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Cantor 19.08

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Since the last year the development in Cantor is keeping quite a good momentum. After many new features and stabilization work done in the 18.12 release, see this blog post for an overview, we continued to work on improving the application in 19.04. Today the release of KDE Applications 19.08, and with this of Cantor 19.08, was announced. Also in this release we concentrated mostly on improving the usability of Cantor and stabilizing the application. See the ChangeLog file for the full list of changes.

For new features targeting at the usability we want to mention the improved handling of the “backends”. As you know, Cantor serves as the front end to different open-source computer algebra systems and programming languages and requires these backends for the actual computation. The communication with the backends is handled via different plugins that are installed and loaded on demand. In the past, in case a plugin for a specific backend failed to initialize (e.g. because of the backend executable not found, etc.), we didn’t show it in the “Choose a Backend” dialog and the user was completely lost. Now we still don’t allow to create a worksheet for this backend, but we show the entry in the dialog together with a message about why the plugin is disabled.

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KTouch in KDE Apps 19.08.0

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KTouch, an application to learn and practice touch typing, has received a considerable update with today's release of KDE Apps 19.8.0. It includes a complete redesign by me for the home screen, which is responsible to select the lesson to train on.

There is now a new sidebar offering all the courses KTouch has for a total of 34 different keyboard layouts. In previous versions, KTouch presented only the courses matching the current keyboard layout. Now it is much more obvious how to train on different keyboard layouts than the current one.

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Also: KDE Applications 19.08 Brings New Features to Konsole, Dolphin, Kdenlive, Okular and Dozens of Other Apps

KDE Applications 19.08 Released With Dolphin Improvements, Better Konsole Tiling

Qt/KDE: KDE Plasma 5.17, Qt Quick 3D and Krita

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  • KDE Plasma 5.17 Pre-Beta Run Through

    In this video, we look at KDE Plasma 5.17 Pre-Beta, as of 13 August 2019

  • Introducing Qt Quick 3D: A high-level 3D API for Qt Quick

    As Lars mentioned in his Technical Vision for Qt 6 blog post, we have been researching how we could have a deeper integration between 3D and Qt Quick. As a result we have created a new project, called Qt Quick 3D, which provides a high-level API for creating 3D content for user interfaces from Qt Quick. Rather than using an external engine which can lead to animation synchronization issues and several layers of abstraction, we are providing extensions to the Qt Quick Scenegraph for 3D content, and a renderer for those extended scene graph nodes.

    Does that mean we wrote yet another 3D Solution for Qt? Not exactly, because the core spatial renderer is derived from the Qt 3D Studio renderer. This renderer was ported to use Qt for its platform abstraction and refactored to meet Qt project coding style.

  • The Qt Company Announces Its New High-Level 3D API - Qt Quick 3D

    Continuing on from the recent technical vision for the Qt6 tool-kit, The Qt Company has now announced their new high-level 3D API they are developing for this next major release of Qt.

    Qt Quick 3D is this new high-level API for creating 3D content for user-interfaces out of Qt Quick without the need for any external engine. Qt Quick 3D will make use of the renderer currently employed by the Qt 3D STUDIO.

  • Implementing a derivated class of kis_brushes_pipe

    I am still working on the change of the brush index, so far I've been confused with the classes, because I am not sure why somethings are implemented and then overriden or why somethings are where they are, and I am not sure exactly when or why to do this.

    I've been working all week, instead of trying to deliver a feature I tried to write and organize the whole class, and then slowly write all the small functions, this is because I've had problem with classes and objects, but I understand functions, so I to tried work with my strengths.

Qt/KDE: Qt PDF and Krita Development

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  • Qt PDF as a new TP module for Qt 5.14

    I suggest to promote Qt PDF to a Qt module. For Qt 5.14, it will be in Tech Preview state, and Shawn Rutledge is volunteering to be the maintainer. Although still staying an independent library from the user's perspective, it will be hosted and built in the qtwebengine.git repository. Initially only the desktop platforms (Windows, Linux, macOS) would be supported.

    Qt PDF is so far a Qt labs module [1]. It allows Qt applications to render/view PDF's in QWidget based applications [2], and is built on top of PDFium. However, development has been stagnant, also because it is built on top of a rather old version of PDFium.

    Why wasn't PDFium updated? PDFium got merged into Chromium a while ago, and is nowadays built as part of Chromium, using their build system (gn). Updating qtpdf.git to ship with latest PDFium would require quite some work, and keeping it up to date would require continuous work, too - work that nobody was willing to invest into so far.

    But it turns out that, since Qt 5.11, we have PDFium already in our sources, and we're actually also building it! It's part of the Qt WebEngine libs that use it for PDF rendering in HTML. So technically, you can already render PDF's by loading them into a Qt WebEngine page. Anyhow, not everybody wants to ship a web browser for 'just' rendering PDF's [3] ...

    So the idea is that we leverage on the existing build infrastructure for PDFium in qtwebengine.git, and host and build the Qt PDF libraries there. This also means that PDFium will be updated as part of the regular Chromium updates in qtwebengine.git. qtwebengine.git would furthermore get configure flags so that you can build just the Qt PDF libs. And, to reiterate: The Qt PDF libraries will _not_ depend on Qt WebEngine libs at runtime.

    What do you think? Are there any objections for going forward with this for Qt 5.14?

  • Qt PDF Being Discussed For Qt 5.14

    Being evaluated for Qt 5.14 is shipping Qt PDF that allows PDF documents to be rendered/viewed inside QWidget-based applications.

    Qt PDF would be introduced as a technical preview module for Qt 5.14. This Qt component is currently built off the PDFium library. PDFium as part of the Chromium sources for Qt WebEngine is already within the Qt tree and their goal would be to re-use that existing code for the PDF library support.

  • Krita 2019 Sprint: Animation and Workflow BoF

    Last week we had a huge Krita Sprint in Deventer. A detailed report is written by Boudewijn here, and I will concentrate on the Animation and Workflow discussion we had on Tuesday, when Boudewijn was away, meeting and managing people arriving. The discussion was centered around Steven and his workflow, but other people joined during the discussion: Noemie, Scott, Raghavendra and Jouni.

    (Eternal) Eraser problem

    Steven brought up a point that current brush options "Eraser Switch Size" and "Eraser switch Opacity" are buggy, so it winded up an old topic again. These options were always considered as a workaround for people who need a distinct eraser tool/brush tip, and they were always difficult to maintain.

Instant Workstation

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Some considerable time ago I wrote up instructions on how to set up a FreeBSD machine with the latest KDE Plasma Desktop. Those instructions, while fairly short (set up X, install the KDE meta-port, .. and that’s it) are a bit fiddly.

So – prompted slightly by a Twitter exchange recently – I’ve started a mini-sub-project to script the installation of a desktop environment and the bits needed to support it. To give it at least a modicum of UI, dialog(1) is used to ask for an environment to install and a display manager.

The tricky bits – pointed out to me after I started – are hardware support, although a best-effort is better than having nothing, I think.

In any case, in a VBox host it’s now down to running a single script and picking Plasma and SDDM to get a usable system for me. Other combinations have not been tested, nor has system-hardware-setup. I’ll probably maintain it for a while and if I have time and energy it’ll be tried with nVidia (those work quite well on FreeBSD) and AMD (not so much, in my experience) graphics cards when I shuffle some machines around.

Read more Applications Site

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I’ve updated the site so KDE now has web pages and lists the applications we produce.

In the update this week it’s gained Console apps and Addons.

Some exciting console apps we have include Clazy, kdesrc-build, KDebug Settings (a GUI app but has no menu entry) and KDialog (another GUI app but called from the command line).

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KDevelop 5.4.1 released

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We today provide a stabilization and bugfix release with version 5.4.1. This is a bugfix-only release, which introduces no new features and as such is a safe and recommended update for everyone currently using KDevelop 5.4.0.

You can find the updated Linux AppImage as well as the source code archives on our download page.

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Federico Mena-Quintero: On responsible vulnerability disclosure

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Recently KDE had an unfortunate event. Someone found a vulnerability in the code that processes .desktop and .directory files, through which an attacker could create a malicious file that causes shell command execution (analysis). They went for immediate, full disclosure, where KDE didn't even get a chance of fixing the bug before it was published.


... but some behaviors in the infosec sphere are deeply uncomfortable to me. I don't like it when security "research" is hard to tell from vandalism. "Excuse me, you left your car door unlocked" vs. "Hey everyone, this car is unlocked, have at it".

I don't know the details of the discourse in the infosec sphere around full disclosure against irresponsible vendors of proprietary software or services. However, KDE is free software! There is no need to be an asshole to them.

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KDE Development: Usability & Productivity, Kate and Krita

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  • KDE Usability & Productivity: Week 83

    Pretty cool, huh!? This feature was written by Carson Black, our new Breeze GTK theme maintainer. Thanks Carson!

    As you can see, the Gedit window still doesn’t display shadows–at least not on X11. shadows are displayed on Wayland, but on X11 it’s a tricky problem to solve. However I will say that that anything’s possible!

  • Kate - More languages supported via LSP!

    The default configuration for the Kate LSP client does now support more stuff than just C/C++ and Python out of the box.

    In addition to the recently added Rust support we now support Go and LaTeX/BibTeX, too.

  • Krita Sprint 2019

    The sprint has officially ended yesterday and most of the participants have already left, except me, Ivan, Wolthera and Jouni. Well I would have also left as planned but I read my flight timings wrong and it would leave after 3 hours of what I thought the departure time was. And I being sick as always decided to stay up in Boud’s house for the night.

    Anyway coming to sprint, it was my first trip out of the country and would say I have learnt a lot, really liked how the locals took me as responsible citizen and trusted me unlike my native.

ASCII Transliteration without ICU or iconv

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So far, most of my blog postings that appeared on Planet KDE were release announcements for KBibTeX. Still, I had always planned to write more about what happens on the development side of KBibTeX. Well, here comes my first try to shed light on KBibTeX&aposs internal working …

Active development of KBibTeX happens in its master branch. There are other branches created from time to time, mostly for bug fixing, i. e. allowing bug reporters to compile and test a bug fix before before the change is merged into master or a release branch. Speaking of release branches, those get forked from master every one to three years. At the time of writing, the most recent release branch is kbibtex/0.9. Actual releases, including alpha or beta releases, are tagged on those release branches.

KBibTeX is developed on Linux; personally I use the master branch on Gentoo Linux and Arch Linux. KBibTeX compiles and runs on Windows with the help of Craft (master better than kbibtex/0.9). It is on my mental TODO list to configure a free Windows-based continuous integration service to build binary packages and installers for Windows; suggestions and support are welcome. Craft supports macOS, too, to some extend as well, so I gave KBibTeX a shot on this operating system (I happen to have access to an old Mac from time to time). Running Craft and installing packages caused some trouble, as macOS is the least tested platform for Craft. Also, it seems to be more difficult to find documentation on how to solve compilation or linking problems on macOS than it is for Windows (let alone Linux). However, with the help of the residents in #kde-craft and related IRC channels, I was eventually able to start compiling KBibTeX on macOS (big thanks!).

The main issue that came up when crafting KBibTeX on macOS was the problem of linking against ICU (International Components for Unicode). This library is shipped on macOS as it is used in many other projects, but seemingly even if you install Xcode, you don't get any headers or other development files. Installing a different ICU version via Craft doesn't seem to work either. However, I am no macOS expert, so I may have gotten the details wrong …

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KNOPPIX 8.6.0 Public Release

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Linux 5.3 Kernel Yielding The Best Performance Yet For AMD EPYC "Rome" CPU Performance

Among many different Linux/open-source benchmarks being worked on for the AMD EPYC "Rome" processors now that our initial launch benchmarks are out of the way are Linux distribution comparisons, checking out the BSD compatibility, and more. Some tests I wrapped up this weekend were seeing how recent Linux kernel releases perform on the AMD EPYC 7742 64-core / 128-thread processors. For some weekend analysis, here are benchmarks of Linux 4.18 through Linux 5.3 in its current development form. All tests were done on the same AMD EPYC 7742 2P server running Ubuntu 19.04 and using the latest kernels in each series via the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA. Read more

Fedora 29 to 30 upgrade - How it went

Alas, my Fedora 30 experience started strong with the first review and soured since. The test on the old laptop with Nvidia graphics highlighted numerous problems, including almost ending up in an unbootable state due to the wrong driver version being selected by the software center. With the in-vivo upgrade, I almost ended up in a similar state due to some incompatibility with extensions. I wasn't pleased by other glitches and errors, and the performance improvement margin isn't as stellar as the clean install test. All in all, Fedora 30 feels like a rather buggy release, with tons of problems. I think versions 27 to 29 were quite robust overall, at least the Gnome version, but the latest edition is quite rough. That would mean I'd advise people upgrading to take care of their data, remember the possible snags like extensions, and triple check their hardware is up to the task, because apparently QA isn't cool anymore, and no one else will do this for you. All in all, Fedora 30 is very bleeding edge, finicky, definitely not for everyday use by ordinary desktop folks. It's a dev tool for devs, so if you want something stable and boring, search elsewhere. Read more

Neptune 6.0 Released, Which is based on Debian 10 (Buster)

Leszek has pleased to announce the release of the new stable release of Neptune 6.0 on 1th Aug, 2019. It’s first stable release of Neptune 6.0 based on Debian 10 “Buster”, featuring the KDE Plasma desktop with the typical Neptune tweaks and configurations. The base of the system is Linux Kernel in version 4.19.37 which provides the necessary hardware support. Plasma 5.14.5 features the stable and flexible KDE made desktop that is loved by millions. Read more