FEB
13
2006

Kalzium Wins Award; Carsten Niehaus Interviewed

A Kalzium double bill today, with Kalzium gaining recognition in OsnaBrück University's annual prize giving, and this week's People Behind KDE interview. Find out everything you wanted to know about chemistry, the small print on toothpaste, and why not to visit Bavaria in the People Behind KDE interview with Carsten Niehaus, author of Kalzium. Read on for details of the prize.

KDE this week gained further recognition from the wider world. In an awards
ceremony at Osnabrück University in Germany, Carsten Niehaus won the
Intevation Prize for Achievements in Free Software
for his work on Kalzium, KDE's interactive periodic table. The judges from Intevation praised the interactive features of Kalzium which help students by making facts easily discoverable. The prize was open to all past and present
members of the University.

Accepting a cheque for €750, Carsten said "It is an honour to be rewarded for my project Kalzium. I created it to have a good tool for my own use, but with a great community behind me I was able to develop something for others that I am proud of. A prize like this helps to keep up the motivation to improve Kalzium to be the tool of choice for teacher and student alike!" Kalzium, which takes its name from the German for the element calcium, supports many advanced features, including plotting data from all elements to show trends in the mass or atomic size for example. Its ease of use and range of features have won users in Osnabrück as well as further afield: Egon
Willighagen, lead developer of BlueObelisk and CDK, says, "Kalzium brings the
core chemistry in an easy-to-browse way to the desktop
".

Kalzium is part of the KDE Edutainment project, which provides educational
software for all ages. "I am really pleased to see a KDE-Edu program getting another award. Kalzium's success is due to Carsten's constant efforts to improve his software and I am very proud to see him getting this award", Anne-Marie Mahfouf, a member of the KDE Edutainment team, said.

Comments

Good article and congradulations on the award Carsten! I use Kalzium some for my chemistry class. The type-ahead feature sounds great... I'd use that just for convenience. :)

Corrections:

"What was you most brillant hack" should be "what was your most brilliant hack"

And also there are two sections that the response is formatted in the same big blue font that the question is in. Not that it matters that much :)

-Sam


By Sam Weber at Sun, 2006/02/12 - 6:00am

and "12 January 2006" should be "12 February 2006" :)


By ac at Sun, 2006/02/12 - 6:00am

the interview says that many programs @ his school still run windows. I just want to know what programs are this ? ist there still stuff missing ?

btw. for electronic classes there ist ktechlab (http://ktechlab.org/)

ch


By chris at Sun, 2006/02/12 - 6:00am

All the big schoolbook vendors only produce software for Windows, sometimes for Mac. So each and every single school-book software is missing (there are many such programs, perhaps about 3 per schoolbook)

The situation with 3d-viewers for proteins and other big molecules is now much butter than two years ago, but still those for windows are oftern better.

D-GISS. D-GISS is a software almost every (at least german) school has but which doesn't work in linux as it is somehow based on MS-Access. It is not used for teaching but more a database. Still, I would really like to be able to run D-GISS. It doesn't even install in wine.

There are many more, especially the situation with school-book software is a shame. And the vendors don't even answer email when you contact them about it.

Btw: About the drawing tools: Egon Willighagen pointed me to "his" java based drawing tool. It doesn't crash and is the best I know for Linux, but still ACDLabs is much better. Sorry that I have to say that :(


By Carsten Niehaus at Mon, 2006/02/13 - 6:00am

It looks nice and may in certain situations be usefull as a teaching tool, but in many ways ktechlab are a toy. Besides electronics are one of the areas where Linux support is good, several of the major vendors have Linux versions of their tools.

In other areas the situation are not that good, increased addoption of Java has improved the situation some. And you can even find helpfull tools in the form of Java applets scattered around the net. Usually very specialized, but usefull to help explain/understand different concepts. Like this collection: http://www.falstad.com/mathphysics.html


By Morty at Tue, 2006/02/14 - 6:00am

Was wikipedia support ever added to kalzium? Or is it still planned/just a wish?


By John Tapsell at Sun, 2006/02/12 - 6:00am

We need the Webapi of MediaWiki first, so it is a KDE4-task.


By Carsten Niehaus at Mon, 2006/02/13 - 6:00am

No, you dont need KDE4 - look how Amarok did it :-)


By Hans Chen at Mon, 2006/02/13 - 6:00am

Amarok is only parsing the html the wikipedia spits out, removes the wikipedia-stuff and displays the content. What if the Wikipedia changes the html? Amarok would need to be patched. Also, the integration is much more than just displaying an article.


By Carsten Niehaus at Mon, 2006/02/13 - 6:00am

Wikipedia has special url to get the raw data for an article. I'd have to look it up, but it's something like ?raw


By John Tapsell at Tue, 2006/02/14 - 6:00am

?action=raw for the raw wiki text e.g.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Titanic?action=raw

This is however not really useful, because you get the unformatted wiki text.


By Jos at Tue, 2006/02/14 - 6:00am

Why is that not really useful? I thought the pre-processed data is what was wanted to begin with? (That this needs to be processed first to embed images and links etc. is obvious, but this also offers added flexibility.)


By ac at Tue, 2006/02/14 - 6:00am

We want far more, for example an API for:

"give me an article for the word "Enzyme". If that article is available in one of these languages return in one of these languages (in order of listing), if not return the english article [de,fr,it]"

That is not possible now. Or

"Give me articles related to the article "Enzyme""

I hope you can now see we need much more then "give me article 'x'".


By Carsten Niehaus at Tue, 2006/02/14 - 6:00am

I tried compiling it...
got some errors:

(...........)
make[3]: Entering directory `/root/Downloads/ktechlab-0.3/src'
source='itemgroup.cpp' object='itemgroup.o' libtool=no \
depfile='.deps/itemgroup.Po' tmpdepfile='.deps/itemgroup.TPo' \
depmode=gcc3 /bin/sh ../admin/depcomp \
g++ -DHAVE_CONFIG_H -I. -I. -I.. -I../src -I../src/drawparts -I../src/electronics -I../src/electronics/components -I../src/electronics/simulation -I../src/flowparts -I../src/gui -I../src/languages -I../src/mechanics -I../src/micro -I/opt/kde/include -I/usr/lib/qt/include -I/usr/X11R6/include -DQT_THREAD_SUPPORT -D_REENTRANT -Wnon-virtual-dtor -Wno-long-long -Wundef -ansi -D_XOPEN_SOURCE=500 -D_BSD_SOURCE -Wcast-align -Wconversion -Wchar-subscripts -Wall -W -Wpointer-arith -Wwrite-strings -O2 -Wformat-security -Wmissing-format-attribute -fno-exceptions -fno-check-new -fno-common -c -o itemgroup.o `test -f 'itemgroup.cpp' || echo './'`itemgroup.cpp
itemgroup.cpp: In member function `void ItemGroup::slotDistributeHorizontally()
':
itemgroup.cpp:239: error: ISO C++ forbids declaration of `multimap' with no
type
itemgroup.cpp:239: error: template-id `multimap' used as a
declarator
itemgroup.cpp:239: error: parse error before `;' token
itemgroup.cpp:241: error: `DIMap' undeclared (first use this function)
itemgroup.cpp:241: error: (Each undeclared identifier is reported only once for
each function it appears in.)
itemgroup.cpp:244: error: `ranked' undeclared (first use this function)
itemgroup.cpp:244: error: `make_pair' undeclared in namespace `std'
itemgroup.cpp:249: error: ISO C++ forbids declaration of `DIMap' with no type
itemgroup.cpp:249: error: uninitialized const `DIMap'
itemgroup.cpp:249: error: parse error before `::' token
itemgroup.cpp:250: error: parse error before `::' token
itemgroup.cpp:250: error: name lookup of `it' changed for new ISO `for' scoping
itemgroup.cpp:243: error: using obsolete binding at `it'
itemgroup.cpp:250: error: `rankedEnd' undeclared (first use this function)
itemgroup.cpp:252: error: base operand of `->' has non-pointer type `
QValueListIterator'
itemgroup.cpp:263: error: parse error before `::' token
itemgroup.cpp:265: error: base operand of `->' has non-pointer type `
QValueListIterator'
itemgroup.cpp:265: error: base operand of `->' has non-pointer type `
QValueListIterator'
itemgroup.cpp:265: error: base operand of `->' has non-pointer type `
QValueListIterator'
itemgroup.cpp:268: error: base operand of `->' has non-pointer type `
QValueListIterator'
itemgroup.cpp:249: warning: unused variable `const int DIMap'
itemgroup.cpp: In member function `void ItemGroup::slotDistributeVertically()':
itemgroup.cpp:285: error: ISO C++ forbids declaration of `multimap' with no
type
itemgroup.cpp:285: error: template-id `multimap' used as a
declarator
itemgroup.cpp:285: error: parse error before `;' token
itemgroup.cpp:290: error: `make_pair' undeclared in namespace `std'
itemgroup.cpp:295: error: ISO C++ forbids declaration of `DIMap' with no type
itemgroup.cpp:295: error: uninitialized const `DIMap'
itemgroup.cpp:295: error: parse error before `::' token
itemgroup.cpp:296: error: parse error before `::' token
itemgroup.cpp:296: error: name lookup of `it' changed for new ISO `for' scoping
itemgroup.cpp:289: error: using obsolete binding at `it'
itemgroup.cpp:298: error: base operand of `->' has non-pointer type `
QValueListIterator'
itemgroup.cpp:309: error: parse error before `::' token
itemgroup.cpp:311: error: base operand of `->' has non-pointer type `
QValueListIterator'
itemgroup.cpp:311: error: base operand of `->' has non-pointer type `
QValueListIterator'
itemgroup.cpp:311: error: base operand of `->' has non-pointer type `
QValueListIterator'
itemgroup.cpp:314: error: base operand of `->' has non-pointer type `
QValueListIterator'
itemgroup.cpp:295: warning: unused variable `const int DIMap'
make[3]: *** [itemgroup.o] Error 1
make[3]: Leaving directory `/root/Downloads/ktechlab-0.3/src'
make[2]: *** [all-recursive] Error 1
make[2]: Leaving directory `/root/Downloads/ktechlab-0.3/src'
make[1]: *** [all-recursive] Error 1
make[1]: Leaving directory `/root/Downloads/ktechlab-0.3'
make: *** [all] Error 2
bash-2.05b#

Any ideas?

I really want to use this for simulating circuits and things


By Forrest McKerchar at Mon, 2006/02/13 - 6:00am

If you want a quick&dirty solution, try to remove the -ansi parameters in the generated Makefile files.

Have a nice day!


By Nicolas Goutte at Mon, 2006/02/13 - 6:00am

I removed all instances of -ansi from all the generated Makefiles, but the errors didn't go away.

Upgraded to gcc-3.4 and the errors disapeared :-)


By Forrest McKerchar at Mon, 2006/02/13 - 6:00am

7 years of vim and still one keystroke too much... s/:wq/:x/ ;-)


By Michael Brade at Mon, 2006/02/13 - 6:00am

Yes, that is the only one thing I cannot remember in vim :) I will always use :wq, sorry ;-)

:wq


By Carsten Niehaus at Mon, 2006/02/13 - 6:00am

In the Interview there are some HTML Tags missting.
Look at "Which text editor do you use? Why?" for example.
The whole opart is written as a headline.

Calle


By Calle at Mon, 2006/02/13 - 6:00am

to Carsten and all other ppl that contributed to Kalzium and the other kde-edu developers! you guys are doing a great job, its very cool to show off your apps and i'm sure they are being used, and will be used even more :D


By superstoned at Mon, 2006/02/13 - 6:00am

And perhaps when KDE 4 arrives you can create a "Pro" version and earn some compensation?

http://digitalscience.free.fr/

This company does a nice one for OS X.


By Marc J. Driftmeyer at Tue, 2006/02/14 - 6:00am

I know that table from the screenshots, looks pretty nice, yes.

If somebody want to donate money: I have a bank-account and an amazon-wishlist (german amazon). It would be really nice to recieve a DVD or two of course :-) But Kalzium will always be free as in beer and as in freedom.


By Carsten Niehaus at Tue, 2006/02/14 - 6:00am

Just a big "Thank you!" to Carsten and all the kdeedu developers for the amazing applications they are creating. My wife and I educate our children at home, and the KDE programs are proving extremely useful. Please keep up the good work!


By David Joyce at Wed, 2006/02/15 - 6:00am

What does he mean there is no Linux program for scientific drawing of compounds? That's just silly, so what has all the chemical physicists used all those years when the rest of the scientific world has been writing in TeX/LaTeX? Probably something like XyMTeX, that's what.


By Jonas at Wed, 2006/02/15 - 6:00am

Jonas, of course you can draw them. I studied chemistry myself without touching non-free software. I used xfig, inkscape, latex, xdrawchem and so on. But those tools are absolutly not usable for a regular chemistry teacher. If you want Linux in School you need software for teachers and students alike.
Furthermore, ACDLabs is *much* better than any !windows solution out there. It is easy to use, fast, high quality, supports all kinds of calculations, has a very good 3d-mode, names molecules for you and so on. *That* is what we need, not a ChemTex-solution where you need to read 10 howtos to draw Acetylesalicyleacid!


By Carsten Niehaus at Wed, 2006/02/15 - 6:00am