Redmond will no longer provide updates for the 2009 operating system. This puts almost a billion people in the difficult situation of facing increased security risks alongside a slow decline in software availability.
Folks who reject Microsoft’s forced updates are already opting to regain control over their systems by switching to the friendly and full-featured Plasma desktop, built on a design philosophy which centers freedom and respect for its users. Recent buzz about the possibilities of Plasma has brought a lot of fresh faces on board, and now they are trying to navigate a new operating system that has its differences from Windows.
If you’re one of those people, you’re probably wondering where you can find experienced users to help you get settled in.
How to make the jump with ease
Luckily, there is a wealth of resources available for those new to Plasma and the Linux world.
The best place to talk live with Plasma users, ask questions, and get to know the KDE community is the KDE Welcome room on our webchat or on Matrix. If you want to discuss Plasma and comment on the latest KDE news with other users, find r/KDE on Reddit or check out the official KDE forums.
AskUbuntu.com is the largest dedicated tech support site in the Linux world, and an invaluable resource for anyone using KDE Neon or Kubuntu. Much of the info available here even translates well to other Linux flavors. Other places for specific support questions include r/Linux4Noobs and r/LinuxQuestions on Reddit. Talking of which, another great resource is the Linux Questions forums.
Once you have a little bit of experience under your belt, if you run into trouble with a specific system component, you can always resort to the Arch Linux wiki, an in-depth hub of documentation which is often useful to users of any Linux system.
Everyone in the KDE community is familiar with the hurdles new users face when making the jump to Plasma and the Free Software world. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of KDE's welcoming community who will help you feel right at home in Plasma and make sure you get the most out of your newly upgraded system.
The year is 2020, we are living in the future, let’s see what KDE apps has brought us in the last month!
KTimeTracker ported to KDE Frameworks 5
The long-awaited modernized version of KTimeTracker is finally released.
The application is a personal time tracker for busy people which is now
available on Linux, FreeBSD and Windows. Over the course of 2019 it had been
ported to Qt5 and KDE Frameworks after being unmaintained since around 2013.
The new version is also polished and slightly modernised with the most
noticeable new features being the new Task Time Editing dialog and
live preview in the Export dialog as seen in the picture below.
Here on the Apps Update we focus on the apps rather than coding libraries. But new features in the common libraries will mean new features in all your apps :)
This month saw a redesigned UI for KNewStuff, the framework to download addons for your applications. The browse and download dialog was redesigned and the comments section can now be filtered. It’ll be appearing in all your apps and settings modules shortly starting with the Global Theme module in System Settings.
KDevelop’s monthly bugfix update 5.4.6 fixed a longstanding problem where the GPL and LGPL headers were mixed up, grab it from your distro or Appimage to make sure your licencing is correct.
Dolphin Plugins 19.12.1 fixed a broken SVN Commit dialog.
There was improved file indexing in Elisa. It also fixed some compilation issues on Android and without Baloo.
The new release of KPat was declaired to have no OARS relevant age restrictions.
Okular fixed a crash when closing the print preview dialog.
This month’s release of Kdenlive video editor had an impressive number of fixes best of all was updating the screenshots used in the meta info. It also has dozens of improvements and fixes in timeline and preview handling.
Enjoy KDE on the Flathub Store
KDE is embracing all the app stores. We can now deliver more and more of our programs directly to you the user. One of the leading app stores on Linux is Flathub which uses the FlatPak format.
You may well already have Flatpak and Flathub configured on your system and ready to use in Discover or other app installers. For example KDE neon has set it up by default on installs for over a year now. If not it’s a quick setup process for all the major distros.
Chocolatey is a package manager for Windows. If you want full control over what software is installed on your Windows machine or whole office of machines then Chocolatey gives you easy control over that just like you are used to on Linux.
LabPlot is KDE’s app for interactive graphing and analysis of scientific data and it is now available through Chocolatey. Give it a try!
The recently revived KDE Web Team has been updating a bunch of our older themed sites. The newly relaunched KPhotoAlbum website is a lovely example, updated and refreshed for our photo storage and search app.
And if you want to show off a simple to use but full featured local music player but were ashamed by the old looking website, JuK has just had an updated website too.
Some of our projects release on their own timescale and some get released en-masse. The 19.12.1 bundle of projects was released today and should be available through app stores and distros soon. See the 19.12.1 releases page. This bundle was previously called KDE Applications but has been de-branded to become a release service to avoid confusion with all the other applications by KDE and because it is dozens of different products rather than a single whole.
The Libre Graphics Meeting (LGM) is the annual international convention for the discussion and development of free and open source graphics software.
This year it will happen in Rennes, France, from May 26th to 29th. We are welcoming all relevant projects to submit a proposal for a talk and/or a workshop. We already expect Krita and Kdenlive teams to be present. The Krita sprint will be held after the meeting and Kdenlive are planning to have a sprint around that time too. It would be awesome to also see some people from Plasma team working on graphics tablet support and color management, or any other topic of interest for developers and users of graphics creation application.
LGM are now asking for talks, workshops, BoF meetings and lightning talks for the conference. Please don't be shy and submit your proposal.
KDE e.V. has agreed to support the event by providing travel support to KDE contributors. If you are interested, make sure to file your reimbursement request before January 31st.
Microsoft will stop providing updates for Windows 7 on January 14 2020.
There won't be any more patches that correct bugs or even dangerous vulnerabilities. This will leave Windows 7 users exposed to all sorts of bad stuff. But that is not a huge concern for Microsoft. With this move, Redmond hopes to encourage users to upgrade to Windows 10.
But why should we care? Maybe because Windows currently holds 77% of the global desktop market share (all Linux desktops combined hold less than 2%). Of that 77%, nearly 30% belongs to Windows 7. That is nearly a billion people still holding on to Windows 7 because they are resisting the move to Windows 10. Apart from the natural human resistance to change, Windows 10 has earned a bad rap as an operating system that will gladly leak your data back to Microsoft and lace your desktop with intrusive advertisements as a matter of course.
Helping people regain control over their systems and protecting their data is precisely what Free Software communities do best, making this the perfect opportunity to help Windows 7 users upgrade to something much better: To the Plasma desktop!
Or fly solo! Talk to your friends, family, classmates and colleagues. Even if you convince just one person to make the transition to any Linux-based system, you will have done something valuable and helped the FLOSS movement.
The Windows 7-like theme shown above was put together (from many parts created by many generous contributors) by Dominic Hayes, creator of Feren OS, a cool-looking Ubuntu-based Linux distro aimed squarely at end users. Check it out!
Dominic used the following elements to re-create the look and feel of the desktop:
Plasma Theme:Seven Black Window Decorations: Seven Black Application Style: gtk2 GTK Theme: Windows Se7en by Elbullazul Icons: Darkine Colours: Breeze Light Cursors: DMZ White Splash Screen: Feren OS Panel: 38 height Widgets: Default Apps Menu, I-O Task Manager, Stock System Tray, Feren Calendar or Event Calendar, Win7 Show Desktop
Hosting an event is a big and significant way of contributing to Free Software. One of the biggest challenges in international distributed teams like KDE is communicating effectively with one another. Akademy, the yearly global conference of the KDE community, solves that by bringing the community together in one place, allowing us to share what we have been up to and have it reach its potential.
By organising Akademy we are then turning one of our weak points into a strength. We get to work together like a local team does, while remaining flexible and geographically distributed for most of the rest of the year. It becomes therefore one of the best ways for Free Software to thrive in your area.
What is Akademy
While Akademy has evolved over the years, its main structure remains similar: We have two conference days, the KDE e.V. Annual General Meeting and few days with smaller meetings and trainings. Akademy is open for everyone to join and participate, regardless of their background, studies or origin.
We would like you to consider hosting Akademy. We could look into doing it in 2020, although if you think this is too short-notice, 2021 could also be discussed.
KDE wants you to create the next wallpaper for Plasma 5.18 and the promotional videos for Plasma and applications of KDE.
The chance of getting your work seen by thousands of people and organizations worldwide, including at NASA and CERN, is within your grasp! You can also win some really astounding prizes courtesy of our friends at TUXEDO Computers.
The winner of the wallpaper contest will have their work included as the default background on KDE's upcoming Plasma 5.18 desktop. This means you will not only earn the admiration of thousands of Plasma users, but you can also win a very cool TUXEDO InfinityBook Pro 14 computer.
Is fillmmaking more your thing? Try your hand at shooting and editing an exciting promotional video for Plasma or for applications KDE makes. The winners of the best Plasma promotional video will win a TUXEDO Gaming PC, and if you win the best Applications video competition, you'll get a TUXEDO InfinityBox.
Twelve finalists will also receive a package of goodies containing among other things:
A KDE Baseball cap
A plush Tux
A frozen glass coffee mug
How to Participate
Taking part is easy! Check out the rules for Wallpaper Competition and send in your masterpiece. Remember that, in order to submit a wallpaper, you need to follow the link to the appropriate subforum where you can create a new post. You can also find suggestions and helpful material on the webpages.
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.