The 2005 KDE aKademy continued today with the opening of the
developer conference: two days of talks describing upcoming KDE
technologies, giving programming tips and, of course, plenty of
informal hacking and discussion sessions between the developers. Today's talks included they keynote from Trolltech, a new multithreading scheduler library, meta-programming revisited and how to boot to KDE in 10 seconds. Read on for more.
Eirik Chambe-Eng of Trolltech opened the proceedings with a
keynote describing the company's progress in the past year, along with
some of the ways in which KDE and Qt help one another: KDE provides a
huge user base for Qt, while Trolltech returns the favour by
sponsoring several key KDE developers.
For those following the plans for KDE 4, Matthias Kretz explained
how the multimedia framework will develop (Transcript, Slides). Work on designing the
framework has been ongoing since last year's aKademy in Ludwigsburg,
where ideas about the way to improve on or replace the powerful-but-ageing aRts
sound system were discussed. The main feature of the new 'KDEMM'
framework is a single KDE API for multimedia access which will be
able to talk to multiple backends, such as aRts, NMM or gstreamer.
Coming up to lunchtime, performance was the theme, with Mirko Böhm
describing ways to use multithreading in KDE applications (Transcript), while in
the second track, Luboš Luňák presented a talk entitled 'KDE
performance'. At the moment, multithreading is rarely used in KDE, but
Mirko hopes to change that – where it makes sense and improves
the user experience – with
his experimental ThreadWeaver library. Luboš showed how both
'real' methods and 'cheats' can be used (and already are) to improve
the performance of KDE applications. Most impressive was his
demonstration of a 900MHz laptop starting KDE in 10 seconds. He
admitted that this used some cheats, but it showed how there are many
ways to increase the speed of KDE and its applications.
Returning from lunch in the the nearby part of town, conference
attendees were disappointed to find Zack Rusin's intriguingly-titled
"Beauty and Magic for KDE developers" talk rescheduled to Wednesday
because of some technical problems, but Aaron Seigo stepped in to
present a demo of the new features of Qt Designer in version 4, and
how they can be best used to easily create usable dialogs for KDE
Closing the day's presentations were demonstrations of three
new technologies: Simon Hausmann explained how Qt 4's "Scribe" text
rendering engine can be used for advanced features in KDE, while
Albert Astals Cid demonstrated the Poppler library (Slides, Transcript), which provides PDF
rendering, and is planned to be included in KPDF in the future. In the
third track, Mathieu Chouinard presented his work on M2, a tool for
deploying and managing multiple systems on a network.
With the talks over, the developers retired to the computer rooms
to keep working on their respective areas of KDE, or took the
opportunity to enjoy the warm temperatures and sun of Málaga, before
another full day of talks and presentations tomorrow.