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KDE

Testing the latest Plasma and KF5 in Nitrux

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KDE

Nitrux is a Linux distribution that offers a relatively up-to-date system, including, of course, the latest stable version of Plasma and the KDE Frameworks, which comes by default in the distribution. However, it’s also possible to further test the beta releases and even the Git builds, all thanks to the hard work of the KDE Neon developers. This is fantastic since we can enjoy all the new features that the KDE community is working on before they’re tagged as stable, for example, the floating dock feature in Latte Dock.
In this tutorial, we’ll update our Plasma and KF5 Frameworks all the way to the Git builds. It goes without saying that you should only do this at your own risk.
With that said, we’ll start by updating to dev/stable and then to dev/unstable.

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Events/Meetings: KDE e.V. AGM and AlpineConf 2021

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KDE
Linux
  • KDE e.V. AGM at Akademy

    The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of KDE e.V., the association that supports the KDE community financially and organizationally, has been announced. As usual, it takes place at Akademy – online again this year, and the AGM is on monday june 21st, the longest day in the northern hemisphere – and will hopefully consist of quick and boring financial stuff, followed by a spirited discussion on the goals and activities and working groups of the e.V.

  • AlpineConf 2021 server is UP
    You are hereby invited to attend AlpineConf 2021, as the server is up. 
    The conference itself will be running May 15th and 16th starting at 10 am 
    CEST / 4 am EST and ending whenever it ends each day.
    
    
    
    
    I apologize for the delay in finishing the setup of this, the last week 
    was a bit hectic and then last weekend my bank decided that they needed to 
    go break everybody's accounts for no reason, so I spent the time I was 
    going to spend finalizing this infrastructure on hold with my bank 
    instead...
    
    
    
    
    Tomorrow and throughout the week we will be doing various test runs.  If 
    you're presenting a talk at AlpineConf and you want to experiment with the 
    BigBlueButton platform, there is a Sandbox room, ask me for the link in 
    IRC.
    
    
    
    
    We will likely do a meeting amongst presenters either tomorrow or on 
    Wednesday to lock in what the schedule will look like.  If you haven't 
    recorded your talk, do so and then attach a link to the video in the issue 
    tracker item for your talk.  You can host it on your own server or on 
    YouTube, Vimeo or DailyMotion.  Note that due to the way BigBlueButton 
    works, each viewer will fetch the talk video themselves, so it may make 
    sense to host it on YouTube or similar.
    
    
    
    
    

10 Years in KDE – A Retrospective

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KDE

I actually started writing on this blog post last December, to have plenty of time for collecting trivia and ideas, never before seen prototype screenshots, and more. I surely wouldn’t have thought this to turn into half an autobiography. Mind that I’ll try my best to verify the statements that follow but they can still be inaccurate or skewed from being just memories. Now grab a cup of your favorite beverage, sit back, and join me on this trip down memory lane.

My earliest recollection of using KDE was in 1999 on SuSE Linux 6.1. Back when the “KDE Desktop Environment” was the actual product name, which is why you still hear people say “I use KDE 5” today. I still fondly remember how it had an isometric K for its start button rather than the gears logo we know and love today. I was also quite fascinated by the green and blue, depending on your edition, crystal formations on SuSE packaging – the physical cardboard boxes, that is. You could even find those 2 kg boxes that featured a tome of a manual and several CD-ROMs at your local electronics store.

I still used Windows as my main operating system, though, originally Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0, later Windows 98 because a video editing software I wanted required it, and finally Windows XP, which would be the last Windows release I used on a daily basis. I occasionally toyed around with later SuSE releases, I went to 6.4 and then 7.1, which was the first one to come on a DVD. We didn’t have a DVD drive back then, so I had to put up with the 7 or so CDs it came with. For some reason I don’t remember we had to reinstall the system several times and at some point we created a backup copy of the first CD, and as if we had known, it actually shattered in the drive on the next installation attempt.

[...]

In Summer 2014 Jos Poortvliet persuaded me to sign up for my very first Akademy, KDE’s annual developer conference, in Brno, Czechia in September. Getting there was quite a chore, as I had to fly into Vienna and then proceed to Brno by coach. That bus departed every other hour but I didn’t want to risk missing it so I had to spend three hours at Vienna airport. I still vividly remember a thread on the Akademy mailing list about “bring your own toilet paper” and indeed the hotel we stayed at featured the roughest, grayest recycling tissue I have ever seen. The week was great fun with delicious food and made me wonder why I didn’t go to an Akademy sooner – make sure, whenever we can meet again in person that you, dear reader, go, too!

We have now arrived in the year 2015 where I will wrap up this post. This blog instance was set up in that year and from now on you’ll be able to follow my development on your own. While there are surely many more fun stories and anecdotes to tell, there has to be some material left for a sequel Wink I hope you enjoyed this history lesson and I can only encourage you to do the same, reflect on what you’ve achieved and tell the world, inspire others! Bhushan Shah once told me how some of my posts on Google+ years ago got him into KDE and can you imagine KDE and Plasma Mobile without him? I owe my entire professional career, pretty much all my debugging, and programming skills to all those talented people in the KDE Community.

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KDE: KDE Connect, Kdenlive Video Café, KDE in FreeBSD and Kate in Proprietary Territories

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KDE
  • KDE Connect’s Android App Gets a Mini Makeover

    While the changes don’t drastically alter the KDE Connect Android app’s capabilities — earlier incarnations were perfectly functional — the redo does help bring the app a bit closer to modern design sensibilities used on the Android platform.

  • Review of the first Kdenlive video café

    About 30 participants joined the first Kdenlive video café last Tuesday, the 4th of May 2021! We had a nice meeting of about 2,5 hours with inspiring discussions. We got a great feedback and we are already having plans to reintroduce community meetings more frequently…
    Several people asked for a recording of the meeting e.g. because the were not able to join (the whole time), but we feared that this might have destroyed the informal atmosphere where people dared to speak freely.

    [...]

    Jean-Baptiste is currently working on a refactoring of the jobmanager to fix some major performance issues. A few days ago version 7 of Kdenlives media backend MLT has been release and we already made some steps to support the new version. MLT7 supports time remapping and we want to add this high requested feature soon. Two other features we are going to work on are multiple timelines and advanced trimming tools. During the past releases we had good experience with 1-2 big new features per release and beside that work on polishing and bug fixing.

  • KDE Plasma Wayland - a week in FreeBSD

    If you watched enough of the Muppet Show long ago, like I did, then “the continuing stooory, of a cat .. who has gone to the dogs” should trigger Pigs in Space memories. Like a good(?) soap opera, Wayland on FreeBSD just keeps giving material for a new episode, so let’s take a look at recent changes.

  • Kate 21.04 in the Windows Store [Ed: Based on these numbers, not many people use Windows anymore and it would be better to focus on GNU/Linux if you're a Free software developer, don't bother with Microsoft and DRM]

    KDE Gear 21.04 was released some weeks ago.

    If you use some distribution like e.g. the rolling release Arch Linux (or Arch derivates like Manjaro), you might already have updated to Kate from that release.

    As show in the 21.04 pre-release post, Kate 21.04 really has some nifty new features and improvements on all fronts over 20.12.

KDE Frameworks 5.82 Released with More Than 200 Changes

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KDE

KDE Frameworks 5.82 comes with more than 200 changes to improve generation of thumbnails during screenshots or when copying files, make it easier to add events to Kontact from Digital Clock’s pop-up, and improve the Plasma Wayland session by fixing sub-menus of context menus for Plasma applets.

It also improves grid items in System Settings pages by making them fully accessible, adding keyboard navigation, and improve usability on touch screens and discoverability by implementing the ability to display their inline actions for the currently-selected item and the hovered one. Moreover, a System Settings crash that occurred when navigating from one QtQuick-based page to another was also fixed.

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KDE Ships Frameworks 5.82.0

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KDE

KDE today announces the release of KDE Frameworks 5.82.0.

KDE Frameworks are 83 addon libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms. For an introduction see the KDE Frameworks release announcement.

This release is part of a series of planned monthly releases making improvements available to developers in a quick and predictable manner.

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KDE: KF6, KDE Frameworks, ELF Dissector, and Latte Dock

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KDE

     

  • Investigating Library Dependencies with ELF Dissector

    With the upcoming KF6 transition we have the chance again to further untangle and clean up dependencies between KDE Frameworks. There’s a number of tools that help us with analyzing the current state of dependencies, one that we didn’t have when KF5 was started is ELF Dissector.

    Library-level Dependencies

    When looking at dependencies we usually start at the module or library level, with something as simple and widely available like ldd. For nicer visualization, script like KDE’s draw_lib_dependencies exist to visualize the result. CMake also provides a similar option to produce a built-time dependency graph.

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  • Latte Dock HowTo Session #1 | The Basics

    Hello everyone, this is the first episode from Latte HowTo Sessions. For all these episodes, upcoming Latte v0.10 will be used to demonstrate different options and areas of Latte Dock applicaiton.

This week in KDE: UI improvements abound

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KDE

Plasma 5.22 is just around the corner, and we put the finishing touches on some UI improvements to it, as well as our apps! Check it out...

Ark now shows a “welcome screen” of sorts if you open it without an archive, and also opens to a saner window size (Jiří Wolker and me: Nate Graham, Ark 21.08):

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KDE Plasma 5.21.5 Released as the Last in the Series with More Bug Fixes

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KDE

The KDE Plasma 5.21.5 point release is here to improve Wayland support by fixing a crash the occurred in the Plasma Wayland session when dragging a file over the panel and to position maximized GTK app windows to no longer be too high. Not Wayland related, comboboxes in GTK apps now use the correct drop-down arrow icon.

The new Plasma System Monitor app has been improved again in this point release to no longer crash when selecting a new display style for any of the sensors, as well as to no longer lose the names of processes after modifying columns.

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Dotfiles, Stow, i3, aerc – a quick look

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KDE

I have been running Manjaro as my main Linux distribution for some time now, and until recently never had an issue. This week though, after a major update to KDE Gear 21.04, things broke and I could not log into KDE Plasma anymore. What happened was that I ended up with a mix of proper latest release KDE packages and a couple of (outdated?) git-based community packages, so libraries mismatched.

I suspect the root cause was that I seem to have installed some git packages earlier that now received a proper release and the versions got mixed up. PEBKAC, as usual oJO.

The up-side was that I was forced to spend some time outside my belowed Plasma and KDE Gear, and went back to basics with a leaner set-up for a few days.

Anyway, I fixed my botched-up KDE update, but thought my fall-back set-up might still be worth blogging about.

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Also: Wayland on FreeBSD with AMDGPU

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Videos/Shows: Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix 21.04, Coder Radio, and KDE Breeze Redesign and Blue Ocean

NetBSD: aiomixer, X/Open Curses and ncurses, and other news

aiomixer is an application that I've been maintaining outside of NetBSD for a few years. It was available as a package, and was a "graphical" (curses, terminal-based) mixer for NetBSD's audio API, inspired by programs like alsamixer. For some time I've thought that it should be integrated into the NetBSD base system - it's small and simple, very useful, and many developers and users had it installed (some told me that they would install it on all of their machines that needed audio output). For my particular use case, as well as my NetBSD laptop, I have some small NetBSD machines around the house plugged into speakers that I play music from. Sometimes I like to SSH into them to adjust the playback volume, and it's often easier to do visually than with mixerctl(1). However, there was one problem: when I first wrote aiomixer 2 years ago, I was intimidated by the curses API, so opted to use the Curses Development Kit instead. This turned out to be a mistake, as not only was CDK inflexible for an application like aiomixer, it introduced a hard dependency on ncurses. Read more

Core Scheduling Looks Like It Will Be Ready For Linux 5.14 To Avoid Disabling SMT/HT

It looks like the years-long effort around CPU core scheduling that's been worked on by multiple vendors in light of CPU security vulnerabilities threatening SMT/HT security will see mainline later this summer with Linux 5.14. Linux core scheduling has been worked on by pretty much all of the hyperscalers and public cloud providers to improve security without disabling Hyper Threading. Core scheduling is ultimately about what resources can share a CPU core and ensuring potentially unsafe tasks don't run on a sibling thread of a trusted task. Read more

IBM/Red Hat/Fedora Leftovers

  • Automating RHEL for Edge image rollback with GreenBoot

    With the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8.3, Red Hat announced an rpm-ostree version of RHEL targeted for Edge use cases called RHEL for Edge. One of the unique features of rpm-ostree is that when you update the operating system, a new deployment is created, and the previous deployment is also retained. This means that if there are issues on the updated version of the operating system, you can roll back to the previous deployment with a single rpm-ostree command, or by selecting the previous deployment in the GRUB boot loader. While this ability to manually roll back is very useful, it still requires manual intervention. Edge computing use case scenarios might be up in the tens or hundreds of thousands of nodes, and with this number of systems, automation is critical. In addition, in Edge deployments, these systems might be across the country or across the world, and it might not be practical to access a console on them in the event of issues with an updated image. This is why RHEL for Edge includes GreenBoot, which can automate RHEL for Edge operating system rollbacks. This post will cover an overview of how to get started with GreenBoot and will walk through an example of using GreenBoot.

  • Using Ansible to configure Podman containers

    In complex IT infrastructure, there are many repetitive tasks. Running those tasks successfully is not easy. Human error always presents a chance of failure. With help of Ansible, you perform all of the tasks through a remote host and, as the tasks are executed with playbooks, and those playbooks can be reused as many times as you need. In this article you will learn how to install and configure Ansible on Fedora Linux and describe how to use it to manage and configure Podman containers. Ansible Ansible is an open source infrastructure automation tool sponsored by Red Hat. It can deal with all the problems that come with large infrastructure, like installing & updating packages, taking backups, ensuring specific services are always running, and much more. You do this with a playbook which is written in YAML. Ansible playbooks can be used again and again, making the system administrator’s job less complex. Playbooks also eliminate repetitive tasks and can be easily modified. But we have many automation tools like Ansible, why use it? Unlike some other configuration management tools, Ansible is agentless: you don’t have to install anything on managed nodes. For more information about Ansible, see the Ansible tag in Fedora Magazine.

  • Getting better at counting rpm-ostree based systems

    Since the release of Fedora 32, a new mechanism has been in place to better count the number of Fedora users while respecting their privacy. This system is explicitly designed to make sure that no personally identifiable information is sent from counted systems. It also insures that the Fedora infrastructure does not collect any personal data. The nickname for this new counting mechanism is “Count Me”, from the option name. Details are available in DNF Better Counting change request for Fedora 32. In short, the Count Me mechanism works by telling Fedora servers how old your system is (with a very large approximation). This occurs randomly during a metadata refresh request performed by DNF.

  • Cockpit 244

    Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from Cockpit version 244 and Cockpit Machines 244.

  • A brief introduction to Ansible Vault

    Ansible Vault is an Ansible feature that helps you encrypt confidential information without compromising security.