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Posted 2 days ago by Aaron Honeycut (ahoneybun)
A beautiful morning in Spain! The second day at Akademy started off with 10 or so hours of sleep!, which was much needed for basic functions (really happy I don’t have to drive here).  The hotel (Rialta) had great breakfast with coffee, OJ, bread ... [More] with meat and cheeses, yogurt, cereal all the basics that makeup a great day! To the talks! First talk to start was with Lydia Pintscher with “Evolving KDE” which see went over what is planned in the next stage of Plasma 5 and what she wants to be planned as President of the e.V. View post on Next up was Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen talked about the work going on with Plasma Mobile from porting to devices, running Android applications on it and more. Kubuntu Team View post on Harald and Rohan gave a talk about their CI(Continuous Interrogation) work. Lunch and Group photo View post on Then we had the awesome and big group photo with everyone currently at Akademy both the people who are going to it as well as the volunteers who help make the whole thing run. Shortly after the group photo was lunch which again was provided by the Schools cafe and paid for by Blue Systems, which was great with pasta, yogurt, fruits, and pudding! Right after Lunch everyone was right back to hacking some Open Source goodness! View post on Kubuntu Podcast reports in! View post on After the Lunch was over Ovidiu-Florin and I did a interview with Matthias Klumpp for the Kubuntu Podcast which has a new episode coming out next month on August 5 with hopes of including this and future interviews from Akademy and if not the next episode. [Less]
Posted 2 days ago by Martin Gräßlin
As you are probably aware by now we announced the Plasma Phone project during Akademy this weekend. In this blog post I want to discuss the role of KWin in Plasma Phone. Plasma Phone uses Wayland as the windowing system with KWin being the Wayland ... [More] compositor. This is our first product which uses Wayland by default and also the first product which uses KWin as the Wayland compositor. The phone project pushed the Wayland efforts in Plasma a lot and is the only reason why we are able to make Wayland a technological preview with the upcoming Plasma 5.4 release. The phone project gave KWin/Wayland into the hands of many developers who started to actively use it and to develop with it. This obviously helped to find lots of small and larger issues which then could be fixed. It triggered a stabilization process which reached a stage that I can use a Plasma Wayland session on my notebook with enough confidence that I won’t lose data due to crashes. So thanks to the whole team for pushing the system to the limits. An area which saw lots of work thanks to the Phone is the interaction between Plasma as the desktop shell and KWin as the Wayland compositor. With Wayland we keep the architecture of having a dedicated shell process which is not inside the compositor. This architecture has served us well in the past and we don’t see a reason why we should change this. It means that KWin can serve as a compositor for other desktop projects, but it also means that Plasma can be used with other compositors. Now unlike X11, Wayland’s protocols are secure by default. This means that Plasma as the desktop shell does not know anything about windows from other processes. To solve this problem we designed a special window management protocol which exports the required information. The protocols are still under development, but we hope that they can be also useful for other projects with a similar architecture (LXQt being an obvious candidate). Of course such protocols should only be used by the “blessed” desktop shell process – this is something we still need to implement and one of the reasons why at the moment Plasma/Wayland is only a technological preview. Window management is not the only area where the shell process needs to be “blessed”. Also for announcing information about its own windows, we need some more information. We need to know whether a window is a “panel” or the “desktop” view. So on the phone the shell background is just a desktop window, the panel on the bottom is just a normal dock. This allows us to share the general layering code with the X11 implementation of KWin. Even more having the panels marked as panels allows us to properly define the maximized area. And the windows on the phone open maximized by using the “Maximizing” placement strategy in KWin. Working on the phone project also had some surprises. For example the virtual keyboard just didn’t want to show. It turned out that the reason for this was that Qt(Wayland) only requests the virtual keyboard if it has keyboard focus. Keyboard focus inside KWin is bound to the “active” window. So we had to implement activating Wayland clients. But the initial implementation didn’t really solve it, we still had areas where the keyboard didn’t come up. E.g. on the desktop in the KRunner search field we couldn’t get it to show. The reason was related to the described problem: we did not yet support activating Wayland clients when clicking on them. This got solved by implementing mouse action (and touch action) support inside KWin. So thanks to this change (done for the phone) we can properly switch between Wayland windows on the desktop with a mouse driven setup. Another nice touch is that KWin requires a running Xwayland server. This gives us support for all “legacy” X11 applications such as Qt 4 or GTK2 on the phone. Just we hit a problem with them: they did not react on touch events. The reason for this is quite simple: touch support is not yet implemented in Xwayland. As a solution we implemented simulating pointer events in case a connected Wayland window does not bind the touch interface. Thus all Wayland and X11 applications can now be used with a touch screen – be it on the phone or on a notebook with a touch screen. So far I have only spoken about progress made in KWin which is relevant for the desktop. So what about the phone specific adjustments? Well there are hardly any. In the core of KWin there is no phone specific code. The only phone specific code is the hwcomposer backend. This is a plugin used for creating an OpenGL context using libhybris and for reading input events (unfortunately libinput cannot read events on a libhybris enabled system). According to cloc this plugin is just about 800 lines of code and about 200 are just very straight forward mapping of Android key codes to “normal” Linux key codes. For comparison: KWin + kwayland/server currently have about 120,000 lines of code. And even this hwcomposer backend is not phone specific. It could also be used to run a normal KWin/Plasma session on any libhybris enabled device. There is one important difference of the plugin to the rest of KWin which is worth to mention: it is GPLv3+ licensed, while everything else is GPLv2+. The reason for this change is the fact that libhybris is Apache 2 licensed and this license requires a change to GPLv3. [Less]
Posted 2 days ago by Jonathan Riddell (riddell)
Yesterday we revealed the project we’ve been working on for the last few months, Plasma Mobile and images of it on Kubuntu. KDE has been trying for years to get Plasma working on different form factors with mixed success, so when I first started on ... [More] this I was pretty intimidated.  But we looked around for how to build this and it turns out there is software for it just lying around on the internet ready to be put together.  Incredible. It got very stressful when we couldn’t get anything showing on the screen for a few weeks but the incredible Martin G got Wayland working with it in KWin, so now KDE has not just the first open mobile project but also one of the first systems running with Wayland. And with Shashlik in the pipeline we are due to be able to run Android applications on it too giving us one of the largest application ecosystems out there. The question is will there be traction from the community?  You can join us in the normal Plasma ways, #plasma on Freenode and plasma-devel mailing list and #kubuntu-devel to chat about making images for other devices.  I’m very excited to see what will happen in the next year. Plasma Mobile announcement. Video by [Less]
Posted 2 days ago by Dominik Haumann
Akademy, the yearly KDE conference is alive and kicking. During the last days we were discussing again about potential KDE licensing issues (for instance code that is licensed under GPLv2, but not GPLv3). That’s why KDE is maintaining a relicense ... [More] checker script, that every KDE contributor should enter herself/himself. I’ve blogged about it already in January 2015, but it cannot hurt to repeat it from time to time: From the KDE relicensing page: A couple of KDE dependent projects or even libraries have moved or are going to move to GPLv3. Unfortunately, GPL v3 is incompatible with GPL v2. This means that it is not possible to create a project linking GPL v2 and v3 code together. There is no problem for projects which are licensed GPLv2+ (version 2 or above). A few parts of KDE are currently licensed as GPLv2 only. So far we have no reason to believe that this was something other than an oversight. However, we still need to validate with the individual copyright holders that a relicense to GPLv2+ or GPLv2+v3 is okay with them. Therefore, in an effort we’re trying to identify the contributors that have contributed under the terms of GPLv2 and where the “+” part was not explicitly mentioned. If we know that all contributors agreed to a relicense, we can go ahead and flip the license of the individual source file. Short story: If you have not done so yet, please add yourself to the kde file! If you cannot add yourself right now, please consider sending a mail to publically stating that you’re ok with relicensing all your contributions hosted on the KDE services under either  GPLv23, LGPLv23, GPLv2+, LGPLv2+. Additionally, you can give the membership of the KDE e.V. the credentials to relicense your contributions in future (this makes a lot of sense if you cannot contribute to KDE anymore and are no longer around). Many of the KDE contributors did this already. Thanks! PS: The official way to give KDE the rights to change licenses would be by signing the KDE e.V.’s FLA. Please note, that the KDE e.V. will not abuse this by immediately changing licenses you chose. Instead, this mostly about emergency cases (think of someone who suddenly passes away). But the script mentioned above is already a good start, since we can use it to quickly scan our code and identify problematic parts. Update: With signing the FLA, you give the KDE e.V. several rights: update KDE SC license can protect KDE projects/code can proect you (e.g. in copyright lawsuits) make sure your code will live on even if you can’t contribute anymore It is important to note, thought, that signing the FLA also includes that the KDE e.V. gives you back all your rights, so for you and your contributions, nothing changes. There is a BOF session about all this on Monday, so make sure you attend if you’re interested! [Less]
Posted 2 days ago by Christoph Cullmann (cullmann)
A common problem for many applications contained in the KDE Applications releases are non-incremented version numbers. Often the maintainer forgets to update the version number of the application, like I did it for Kate since the first KF5 based ... [More] release. This means: On Bugzilla, I get bugreports that always tell me “Kate 5.0.0″, not very helpful. KDE Frameworks solves this by automatic setting of the current framework release version in all framework CMakeLists.txt. For KDE Applications, we have now optional the same concept. For details: visit In short: If you are to lazy to update your version number yourself or are just fine with using the same version number als the KDE Applications releases, you can add the following three lines to your toplevel CMakeLists.txt: # KDE Application Version, managed by release script set (KDE_APPLICATIONS_VERSION_MAJOR "15") set (KDE_APPLICATIONS_VERSION_MINOR "04") set (KDE_APPLICATIONS_VERSION_MICRO "0") These variables will then be patched by the release scripts to the “right” version for the current release series. You can than either just use the MICRO version to suffix your own applications version to differentiate the bugfix releases or like Kate construct your complete version number from the three vars and be done ;=) I hope this helps to have more consistent and more important meaningful version numbers once again in the applications we bundle. Thanks to all people that made this “magic” happen ;=) [Less]
Posted 2 days ago by Nicolas Lécureuil (neoclust)
Now that cauldron is open, the kde team has updated KF5 to 5.12.0, Plasma to 5.3.2 and Kde Applications to 15.04.3. we have added minimal kde-workspace and kdebase4-runtime that can now be installed with plasma. This migration is a good way to remove ... [More] old and unmaintained apps. If you want to help don’t be shy Known issues: SystemSettings has no icons if .kde is missing. No customisation for now. [Less]
Posted 2 days ago by Dominik Haumann
The yearly KDE conference Akademy is currently being held with lots of interesting talks and workshops. One big thing that was announced yesterday is Plasma Mobile, a free mobile platform. The presentation of Plasma Mobile was quite impressive: A ... [More] video of using Plasma Mobile on a Nexus 5 showed a nice  visual design, smooth transitions and quite some usable functionality already. This impression was confirmed later when I was playing around with Plasma Mobile on the Nexus 5 myself. So good job, plasma team! Plasma Mobile already raised quite some interest in lots of news sites, with lots of user comments (mostly positive), see for instance: Slashdot: KDE Community Announces Fully Open Source Plasma Mobile OSNews: Plasma Phone OS, a KDE project for mobile Hacker News: Plasma Mobile Reddit: Plasma Mobile on Nexus 5 (Kwin/Wayland in action) Golem: KDE Plasma 5 läuft auf Smartphones (german) Heise: Plasma Mobile bringt KDE 5 auf Smartphones (german) What’s important to note is that the project is still in a very early stage of development, and its target is to be really usable around mid of 2016. As such, there are most certainly stability issues and lots of features missing. But this also opens opportunities: If you are into mobile platforms, this is the right time to get in contact and contribute! The plasma developers are really nice people and welcome every single contribution, be it in terms of brainstorming ideas (e.g. graphical mockups), code, or organizing developer events. So get in touch now through the Plasma Mobile forums and through the Plasma Contributor Mailing List! Just say hi and ask how to get involved [Less]
Posted 2 days ago by Aaron Honeycut (ahoneybun)
Before I start this blog I would like to thank the wonderful Ubuntu community for sponsoring my trip to the wonder hub of KDE development at Akademy! Akademy 2015 My trip to Akademy 2015 in La Coruna Spain started at 4:45 pm on Friday in Miami with ... [More] a flight to Lisbon. I was serve decent dinner and later breakfast. I did not get much sleep on the first part of the trip, but the second one from Lisbon to La Coruna I got about 1 hour or additional sleep with me finally arriving at 11:30 or so AM local time. I also saw the entertainment system reboot and show me that it was running Linux! I finally had the awesome experience of meeting some of the people I have been working with for over 2+ years over IRC, Hangouts and phone calls. Today was filled many great talks from our own Riddell and Clark on the new Plasma phone and continued work on the CI end of Kubuntu respectably.On the first day we also had the announcement of Plasma Mobile being worked on by Blue Systems and the larger KDE community as well. I’ll have some more pictures of that in there own blog post and album on imgur later on. Blue Systems has been kind enough to sponsor lunch for this weekend and next weekend. So here I type this blog post with under 2 hours of sleep for 36+ hours of uptime lol. [Less]
Posted 3 days ago by Peter Grasch
A while ago, I published a post about ReComment, a speech-based recommender system. Well, today I want to talk about SpeechRec: ReComment’s bigger, better, faster, stronger brother. Outline With ReComment we showed, that a speech-based interface ... [More] can enable users to specify their preferences quicker and more accurately. Specifically, ReComment exploited information from attributes such as “a little” or “a lot” which naturally occur in spoken input, to refine its user model. With SpeechRec, I wanted to build on the idea, that spoken language carries more semantic information than traditional user interfaces typically allow to express, by integrating paralingual features in the recommendation strategy, to give proportionally more weight to requirements that are said in a more forceful manner. For example, this allows to assign more weight to the constraint “Cheaper!, than to the statement “Cheaper..?”. In other words: SpeechRec doesn’t just listen to what you are saying, and how you are phrasing it, but also how you are pronouncing it. Moreover, I wanted to up the ante when it came to task complexity. The ReComment prototype recommended compact digital cameras, which turned out to be a problem domain where a user’s requirements are fairly predictable, and finding a fitting product is arguably easy for the majority of users. To provoke conflicting requirements, and therefore better highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the recommender system under test, SpeechRec was evaluated with the domain of laptops. And let me tell you: recommending laptops to what were primarily students at a technical university is quite a challenge :). Another problem we observed in the evaluation of ReComment, was that some people did not seem to “trust” that the system would understand complex input, and instead defaulted to very simple, command-like sentences, which, in turn, carried less information about the user’s true, hidden preferences. SpeechRec was therefore engineered to provoke natural user interaction by engaging user’s in a human-like, mixed initiative, spoken sales dialog with an animated avatar. Implementation The developed prototype was written in C++, using Qt4. The speech recognition system was realized with the open-source speech recognition solution Simon, using a custom, domain-specific speech model that was especially adapted to the pervasive Styrian dialect. Simon was modified to integrate OpenEAR, which was used to evaluate a statement’s “arousal” value, to realize the paralingual weighting discussed above (this modification can be found in Simon’s “emotion” branch). The used avatar was designed in Blender 3D. MARY TTS was used as a text-to-speech service. A comprehensive product database of more than 600 notebook was collected from various sources. Each product was annotated with information on 40 attributes, ranging from simple ones like price to the used display panel technology. As early pilots showed that users, facing a “natural” sales dialog, did not hesitate to also talk about subjective attributes (e.g., “I want a device that looks good”), SpeechRec’s database additionally included sentiment towards 41 distinct aspects, sourced through automatic sentiment analysis from thousands of customer reviews. MongoDB was used as a DBMS. Optimality criteria further allowed SpeechRec to further decode statements such as “Show me one with a better graphics card” or “I want one with good battery life”. SpeechRec’s recommendation strategy was based on the incremental critiquing approach as described by Reilly et al, with a fuzzy satisfaction function. Demonstration Check out the video demonstration of a typical interaction session below. Note, how SpeechRec takes initiative in the beginning, asking for the user’s primary use case. It does this, because it determined that it did not yet have sufficient information to make a sensible recommendation (mixed-initiative dialog strategy). Also note, how the system corrects it’s mistake of favoring to satisfy the “price” attribute over the “screen size” attribute, when the user complains about it (towards the end). SpeechRec instead comes up with a different, more favorable compromise, which even includes slightly bending the user’s request for something that costs at most 1200 euros (“It’s just a little more, and it’s worth it for you.”). Direct link: Watch Video on Youtube(The experiment was conducted in German to find more native speaking testers in Austria; be sure to turn on subtitles!) Results and Further Information The conducted empirical study showed, that the nuanced user input extracted from the natural language processing and paralingual analysis enabled SpeechRec to find better fitting products significantly quicker than when a traditional, knowledge-based recommender system. Further comparison showed that the full version of SpeechRec described above also substantially outperformed a restricted version of itself, which was configured to not act on the extracted lexical and paralingual nuances, confirming that the richer user model facilitated by spoken natural language interaction is a major contribution toward the increase in recommendation performance of SpeechRec. More information about SpeechRec and related research an be found in the journal paper P. Grasch and A. Felfernig. On the Importance of Subtext in Recommender Systems, icom, 14(1):41-52, 2015, and in my Master’s thesis. SpeechRec was published under the terms of the GPLv2, and is available on Github. All dependencies and external components are free software and available at their respective websites. [Less]
Posted 3 days ago by Riccardo Iaconelli (ruphy)
Announcing WikiFM! Earlier today I gave a talk at Akademy 2015 about WikiFM. Videos of the talk should shortly become available. Based on the feedback that I have received during and after the talk, I have written a short resume of the points which ... [More] raised more interest. They are aimed at the general KDE developer community, who doesn’t seem completely aware of the project and its scope. You can find my slides here (without some SVG images). What is WikiFM? WikiFM is a KDE project which aims to bring free and open knowledge to the world, in the form of textbooks and course notes. It aims to train students, researchers and continuous learner, with manuals and content ranging from basic calculus to “Designing with QML”. We want to revolutionize the way higher education is created and delivered. What does it offer more than $randomproject? The union of these three key elements: students, collaboration in the open and technology. This has proven to be invaluable to create massive and high quality content. All other projects usually feature just two of these elements, or concentrate on other material (e.g. video). Additionally, we have virtual machines instantiatable on the fly on which you can start to develop immediately: check out (for logged-in users). By opening that link we istantiate a machine in the blink of an eye, with all the software you need already pre-installed. We support compositing and OpenGL. Your home directory is persistent among reboots and you always get a friendly hacking environment. Try it out yourself to properly appreciate it. Is it already used somewhere? Do you have some success stories? The project started in Italy for personal usage. In spite of this, in just a few months we got national visibility and thousands of extemely high quality pages written. Students from other universities started to use the website and in spite of a content not planned for dissemination we get around 200 unique users/day. In addition to this, the High Energy Physics Software Foundation (a scientifical group created among key people in istitutions such as CERN, Fermilab, Princeton University, Stanford Linear Accelerator, …) has decided to use WikiFM for their official training. Moreover, we have been invited at CERN, Fermilab, and in the universities of Santiago (Chile) for delivering seminars about the project. How can this help my KDE $existing_application if I am not a student? This fits in the idea of the Evolving KDE project that started in this year’s Akademy. Hosting developer documentation, together with a pre-built developer environment which can let library users and students test your techology and step up in the hacking within a few seconds is an invaluable feature. It is possible to demonstrate features or provide complicated tutorial showcases while giving the option of trying out the code immediately, without having to perform complicated procedures or waiting for big downloads to finish. For existing developers it also provides a clean development environment, where testing of new application can happen without hassles. Want to know more? This is meant to be a brief list just to give you a taste of what we are doing. I am at Akademy 2015 until the 29th. A strong encouragement: please come and speak to me in person! I will be happy to answer any questions and eventually re-show you a shortened version of my talk. Or, if you prefer, we are having a BoF on Monday at 11:30, in room 2.0a. [Less]