JAN
8
2020

Plasma: A Safe Haven for Windows 7 Refugees


A fully functional Plasma desktop with a Windows 7 theme.

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!

How you can help

We need you to help convince Windows 7 users to move to the Plasma desktop. We have set up a task where we are brainstorming ideas, advice and resources. You can contribute your thoughts too. Get your KDE Identity today and join the conversation.

You can also join the Promo team live on Matrix and help us run this campaign.

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

DEC
27
2019

Host Akademy 2020 in your City!

By Aleix Pol

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.

You can find the full description of what's necessary in this simple-to -follow brochure. Reach out to the KDE e.V. Board and the Akademy team and put your thoughts in action.

DEC
23
2019

Announcing KDE Plasma 5.18 Wallpaper and Video Contests

By Niccolò Venerandi

KDE wants you to create the next wallpaper for Plasma 5.18 and the promotional videos for Plasma and applications of KDE.


TUXEDO InfinityBook Pro 14

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.

Prizes


TUXEDO Gaming PC

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.

More details about the InfinityBook Pro are available on the Wallpaper Contest's page.

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.


TUXEDO InfinityBox

You can read about the specs of each machine on the Video Contest's page.

Twelve finalists will also receive a package of goodies containing among other things:

  • A KDE Baseball cap
  • A plush Tux
  • KDE Stickers
  • 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.

Want to make a video instead? Read the rules for the Video Competition carefully and start shooting your clip!

We can't wait to see what you will create!

DEC
12
2019

Apps Update for December

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.

What follows is just a minor sample of what you can expect from the latest round of updates for applications made by the KDE community over the last month:

Calligra Plan is Back


Calligra Plan lets you plan your projects in detail.

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 Pumps up the Volume


Kdenlive rocking a brand new audio mixer.

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.

Für Elisa

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.

The Elisa music player.
The Elisa music player.

KDE Connect: Let Your Phone Rule your Desktop


KDE Connect now lets you control
the global volume of your system.

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.

If you want to get an idea of the full range of changes, visit the official release announcement, or check out the changelog for every single detail of what has changed.

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!

NOV
29
2019

Announcing Season of KDE 2020

By Caio Jordão Carvalho

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.

Schedule

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.

Timeline:

  • 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

Getting Started

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.

NOV
21
2019

Translation Workshop in Indonesia this Weekend

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!

To register go to the registration form and join the KDE Indonesia Telegram channel.

NOV
8
2019

Apps Update for November

LabPlot

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.

Bugfixes

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.

Snap Store


Kdenlive Snap

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.

New this month in the Snap store is KDE's video editor, Kdenlive.


Coming Up


KTrip

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.

Help Out

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.

KDE's All About the Apps Goal has loads of other things you can do to help get our applications to users, so come along and give us a hand.

OCT
31
2019

Consistency Update

By Niccolò Venerandi

It's been a month since Consistency was announced as an official goal for KDE at Akademy. During this time, we have focused on setting up all the tools needed to support the goal and tracking already active consistency tasks. Here's an update on what we have done so far and the main tasks we're working on.

Community Page

We have created a Consistency page on the community wiki where you can learn what the consistency goal is and find out how you can easily get involved in it. Check it out, regardless of your level of technical expertise!

Matrix Channel

There is also a Consistency channel on KDE's Matrix instance. Access it through the webchat page or at consistency:kde.org. You are welcome to come in and join us to discuss anything related to the consistency goal!

Sprint!

A sprint is in the works. If you would like to participate, join in the discussion and come and discuss the time and the place on the Matrix channel as well.

Phabricator Workboard

We created a Consistency workboard so you can track all the tasks and keep up with their development. You can add yourself as a member or watcher to receive Phabricator updates.

Tasks are organized into the following categories:

  • Reported shows consistency problems that still need to be addressed, but are currently not being worked on, or are not actively developed yet
  • VDG Discussion lists tasks that the VDG (Visual Design Group) are discussing
  • HIG Specification shows tasks that are waiting for an HIG (Human Interface Guidelines) specification so they can be developed in a consistent way
  • Under Apps Implementation you can find tasks that are actively being worked on
  • Meta contains all the tasks that are not exactly consistency problems, but are related to the consistency goal in some way
Current phabricator status
The Consistency goal's workboard.

Consistency Tasks

There are already many tasks in the Consistency project. Some tasks are new, some existed before. Many of these tasks are quite interesting, so read on to get an idea of what lays ahead for this goal.

Unify Highlight Effect Style

This task was already in progress when the Consistency goal was selected, but it is nevertheless a great example of what we'd like to see happen in the goal.

Currently, Plasma has a discrepancy in its highlight effect. The first kind of effect is a plain rectangle using the highlight color, while the second one is a rounded rectangle with an outline and semi-transparent background. Although the former is more common, we think the latter is more appropriate to use in all situations.

Here's the correct highlight effect in Plasma
Here's the correct highlight effect in Plasma
Current dolphin
Here's what it looks like in Dolphin now.
Dolphin mockup
Dolphin mockup showing correct highlighting.

A few more examples of what the new highlight could consistently look like in various use-cases:

Big icons sidebar highlight
Big icons sidebar highlight.
In plasmoids
In plasmoids.
In menus
In menus.

This is a great example of what consistency can be: not simply applying the same style everywhere, but finding something that a single app does very well, and bringing that to all the other apps. Noah Davis is actively developing this task, and he's doing a great job!

Unify Sidebar Navigation and Appearance

These tasks originated directly from the Consistency goal.

Sidebars are used in many applications and it would be great that they were consistent. There are two main aspects to this: the type of sidebar (system settings-like lists, big square icons, etc.) and the navigation within the sidebar (tabs, combo boxes, etc.).

What is the best solution? That part is currently under discussion. We welcome everyone's opinions on the matter or, even better, an expert assessment on the feasibility of each of the options.

Let's quickly illustrate some options:

For the sidebar appearance, the current main option relies on using lists and big square icons, depending on the number of elements:

Sidebars
Sidebars.

On the other hand, the option for navigating sidebar views includes tabs that become icons-only when horizontal space is insufficient, vertical tabs on the left, and combo boxes:

Option 1
Option 1.
Option 1b
Option 1b.
Option 2
Option 2.
Option 3
Option 3.

Furthermore, Nate Graham is focused on making sure that all big icons displayed in sidebars are colorful. He has already fixed a lot of them, and only a few are missing that we know of. Finally, there's also a task to create an HIG specification for sidebars as soon as the discussion settles. We welcome help with any of these tasks. :-)

Website Redesign

This task was already ongoing when the Consistency goal was chosen and it aims to modernize old web pages that follow obsolete styles. There are many of them and some are well-hidden. Carl Schwan created and works on this task alongside many other contributors. Check it out and see if you too can find any old websites that need updating!

That's the end of this update!

If you would like to help out, come join us in the matrix room and let's make KDE software more consistent together!

OCT
17
2019

conf.kde.in Is Coming Back In 2020

Join us for conf.kde.in from the 17th to 19th of January 2020 in Delhi, India.

conf.kde.in 2020 will focus on promoting Free and Open Source software, including (but not limited to) Qt and KDE products.

The Venue

conf.kde.in 2020 will be held in Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Technology, located in Rohini, Delhi, India. MAIT was established by the Maharaja Agrasen Technical Education Society and promoted by well-known industrialists, businessmen, professionals and philanthropists. The aim of MAIT is to promote quality education in the field of Technology.

MAIT endeavors to provide industry-relevant education and training through its well-crafted and practical training programs for the students in different semesters of their courses. The campus is composed of 10 blocks with a learning resource center. MAIT has been ranked as the 10th best private engineering institute in India by the Dataquest T-School Survey. MAIT always supports Free and Open Source communities and tech-related activities.

About conf.kde.in

conf.kde.in started in 2011 at RVCE in Bangalore as a 5-day event with 300 participants. This kicked off a series of KDE events in India. We held a KDE Meetup in 2013, and another conf.kde.in 2014 at DA-IICT. In 2015, the third conf.kde.in was held at Amrita University in Kerala, and in 2016 at LNMIIT Jaipur. The Jaipur conference attracted members of the KDE Community from all over the world. Attendees from different backgrounds came to meet each other, give talks, and share in the spirit of KDE. The 2017 conference was held in IIT Guwahati, Assam and sought to cater to new members of KDE, as well as to seasoned developers.


KDE Meetup 2014

All of these events have been successful in attracting a lot of Indian students to mentoring programs such as Google Summer of Code (GSoC), Season of KDE, and Google Code-In.

conf.kde.in 2020 will generate even more interest and participation by creating a fertile environment for people to get started with KDE, Qt and FOSS through numerous talks, hands-on sessions and demonstrations.

Call For Papers

Join us! Submit a paper, explain the content for a 30-minute presentation or a workshop on any aspect of KDE, Qt or any other FOSS topic you want to cover, and become a conf.kde.in Speaker.

Remember to include all pertinent information about your background, other talks you've given, and anything else that gives a sense of what attendees can expect from your presentation.

See you in 2020 in India!

OCT
15
2019

Plasma 5.17 is out!

KDE launches the new version of its acclaimed desktop environment, Plasma 5.17.

Plasma 5.17 is the version where the desktop anticipates your needs. Among many new features and improvements, your desktop now starts up faster; Night Color, the color-grading system that relaxes your eyes when the sun sets, has landed for X11; your Plasma desktop recognizes when you are giving a presentation, and stops messages popping up in the middle of your slideshows; and, if you are using Wayland, Plasma now comes with fractional scaling, which means that you can adjust the size of all your desktop elements, windows, fonts and panels perfectly to your HiDPI monitor.

The best part? The hundreds of improvements that have made their way into Plasma 5.17 do not tax your hardware! Plasma 5.17 is as lightweight and thrifty with resources as ever.

Check out the official release announcement for more features, improvements and goodies, or browse the full Plasma 5.17 changelog to read about every single change. You can also experience Plasma 5.17 for yourself and install one of the many distributions that offer Plasma.



Guillermo Amaral

The Plasma 5.17 series is dedicated to our friend Guillermo Amaral. Guillermo was an enthusiastic KDE developer who rightly self-described as 'an incredibly handsome multidisciplinary self-taught engineer'. He brought cheer to family, friends and colleagues. He lost his battle with cancer last summer, but will be remembered as a friend to all he met.

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