Akademy 2017

Time to fly off to the sun to meet KDE friends old and new and plan out the next year of freedom fighting. See you in Almería!

 

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ISO Image Writer

ISO Image Writer is a tool I’m working on which writes .iso files onto a USB disk ready for installing your lovely new operating system.  Surprisingly many distros don’t have very slick recommendations for how to do this but they’re all welcome to try this.

It’s based on ROSA Image Writer which has served KDE neon and other projects well for some time.  This adds ISO verification to automatically check the digital signatures or checksums, currently supported is KDE neon, Kubuntu and Netrunner.  It also uses KAuth so it doesn’t run the UI as root, only a simple helper binary to do the writing.  And it uses KDE Frameworks goodness so the UI feels nice.

First alpha 0.1 is out now.

Download from https://download.kde.org/unstable/isoimagewriter/

Signed by release manager Jonathan Riddell with 0xEC94D18F7F05997E. Git tags are also signed by the same key.

It’s in KDE Git at kde:isoimagewriter and in bugs.kde.org, please do try it out and report any issues.  If you’d like a distro added to the verification please let me know and/or submit a patch. (The code to do with is a bit verbose currently, it needs tidied up.)

I’d like to work out how to make AppImages, Windows and Mac installs for this but for now it’s in KDE neon developer editions and available as source.

 

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Plasma 5.11 and Greater Kicked Off

The Plasma team had a mammoth 2.5 hour meeting to discuss some of the aspects of the Plasma releases going forward.  Much of the debate was around when to do an LTS release and we’ve gone with Plasma 5.12 due in January.  There will continue to be a couple of 5.8LTS releases in 2018 and more as necessary. We’re picking up 5.12 as an LTS at the request of openSUSE who wanted it for their next Leap release.  We also banned new features which might affect the Wayland port unless they’re already functional in Wayland.  Here’s the full list.

  • Stick to current schedule for Plasma 5.11, release Sep 21 2017
  • Plasma 5.8LTS to get 5.8.8LTS in April and 5.8.9LTS in October then become very strict update (security fixes only, no translations, releases as necessary)
  • Plasma 5.12 to be LTS on similar Fibonacci schedule as 5.8LTS, expected to require Qt 5.9, supported for at least 2 years
  • Schedule 4 month releases for 2018 to sync with frameworks
  • No more new workspace features that would need Wayland porting unless Wayland version is done first
  • bshah to create a meta 5.11 task and add features as dep to that one
  • bshah to poke people into filling out itemised To Do cards
  • Riddell to be kicked until adding openqa to Neon
  • Beta time to become three weeks
  • Promote https://community.kde.org/Plasma/Live_Images#Ships_Plasma_5.10_beta harder at beta time and nudge developers and contributors into running beta code
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Voted SNP and Jim Eadie in Edinburgh South General Election

There’s another election on Thursday called by a prime minister who thought she could increase her small majority in parliament and see off her rivals who will oppose her.  Except that’s politics, you have an opposition.  Theresa May’s dictatorial instinct has got worse during the campaign and she is now talking about removing human rights and banning encryption. She was home secretary for 6 years, in charge of MI5, GCHQ and English police, she has taken zero responsibility for the attacks that happened recently nor made the more valid point that there is nothing you can do to stop a determined person driving a van into people.

She was incharge of GCHQ which catalogues vulnerabilities in Windows and works with the NSA who create viruses used to attack systems in Iran (and probably elsewhere).  These viruses were used to blackmail everyone in the UK by blocking our health records and other systems.  There has been no political fallout from this which I’m astonished at.  The responsibility lies with Theresa May and she’s getting away with her incompetence.

But this election is primarily about one issue so important it has created its own ugly word, Brexit.  Our freedoms will be taken away.  I should have the freedom to go to Barcelona and Guadeloupe just as I would to Glasgow or London. That will be removed.  All the political parties have let us down by letting the isolationist nationalism of Brexit persuade people that somehow removing freedoms and mis-aligning regulations will improve their quality of life.  It will not.  Paperwork will increase, taxes will go up to pay for the bill, rights will be removed.  None of the parties have even vaguely said how they will pay for the EU bill or get their magic free-trade deal or why that’s a good thing without the necessary regulation.

The SNP is the only party offering a realistic alternative to Brexit.  An independent Scotland would continue with a strong relationship with rUK and the EU same as Ireland can.  We need a referendum and I’m looking forward to it.  London will try to block it in an undemocratic repressive move, a sign of things to come under a Tory government.

Labour want a hard Brexit same as the Tories.  They want to waste money on vanity projects like nuclear bombs same as Tories.  It is very pleasing to see the English get a genuine economic alternative for the first time in my adult life.  But it doesn’t forgive for their destructive Brexit nationalism.

The Lib Dems have the nonsense situation of wanting a second referendum on EU membership but not on Scottish independence.  They were government for 5 years in charge of GCHQ organising mass surveillance.  They aren’t liberal or democratic.

And the Greens don’t have a hope to win and will just split the vote.  The nonsense first-past-the-post system doesn’t make it sensible to vote for them (or ‘us’, I’m a member).

The Tories will win in the UK.  The SNP will win in Scotland.  The Tories will claim the SNP doesn’t have a mandate for a referendum despite already having one and everything will get very Catalan.  Ara es l’hora.

Modern elections are weird, they are won by spending thousands and millions on Facebook adverts which can target swing voters in swing constituencies.  The party (or referendum campaign) with the most money can buy the most adverts and wins.  Except for the SNP who win by offering the best choice, we can be proud of that.

 

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KDE neon Translations

One of the best things about making software collaboratively is the translations.  Sure I could make a UML diagramming tool or whatever all by my own but it’s better if I let lots of other people help out and one of the best crowd-sourcing features of open community development is you get translated into many popular and obscure languages which it would cost a fortune to pay some company to do.

When KDE was monolithic is shipping translation files in separate kde-l10n tars so users would only have to install the tar for their languages and not waste disk space on all the other languages.  This didn’t work great because it’s faffy for people to work out they need to install it and it doesn’t help with all the other software on their system.  In Ubuntu we did something similar where we extracted all the translations and put them into translation packages, doing it at the distro level makes more sense than at the collection-of-things-that-KDE-ships level but still has problems when you install updated software.  So KDE has been moving to just shipping the translations along with the individual application or library which makes sense and it’s not like the disk space from the unused languages is excessive.

So when KDE neon came along we had translations for KDE frameworks and KDE Plasma straight away because those are included in the tars.  But KDE Applications still made kde-l10n tars which are separate and we quietly ignored them in the hope something better would come along, which pleasingly it now has.  KDE Applications 17.04 now ships translations in the tars for stuff which uses Frameworks 5 (i.e. the stuff we care about in neon). So KDE neon User Editions now include translations for KDE Applications too.  Not only that but Harald has done his genius and turned the releaseme tool into a library so KDE neon’s builder can use it to extract the same translation files into the developer edition packages so translators can easily try out the Git master versions of apps to see what translations look missing or broken.  There’s even an x-test language which makes xxTextxx strings so app developers can use it to check if any strings are untranslated in their applications.

The old kde-l10n packages in the Ubuntu archive would have some file clashes with the in-tar translations which would often break installs in non-English languages (I got complaints about this but not too many which makes me wonder if KDE neon attracts the sort of person who just uses their computer in English).  So I’ve built dummy empty kde-l10n packages so you can now install these without clashing files.

Still plenty to do.  docs aren’t in the Developer Edition builds.  And System Settings needs some code to make a UI for installing locales and languages of the base system, currently that needs done by hand if it’s not done at install time  (apt install language-pack-es).  But at last another important part of KDE’s software is now handled directly by KDE rather than hoping a third party will do the right thing and trying them out is pleasingly trivial.

 

 

 

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Edinburgh Council Elections 2017 Morningside Ward

My vote has arrived for Edinburgh Council elections.  These decide the politicians who will run the city council a layer of government tasked with important but often boring tasks like running schools and social care.  Choosing who to vote for is based on a mix of what you think of the candidates, the party policy for Edinburgh and the party policy nationally.  The last one is unfortunate but seems inevitable as the parties often promote their national politics above those that the election is for, Theresa May even said it was a sign of whether or not we wanted a Scottish referendum and even respected bloggers like ScotGoesPop James Kelly vote entirely on national issues and not local ones.  The sensible but faffy STV voting system means you get to vote for all of them (and should vote for all of them) raked in number order.

My street has moved up in the world and instead of the working class Fountainbridge we’re now part of rich banker land Morningside. Hustings for Morningside ward are next Wednesday.

My main local issue is ensuring landlords and owners in tenements with shared communal property do their job and help out with repairs.  I’ve tried in vain for well over a year to get any of my neighbours to even look at the leaks in my flat and so far only 1 out of the 10 has.  The council even licenced an HMO in my stair knowing that the property didn’t meet The Repairing Standard and was illegal to rent out.  Other issues I care about include support for the new 20mph speed limit in Edinburgh and improved cycling provision.  So how to they match up?

Melanie Main for Scottish Greens, I like their national policies and have found myself voting for them at all 3 other layers of government.  At the HMO licence committee meeting Melanie was the most useful of the people on the panel for understanding the problem. She’s also taken an interest in a wee road improvement I pointed out that would ease my commute to work.  The Green manifesto is packed with good ideas

On tenement repairs it says

Help homeowners to make homes wind and watertight
with a trusted not-for-profit service to manage major
repairs, including to tenements; explore more ways to
help with the cost of repairs – for example, investigating
a “tenement contract” for owners to agree matters like
maintenance and cleaning; with grants for low-income
households, interest-free loans, or options to defer
paying repair costs until the property is sold; and work
with industry bodies to press for legal reform to make
common repairs easier to organise;
Which is all well and good but won’t be any use if owners and agents can’t even be bothered to look at the property.
They are all for 20mph zones and cycling.
Sandy Howat for SNP, nice guy and with competent political presentation skills. When I went to a housing hustings he gave the best answer to my grumble about tenement repairs and said more enforcement was needed.  Weirdly the SNP Edinburgh manifesto seems to be a PDF squashed into small images so it’s very hard to read and can’t be searched.  On repairs it says a return to the staturoty repairs scheme is not wanted (it’s not it’s what led to the culture of lazy landlords I now suffer from) and suggests factoring instead.  Well maybe but I’d rather people just spoke to their neighbour and did their jobs rather than paying someone else to do it.  Nationally they are doing what they can to save us from a destructive Brexit policy so I’m all for them.  I can’t search their manifesto so I’ve no idea about 20mph zones or cycling but they implemented them in the current administration so I assume they’re all for them.
Mandy Watt Labour, no web presence from candidate (the local party picked a candidate who it turned out wasn’t eligible and had to bring someone in at short notice).  Labour Edinburgh Manifesto says
Strengthen the Registration System for private
landlords to ensure that they maintain their own
properties, participate fully in common repairs, and
treat tenants fairly. We will set up an inspection
team to back this up
Which is exactly the answer I want.  Except as the main party in power currently they didn’t and the HMO licence committee licenced my illegal landlord upstairs and Fineholm agent.  When I pointed  this out to the council leader Andrew Burns his reply was

Which feels a lot like throwing jargon at someone to make them get confused and go away.

They have taken the lead in increasing spending on cycling and implemented the 20mph polity.  Nationally they’re a disaster and leading us into a destructive policy of taking away our freedoms and rights and citizenship.

Neil Ross Lib Dem, seems to be a pin stripe suit wearing church elder type. They have no manifesto and a few uninteresting bullet points is all I can find about politices.  When I’ve seen Lib Dems at hustings they are amateur and unprepared.  Nationally they have picked the UK over the EU while pretending they can have both which they can’t, so I’ve little interest in them.

Nick Cook and Chris Land, Conservative and Unionist. I sat next to Nick at a hustings while he told well-kent Edinburgh figure Gandolf that he was wrong.  Tory boy politician who from his online presence is only interested in cars and higher speed limits even if that means death from pollution. Nationally they are the nasty party with support for a the rape clause and driving the hardest of Brexits to kill off our freedoms and economy. The Conservative Edinburgh manifesto leads with nasty politics like removing need for affordable housing and stopping the 20mph zones.  But from their campaigning all they are about is stopping a Scottish Referendum and putting us at the mercy of a government we did not vote for.  They are feeling brave enough to put up two candidates, no idea who Chris Land is and don’t really want to find out.

With all that in mind my vote is as follows:

  1.  Melanie Main Green
  2. Sandy Howat SNP
  3. Mandy Watt Labour
  4. Neil Ross Lib Dem
  5. Chris Land Tory
  6. Nick Cook Tory

 

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Chef Intermediate Training

I did a day’s training at the FLOSS UK conference in Manchester on Chef. Anthony Hodson came from Chef (a company with over 200 employees) to provide this intermediate training which covered writing receipes using test driven development.  Thanks to Chef and Anthony and FLOSS UK for providing it cheap.  Here’s some notes for my own interest and anyone else who cares.

Using chef generate we started a new cookbook called http.

This cookbook contains a .kitchen.yml file.  Test Kitchen is a chef tool to run tests on chef recipes.  ‘kitchen list’ will show the machines it’s configured to run.  Default uses Virtualbox and centos/ubuntu.  Can be changed to Docker or whatever.  ‘kitchen create’ will make them. ‘kitchen converge to deploy. ‘kitchen login’ to log into v-machine. ‘kitchen verify’ run tests.  ‘kitchen test’ will destroy then setup and verify, takes a bit longer.

Write the test first.  If you’re not sure what the test should be write stub/placeholder statements for what you do know then work out the code.

ChefSpec (an RSpec language) is the in memory unit tests for receipes, it’s quicker and does finer grained tests than the Kitchen tests (which use InSpec and do black box tests on the final result).  Run with  chef exec rspec ../default-spec.rb  rspec shows a * for a stub.

Beware if a test passes first time, it might be a false positive.

ohai is a standalone or chef client tool which detects the node attributes and passes to the chef client.  We didn’t get onto this as it was for a follow on day.

Pry is a Ruby debugger.  It’s a Gem and part of chefdk.

To debug recipes use pry in the receipe, drops you into a debug prompt for checking the values are what you think they are.

I still find deploying chef a nightmare, it won’t install in the normal way on my preferred Scaleway server because they’re ARM, by default it needs a Chef server but you can just use chef-client with –local-mode and then there’s chef solo, chef zero and knife solo which all do things that I haven’t quite got my head round.  All interesting to learn anyway.

 

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Planet KDE: Now with Added Twits

Twitter seems ever dominant and important for communication. Years ago I added a microblogging feed to Planet KDE but that still needed people to add themselves and being all idealistic I added support for anything with an RSS feed assuming people would use more-free identi.ca. But identi.ca went away and Twitter I think removed their RSS ability but got ever more important and powerful.or the relaunched theme a couple of years ago we added some Twitter feeds but they were hidden away and little used.

So today I’ve made them show by default and available down the side.  There’s one which is for all feeds with a #kde tag and one with @kdecommunity feed. You can hide them by clicking the Microblogging link at the top. Let me know what you think.

Update: my Bootstrap CSS failed and on medium sized monitors it moved all the real content down to below the Twitter feeds rather than floating to the side so I’ve moved them to the bottom instead of the side.  Anyone who knows Bootstrap better than me able to help fix?

I’ve also done away with the planetoids. zh.planetkde.org, fr.planetkde.org, pim.planetkde.org and several others. These were little used and when I asked representatives from the communities about them they didn’t even know they existed. Instead we have categories which you can see with the Configure Feed menu at the top to select languages.

I allowed the <embed> tag which allow for embedding YouTube videos and other bits.  Don’t abuse it folks 🙂

Finally Planet KDE moved back to where it belongs: kde.org. Because KDE is a community, it should not be afraid of its community.

Let me know of any issues or improvements that could be made.

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REHIS Elementary Food Hygiene in Edinburgh

I went on a 1 day REHIS Elementary Food Hygiene course.  It’s the most recognised qualification for food hygiene certificate but it’s surprisingly hard to find a provider.  You can probably do it online but I was more interested in a in-person course.  Not for any special reason but I make soup and run barbeques and, like first aid, it seems like generally useful knowledge to have.  Edinburgh College didn’t know when they would run them, other Lothian councils ran seemed to run out of spaces immediately, eventually a place came up on a course by Edinburgh charity the Cyrenians who have a warehouse by Leith Walk where they take in excess food from supermarkets and do good things with it as well as run cooking courses and these REHIS courses.  It lasts a short work day and finishes with a simple multiple choice exam.  The course was well run with friendly competent staff and I’d recommend it to others.  Here’s some notes for my own use and anyone else who cares.

Four types of hygiene hazards in food are: chemical, microbiological, physical and allergens.

Store cleaning and other chemicals away from food, not high where they can fall, don’t decant into other containers.

Critical temperatures are: -18C for a freezer, 1-4C for a fridge, danger zone is 5-63C (especially rapid at body temperature), cook food to at least 75C (or 72C for at least 2 mins), reheat food to at least 82C.  When checking temperature stir liquids and check at widest point.

Main causes of problems are:

  • prepared too far in advance
  • cooling too slowly (use a wide container to cool, no longer than 90 mins, don’t cool infront of window)
  • unreliable food sources
  • undercooking
  • not thawing poultry
  • cross contamination
  • raw food, check e.g. beansprouts are ‘ready to eat’ and don’t cross contaminate
  • storing hot food below 63C
  • food handlers being unhygenic

Bacteria are classed 2 ways. Food spoilage e.g. mould, visible and tasteable, cause toxins and food poisoning, quite quick symptoms. Microbacterial and pathogens cause disease cause food borne illness and can take a couple of days to show.

Bacteria can double in number every 10 minutes, 1 hour = 8 bacteria, 3 hours = 4000.

Bacteria slow growth when cold but some can still grow at fridge temperatures e.g. lysteria.

Don’t reheat rice because bacillus cereus spores can germinate and make toxins, if you must do this at home then put in fridge quickly and wash first. If making a cold rice salad then cool quickly and store in fridge.

Some bacteria can multiply when in unfavourable conditions by producing spores which then grow into bacteria when favourable conditions return.

High risk foods are ones which are ready to eat without cooking, e.g. cold meat products, dairy products, eggs, shellfish, rice.  Eggs can be bought pasturised in milk-carton which can be easier and safer than using fresh.  Pasturisation means holding at a below-cooking temperature for a long time to reduce bacteria.

Cross contamination occurs from raw food to ready to eat food.

Buffet food must be held above 63C.

Raw foods e.g. vegetables should be washed in running water.

Utensils in a cold buffet should be left out of food to prevent contamination.

Wash hands before cooking, after touching hair and face, after touching bins, after going to toilet.  Wash by lathering soap, washing between fingers, thumbs, nails, wrists, dry with tissue, turn off tap with tissue.

Don’t wear nail polish and watch for other objects that can pollute such as name badges.

Everyone is now responsible in law not just employers.  You must note and report problems.

After sickness wait 48 hours after symptoms stop.

Don’t wash dishes in hand wash basin to prevent cross contamination.

Only 10% of food poisonings are reported (because many aren’t too serious, it’s unclear to me what you should do with non-serious cases).

Common problem bacteria for toxins:

  • Salmonella – from e.g. poultry
  • C Perfinges – from meat and soil
  • Staphylococcus aures – from body fluids
  • C botulium – from cans (and beauty injections)
  • Bacillus cereus (pronounced basillus sereus) – from rice

Common causes of food bourn illnesses:

  • campylobacter
  • e-coli 0157 – from guts of ruminants
  • listeria – fermented food, cheeses
  • typhoid – water bourn
  • norovirus – everywhere. causes vomiting and diarrhea, can survive for 12 days on stainless steel, little warning before symptoms, wait 48 hours after symptoms stop before handling food, pressure clean room to fix

Notable allergens listed by FSS:

  • nuts
  • peanuts
  • milk
  • eggs
  • gluten from wheat and barley
  • celery
  • sulfur dioxide (used in wine and dried fruit)
  • shellfish
  • soya
  • mustard
  • fish
  • lupin (fancy flower)
  • molluscs
  • sesame

Food preparation surfaces must be cleanable, well lit and all kit movable. Kitchen layout should separate dirty and uncooked food from ready-to-eat food.  This can be done by space or time e.g. prepare raw meat earlier in day or take out rubbish after close. Colour code your mops and cleaning cloths.  Antibacterial cleaners reduce bacteria, bacteriacide kills bacteria.  Detergent removed grease. Sanitiser is detergent + antibacterial.  You must know the necessary contact time for antibacterial and bactericide cleaners.

A 2 sink wash can be done using bactericide + rinse or washing liquid wash + 82C hot water.  Or just use dishwasher.  Air drying is the best way to dry although not always possible.

HACCP – hazard analysis critical control points.  A risk assessment for food.  All food operators must implement and keep current.  Identify hazards, find control points, set limits, monitor uses, decide on corrective action.

Legislation is from Food Safety Act 1990, then following regulations.

Environmental health and food safety officers can enter premises and any reasonable time to check up on you.

 

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Plasma Sprint: Legacy Media Support in KDE Applications

Boudhayan Gupta dropped by for the final day of the Plasma Sprint because he had 3D printed that save icon and wanted to test it.  Coincidently I found a treasure in the glove compartment of my dad’s car, a Eurythmics Greatest Hits audio CD.

So how does KDE applications do for legacy media? Mixed results.

Dolphin works even if it does report it as a 0B media [Update: fixed by the awesome Kai Uwe]

However classic KDE tool KFloppy less so, it hard codes locations in /dev to find the floppy but my USB floppy drive just appears at /dev/sdc, even one I fixed that it uses an external tool which breaks fdformat.

Meanwhile CDs are also something we ship apps for but never test.  This makes the Plasma Sprinters sad because they desperately want to hear Love Is a Stranger.

kio-audio CD didn’t work but then when we looked at it again it worked perfectly, don’t you hate when that happens?  This was a killer feature of KDE back when everyone was ripping CDs to their hard disk for the first time.

Playing Audio CDs natively less successful, Amarok shows it as a source but says it has 0 tracks.  Dragon plays it fine but Dragon has no concept of a playlist so you can’t select a track.  kscd works but is a perfect example of why skins and client side window decorations are a bad idea because it still looks like it did years ago.

We also tried k3b which works for making a new audio CD but doesn’t let you add files to a data project (bug 375016) so shouldn’t be released quite yet. [Update: also fixed by Kai Uwe, what a useful chap.]

Where else does KDE support legacy formats that need checking up on?

 

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Plasma Sprint: KDE neon Docker Images Now Support Wayland

The KDE neon Docker Images are the easiest and fastest way to test out KDE software from a different branch than your host system.

Coming live from the Plasma Sprint sponsored by Affenfels here in Stuttgart, the KDE neon Docker images now support Wayland.  This runs on both X and Wayland host systems.  Instructions on the wiki page.

Below you can see my host system running Plasma 5.9 on X is running Plasma master with Wayland.

Hugs to David E.

neon-docker-wayland

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KDE at FOSDEM and Plasma Sprint 2017 Pics

We’ve had a busy weekend at FOSDEM in Brussels for the last two days and now I’ve travelled into my fifth country of the trip picking up a few hackers on the way for the KDE Plasma Sprint which is happening all this week in Stuttgart, do drop by if you’re in town.

DSC_0001KDE and Gnome looking good at the Friday beer event

DSC_0004Busy busy on the KDE stall

DSC_0010Food and drinks at the KDE Slimbook release party.

DSC_0008KDE neon goes smart

DSC_0013After a road trip into the forest of baden württemberg we arrived at the KDE Plasma Sprint sponsored by von Affenfels

DSC_0017Plasma Sprint also sponsored by openSUSE

DSC_0015Plasma Sprint also sponsored by Meat Water

DSC_0016Plasma Sprint also sponsored by Kai Uwe’s mum

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A Visit to Polwarth Mosque, Idara Trust

For a decade I’ve lived along the road from a mosque, a fairly rare being in Scotland where we have comparatively low migration compared to say London. It’s an old shop front with smoked out windows. It’s nice to know your local community and I’ve been into the church at the other end of the street plenty of times for garden parties, concerts, meetings and Scouts. But I could never find an excuse to go and visit the mosque, a local community that can’t communication within itself is a potentially dangerous thing so I was pleased to find a Facebook page and ask for a visit.

I was met with a friendly young man who invited me in. I took off my shoes as asked and was shown around, there’s a couple of main rooms in it and each had half a dozen boys in a class learning Arabic from an Iman. The decor was simple enough if a bit dated. They spoke Urdu to each other and the junior Iman gave me a long shake of the hand while the children, who seem to go to the same primary school I went to, were very friendly and asked about which footballers I knew.

Invited into the back room I met the chair of the mosque, an older man with a well maintained beard, and got a cup of tea. He said this was everyone’s mosque, not just for Muslims. He showed me some security videos of the prayer from last Friday, it looks like a cross between a yoga move and the hokey-cokey and he said it was indeed exercise for the body. He gave me a copy of the Quoran in English and recommended I watch a TV channel called Peace TV of which he seemed to be a big fan.  He explained how jihad was any struggle but using violence with guns is forbidden in Islam, only states can do that.

He showed me the timetable for prayer, 5 times a day at varying times depending on sunrise and set.  He showed me their washing area to clean feet, hands and face before prayer and said it was very important to be clean for prayer, although if you don’t pass air or go to the toilet or urinate between prayers you don’t need to clean yourself again.

He said that men and women pray separately, when I asked why he used the idiom of if you put cheese next to a fire it will melt.  Women have to cover the heads with a scarf and their hands, I didn’t ask why men didn’t have to do the same.  He said that men and women shouldn’t look each other in the eye.  Girlfriends aren’t allowed in Islam and men can only have up to four wives he continued.  These wives can be at the same time but you have to treat each of them equally in every respect, he wasn’t sure if anyone in Edinburgh did this, it wouldn’t be legal but in Islam marriage is a simple arrangement he continued. Having multiple wives is ok because there are more women in the world than men.

He said that it is now far more common to be gay or lesbian, that 30 years ago if you asked a room full of people only one would be ok with it, but now almost all would.  Eventually everyone might be gay and lesbian and then there would be no more humanity, this is why it’s not allowed in Islam.  He said, and this would apparently shock me, that he thought in 50 years time society would consider it ok to have sex with children.  This seemed to be a strong concern oh his. He continued that there was even a bill in the London parliament last year to allow fathers to have sex with their daughters.  I assured him this was untrue and there was little danger of that happening and the change in attitudes over the last 30 years was incredible and a great thing but he continued to go on like this.  I tried a different topic and asked if they had a testimony to the earth which is the major problem for the next 50 years, he said yes indeed and that if you invade your neighbour you are not allowed to steal their crops. This wasn’t exactly what I was after.  Time up I shook hands with all and they said I should come back for a curry at Ramadan.

So a slightly surreal meeting, it feels that, like most religious people, they are very happy to have visitors and talk about themselves but not so interested in the wider world, but it was mostly just one guy I got to talk to and I would have liked to speak to more younger members.  A curry at Ramadan sounds good.

 

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Reports of KDE neon Downloads Being Dangerous Entirely Exaggerated

When you download a KDE neon ISO you get transparently redirected to one of the mirrors that KDE uses. Recently the Polish mirror was marked as unsafe in Google Safebrowsing which is an extremely popular service used by most web browsers and anti-virus software to check if a site is problematic. I expect there was a problem elsewhere on this mirror but it certainly wasn’t KDE neon. KDE sysadmins have tried to contact the mirror and Google.

You can verify any KDE neon installable image by checking the gpg signature against the KDE neon ISO Signing Key.  This is the .sig file which is alongside all the .iso files.

gpg2 --recv-key '348C 8651 2066 33FD 983A 8FC4 DEAC EA00 075E 1D76'

wget http://files.kde.org/neon/images/neon-useredition/current/neon-useredition-current.iso.sig

gpg2 --verify neon-useredition-current.iso.sig
gpg: Signature made Thu 19 Jan 2017 11:18:13 GMT using RSA key ID 075E1D76
gpg: Good signature from "KDE neon ISO Signing Key <neon@kde.org>" [full]

Adding a sensible GUI to do this is future work and fairly tricky to do in a secure way but hopefully soon.

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KDE neon Inaugurated with Calamares Installer

You voted for change and today we’re bringing change. Today we give back the installer to the people. Today Calamares 3 was released.

It’s been a long standing wish of KDE neon to switch to the Calamares installer.  Calamares is a distro independent installer used by various projects such as Netrunner and Tanglu.  It’s written in Qt and KDE Frameworks and has modules in C++ or Python.

Today I’ve switched the Developer Unstable edition to Calamares and it looks to work pretty nicely.

However there’s a few features missing compared to the previous Ubiquity installer.  OEM mode might be in there but needs me to add some integration for it.  Restricted codecs install should be easy to add.  LUKS encrypted hard disk are there but also needs some integration from me.  Encrypted home holders isn’t there and should be added.  Updating to latest packages on install should also be added.  It does seem to work with UEFI computers, but not with secure boot yet. Let me know if you spot any others.

I’ve only tested this on a simple virtual machine, so give it a try and see what breaks. Or if you want to switch back run apt install ubiquity-frontend-kde ubiquity-slideshow-neon''.

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Get Yourself on www.kde.org

Google Code-in has just finished where school pupils do tasks to introduce themselves to open development.  I had one to update the screenshots on www.kde.org.  The KDE website is out of date in many ways but here’s a wee way to fix one part of it.  Despite me having about half a dozen students work on it there’s still some old screenshots there so if anyone wants the satisfaction of contributing to www.kde.org’s front page here’s an easy way.

www.kde.org has screenshots of all our apps but many still use the old KDE 4 Oxygen widget theme and icons.

For 10 screenshots which is using the old theme take a new screenshot using the new theme.

They can be checked out from Subversion here https://websvn.kde.org/trunk/www/sites/www/images/screenshots/ also provide one the resized screenshot which is 400 pixels wide exactly.

Keep the filenames the same and in lower case.

Upload as a single .zip or .tar.gz containing the screenshots with the right file name and a folder resized/ with the 400px screenshots

For bonus points you could go through the index file to make sure it’s current with KDE applications https://www.kde.org/applications/index.json
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Plasma Wayland ISO

Plasma is nearing a new release and with 5.9 coming shortly we have the question of should we switch Neon to use Wayland by default for the Developer Unstable edition. To evaluate it I updated the Plasma Wayland ISO and found it pleasingly functional on VirtualBox.  Time to install this setup on my real hardware and see what breaks.

VirtualBox_neon_09_01_2017_17_58_35

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KDE neon Now Available on Docker

KDE neon provides an easy and elegant way for people to test the latest from KDE, or use the latest releases of KDE Software.

Our mission statement above is what we try to do and having continuous integration of KDE development and continuous deployment of packages is great, if you have KDE neon installed.  You can test our code while it’s in development and get hold of it as soon as it’s out. But wait, what if you want to do both? You would need to install it twice on a virtual machine or dual boot, quite slow and cumbersome.  Maybe you don’t want to use neon but you still want to test if that bug fix really worked.

So today I’m announcing a beta of KDE neon on Docker. Docker containers are a lightweight way to create a virtual system running on top of your normal Linux install but with its own filesystem and other rules to stop it getting in the way of your OS. They are insanely popular now for server deployment but I think they work just as well for checking out desktop and other UI setups.

I’ve created two Docker repos each available with the same flavours we have for the Neon packages: Developer Unstable & Stable and User normal & LTS.  The repos are kdeneon/plasma (2GB download) which has image with the same Plasma and limited apps our downloadable ISOs do, and kdeneon/all (getting on for 4GB download) which has all the apps built by Neon.

To give it a try first set up docker as you would for your distro.  For Ubuntu distros that means running:

apt-get install docker.io xserver-xephyr
sudo usermod -aG docker $(whoami)

and log out and in again

Then if you want to run a full Plasma session you can:

Xephyr -screen 1024x768 :1 &
docker run -v /tmp/.X11-unix:/tmp/.X11-unix kdeneon/plasma:dev-unstable

This starts the X-server-in-a-window Xephyr then it runs the Docker client which tells your local Docker server to fetch the kdeneon/plasma image from the Docker Hub server and run a full Plasma session.

If you just want to test one application, that’s no problem too:

xhost +
docker run -v /tmp/.X11-unix:/tmp/.X11-unix -e DISPLAY=:0 kdeneon/plasma:dev-unstable okular

This drops access restrictions to your X server (should be safe because network access is still off but reverse it once you’re done if you want to be sure), grabs kdeneon and runs okular.

Here’s me running dev-unstable and user edition at the same time as running Okular from dev-stable to check the recent save-open dialog bug is fixed.

It runs as user ‘neon’ with password ‘neon’ with unrestricted sudo access.

Let me know how you get on (here, Reddit, neon@kde.org mailing list, bugs.kde.org, Telegram, IRC, whatever), I’m quite new to making Docker images so any improvements welcome.

docker


In other news, our friends at OMG Ubuntu tried out KDE neon

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KDE neon User LTS Edition Out Now

KDE Plasma 5.8 is designated an LTS edition with bugfixes and new releases being made for 18 months (rather than the normal four months).  This will please a category of user who don’t want new features on their desktop but do want it to keep working and bugs to be removed.  Because Neon aims to service Plasma and its users in every way we have now created the KDE neon User LTS Edition.

This comes with Plasma 5.8 LTS, updated for new bug fix releases (e.g. 5.8.5 is out at the end of this month) and will not change to Plasma 5.9 when they becomes available.  A common critisism of LTS editions is that it just means users get old versions with known bugs.  KDE neon User LTS Edition comes with the latest KDE Applications and it comes with the latest KDE Frameworks release and Qt 5.7, so all the KDE software we ship is the latest stable version.  Along with other KDE neon editions we’ll also ship the HWE updates for Linux and Mesa when they become available.

For those interested in archive details it’s

deb http://archive.neon.kde.org/user/lts xenial main

Switching from User Edition to User LTS Edition archive is unsupported but will likely work.


KDE Neon is so stable I completely forgot I was using it.

A recent Reddit post gave some pleasing feedback about KDE neon, allow me the indulgence of picking some pleasing quotes from it:

I feel like the KDE neon team has done such a great job with an out-of-the-box experience with this distro that it feels insanely polished.

Jep, I’m even using KDE neon at work. I’ve been able to simply focus on my tasks, and not worry about troubleshooting the OS.

KDE neon cured my distro hopping as well.

KDE neon is the bee’s knees.

Anyone else feel this last should become an official marketing slogan?

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