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Posted 1 day ago by Aurelien Gateau
If you consider yourself as a serious developer, you know writing good commit messages is important. You don't want to be that guy:

XKCD #1296

This applies to source comments as well: good comments save time, bad comments can be ... [More] worse than no comments.

For a long time, I usually favored source comments over commit messages: whenever I was about to commit a change which needed some explanations, I would often start to write a long commit message, then pause, go back to the code, write my long explanation as a comment and then commit the changes with a short message. After all, we are told we should not repeat ourselves.

Recently I was listening to Thom Parkin talking about rebasing on Git Minutes #33 (Git Minutes is a great podcast BTW, highly recommended) and he said this: "Commits tell a story". That made me realize one thing: we developers read code a lot, but we also read a lot of commit histories, either when tracking a bug or when reviewing a patchset. Reading code and reading history can be perceived as two different views of a project, and we should strive to make sure both views are readable. Our readers (which often are our future selves...) will thank us. It may require duplicating information from time to time, but that is a reasonable trade-off in my opinion.

So, "Write extensive source comments or extensive commit messages?" I'd say: "Do both". [Less]
Posted 1 day ago by Johan Thelin
The Ardour project just announced version four of the digital audio workstation. Debian carries version 3, so I decided to build version 4 myself. Here is a summary from what I learned.

First of all, the Ardour people have written a building ... [More] page and a list of dependencies. The do carry a set of patches towards some of the packages. These seems to be more or less small fixes, apart from the libsndfile that has a bug fix for handling BWF files.

In addition to the patches libs, the requirements list a whole range of gtk and corresponding -mm packages as well as boost, and varous codecs and such. I decided not to care too much about versions for these packages. Instead, I just took whatever I could find in Debian. The packages installed are:

libsndfile1-dev
libgnomecanvas2-dev
libsigc++-2.0-dev
libcairo2-dev
liblrdf0-dev
libfreetype6-dev
libboost1.55-all-dev
libfftw3-dev
libglibmm-2.4-dev
libcairomm-1.0-dev
libpangomm-1.4-dev
libatkmm-1.6-dev
libart2.0-cil-dev
libgnomecanvasmm-2.6-dev
liblo-dev
libraptor2-dev
librasqal3-dev
libogg-dev
libflac-dev
libvorbis-dev
libsamplerate0-dev
libaudio-dev
liblv2dynparam1-dev
libserd-dev
libsord-dev
libsratom-dev
liblilv-dev
libsuil-dev
librubberband-dev
vamp-plugin-sdk
libaubio-dev
libjack-dev
liblilv-dev

Then it is just a matter of configuring using waf.

./waf configure --with-backend=alsa --prefix=/wherever/you/want/it
make
./waf install

My plan is to use ALSA (i.e. not JACK) and installing libjack-dev meant that Skype got kicked out, so the system needed some love to restore the order.

apt-get autoremove
apt-get remove libjack-dev
apt-get remove libjack0
dpkg --install skype-debian_4.3.0.37-1_i386.deb
apt-get install -f

Despite this little hack, Ardour seems to work nicely and record and play back. I still need to test out some more features to see if everything is in place, but it looks hopeful.

Update! As pointed out in the comments, Debian not only carries a really old version but also version 3. [Less]
Posted 2 days ago by Paul Adams
The board of KDE eV has launched a new initiative to ensure that KDE remains awesome and relevant for the foreseeable future. Unlike previous approaches it is not a point-in-time solution, it is a continuous process of improvement. And it is a good ... [More] thing. Previously, I have written/spoken a lot about the role of Brooks’ Law in the context of… Read more → [Less]
Posted 2 days ago by Pinak Ahuja (pinak)
So I finally have something blog worthy after a long time or at least writing this post will be a decent way to make it through the last 5 hours of journey back from Kerala. I feel a bit of context is required here, a while back I had submitted a ... [More] talk proposal for conf.kde.in 2015, which, to my delight, was accepted. This years conference was held at Amritapuri, thanks to the insane amounts of effort put in by the FOSS club at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University, it went on smoothly. A special shout out to R.Harish Navnit. This was my first KDE conference and I must say it was amazing. I met awesome KDE India people, learnt a lot from the other talks and most importantly made new friends who love KDE.

Enough small talk talk a bit about the conference now. The conference opened with our keynote speaker Noufal Ibrahim, Founder of PyCon India, giving a demo of combining command line utilities to create a summary of Moby Dick from the book. Straight to demonstrations no boring stuff, that's how we roll. Looking for clues like good old

Noufal, even though not a KDE user, did an amazing job of showing how powerful, small & reusable utilities can be, when combined creatively.

Then Pradeepto and Shantanu took the stage to tell the students about what KDE is, being involved with KDE for ages now, these guys are obviously the best people for the job. They demonstrated lots of KDE software, told the students about the KDE community and motivated them to contribute. This was followed by Somsubhra's talk on Krita in which he demonstrated it's power with the help of tons of videos.

Then after a short break for lunch came the moment I'd been simultaneously dreading and looking forward to, my talk. As I already stated, this was my first conf.kde.in, it was also my first talk at such huge event. I was pretty anxious about it, but encouragement from the other the speakers specially Devaja Shah helped me calm my nerves, and I went on to give a decent talk which I hope motivated the students there to contribute to KDE. In my talk I shared my experience with the KDE community, told the students about my SoK project with Baloo, getting started with code contributions complete with demos of IRC, fetching, building, changing code and generating and submiting patches. One major aspect of my talk was to get the students to start using KDE and improving what they feel needs improving, scratching their own itch.

My talk, was followed by a hands on session by Shantanu for QML. It was amazing to see students reading around the documentation and experimenting to do stuff they wanted to and not just sticking to what they were being taught. He started with basics and ended with animations. I have to say Shantanu is a good teacher, even I learnt a couple of things from the session. The first day concluded with students interacting with the speakers asking their queries.

Sadly I missed pre-lunch talks the second day by Sanjiban, Sinny, Jigar and Rishab as I was helping out Shantanu in hands on QML sessions for students who'd missed the opportunity on the first day. But I'm sure they did an amazing job looking at the students' enthusiasm. After lunch, Devaja Shah took the students on a journey through the KDE galaxy giving a tour of lot of planets (read KDE projects).This followed by her presenting other ways of contributing to KDE apart from coding. This included participating in the Promo team, writing dot stories and helping in localization of KDE software.

The last two talks were by Ashish Madeti who gave impressive demo's of his GSoC project with PMC, by playing some awesome music on Plasma Media center using MPRIS and Karan Luthra who gave an amazing presentation on Trojitá the IMAP e-mail client. His talk helped the students in understanding concepts of IMAP, what Trojitá exactly is and how they can contribute to it. All in all it was an amazing experience with enthusiastic students eager to learn new things. I hope we get tons of new contributers. I finally met Pradeepto Bhattacharya, the founder of KDE India, talked a lot about KDE and random stuff. It was pretty amazing meeting other KDE lovers. This was my indeed my initiation to the KDE India community and I hope to be there at future events we hold.

A few photographs I took:

Now to the fun part, exploring Amritapuri. After the conference we went on to watch the sunset from 18th floor of a building along the coast. Amazing thing to witness.
Amritapuri is a beautiful place situated along the western coastline of India. Finally saw the renowned Kerala backwaters from a bird's eye view. [Less]
Posted 3 days ago by Ivan Čukić (ivan)
As I’ve already mentioned,
KActivities are now on KDE’s Phabricator.

One of the things I really did not like about our todo.kde.org service is that
in order to use the API to get your tasks and projects, you need to ... [More] have
administrator privileges. Therefore, no sane tool actually supports it.

Phabricator is much nicer in that regard.
It has a nice API, and it even has a Python module which can be used to
retrieve anything that you’d want it to.

The first thing I wanted is to pull the issues and review requests from Phabricator
into the TaskWarrior
(if you still do not know what TW is, you ought to investigate it right this instant).

There is an external tool called BugWarrior
that is able to get the tasks from a range of different services
like github, jira, bugzilla (does not work with bugs.kde.org) and others.
Fortunately, it also supports Phabricator.

Loading Phabricator tasks into the TaskWarrior

Read more... [Less]
Posted 3 days ago by Lydia Pintscher (Nightrose)
When I became president of KDE e.V. in September last year I made a list of important things we need to do over the coming year. The biggest item on this list was helping KDE and KDE e.V. get a better understanding of where we are, where we want to ... [More] go and how we want to get there. Today, with the help of many others, I want to start this process and I want you to be a part of it.

KDE began its life as a desktop project and Qt showcase back in 1996. Since then KDE has evolved to become something more significant; the modern KDE is a global community of technologists, designers, writers and advocates producing some of the world’s finest user-centric Free Software. As we have evolved, so too has the world around us. The user’s experience is no longer restricted to the desktop. It has expanded to the user’s hands, wrists, glasses and more and will continue to evolve into areas we have yet to imagine.

In KDE we want to be in charge of our future. We want  to have a clear and honest approach for reacting to and influencing our shifting environment, to continuously and consciously improve. We want to do what is necessary to be the thriving community for creating technology that will satisfy the needs of the next 20 year’s users.

In order to shape our evolution it is crucial that the wider KDE community understands its current position and where it aims to be in the future. As the primary support structure within the KDE community, KDE e.V. is instrumental in guiding that journey. Through regular honest assessment and reaction to our environment the KDE community continues to remain effective and relevant and ensures that KDE’s users will continue to Experience Freedom.

In order to provide the KDE community with the means to assess its current position and find future direction we have devised this yearly iterative process:

First, we will gather extensive input from the wider community: everyone from core contributors to casual contributors to users. This will be done via various means, the main one being a survey, but also including forums, mailing lists, IRC office hours and in-person meetings; for example at Akademy.
This input is then consolidated into a report. It is going to be published before Akademy for public consumption. This report will summarize community conclusions and potential areas of focus and improvement.
During KDE e.V.’s annual general assembly, the report is discussed and some of the recommended focus areas are agreed on as goals.
At a strategy sprint, core community members come up with measureable suggestions to achieve those goals.
Finally, there will be a wrap up session that will evaluate how much progress we have made towards the goals we set ourselves. The evaluation will be presented at the next general assembly meeting.

KDE e.V. will support this process and its outcome. The outcome of this process are happy contributors and happy users.

I’d love for you to be a part of this process. As a first step please help us by taking the time to fill out the survey. Further information will be published on evolve.kde.org. If you have questions please ask them on the KDE community mailing list. [Less]
Posted 3 days ago by Daniel Vrátil (dvratil)
… a KDE PIM sprint happened in Toulouse! And what happened during that sprint? Well, read this wholly incomplete report!

Let’s start with the most important part: we decided what to do next! On the last PIM sprint in Munich in ... [More] November when Christian and Aaron introduced their new concept for next version of Akonadi, we decided to refocus all our efforts on working on that which meant switching to maintenance mode of KDE PIM for a very long time and then coming back with a big boom. In Toulouse we discussed this plan again and decided that it will be much better for the project and for the users as well if we continue active development of KDE PIM instead of focusing exclusively on the “next big thing” and take the one-step-at-the-time approach. So what does that mean?

We will aim towards releasing KF5-based KDE PIM in August as part of KDE Applications 15.08. After that we will be working on fixing bugs, improving the current code and adding new features like normally, while at the same time preparing the code base for migration to Akonadi 2 (currently we call it Akonadi Next but I think eventually it will become “2”). I will probably write a separate technical blog post on what those “preparations” mean. In the meantime Christian will be working from the other side on Akonadi 2 and eventually both projects should meet “in the middle”, where we simply swap the Akonadi 1 backend with the Akonadi 2 backend and ship next version. So instead of one “big boom” release where we would switch to Qt 5 and Akonadi 2 at the same time we do it step-by-step, causing as little disruption to user experience as possible and allowing for active development of the project. In other words WIN-WIN-WIN situation for users, devs and the KDE PIM project.

I’m currently running the entire KDE PIM from git master (so KF5-based) and I must say that everything works very well so far. There are some regression against the KDE 4 version but nothing we couldn’t handle. If you like to use bleeding-edge versions of PIM feel free to update and help us finding (and fixing) regressions (just be careful not to bleed to death ;-)).

Another discussion we had is closely related to the 15.08 release. KDE PIM is a very huge code base, but the active development team is very small. Even with the incredible Laurent Montel on our side it’s still not enough to keep actively maintaining all of the KDE PIM (yes, it’s THAT huge ;-)). So we had to make a tough decision: some parts of KDE PIM have to die, at least until a new maintainer steps up, and some will move to extragear and will live their own lives there. What we release as part of KDE Applications 15.08 I call KDE PIM Core and it consists of the core PIM applications: KMail, KOrganizer, KAddressbook, Kleopatra, KNotes and Kontact. If your favorite PIM app is not in the list you can volunteer as a maintainer and help us make it part of the core again. We believe that in this case quality is more important than quantity and this is the trade-off that will allow us to make the next release of PIM the best one to date ;-).

Still related to the release is also reorganization of our repos, as we have some more splitting and indeed some merging ahead of us but we’ll post an announcement once everything is discussed and agreed upon.

Thanks to Christian’s hard work most of the changes that Kolab did in their fork of KDE PIM has been upstreamed during the sprint. There are some very nice optimizations and performance improvements for Akonadi included (among other things), so indeed the next release will be a really shiny one and there’s a lot to look forward to.

Vishesh brought up the topic of our bug count situation. We all realize the sad state of our PIM bugs and we talked a bit about re-organizing and cleaning up our bug tracker. The clean up part has already begun as Laurent with Vishesh have mass-closed over 850 old KMail 1 bugs during the sprint to make it at least a little easier to get through the rest. Regarding the re-organization I still have to send a mail about it but a short summary would be that we want to remove bugzilla components and close bugs for the apps we decided to discontinue and maybe do a few more clean up rounds for the existing bugs.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten something because much more happened during the sprint but let’s just say I’m leaving some topics for others to blog about ;-).

Huge thank you to Franck Arrecot and Kevin Ottens for taking care of us and securing the venue for the sprint! All in all it was a great sprint and I’m happy to say that we are back on track to dominate the world of PIM.

The only disappointment of the entire sprint was my failure to acquire a French beer. I managed to try Belgian, Spanish, Mexican and Argentinian beer but they did not serve any French beer anywhere. Either there’s no such thing or it must be really bad…:-)

We had a great dinner with the local KDE people on Saturday. Also a prove that Laurent is a real person :-D

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Posted 4 days ago by Ivan Čukić (ivan)
If you haven’t heard,
there are a few KDE projects testing Phabricator
for patch review and project management.

KActivities are amongst those.

So, from now on, if you want to provide patches,
you are advised to do ... [More] that through http://phabricator.kde.org/
and the Arcanist tool instead of the ReviewBoard.

We are also going to organize our work tasks on Phabricator
instead of todo.kde.org.

The ultimate goal is to test whether Phabricator is a viable
alternative to a few of our services.

Read more... [Less]
Posted 4 days ago by dfighter
Hi there!
Let’s review what I’ve done to KDevelop’s kdev-cppcheck and kdev-valgrind plugins lately.

JSONized kdev-cppcheck and kdev-valgrind
This is fairly straightfoward: These plugins were still using the old ... [More] .desktop plugin manifest files. Now they are using the embedded JSON manifests. This isn’t something user visible, but it’s needed as the old .desktop method is now deprecated.

Added the number of calls to the callgrind output of kdev-valgrind
Until now the callgrind output has only shown the IR and Inclusive IR fields. Now is shows the number of calls as well. Take a look at the pictures!

Before:

After:

Reorganized the output of memcheck in kdev-valgrind
Until now kdev-valgrind’s memcheck output unfortunately didn’t show enough of the callstacks to be really useful. You couldn’t see where the problem exactly occured, or where it was stemming from! Now it shows the full backtrace + the auxilliary trace as well, so you can see what actually causes the problems. See the pictures!

Before:

After:

 

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Posted 4 days ago by Friedrich Kossebau (frinring)
As you might know, Calligra now also started porting to Qt5/KF5. We are currently reaching the end of stage 1, where everything is readded to the build (“links and installs? done!”), with next stage then to fix anything that broke or ... [More] regressed (see screenshots!1!).

Just, we also now see that noone in the current set of active Calligra developers has enough love left for Braindump, the notetaking and mindmapping application from the creativity and productivity suite Calligra.

So as it stands Braindump would be left behind during the porting phase and be discontinued, for now at least :(

Braindump is a nice example for the flexibility of the Calligra architecture, where objects are implemented by so called “Shape” plugins, which then are available to any application supporting “Shape”s in general. The actual code of Braindump itself is centered around the concept of whiteboards with unlimited canvas, where one can drop all possible kind of objects (the “shapes”) and then note their relations. With automated saving in the background, no need for any “Save” button.

See this older video to get an idea of the possibilities:

Cyrille, who has developed Braindump, says:

“I am still interested in the application itself, but what it really needs is a better user interaction, and flake [name of the Shape system, ed.] is not flexible enough to provide it, and I don’t have the energy to make it flexible enough”.

He and the rest of the Calligra team will happily assist someone who ideally already uses Braindump and now would like to overtake the future development for the Qt5/KF5 based version, to enhance their workhorse. And the porting time is a good time to get to know the current system: for the first Qt5/KF5 based Calligra release, 3.0, we are concentrating on a pure port, so no new features or refactoring (ignore the exceptions ;) ), only minimal changes. And envisions the options after the port/3.0: e.g. get Braindump to run on your Android or Sailfish OS tablet! Connect it to syncing servers like ownCloud! Or whatever would enhance your Braindump usage.
And all done while enjoying the synergy effects from the shared libs and plugins of the Calligra suite.

Your chance, now :) Don’t hesitate too long, as Braindump will bitrot more and more, once the 3.0 release is done and the Calligra libs will see more refactoring.

Find us in the channel #calligra on irc.freenode.net, or join the mailing-list calligra-devel@kde.org.

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