browser integration, and many other cool features big and small, Kai is a tireless and positive force that many of his teammates follow as a role model. The award, which also reflects positively on the rest of the Plasma team, is well-deserved and received gratefully.

    Swapnil Bhartiya interviewed Kai shortly after the Akademy Awards ceremony. In this interview, Kai reveals his ideas and thoughts on Plasma and the desktop in general. It's well worth watching.


    On Monday, the Plasma team held a day-long birds-of-a-feather (BoF) session. BoFs are collaborative meetings where everyone with the same interest is welcome to participate. The sessions are focused on making plans and finding solutions for problems that need face-to-face interaction. Naturally, they are also a great opportunity to look into the developers' kitchen. Let's take a peek!

    The Plasma team plans to improve support for convertible devices (laptops with touchscreens and detachable keyboards). In order to do that, some improvements to the virtual keyboards are planned.

    Other aspects that need improvement include screen rotation, sensors support, and the appearance of the UI when used with one's finger. Furthermore, the team talked at length about structuring the (somewhat dynamically grown) battery of QtQuick imports in a more logical way.

    Finally, a BoF session on Wayland resolved a number of problems in applications using Wayland, leading to direct results. For example, KMail will support the Wayland display server natively in an upcoming releases.
    Changes planned for Plasma Mobile include a more efficient and clean implementation of the top panel, better backend-sharing between desktop components and mobile UIs, and better support for third-party applications, especially those left in the rain by the demise of Ubuntu Touch.

    Akademy provided a great opportunity to prepare for the next big leaps in different areas of Plasma. As always, it was also a wonderful opportunity for the Plasma team to get together, socialize, and keep working as a team of friends.

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  • KMail User Survey (KDE)

    Do you use KMail or Kontact? The KDE PIM developers want to get more knowledge about how KMail is used so they can better know where they should focus and how they should evolve Kmail and Kontact. They want to make the best user experience possible and you can help by filling out a short survey.

    The survey won't take more than 5 minutes and it will be a big help.

    Please share the survey with your family members, friends and colleagues who use KMail too!

    Dot Categories:

  • Akademy 2017 -- Day 2 (KDE)

    Antonio Larrosa advocates building
    intracommunity relationships.

    Antonio Larrosa kicked off Sunday with his talk on The KDE Community and its Ecosystem. He expressed concern about what he perceived as an increase in the isolation of certain communities and laid out the advantages of working on intra-community relationships.

    Later on in the day, Kevin Ottens gave his audience a taste of what Qt's 3D API can do in his talk Advances in Qt 3D. There are more and more applications that rely on 3D everyday, especially with the increase in popularity of virtual reality. Ottens introduced the tools Qt developers looking to include 3D into their programs and even treated attendees to a preview of a feature that is still in the works and that helps manage shader code.

    Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen gave a very entertaining talk on Supporting Content Creators or Satisfying Your Inner Capitalist. Leinir laid out ways app developers could make enough money to be able to sometimes eat, while at the same time still feed their craving for developing cool stuff under free licenses.

    Jonathan Riddell gave a demonstration of what Neonception would be like by running Neon inside Neon using Docker images. The point being that, apart from looking cool, as Neon comes in various experimental flavours, developers can run unstable versions in a container without endangering their main set up.

    Jonathan gives a good explanation himself in the following video:

    Ivan Čukić rounded off the day, invoking the Cthulhu of programming languages. In his talk C++17 and 20, he reviewed some of the more interesting features included into C++17, as well as those planned for C++20. Although some attendees would probably prefer C++ lay dreaming a few aeons more, new things like ranges, concepts, and coroutines may just convert some developers over.

    About Akademy

    For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest free and open software communities in the world—works on-line by email, IRC, forums and mailing lists. Akademy provides all KDE contributors the opportunity to meet in person to foster social bonds, work on concrete technology issues, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work bringing those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, and those that are looking for opportunities. Join us by registering for the 2017 edition of Akademy today.

    For more information, please contact the Akademy Team.

  • Wednesday Akademy BoF wrapup (KDE)

    Wednesday is the third and for many people last day of BoFs, as people start to head off home. However hacking and some smaller meetings will happen tomorrow between those still here

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  • Tuesday Akademy Wrapup Session (KDE)

    The second day of Akademy BoFs, group sessions and hacking has just finished. There is a wrapup session at the end so that what happened in the different rooms can be shared with everyone including those not present.

    Dot Categories:

  • Plasma's Vision (KDE)

    Sebastian Kügler writes on his blog about Plasma's vision statement, which names durabililty, usability and elegance as its corner stones.

  • Akademy Monday Wrapup Session Video (KDE)

    Akademy has had its first full day of BoFs, group sessions discussing our plans for the next year. The wrapup session has just finished so watch the video to find out about what Plasma devs are working on, what tutorials happened and how we avoided a fist fight to the finish.

  • Akademy Awards 2017 (KDE)

    Every year at Akademy we celebrate some of our hardest working achievers in the community. The prizes are selected and awarded by the previous year's winners. The winners this year are:


    Application Award

    Kai Uwe Broulik for their valuable work on Plasma.

    Cornelius Schumacher

    Non-Application Contribution Award

    Cornelius Schumacher for their long term contributions to KDE.

    Olaf and Martin

    Jury Award

    Martin Konold & Olaf Schmidt-Wischhöfer for their work on the KDE Free Qt Foundation.
    Honourable mentions also go to Lars Knoll and Tuukka Turunen for their work on the Qt side of the foundation which controls Qt's licensing.

    Thanking the Akademy organisers

    The organising team were also given a certificate and thanked for their hard work. The organisation has been led by Kenny Duffus who has helped for over a decade making the events appear to run smoothly. The local team have worked hard this year led by Rubén Gómez and Ismael Olea to bring us a fabulous event.

    Lukas Hetzenecker

    Akademy continues for another four days with meetings, workshops and hacking from teams within KDE to discuss their work over the forthcoming year.

    One final announcement was made at the end of the talks. The location for next year's Akademy was announced to be in Vienna, Lukas Hetzenecker introduced what he assured us was a beautiful and welcoming city.

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  • Akademy-es 2017 Fue Muy Bien (KDE)

    Akademy-ES 2017

    On the 20th and 21st of July, KDE España held, with the invaluable help of UNIA, HackLab Almería and the University of Almería, and with the sponsorship of Opentia, its 12th annual gathering: Akademy-es 2017.

    As it always happens when Akademy takes place in Spain, Akademy-es 2017 became a prelude of the international event and many well-known KDE developers attended.

    Throughout two days, talks were offered covering many different topics, including Plasma, programming (C++, Qt, mobile), exciting projects like Kirigami, proposals for the future such as KDE on automobile, encouragement to use KDE software and contribute to KDE, and information about KDE España.

    People who could not attend should not be worried as videos of the talks will be available online.

    Akademy makes the news

    The local newspaper stopped by for a photo shoot and to write a story on the world gathering of KDE developers that was about to happen.

    Attendees also got a chance to play around with Slimbook Ultrabooks such as the well-known KDE flavour or their new Pro edition.

    As usual, KDE España members gathered to celebrate their AGM. If you wish to find out what goes on in there, or if you wish to help us out organizing events like Akademy-es and getting the word out in Spain about KDE, please consider joining KDE España. It is now easier than ever!

    KDE España board, Baltasar, Adrián, Antonio, José commonly knows as Los Guapos

    Slimbook Talk by Alejandro

  • Akademy 2017 -- Day 1 (KDE)

    During the first day at the Akademy, everything went according to plan and nearly everything was on time. Kudos to the organisers.

    The weather was balmy at the beginning of the day and, although Aleix Pol said it was not hotter than a hot day in Barcelona, many of the Scandinavian and Scottish attendees were visibly wilting under the sun. Fortunately for them, the venue is equipped with air-conditioning.

    Little known fact about Almería: it is situated in the biggest desert in Europe, the Desert of Tabernas. A better known fact is that that same desert has been used as a location for many spaghetti westerns, including the seminal Sergio Leone movies "For A Fistful of Dollars" and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly". What is more interesting for some KDE members is that Tabernas has also been used in the filming of at least one Doctor Who episode ("A Town Called Mercy"). Unsurprisingly, the whovians amongst us quickly got busy and organised a trip to the place of the shoot for later in the week.

    The Talks

    Robert Kaye has managed to woo both an active
    community of volunteers and the industry with MusicBrainz.

    Robert Kaye did not disappoint and delivered an entertaining keynote on how MusicBrainz, a community-powered non-profit, has managed to be THE database of musical metadata. MusicBrainz's data is used by Google, the BBC, YouTube, Amazon, and nearly everyone else (including most FLOSS media players).

    Jean-Baptiste Mardelle introduced us to the new features, back end and interface of Kdenlive, KDE's video editing software. Apart from having cleaner code and being more stable, upcoming versions of Kdenlive will sport intelligent clip cutting, resizing and inserting, making life for video editors much easier.

    As expected Aditya Mehra's talk on the Mycroft plasmoid was another of the highlights of the day. The topic, after all, is intrinsically interesting -- there is something about issuing voice commands to an AI assistant on your desktop that appeals to everybody.

    During the mid-afternoon Ask Us Anything session, attendees had the chance to... well, ask anything to the KDE e.V. board members. Questions ranged from governance to how donations were used, passing through the process of getting elected to the board. Talking of which, it was a chance to properly meet the new board member, Eike Hein, who stepped in for Marta Rybczynska.

    Eike, among other things, maintains and develops Konversation, a user-friendly IRC client for KDE. He is also in charge of Yakuake, an original spin on the traditional terminal. Yakuake sits hidden at the top of your desktop and you can unfold it like a blind when you need it. He discovered KDE when test running Corel Linux (does anybody else remember that rather bizarre distro?) back in the 90s and started contributing in 2005.

    In the evening, Timothée Giet gave us an update on GCompris, the suite of educational activities and games for young children. The improvements in design and to the number of features are turning GCompris into a free, safe and privacy-protecting suite of educational programs as opposed to some of the proprietary alternatives out there.

    Eike, the new member of the KDE e.V. board,
    answering attendees' questions.

    Agustín Benito, on the other hand, pointed to new sectors KDE should probably be looking into. Agustín has been working on Free Software on embedded devices for the automotive industry for some time now and reckons this is an area in which KDE could grow and even become a mainstream technology.

    At the very end of the day, in the very last session, there was a lively debate on writing and how developers could better describe their projects to a larger audience. The discussion was animated enough to make us forget the time and, finally, we were all thrown out.

    Day 2 promises to be equally fun.

    About Akademy

    For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest free and open software communities in the world—works on-line by email, IRC, forums and mailing lists. Akademy provides all KDE contributors the opportunity to meet in person to foster social bonds, work on concrete technology issues, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work bringing those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, and those that are looking for opportunities. Join us by registering for the 2017 edition of Akademy today.

    For more information, please contact the Akademy Team.

  • KDE Arrives in Almería for Akademy 2017 (KDE)

    KDE Chartered Flight to Almería

    We have travelled from across the globe to meet for our annual gathering where we plan and discuss the next year's activities creating free software to share with the world. Almería is in the south east of Spain, a country which has long been a supporter of free software and collaboration with its creators. The sun here is hot but the water is also warm for those who make it to the beach to discuss their work with a pina colada and a swim. Over the last year KDE has run conferences in Brazil, India, Spain, Germany and sprints in Randa in Switzerland, Krita in the Netherlands, Marble in Germany, GSoC in the US, WikiToLearn in India, Plasma in Germany, Kontact in France, and sent representatives to OSCAL in Albania, FOSSASIA in Singapore, FUDCON in Cambodia, HKOSCon in Hong Kong and more.

    Tapas y Sangria

    Today we meet from around the globe, KDE contributors have flown in from Taiwan, US, all over Europe and British Isles, India, Brazil, Canada.

    We have completed Akademy España, talks in Spanish to the community.

    We also met for the formality of KDE e.V. Annual General Meeting.

    The Community Working Group reviewed issues they had to deal with and were pleased there were fewer firefighting issues than in previous years and they could concentrate on gardening community.

    We are KDE

    Our outgoing treasurer Marta reported on the year's finances which were pleasingly balanced and with ample reserves. The Financial Working Group reported how they had supported this and that their main task is to support the incoming new treasurer.

    The Sysadmin Working Group reported on the pleasing developments retiring old machines, old software such as Drupal 6 and old operating systems. They are moving towards Ansible for system deployment and were pleased at the new multi-platform CI system which is now running.

    We heard from the Advisory Board Working Group who now have regular meetings with representatives from supporting companies and large deployments of KDE software.

    The KDE Free Qt Foundation controls the licencing of Qt with representatives from both KDE and Qt company. In the last year they have concluded the relicensing of all Qt parts as Free Software. All parts of Qt are available under the GPLv3 or under a compatible license. Most parts are also available under the LGPLv3 and under the GPLv2. The last remaining code to be relicensed was the Qt Quick Compiler. This is now deprecated and replaced with an open source solution since the release of Qt 5.9.

    Your new KDE e.V. board

    Finally we voted on replacement board members for the three who's terms came to an end. Marta the treasurer did not renew her term. Holding one of the most important but least thanked tasks in KDE we owe her much gratitude for keeping out books balanced and our payments prompt. Lydia Pintcher and Aleix Pol i Gonzàlez both stood for the board again and were re-elected for another three years. And long term KDE developer Eike Hein was elected as a new board member, hoping to bring in more representation to the community from Korea where he lives. We thanked the outgoing and new board members with the traditional thanks of a fancy dinner.

    Tonight we drink sangria and wine under the stars at a welcome party meeting old friends and new, eating tapas of salmorejo, croquetas, tortillas and rice, looking forward to the week ahead.

  • What to Expect from Akademy 2017 on Day 1 (KDE)

    I'm going to Akademy

    There's less than a week until the beginning of Akademy 2017 (if you still haven’t registered, do so now) and this is what you can expect from your first day at the event:

    Keynotes and Master Talks

    Akademy opens on Saturday, July 22 at 10 am with Robert Kaye, the brains behind Musicbrainz. We talked with Robert a few days ago, and he will tell us all about his projects and how he managed to marry FLOSS activism with the pragmatism of having to make money in order to keep them alive.

    Sebastian Kügler will follow with an overview of the most important things that happened over the last year in the development of Plasma. He will talk about current features, future plans and goals, what to expect on your desktop over the next year, and how to help and get involved.

    Meanwhile, in the next room, Jos van den Oever will examine Calligra and its native support for ODF. He'll look at a number of areas of ODF and see how well they are supported compared to other office suites.

    At 11:50, Mirko Boehm will review the governance norms applied in FSFE, KDE and Wikimedia in his talk Why we Fight. He will examine how the norms developed over time and how current debates reflect their evolution.

    Kdenlive, KDE's video editor, now comes with a new, re-vamped user interface.

    At the same time, Volker Krause will present the UserFeedback framework, which provides ways to engage users from inside the application itself, including the collection of system or usage statistics, as well as asking an interested set of users that match a specific set of criteria to participate in an online survey.

    Continuing on with a similar topic, at 12:30 Aleix Pol will talk about the challenge of developing for users employing bundled systems. We'll see what impact shortening the path between the development and users being able to run the software will have.

    At the same time, Emma Gospodinova will tell us how she plans to add support for Rust, the promisingly popular programming language, to KDevelop during her Google Summer of Code project. Emma plans to include standard features any IDE should support for a language, such as semantic highlighting, code completion, refactoring, debugging and project management.

    From there, we will move onto the light entertainment, which is movies. Or more like movie-editing. In Kdenlive, rewriting the timeline, Jean-Baptiste Mardelle will show us the new, polished Kdenlive 17.08, which now uses QML for many parts of the UI.

    On a more technical note, Ivan Čukić will talk about how functional programming can improve our day-to-day work, make our code safer, cleaner and more correct.

    Lightning Talks

    After lunch, at 15:30, we'll have a bunch of lightning talks. The first one will be about Mycroft, the Alexa-like AI, and Aditya Mehra will explain how you can turn it into a Plasma widget and really enhance your life by having something you can boss about.

    Volker Krause will then take the stage and tell us all about KF5::SyntaxHighlighting, a syntax highlighting engine that was originally tied to Kate, but can now be used anywhere.

    Then Albert Astals Cid is up, and he will explain the work being carried out on Clazy, a compiler plugin which allows Clang to understand Qt semantics.

    Marco Martin will then have ten minutes to explain how the feedback generated from the design and implementation of applications significantly improved the quality of Kirigami, KDE's user interface framework for developing applications that work both on mobile and desktop computers.

    Finally, Vasudha Mathur will talk about Ruqola, the first generic chat application based on Rocket.Chat. Ruqola is a Qt/QML/C++ app and provides multi-platform portability. Ruqola will currently run on both desktop and mobile (Android) platforms.

    ... Back to Regular Talks

    At 16:30, Sandro Andrade will be talking about preliminary implementation of a modular and flexible framework for building Qt mobile applications. He will also explain how you can use code generators and a plugin-based architecture to automate the implementation of recurrent tasks.

    Babe allows you to add music from multiple sources, including YouTube.

    At the same time and next door, Camilo Higuita will be introducing Babe, a contextual multimedia desktop app. Babe uses online resources and AI to find relationships between the music metadata and its context in order to generate personalized queries and suggestions.

    Lydia Pintscher and the rest of the KDE e.V. Board will then sit down for an Ask Us Anything session with the audience at 17:10. If you want to find out what the board really gets up to and hear the plans for KDE as a community moving forward, here's your chance.

    Meanwhile, Dmitri Popov will be teaching you how to take your digiKam skills to the next level by mastering its advanced functionality. Dmitri's talk will introduce several useful features and tools, such as filtering, batch processing, and curve presets.

    At 17:55, John Samuel will be talking about Wikidata and how it can play an important role for the visibility of KDE applications. He will show how developers can build tools to integrate their applications with Wikidata to present an up-to-date view of their applications and their cool features.

    At the same time, Arnav Dhamija will introduce you to the KIO (KDE Input Output) library. KIO is what allows your KDE apps to access data from a number of different protocols, such as local file systems, ssh, https, samba shares, ftp, and network file systems. Arnav will explain the need for KIO, how KIO works, KIO slaves, and how to develop for the same.

    At 18:35 Timothée Giet will be taking us down the long road to GCompris-qt 1.0. GCompris, the collection of educational games and activities for children, has finally officially released the new Qt-based version. Timothée will show us the progress the team has made to get there, as well as some shiny new activities.

    In the next room, David Edmundson will be explaining the Binding loop detected for property "title"" error, an annoying and cryptic error everyone developing QML has experienced at some point or another. He will talk about what this warning really means and how you can tackle even the most complicated loops.

    ... And a last Blast of Lightning Talks

    At 19:15 we'll have the last three Lightning talks of the day. First up will be Agustín Benito with his Opening new doors presentation, in which Agustín will explain why he thinks KDE should jump into the embedded-for-automotive fray. Should he have called his talk Opening car doors? Definitely.

    Then Annu Mittal will talk about all the application domains and various programs currently running in KDE, namely: Season of KDE, Summer of Code, and Outreach Program for Women. She will follow up by explaining the various ways you can get involved with KDE, both from the technical and non-technical point of view.

    Finally, yours truly will help you look for love (for your projects) by explaining in ten minutes flat three simple steps that will improve your communication and increase your audience's appreciation for your project.

    ... And that is just day one.

    Register here and don't miss Akademy 2017, one of the most important Free Software conferences this year.

    Dot Categories:

  • Antonio Larrosa -- Dragons, Doom and Digital Music (KDE)

    Antonio Larrosa, President of KDE España.

    Antonio Larrosa is the current president of KDE España and he and I have been friends for quite some time now. It may seem logical, since we both live in Málaga, are passionate about Free Software in general, and KDE in particular. But in most other respects we are total opposites: Antonio is quiet, tactful, unassuming and precise. Enough said.

    But that is what is great about Antonio; that and the fact he is very patient when troubleshooting. I know this because he has often helped me out when I have unwittingly wrecked my system by being an idiot and installing what I shouldn't. When he quietly muses "¡Qué cosas!" (which roughly translates to "That's interesting") you know you've messed up good.

    Antonio will be delivering the keynote on the 23rd of July at this year's Akademy, so I caught up with him and asked him about stuff I didn't already know. Turns out that is quite a lot.


    Antonio Larrosa: Hi!

    Paul Brown: Good morning Antonio! Long time no see.

    Antonio: Good morning! Yes indeed. Heh heh!

    [We had talked the day before]

    Paul: I think you are aware that the other keynote speaker is Robert Kaye from Musicbrainz, right?

    Antonio: Yes, I know. It's quite an honor to have him at Akademy this year and I hope to meet and talk to him, since I love the Musicbrainz project.

    Paul: I understand you worked on a project that ties MusicBrainz to a KDE app...

    Antonio: Actually, it's not really a KDE app. Some months ago, I learnt about Picard (which is MusicBrainz's music tagger) and I wanted to use it, but it lacked a few features that were important to me. So I had a look at the code and was excited to see it was using Qt, so I decided to contribute to it.

    Paul: What did you change?

    Antonio: I fixed a small function in Picard's script language to better support multivalue tags. I also improved the support for cover art, like allowing drag & drop from a web browser, a nice way to see differences between old and new covers before saving the changes, better visualization of albums with different covers in different tracks, etc. The fact that it's written in Python and has a very good design made it easy to start contributing fast. The community was quite friendly too, which always helps.

    Paul: You have also contributed to Beets. What is that and what did you do?

    Antonio: Yes, Beets is (I quote from its web page) "the media library management system for obsessive-compulsive music geeks". Who wouldn't like to use it with that description? It has auto-tagging support which also uses Musicbrainz's metadata (like Picard), but the tagging is not as advanced as Picard, so I tried to improve its multivalue support so at least it could read and perform queries on all tags written by Picard. Apart from very simple patches, the important patches I submitted to Beets are still in the review queue, but I hope they'll get merged soon.

    Paul: You are a mathematician, not a programmer, by training. Correct?

    Antonio: That's correct.

    Paul: How did you get started in programming?

    Antonio: I got started when I was around 7 or 8 years old. I had a Dragon 64 and it was almost impossible to find games for it. So, when I got tired of playing the ones I had, I learned to write my own, and found it was great.

    The Dragon 64, Antonio's first computer.
    Photo by Miguel Durán - Dragon 64, CC BY-SA 2.5, Link

    Paul: BASIC?

    Antonio: Yes, BASIC and a bit of assembly.

    Paul: What sort of things did you program on the Dragon? Games? Anything to do with school work? I remember writing a function plotter for the Commodore 64, for example.

    Antonio: Really? That's interesting, I did a graph plotter for the Dragon and one of those old text-based RPG games. But no, not really school-related.

    Paul: What did you have to do in your text-based adventure?

    Antonio: I don't remember very well -- I was around 8, but it was probably something related to killing dragons.

    Paul: Of course. If I remember right, the Dragon was quite limited even for the day. What did you upgrade to next?

    Antonio: A 286 running at 6Mhz with 640 KBs of RAM and a great big 20 MBs hard disk.

    Paul: 20 MBs! Did you have the sensation of: "Wow! I'm never going to fill that up."?

    Antonio: Of course! There was plenty of space for so many applications in there!

    When I was 12, I created a calculator that parsed mathematical expressions, and then calculated and enunciated the result through the sound card

    Paul: How old were you at this stage? Were you already at university? Because those machines were expensive! I don't see a parent buying a 286 for a twelve-year-old.

    Antonio: Not at all, I was still at school, maybe 10 years old or so. But I have an older brother who would have been about 15 by then. My father, being a car plater, never used computers, I would go as far as saying he hated them, but he had a good eye for seeing what would be important in the future for us.

    Paul: What did you use the 286 for? More games?

    Antonio: Yes, I have to admit that I played games when I was 10. But also I learned Pascal and Assembly. When I was around 12 (just before high school) I created a calculator that parsed mathematical expressions, and then calculated and enunciated the result through the sound card. In order to do that, I used Assembly, learned about IRQs, DMA, memory addressing with segments and offsets... It was quite fun. I even had to do my own audio editing application, in order to cut my voice saying different numbers which would then be concatenated together by the calculator.

    Paul: Wow! You did all that when you were 12 and on a 286?

    Antonio: Yep.

    Paul: What did you do in high school? Hack into WOPR?

    Antonio: Hah hah hah! No. I wrote and refactored up to 7 times a general purpose object oriented database that I used to store the contents of all my floppy disks so I could search where a file was quickly. Note that I learned about the word "refactor" much later, but that's basically what I did, although at that time I called it "throw everything away and rewrite it better".

    Paul: Of course. After all, you probably didn't know about version control then. What year was this?

    Antonio: Maybe 1992 or 1993.

    You could say that Doom influenced my choice of careers.

    Paul: When you say floppies, are we talking about the real thing, those 5 and 1/4 things that often got chewed up in the drive?

    Antonio: Yes! 5 1/4 and 3 1/2, in fact. When I started using the application to catalogue CDs, I remember having lots of problems with memory addressing since data structures flooded over segment boundaries. After all, it was a windows 3.1 application.

    Paul: Ok. You're now at university, but you decide to go for Mathematics instead of Computer Science. Why?

    Antonio: I read back then a now defunct magazine called Dr. Dobbs Journal. One of the special issues was dedicated to 3D rendering as used in games such as Doom. I saw that you had to know a lot of mathematics to understand the articles, and I thought I could learn by myself what was interesting to me from computer science (as I had been doing for many years) but mathematics was different, so I decided to study mathematics.

    Paul: Doom influenced your choice of career?

    Antonio: Yes, you could say that in a way, it did.

    Paul: Why am I not surprised. When did you first hear about free software?

    Antonio: I was finishing high school, and my brother, who studied computer science, came home with a bunch of floppy disks containing a new operating system. It was Linux 1.x.

    Paul: Linux 1.x! So you guys installed it?

    Antonio: Of course! If I remember correctly, it was around 1995 and it was a Slackware distribution.

    Paul: Let me guess, you had to dig out your monitor manual and work out the vertical frequency.

    Antonio: Yes, finding out the specific horizontal frequency of your monitor was a nightmare, indeed. I also remember having troubles with the 20th something floppy and having to start again, inserting and swapping floppies. But I was excited that I could for the first time write a program in which I could reserve a block of memory of more than 64 KB of memory and just address any byte in it without caring about segments and offsets. Definitely those were other times.

    Paul: Did you install it on your 286?

    Antonio: No, by that time I had a 486.

    Paul: Were you aware of the "Free as in Freedom" thing back then?

    Antonio: I read about it, but of course I couldn't understand the importance of "Free as in Freedom" until some years later. At that time, I only knew that I had the sources for everything that run on the computer, and that allowed me to change things to make them work the way I wanted.

    Paul: That was exciting, wasn't it? So different from the constraints of other OSes.

    Antonio: Exactly! At that time I had an electronic keyboard with a MIDI interface which I used to connect to my windows 3.1 system. The keyboard didn't support the General MIDI standard, but windows 3.1 had configuration parameters so I could configure it to work. Once Windows 95 was released, they removed those options so my piano wouldn't work any more. But I had this operating system with all the sources for the MIDI player (playmidi at that time). You can guess what happened.

    Paul: So when did you discover KDE?

    Antonio's first KDE project: KMid.

    Antonio: The playmidi author didn't accept my changes because the sources differed a lot from what I used. I sent him a real letter with an actual floppy disk since I didn't have Internet access back then. He didn't release any newer versions with different implementations either. So I decided to do my own MIDI player, but instead of doing a terminal application I wanted to make an X11 app. I looked through the options, which at that time included Athena widgets, Motif, and so on. I found KDE searching for alternatives, and absolutely loved it.

    Paul: And the rest is history...

    Antonio: Yes.

    Paul: What projects have you worked on, apart from your personal MIDI thing?

    Antonio: Apart from KMid, I worked on KPager, which was the application that showed the virtual desktop miniatures, and parts of kdelibs, specifically the library version of KMid and the icon loader classes which I maintained for several years. I also worked on all sort of applications fixing bugs everywhere I could.

    Paul: Your day job is being a developer at SUSE, right?

    Antonio: That's right.

    Paul: Is there any overlap between your job at SUSE and KDE?

    Antonio: To some extent: I'm a SLE (SUSE Linux Enterprise) developer working in the desktop team. As you may know, SLE is a term that refers to all the enterprise oriented distributions made by SUSE. The latest release only includes the GNOME desktop, so much of my work at SUSE includes fixing issues in GNOME. On the other hand, openSUSE not only comes with both KDE and GNOME, but openSUSE Leap uses KDE by default, so I also work on fixing KDE issues too.

    Paul: How many people work on KDE at openSUSE?

    Antonio: Really not as many as I'd like. In general there are around 10 people, but actively working everyday on KDE at openSUSE there are around 4 or 5 persons. If anyone reading this wants to help. We're always at the #opensuse-kde channel on Freenode.

    Paul: What about the openSUSE community, volunteers?

    Antonio: In general, everyone contributing to KDE packages in openSUSE is a volunteer. As I said, there are around 10 maintainers, of which I think only 2 or 3 are employed by SUSE. Fortunately, there are more community packagers helping with the near 1000 KDE/Qt packages available in OBS.

    The openSUSE Build Service is where the community creates packages of their favorite software.

    Paul: This is the openSUSE Build Service thing?

    Antonio: Yes. That's where we build all openSUSE distributions (Leap, Tumbleweed, Krypton, Argon, etc.) and where we develop all packages that users can install in their openSUSE systems from

    Paul: And unofficial packages too, right? I mean, if there is something that is not in the official repos, you can look for it on software and it fetches and installs it from OBS, yes?

    Antonio: Yes, that's right. Users wanting to try the latest version of any package can search for it on and install it from there with a one-click installer.

    Paul: I imagine there is a warning that pops up when you try to install from an unofficial repo.

    Antonio: Yes. Installing unofficial packages is not recommended in general, since users can break their systems if, for example, they install a buggy glibc library, but it's possible to do so.

    Paul: Let's get back to the reason we are doing this interview: Is this your first keynote at an Akademy?

    Antonio: Yes, it is and I'm really very honored.

    Paul: Have you thought what you want to talk about?

    Antonio: I have a general idea. I want to talk about KDE and its ecosystem, everything that KDE is, and where KDE is at this moment/where we want it to get to.

    Paul: "Ecosystem" as in the people working on it? Or the state of the tech?

    Antonio: The state of the communities around KDE compared to KDE's own community and how we could improve it and make it grow.

    Paul: When you say "the communities around KDE", what communities are you referring to?

    Antonio: Distribution communities, the Qt community, communities from other projects that use KDE libraries...

    Paul: What is one thing we can learn from them?

    Antonio: Well, something I learned is that we (KDE) are not alone and everything we do affects other communities, while at the same time, everything they do affect also our beloved KDE community. If we want to prosper, we all need to learn to work with others and let others work with us so we all benefit from the shared work.

    Paul: And is that not happening?

    Antonio: That is happening, but there's always room for improvement. For example, we at openSUSE made a terrible job at requesting help from KDE developers some months ago and the request was interpreted by some KDE developers as a threat. Fortunately I think we solved those problems nicely and the misunderstanding is fixed now. But we really should have done a better job at communicating better.

    I started going to Akademys before they were called Akademys.

    Paul: Let's talk about the tech for a moment. What is, in your opinion, the most exciting KDE project right now?

    Antonio: Well, that's a personal opinion, and you might say that I'm cheating, but I'd say that the whole KDE Frameworks is great. If you ask me for an application, I'd probably say Mycroft. The author has a talk scheduled at Akademy that I hope to see.

    Paul: Ah yes, the Free Software alternative to Alexa-like AIs.

    Antonio: Correct.

    Paul: Have you been to all the Akademys?

    Antonio: Not all, but nearly. I started going to KDE meetings before they were called Akademys. My first one was KDE-Two, in 1999.

    Paul: Wait... Was that what it was called back then? Just "KDE" and a number?

    Antonio: Yes, the first meeting was "KDE One", the second "KDE Two", and so on.

    Antonio Larrosa, 2nd row, 2nd from right, at the Kastle KDE meetup in 2003.

    Paul: How did it change to "Akademy"? Were you in that meeting?

    Antonio: Well, it wasn't any kind of "special meeting". After the "KDE Three" meeting in 2002, we had a get-together in an old castle in the Czech Republic in 2003, so it was clear that we should call that one "Kastle". Then, in 2004, the meeting was organized in a "Filmakademie" film school, so we called it "Akademy", and in 2005 we thought that it was important to keep the same name every year to build a brand, so we decided to name it "Akademy" just like the previous year, and it was named “Akademy” from then on.

    Paul: And again history was made. Which has been your favorite Akademy so far?

    Antonio: Always the coming Akademy! But of course I have a special fond memory of the one we organized in Malaga in 2005.

    Paul: Almería is close to Málaga, so it may be just as good, right?

    Antonio: I'm sure it'll be even better! We've learned a lot about organizing events since then.

    Paul: Well, I for one look forward to your keynote. Thanks Antonio!

    Antonio: Thanks to you for the interview.

    Paul: It's a pleasure. See you in Almería.

    Antonio: You can count on it.

    About Akademy

    For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest free and open software communities in the world—works on-line by email, IRC, forums and mailing lists. Akademy provides all KDE contributors the opportunity to meet in person to foster social bonds, work on concrete technology issues, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work bringing those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, and those that are looking for opportunities. Join us by registering for the 2017 edition of Akademy today.

    For more information, please contact the Akademy Team.



-- Sallows, Lee