By Adam Szopa
KDE is ready with three new Community Goals, and you’re invited to the kick-off meeting!
Join the new Goal Champions on Monday, November 28th at 17:00 CET (16:00 UTC) for a kick-off meeting. We will talk about the new Goals, the initial short-term plans, and the ways you can contribute. The meeting will be hosted on our BBB instance and will be open to all.
In case you missed the announcement at Akademy, the new Goals are:
- KDE for All - Boosting Accessibility: This is not the first time a proposal about accessibility has been submitted, but this year the community decided it’s time to act. The author of the proposal - and now brand new Goal Champion - Carl is well known in the community for his work on KDE websites, NeoChat and more. He notes that making KDE software accessible will require cooperation from many parts of the community, from designers to library developers, and will even entail tweaking the underlying Qt toolkit. Testing will also be more challenging, as we will need to ensure that everybody’s accessibility requirements are met.
- Sustainable Software: KDE software is many things: free, beautiful, performant, customizable… The list goes on. But how about all that and environmentally sustainable too? This is the question that Cornelius, our new Champion, will answer while working with the community towards this Goal. This topic of course is not new to him, as he helped set up funding for KDE Eco, KDE’s incursion into research to produce more energy-efficient software. Cornelius plans to help continue certifying KDE apps (like KDE’s PDF reader Okular!), set up testing for measuring the environmental impact of our software, and improving its efficiency where needed.
- Automate and systematize internal processes: Every year the number of KDE apps grows, and at the same time we acquire more users and more hardware partners. This is of course fantastic, but at some point relying solely on volunteer efforts for critical parts of delivering quality software to everyone ceases to be scalable. Nate, our first two-time Champion, will not let die of success and will work to automate processes, change our culture on quality assurance and involve more people where responsibility lies on a single person.
Our previous Goals, Consistency, All about the Apps, and Wayland; are not forgotten! We will continue to focus on them moving forward. However, the selection of the new Goals indicate where the Community wants to go next, and it’s now time for the Champions to leverage the support of the community and the KDE e.V to deliver on those ideas.
Want to know more? The new Champions will meet you on November 28th at 17:00 CET (16:00 UTC) to discuss the Goals, so be sure to mark your calendars and see you at the meeting!
By Johnny Jazeix
Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a global, online event that focuses on bringing new contributors into open source software development. Like every year, KDE applied and aimed to integrate more and more developers. In 2022, KDE's participation in GSoC covered nine projects to improve KDE, of which six were successfully completed.
Snehit Sah worked on adding Spaces Support to NeoChat. Spaces is a Matrix tool that allows you to discover new rooms by exploring areas, and is also a way to organize your rooms by categories. The code is still not merged to the main branch.
Spaces in NeoChat
Suhaas Joshi worked on permission management for Flatpak and Snap applications in Discover. This allows you to change the permissions granted to an application (e.g. file system, network, and so on) and also makes it easier to review them. The code is in two separate repositories, one for Flatpak applications which is ready to be used, and one for Snap applications which is still work in progress.
Basic permission for Flatpaks
This year we had two projects to improve digiKam. The first one is from Quoc Hung Tran who worked on a new plugin to process Optical Character Recognition (OCR). The code has been merged and allows you to extract text from images and store the output inside the EXIF data or within a separate file. The plugin is also used to organize scanned text images with contents.
The second project is from Phuoc Khanh LE who worked on improving the Image Quality Sorter algorithms. The code has already been merged into digiKam and improves sorting images by quality using multiple criteria, for example, noise, exposure and compression.
For GCompris, KDE's educational software suite, Samarth Raj worked on adding activities for for using the 10's complements to add numbers. The activity will be split into three activities. One was finished during GSoC, the other two are still work in progress.
GCompris activity mockup
Two students worked on the painting application Krita. Xu Che worked on adding pixel-perfect ellipses in Krita. The work is still in progress and, once it is done, it will be merged. This will allow pixel artists to use Krita effectively.
Pixel-perfect ovals for Krita
Meanwhile, Reinold Rojas worked on exporting Krita images to SVG. The project provides more options to share files with Inkscape, and will help create translatable images with text for Krita Manual without knowledge of Inkscape. The code is still work in progress.
GSoC has again provided our nine contributors the opportunity to exercise their programming skills in real-world projects, allowing them to improve not only their code, but also their communication skills. We would like to thank all the mentors without whom these opportunities would not have been possible. We would also like to extend our appreciation to all the coders who invested their energy and passion into these two months of coding.
From the notes by Aniqa Khokhar, Jonathan Esk-Riddell, and Paul Brown
Akademy 2022 was held in Barcelona from the 1st to the 7th of October. As usual, the weekend of Saturday 1st of October and Sunday 2nd of October was dedicated to talks, panels and presentations. Community members and guests laid out for attendees what had been going on within KDE's projects (and adjacent projects), the state of the art, and where things were headed.
Read on to find out in detail what went on during the conference phase of Akademy 2022:Day 1 - Saturday, Oct. 1st
At 10 o'clock sharp, Aleix Pol, President of KDE, opened this year's Akademy before an audience jittering with excitement. The attendees were animated with good reason: this was the first major in-person event for the KDE Community in two years. Old friends were seeing each other after a long time, and we were also meeting many new friends that we had only ever talked to online.
During his introduction, Aleix remarked on how important this year's event was for the community, and especially for him, as Barcelona is Aleix's home town, and the Universitat Politécnica de Barcelona, the venue where activities were being held, his alma mater. After informing everyone about the logistics of the event, Aleix introduced the first keynote speakers: Volker Hilsheimer and Pedro Bessa from Qt Company.
Volker and Pedro kicked off the talks proper with Volker introducing what is in store for us regarding Qt6.5 and beyond. Pedro laid out the new plans Qt Company has to upgrade the engagement with the Qt community, including KDE developers and contributors.
Then it was time to talk about KDE's goals, the projects that become a top priority for the community for two years. The goals were started in 2017 program, and the first three goals set in that year covered improving the usability and productivity for basic software, enhancing privacy in KDE software, and streamlining the onboarding of new contributors. The second set of goals started in 2019 and finished now, with this Akademy. They covered solving visual inconsistencies in KDE's software and its components, promoting apps, and improving the implementation of Wayland in Plasma.
The goals voted on by the community this year cover the areas of accessibility, sustainability and ways of making internal KDE processes and workflows more efficient. Adam Szopa, KDE's Project Coordinator, will be going into detail about what each team intends to do and how they will carry things through in a separate article which will appear here next week. It is pretty clear that in the same way prior goals helped give the community focus and improved KDE and its software, these will do the same.
After lunch, the talks were split into two tracks and, in track one Tomaz Canabrava discussed Konsole, KDE's powerful terminal emulator, and what the future held for the project. Meanwhile, in room 2, Nate Graham covered his traditional Konquering the World - Are we there yet? in which he updates attendees on the progress KDE is making in tech markets and user adoption.
Later, Devin Lin and other Plasma Mobile contributors told audiences all about the progress KDE's mobile platform has made throughout the year. In room 2, a panel made up of Joseph De Veaugh-Geiss, Nicolas Fella (via videoconference), Karanjot Singh (in a pre-recorded video), and Lydia Pintscher informed the audience about the progress made by KDE Eco and what were the next steps for the project.
After a short break, David Edmundson took to the stage in room 1 and told us all about the success of the Steam Deck, how the people at Valve were surprised at how popular KDE's Plasma desktop had become among users, and how they were using it in unexpected numbers and ways. David also revealed that the Steam Deck had already sold more than a million units and was still going strong. In room 2, David Cahalane tackled the difficult issue of accessibility and explained how improving it for KDE Plasma and apps would help more users adopt KDE, not only because it would facilitate the usage of the software itself, but also because it would make the desktop and apps compliant with accessibility rules in public institutions and companies across the world.
Back in room 1, Aleix explained how KDE's Plasma had transcended the concept of desktop, as it was now moving into the territory of mobile and smart household appliances, like phones, cars and TVs. In Room 2, Harald Sitter talked about Bugs and how frustrating it is when the system keeps crashing, how to identify the causes, and what tools were available to solve the issues.
For the final talk of the day, in room 1 Lina Ceballos of FSFE told us about the Reuse project. The Reuse project intends to relieve much of the confusion and tediousness of licensing software online. At the same time in room 2, both Nicolas Fella and Alexander Lohnau remotely had a discussion on getting applications ready for KDE Frameworks 6. They discussed the current status of KF6 and why it is better to port now.Day 2 - Sunday, Oct. 2nd
The next morning, Hector Martín, the hacker that opened the Kinect, Play Station and Wii to the open source world, told us about his new project in his keynote "Asahi Linux - One chip, no docs, and lots of fun". Hector explained that the new M1 and M2 Macintosh machines built by Apple are made to run a variety of operating systems, but how the company does not provide any kind of indication on how that is done. Good job reverse engineering is what Hector and his team do best and now Linux (and Plasma) can easily live on the new ARM-based machines.
Afterwards, first David Redondo and later Aleix Pol tackled the topic of Wayland in two different talks. Wayland is a hot topic for developers, since it will allow Plasma and KDE apps to evolve, improve their performance, and work more safely and reliably.
Following a caffeinated and baked goods respite, again the talks were split over two locations. In room 1 Nicolas Fella, live from his studio, explained what really happens when you launch an app; while, in room 2, Neil Gompa told us about how the Fedora distro implements Plasma on Fedora, the advantages of Kinoite and the future of Fedora and KDE on mobile.
Later on, Aditya Mehra ran us through OpenVoiceOS, an operating system with a voice-enabled AI at its core. In room 2, Volker Krause explained how push notifications, used profusely in proprietary software, could be implemented using FLOSS.
After lunch, KDE's Board sat down with attendees and presented their yearly report, informing the community about what work had been carried out and how resources had been used. This was followed by presentations prepared by each of the active working groups: the Advisory Board, the Community Working Group, the Financial Working Group, the Fundraising Working Group, the KDE Free Qt Working Group, and the Sysadmin Working Group.
While this was going on, Shyamnath Premnadh was presenting his talk on how C++ and Python can thrive together in room 2.
Following a brief coffee break, it was time for the lightning talks, and Volker Krause kicked things off by talking about what was happening with KDE Frameworks 6. Volker was followed by Lydia Pintscher, who talked about the new fundraisers for specific projects. Later, Albert Astals presented the KDE Security team, and Harald Sitter gave us advice on how to remain healthy and sane, while writing healthy and sane code.
As the event drew to close, it was time to show appreciation for our sponsors and host. Shells, KDAB, Canonical, MBition, QT Company, the Fedora Project, Collabora, openSUSE, Viking, Slimbook, Codethink, syslinbit, and GitLab took turns to explain their involvement with KDE and why they decided to support Akademy. PINE64 also received a round of applause for their support.
Finally, there was a round of applause for the Akademy Team, the members of Barcelona Free Software community, in particular Albert Astals, and all the other volunteers that organized the event and helped us enjoy our days with the KDE community in Barcelona.
The last act of the day was announcing the traditional Akademy awards. This year the award for the Best Application went to Jasem Mutlaq for his work on the phenomenal KStars astronomical program. The Non-Application Contribution Award went to Harald Sitter for his work on debugging and improving KDE's code across the board. Finally, the Jury Award went to Aniqa Khokhar for her work setting up the KDE Network across the world.
As the rest of the event, this part was a bit special, as the awardees of 2020 and 2021 joined the awardees of 2022 on the stage, as they had not had the chance to physically receive their award before now.
And with that, the conference part of the event was officially closed and KDE community members prepared themselves for a week of BoFs, meetings and hacking sessions.
Today we break ground. Today we launch the first of what will be many fundraisers for specific projects. Our goal is to get funds directly into the hands of the people who make the software.
Up until now, when KDE has run a fundraiser, or received donations, the proceedings have gone to KDE as a whole. We use the money to fund operational costs, such as office rent, server maintenance, and salaries; and to pay for travel expenses for community members, event costs, and so on. This has worked well and helps the KDE Community and common project to flourish.
But the fundraiser starting today is very different. For the first time KDE is running a fundraiser for a specific project: today we have the ambitious goal of raising 15,000€ for the Kdenlive team. The funds will be given to contributors to help Kdenlive take the next step in the development of KDE's advanced, free and open video-editing application. For the record, on the cards for upcoming releases are nested timelines, a new effects panel, and improving the overall performance of Kdenlive, making it faster, more responsive, and even more fun to work with.
The advantages for the Kdenlive team members are many, but mainly there is no need for them to worry about setting up and managing bank accounts, or, indeed, a whole foundation. KDE's financial, legal, promotional, and admin teams are there for Jean Baptiste, Julius, Camille, Farid, Massimo, and Eugen, and are helping make the process as streamlined and painless as possible.
There are also immense advantages for the KDE Community as a whole. This event will set the basis for similar future fundraisers for all KDE projects. Our aim is that contributors be able to work on their Free Software projects with the peace of mind that comes from having their financial needs covered.
Want to help? Head over to the Kdenlive fundraiser page and donate now.
Want to help more? Join KDE and contribute to building the future of KDE.
By Joseph P. De Veaugh-Geiss
On 20-21 August KDE's Promo team held a two-day Sprint in Saumur, France. I was fortunate to be able to attend along with 7 other participants and contribute to discussions about a range of topics. To give a taste, here I will focus on two of the topics discussed: a KDE-for promotional campaign and diversity initiatives at KDE.
Planning the KDE-for website.
KDE-for is an idea that existed prior to the Sprint. A KDE-for-kids website even exists, but we wanted to see how far we could take the idea. Our brainstorming generated numerous proposals, including KDE-for-creators, KDE-for-developers, KDE-for-researchers, KDE-for-teachers, KDE-for-students, KDE-for-gamers, KDE-for-activists, and so on. Each potential for-group gives us the opportunity to connect KDE products with end users and highlight the many communities within and around KDE. It also provides a place to showcase flagship apps while raising awareness about the sometimes lesser known ones complimenting them.
One of the issues with the idea is what to do when there are software gaps. Should KDE-for also promote non-KDE software when it fulfills a useful but missing function for a particular target group? KDE software is excellent bar none, but we may not offer everything to meet every group's needs. Personally I am for doing so -- when the source project supports it, of course. User autonomy and choice within a rich software eco-system are, for me, one of the undeniable strengths of FOSS. Although attempting a complete list of software options would not be helpful, why not support other FOSS developers and give users a curated list about excellent FOSS applications that may be useful to them? We are all on the same team after all!
We worked ... and we ate!
Another topic which came up and one that I am interested in regarding the KDE Eco project is how to promote diversity within KDE. Unfortunately, I must admit that I know far too little about promoting diversity, a gap I need to address. As they say: One cannot expect diversity just to happen, one needs to cultivate it.
So I was happy to learn that over the past few years KDE Promo has been pushing a KDE networks initiative to build international communities. At the moment the networks include India, China, Brazil, and USA. One discussion at the Sprint centered around creating an additional Europe network -- or Europe:Spain, Europe:Germany, etc. networks -- to remove any implication of a default network. KDE is a world-wide community and it only makes sense that our internal and external structures reflect that. Another discussion was about expanding these networks, for instance, to Africa and Singapore and South Korea, among others. Perhaps you, the reader, can help build these networks where you live?
On a personal note, I am drawn to KDE and FOSS in general because Free Software can meet the needs of communities in ways that non-Free Software never can. With proprietary software, there is no guarantee that users have a say in the direction of software development. Moreover, it is arrogant to assume that what works for one community automatically transfers to another. Free Software entails that communities can influence technology so it truly works for them and their users ... for creators in Japan, for teachers in Taiwan, for activists in Africa. The KDE-for campaign and the expansion of KDE Networks will help communities make KDE software the best software it can be. And I am proud to be a part of it.
And, of course, in France we ate -- but not only that, we cooked! Our local host invited us to his garden with family and friends and made us Fouée in a wood-fired oven. All in all the Sprint was a great opportunity to push many important topics forward while having a wonderful time together. I look forward to the next one!