KDE at UKUUG Linux 2003 Conference Report

The UKUUG Linux2003 Conference took place in Edinburgh last weekend. I ran the KDE stall, gave a talk on Umbrello UML Modeller and attended the other talks. Read on for the whole report.

The KDE stall was helped along by Eilidh the booth babe and Kenny the booth boy (photo with me in middle). This was a technical conference so everyone knew what KDE was but people were interested in some of the new applications such as JuK and Kexi. KPlayer, while not part of KDE itself, impressed everyone by being a media player with a useable interface. We also demonstrated the Kolab server to a couple of people interested in using it for their clients. People were asking if t-shirts were on sale but unfortunatly we were unable to get hold of them, many thanks to the KDE League though for supplying t-shirts to wear. Our neighbours on the Debian stall had their usual impressively large turnout, we had to keep an eye on them to stop them spreading onto our stall!

David Faure briefly popped into the conference to talk about KDE Development (slides and a writeup). He talked about Valgrind, kdialog (for creating dialogues for bash scripts), the simplicity of KParts in KDE 3, using DCOP and the new features coming in KDE 3.2. He ran out of time to discuss unsermake (can we finally get rid of automake?!).

Bo Thorsen gave a talk on Kroupware (slides) which included a successful live demonstration. Several people were heard to whisper that this could be a killer-app for GNU/Linux on the desktop.

Commented on as "the best talk I've been to all weekend" was my own UML, Free Software and Umbrello UML Modeller talk (photo, slides). The plan with Umbrello is to get Free Software developers using UML where it makes sense - to sketch and share program structure ideas and to document current program structure to help new and old developers.

On Saturday evening Maddog, who I had inspired to wear a kilt, gave a talk using a Sgian Dubh as a pointer (photo) on automated piano players. Apparently the music industry of the time complained of being put out of business by these playerless pianos.

It was a fun and useful event, thanks to UKUUG and my brother for making it happen. It would have been good to be more organised and have some posters and handouts for the stall but I'll get that right for next year.

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by Anonymous (not verified)

Nice to read news about a community event while another DE reports about a contributing company being acquired by an old fashioned commercial company.

by Anonymous Coward (not verified)

Is this sour grapes I detect here. I think you don't like that GNOME seem to be getting more and more coporate backing than KDE. Now Novell.

A few days ago, SUN announced it will become the standard desktop for Solaris. Must be painful I know.

But, what they wanted was probably really Evolution and Connector. Now they can manage to migrate people off Exchange much better. (Caryy on using your Exchange with Evolution, then take out exchange, drop Groupwise in, and the end users should hardly notice). Plus Redcarpet, nice way to manage huge deployments on Linux which they would probably do if they manage to get defections. PLus they get a company with much expertise in UI coding. Novell gets a good (extremely good) front end. Plus Mono. Seriously, who doesn't want to tap into the future pools of coders brandishing their C#/.NET certs. Novell certainly doesn't want to discover it can't hire 90% of coders because they now all use .NET. So actually buy a company actively developing an implementation of .NET, and you will not be left out of that.

Seems to make sense on many levels. PLus Novell doesn't have to pay anyone else. No licensing a toolkit form anyone (read Trolltech). They can actually get to influence development of GTK/GNOME by contributing to GTK/GNOME. Me thinks Trolltech *may* (note the may) just have to revise its licensing. But then again, they cannot, because that is their bread and butter. But they need mindshare, and GTK/GNOME has it all right now it seems.

by Anonymous (not verified)

Company support is good, company involvement taking over development direction in most cases not: Look at GNOME, it's targetting a specific audience while having lost all of its configurability to make it fit for other audiences too.

> A few days ago, SUN announced it will become the standard desktop for Solaris. Must be painful I know.

They announced this years ago. Must have been painful for Sun until they recently got GNOME 2.0(!) mature enough for inclusion.

by Anonymous Coward (not verified)

I meant GNOME@. PLease, if KDE was good enough in its raw form they would have included.

To include it in Solaris, they had to work on it themselves to give it features they would have found useful. This is just like Ximian doing XD2

by ac (not verified)

They wasted 3 years on GNOME and many of their internal developers even hate it.

by TomL (not verified)

That's not really fair. In every group of people, there will always be different opinions.

Often it seems as though in any group of 3 people, there are 5 positions on any point of contention.

I would have been very surprised if all Sun developers liked GNOME.

While *I* greatly prefer KDE, I don't expect everyone else to. And I admit that I really like Bluecurve.

by ac (not verified)

Btw, they do include KDE in the Solaris CDs.

by TomL (not verified)

That's the best analysis of the Novell/Ximian event I've read yet.

by ac (not verified)

How great it is for Novell. How sad it is for GNOME.

by cies (not verified)

First the commercial (trolltech, Qt) influence was considered _evil_ to KDE.
--> Issue solved. [http://kde.org/whatiskde/qt.php]

Now GNOME (more/less started out as an alternative to then 'half commercial' KDE) suffers a lot under commercial influences.

How to cure GNOME? is the question I ask my self...

This "more and more coporate backing" you talk about, Mr. A.C., doesn't seem so nice to me. GNOMErs don't seem so happy with their end product anymore either. I suggest GNOME developers take hold of it and release on their own, without corporate intervention.

Just my .02 (EUR) ;-)

by Aonymous Coward (not verified)

What do you mean cure GNOME. How does GNOME suffer. From having a well written HIG. From having paid developers working fulltime on it. From having good accessibility suite and good usability tests. No, I don't think so. I think the groundwork is being laid down for greater things later.

by Alex (not verified)

Thanks for all the information and scrnshots, this is some very cool stuff! And, Umbrello seems cool too, never actually tried it, I'm just learning C++. but can it actually genreate diagrams from my code or do I draw them and if so is there any support for python 2.3?

by Steinchen (not verified)

It mostly goes the other way around. You draw your diagrams in Umbrello and it generates the code for you. At the moment we have support for several languages like C++, Java, Python, Perl, PHP, Ada... I think till next major release along with KDE 3.2, there will be improved code generation handling. For more information see: http://nvo.gsfc.nasa.gov/Umbrello/


by ac (not verified)

I agree, this is a wonderful report.

by Tanguy Krotoff (not verified)

The UML Modeller presentation is really interesting http://jriddell.org/programs/umbrello/html/
Just a few informations about Together ( http://jriddell.org/programs/umbrello/html/x192.html ) because it's the best development software I have used so far. The synchronization of the source code with the UML diagram is simply amazing!

You code something and automagically the UML diagram appears, if you modify the UML diagram, the code is also modified transparently.
For example you want to rename a class, just do it in the UML diagram and the corresponding source code will be renamed. You want to copy-past a class? it takes 2 seconds no more.
In the upper part of the screen you have the UML diagram, below you have the source code editor.

Everybody knows that UML is great for programming, it's like creating a house with 2D and 3D plans: it's easier than just reading a text describing the futur house. You get the big picture more easily. Also you can catch errors very easily. UML is simply an higher level tool that helps you a lot especially in a team: it's easier to understand what your friend has done with a diagram rather than just the source code.
The problem with UML is that you have to maintain the UML diagram and the source code up-to-date. With Together there is not such a problem since everything is synchronised without doing anything special.

I'm dreaming about a free software with such functionalities for the free software community because it will help to make much better programs in much less time.
Maybe one day UML Umbrello will do that with the help of KDevelop ;)

by Steinchen (not verified)

It is a nice dream and I welcome you very much to join the Umbrello developers, so that we can get faster to a free real UML based CASE tool! Please see: www.umbrello.org