SEP
12
2016

KDE Returns Home, QtCon Talks Videos Available

KDE has finished its fantastic week, celebrating 20 years of hacking and freedom fighting together with Qt, VLC and FSFE in Berlin. We finished our week with a fun day trip to Pfaueninsel, Berlin's Peacock Island.

Videos from many of the talks are now available to download with the rest being added in the coming weeks. They are also linked from the conference program with slides, where available.

Many thanks to the organisers of the conference. We have now returned to our homes around the world to implement our plans for the next 20 years of being the best community for end-user software.



Peacock Island
SEP
5
2016

Akademy 2016 Tuesday BoF Wrapup Video

In today's BoF wrapup at Akademy find out the future of Plasma music player, the Frameworks LTS and the future of KDE neon.

SEP
5
2016

20 Years of KDE Timeline

KDE is celebrating 20 years as the original and best free software end-user creating community. The milestones of our project are marked on our 20 Years of KDE timeline. Find out the meetings and releases which defined KDE. Learn about the early and recent KDE gatherings around the world and how we have evolved over the years. What was your first KDE release?

SEP
5
2016

"20 Years of KDE" book released!

For all the gearheads around the world, the occasion of KDE's 20th birthday brings with it the traditional yet unconventional slice of our virtual birthday cake - our brand new book called 20 Years of KDE: Past, Present and Future scribbled in icing on top.

SEP
4
2016

KDE Talk Videos from QtCon

QtCon talks are over, and today we start the discussion groups and hacking sessions to plan out work on the KDE community's projects over the coming year. If you want to learn what's going on in KDE technologies and community you can spend some time watching over the videos from the QtCon KDE talks.

SEP
4
2016

Interviews with QtCon Stall Holders

KDE Dot News sent its roving reporter Devaja round the stalls at QtCon to ask them what they were promoting and of their experience of the conference.

Think-Cell

openSUSE

Pelagicore

Ableton

Froglogic

Blue Systems

KDAB

SEP
4
2016

QtCon Closing Keynote with Julia Reda MEP


Julia Reda MEP

The talks are over after the three days of QtCon Akademy 2016 which means the BoF sessions and hacking days are about to begin. To close the talks at the conference we had a finishing keynote by Julia Reda, Member of the European Parliament and member of the Pirate Party.

She began by saying that on a fundamental level government is all of us, and it provides the infrastructure for our culture. Software used by the government is also a public service and the only philosophy that takes responsibility for that is free and open source software. Getting governments to use free and open source software is more important then ever because of the importance of technology in society. Computers are no longer limited to some parts of our lives, they are integral to everything we do. She gave the example of the VW Dieselgate scandal which is linked to cars being computers on wheels. There are no check that the software that is tested by regulators is the same that is run by the car hardware. Another interesting aspect is limitations on diesel control can be turned off to save the engine which means in practice they do this a lot and don't even need to tell the regulators. VW had a function programmed into the car which turned off the fuel saving if it deviated from the testing procedures.

Another area were we see the importance of software is robotics. A friend who wears a cochlear implant hearing aid has software which can control what you hear. Software on a pacemaker can be more scary. The source code for her friend's pacemaker had a bug and to test it they had to put her on a treadmill to debug it as there was no other way with the code not being available. Julia wants to know what software is run on her body. The EU parliament is discussing this issue.

An older debate is the use of technology in elections. In US voting infrastructure isn't considered critical infrastructure so it's not treated like an issue even when it has known problems. It's important to be able to inspect any software which has important functions. A more social issue is the debate about whether Facebook algorithms can influence elections. Predictive policing can encourage racist stereotypes, if that's done with software and we don't know how it works any biases can be very dangerous.

If you have Windows 10 running on your fridge there are more fun ways your software can fail. In some fields you might become legally barred from inspecting and tinkering your hardware. Freedom to tinker is important for education and also autonomy and it should be protected in a similar way as a freedom of speech. Information is governed differently from physical goods. Books can have owners but e-books are licensed and can't necessarily be given to your children when you die. Manufacturers will try to get us to rent things rather than buy them. There are tractors where the manufacturer told the owners they could not modify the tractor because that was not in their license. Circumvention of technological protections (such as DVD encryption) should be allowed. Even though these common sense demands were supported by the EU parliament, the EU Commission's proposals are different and e.g. want charges on news aggregators. There are no positive developments yet in copyright to give us more control. Another concerning area is trade secrets, which started as defending uncompetitive behaviour. If you break into the office of a competitor and steal plans that would be covered. But now manufacturers can claim the software is a trade secret and the regulator can't see it, which makes no sense. The US is introducing this into trade agreements to stop say China reading the software from US companies, so we have to make sure governments at least are able to see the software.


Posing for the Group Photo (to be published soon)

There are social developments that make free software significant. Some companies will restrict functions on their products by software which is dangerous. Finally there are moves for laws on what software can be installed on wifi hubs. Manufacturers should make sure users don't use the wrong spectrum but to allow competition, the US FCC has insisted you should allow 3rd party software. So we may have to have trusted computing type signed images for routers which makes installation of Linux on them much more challenging. What can government do about these issues? It's important we make the point governments rely on free and open software. Governments need to start taking responsibility of free software. There's a Prototype Fund in Germany where money is given to free software projects and helps with bureaucracy. With HeartBleed and ShellShock we saw a lot of infrastructure relies on free software but there's no responsibility from manufacturers to take care of it. The EU has started FOSSA, a project to audit free software. Asked in a survey which projects the EU should audit, most votes were for Apache HTTP and Keypass. The 2 year pilot project is coming to an end but they want to continue it and get a permanent budget. Also they want a bug bounty budget. In the future it's important to work within the system and build networks with free software communities and the EU commission. In Bulgaria and the US there are source code policies, they are not perfect but the US has a goal of publishing 20% of software as open source which is a lot better than many other governments. The EU commission has an open source policy but it only commits to not disadvantage open source solution in procurement. So her call for action is to move to a sustainable public procurement system and every government in the EU have a free software policy. The goal should be to make governments not just tolerate Free Software but to promote and improve it.
To close the conference we had the annual KDE Akademy Awards and finally representatives of KDAB, KDE, FSFE and VLC came on stage to thank the organisers and wish us a successful onward conference with Akademy.


Conference Closing
SEP
4
2016

Akademy Awards 2016


Winners Kenny, Dan, Christoph, Dominik, Aleix

QtCon talks closed with our annual awards ceremony, the Akademy Awards. Given each year to the most valued and hardest working KDE contributors, they are awarded by the jury from the previous year. This year's winners are:

Best Non-Application Contribution

Aleix Pol who for many years has worked hard not just on KDE code but also on the community with KDE e.V. as a board member and KDE España.

Best Application

Dominik Haumann and Christoph Cullmann for their work making Kate and the related parts. We all rely on a quality text editor and KDE has the finest one.

Jury Award

To Daniel Vrátil and the KDE PIMsters for creating and maintaining the largest suite of communication applications in the world.

The Organisers

As is traditional, an award was given to the organisers of Akademy, this year represented by Kenny Coyle who has been helping out for nearly a decade running the videos and many other tasks.

SEP
3
2016

Talks and Hacking Continue at QtCon

A second packed day of talks has taken place at QtCon, the largest and most diverse and dynamic gathering of end-user software communities for open development ever. KDE contributors gave talks next to pure Qt coders, the VLC team pondered the merits of porting to Telsa cars and the FSF-E celebrated 15 years with their annual awards.

SEP
3
2016

KDE Software Store


KDE Store

At this year's Akademy, KDE announced The KDE Store. The new store replaces the services provided by openDesktop.org with a Free-as-in-Freedom software sharing platform.

A Bit of History

OpenDesktop, founded in 2001 was one of the first of its kind, very innovative and perhaps even a bit ahead of its time. OpenDesktop served addons such as themes, wallpapers and other non-compiled assets for applications or the desktop. It never established itself as a platform for distribution of applications, or even binary packages. Nevertheless, openDesktop offered users of KDE software (and other desktops as well) a way to extend their apps, and creators a way to share their work with users.

In recent years, openDesktop hasn't seen much love other than keeping it running, there weren't any new features and no solution for offering binary packages. Compared to modern software stores, it fell short.

A New Beginning

In January 2016, Blue Systems acquired hive01 from Frank Karlitschek and restarted work on openDesktop. Since then, content has been cleaned up, the server backend has been replaced by a more modern and scalable solution, and some future plans have been made. Today, KDE announced that the source code for this new service has been released as Free software under the AGPL, fixing a long standing bug in KDE software: reliance on a proprietary web service. The source code for this new web service has been incubated into KDE and is now actively developed under the KDE umbrella. The new store allows users to easily donate to the creator, so artists, developers and contributors now have a clear revenue model when they upload their content.

Sustainability Guaranteed

KDE e.V. has entered a contract with PLING, a sister company of Blue Systems who run the KDE Store service on behalf of KDE. This agreement guarantees KDE the availability of the source code and data, KDE will receive regular data dumps from PLING, so KDE e.V. can, if that situation should arise, take over operation of the KDE Store. The reliance on a third party has also been reduced. The license of the software, the open development process and the availability of the data put KDE (and its users) in a much better place with respect to the sustainability of this service.

Containerized Apps

Freeing and migrating the openDesktop services is just the first step. KDE is already looking into also offering applications in containerized form in the software store. This may lead to a much more direct way of distributing software. It will allow users get their software from the developer, thereby cutting out the middle man and reducing the time it takes for an update to reach the users. KDE is currently experimenting with different containerized app technologies, such as Flatpak, Snappy and AppImage. The jury is still out there on which of these will be the most useful formats, as the technologies are very much work in progress, a progress KDE is happy to be at the centre of.

Upwards and Onwards

The new KDE store offers users and developers more freedom, it gives creators a revenue model and users a way to thank them, and if offers interesting perspectives on software distribution for the future.
Perhaps most importantly, it puts all those things in the hands of the community.

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