The sun is shining, the beach is busy, the cava is flowing, the record shops are full of hipsters. Akademy is in full swing here in Barcelona, Here’s some scribbled notes I took from some of the talks I went to incase they are any interest to anyone.
The keynote was from Ashai dev Hector Martin. Ashai Linux runs on M1 ARM macs. EFI is a security nightmare, it’s an operating system in itself. Linus said Apple Macs won’t be available for Linux unless Apple opens up its GPU. Macs have a permissive mode to boot custom kernels including XNU (Apple’s open source OS kernel). He got himself a patreon and github sponsorship and enough people fund him to do it as a job. He did lots of impressive things to get Linux working on ARM M1 Macs and voila his video shows a Plasma desktop on a Mac.
Neil Gompa spoke on Fedora. See http://fedoraloveskde.org/ . Packages by Fedora KDE SIG. Fedora has Wayland by default (also RHEL). Better graphics performance, less resource usage. For gaming SDL is Wayland native (Simmple Direcmedia Layer), needed replaced with a shim library for SDL 1 to use SDL 2. Fedora is first distro for Pipewire for all audio routing (dropping Pulseaudio and JACK). Btrfs by default, optimised for flash storage, transparent compression, improves space efficiency and IO performance. The flagship variant is Fedora KDE Plasma Spin. It has some minor branding and usability tweaks, Firefox as browser, FirewallD and SELinux. Fedora Kinoite launched last year, minimal default experience, rpm-ostree immutable base, apps as Flatpaks. In RHEL Plasma is in Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux. CentIS Hyperscale and AlmaLinux have Plasma ISOs from RHEL. (AlmaLinux is a RHEL rebuilt and replaces much of what CentOS used to.) In the future they hope to make SDDM use Wayland (needs an SDDM release). Fedora workstation is shipped by Lenovo and more, he wants Fedora KDE on hardware. The out of box experience isn’t great for this yet but he’s working with Nate to do it. Plasma Mobile packages just integrated into Fedora Rawhide so maybe x86 tablets and then ARM device support.
Wayland downside are that it has quirkyness, multi monitor quirky, mixed DPI is quirky, Plasma Wayland is pretty much feature complete. Accessibility not there and input methods not there so no screen readers. Plasma LTS was horrible to maintain as a distro because underlying frameworks and apps not inline. He suggests to spend the energy of Plasma LTS dev fixing normal Plasma releases.
Volker Krause spoke about push notifications, they must be part of the platform and app does not need to run, there’s potential for apps to abuse them but they are crucial for some uses. On proprietary systems (Google, Apple, Windows) you are locked in, they can’t be removed. UnifiedPush standardises interface and DBus, Android etc. Push drivers are Ntfy, NextPush (for NextCloud), Gotify. Android distributors FCM bridge. DBus mostly proof of concept. He shows the distributor in the KCM. He shows an app subscribed to notifications of German weather warnings. There’s legal and privacy risks: storage, authentication and encryption is not standardised. We have all the blocks, the main challenge is hosting the provider service.
Shyamnath Premnadh (Shyam) spoke on How C++ and Python can thrive together. He’s a Senior Software dev at Qt for Python team. C++ is loved, fast, control, mature etc. Python is also popular, at least from Stackoverflow rankings. You wouldn’t use C++ for something quick and dirty. He gives some exmaples of where Python is easier than C++. Qt for Python is an application suite. Pyside6qmlls, Shiboken, assistant, linguist and others. Shiboken makes the bindings, it uses libclang to parse the Qt headers. He shows a C++Papp with Python plugins which can change the themes and other settings in the C++ app. The code to make this is easy and he shows that too. He shows QtScrypt, a proof of concept for integrating Python inside C++ in the same file. He shows pyside-deploy making a Flatpak package for his app.
Volker Krause spoke about Frameworks 6 porting. At Akademy 2019 they made a plan, do the work in the Qt 5 codebase, branch late, actionable tasks. Now KF builds on Linux, BSD and Android. Windows has 30 of 55 building. CI coverage is good. Plasma platform integration builds and works. QtWidget apps work, QML ones need more work. He shows his desktop running Kate with KF6, then Konsole, then Systemsettings. And he reveals that the whole Plasma desktop and KWin is running with KF6. This is not the out of box experience it requires some modifications for QML. ToDo before we can branch is not much. Still to be decided the scope, just KF6 or Plasma as well.
Lydia talks about fundraising with Jean-Baptiste. It was lots of work and not cool. They’re trying project specific fundraising starting with Kdenlive. Jean-Baptiste takes the stage, their workload is increasing, they want a sustainable project. That needs a CI for binaries. For 1 year he’s been working with the e.V. board on a fundraiser. Signed a contract in March for the new fundraising software. Launched September. After 12 days it has now raised over €12,000 which is amazing. Challenges: make it sustainable. Increase presence in schools. Keep having fun. Lydia says contact the board if you want to do the same with your app.
Albert Astals Cid talks about security, 9 people with history in KDE (3 of them accounts so old they don’t know when they started). Needs new blood. When they get an e-mail they reply to say “thanks we will look into it”. Then check if it’s a bug or a feature. Then contact with someone who might be able to fix it. Get a CVE and publish. But you need to be careful when else it’ll go on The Register. They would like help from oss-fuzz adding kfilemetadata, baloo, kmime etc. They want KAuth uses audited.
Harald talks about Healthy Mind Healthy Code. He became aware some people had problems and struggles with their KDE contributing. It’s important to have sleep. Learn to say no. Have friendships. Reflect on your state on mind, maybe you’re being stressed out by KDE. You should be mindful you should get something out of it. You don’t want to lose sleep over it. Know your limits, do not stress too much if you can’t fix all the bugs in the world (half might do). Sometimes its OK to take a holiday for a couple of years. Do not over plan your life. He points to a Gitlab activity chart showing gaps, gaps are a good thing as it means you did go on holiday.
Akademy Awards winners for winning app is KStars, winning developer is Harald, winning non-dev contributions is Aniqa.
Akademy next year will be in Greece! Now onto the week of Birds of a Feather Meetings!