JAN
16
2018

Reasons to Get Excited about KDE in 2018

Despite the security meltdown that swept over the tech community, our 2018 started out great - and it's all thanks to you. Your donations helped us reach the goal of our end-of-year fundraiser.

We would like to thank everyone who participated in the fundraiser, and also to all our community members who spread the word about it on social media and their blogs. You are all a wonderful community, and we are proud to be a part of this journey with you.

With our funds recharged and our hearts full of gratitude, we are ready to take on the new year and all the challenges it brings. The work is already in full swing - we released a bugfix update for KDE Applications and a new version of KDE Frameworks. But what else is there to look forward to in 2018? Read on to find out.

Plasma 5.12 Puts the "S" in Speed (and Stability)

Having released an update for Plasma 5.11 just at the beginning of 2018, Plasma developers are now gearing up for the first major release of the year. Plasma 5.12 will be the new LTS (Long-Term Support) version, replacing Plasma 5.8.


Discover, now with better application screenshots.

Since many Linux distributions will rely on this version of Plasma, the developers wanted to make it as stable and fast as possible. Startup speed and memory usage will be visibly improved, particularly on low-end devices.

The KScreen utility will allow Wayland users to adjust the output resolution as well as enable and disable selected outputs. Discover, the software management application, will support the dist-upgrade command for new major releases of distributions. Application screenshots will look better than ever, and support some useful options such as navigation between images. A lot of work has been done on Flatpak support in Discover, and plenty of critical, usability-impeding bugs have been fixed.

It is important to note that new features for KWin on X11 will no longer be developed after Plasma 5.12. Moving forward, only the features relevant to Wayland will be added.

Krita Paints Masterpiece Features


Krita 4.0 is almost here!

Digital artists, rejoice! A major Krita release with big, beautiful changes is coming this year. With Krita 3.3.3 released just recently, all the attention is now shifting towards Krita 4.0. This version will bring improved integration with Inkscape, allowing the users to copy and paste shapes directly between the two applications.

Krita 4.0 supports Python scripting, comes with a new text tool, and allows bigger brush sizes. Expect two major changes related to file formats, too - instead of ODG, SVG will be the new default vector format. Additionally, the file format for color palettes will change, and the new one will let users create their own color groups.

If you're feeling brave enough, you can already try Krita 4.0 Beta today, and don't forget to report bugs if you find any!

New Apps Take the Stage

We're always happy when new or small projects take off and grow to become an important part of the KDE Community. Here's a small selection of some interesting KDE applications to keep an eye on:

Atelier

If you're into 3D printing, you should try Atelier. Along with its backend, AtCore, Atelier allows you to control your 3D printer, calibrate printer settings, check its status, and send print jobs to the printer. Although the application is still in beta, you can use it on Linux, macOS, and Windows, and there is even an AppImage if you'd prefer not bother with dependencies.

A major redesign of the user interface is in progress, so you can expect better views and multiple workspaces that will allow you to manage more than one 3D printer using one instance of Atelier.

Zanshin


With Zanshin, you'll never forget to buy those kiwis.

Productivity isn't such a hot buzzword anymore, but people are still looking for better ways to organize their tasks. Enter Zanshin, a small but powerful app grounded in the philosophy of simplicity. It allows you to sort your tasks into projects and divide them into different contexts.

Zanshin integrates with the KDE PIM suite and KRunner, making it easy to add new tasks from incoming email or display them in your calendar. A new version of Zanshin just came out, with features such as recurrent tasks, support for attachments, and the ability to focus on the currently active task to minimize distraction.

Latte Dock

Latte Dock officially became a KDE project (as part of our Extragear collection) at the end of 2017, but it has been a community favorite for a long time.

This highly configurable dock allows you to organize your launchers and running applications, and new features are added constantly. Recent changes made it possible to share custom dock layouts with other users (and download theirs), and improved dynamic backgrounds for application windows that interact with the dock.

Elisa


Elisa is simple by default, powerful when needed.

A new music player on the KDE stage, Elisa is still in development, but it's an exciting project to follow. One of its main features is music indexing, which optimizes the speed of your music collection. Elisa allows you to browse music by artist and album, or display all tracks, as well as create custom playlists. The developers are currently focused on improving the interface. You can try Elisa on Linux and Windows.

Akademy on the Blue Danube

August may seem far away, but we're already preparing for the biggest KDE Community event of the year - Akademy 2018! The annual gathering of KDE community members will take place in Vienna, Austria, from the 11th to the 17th of August at the University of Technology (TU Wien).

The call for participation is now open, and you can send your proposals for talks, panels, and workshops until March 12th, 2018. Of course, you can also simply come as an attendee -- after all, there is no admission fee, and everyone is welcome. Whether you're a seasoned KDE contributor or someone who just started using KDE software two days ago, we would like to meet you!

More Ways for You to Contribute

During our end-of-year fundraiser, many people asked us about using cryptocurrency to support KDE. We listened, and we made it possible - now you can donate Bitcoin using bitpay. You can also donate directly from our Facebook page, or participate in our Join the Game project, where you can become a supporting member of KDE and take part in our General Assembly meetings.

Of course, it's not all about the money. If you would like to contribute to KDE as a developer, take a look at our Season of KDE mentorship project. Want to write articles about KDE for this website? Get in touch with the KDE Promo team, and they will help you get started. There are so many venues to becoming a KDE contributor, and as part of our long-term goals, we will work on making the process of joining easier.

Let's konquer 2018 together!

JAN
11
2018

Akademy 2018 Call for Participation


Akademy Poster by Jens Reuterberg

Akademy is the KDE Community conference. The 2018 edition is from Saturday 11th to Friday 17th August in Vienna, Austria. If you are working on topics relevant to KDE or Qt, this is your chance to present your work and ideas at the Conference. The days for talks are Saturday and Sunday, 11th and 12th. The rest of the week will be BoFs, unconference sessions and workshops.

What we are looking for

The goal of the conference section of Akademy is to learn and teach new skills and share our passion around what we're doing in KDE with each other.

For the sharing of ideas, experiences and state of things, we will have short Fast Track sessions in a single-track section of Akademy. Teaching and sharing technical details is done through longer sessions in the multi-track section of Akademy.

If you think you have something important to present, please tell us about it. If you know of someone else who should present, please encourage them. For more details see the proposal guidelines and the Call for Participation.

The submission deadline is 12th March, 23:59:59 CET.

Accommodation & Travel information

Information about how to get to Vienna and the recommended accommodation is now available on the Akademy website

About Akademy

For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest free and open software communities in the world—works on-line 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.

DEC
28
2017

The KDE Community in 2017

Remember to donate to our End of Year fundraiser and support our community and its work.

It's the time of year for recaps. We already talked about the advancements in KDE's software, and it makes sense we talk about that first. To many people and for many years, "KDE" was synonymous with a desktop environment and its applications. That is, KDE was its software.

However, these days “KDE” stands for the community and the work we carry out – and that is more than just code. KDE sponsors students and budding developers, meets in events and works in sprints. All of this ultimately, yes, helps KDE produce more and better software. But more importantly, it encourages a large number of people to work together for the common good.

With that in mind, here goes our tribute to the larger KDE community and the landmarks reached in 2017:

KDE Sponsored


Anu visits Akademy.
Photos by Anu Mittal.

New developers and students were brought into the KDE fold in 2017. We showed them how to start contributing to Free Software, opened up career opportunities for them, and helped them realise their full potential.

Among other things, this year we sponsored 24 students who have participated in the Google Summer of Code. Their projects ranged from developing new tools for existing apps, like the new heal tool to remove dust and scratches from photos added to DigiKam, or the possibility of exploring indoor plans to Marble; to improving libraries to adapt to new technology, like the library that allows KDE apps to make the most of High-DPI monitors, or the Brooklyn bridge that allows Instant Messaging users to communicate with other users using different IM systems.

KDE also sponsored developers and supporters to allow them to visit events far from their homes. We helped Lays Rodrigues from Brazil get to the developer sprint we run every year in Randa, Switzerland. Lays is working on Atelier, a graphical interface for controlling 3D printers.

A sponsorship for Anu Mittal (a software engineer) and Vasudha Mathur (a student software engineer) allowed them to make it to Akademy in Spain all the way from India. Anu is a contributor to several applications in KDE's educational suite of programs, and Vasudha is writing a Qt interface to Rocket Chat, a free, open source team chat system for enterprises. Vasudha's implementation will work both on desktop and mobile devices.

Talking of Akademy...

KDE Socialized

This year the KDE community met in full force in August in Almería, in the south of Spain. 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.

This year's event attracted over 110 attendees travelling mainly from Europe, but also from North and South America, and Asia. Over the weekend, visitors were able to attend more than 40 different talks on all kinds of topics, ranging from developing applications for mobile phones to best ways for collaboration between communities.

And then, thanks to our sponsors and donations from community members, KDE developers assembled again in Randa, Switzerland, ready to tackle the challenges of accessibility. Voice feedback and keyboard navigation got added to Plasma, Marble got smoother and developers started working on a better text-to-speech engine for the mapping app. The developers also discussed accessibility best practices and decided testers should check if an app can be used only with the keyboard and then only with a mouse. They also agreed that customizations should be kept to a minimum. In summary, KDE developers made everything better for everybody.


Team KDE at QtWS.

The Qt World Summit (QtWS), held in Berlin in October, was a meeting of another kind altogether. Our target at this event was to convince people from enterprises and a wider developer community to Power Up using KDE-based libraries and framework. Visitors could try Plasma Mobile working on an actual handset, and also play with the upcoming Pinebook, a Plasma-enabled ultra-notebook built around the Pine 64 SBC. Attendees could also recharge literally, relaxing at our ample sitting space with comfy cushions in an open and informal atmosphere, while topping up the batteries of their devices with the plugs and USB charging stations strategically placed all around the sitting area. Our aim was to make visitors feel welcome not only to our booth, but also to our community.

But helping people discover Free Software by discovering KDE is only one of the ways we helped further FLOSS in 2017...

KDE Advocated

We supported the cause for a wider adoption of Free Software in several ways during 2017. We partnered with Purism to work on getting Plasma Mobile ready for their Free smartphone, Librem5. We are proud that KDE's early participation in the crowdfunding campaign was instrumental in pushing it over the finishing line and then some. Not only did we help them surpass their initial goal of $1.5 million and then reach 2 million dollars, but we also precipitated a flurry of endorsements from other Free Software projects, such as Gnome and Monero. The end result is that a fully open and privacy-respecting Linux-based phone is much nearer than you think.

And then we helped the Free Software Foundation Europe campaign push for increased adoption of Free Software in public institutions. The Public Money? Public Code! campaign advocates for software developed using public funds to be released and shared under Free Software licenses. We raised awareness by blogging about it, and published an article about the campaign here, in the Dot. We then spread the news through our social media accounts.

Talking of which...

KDE Expanded


Mastodon became our favorite way
of meeting new people in 2017.

It has been a good year for growth of the KDE community. We have ramped up our activity on social media to help more people become aware of the benefits of Free Software in general, and of KDE environments and applications in particular.

Our Twitter following has swelled to well over 51,000 users, and our subreddit now has more than 10,000 subscribers. This is a massive audience that re-tweets, comments and posts about what we do, helping us reach an evergrowing audience. We have also increased our presence on Facebook and G+.

But probably the most interesting social network we started using in 2017 is Mastodon. We created our account on this free and federated microblogging network back in July, and have seen our audience grow along with the service itself. We are currently averaging 17 new followers a week and have recently surpassed the 500 mark.

Thanks to these outlets, we get to talk to more and more people every day. Our social media accounts allow for a two-way conversation with users we would otherwise never hear from.

More than Software

Although it may sound trite, the long and short of it is that KDE nowadays is more about people than about writing code. Of course, we love our software and adore the talented developers, but we see beyond developing apps and environments. We consider our technology a force for good; a way to help bring usable, accessible and powerful software to the people.

Over the years, we have discovered that we need more than excellent developers to do that. We need a whole community willing to contribute a wide variety of skills, technical and otherwise. Fortunately, KDE has managed to build a strong community, and it is thanks to you and people like you. None of the above milestones would have been possible without your support and your contributions. You can help us even more by donating to our End of Year fundraiser or by spreading this article far and wide, raising awareness of the work we all do together.

Thank you because you made 2017 wonderful, and thank you again because we know you'll make 2018 even better.

DEC
19
2017

KDE End-of-Year Fundraiser 2017 is Live!

It's that time of the year again - the time for our End-of-Year fundraiser!

After an exciting and successful year, we give you all an opportunity to help us recharge our proverbial batteries.

You've always wanted to contribute to a Free and open source project, right? Maybe you wondered how you could do that.
Well, supporting our fundraiser is a perfect way to get started. Donations are also a great way to show gratitude to the developers of your favorite KDE applications, and to ensure the project will continue.

Besides, you know that this is a project worth backing, because we get things done. Since proof is in the pudding, let's take a quick look at what we did this year.

2017 Software Landmarks

  • In 2017, we released 3 major versions of Plasma - 5.9, 5.10, and 5.11
  • KDE Applications also saw 3 major releases, with the last one released just recently
  • There were 2 big releases of KDevelop, with improved support for PHP, Analyzers mode with plugins like Heaptrack and cppcheck, and support for Open Computing Language
  • We kept pushing Kirigami forward with releases 2.0 and 2.1, and several applications newly ported to the framework. Thanks to the new Kirigami, even more apps can be ported to a wider range of desktops and mobile environments
  • There were 4 releases of digiKam, the image management software, which also got a new, prettier website design
  • Krita continued to amaze everyone with its high-quality features, and it just keeps getting better
  • We welcomed a new browser Falkon (formerly known as Qupzilla) into our KDE family. We were also joined by several new applications, including Elisa, a simple and straightforward music player
  • Our developers focused on accessibility and made our applications more usable for everybody during the Randa Meetings developer sprint
  • Into 2018 with You

    We look forward to the new year with all its challenges and excitements, and we don't plan on slowing down.

    There will be new Plasma and KDE Applications releases, with a new Plasma LTS release (5.12) planned for the end of January. Season of KDE will bring a stream of fresh contributors. Konversation 2.0 will present a completely redesigned interface, and you can be sure it's not the only application that will positively surprise you in 2018.

    We will spend a lot of time and effort on our long-term goals, which include improving software usability, protecting your privacy, and making it easier to become a KDE contributor. And as always, we'll be on the lookout for more Free Software projects that we can bring under our wing and help the developers bring their ideas to fruition.

    But we cannot do all this without you. The community - that is, people just like you - is what drives KDE forward. Your energy motivates us. Your feedback helps us improve. Your financial support allows us to organize community events and developer sprints, maintain our websites and infrastructure, and so much more.

    Help us build a bigger, better, more powerful KDE Community by donating to our End-of-Year fundraiser. We appreciate every contribution, no matter how modest.

    You can also support us and power up our fundraiser by posting about it on social media. Share the link, tell others about it, or write a post on your blog and share that. Tweet us a link to your blog post, and we will share it on our social media.

    Let's empower each other!

    DEC
    11
    2017

    Looking Back at Randa Meetings 2017: Accessibility for Everyone

    A software developer's life can get lonely. Developers spend a lot of time immersed in their code, and often don't get to see the direct impact of their work on the users. That is why events like Randa Meetings are necessary. They help build bonds within the community and show the developers that their work is appreciated.

    Randa Meetings are crucial to the KDE community for developer interaction, brainstorming, and bringing great new things to KDE. --- Scarlett Clark

    Randa Meetings are a yearly collection of KDE Community contributor sprints that take place in Randa, Switzerland. With origins dating back to a Plasma meeting in 2009, Randa is one of the most important developer-related events in the community.


    View from Randa. Photo by Gilles Caulier, CC BY 2.0

    This year, Randa Meetings were held from September 10 to September 16, and were centered around a meaningful theme - accessibility.

    Accessibility in Free and Open Source Software

    Accessibility is incredibly important, yet so often neglected in the process of software development, and implemented almost as an afterthought. Users with disabilities and impairments often find themselves excluded from using the software, and prevented from participating in activities that the rest of us take for granted. Essentially, the software makes them feel as if they don't matter.

    To remedy this, many governments enforce laws requiring software to be accessible. There are also accessibility standards, guidelines, and checklists to help developers make their software accessible to all.

    FOSS communities and projects have the potential to play a major role in driving software accessibility efforts because of their open nature. People with disabilities can communicate directly with developers, report issues, and request features that they need. Proprietary products are rarely this open to feedback, not to mention the fact they are often very expensive.


    Accessibility Settings module in Plasma 5

    Assistive technology covers a wide range of products and solutions: from screen magnifiers, screen readers, and text prediction methods to text-to-speech interfaces, speech recognition software, and simplified computer interfaces. There are also advanced solutions like 3D-printed prosthetic limbs, and those that allow controlling the mouse by moving the head or just the eyes.

    The best thing about all this technology is that it benefits everyone. Although people usually associate the word "accessibility" with hearing or visually impaired people, assistive technology can make life easier for many other groups: dyslexic or illiterate people, cognitively disabled people, the elderly, anyone with limited mobility or just bad eyesight.

    The analogy is clear with wheelchair-accessible spaces, which are useful to parents with baby strollers, people with bicycles and shopping carts, and delivery drivers. Likewise, improving keyboard navigation, image and color contrast, and text-to-speech tools results in satisfaction among non-disabled users. Making software accessible means making software better.

    Making KDE Software More Accessible

    Generally speaking, there are two ways to make software accessible: either by building special accessibility-focused tools from scratch, or by implementing accessibility features and improvements into existing applications. The latter is what the Randa Meetings 2017 were all about.


    digiKam with David Edmundson from Plasma in the background.
    Photo by Gilles Caulier, CC BY 2.0

    The developers created a useful KWin plugin that can simulate different types of color blindness. This will help in all future accessibility efforts, as it helps developers understand what their color schemes will look like to visually impaired users.

    KMyMoney was made more accessible via improvements to keyboard navigation. New keyboard shortcuts were added, and others simplified to make them easier to use.

    Randa Meetings 2017 were made special by Manuel, a visitor from Italy who stayed at the Randa house during the sprint. Manuel is a deaf user, and he took the time to explain the problems that hearing-impaired users encounter with KDE software, and software in general. His feedback was extremely valuable in the context of the sprint's theme, and helped developers come up with accessibility-oriented solutions.

    Meeting in Randa with other participants makes you aware of deficiencies, possibilities, and needs. For a newcomer, like myself, it was also a chance to meet some community members, see what kind of people build KDE software, and take a look behind the scenes. --- Lukasz Wojnilowicz

    Apart from fixing individual applications, a lot of work was done on the Plasma desktop environment itself. Accessibility-related improvements include the ability to navigate the Plasma panel using voice feedback and the keyboard. The following video demonstrates this feature in action:

    KRunner was made completely accessible, and this change is visible in Plasma 5.11. The Orca Screen Reader works well with KRunner, and can read the entered query, as well as let the user know which element of the interface is currently focused.

    There was also a round of discussions on best practices for accessibility in KDE software. When testing software, the developers should try to use it only with their keyboard, and then only with the mouse. Too much customization is not a good idea, so it should be avoided, especially when it comes to colors, fonts, and focus handling.

    Another good practice is to test the application with a screen reader. This experience should highlight potential issues for disabled users. In the end, it all comes down to empathy - being able to put yourself in the user's shoes, and the willingness to make your software available to as many people as possible, without excluding anyone.

    More Plans and Achievements from the Randa Meetings 2017

    Of course, the developers worked on so much more than just accessibility. The KDE PIM team discussed the results of their KMail User Survey, and tackled the most pressing issue reported by the uses - broken and unreliable search. They also ported the entire Kontact codebase away from the obsolete KDateTime component.


    Lukasz Wojnilowicz from KMyMoney and Volker Krause
    from KDE PIM. Photo by Gilles Caulier, CC BY 2.0

    KMyMoney saw some important changes. All plugin KCM modules were ported to KF5. The backup feature is, well, back up and available to use, and database loading was improved so as to prevent the incompatibility between new and old KMyMoney files.

    After successfully participating in Google Summer of Code, the digiKam team gathered in Randa to further polish the new code contributed by students. They also worked on the media server functionality, which allows users to share their photo collections across different devices (smartphones, tablets, TVs...) using DLNA.


    Scarlett Clark (KDE CI), Emmanuel LePage (Ring), Simon Frei
    (digiKam) and David Edmundson discussing Plasma Accessibility.
    Photo by Gilles Caulier, CC BY 2.0

    Marble Maps now has a new splash screen, and the entire interface of the Bookmarks dialog is responsive to touch. There are plans to implement a better text-to-speech module for navigation.

    The Public Transport Plasma applet has been completely rewritten as a Kirigami application. The applet's UI is now much more flexible and easier to adapt to mobile devices.

    The developers of Kube worked on resolving an annoying issue with live queries which slows down email synchronization, especially when there are thousands of emails. They also discussed the possibility of implementing an HTML composer to edit emails in Kube, and made plans for GPG implementation. In collaboration with developers from other KDE projects, they explored the options for making Kube cross-platform, and looked for the best way to build Kube on macOS and Windows. Finally, they implemented a visualization in the configuration dialog which indicates when the user input is invalid in configuration fields.

    Last but not least, Kdenlive received color correction improvements, and the developers worked on bringing back the popular TypeWriter effect. They also fixed the import of image sequences, worked on porting Kdenlive to Windows and macOS, and removed the warning about missing DVD tools that used to appear when starting Kdenlive for the first time.

    Looking Forward to the Next Randa Meetings

    With another successful Randa Meetings behind us, we can start planning for the next session.

    If you like the work our developers are doing, you can directly support it by donating to KDE. You can also contribute to KDE and make an impact on the users by joining our mentored project called Season of KDE.

    Who knows, maybe in the future you too will attend the Randa Meetings!

    NOV
    30
    2017

    KDE's Goals for 2018 and Beyond

    The KDE community has spoken and it has chosen the proposals which will define the general direction of the KDE project over the next three or four years.

    How does the KDE community decide where it wants to take the project? Well, every once in a while, we hold a Request for Proposals, if you will. All members of the community are encouraged to submit their grand ideas which will lay out long-term targets. Proposals are voted on democratically, again, by the community. This ensures it is truly the community that guides the KDE project to wherever the community wants it to go.

    This year, the three most voted proposals have been:

    Top-notch Usability and Productivity for Basic Software

    Nate Graham proposes improving the usability of KDE's software and making it more accessible and user-friendly for a wider variety of users. Nate argues that, although KDE apps and environments in general boast a "long list of features that are genuinely useful for normal people's typical use cases", small but noticeable inconsistencies and niggling usability issues sometimes mar KDE's semblance of maturity with casual users.

    Nate reasons that focusing on irksome details of the most common and commonly used of KDE's software, such as Plasma, Dolphin, Okular and Discover, would be the first step towards polishing the whole. He mentions, for example, the annoying bug that makes Plasma require the Wifi password twice; or enhancements that can be made to Dolphin to support column view or colourised files and directories, like MacOS X's file browser sports; or improving Okular's stamp feature to make it suitable for digitally signing documents.

    KDE's environments and applications are mature and usable to a great extent, but by getting small incremental improvements, we can nearly subliminally improve the overall feel of the project and increase its uptake with the general public.

    Privacy Software

    In synch with KDE's vision, Sebastian Kugler says that "KDE is in a unique position to offer users a complete software environment that helps them to protect their privacy". Being in that position, Sebastian explains, KDE as a FLOSS community is morally obliged to do its utmost to provide the most privacy-protecting environment for users.


    KDE will bring privacy to all
    your devices, including your
    mobile.

    This is especially true since KDE has been developing not only for desktop devices, but also for mobile - an area where the respect for users' privacy is nearly non-existent. Sebastian thinks that the intrusion on users’ personal lives is very dangerous. Users can have their livelihood and even personal safety put at risk when their confidential data makes its way into the hands of unscrupulous companies or hostile government agencies.

    To make sure KDE environment and apps protect users’ privacy, Sebastian lists several measures that developers can implement. He proposes that applications not expose private data by default, asking the user for explicit consent before sending data to third parties. Other measures would involve apps using privacy-protecting protocols when communicating with the outside world; say, a widget should use Tor to collect weather information. Applications should also only require the bare minimum user information to operate and only when it is essential.

    Finally, the proposal explains that KDE must provide the right tools to further safeguard users' privacy. These tools include email clients that offer easy ways of encrypting messages, privacy-protecting chat and instant messaging protocols and clients, and support for online services that can be implemented on personal servers.

    Streamlined Onboarding of New Contributors


    Getting more people involved with the project
    is crucial for the survival of KDE.
    Photo CC By-SA by Teia

    Although we have made many improvements to KDE's development infrastructure and tools over the years, there are still several things we can do to streamline the access for contributors, says Neofytos Kolokotronis. Thinking of ways to get more people involved in the development, Neofytos proposes measures to simplify newcomer participation within KDE.

    KDE is a living community and, as such, it is threatened if new users do not become contributors and therefore do not join its ranks, bringing in new blood and fresh ideas. To solve this potential problem, Neofytos wants the community to look at methods of incrementing user involvement. This will require analysing the available resources, especially the people and time that they can invest in this effort.

    He also proposes KDE improve and standardise protocols for accepting and mentoring new users, as well as correcting issues with documentation and tools used to receive new contributions, such as KDE's bug tracking system.


    The KDE community will start implementing the proposals into concrete actions and policies. The proposals will shape how the KDE community creates software and works with its members, as well as with outside users. In view of the winning ideas, we can expect a more polished KDE experience, enhanced privacy protection and a more accessible and welcoming community for years to come.

    To make sure all KDE's goals are met, we need your support. Head over to the End of Year fundraiser (coming soon!) and help us meet our yearly funding target. You can contribute to the success of KDE and we will also show appreciation with karma and gifts!

    NOV
    21
    2017

    KDE Around the World: FOSSCOMM 2017, Greece


    FOSSCOMM logo.
    Source: Official FOSSCOMM Facebook page.

    On the 4th and the 5th of November, the FOSSCOMM 2017 conference took place at Harokopio University of Athens, Greece. The KDE Community had a presence at the conference. Our Greek troops gave a talk on Sunday about the past, present and future of KDE, focusing on the vision of the community.

    What is FOSSCOMM?

    FOSSCOMM (Free and Open Source Software Communities Meeting) is an annual conference about free software organized by the Greek Free Software community. The main purpose of the conference is the promotion of free software, as well as social interaction between community members. During the first weekend of November, a great number of free software contributors and advocates gathered in Athens to discuss many interesting topics related to free software and open standards.

    In addition, several Greek software communities promoted their work and values at the booths and by hosting workshops. The conference was a success, since a lot of people participated in various conference activities, confirming the significant impact of freedom and openness to the Greek society, especially among young people.

    KDE at FOSSCOMM


    Throughout the weekend, our KDE Community members talked about KDE-related topics, especially at the Nextcloud booth. We also sought out actions that could promote the KDE Community in Athens.

    On Sunday afternoon, we gave a presentation about KDE in the main amphitheater of Harokopio University. After listing the milestones from the 20 years of KDE history, we defined what KDE represents today, and briefly presented the software that the KDE Community creates.

    Afterwards, we analyzed KDE Vision. We discussed the reasons that led to its creation and the purpose that it serves, focusing on the social impact of our work and our community values.

    Then, after mentioning Plasma’s vision and familiarizing the FOSSCOMM audience with Plasma’s approach of “convergence”, we introduced Plasma Mobile as well as Kirigami’s human interface guidelines.

    You can find the slides from our presentation here.

    Creating a Telegram Group

    Regarding our initiative to improve the impact of KDE in Greece, we created the KDE el Telegram group . Before concluding our talk, we suggested to everyone interested in KDE values and Plasma software to participate in the newly created group.

    We hope that this communication channel will constitute a starting point for the KDE Community in Greece to come together, communicate their contributions, and promote KDE and free software in general.

    If you speak Greek and you care about free and open source software, you're welcome to join!

    Important Update

    Inspired by this post and by the creation of the Telegram group, several Greek-speaking KDE users and contributors decided to collaborate on developing a stronger KDE community among the Greek-speaking audience, and further promote KDE's work. After a fruitful discussion, the team decided to facilitate participation from additional media that correspond to our values, as this can help in reaching a wider community.

    As a result, we created the 'kde-el' Matrix room.
    The existing kde-el Freenode IRC channel is now bridged to both the Matrix and the Telegram groups.

    The Greek-speaking KDE team can now be reached via:

    Matrix: #kde-el:matrix.org
    ΙRC: #kde-el at freenode
    Telegram: KDE el

    Just choose the one you prefer!

    For more details, see the official announcement from our team.

    Wrapping Up


    Although the turnout on Sunday was not as high as on Saturday, many students, contributors and free software enthusiasts attended our talk. Since the timeline was quite strict, there was no time for questions from the audience.

    Nevertheless, the impact of our talk was quite positive, since several people approached us looking for more information about the material we presented. According to the feedback from attendees, the decision to introduce a privacy- and freedom-oriented mobile paradigm seems to be more than welcome.

    Participating in meetings like FOSSCOMM is quite helpful for KDE as well as for the free software community in general. Talking with people from different communities, getting introduced to interesting open projects, and envisaging a world of freedom is always a revitalizing and encouraging way to keep going! Finally, we would like to thank FOSSCOMM volunteers and organizers for being so helpful and managing to host quite a successful event.

    See you at FOSSCOMM 2018!

    NOV
    19
    2017

    Announcing Season of KDE 2018


    Season of KDE encourages
    everybody to help improve KDE.

    KDE Student Programs is pleased to announce the 2018 Season of KDE for those who want to participate in mentored projects that enhance KDE in some way.

    Every year since 2013, KDE Student Programs has been running Season of KDE as a program similar to, but not quite the same as Google Summer of Code, offering an opportunity to everyone (not just students) to participate in both code and non-code projects that benefits the KDE ecosystem. In the past few years, SoK participants have not only contributed new application features but have also developed the KDE Continuous Integration System, statistical reports for developers, a web framework, ported KDE Applications, created documentation and lots and lots of other work.

    For this year’s Season of KDE, we are shaking things up a bit and making a host of changes to the program.

    Schedule

    The 2018 Season of KDE will have more flexible schedule options for participants. They will now have the opportunity to choose between a shorter sprint project where the working period lasts 40 days or the usual full duration project with a working period of 80 days.

    The timeline is:
    1st - 26th December 2017: Participant and Mentor Application Period
    30th December 2017: Projects Announced
    1st January 2018, 00:00 UTC: Official SoK Work Period Begins
    9th February 2018, 23:59 UTC: End of Work Period (40 day projects)
    21st March 2018, 23:59 UTC: End of Work Period (80 day projects)
    25th March 2018: Results Announced
    31st March 2018: Certificates issued and sent out
    Beginning of Q3 2018: Merchandise and Schwag sent out by courier

    Teams

    For the first time, we are now welcoming applications from teams of up to 2 people to participate in the same project. Teams may only participate in full 80-day projects. Shorter sprint projects are still only open to individual participants.

    Cross-Organisation Projects

    Do you want to see KDE software work well on other operating systems? Do you want KDE applications to integrate better with another desktop environment? Do you want to see applications from elsewhere integrate better with KDE?

    In the 2018 Season of KDE, we are specially looking out for projects that can help integrate KDE better with other free software projects. We welcome mentors from other projects who’d like to help our participants in their efforts and encourage applications from participants who’d like to work on such a project. Participants will need to have a fairly reasonable grip on both KDE and the partner organisation’s projects, as well as a point of contact in the other organisation that can offer support throughout the duration of the project.

    If you are from another FOSS Project, have a concrete idea of something SoK participants can implement and would like to mentor them for it, please get in touch with us directly.

    A Grand Prize

    The 2018 Season of KDE will accept a maximum of 6 projects. We will score each project based on objective criteria, and after completion of the project, the one with the highest score will win this year’s Season of KDE.

    The participants from the winning project will have a chance to attend Akademy 2018, KDE’s annual world conference, which will be held in Vienna from August 11th - 17th, 2018. All travel and stay expenses will be paid for by KDE. At Akademy, you will have the chance to meet people from all around the world who make KDE possible, present your project to them, mingle with some of the brightest minds in the world of free software, and lose yourself in one of Europe’s historic centers of music and culture.

    Getting Started

    Prospective participants are advised to get in touch with us even before the application period begins to discuss possible projects. You can connect with us at #kde-soc on IRC, via our mailing lists, or contact the maintainer of an application you want to work on (or the specific team) directly.

    If you’re looking for project ideas, you can find some on our Google Summer of Code 2018 Ideas Page. Prospective mentors are requested to add ideas to this page, so that we have a central repository of project ideas that may be used for both the 2018 Season of KDE and GSoC 2018.

    Participants and mentors can apply here once applications open.

    NOV
    17
    2017

    Akademy 2018 - Vienna, Austria - 11-17 August


    A View of Vienna.
    Source: Bwag/CC-BY-SA-4.

    Vienna Calling! This is not only a song by the famous Austrian singer Falco, but could also be the motto for next years Akademy.

    In 2018 Akademy will be held at the University of Technology (TU Wien) in Vienna, Austria, from Saturday 11th to Friday 17th August.

    The conference is expected to draw hundreds of attendees from the global KDE Community to discuss and plan the future of the Community and its technology. Many participants from the broad free and open source software community, local organizations and software companies will also attend.

    Akademy 2018 is being organized with Fachschaft Informatik (FSINF). Apart from representing and counseling computer science students, FSINF engage in diverse political activities, such as FOSS activism, privacy and social justice, and so on.

    Akademy 2018 Program

    Akademy 2018 will start with a 2-day conference on Sat 11th of August and Sunday 12th of August, followed by 5 days of workshops, Birds of a Feather (BoF) and coding sessions.

    Vienna and Akademy

    Vienna, the capital of Austria, has around 1.8 million inhabitants. It is located in the middle of Central Europe, on the banks of the river Danube. With it's rich history that stretches back to Roman times. It was once the capital city of the Habsburg Empire ans is now a modern city, rated number one in diverse studies on quality of living.

    TU Wien and Akademy

    Almost all buildings of TU Wien are very close to the city center. From the venue a 10 minute walk will bring you directly to the inner city. Around 30,000 students study at Tu Wien, of which 6000 study Computer Science.

    About Akademy


    Akademy 2017, Almería.

    For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest free and open software communities in the world — works on-line 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.

    NOV
    1
    2017

    2017 KDE Edu Sprint


    Members of the KDE Edu team at this year's
    sprint.
    From left to right: Albert Astals (Ktuberling),
    Filipe Saraiva (Cantor),
    Mirko Boehm (Endocode),
    Aleix Pol (KAlgebra), David Narvaez (Kig),
    Sandro Andrade (Minuet),
    Timothée Giet (GCompris),
    Rishabh Gupta (Gcompris, Cantor), and
    Sanjiban Bairagya (Marble).

    Between the 7th and 9th October the KDE Edu team met in the Endocode offices in Berlin to work on and plan KDE's educational software.

    We split up the work into three general areas: organization, infrastructure and coding.

    The KDE Edu team is diverse in that there are different people interested in different tools. A sprint such as this one is the ideal meeting place to work on making sure that we are headed in the same direction. We discussed the website and how we present our projects to the outside world. We also covered improvements to our usage of Phabricator and our roles on the different goals we set for ourselves. We wanted to make sure all our members are aware and on board with them.

    One of the interesting perks of having your project in KDE, besides meeting amazing teams such as ours, is that we can provide you with tools that will benefit the rest of KDE software. You can find educational software users on every platform, and we don't want to leave anyone behind. That's why we spent some time figuring out how to make sure our applications would also reach Windows and Android in the best of conditions. We also looked into our Flatpak packages to discover what the showstoppers are and to make improvements. At some point we will be able to offer fresh and stable versions of our software right into everybody's device.

    And of course, we coded. Meetings are great for discussions, but it's also nice to be able to sit with your friends, in front of a laptop with a warm coffee, and start looking into the issues that have been holding us back. We pushed improvements for Cantor and its integration with several languages, we released a new version of KTuberling for Android, and a new GCompris version for classrooms. We worked on Marble's routing features and got Minuet running on Windows.

    All in all, the sprint helped us push forward and overcome some crucial roadblocks. Now the apps in KDE Edu are better than ever.

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