I read that Neon Dev Edition Unstable Branches is moving to Plasma Wayland by default instead of X. So I thought it a good time to check out this week’s Plasma Wayland ISO. Joy of joys it has gained the ability to work in VirtualBox and virt-manager since last I tried. It’s full of flickers and Spectacle doesn’t take screenshots but it’s otherwise perfectly functional. Very exciting 🙂
There’s still no information on the web of the highly spoken about but little visible charity Andy Jackson Fund for Access. My last request in 2014 showed a little active charity receiving money from the Whitewater and Touring guidebooks, receiving money from one grant that didn’t happen and giving a couple of grants out for projects.
I sent off for the current latest annual report and accounts which came promptly back.
The 2015 accounts show income from books, £358 in year ending 2014 and £1145 in year endings 2015. They show zero outgoings. There’s £13,000 in the bank account sitting doing nothing at all.
The trustees are the same as in my previous request.
There’s also a report from an independent examiner for the year ending 2014. Maybe the one for year endings 2015 hadn’t been done yet (it’s required for all charities). This says that no matter came to the attention of the examiner to suggest the requirements have not been met.
There’s also a note at the bottom of this page which says the fund has supported the building of a footpath on the Orchy for £5000 and is offering support for steps at Luncarty for £600. The Orchy footpath was reported in places at the end of last year such as this Forestry Commission article. However there’s no indication of the £5000 in the accounts. Was it not needed in the end? There’s also no indication of the £600 for steps at Luncarty so I presume this hasn’t gone ahead yet.
I do wonder what could be done with £13,000 to help canoeing access in Scotland. A staff member could be paid for a day or two a week to do something, but it would need some oversight on what.
Anyone who is interested in how canoeing is funded in Scotland should also look at the financial report which the SCA has on their Self Service website by my dearest dad, it gives a really good summary for the first time of how’s the SCA’s activities are funded. I’m also pleased to see the SCA committees are being put on a more formal basis with terms of reference and people being asked to help which I haven’t seen happen before. Maybe next year I’ll have the energy to help in some interesting way.
To celebrate the release of KDevelop 5 we’ve added KDevelop 5 to KDE neon User Edition. Git Stable and Git Unstable builds are also in the relevant Developer Editions.
But wait.. that’s not all.. the package manager Muon seem to have a new maintainer so to celebrate we added builds in User Edition and Git Unstable Developer Edition.
Plasma 5.7.4 has been out for some time now so it’s well past time to get it into Neon, delayed by a move in infrastructure which caused the entire repository to rebuild. All Plasma packages should be updated now in KDE neon User Edition.
I’ve made some changes to the Plasma 5.8 release schedule. We had a request from our friends at openSUSE to bring the release sooner by a couple of weeks so they could sneak it into their release and everyone could enjoy the LTS goodness. As openSUSE are long term supporters and contributors to KDE as well as patrons of KDE the Plasma team chatted and decided to slide the dates around to help out. Release is now on the first Tuesday in October.
Finally Kontact has built in Developer Editions, apologies to those who had a half installed build for a while, you should now be able to install all of KDE PIM and get your e-mail/calendar/notes/feed reader/a load of other bits. Suggestions now taken for what I should add next to Neon builds.
And in free software you are nobody until somebody bases their project off yours. Yesterday Maui Linux released its new version based off KDE neon. Maui was previously the distro used for Hawaii Qt Desktop but now it’s Plasma all the way and comes from the Netrunner team with a bunch of customisations for those who don’t appreciate Neon’s minimalist default install.
Adding KDE PIM to KDE neon I wondered if it really was as complex to build as it felt. So I mapped them in Graphviz, and yep, it really is complex to build. I’m quite amazed at the coders who work on this stuff, it’s an impressive beast.
A few cycles ago the VDG asked for the default Plasma font to be changed from Oxygen, a custom made but poorly maintained font for Plasma, to Noto. Noto is a Google project which is intended to provide complete Unicode coverage. It is based off Google’s Droid font for Latin and some other fonts for other scripts. But it lacked a monospace font which is important to us hackers who likes to use a console and write code in it.
Annoyingly all fonts are poorly organised in interesting and mysterious ways. In the case of Noto people think there’s a mono font because there does exist Noto Mono CJK but of course that’s only for oriental languages. But search around a bit more and the Mono font is in the Git repository where it was committed at the start of the year only it’s not available in the download options on the website. Some distros package it straight from Git because the website download is incomplete but then some don’t. But trying it out a problem cropped up, there’s no Bold variant of the font which is used for highlighting in Kate and to some extent in consoles.
Looking around Adobe has Source Code Pro, a freely licenced font that contains all the goodness but many distros don’t package it. The tools used to create it are non-free but for fonts I’ve never seen a package which actually compiles the font from source. Even if the tools are free they’re as bad with their release management as you can imagine: for years Font Forge’s maintained website wasn’t findable with Google. When I was doing the build system of Oxygen Font I had an option to use Font Forge but the default was just to copy the TTF files directly. A TTF file can be opened and edited so it can be considered a “preferred modifiable form” which is what free software distros need to ship it. Regardless if there’s no packages then it won’t get used so Source Code Pro isn’t an option.
Which is when a nice Debian spod pointed out Hack, an openly developed font using widely supported formats and tools based off Bitstream and DejaVu’s earlier work. It supports lots of scripts, has bold and Italics and is widely packaged. So I updated Plasma Integration, the Qt plugin to make Qt stuff look like Plasma stuff, to use Hack. I also added kconf-update scripts to update old apps to Hack: Plasma’s new monospace font, coming in Plasma 5.8.
How Hack looks in Kate with source code
And for comparison, Oxygen Mono and Noto Mono without bold.
Not a great week for Neon last week. I server we used for building packages on filled up limiting the work we could do and then a patch from Plasma broke some people’s startup and they were faced with a dreaded black screen. Apologies folks.
But then magically we got an upgrade to the server with lots of nice new disk space and the problem patch was reverted so hopefully any affected was able to upgrade again and recover.
So I added some KDE Network bits and rebuilt the live/installable ISO images so they’re all updated to Applications 16.04.3 in User Edition. And Applications forked so now Dev Edition Stable Branches uses the 16.08 Beta branches and you can try out lots of updated apps. And because the developer made a special release just for us and wears cute bunny ears I added in Konversation to our builds for good old fashioned IRC chit chat (none of your modern Slacky/Telegram/Web2.0 protocols here).
More apps are arriving in KDE neon, to keep your weekend happy we have the ones which have been ported to Frameworks 5 for KDE Graphics and KDE Multimedia. Including some thumbnailers and a kio slave for cameras you can use through Dolphin.
Plasma 5.8 has its Kickoff meeting yesterday and we Kickered the plans into shape. The big news is it’ll be an LTS release with bugfix releases coming out for 18 months after the .0. This matches Qt 5.6 which is also on an LTS schedule and we’ll still to 5.6 as the minimum Qt version for Plasma 5.8 LTS. Full schedule on wiki.
As an LTS cycle we will focus on stability and performance for the 5.8 release.
The exception is for work on Wayland which won’t get LTS support but we do hope to be feature complete in time for the 5.8 release in October.
Are you feeling too productive in your day? Then try the latest addition to KDE Neon! I’ve added the KDE Games applications to our repositories. 16.04.2 for User Edition, or the relevant Git branch for Developer Editions. apt install bomber bovo granatier kapman katomic kblackbox kblocks kbounce kbreakout kdiamond kfourinline killbots kiriki kjumpingcube klickety klines kmahjongg kmines knavalbattle knetwalk kollision kpat kshisen ksquares ktuberling picmi
It’s time to check in on the Plasma Wayland image for an update. Built on Neon infrastructure, this comes with the latest from KDE Git master for crack of the day fun. Actually it’s from the end of last week because we paused updates while we add Qt 5.7 but it’s close enough.
You can now backspace in Konsole and the rest is pleasingly functional as long as it’s single screen you use. The pesky blue coloured window header comes and goes to show that bugs still exist and are, like the UK government’s existence, unpredictable.
Phoronix stuck to their reputation by announcing it a day early but redeemed them selves with a follow up article KDE neon: The Rock & Roll Distribution. “KDE neon feels amazing. There’s simply no other way to say it.”
CIO had an exclusive interview with moi, “It is a continuously updated installable image that can be used not just for exploration and testing but as the main operating system for people enthusiastic about the latest desktop software.”
Polishing is important but after a while you need to put a fork in it and decide it’s done and so we’ve announced KDE neon User Edition 5.6, our first edition which we advocate for our target audience.
Someone who relishes frequent updates of features
Someone who cares what software is on their desktop and is a fan or curious about KDE software
If that’s you, give it a go.
There’s some known issues in it, many of them fixed in Plasma 5.7 which will come out next month.
And we still have lots of ideas for ways to improve it. But the beauty of a continuous integration system is those ideas will be available as soon as they’re implemented.
We don’t test or advise adding the repo to an existing Ubuntu install, although I expect it’ll work, no sympathy if it doesn’t 🙂
It’s a really exciting chapter in the evolution of KDE, a community who’s projects get continuously wider in scope, now there’s a way to get KDE’s software immediately.