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openSUSE KDE Team activity, Jan 2011

January 27th, 2011 by

What’s been going on in the openSUSE KDE team this week?  The news on everybody’s lips is that the KDE project released 4.6.0 yesterday.  Naturally, we’ve got it available for download for all current openSUSE releases as we prepare 4.6 for openSUSE 11.4.  4.6 brings better performance and improved power management control to the Plasma workspaces.  The KDE 4.6 application releases include features such as navigation capabilities in the Marble map app, more ways to search your files in Dolphin, and photo sharing via social networks.  KDE 4.6.0 is currently available in the KDE:Distro:Factory repositories.  A KDE:Release:46 repository will shortly be made available, providing the point releases in the KDE 4.6 series.

But that’s not all that we’ve been up to. Amarok 2.4.0 continues to help you rediscover your music, with better automatic playlists and removable device support.  We’ve packaged KOffice 2.3.1 including the realistic natural medium paint app, Krita.  KDevelop 4.2, also released today, is already on our mirrors.  C++ and PHP coders should check it out for its powerful code completion and refactoring support, augmented with better search and replace, improved Kate text editor, and QtHelp documentation support.  digiKam 1.8.0 leads the way in professional Free Software photo management.

The team continues to work to prepare openSUSE 11.4.  The openSUSE updater applet is being replaced by the more polished KPackageKit from KDE.  Our beta testers have already resolved several critical bugs before 4.6.0 was released, and is assessing PulseAudio and the range of Phonon sound system options for the best audio experience when 11.4 is released.  All dependencies on the old HAL system for hardware in KDE have now been replaced with udev, and have received a lot of testing.  KSynaptiks has been configured by default to allow touchpad taps, but disable the touchpad when typing.  And the team has been assiduously packaging new dependencies in KDE’s 4.6 releases so they are fully featured, including the Okteta hex editor plugin for KDevelop, the R backend for the Cantor math app, and the new speaker setup config module.

Artwork and branding for 11.4 is nearly complete, featuring the Celadon Stripes wallpaper by KDE’s Ivan Čukić .  The mysterious-looking upstream default wallpaper ‘Horos’ is also available – just install the package kdebase4-workspace-branding-upstream.  KDE’s Oxygen look and feel becomes possible in GTK apps by installing the new Oxygen GTK theme.  And a number of minor tweaks to the default KDE in a new installation of 11.4 add up to improved performance, for example by deferring starting services until they are needed.

If you want to join the fun or just need a helping hand, the expert and fanatical openSUSE KDE team can be found in #opensuse-kde on IRC, at opensuse-kde@opensuse.org or at http://en.opensuse.org/Portal:KDE.

Upstream holiday

October 24th, 2010 by

The openSUSE Conference went really well last week. There was an amazing range of material and the audience’s participation in every talk I attended showed that the openSUSE project has moved past the show-and-tell presentations of a company and its customers to a community using the event to share knowledge between its members and develop.  As part of the openSUSE Boosters team, I was in it up to my neck.   On Wednesday I started with a talk on image building for application authors which was well attended but I think I should tweak towards users’ needs as there weren’t many app authors present.  I gave a talk about the upcoming KDE features that will be in openSUSE 11.4 on Thursday, because  openSUSE 11.3 had KDE 4.4 but due to the 3 month difference in both projects’ release cycles, openSUSE 11.4 will have the KDE 4.6 releases of platform, workspaces and apps.  That equals a lot of changes, so I summarized them for people who don’t read Planet KDE as avidly as I do.  The Lizard Lounge event in the SUSE building on Thursday night gave everyone a chance to catch their breath drinking limited edition Old Toad SUSE beer.

On Friday I gave a spontaneous BoF on KWin’s current and upcoming features.  Can you name the four ways to show your desktop in 4.5?  I only had 3 until a member of the audience pointed out a 4th.  And yesterday I supported Chani’s workshop on developing for Plasma using Javascript and QML, which piqued the audience’s interest by showing how KDE’s high-level services like the Plasma applets framework and the KConfig configuration storage library add value to the glamour of QML and QGraphicsView.  To enable all of the audience to participate, I’d prepared another live image, this time an SDK based on KDE trunk, Qt 4.7 and latest Qt Designer 2.0.1 with all the headers and developer docu on board.  This paid off, as unlike at Akademy, most people didn’t have developer builds ready to go on their laptops.  Within minutes we had copies booting from everyone’s USB sticks and people were working through the included git repository of tutorials prepared by Chani, making flags change colour on click and saving applet state using only a schema file and a Qt Designer config UI.

Unfortunately the talks weren’t recorded live, but a number of people who were in other tracks at the time have already asked me about the KDE talk so I’ll record it again and upload it for you, and Chani and I will polish the Plasma material and get it online at some point.

So having talked myself hoarse, I’m taking this week off to hack on upstream KDE code and get my plans there nailed down before the upcoming soft feature freeze.  In the past I tend to notice the freezes once they are past (whoops!) meaning that my openSUSE work was doomed to sit in a branch until it could be integrated next release.  I hope to get some Network Management features in now and work on polish across the desktop while I’m not handling bug reports, righting wrongs on the lists and fixing build failures.  See you in a week.

openSUSE Conference KDE Team Party

October 15th, 2010 by

Next week is openSUSE Conference week! I’m using both my openSUSE and KDE blogs to remind everyone that we’re having a pre-conference meetup at 6pm for the KDE team before the real conference begins at Barfüßer in the Nuernberg old town. Remember a morning of keynotes is only fun if you have a thumping hangover from microbrewed beer (and if you’re a keynote speaker, from local schapps too)! If you are attending the conference or if you are just a friend of KDE in the area, please join in.

If you add your name to the wiki I’ll have an idea how big a table we need, I’ve provisionally got space for 20.

openSUSE KDE meeting tonight, last minute Qt Dev Days giveaway!

September 30th, 2010 by

Paying attention at the back there? Sit up straight and listen!

It’s time for the openSUSE KDE Team meeting today at 1600UTC in #opensuse-kde. Because we’re *that tight* with those lovely guys and gals at Qt Development Frameworks we’ve got a place at Qt Developer Days 2010 in Munich on Oct 11-13 worth $$$ to give away to a deserving community member. If you want to find out about the latest developments in Qt, learn its inner workings in mind-expandingly good seminars and network with other Qt users, then come back and bring some Qt goodness to openSUSE, come along to the meeting.  Even if you didn’t get into Qt development yet, the introductory tutorials will inspire you to learn at Qt Quick speed, so don’t be shy.

Note: you have to make your own way to Munich and organise your own place to stay.  If you live in Punta Arenas, Chile this one probably isn’t for you.

If you can’t make it to the meeting, mail me with why you should be the one to attend at wstephenson@suse.de. But hurry, we have to decide by tomorrow!

Qt 4.7.0 in openSUSE; KDE updates

September 22nd, 2010 by

With the release of Qt 4.7.0 it’s time to use it to build KDE packages destined for openSUSE 11.4. This means that Qt 4.7 will shortly land in KDE:Distro:Factory repositories. In a couple of months’ time it will be followed by betas of the KDE 4.6 releases. If you are using KDF just because it’s the latest KDE release, consider replacing it with KDE:Release:45 now, which will remain 4.5 and Qt 4.6 based.

You can get the latest Qt release with Qt Quick/QML and latest Qt Creator by staying with KDF.

In other KDE related news, Choqok in openSUSE Factory, 11.2 and 11.3 is being updated to 1.0rc3 to fix Twitter authentication. Amarok 2.3.2 is out and packaged in KDF, and will shortly be available for older versions in KDE:UpdatedApps. And KOffice 2.3beta1 is available for testing in KDE:Unstable:Playground. So if you’ve been admiring the Krita art showcase and think you can do better, grab your tablet and the latest code built for stable KDE releases and push some pixels! The new Bluetooth UI for KDE, BlueDevil is in testing in KDF, alongside the new PulseAudio UIs coming in 4.6, and  akonadi-googledata 1.2.0 is in KDE:Extra.

As usual use software.opensuse.org to find the right repo for the KDE version you use or ‘osc repourls <reponame>’ if you prefer not to click.

openSUSE Boosters at FrOSCon, Day 2

August 22nd, 2010 by

Back home in Nuernberg now – Sunday has been a long day of hacking on Elgg and its plugins to shape it into a users site that knows about the social side of the openSUSE community.

Our ‘Hack Meck’ was a little bit harder after letting loose at the legendary FrOSCon Saturday night party in the balmy August air, but we still managed to put down the glow sticks, hammer the keys and reach our goals for the weekend. These were adapting the user data to include fields that are peculiar to openSUSE such as membership status and IRC cloak, enhancing the Poll plugin to meet our info gathering needs, adapting the Elgg theming to our ubiquitous Bento theme, and working on calendaring and events so that we all know what is coming next in openSUSE world and so you can display your packaging and bug-reporting achievements to the world.

When we weren’t making like a bunch of web developers, we mingled in the exhibition area, presented our project to anyone who came by the Hack Meck room and generally enjoyed seeing the diverse projects that come to FrOSCon. Thanks go to the FrOSCon organizers for making us so welcome and to the openSUSE booth staffers for doing a terrific job – we look forward to doing it again next year.

openSUSE Boosters at FrOSCon, Day 1

August 21st, 2010 by

After long drives from Nuernberg, Prague and Darmstadt hitting every traffic jam on the A3 (the Czechs won the race), the openSUSE Boosters met up in the little rhenish town of Sankt Augustin near Bonn to attend FrOSCon.  Last night we reacquainted ourselves with each other and the odd glass of Kölsch or two over steak and chips.  Suitably fortified, we are now occupied our project room upstairs at FrOSCon (room C125) and are now hacking like crazy on our team project, a new site for openSUSE users and contributors.  This is based on the Elgg free software social networking platform, so we’re dusting off our PHP and looking at all the integration points with the rest of the openSUSE platform: the Build Service, Bugzilla, the wiki, Lizards, and so on. So if you’re more of a web monkey than a distro gibbon and would like to help, drop by tomorrow or just get in touch with the  http://en.opensuse.org/openSUSE:Boosters_team.

I took a few photos of us in action today, following the three-of-a-kind motto:





I’m off to the social event now, more tomorrow!

I’m going to FrOSCon

August 20th, 2010 by

Ah, FrOSCon, where all the projects with funny capitalisation feel at home, and they promote OSC, the Open SUSE build service Command line tool for us.

I’m going to be there together with the other openSUSE Boosters, where we have a Devroom to hack on things that will make openSUSE go Pop! (in the swelling-with-contributors sense). If you’re at FrOSCon, be sure to drop by and say hi! Oh and we will have the latest KDE stuff to show you, as usual :).

openSUSE Boosters update: build.opensuse.org improvements

March 16th, 2010 by

In January, the Build Service squad of openSUSE Boosters worked to improve the openSUSE Build Service web client experience.

One focus was to make it easier for project maintainers to review and accept package submissions from contributors.  As explained in detail in the Collaboration article, when a contributor has made a local change to a package in her branch of a project, she then submits a request to merge the changes back to the original project (‘osc submitrequest’).  This request is received by the maintainers of the original project, who review it, and then submit it onwards towards openSUSE:Factory, for example, where it is reviewed again.  This distributes the workload of assembling a distribution by using the ‘many eyes’ typical of Free Software development in a structured way.

Until now, the list of requests waiting to be handled was very basic, only showing that a request was made regarding a particular package.  It was necessary to use the osc command line client to actually review and accept or reject requests.

Accepting a submitrequest from the web client

The Boosters’ sprint resulted in a fully-featured web frontend, where the reviewer can check if a submitted package actually builds, the differences in the request, accept or reject with comment, and also immediately submit the changes onward to openSUSE Factory.

Checking that submitrequests build

Showing the changes in a submitrequest

Showing the changes in a submitrequest

Another focus has been to make the overall process of preparing an openSUSE release easier.  The release manager’s job involves bringing together the output of many Build Service development projects, making sure that they all build, and that they have submitted their latest versions from the development projects to openSUSE:Factory.  This is the Build Service collaboration model.  If packages don’t build for a milestone release, or are not submitted, then the release manager can only take the previous version or choose to exclude a package from the release, which doesn’t help in getting the distribution tested.

Factory Status showing packages from GNOME:Factory

Factory Status showing progress from GNOME:Factory

The new project status page gives a project maintainer, for example the openSUSE release manager, a bird’s eye view of what needs to be done in his project: a list of packages that are currently failing; where there is an outstanding submit request, where there are unsubmitted changes in the development project, and where there is a newer version available upstream.  With quick links to projects and packages of interest, and a powerful set of filters, a project maintainer can quickly see where there are problems then drill down into the details.

Filtering problem packages by development project

cd tokamak4; make uninstall && make clean

February 26th, 2010 by

It’s Friday again already and the longest week of my life is over. It’s certainly been one of the most inspiring. Seeing nearly thirty expert KDE developers hammering out reams of code, artwork and design all over the workspace and further down the stack at all hours has been thrilling and has kept me serving their needs better than any amount of caffeine.

Now Tokamak 4 is over.  The last few visitors are leaving and I’ve been calling taxis, tidying out the offices and dismantling networks.  I’m looking forward to seeing the results in improvements to KDE SC 4.5.  Yesterday we made a series of short videos explaining what we’ve been working on that will be published over the course of next week.

Observant readers of this blog’s title will notice that I haven’t deleted the build system.   I’ve learned a lot about organising a large developer sprint and as part of our openSUSE Boosters’ strategy we expect to be hosting more such developer meetings for upstream projects in order to make improvements directly to the software we distribute.  We strongly believe that using our facilities to allow upstream to do the great things they want to do creates benefits both for openSUSE, and in a snowball effect for the wider Free Software universe.  So I’m documenting what works and what doesn’t on the openSUSE wiki in order to make next sprint we host here come off even more successfully and smoothly.

As for me, I’m looking out the window at a Bavarian lake and taking it easy this weekend.  As always, Have A Lot Of Fun…