Creating new applications is the easy part. Maintaining them, making them safer and faster and adding features that make them more useful to users is what marks the difference between one-shot wonders and solid tools you can trust and enjoy for years. That is why KDE developers are constantly renewing and updating their applications, making them more reliable, more useful, and in general, just better.
Calligra Plan, KDE's project planning and management tool, gets its first big update in two years.
In case you were not aware, Plan helps you manage small and large projects which require multiple resources. In order for you to model your project, Plan offers different types of task dependencies and timing constraints. You can define your tasks, estimate the effort needed to perform each, allocate resources and then schedule the project according to your needs and the actual resources available.
One of Plan's strengths is its excellent support for Gantt charts. Gantt charts help you plan, coordinate, and track specific tasks in a project. Using Gantt charts in Plan you will be able to better monitor your project's workflow.
Kdenlive developers have been adding new features and squashing bugs like crazy -- the latest version alone comes with more than 200 changes.
A lot of work has gone into improving support for audio. In the "bugs solved", department they have gotten rid of an error that would eat up memory. They have also made saving audio thumbnails much more efficient.
But the most exciting new feature is that Kdenlive now comes with a spectacular sound mixer (see image). Developers have also added a new audio clip display in the clip monitor and the project bin so you can better synchronize your moving images with the soundtrack.
Talking of sound, Elisa is one of KDE's most popular up-and-coming music players. Elisa belongs to the deceptively simple, very light, very good-looking variety of players, with an intuitive and elegant interface and, in its latest version, Elisa has upgraded its looks even further to adapt better to High DPI screens. It also now integrates better with the looks other KDE applications.
Indexing music files has also improved and Elisa now supports web radios and comes with a few examples for you to try.
Most people who get to know KDE Connect, end up raving about it just because of how darned useful it is.
The latest version of KDE Connect packs even more features. One of the more noticeable is that there is a new SMS app that lets you read and write SMS from your computer with the full conversation history.
Developers are also adding new functionalities to existing features to make them even more useful. For example, you could already use KDE Connect to control the volume of media playing on your desktop, say, in VLC. But now you can use KDE Connect to also control your system's global volume from your phone. When giving a talk, you can control your presentation using KDE Connect to flip forward and back through your slides, and apart from integrating with other KDE apps, you can now also send files from Thunar (Xfce's file manager) and Elementary applications such as Pantheon Files.
Talking of other platforms, you can now run the mobile component of KDE Connect not only on Android, but also on all those mobile Linux platforms we'll be seeing in upcoming devices like the PinePhone and the Librem 5. The new version also provides features for desktop-to-desktop users, such as media control across desktops, remote input, device ringing, file transfers and running commands.
And Much More
But that is not all by any means: Dolphin, Spectacle, Okular and dozens of other applications have included new features you are sure to find useful. Even more projects, broaching apps, libraries and frameworks, have tweaked their code making them more stable and secure.
Getting applications made by KDE is also now easier: most are now available as Flatpaks, Snaps and AppImages. You just have to download them and they run straight out of the box. Many programs are also available for more platforms, such as Android, macOs and Windows. Krita and Okular have been available in the Microsoft Store for some time now, and they have recently been joined by Kile, a user-friendly LaTeX document editor.
Distributions will be updating their own repos and making the new versions available to Linux users over the next few weeks. Look out for your updates!
After a one-year hiatus, KDE Student Programs is very happy to announce Season of KDE 2020!
Focused on offering an opportunity to anyone (not just enrolled students) contributing to the KDE community, this is a program that is comparable to the well-known Google Summer of Code, with some special differences. A key difference is that SoK projects are not limited to code-focused work, but any that benefit our community. For instance, projects can be about documentation, reports, translation, system administration, web and other types of work as well as code. Each contributor will work with a mentor and within a team that will also help the contributor.
This year we have decreased the duration of the projects. Previously, all projects were 80 days long. However, during SoK 2018 we included the option of 40-day projects. This new option was widely adopted by participants during 2018 and, so we decided to keep only this alternative.
From the 9th of December 2019 to the 3rd of January 2020: Participant and Mentor Application period
6th of January 2020: Projects announced
8th of January 2020, 00:00 UTC: SoK work period begins
17th of February 2020, 23:59 UTC: End of work
21st of February 2020: Results announced
28th of February 2020: Certificates issued
Beginning of Q3 2020: Merchandise and Swag sent out by courier
Prospective participants should get in touch with us before the application period begins to discuss possible projects. You can connect with us on Matrix, in the #kde-soc room on IRC, in KDE-SoC on Telegram, or through our mailing list. Besides talking to the SoK team, contact the application maintainer and team with whom you want to work.
If you’re looking for project ideas, you can find some on our KDE Season of Code 2020 Ideas Page. Mentors please add ideas, so that we have a central repository of project ideas for Season of KDE 2020 and even GSoC 2020. Applicants will work with the teams to develop a proposal, and the SoK admin team will help too.
Help us spread the word! Tell your friends, blog, tweet, and share on Facebook using the #2020SeasonKDE hashtag.
Participants and mentors can apply here once applications open.
The KDE Indonesia Community will once again hold a Kopdar (local term for BoF). This meeting is the second meeting after the successful meeting in 2018. The activity will be held this weekend with talks and activities about translating KDE software into Indonesian. The main event is for KDE fans in particular and Linux in general to collaborate in KDE translation.
The event will be held on: Day: Saturday, 23 November 2019 Time: 19.00 (UTC + 7) Venue: Midtrans Office Jl. Gandok Baru No.46, Sleman, Yogyakarta Speaker: Wantoyek Topic: The First Step to Becoming a KDE Translator
The purpose of this event is to invite KDE activists to participate in contributing to the community, especially as translators. The KDE Indonesia community also opens opportunities to donate activities for anyone who wants to support this activity, please contact Rifky Affand ([email protected]). See you in DIY Yogyakarta, KDE lovers!
The big release this month has been LabPlot 2.7. LabPlot is fast becoming one of KDE's highest profile apps. It is an application for interactive graphing and analysis of scientific data. LabPlot provides an easy way to create, manage and edit plots. It allows you to produce plots based on data from a spreadsheet or on data imported from external files. Plots can be exported to several pixmap and vector graphic formats.
In this release we made the user experience while working with LabPlot easier and more fun. Entering and working with data in spreadsheets is slicker and when reading live data from file sources you can now use a relative path to find a live data source. This allows you to, for example, copy the folder containing the project file together with the data file or files across different folders on your computer without losing the connection to the file or files. In the Project Explorer you can now move top-level objects to different folders via drag & drop.
The data picker, which allows you to digitize data points on images, has had an overhaul in 2.7. The devs have greatly simplified the overall workflow and the process of digitizing data points as you can see in this video.
Check out the Labplot YouTube channel for more videos on using this advanced application.
Alternative panel Latte Dock got a bugfix release, 0.9.4. It fixes autoloading in some distros such as Manjaro.
KDevelop is on its monthly bugfix release which tidied up CLang support for some distros.
Over 100 apps gets released as part of the KDE Applications bundle which has just had its 19.08.3 bugfix releases and includes:
In the video-editor Kdenlive, compositions no longer disappear when reopening a project with locked tracks.
Okular's annotation view now shows creation times in local time zone instead of UTC.
Keyboard control has been improved in the Spectacle screenshot utility.
Snaps are one of the new container-based package formats for Linux. KDE has over 50 apps published on the Snap store and ready to be installed on almost any Linux distro. On many Ubuntu flavors and derivatives, they come ready to be used. On others you may need to use your package manager to install snapd first. This is usually as simple as running a command such as sudo dnf install snapd or sudo pacman -S snapd. Most of KDE's Snap packages are built by the KDE neon team on their servers and the aim is to get packaging and building integrated more directly with app's repositories and continuous integration setups. This means they are updated more frequently and the moment changes are made so you always get the latest and greatest features and fixes.
We have a couple of nice progressions towards stable releases from KDE apps. First, the mobile journey search app KTrip has moved into kdereview, meaning the authors want it checked over for sanity before making a stable release. In a first for KDE developer Nicolas Fella, he worked out how to get KTrip into F-Droid, the free software app store for Android.
Then, the developer tool ELF Dissector passed kdereview, meaning KDE has approved it as something we are happy to put our name on when it gets released. It's a static analysis tool for ELF libraries and executables. It does things like inspect forward and backward dependencies (on a library or symbol level), identify load-time performance bottlenecks such as expensive static constructors or excessive relocations, or size profiling of ELF files.
By getting KDE's apps into the most popular of channels like the Windows Store, Google Play and F-Droid, we can reach more users and boost KDE's adoption through its software. Now that Kate is successfully shipping in the Windows Store, Kate developer Christoph Cullmann wrote a guide to Windows Store submission. Check it out.
It's been a month since Consistency was announced as an official goal for KDE at Akademy. During this time, we have focused on setting up all the tools needed to support the goal and tracking already active consistency tasks. Here's an update on what we have done so far and the main tasks we're working on.
We have created a Consistency page on the community wiki where you can learn what the consistency goal is and find out how you can easily get involved in it. Check it out, regardless of your level of technical expertise!
There is also a Consistency channel on KDE's Matrix instance. Access it through the webchat page or at consistency:kde.org. You are welcome to come in and join us to discuss anything related to the consistency goal!
A sprint is in the works. If you would like to participate, join in the discussion and come and discuss the time and the place on the Matrix channel as well.
We created a Consistency workboard so you can track all the tasks and keep up with their development. You can add yourself as a member or watcher to receive Phabricator updates.
Tasks are organized into the following categories:
Reported shows consistency problems that still need to be addressed, but are currently not being worked on, or are not actively developed yet
VDG Discussion lists tasks that the VDG (Visual Design Group) are discussing
HIG Specification shows tasks that are waiting for an HIG (Human Interface Guidelines) specification so they can be developed in a consistent way
Under Apps Implementation you can find tasks that are actively being worked on
Meta contains all the tasks that are not exactly consistency problems, but are related to the consistency goal in some way
There are already many tasks in the Consistency project. Some tasks are new, some existed before. Many of these tasks are quite interesting, so read on to get an idea of what lays ahead for this goal.
This task was already in progress when the Consistency goal was selected, but it is nevertheless a great example of what we'd like to see happen in the goal.
Currently, Plasma has a discrepancy in its highlight effect. The first kind of effect is a plain rectangle using the highlight color, while the second one is a rounded rectangle with an outline and semi-transparent background. Although the former is more common, we think the latter is more appropriate to use in all situations.
A few more examples of what the new highlight could consistently look like in various use-cases:
This is a great example of what consistency can be: not simply applying the same style everywhere, but finding something that a single app does very well, and bringing that to all the other apps. Noah Davis is actively developing this task, and he's doing a great job!
These tasks originated directly from the Consistency goal.
Sidebars are used in many applications and it would be great that they were consistent. There are two main aspects to this: the type of sidebar (system settings-like lists, big square icons, etc.) and the navigation within the sidebar (tabs, combo boxes, etc.).
What is the best solution? That part is currently under discussion. We welcome everyone's opinions on the matter or, even better, an expert assessment on the feasibility of each of the options.
Let's quickly illustrate some options:
For the sidebar appearance, the current main option relies on using lists and big square icons, depending on the number of elements:
On the other hand, the option for navigating sidebar views includes tabs that become icons-only when horizontal space is insufficient, vertical tabs on the left, and combo boxes:
This task was already ongoing when the Consistency goal was chosen and it aims to modernize old web pages that follow obsolete styles. There are many of them and some are well-hidden. Carl Schwan created and works on this task alongside many other contributors. Check it out and see if you too can find any old websites that need updating!
That's the end of this update!
If you would like to help out, come join us in the matrix room and let's make KDE software more consistent together!
Join us for conf.kde.in from the 17th to 19th of January 2020 in Delhi, India.
conf.kde.in 2020 will focus on promoting Free and Open Source software, including (but not limited to) Qt and KDE products.
conf.kde.in 2020 will be held in Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Technology, located in Rohini, Delhi, India. MAIT was established by the Maharaja Agrasen Technical Education Society and promoted by well-known industrialists, businessmen, professionals and philanthropists. The aim of MAIT is to promote quality education in the field of Technology.
MAIT endeavors to provide industry-relevant education and training through its well-crafted and practical training programs for the students in different semesters of their courses. The campus is composed of 10 blocks with a learning resource center. MAIT has been ranked as the 10th best private engineering institute in India by the Dataquest T-School Survey. MAIT always supports Free and Open Source communities and tech-related activities.
conf.kde.in started in 2011 at RVCE in Bangalore as a 5-day event with 300 participants. This kicked off a series of KDE events in India. We held a KDE Meetup in 2013, and another conf.kde.in 2014 at DA-IICT. In 2015, the third conf.kde.in was held at Amrita University in Kerala, and in 2016 at LNMIIT Jaipur. The Jaipur conference attracted members of the KDE Community from all over the world. Attendees from different backgrounds came to meet each other, give talks, and share in the spirit of KDE. The 2017 conference was held in IIT Guwahati, Assam and sought to cater to new members of KDE, as well as to seasoned developers.
All of these events have been successful in attracting a lot of Indian students to mentoring programs such as Google Summer of Code (GSoC), Season of KDE, and Google Code-In.
conf.kde.in 2020 will generate even more interest and participation by creating a fertile environment for people to get started with KDE, Qt and FOSS through numerous talks, hands-on sessions and demonstrations.
Call For Papers
Join us! Submit a paper, explain the content for a 30-minute presentation or a workshop on any aspect of KDE, Qt or any other FOSS topic you want to cover, and become a conf.kde.in Speaker.
Remember to include all pertinent information about your background, other talks you've given, and anything else that gives a sense of what attendees can expect from your presentation.
KDE launches the new version of its acclaimed desktop environment, Plasma 5.17.
Plasma 5.17 is the version where the desktop anticipates your needs. Among many new features and improvements, your desktop now starts up faster; Night Color, the color-grading system that relaxes your eyes when the sun sets, has landed for X11; your Plasma desktop recognizes when you are giving a presentation, and stops messages popping up in the middle of your slideshows; and, if you are using Wayland, Plasma now comes with fractional scaling, which means that you can adjust the size of all your desktop elements, windows, fonts and panels perfectly to your HiDPI monitor.
The best part? The hundreds of improvements that have made their way into Plasma 5.17 do not tax your hardware! Plasma 5.17 is as lightweight and thrifty with resources as ever.
The Plasma 5.17 series is dedicated to our friend Guillermo Amaral. Guillermo was an enthusiastic KDE developer who rightly self-described as 'an incredibly handsome multidisciplinary self-taught engineer'. He brought cheer to family, friends and colleagues. He lost his battle with cancer last summer, but will be remembered as a friend to all he met.
Another thing to check out are the previously announced BoF wrapups letting you know what went on during the week following the talks
Here are some talks recommended by attendees:
For most of the year, KDE - one of the largest free and open software communities in the world - works online 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.
We are a community of thousands of contributors who make hundreds of Apps using collaborative open source methods. Our apps run on Linux with Plasma, of course, but also fit in well with GNOME, Enlightenment, XFCE, or any other desktop you happen to be using. Many of our apps run on Windows, Android and macOS.
A new goal for the KDE community is to push how we are All About the Apps. We will be highlighting our best software and promoting it to increase its adoption outside the circle of current KDE fans (who we still love very much!). This is a monthly update of what's new in our apps. If you'd like to help out with this community goal, take a look at the All About the Apps workboard, and join us in our Matrix chat channel.
The elite painting app Krita received a monthly bugfix release, 4.2.7. The developers have improved the layout and functionality of the color selection dialog, and made it possible to save group layers to file layers even if they are empty. The sort order of images imported as frames was fixed, a bunch of crashes removed, and dozens of other bugs tidied up.
To celebrate, the Krita team also made a video with artist Ramon Miranda that offers some advice for improving your sketches. Krita is available in your favorite Linux distribution, for Windows, macOS, as a Linux AppImage, on Flathub, and in the Snap store.
Coming from KDE and used by many of us, the distributed compiler cluster Icecream and Icecream Monitor have been updated. The new release improves Objective C and C++ support, removes hardcoded compiler paths, and fixes job preloading to again allow sending one extra job to a fully busy node. In the monitor app several new ice cream flavors have also been added, we're not quite sure what this means but it sounds delicious.
In the last month, Latte Dock (panel for the Plasma desktop) had two new releases, making improvements to its new Win Indicator look.
KDevelop, the discerning coder's IDE, published a bugfix release - 5.4.2. You can get it from your Linux distribution or as an AppImage, and you can also compile versions for Windows and macOS.
RSIBreak, the app that helps you prevent damage to your wrists got a new release versioned 0.12.11.
Photo management and editing app digiKam released the version 6.3. The highlight of the new release is the G'Mic plugin.
G'Mic is the image processing library with over 950 different filters, so you can make all your photos truly beautiful. digiKam can be installed from your Linux distro, AppImage bundles, macOS package, and Windows 32/64-bit installers.
Telescope and astronomy app KStars also had a new release, versioned 3.3.6. The KStars Live Video window can now show debayer frames in real-time, making it possible to create color video streams.
The weather data can be directly displayed in the Observatory Module, and the user interface has been improved in a number of ways. As one of the most feature-rich free astronomy apps, KStars caters to a wide variety of use cases, so you will surely find tools that are useful to you regardless of your level of experience. KStars is available pretty much everywhere - as a Windows installer, macOS installer, Android app, Snap package, and in your Linux distribution.
We are continually improving our apps, so plenty of bug fixes have been made. Here are some highlights.
Our document viewer Okular gained support for HighDPI screens. This one-line fix to add automatic scaling based on the pixel density of the monitor will make viewing documents on fancy monitors so much better.
The advanced text editor Kate was similarly updated to work with HiDPI screens throughout.
The chess game Knights had a one-line fix in version 19.08.2. Thanks to the fix, you can now start a game when the second player is a computer engine again.
Video editor Kdenlive fixed screengrabs in Linux to eliminate crashes, and in Windows to correctly grab the audio.
CD burner app K3b fixed a crash where it couldn't find the supporting command-line tool mkisofs.
Libraries and artwork support our apps to make our software work beautifully.
The Breeze icon theme got new icons for activities, trash, batteries, QR codes, and more. Libical, which is used by Kontact to talk to iCalendar protocols and data formats, had a bugfix release (3.0.6).
Snorenotify is a notification framework supporting Linux, Windows and macOS. Snoretoast is a command-line application used within Snorenotify for Windows Toast notifications. It is also used in Quassel and Tomahawk, and the good news is that it got a new release this month (0.7.0).
New in App Stores
Our software is increasingly available directly through app stores. To celebrate and highlight this (and to help you find them more easily!), this month we added Windows Store links to the KDE Applications web page.
More KDE applications found their way to the Windows Store:
New projects are started in the KDE community all the time. When those projects are ready for wider use, they go through a process called "KDE review", where other KDE contributors will check them for code quality, features, licensing, and how well they work on different platforms. Last but not least, we decide whether we are happy to give it the KDE stamp of approval.
In KDE review this month is Ruqola, a chat app which talks on the Rocket Chat network and uses the Kirigami UI framework. For the more technically-inclined, Elf-Inspector is an app providing tools for inspecting, analyzing, and optimizing ELF files (the executable file format used on Linux).
Sometimes, apps are left behind when their code does not keep up with the rest of the world.
This month, a new version of our multimedia library Phonon was released. In this version, we removed Qt4 support - sensible enough, as Qt4 hasn't been supported since 2015. As a result, the music player app Amarok has become deprecated (at least for now). Don't lose hope, though: the Qt5 port is progressing, but it's not there yet.
The web browser Rekonq was marked as unmaintained, meaning it's unlikely to ever come back. However, the work carries on in Falkon, so make sure to check out and support the project if you are interested in lightweight web browsers. Also considered unmaintained is the bootup configuration tool systemd-kcm.
Enjoy your apps from KDE, and stay tuned for more updates!
Akademy 2019 brought the KDE community some exciting news and major changes. The new community-wide goals have been announced, and KDE contributors presented new ideas and projects they are working on.
One important change that took place during Akademy 2019 is related to the KDE e.V., the foundation that legally represents the KDE community. Members of KDE e.V. elected two new members for the KDE e.V. Board. For the next couple of years, they will be the people who will legally represent the KDE community and manage the day-to-day running of KDE e.V.
Let’s meet the new members of the KDE e.V. Board!
Aleix Pol is KDE e.V.'s new President. Aleix has been involved with KDE since he was a student back in 2007. In those early days, he worked on KDevelop in several Google Summer of Code projects, and has gone on to create and maintain Discover, Kalgebra, and other high-profile KDE projects. Aleix's whole adult life has been linked to KDE one way or another and, among other things, he co-founded and was one of the first presidents of KDE España, the Spanish KDE association. Aleix has been a KDE e.V. Board member and vice-president since he was elected to the post during the 2014 Akademy held in Brno, Czech Republic.
Lydia Pintscher has moved on from the presidency, staying on the Board as vice-president. Lydia, a computer scientist with a degree from Karlsruhe University and Product Manager for Wikidata, has been a member of the board since 2011 and president of KDE e.V. since 2014. During her tenure, KDE has evolved and developed a vision statement, and instated the "Goals" initiative that gives the community clear targets to work towards.
KDE also started scaling up during Lydia's presidency, which resulted in employing promotion and documentation experts who are helping with community growth. In a similar bid, the Board headed by Lydia started building up a network of like-minded organizations and companies around KDE that led to the constitution of the Advisory Board.
Lydia has now moved on to a vice-presidency post, alongside Eike Hein. Eike is also the Treasurer of KDE e.V.. Since Eike has become Treasurer, KDE has received an unprecedented number of donations and new sponsorships - not only proof that more and more companies see KDE as a reliable FLOSS project, but also a testimony to Eike's persistence. Eike also maintains Konversation, KDE's IRC/IM client, and has written many core UI pieces of the Plasma 5 desktop, such as the taskbar, the menus, the desktop icon file management, and more. He recently started a new pet project, Kirogi: a ground control application for piloting drones.
The outgoing Board members are Andy Betts and Thomas Pfeiffer. Andy, who has a a Master in Business Administration, brought his management skills to his post and helped KDE e.V. improve its processes. He is also a talented graphics designer, and has provided advice and skills to the Visual Design Group and Promo and Communications team. Unfortunately, Andy had to give up his seat to tend to other time-consuming matters.
Thomas, on the other hand, has been an expert in UX (User Experience) and Usability, the branch of design that seeks to make tools and computer interfaces easier to use, since his university days. On the KDE e.V. Board, Thomas was instrumental in setting up the Advisory Board and managed it, ensuring a healthy communication with our industry and community partners. He was also key in supporting the process towards defining KDE's vision statement, and started the discussion about reducing KDE e.V.'s environmental footprint, which is still ongoing. Apart from his work on the Board, he provided feedback and helped improve the interfaces of Plasma and many of KDE's applications.
The new members stepping in for Andy and Thomas are Neofytos Kolokotronis and Adriaan de Groot.
To describe Neofytos’ tenure within KDE as "meteoric" would be an understatement. He became active in the community in 2017, proposed a community goal, Streamline Onboarding of new community members, and managed to get it picked. He was then elected as a member of the Financial Working Group, and now, in 2019, is a Board member of KDE e.V..
But Neofytos is not a newcomer to the FLOSS world by any means. Although he studied medicine and holds a degree in psychology, his day job revolves around consulting in technology and innovation, mostly doing project management. He uses those skills to improve the communities he works with.
While Neofytos is a relatively new hand within KDE e.V., Adriaan de Groot is anything but. Indeed, Adriaan is a KDE veteran who already served on the Board 10 years ago. If you have had any contact with KDE at events at all, you may have met him: he is the tall, congenial KDE-booth staffer and master-of-ceremonies at the BoF wrapups during Akademy. Adriaan is the main developer of Calamares, the universal distribution installer. Calamares is what allows you to easily install Manjaro, Neon, Netrunner, Open Mandriva, and so many other independent distributions. Adriaan is also a diehard FreeBSD hacker and user, among many other things.
Leading a community as large and diverse as KDE is not an easy task. Thankfully, the Board has always been made up of talented, persistent and savvy people, and this new iteration is no exception. With Aleix, Lydia, Eike, Neofytos and Adriaan at the helm, KDE is guaranteed a bright future. Congratulations to the new Board members! We can’t wait to see what the community will achieve with their support!