KDE has been looking for a better way of chatting and live-sharing information for several years now. IRC has been a good solution for a long time, but our channels are currently on servers KDE cannot control. It also lacks features users have come to expect from more modern IM services. Other alternatives, such as Telegram, Slack and Discord, although feature-rich, are centralized and built around closed-source technologies and offer even less control than IRC. This flies in the face of KDE's principles that require we use and support technologies based on Free software.
However, our search for a better solution has finally come to an end: as of today we are officially using Matrix for collaboration within KDE! Matrix is an open protocol and network for decentralised communication, backed by an open standard and open source reference implementations for servers, clients, client SDKs, bridges, bots and more. It provides all the features you’d expect from a modern chat system: infinite scrollback, file transfer, typing notifications, read receipts, presence, search, push notifications, stickers, VoIP calling and conferencing, etc. It even provides end-to-end encryption (based on Signal’s double ratchet algorithm) for when you want some privacy.
All the existing rooms on Matrix (and their counterparts on IRC, Telegram and elsewhere) continue to exist. The new service provides a dedicated server for KDE users to access them using names like #kde:kde.org.
This February release of KDE Plasma comes with a wide range of new features and improvements. The main focus of developers has been stamping out all minor problems and papercuts of the desktop, aiming to make Plasma smoother and easier to use.
Plasma's configuration interfaces have been redesigned, expanded and clarified to cover more user cases and make it simpler to adapt Plasma to everybody's needs. Plasma has also improved the integration of non-native applications, so Firefox, for example, can now optionally use native KDE open/save dialogs. Likewise, GTK and GNOME apps now respect the global scale factor used by high-DPI screens.
Developers have also been hard at work on Discover, Plasma's built-in software manager. Options for upgrading your distribution are now included in Discover's Update Notifier widget, which will also display a "Restart" button if a restart is recommended when updating is done. Talking of updates, it is now possible to uncheck and re-check all available updates to make it easier to pick and choose the ones you want to apply. Another improvement is that repository management in Discover is now more practical and usable, especially for Ubuntu-based distros.
We have also solved problems with text readability and icon clarity. KDE designers have improved a variety of Breeze device and preference icons, including the multimedia icons and all icons that depict a stylized version of a Plasma wallpaper. The Places, Vault and Python bytecode files all have redesigned icons to make them easier to identify.
There are literally hundreds more improvements and tweaks included in this release, all implemented to make your life as a Plasma user much more enjoyable. Read the official announcement and check out the Plasma 5.15 changelog for more details on this new version of the Plasma desktop.
Despite the rain and the cold, there is always a place that is warm and welcoming in Brussels in February - the KDE booth at FOSDEM 2019.
This year we are jam-packing it with interesting stuff. The first thing you'll see as you arrive is Krita's demo. Wolthera van Hövell, a talented artist that regularly contributes to Krita, will be painting live at the booth, demonstrating all the new features on a large screen for everybody to enjoy. Then on Sunday, Camille Moulin will be demonstrating how to edit video using Kdenlive.
We will also have a wide variety of hardware devices you will be able to play with. We will be showing off how Plasma works on everything: from high-end laptops like the KDE Slimbook, to underpowered and very affordable notebooks, such as the Pinebook. A variety of SBCs (single-board computers) will also be on show, ranging from Raspberry Pis to Pine64s. Of course, we will show the progress we are making on Plasma Mobile, so the KDE booth will be well-equipped with phones you can test on-site, and exotic new hardware, like a RISC-V board.
Besides demos and devices, the booth staff will be made up by some of KDE's most notorious members. Aleix Pol of KAlgebra and Discover fame; Jonathan Riddell, creator of the KDE neon system; Bhushan Shah, the main developer of Plasma Mobile; Adriaan de Groot, the main developer of the Calamares operating system installer; and Boudewijn Rempt from Krita will all be on hand to answer your questions, field suggestions or just chat.
In the merch department, you will be able to get your hands on our brand new Katie and Konqi stickers, especially designed to celebrate Plasma Mobile, along with a variety of other kute designs. You will also be able to purchase KDE gear, such as T-shirts, sweaters and hoodies. This is a great opportunity to not only spruce up your wardrobe, but also to contribute to KDE with a donation to our community - truly a win-win situation!
Today KDE launches the beta release of Plasma 5.15.
For the first release of 2019, the Plasma team has embraced KDE's Usability & Productivity goal. We have teamed up with the VDG (Visual Design Group) contributors to get feedback on all the papercuts in our software that make your life less smooth, and fixed them to ensure an intuitive and consistent workflow for your daily use.
Plasma 5.15 brings a number of changes to our configuration interfaces, including more options for complex network configurations. Many icons have been added or redesigned. Our integration with third-party technologies like GTK and Firefox has been made even more complete. Discover, our software and add-on installer, has received a metric tonne of improvements to help you stay up-to-date and find the tools you need to get your tasks done.
Please test this beta release and send us bug reports and feedback. The final release will be available in three weeks' time.
After many years of successful Google Code-in participation, this year we did it again! KDE attracted a number of students with exciting tasks for their eager young minds.
Google Code-in is a program for pre-university students aged from 13 to 17 and sponsored by Google Open Source. KDE has always worked to get new people involved in Free and open source (FOSS) projects with the aim of making the world a better place.
This year was no different. Our students worked very hard, and some of them already have their contributions committed to the KDE codebase!
We designed tasks in a way that made them exciting for all students. Students who were not skilled in programming took on tasks of writing blogs or documentation. To help students who had no experience with FOSS or with the community, we set up introductory tasks for IRC and mailing lists, both of which are essential in FOSS as communication channels.
The students who had some prior programming experience received tutorial tasks to get a better understanding of how KDE software works. Those types of tasks also helped them become familiar with the Qt framework on which all KDE software is based. Finally, students good at programming were put to work contributing to on-going KDE projects. They created new features or solved known bugs and wrote unit tests.
We’re happy that some really enthusiastic and persistent students joined us this year. Thanks to their passion for programming, they completed many tasks and delivered quality code we merged into our project repositories.
It wasn’t easy for the mentors to select winners, as every student had accomplished great things. Still, we finally settled on pranav and triplequantum (their GCI names). Finalists were TURX, TUX, UA and waleko.
KDE would like to congratulate all the winners and finalists, and we warm-heartedly welcome all our new contributors!
It's that time of the year again. Everyone is in a festive mood and excited about all the new things they're going to get. It's only natural, since it's the season of the last KDE Applications release for this year!
With more than 140 issues resolved and dozens of feature improvements, KDE Applications 18.12 are now on its way to your operating system of choice. We've highlighted some changes you can look forward to.
Practical File Management with Dolphin
File management encompasses a lot of activities. There's renaming, copying, and moving files around. Perhaps you want to quickly preview a file to make sure it's the right one. You're in luck, because the thumbnail preview experience has been greatly improved in the new version of Dolphin. LibreOffice documents and AppImage applications can now be previewed as thumbnails, and icon thumbnails look much cleaner. If folder thumbnails are enabled, video files larger than 5 MB will be visible in them.
Of course, there is more to Dolphin than just thumbnails. The "Control" menu makes it easier to show hidden places and create new files and folders. After unmounting a storage volume in the Places panel, it can now be remounted. Those who still own audio CDs and use Dolphin to open them will be glad to hear it can now change the CBR bitrate for MP3 files and fix timestamps for FLAC files.
Some security measures have been implemented in Dolphin to prevent users from accidentally losing their data. It no longer allows attempts to unmount the active home directory and the disk where the active OS is installed. When renaming files, Dolphin will warn you if there's an extra dot in front of the filename, which would make the file hidden. Pretty neat, right?
Okular: Annotate ALL the Things
Okular has steadily grown from a document viewer into an indispensable assistant in activities such as studying, doing research, or collaborating on text in read-only file formats like PDF and EPUB. Its annotation capabilities were already powerful, but the new version introduces a new tool called Typewriter. With this annotation tool, you'll be able to write text literally anywhere in your files. Whether it's commenting on an image or highlighting a spelling mistake, your hands are now untied, and you can freely express yourself in Okular.
Other improvements in this release include better options to expand and collapse entries in the Table of Contents sidebar. If a file contains links, hovering over them will always display the full URL in a tooltip, regardless of the currently selected Okular mode.
Konsole, Now with More Emotion
Spending hours or even days working in the terminal can get monotonous. Cheer up - the new version of Konsole has full support for emoji! Add a cheeky smiling cat to your commit messages, or insert a facepalm emoji into your shell scripts.
If you're into more serious things, Konsole now makes it easier to reset the font size back to the default. When a bell is triggered in an inactive tab, the tab icon will be highlighted to visually alert you of the activity. Last but not least, if your mouse has back and forward buttons, Konsole is now able to recognize them, and you can use them to switch between tabs.
Usability Improvements for Everyone
If you have been keeping up with KDE-related news, you're probably aware of our community-wide Usability Improvement goal. After all, it's hard to miss the weekly updates from our awesome developers who are dedicated to making the KDE software more accessible and friendlier to everyone.
The KDE Applications 18.12 release integrates all those fruits of labor, and the result is a much more pleasant user experience across the board. KMail now supports a unified inbox display, and emails should now be readable regardless of your color scheme. A small improvement with a big impact is the ability to repeat the last calculation in KCalc multiple times.
Kate comes with new defaults that are meant to help you work more productively right from the start. Specifically, line numbers and the Text Filter plugin will be enabled by default. You can now change the focus of the embedded terminal in Kate by pressing the F4 key, and it will automatically synchronize the location in the terminal with the location of the currently active document.
If you are using Gwenview to fix the wretched red-eye effect in your photos, it will now be even easier thanks to the improved Reduce Red Eye tool. When taking screenshots with Spectacle, their filenames will be sequentially numbered by default. You will also notice that saving options in Spectacle are now easier to access from the Save page.
Ark has received support for tar.zst archives, and it's now much smarter when it comes to file previews. Instead of previewing document files as archives, Ark will now launch the appropriate application for the selected file format.
Apart from improving the standard set of applications, we have also made some of our specialized tools more usable. Lokalize, the translation and localization tool, now has a better search functionality that can recognize plural forms of words. If you keep a lot of tabs open in Lokalize, you will be able to navigate between them much faster.
Cantor, the advanced mathematical tool, now offers better visualizations and highlighting of command entries. You can also open multiple files in one Cantor shell. For users who need to draw mathematical functions, we have made Kmplot more stable and improved the SVG export functionality.
This is a great opportunity for developers of all levels to participate in the project. The team has triaged hundreds of reports, closing more than a hundred of them in the past month. Kdenlive developers have also made a list of entry-level bugs you can get started with.
For the more seasoned developers, there are plenty of options - be it a shiny feature request or a challenge to polish some non-trivial edges. To hack Kdenlive, you need to know C++, Qt, QML or KDE Frameworks. Those with knowledge of C can join the fun by improving MLT, the multimedia framework Kdenlive runs on.
Even if you have no programming experience, you can still help by testing fixes and features, as well as by triaging more bug reports.
Necuno Solutions and KDE are collaborating to offer Plasma Mobile on the Necuno Mobile, a device Necuno describes as "a truly open source hardware platform".
With a focus on openness, security and privacy, the Necuno Mobile is built around an ARM® Cortex®-A9 NXP i.MX6 Quad and a Vivante GPU. According to Necuno, none of the closed firmware has access to the memory.
Necuno Solutions is working with open source mobile communities and intends to make their hardware a welcoming platform for Free and open source operating systems in the mobile ecosystem. Plasma Mobile and Necuno Solutions are a perfect match for a community collaboration because of their shared values. The aim is to grow the KDE and Necuno Solutions communities together and attract interested early adopters and developers so that everyone has a chance to join the effort.
Tanja Drca, Chief Communications Officer at Necuno Solutions says:
KDE has reached very far in the mobile ecosystem by leveraging the power of the community. We feel that KDE is in a good position to challenge the duopoly in the future. This will be a new innovative approach to combine truly open source hardware with a truly open source operating system"
Bhushan Shah, one of the main developers working on Plasma mobile says:
It is important that developers within the mobile ecosystem are able to work with open devices which are easy to modify and tweak, and not locked by vendors to a particular operating system. Necuno Solutions is working on one such device and will ultimately help improve Plasma Mobile due to its open nature."
The fund, set up in collaboration with KDE e.V., wants to encourage diversity in open source. It aims to help underrepresented groups participate in the global Nextcloud community and foster an inclusive and diverse space where the community can continue to collaborate and develop world-class software. Mentoring, travel support, and internships are provided as part of the program. The program is ran in collaboration with the KDE community under the umbrella of the KDE e.V.
Margit Stumpp, Member of the German Parliament (Bundestag) said:
Equal opportunities and diversity are very important issues for the future, especially in technical professions. I am pleased that Nextcloud Include is a new important initiative that is focusing on these issues".
Frank is of course very happy with the prize:
I'm extremely honored to be awarded this prize as a recognition of the incredible impact privacy issues have on our society and the importance of Nextcloud in providing a solution. By donating the prize money to a diversity goal, I hope it will help catalyze another transformation that society needs".
Lydia Pintscher, president of KDE e.V.'s Board was equally thrilled:
We'd like to congratulate Frank on winning this prize and his decision to put the money to a great cause in open source. For us, collaborating with Nextcloud in this way is a bit of a homecoming as it is one of the most successful projects to emerge from our community over the past decade".
It is worth remembering that Nextcloud started life as a KDE project.
Nextcloud, Frank and KDE would like to invite community members who want to get involved in Nextcloud but face significant social hurdles to get in touch with our Include team. You can find more information on Nextcloud Include page.
The Reinhard von Koenig award promotes excellence in progress and technology. Previous winners include notable staff members from Daimler AG and Atlatec GmbH for work on self-driving cars.
LaKademy, or Latin American Akademy, is the annual meeting of the Latin American KDE community - one of the biggest Free software communities in the world. The event takes place since 2012, and is open to all developers, artists, users, and everyone who wants to contribute in any way to the software created or maintained by the community.
As is tradition since 2012, the Latin American Akademy happened from 11th to 14th of October 2018 at the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC) in the city of Florianopolis, Brazil. Members of the local Free and open source software community - mostly Brazilians - gathered at the event. (On a side note, if you are reading this and you are from South America, please join us next year).
It was a fantastic opportunity for everyone to work on KDE projects, but also on other unrelated projects that each person contributes to. The participants strengthened their friendship bonds and shared experiences about creating, using, and maintaining software. Finally, on Sunday (October 14th) everyone celebrated the 22 years of KDE with a cake. Konqui was there, too!
But let us start from the beginning. LaKademy 2018 officially opened on October 11th. More than 20 participants, including Karina Mochetti and six students of Computer Science from the Federal University Fluminense (UFF, Niteroi) started resolving the issues in translation scripts used by the localization team.
They also worked on the KDE Edu software - the educational suite for everyone from age 5 to 95. It was the first time that we had this kind of help - from a formal partnership between a university and its students - and also the first LaKademy with so many attendees from all corners of the continent.
Artists, enthusiasts, teachers... everyone focused on working hard on the projects during the event. The 3D artists created 3D models, translators translated, and developers developed. Many bugs where squashed, too. We would especially like to thank Nicolas Alvarez for breathing in a new life into the official LaKademy website that will be live in its final form soon.
On Saturday, October 13th, the traditional promo meeting took place, where the future of the Latin American KDE community was discussed. We covered a wide range of topics: from communication tools, our presence at Brazilian events, and the promotional materials to the proposal of migrating the KDE Brasil site to Wordpress.
We also considered potential host cities for LaKademy 2019, and shared some thoughts on making it happen outside of Brazil as a way of reinforcing the "Latin-American-ness" of the event.
We would like to thank everyone who participated in this year's LaKademy, and helped make it such a welcoming and productive event. Let's do our best to make it even bigger and better next year!
List of LaKademy 2018 participants
UFF students who attended LaKademy with the mentoring of Karina Mochetti:
Carlos Henrique Domingos Correia Santos
Fernando Costa Rodrigues
Hugo Caetano Borges Carneiro
Luan Simões Cardoso
Lucas Henrique Tavares Monteiro
Maria Edoarda Vallim Fonseca
Other KDE Community members:
Caio Jordão Carvalho
Frederico Gonçalves Guimarães
Pedro Arthur Duarte
Summary of LaKademy 2018 activities
Fixed bugs on many different levels of different applications