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Sunday, 12 May 2019

Thanks to all to the hard work by KStars developers and volunteers, we are happy to announce KStars v3.2.2 release for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.

In this release, support for x86-32 bit architecture has been dropped and the Windows 10 executable now requires an x86-64 bit system.

Improved Observing List Wizard



This is a maintenance release to fix a few bugs and introduce a few enhancements:

  • Important stability fix for crashes reported with FITS Viewer.
  • Ignore Video Streaming when guiding via PHD2 with a video device.
  • Automatic syncing for Active Devices on Startup.
  • Meridian Flip Fixes.
  • Keep GUI parameters for scheduler and capture in sync with row selection
  • When a manual filter is detected, prompt user to change the filter and update the driver accordingly.
  • Fix observing list wizard object filter by time and altitude and introduce a coverage param where the user can control the percentage.
  • Improved saving of settings in all Ekos modules.


Friday, 10 May 2019

screenshot of Kaidan on KDE Plasma desktop environment

Kaidan is a simple, user-friendly Jabber/XMPP client providing a modern user interface based on Kirigami and QtQuick. Kaidan aims to become a full-featured alternative to proprietary messaging solutions like Telegram, but featuring decentralization and privacy.

The Kaidan team has always had a good relationship with the KDE community, our code uses KDE’s Kirigami framework and is written with Plasma Mobile in mind. So we decided it is only logical for us to join KDE officially, and we are happy to announce that we now finally did.

This introduces some changes and benefits to the development workflow. First of all, we can now use KDE’s GitLab instance, KDE Invent, which eliminates the need for hosting our own. In the future, we plan to provide official Windows and macOS builds using KDE’s Binary Factory infrastructure.

If you are not a user of the KDE Plasma desktop environment, you might wonder whether this decision will influence our support for other desktop environments, like GNOME, but we will continue to aim at the full range of possible platforms, like we always did, regardless of this decision. Of course, merge requests improving the experience on other desktop environments are also very welcome! If you want to contribute, you can now do this on invent.kde.org/KDE/kaidan. This requires the use of a KDE Identity account but is otherwise not different from our own GitLab instance you might be used to.

Happy messaging!

How Plasma Mobile got my attention?I remember how my admiration for android turned into disappointment when I got into android development. The realisation, with every new release the patches are built on the broken pieces of android was disheartening. And the water crossed the line when the whole system started disrespecting the users privacy! Then, … Continue reading My First impression at PlaMo

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Note: Not a Game of Thrones fan, yet to watch even a single episode, but I wanted a catchy title This will be a story, so get prepared to be bored, 😸.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Elisa is a music player developed by the KDE community that strives to be simple and nice to use. We also recognize that we need a flexible product to account for the different workflows and use-cases of our users.

We focus on a very good integration with the Plasma desktop of the KDE community without compromising the support for other platforms (other Linux desktop environments, Windows and Android).

We are creating a reliable product that is a joy to use and respects our users privacy. As such, we will prefer to support online services where users are in control of their data.

In the part 1 and part 2 of this series, I have talked about some new features that landed in Elisa from several contributors.

Today, I would like to introduce the beta release of the 0.4 version and more features that will be in this version.

Android Support for Music Discovery

It is a goal to have a first class support of Android in Elisa. Currently, the only thing really done is the support for discovering your music on Android.

Android provides a service a little bit similar to Baloo allowing an application to query all the music files on a device. Elisa is supporting that and a very simple interface allow to see that.

In order to have a true support, two steps need to be done:

  • Elisa should have an user interface usable on small screens (possibly leveraging Kirigami2 much more than currently) ;
  • Elisa should be separated to allow your music to continue once your device is no longer displaying the application (related to the Android services).

Help is very much welcome on this project given I currently miss enough time to make progress on this.

Support for Embedded Cover Images

The music cover images can be embedded in the metadata of a music file. Elisa is now showing them.

Screenshot_20190504_222220
Same music in Elisa and in Dolphin showing embedded cover

I would like to thank Alexander Stippich who added support for that in KFileMetaData and made it so easy to add support in Elisa. It would probably be a good idea for anybody needing to query metadata for files in a Qt based application to have a look at KFileMetaData.

Easy Navigation to Album or Artist of the Currently Playing Track

In the header bar, it is now possible to navigate to the album or artist of the playing track by clicking on it (contributed by Diego Gangl). The mouse nicely changes to indicate that.

Screenshot_20190504_224004
Navigating to the artist of the playing track

Beta Release

We are preparing for the next stable release. As such, there is a feature freeze and an ongoing effort to squash as many bugs as possible.

We really appreciate any feedback on the current state via bugs.kde.org. We welcome bug report or feature suggestions.

You can get the next release by building from source. The windows installer is not included because the current ones are not in a releasable state (there are some platform specific code not in good shape).

For flatpak, some really nice additions to flathub has made it easy to provide builds for beta releases. The simplest way to install it is via this command:

$ flatpak install https://flathub.org/beta-repo/appstream/org.kde.elisa.flatpakref

How You Can Help

Elisa is a project that welcomes new contributors and feedback.

There are currently quite a few reported feature requests that may have to wait for a long time except if a new contributor shows up. It is really a good opportunity to contribute to a free open source project in the KDE community.

The KDE community is really a nice place to work on free and open source code.

I have gone through several stages of this and so far nothing has stuck as ideal, but I think I am inching towards it.

To start off, I have to confess that while I love the internet and the web, I loathe having everything in the browser. The browser becoming the OS is what seems to be happening, and I hate that thought. I like to keep things locally, having backups, and control over my documents and data. Although I changed my e-mail provider(s) several times, I still have all my e-mail locally stored from 2003 until today.

I also do not like reading longer texts on an LCD, so I usually put longer texts into either Wallabag or Mozilla’s Pocket to read them later on my eInk reader (Kobo Aura). BTW, Wallabag and Pocket both have their pros and cons themselves. Pocket is more popular and better integrated into a lot of things (e.g. Firefox, Kobo, etc.), while Wallabag is fully FOSS (even the server) and offers some extra features that are in Pocket either subject to subscription or completely missing.

Still, an enormous amount of information is (and should be!) on the web, so each of us needs to somehow keep track and make sense of it :)

So, with that intro out of the way, here is how I tackle(d) this mess.

Historic overview of methods I used so far

Hierarchy of folders

As many of us, I guess, I started with first putting bookmarks in the bookmark bar, but soon had to start organising them into folders … and subfolders … and subsubfolders …and subsubsubfolders … until the screen did not fit the whole tree of them any more when expanded.

Pro

  • can be neat and tidy
  • easy to sync between devices through e.g. Firefox Sync

Con

  • can become a huge mess, once it grows to a behemoth
  • takes several clicks to put a bookmark into the appropriate (sub)folder

Then I decided to keep it flat and use the Firefox search bar to find what I am looking for.

To achieve that, when I bookmarked something, I renamed it to something useful and added tags (e.g.: shop, tea; or python, sql, howto).

This worked kinda OK, but a big downside is that there is a huge amount of clutter which is not easy to navigate and edit once you want to organise all the already existing bookmarks. The bookmark panel is somewhat helpful, but not a lot.

Pro

  • easy to search
  • easy to find a relevant bookmark when you are about to search for something through the combined URL/search bar
  • easy to sync between devices through e.g. Firefox Sync

Con

  • your search query must match the name, tag(s), or URL of bookmark
  • hard to find or navigate other than searching (for name tag, URL)

OneTab

Several years after that, I learnt about OneTab from an onboarding website of a company I applied to (but did not get the job). The main promise of it is to loads of open tabs into (simple) organised lists on a single page. And all that with a single click (well, two really).

This worked wonders for (still does) for decluttering my tab list. Especially when grouped with Tree Style Tabs, which I very warmly recommend trying out. Even if it looks odd and unrully at first, it is very easy to get used to and helps organise tabs immensely. But back to OneTab…

The good side of OneTab is that it really helps keep your tab bar clean and therefore reduces your computer’s resource usage. It is also super for keeping track of tabs that you may (or maybe not) need to open again later, as you can (re)open a whole group of “tabs” with a single click.

As a practical example, let us say I am travelling to Barcelona in two months. So I book flights and the hotel, and in the process also check out some touristy and other helpful info. Because I will not be needing the touristy and travel stuff for quite some time before the trip, I do not need all the tabs open. But as it is a one-off trip, it is also silly to bookmark it all. So I send them all to OneTab and name the group e.g. “Barcelona trip 2019”. If I stumble upon any new stuff that is relevant, I simply send it to the same Named Group in OneTab. Once I need that info, I either open individual “tabs” or restore the whole group with one click and have it ready. An additional cool thing is that by default if you open a group or a single link “tab” from OneTab, it will remove it from the list. You can decide to keep the links in the list as well.

In practices, I still used tagged bookmarks for links that I wanted to store long-term, while depending on OneTab for short- to mid-term storage.

Pro

  • great for decluttering your tabs
  • helps keep your browser’s resource usage low
  • great for creating (temporary) lists of tabs that you do not need now, but will in the future
  • can easily send a group of “tabs” with others via e-mail

Con

  • no tags, categories or other means of adding meta data – you can only name groups, and cannot even rename links
  • no searching other than through the “webpage” list of “tabs”
  • as the list of “tabs”/bookmarks grows, the harder it is to keep an overview
  • cannot sync between devices
  • (proprietary plug-in)

Worldbrain’s Memex

About two months ago, I stumbled upon Worldbrain’s Memex through a FOSDEM talk. It promises to fix bookmarking, searching, note-taking and web history for you … which is quite an impressive lot.

So far, I have to say, I am quite impressed. It is super easy to find stuff you visited, even if you forgot to bookmark it, as it indexes all the websites you visit (unless you put tell Memex to ignore that page or domain).

For more order, you can assign tags to websites and/or store them into collections (i.e. groups or folders). What is more, you can do that even later, if you forgot about it the first time. If you want to especially emphasise a specific website, you can also star it.

An excellent feature missing in other bookmarking methods I have seen so far is that it lets you annotate websites – through highlights and comments and tags attached to those highlights. So, not only can you store comments and tags on the websites, but also on annotations within those websites.

One concern I have is that they might have taken more than what they can chew, but since I started using it, I have seen so much progress that I am (cautiously) optimistic about it.

Pro

  • supports both tags and collections (i.e. groups)
  • enables annotations/highlights and comments (as well as tags to both) to websites
  • indexes websites, so when you search for something it goes through both the website’s text, as well as your notes to that website and, of course, tags
  • starring websites you would like to find more easily
  • you can also set specific websites or domain names to be ignored
  • it offers quite an advanced search, including limiting by data ranges, stars, or domains
  • when you search for something (e.g. using DuckDuckGo or Google) it shows suggested websites that you already visited before
  • sharing of annotations and comments with others (as long as they also have Memex installed)
  • for annotations it uses the W3C Open Annotation spec
  • stores everything locally (with the exception of sharing annotations via a link, of course)

Con

  • it consumes more disk space due to running its own index
  • needs an external app for backing up data
  • so far no syncing of bookmarks between devices (but it is in the making)
  • so far it does not sync annotations between different devices (but both mobile apps for iOS/Android, and Pocket integration are in the making)

Status quo and looking at the future

I currently have still a few dozen bookmarks that I need to tag in Memex and delete from my Firefox bookmarks. And a further several dozen in OneTab.

The most viewed websites, I have in the “Top Sites” in Firefox.

Most of the “tabs” in OneTab, I have already migrated to Memex and I am looking very much forward to trying to use it instead of OneTab. So far it seems a bit more work, as I need to 1) open all tabs into a tab tree (same as in OneTab), 2) open that tab tree in a separate window (extra step), and then 3) use the “Tag all tabs in window” or “Add all tabs in window” option from the extension button (similar as in OneTab), and finally 4) close the tabs by closing the window (extra step). What I usually do is to change a Tab Group from OneTab to a Collection in Memex and then take some extra time to add tags or notes, if appropriate.

So, I am quite confident Memex will be able to replace OneTab for me and most likely also (most) normal bookmarks. I may keep some bookmarks of things that I want to always keep track of, like my online bank’s URL, but I am not sure yet.

The annotations are a god-send as well, which will be very hard to get rid of, as I already got used to them.

Now, if I could only send stuff to my eInk reader (or phone), annotate it there and have those annotations auto-magically show up in the browser and therefore stored locally on my laptop … :D

Oh, oh, and if I could search through Memex from my KDE Plasma desktop and add/view annotations from other documents (e.g. ePub, ODF, PDF) and other applicatios (e.g. Okular, Calibre, LibreOffice). One may dream …

hook out → sipping Vin Santo and planning more order in bookmarks


P.S. This blog post was initially a comment to the topic “How do you organize your bookmarks?” in the ~tech group on Tildes where further discussion is happening as well.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

I am glad to announce the availability of KBibTeX 0.9 Beta 2 (0.8.91) for download. Whereas Beta 1 had some issues and was never formally announced, Beta 2 is quite stable and ready to use for everyone able to compile and install from a tar-ball and willing to test code.

Read more... )

The source code in tar-ball form is available at KDE's download infrastructure:
https://download.kde.org/unstable/KBibTeX/kbibtex-0.8.91.tar.xz
Signed with GnuPG:
https://download.kde.org/unstable/KBibTeX/kbibtex-0.8.91.tar.xz.asc (key: 1808CB466328F4380685A3B1A264FD738D861F41)

Unless there are severe issues, I plan to make a final release of 0.9 in early summer.

KBibTeX towards 0.10

The current master code contains a number of changes due for 0.10, such as refactored preferences/settings system and better integration to GitLab's CI system both to run automated tests as well as to run a Coverity Scan, among others. If you want to test some bleeding edge, pull the code from KDE's Git repository.



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Wednesday, 1 May 2019

The KDE PIM community has been working hard in March and April to fix various bugs and bring new features and improvements to Kontact, Itinerary and other KDE PIM projects. Here is a summary of some of the changes that landed in the past two months.

KDE PIM Sprint

The team has met for a weekend for a traditional spring PIM sprint in Toulouse at the beginning of April. We focused on solving some long-standing issues in Akonadi, prepared some of the KDE PIM libraries to be moved to KDE Frameworks and discussed outreach and how to attract more people to KDE PIM.

You can read David’s report from the sprint.


KMail

KMail has received a nice batch of bugfixes for the KDE Applications 19.04 release as well as some small features, which will be available in the 19.08 release.

Improvements and New Features

The email composer has received improvements to support UTF-8 emojis (Laurent Montel, KDE Applications 19.08) and to support composing rich-text emails using Markdown with syntax highlighting (Laurent Montel, KDE Applications 19.08).

Additionally, notification when sending email fails is now less intrusive (Laurent Montel, KDE Applications 19.08).

Bugfixes

  • Fixed crash on shutdown due to mishandling of QWebEngineProfile (Jonathan Marten, D19559)
  • Fixed reconnecting to IMAP server when connection is lost during login (David Faure, D20028)
  • Fixed identity not appearing after creation (Laurent Montel, bug 391631)
  • Fixed deleting spam messages (Laurent Montel, bug 406324)
  • Fixed custom header search query failing with inconclusive error (Laurent Montel, bug 405456)
  • Fixed trying to send a message without any recipients fails quitely (Laurent Montel, bug 402577)
  • Fixed a crash switching on an ad-blocked (Laurent Montel, bug 405434)
  • Fixed a crash when opening a vCard attachment (Laurent Montel, bug 405791)

KOrganizer

During the PIM sprint, Volker Krause did a major work on cleaning up KCalCore, a library that implements the iCal standard to store events and tasks information, so that the library can be moved to KDE Frameworks. You can read more about Volker’s effort in his blog post.

New Features and Improvements

It is now possible to move event from one calendar to another in KOrganizer by changing the calendar in the incidence editor (David Faure, KDE Applications 19.08).


KAddressBook

Volker also worked on preparing the KContacts library, a vCard standard implementation, to be moved to KDE Frameworks alongside KCalCore. You can read about this on his blog as well.

Improvements

As part of his code cleanup, Volker has removed the DataMatrix from contact display, so we only display the QR code now (Volker Krause, KDE Applications 19.08), and did massive clean up of the contact display code. When displaying contact address on a map, KAddressBook now defaults to OpenStreetMaps (Volker Krause, KDE Applications 19.08).

Thanks to Laurent Montel it is now also possible to send SMS messages from KAddressBook through KDE Connect (KDE Applications 19.08).

Bugfixes

  • Fixed dialing contact’s phone-number from KAddressBook through KDE Connect (Volker Krause, D20353)

Akregator

Bugfixes

  • Make the feed URI the baseUrl for article previews (Pierre Ducroquet, D19739)
  • Fixed Delete key not working after using search (Laurent Montel, bug 394946)

Common Infrastructure

Improvements

David Faure and I have spent large part of the PIM sprint investigating and digging into two major issues we currently have in Akonadi: database deadlocks and a bug known as “multiple merge candidates”. We were unable to determine the real cause for the “multiple merge candidates” bug, so it remains unfixed for now. As a result of digging through the code base, however, David has produced a set of patches to hugely improve handling of database deadlocks and transaction rollbacks in the Akonadi server. He also did improve the sync scheduling code. I have removed a large chunk of code by removing mostly unused code to handle Collection references and LDAP/Kolab contact merging.

New Features

  • LibKGAPI: support for Team Drives API for Google Drive (David Barchiesi, T10521)
  • KItinerary: support for parsing train booking from SNCF confirmation emails (Volker Krause, bug 404451)

Bugfixes

  • Akonadi: fixed sync getting stuck after failure (David Faure, D19487, bug 399167)
  • Akonadi: fixed race conditions in Attribute handling (David Faure, D19556, D19632)
  • Akonadi: fixed crash when in resources when handling a collection change (Daniel Vrátil, bug 403642)
  • Akonadi: fixed crash when an Akonadi client unexpectedly disconnects from the server (Filipe Azevedo, D19983)

Help us make Kontact even better!

Take a look at some of the junior jobs that we have! They are simple, mostly programming tasks that don’t require any deep knowledge or understanding of Kontact, so anyone can work on them. Feel free to pick any task from the list and reach out to us! We’ll be happy to guide you and answer all your questions. Read more here…

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Craft: Platforms and Compiler


While my last post was still about the new cache and which compilers we should support, the pre built binaries for Craft (the cache) are now 2 years old. They are used for continues integration and to speed up user builds.

We now provide binaries for Windows, MacOS and Linux.


With the cache we now even provide dmg images for MacOS.
Here a bit more about the relative new Mac support Interview: How KDE Craft Improves the ownCloud Client Build Process

Which compilers to support

The last time I wrote, I ask you for which platforms we should provide a cache.
Currently we are providing caches for windows-msvc2015_64, windows-msvc2017_32, windows-msvc2017_64, windows-mingw-w64-gcc-8.1.0_64, osx_appleclang_64, linux-gcc_64.

Maintaining all those configurations on Windows became a burden, also in the sense that our builder are running out of space.

And with the recent release of Visual Studio 2019 it became even bigger.

Discontinue caches for msvc2015 and reduced support for 32bit

With the arrival of Visual Studio 2019 we now plan to stop providing caches for msvc2015, and reduce the cache for msvc2017_32 to Qt and KDE Frameworks only. This will also mean that we will discontinue 32bit installers on BinaryFactory.
If you still depend on msvc2015, we suggest you to set up your own cache.
As usual we'll branch Craft before the release of the new cache and try to maintain the last build based on Qt 5.12.2 for a bit longer. 


You have no idea what Craft is?

Craft helps you building and package your application and all its dependencies on Windows Mac and Linux.

 Start Crafting now!







I recently made a trip to LLVM in Brussels and ACCU in Bristol. It was a busy week. I gave a talk at both conferences on the topic of the future of AST Matchers-based refactoring.

As usual, the ‘hallway track’ also proved useful at both conferences, leading to round-table discussions at the LLVM conference with other interested contributors and getting to talk to other developers interested in refactoring tooling at ACCU.

Presentations

The learning curve for AST-Matcher-based refactoring is currently too steep. Most C++ developers who are not already familiar with the internal Clang APIs need to invest a lot in order to learn how to make such bespoke tooling to improve and maintain their codebase.

The presentations both include demos of steps I’ve been taking to try to address these problems.

The first demo is of clang-query discovery features which aim to reduce the need to infer AST Matcher code by examining the Clang AST itself. I also showed the debugging features I am preparing to upstream to clang-query. Finally – in terms of demo content – I showed a Qt tool which can eliminate some of the additional difficulties and problems of long-developer-iteration-time.

The debugging features and the Qt tool were world exclusives at the LLVM conference (and at the ACCU conference because most people didn’t attend both 🙂 ). I hadn’t shown them to anyone else before, so I was quite happy the demos went well.

Videos

My 25 minute presentation to the LLVM developers tried to show that these changes can make mechanical refactoring more easily available to C++ developers.

The aim was to show the features to the LLVM community to

  1. illustrate the issues as I see them
  2. get some feedback about whether this is a good direction
  3. introduce myself for the sake of further code reviews (and collaborators). As this was my first LLVM conference, I am not already familiar with most of the attendees.

My 1.5 hour ACCU presentation is a far-less-rushed presentation of the same tools and a repetition of some of the content at code::dive 2018. In the ACCU presentation, the new demo content starts about 30 minutes in. This talk is the one to watch if you are interested in using mechanical refactoring on your own code.

Feedback was very positive from both talks, so I’m happy with that.

Qt Tooling

Earlier this year I refactored the clang AST dump functionality. It was previously implemented in one class, ASTDumper, which had the dual responsibilities of traversing the clang AST and creating a textual representation of it. I separated the textual output from the generic output independent traversal, which introduces the possibility of alternative output formats such as JSON.

Of course, given my KDE and Qt contribution history, I would only create a generic tree traversal class in order to implement QAbstractItemModel for it.

The demos show all of the features you would expect from a point-and-click refactoring tool including exploring, feature discovery, debugging with in-source feedback, live source updates, experimental refactoring etc.

Of course, all of this requires changes to Clang upstream (for example to add the debugging interface) which was the point of my visit to EuroLLVM. Hopefully, once enough of the changes are upstream, I’ll be able to open source the tool.

The idea as always is to hopefully have enough functionality in Clang itself that IDEs such as Qt-Creator, KDevelop and Visual Studio would be able to integrate these features using their own GUI APIs, making the simple tool I made obsolete anyway. I only made it for demo purposes.

This will take the mechanical refactoring workflow which is currently

and turn it into

You will still do the same things, but with much faster development iteration to achieve the same result.

There is even more that can be done to make the process of mechanical refactoring with clang easier and faster. We discussed some of that at EuroLLVM, and hopefully all the pieces can come together soon. Meanwhile I’ll be upstreaming some of this work, talking at NDC Oslo, and at my local meetup group on this topic.