With KDE having grown from a hobby project by a few volunteers 20 years ago to the large and central Free Software community it is now, our interactions with other organizations have become increasingly important for us. KDE software is available on several platforms, is shipped by numerous distributions large and small, and KDE has become the go-to Free Software community when it comes to Qt. In addition to those who cooperate with KDE on a technical level, organizations which fight for the same vision as ours are our natural allies as well.
To put these alliances on a more formal level, the KDE e.V. hereby introduces the KDE e.V. Advisory Board as a means to offer a space for communication between organizations which are allied with KDE, from both the corporate and the non-profit worlds.
Take a look at what Plasma offers, a comprehensive selection of features unparalleled in any desktop software.
Cover your desktop in useful widgets to keep you up to date with weather, amused with comics or helping with calculations.
Get Hot New Stuff
Download wallpapers, window style, widgets, desktop effects and dozens of other resources straight to your desktop. We work with the new KDE Store to bring you a wide selection of addons for you to install.
Plasma will let you easily search your desktop for applications, folders, music, video, files... everything you have.
Plasma's default Breeze theme has a unified look across all the common programmer toolkits - Qt 4 & 5, GTK 2 & 3, even LibreOffice.
Using KDE Connect you'll be notified on your desktop of text message, can easily transfer files, have your music silenced during calls and even use your phone as a remote control.
Plasma is simple by default but you can customise it however you like with new widgets, panels, screens and styles.
New in Plasma 5.8
Unified Boot to Shutdown Artwork
This release brings an all-new login screen design giving you a complete Breeze startup to shutdown experience. The layout has been tidied up and is more suitable for workstations that are part of a domain or company network. While it is much more streamlined, it also allows for greater customizability: for instance, all Plasma wallpaper plugins, such as slideshows and animated wallpapers, can now be used on the lock screen.
Right-to-Left Language Support
Support for Semitic right-to-left written languages, such as Hebrew and Arabic, has been greatly improved. Contents of panels, the desktop, and configuration dialogs are mirrored in this configuration. Plasma’s sidebars, such as widget explorer, window switcher, activity manager, show up on the right side of the screen.
The virtual desktop switcher (“Pager”) and window list applets have been rewritten, using the new task manager back-end we introduced in Plasma 5.7. This allows them to use the same dataset as the task manager and improves their performance while reducing memory consumption. The virtual desktop switcher also acquired an option to show only the current screen in multi-screen setups and now shares most of its code with the activity switcher applet.
Task manager gained further productivity features in this release. Media controls that were previously available in task manager tooltips only are now accessible in the context menus as well. In addition to bringing windows to the front during a drag and drop operation, dropping files onto task manager entries themselves will now open them in the associated application. Lastly, the popup for grouped windows can now be navigated using the keyboard and text rendering of its labels has been improved.
Simplified Global Shortcuts
Global shortcuts configuration has been simplified to focus on the most common task, that is launching applications. Building upon the jump list functionality added in previous releases, global shortcuts can now be configured to jump to specific tasks within an application.
Thanks to our Wayland effort, we can finally offer so-called “modifier-only shortcuts”, enabling you to open the application menu by just pressing the Meta key. Due to popular demand, this feature also got backported to the X11 session.
This release sees many bugfixes in multi-screen support and, together with Qt 5.6.1, should significantly improve your experience with docking stations and projectors.
KWin, Plasma’s window manager, now allows compositing through llvmpipe, easing the deployment on exotic hardware and embedded devices. Now that there is a standardized and widely-used interface for applications to request turning off compositing, the "Unredirect Fullscreen” option has been removed. It often lead to stability issues and because of that was already disabled for many drivers.
Now that Kirigami, our set of versatile cross-platform UI components, has been released, we’re pleased to bring you a revamped version of Plasma Discover based on Kirigami.
We have new default fonts, the Noto font from Google covers all scripts available in the Unicode standard while our new monospace font Hack is perfect for coders and terminal users.
We’re in Wayland!
Plasma on Wayland has come a long way in the past months. While our long term support promise does not apply to the fast-evolving Wayland stack, we think it is ready to be tested by a broader audience. There will still be minor glitches and missing features, but we are now at a point where we can ask you to give it a try and report bugs. Notable improvements in this release include:
Support for xdg-shell, i.e. GTK+ applications are now supported
Much improved touch screen support
Support for touchpad gestures – the infrastructure is there, there aren't any gestures by default yet
The “Sliding Popups” effect is now supported
Clipboard contents are synced between X11 and Wayland applications
The 17th edition of the International Free Software Forum (FISL) took place, as usual, at Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul's Convention Center, city of Porto Alegre, from 13th to 16th July. FISL is the largest FOSS conference in Latin America and a quite traditional venue to get a comprehensive panorama of all sorts of FOSS-related new topics: technical advances, adoption cases, FOSS and education, hacker culture, just to mention a few.
KDE has finished its fantastic week, celebrating 20 years of hacking and freedom fighting together with Qt, VLC and FSFE in Berlin. We finished our week with a fun day trip to Pfaueninsel, Berlin's Peacock Island.
KDE is celebrating 20 years as the original and best free software end-user creating community. The milestones of our project are marked on our 20 Years of KDE timeline. Find out the meetings and releases which defined KDE. Learn about the early and recent KDE gatherings around the world and how we have evolved over the years. What was your first KDE release?
For all the gearheads around the world, the occasion of KDE's 20th birthday brings with it the traditional yet unconventional slice of our virtual birthday cake - our brand new book called 20 Years of KDE: Past, Present and Future scribbled in icing on top.
QtCon talks are over, and today we start the discussion groups and hacking sessions to plan out work on the KDE community's projects over the coming year. If you want to learn what's going on in KDE technologies and community you can spend some time watching over the videos from the QtCon KDE talks.
The talks are over after the three days of QtCon Akademy 2016 which means the BoF sessions and hacking days are about to begin. To close the talks at the conference we had a finishing keynote by Julia Reda, Member of the European Parliament and member of the Pirate Party.
She began by saying that on a fundamental level government is all of us, and it provides the infrastructure for our culture. Software used by the government is also a public service and the only philosophy that takes responsibility for that is free and open source software. Getting governments to use free and open source software is more important then ever because of the importance of technology in society. Computers are no longer limited to some parts of our lives, they are integral to everything we do. She gave the example of the VW Dieselgate scandal which is linked to cars being computers on wheels. There are no check that the software that is tested by regulators is the same that is run by the car hardware. Another interesting aspect is limitations on diesel control can be turned off to save the engine which means in practice they do this a lot and don't even need to tell the regulators. VW had a function programmed into the car which turned off the fuel saving if it deviated from the testing procedures.
Another area were we see the importance of software is robotics. A friend who wears a cochlear implant hearing aid has software which can control what you hear. Software on a pacemaker can be more scary. The source code for her friend's pacemaker had a bug and to test it they had to put her on a treadmill to debug it as there was no other way with the code not being available. Julia wants to know what software is run on her body. The EU parliament is discussing this issue.
An older debate is the use of technology in elections. In US voting infrastructure isn't considered critical infrastructure so it's not treated like an issue even when it has known problems. It's important to be able to inspect any software which has important functions. A more social issue is the debate about whether Facebook algorithms can influence elections. Predictive policing can encourage racist stereotypes, if that's done with software and we don't know how it works any biases can be very dangerous.
If you have Windows 10 running on your fridge there are more fun ways your software can fail. In some fields you might become legally barred from inspecting and tinkering your hardware. Freedom to tinker is important for education and also autonomy and it should be protected in a similar way as a freedom of speech. Information is governed differently from physical goods. Books can have owners but e-books are licensed and can't necessarily be given to your children when you die. Manufacturers will try to get us to rent things rather than buy them. There are tractors where the manufacturer told the owners they could not modify the tractor because that was not in their license. Circumvention of technological protections (such as DVD encryption) should be allowed. Even though these common sense demands were supported by the EU parliament, the EU Commission's proposals are different and e.g. want charges on news aggregators. There are no positive developments yet in copyright to give us more control. Another concerning area is trade secrets, which started as defending uncompetitive behaviour. If you break into the office of a competitor and steal plans that would be covered. But now manufacturers can claim the software is a trade secret and the regulator can't see it, which makes no sense. The US is introducing this into trade agreements to stop say China reading the software from US companies, so we have to make sure governments at least are able to see the software.
Posing for the Group Photo (to be published soon)
There are social developments that make free software significant. Some companies will restrict functions on their products by software which is dangerous. Finally there are moves for laws on what software can be installed on wifi hubs. Manufacturers should make sure users don't use the wrong spectrum but to allow competition, the US FCC has insisted you should allow 3rd party software. So we may have to have trusted computing type signed images for routers which makes installation of Linux on them much more challenging. What can government do about these issues? It's important we make the point governments rely on free and open software. Governments need to start taking responsibility of free software. There's a Prototype Fund in Germany where money is given to free software projects and helps with bureaucracy. With HeartBleed and ShellShock we saw a lot of infrastructure relies on free software but there's no responsibility from manufacturers to take care of it. The EU has started FOSSA, a project to audit free software. Asked in a survey which projects the EU should audit, most votes were for Apache HTTP and Keypass. The 2 year pilot project is coming to an end but they want to continue it and get a permanent budget. Also they want a bug bounty budget. In the future it's important to work within the system and build networks with free software communities and the EU commission. In Bulgaria and the US there are source code policies, they are not perfect but the US has a goal of publishing 20% of software as open source which is a lot better than many other governments. The EU commission has an open source policy but it only commits to not disadvantage open source solution in procurement. So her call for action is to move to a sustainable public procurement system and every government in the EU have a free software policy. The goal should be to make governments not just tolerate Free Software but to promote and improve it. To close the conference we had the annual KDE Akademy Awards and finally representatives of KDAB, KDE, FSFE and VLC came on stage to thank the organisers and wish us a successful onward conference with Akademy.