New Facebook Account

Facebook is a business selling very targeted advertising channels.  This is not new, Royal Mail Advertising Mail service offers ‘precision targeting’.  But Facebook does it with many more precision options, with emotive impact because it uses video and feels like it comes from your friends and the option of anonymity.  This turns out to be most effective in political advertising.  There are laws banning political advertising on television because politics should be about reasoned arguments not emotive simplistic soundbites but the law has yet to be changed to include this ban on video on the internet. The result has undermined the democracy of the UK during the EU referendum and elsewhere.

To do this Facebook collects data and information on you.  Normally this isn’t a problem but you never know when journalists will come sniffing around for gossip in your past life, or an ex-partner will want to take something out of context to prove a point in diverse proceedings.  The commonly used example of data collection going wrong was the Dutch government keeping a list of who was Jewish, with terrible consequences when the Nazis invaded.  We do not have a fascist government here but you can never assume it will never happen.  Facebook has been shown to care little for data protection and allowed companies such as Cambridge Analytica to steal data illegally and without oversight.  Again this was used to undermine democracy using the 2016 EU referendum.

In return we get a useful way to keep in touch with friends and family and have discussions with groups and chat with people, these are useful services.  So what can you do if you don’t want your history to be kept by an untrusted third party?  Delete your account and you’ll miss out on important social interactions.  Well there’s an easy option that nobody seems to have picked up on which is to open a new account and move your important content over but dropping your history.

Thanks to the EU legislation GDPR we have a Right to Data Portability. This is similar but separate from the Right to Access.  And it means it’s easy enough to extract your data out of Facebook.  I downloaded mine and it’s a whopping 4GB of text and photos and Video.  I then set up a new account and started triaging anything I wanted to keep.  What’s in my history?

Your Posts and Other People’s Posts to Your Timeline

These are all ephemeral.  You post them, get some reaction, but they’re not very interesting a week or more later.  Especially all the automated ones Spotify sent saying what music I was playing.

Photos and videos

Here’s a big chunk.  Over 1500, some 2GB of pics, mostly of me looking awesome paddling.  I copied any I want to keep over to easy photo dump Google Photos. There was about 250 I wanted to keep.

Comments

I’ve really no desire to keep these.

Likes and reactions

Similarly ephemeral.

Friends

This can be copied over easily to a new account, you just friend your old account and then it’ll suggest all your old friends.  A Facebook friend is not the same as a real life friend so it’s sensible to triage out anyone you don’t have contact with and don’t find interesting to get updates from.

You can’t see people who have unfriended you, probably for the best.

Stories

Facebook’s other way to post pics to try to be cool with the Snapchat generation.  Their very nature is that they don’t stay around long so nothing important here.

Following and followers

This does include some people who have ignored a friend request but still have their feed public so that request gets turned into a follow.  Nobody who I deperately crave to be my friend is on the list fortunately so they can be ignored.

Messages

Despite removing the Facebook branding from their messaging service a few years ago it’s still very much part of Facebook.  Another nearly 2GB of text and pics in here.  This is the kind of history that is well worth removing, who knows when those chats will come back to haunt you.  Some more pics here worth saving but not many since any I value for more than a passing comment are posted on my feed.  There’s a handful of longer term group chats I can just add my new account back into.

Groups

One group I run and a few I use frequently, I can just rejoin them and set myself as admin on the one I run.

Events

Past events are obviously not important.  I had 1 future event I can easily rejoin.

Profile information

It’s worth having a triage and review of this to keep it current and not let Facebook know more than you want it to.

Pages

Some pages I’m admin or moderator of than I can rejoin, where moderator you need to track down an admin person to add you back in.

Marketplace, Payment history, Saved items and collections, Your places

I’ve never found a use for these features.

Apps and websites

It’s handy to use Facebook as a single sign on for websites sometimes but it’s worth reviewing and triaging these to stop them taking excess data without you knowing.  The main one I used was Spotify but it turns out that has long since been turned into a non-Facebook account so no bother wiping all these.

Other activity

Anyone remember pokes?

What Facebook Decides about me

Facebook gives you labels to give to advertisers.  Seems I’m interested in Swahili language, Sweetwater in Texas, Secret Intelligence Service and other curiosities.

Search history

I can’t think of any good reason why I’d want Facebook to know about 8 years of searches.

Location history

Holy guacamole, they keep my location each and every day since I got a smartphone.  That’s going to be wiped.

Calls and messages

Fortunately they haven’t been taking these from my phone history but I’m sure it’s only one setting away before they do.

Friend Peer Group

They say I have ‘Established Adult Life’.  I think this means I’m done.

Your address books

They did however keep all my contacts from GMail and my phone whenever I first logged on from a web browser and phone.  They can be gone.

So most of this can be dropped and recreated quite easily. It’s a fun evening going through your old photos.  My 4GB of data is kept in a cloud drive which can be accessed through details in my will so if I die and my autobiographer wants to dig the gossip on me they can.

I also removed the app from my phone.  The messenger app is useful but the Facebook one seems a distraction, if I want to browse and post Facebook stuff I can use the web browser.  And on a desktop computer I can use https://www.messenger.com/ rater than the distraction of the Facebook website.

And the first thing I posted?  Going cabogganing!

New account at https://www.facebook.com/jonathan.riddell.737 do re-friend me if you like.

 

Plasma Vision

The Plasma Vision got written a couple years ago, a short text saying what Plasma is and hopes to create and defines our approach to making a useful and productive work environment for your computer.  Because of creative differences it was never promoted or used properly but in my quest to make KDE look as up to date in its presence on the web as it does on the desktop I’ve got the Plasma sprinters who are meeting in Valencia this week to agree to adding it to the KDE Plasma webpage.

 

KDE.org Description Update

The KDE Applications website was a minimal possible change to move it from an unmaintained and incomplete site to a self-maintaining and complete site.  It’s been fun to see it get picked up in places like Ubuntu Weekly News, Late Night Linux and chatting to people in real life they have seen it get an update. So clearly it’s important to keep our websites maintained.  Alas the social and technical barriers are too high in KDE.  My current hope is that the Promo team will take over the kde-www stuff giving it communication channels and transparancy that doesn’t currently exist.  There is plenty more work to be done on kde.org/applications website to make it useful, do give me a ping if you want to help out.

In the mean time I’ve updated the kde.org front page text box where there is a brief description of KDE.  I remember a keynote from Aaron around 2010 at Akademy where he slagged off the description that was used on kde.org.  Since then we have had Visions and Missions and Goals and whatnot defined but nobody has thought to put them on the website.  So here’s the new way of presenting KDE to the world:

Thanks to Carl and others for review.

 

UK Open Source Awards 2019 Shortlists

The UK Open Source Awards is an event in Edinburgh next Wednesday (June 12 2019) to celebrate and recognise freedom and collaborative software. If you’ve not got your ticket book on now.  Keynote speaker is Frank Karlitschek the former KDE e.V. board member, then there’s quality selection of other speakers and panelists before the award ceremony to close the day.

I’m the head judge and together with Allison Randal and Dawn Foster we have picked a short list of 4 names for each of the awards.

Individual – for outstanding contributions to open source

  • Mandy ChessellMandy Chessell CBE FREng is a computer scientist and a Distinguished Engineer at IBM. Mandy became involved in open source through her efforts with Linux Foundation’s ODPi organization and her work on Egeria, the Industry’s First Open Metadata Standard, designed to help organizations better understand, manage and gain value from data.
  • Simon McVittieSimon’s one of the key players behind some of the most important steps of desktop linux. As well as being the head of DBus, a key part of the linux stack, Simon is the one of the core people on freedesktop.org
  • James MorganJames Morgan has successfully led the OpenEyes community (https://openeyes.org.uk) to release a best in class open source Opthalmology Electronic Patient Record solution OpenEyes,
  • Tracy Miranda Tracy Miranda is currently the Director of Open Source at Cloudbees and a long time supporter of open source. She has served on the board of directors at the Eclipse Foundation and recently was responsible for helping form the Continuous Delivery Foundation (CDF)

Company – for outstanding contribution to open source either through product development or contributions to projects

  • Cloudsoft CorpThe company behind the open source Apache Brooklyn project.
  • Open Healthcare Builds open source digital tools that help clinicians to deliver better care.
  • AB EHRWorking predominantly with open source software and delivery methods they provide solutions that will enable improved patient care and service standards.
  • Outlier VenturesOutlier Ventures contributes to the community at large, open sourcing all major internal projects, and contributing technical expertise to all of the projects we partner with, fuelling open source adoption.

Public Sector and Third Sector – for an outstanding open source project in the UK public sector or third sector.

  • Ripple FoundationThe Ripple Foundation is a clinically led foundation that has led on the development of a number of key open source projects in support of improving and making easier to develop digital applications in the NHS.
  • The Apperta Foundation The Apperta Foundation is a clinically led, not-for-profit organisation that acts as a custodian for a number of clinical and non-clinical digital solutions for Health and Care, ensuring they are available not only open source, but developed using an open approach.
  • Inside Outcomes CIC Inside Outcomes CIC supports businesses working in the public health, social care and third sectors with their open source risk management software .
  • NHS DigitalLaunch of the NHS Digital Service Manual in January 2019; including open standards for content, health literacy, design principles and integrating the open source NHS.

Student – a cash prize of £1,500 for an outstanding contribution to open source from currently matriculated UK students

  • Antreas Antoniou (University of Edinburgh – School of Informatics) – Antreas built a meta-learning framework, with a large variety of researcher-oriented tooling and just the right abstraction to allow very quick modifications of the model for research purposes, or altogether extensions and overhauls. Finally, the framework includes a data-provider designed to receive a folder of data-points and with no other changes, train such a model for ML-enthusiasts and industry applications. All code and paper are publically available.
  • Andrew Brock (University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt – Edinburgh Centre For Robotics) – Andrew Brock’s work on machine learning has led to three major conference papers and two workshop papers, all of which are accompanied by open source code for replication. His latest project, BigGAN, represents the state-of-the-art in neural network image generation, and (through open source releases of trained networks and training code) forms the basis for a variety of projects built atop it.
  • Nathan Hughes – (Aberystwyth University) – During his undergraduate degree he worked at the national plant phenomics centre in Wales, UK. There he made all of my work open source. Currently working on his PhD (at the John Innes Centre) where he will go on to produce open source software for analysing biological problems in plant science.
  • Yiannis Simillides – (Imperial College London) –While studying for an MSc in Scientific Computing at UCL, Yiannis wrote the library called FEniCS.jl, the julia-version of a popular open-source finite element package, receiving funding from the Google Open-source programme (GSoC).

Who will we pick as winners?  Come along on the day to find out 🙂

With thanks to these lovely sponsors and helpers.

KDE Applications Website

The new KDE Applications website is now up

The old one was a manual task of keeping the metadata up to date while this one scans builds from build.kde.org and Git in search of appstream appdata.xml files and converts them into the required info.

Technical info on the website wiki pages.

If you see mistakes, go and fix them by updating the appstream files. These files are also used in distro packages and appstores and new container packages so a fix there goes a long way.  Appstream in KDE guide.

Icons come from Breeze. If you see an issue with an icon I’m sure the Breeze folks would be happy for a fix on the bug report.

Future work is to make the content more pretty and relevant. Adding in non app projects in some way. Adding in version numbers and release notes and other features supported by Appstream. Workboard at Phabricator.

But at last you can browse all of KDE’s applications. KDE needs to up its game for the support it provides for our applications, here’s to a great future for them 🙂

libqaccessibilityclient 0.4.1

libqaccessibilityclient 0.4.1 is out now
https://download.kde.org/stable/libqaccessibilityclient/
http://embra.edinburghlinux.co.uk/~jr/tmp/pkgdiff_reports/libqaccessibilityclient/0.4.0_to_0.4.1/changes_report.html
Signed by Jonathan Riddell
https://sks-keyservers.net/pks/lookup?op=vindex&search=0xEC94D18F7F05997E
  • version 0.4.1
  • Use only undeprecated KDEInstallDirs variables
  • KDECMakeSettings already cares for CMAKE_AUTOMOC & BUILD_TESTING
  • Fix use in cross compilation
  • Q_ENUMS -> Q_ENUM
  • more complete release instructions

 

KDE’s Snap Packages

The Linux world has always worked with a develop and deploy model where software gets written by projects such as KDE and then distro projects pick that up, polish it and give it to the user.  No other computer environment works like this and it goes against the fashion of DevOps concepts where the people who code are empowered to deploy to the end user going through QA as appropriate.  We changed that with KDE neon where we brought the packaging into KDE making .deb packages. That integration allows for blockages and imperfections which get identified to be solved easily through the most efficient channels.  Kipi Plugins is a good example of this, KDE dropped the ball here by stopping releases. Nobody noticed until as a packager I wondered where it had gone, realised it was no longer being released and, because I work directly in the project responsible, could easily fix that in the right place.  With new containerised formats Linux is changing, and projects like KDE can now package software and send it direct to the user.  I’ll discuss this more in a future blog post but for now lets look at Snaps where last week, for the first time, KDE Applications was released with 50-odd apps available directly for all to enjoy direct from the Snap Store.

Give it a Try

First you need to install snapd which comes as default with KDE neon and Ubuntu distros but others will probably need to enable it manually.  See the Snap set up guide.

For Plasma Discover integration you should also install the Plasma Discover backend snap package, it is called ‘plasma-discover-backend-snap’  in Debian/Ubuntu/neon but the naming convention in your distro may vary.

You can now install Snap packages directly from the store which uses snap:// URLs to start Discover and install them.  You can also install snaps from the command line.

If you look at the KDE page on the Snap Store you can see the 50+ packages we have available today.  Most of the packages are fairly simple apps such as games and education apps, future work is to do many more KDE apps.

Snap Store? Channels? Who controls this?

Snaps follow a similar model to other large providers like Android, iPhone, Windows, Steam, etc with a centralised store, in this case run by our friends at Canonical.

There is a KDE publisher account on the Snap Store which is currently controlled by your friendly KDE neon team.  Anyone can make their own publisher account, and there’s a nifty feature to mark it as a collaboration between several accounts. For example Kdenlive is made by the Kdenlive Jean-Baptiste but the KDE account also has access.

The Snap Store features channels intended for software in different stages  of their development cycle, this mirrors quite closely what we do in KDE neon for our .deb archives.  Most users will only care about the Stable channel offering thoroughly tested software.

There is also the Candidate channel for testing builds of released software. The Edge channel is for Git master builds same as Unstable in KDE neon and the Beta channel is for Git beta branch builds same as Beta edition in neon. By default Snap will only install stuff from Stable and you have to ask explicitly for other channels but this is a great way to be testing pre-release software.

When uploading to the Snap Store for the first time there is a manual review package by archive admins which is similar to uploading new stuff to Ubuntu or many other distros, you also need manual review when you first upload a Snap package which asks for special permissions such as talking to DBus. The reviewers are nice people inside Canonical who you can ping on the Snap forums if you need to.

You might notice the KDE publisher page on the Snap store is missing a load of icons and other met data such as screenshots. These should come from AppStream files but AppStream support is still working its way into the Store backend and build tool snapcraft so not all the icons are there yet. It seems we need to work out how to use a newer snapcraft on KDE neon servers to get all these magic features sorted.

Snapd runs on your system and takes care of downloading and installing the packages. It will update Snap packages automatically so you can be confident you’ve got the latest and greatest provided by the publisher.

How’s it Built?

Snap packages are built with a snapcraft.yaml file to define how and what needs to be built by a tool called snapcraft.

In KDE neon, we have a load of Git repos for our .deb packagingm and we have reused these for our Snap packages. The neon repos are documented on the KDE wiki, and asa KDE project, all KDE dev account holders have full access. For example, KAtomic has a snapcraft.yaml file , a metadata icon and .desktop file.

Here at KDE neon tower, we have a team of guinea pigs building our .deb packages. , We have repurposed the same guinea pigs to build these snap packages. , The build jobs get created on KDE neon Jenkins servers and when someone triggers them (any KDE dev has access), the build is made on the floating cloud of guinea pigs. If successful, it is uploaded to the Snap Store.

KDE neon Tower
KDE neon Tower

This is nice, but is still not as integrated as it should be. Newly released sources are built and uploaded to the Candidate channel on the Snap Store, which then needs manual review before moving to the Stable channel. Thist should get automated using openQA.

And there’s not really any need for any of it to reside on the KDE neon servers, everything should be even more tightly integrated with the rest of KDE and built as part of the new invent.kde.org CI system, and then uploaded from there. It shouldn’t be the responsibility of KDE neon team to make these, it should be done as part of the app development process.  So jump on board and enter a new world for empowered, rapidly released software!

To find out more about the Snap format follow the tutorials, read the docs and browse the notes on KDE paticular stuff.

Kipi Plugins 5.9.1 Released

Kipi Plugins is a set of app plugins for manipulating images.  They use libkipi which is released as part of KDE Applications.  It used to get standalone releases and was then moved to be part of Digikam releases.  Since Digikam 6 they have been deprecated by Digikam in favour of their new plugin framework DPlugins.  While in KDE Frameworks the Purpose Framework is another newer project covering similar features.

However Kipi Plugins are still supported by KDE apps KPhotoAlbum, Gwenview, Spectacle so they shouldn’t disappear yet.

I’ve made a new release available for download now.

https://download.kde.org/stable/kipi-plugins/

Versioned 5.9.1 because it is little changed from the previous release done inside Digikam which was 5.9.0.

Tagged commit b1352149b5e475e0fbffb28a7b5fe13503f24dfe

Sha256 Sum: 04b3d31ac042b901216ad8ba67dafc46b58c8a285b5162b51189833f6d015542

Signed by me Jonathan Riddell <jr@jriddell.org>

This will become part of KDE Applications in its next release scheduled for August and will follow the KDE Applications version numbers.

 

Add Appstream Release Data to your App Releases

Appstream is a metadata standard for your software releases which gets used by package managers and app stores as well as web sites such as kde.org (one day at least).

If you are incharge of making releases of an application from KDE mind and make sure it has an appstream appdata file.  You should also include a screenshot preferably in the product-screenshots git repo.

You should also add release data to your appstream files.  See the docs for the full details.  Not all the data will be very practical to add before the release time but it is useful to at least have a version number and maybe a release date added in.

I’ve added this to the Releasing Software wiki page now. And I’ve written a wee script appstream-metainfo-release-update to update the XML with a simple command which I’ve now added to the Plasma release process.

Nominations Open for UK Open Source Awards

The UK Open Source Awards will be a day of celebration of all things Free and open with software.  Open Source is now essential in how the world works.  It creates freedom (that’s the Free Software side), helps education (I only learnt how to program from reading source code to KDE apps), allows cooperation across industries, gives a competitive advantage, encourages sharing and reuse, improves security and builds community.  So it’s worth a day of celebration and recognition.

This is the sixth UK Open Source Awards and it takes place in Edinburgh on Wednesday 12 June 2019.  There will be talks, a panel, a keynote from Frank Karlitscheck and then the award ceremony.

Nominations are now open for the awards, please consider which people or organisations based in the UK deserve special recognition.  The categories are:

Individual Award

A person who has helped improve the world through contributions to free and open source software

Company

For a commercial business which has created a successful business while contributing to open source projects, leading open source projects and spreading freedom and empowerment for users.

Public Sector and Third Sector

For a public sector or charitable organisation which has developed its software in an open source method or made innovative use of open source software or opened up data

Student

A university, college, school student or modern apprentice who has created beautiful and novel software as part of their course (dissertation, thesis etc) which is licensed as free and open source software and has curated participation in an open collaborative manner.

This award comes with a bursary of £1,500 which is to be spent on furthering the recipients education and contributions to open source for example buying a new laptop or expenses for attending conferences.

Diversity

For an open source project which has successfully encouraged contributions from people in under-represented groups, or a university, organisation or business which has broken the mould in bringing minorities to participate in open source.

I’m heading a panel of judges with Allison Randal and Dawn Foster and we’ll be looking for incredible work being done in the name of freedom, innovation and impressiveness.

Please do come along on the day, it’s free to attend and all are welcome, I hope to see you there.

 

No Deal Brexit

No deal Brexit will mean shutting off most of the supply capacity from the EU to Great Britain, as the government says this will be chaotic. Many of the effects are unknown but in the days and weeks that follow food supplies and medicine supplies will start to fail. The rules on moving money about and even making a phone call will be largely undefined. International travel will get unknown new bureaucracies. EU and WTO law means there also needs to be a hard border in Ireland again, restarting terrorist warfare. Inflation will kick in, unemployment will sky rocket and people will die.

Although the UK government has dropped the dangerous saying of “no deal is better than a bad deal” it is astonishing they were allowed to get away with saying that for so long without challenge. There are still many members of the UK government who are perfectly happy with a chaotic no deal Brexit and the Prime Minister, unwilling to change any tactics, is using more and more Populist language to say how everyone should support her and threaten the whole UK society in the greatest game of chicken since the cold war. It would be trivial to revoke the Article 50 process but unless that is chosen a no deal Brexit will happen.

The political process is broken and has been for many years on this topic, there is no campaign from the normal groups I would expect to have one that I can join. The SNP, Greens and Quakers are not doing what they would usually do and enabling their members to have a voice. Religions in general exist to look after their members in times of crisis but so far nobody in Quakers that I’ve spoken to has any interest in many any practical mitigation steps.

Most people in Britain still think it’ll never happen as the politicians will see sense and back down, but they are wrong because the politicians are not acting rationally they are acting very irrationally and all it takes for no deal Brexit to happen is for no other decision to be taken.

So I find myself waving an European flag in Edinburgh each evening for the People’s Vote campaign, a London based campaign with a load of problems but the only one going. I’ll go to London this weekend to take part in the giant protest there.

Please come along if you live in the UK.  Please also sign the petition to revoke article 50.  Wish us luck.

pulseaudio-qt 1.0.0 is out!

pulseaudio-qt 1.0.0 is out!

It’s a Qt framework C++ bindings library for the PulseAudio sound system.

It was previously part of plasma-pa but is now standalone so it can be used by KDE Connect and anyone else who wants it.

https://download.kde.org/stable/pulseaudio-qt/

sha256: a0a4f2793e642e77a5c4698421becc8c046c426811e9d270ff2a31b49bae10df pulseaudio-qt-1.0.0.tar.xz

The tar is signed by my GPG key.

 

 

 

libqaccessibilityclient 0.4.0

I’ve released libqaccessibilityclient 0.4.0.

Changes:

  • bump version for new release
  • Revert “add file to extract strings”
  • add file to extract strings
  • Set include dir for exported library target
  • Create and install also a QAccessibilityClientConfigVersion.cmake file
  • Create proper CMake Config file which also checks for deps
  • Use imported targets for Qt libs, support BUILD_TESTING option
  • Use newer signature of cmake’s add_test()
  • Remove usage of dead QT_USE_FAST_CONCATENATION
  • Remove duplicated cmake_minimum_required
  • Use override
  • Use nullptr
  • Generate directly version
  • Add some notes about creating releases

Signed using my key: Jonathan Riddell <jr@jriddell.org> 2D1D5B0588357787DE9EE225EC94D18F7F05997E

6630f107eec6084cafbee29dee6a810d7174b09f7aae2bf80c31b2bc6a14deec libqaccessibilityclient-0.4.0.tar.xz

https://download.kde.org/stable/libqaccessibilityclient/

What is it?

Most of the stack is part of Qt 5, so nothing to worry about, that’s the part that lets applications expose their UI over DBus for AT-SPI, so they work
nicely with assisitve tools (e.g. Orca). In accessibility language, the applications act as “servers” and the screen reader for example is a client.

This library is for writing clients, so applications that are assistive, such as screen readers. It currently has two users: KMag and Simon with Plasma also taking an interest. KMag can use it to follow the focus (e.g. when editing text, it can automatically magnify the part of the document where the cursor is. For Simon Listens, the use is to be able to let the user trigger menus and buttons by voice input.

 

KDE Chat on Matrix

KDE and open source in general has used IRC since the 90s but times change and these days people expect more than text with lots of internals exposed to the user.  So KDE has set up a Matrix server which talks to other Matrix server and importantly also talks to IRC servers and their channels because some people will never change.  The bridging to IRC isn’t perfect but it works much neater than on e.g. Telegram where the IRC user is one bot, here the IRC user is an individual user and you can set it up to use the same nickname you’ve been using since 1995.  Unless you use square brackets in your nickname in which case I’ve no sympathy 🙂

But it still requires a bit of understanding and setup.  For one thing you need an app to talk to it, and the more common apps seem to be Riot web and Riot Android. KDE has its own setup of Riot web called webchat.kde.org and you can get the Android client from F-Droid or Google Play.  Once you make an account you also need to tick some boxes (including one saying you are over 16 which vexes somewhat but it doesn’t be beyond the ability of most 15 year old to work out how to work around it).

Channels are called rooms and you can then search for them on the kde.org server or on the matrix.org server.   Or, once you work out the syntax, you can join channels on Freenode IRC or OFTC IRC.  You can also bridge IRC channels to Matrix Rooms and make it mostly transparent which works.

There’s voice and video calling too using Jitsu and important features like emojis and stickerpacks, although the Konqi sticker pack is still to be added.

I had some faff getting my nick from Freenode recovered but managed that before long.  Remember to set a nice pic so people can recognise you.

I’ve now stopped using my IRC app and don’t tend to look at Telegram unless someone pings me.  It’s great that KDE now has modern and open communications.  Thanks to the sysadmins and Matrix team and others who worked on this.

Next step: getting forums and mailing lists moving onto Discourse 🙂

More docs on the KDE Matrix wiki page.

G+ Takeout

Google+ does rather killoff the notion I had of Google as a highly efficient company who always produce top quality work.  Even using the takeout website to download the content from Google+ I found a number of obvious bugs and poor features.  But I did get my photos in the end so for old times sakes here’s a random selection.

1a8a0n0gqj2mq
A marketing campaign that failed to take off

1bsc2o3kyhjlu.JPG
Sprints in Munich thanks to the city council’s KDE deployment were always fun.

1bogmkij7mzb6
Launching KDE neon with some pics of my office and local castle.

1bsmv13wngar6
One day I took a trip with Nim to Wales and woke up in somewhere suspiciously like the Shire from Lord of the Rings

1chq4qpaex94y.jpeg
KDE neon means business

1dde2jg4rwl2q
Time to go surfing. This ended up as a music video.

That’s about it.  Cheereo Google+, I’ve removed you from www.kde.org, one social media platform too many for this small world.

KDE at FOSDEM 2019

February means FOSDEM, the largest gathering of free software developers in the continent. I drove for two days down the winding roads and even onto a train and out again to take the bits needed to run the stall there. Fortunately my canoeing friend Poppy was there for car karaoke and top Plasma dev David got picked up along the way to give us emotional support watching Black Mirror Bandersnatch with its multiple endings.

The beer flowed freely at Delerium but disaster(!) the venue for Saturday did not exist!  So I did some hasty scouting to find a new one before returning for more beer.

Rather than place us next to Gnome the organisers put us next to our bestie friends Nextcloud which was nice and after some setup the people came and kept on coming.  Saturday was non stop on the stall but fortunately we had a good number of volunteers to talk to our fans and future fans.

Come Home to KDE in 2019 was the theme.  You’ve been distro hopping.  Maybe bought a macbook because you got bored of the faff with Linux. But now it’s time to re-evaluate.  KDE Plasma is lightweight, full features, simple and beautiful.  Our applications are world class.  Our integration with mobile via KDE Connect is unique and life changing.

I didn’t go to many talks because I was mostly stuck on the stall but an interesting new spelling library nuspell looks like something we should add into our frameworks, and Tor is helping people evade governments and aiding the selling of the odd recreational drug too.

20190203_090217

At 08:30 not many helpers or punters about but the canoeists got the show going.

20190202_102814
In full flow on the Saturday Wolthera does a live drawing show of Krita while Boud is on hand for queries and selfies.

20190202_212641
The Saturday meal after a quick change of venue was a success where we were joined by our friends Nextcloud and the Lawyers of Freedom.

20190203_214942
Staying until the following day turns out to allow a good Sunday evening to actually chat and discuss the merits of KDE, the universe and everything.  With waffles.

Achievement of the Week

This week I gave KDE Frameworks a web page after only 4 years of us trying to promote it as the best thing ever since cabogganing without one.  I also updated the theme on the KDE Applications 18.12 announcement to this millennium and even made the images in it have a fancy popup effect using the latest in JQuery Bootstrap CSS.  But my proudest contribution is making the screenshot for the new release of Konsole showing how it can now display all the cat emojis plus one for a poodle.

So far no comments asking why I named my computer thus.

 

www.kde.org

It’s not uncommon to come across some dusty corner of KDE which hasn’t been touched in ages and has only half implemented features. One of the joys of KDE is being able to plunge in and fix any such problem areas. But it’s quite a surprise when a high profile area of KDE ends up unmaintained. www.kde.org is one such area and it was getting embarrassing. February 2016 we had a sprint where a new theme was rolled out on the main pages making the website look fresh and act responsively on mobiles but since then, for various failures of management, nothing has happened. So while the neon build servers were down for shuffling to a new machine I looked into why Plasma release announcements were updated but not Frameworks or Applications announcments. I’d automated Plasma announcements a while ago but it turns out the other announcements are still done manually, so I updated those and poked the people involved. Then of course I got stuck looking at all the other pages which hadn’t been ported to the new theme. On review there were not actually too many of them, if you ignore the announcements, the website is not very large.

Many of the pages could be just forwarded to more recent equivalents such as getting the history page (last update in 2003) to point to timeline.kde.org or the presentation slides page (last update for KDE 4 release) to point to a more up to date wiki page.

Others are worth reviving such as KDE screenshots page, press contacts, support page. The contents could still do with some pondering on what is useful but while they exist we shouldn’t pretend they don’t so I updated those and added back links to them.

While many of these pages are hard to find or not linked at all from www.kde.org they are still the top hits in Google when you search for “KDE presentation” or “kde history” or “kde support” so it is worth not looking like we are a dead project.

There were also obvious bugs that needed fixed for example the cookie-opt-out banner didn’t let you opt out, the font didn’t get loaded, the favicon was inconsistent.

All of these are easy enough fixes but the technical barrier is too high to get it done easily (you need special permission to have access to www.kde.org reasonably enough) and the social barrier is far too high (you will get complaints when changing something high profile like this, far easier to just let it rot). I’m not sure how to solve this but KDE should work out a way to allow project maintenance tasks like this be more open.

Anyway yay, www.kde.org is now new theme everywhere (except old announcements) and pages have up to date content.

There is a TODO item to track website improvements if you’re interested in helping, although it missed the main one which is the stalled port to WordPress, again a place it just needs someone to plunge in and do the work. It’s satisfying because it’s a high profile improvement but alas it highlights some failings in a mature community project like ours.

Planet KDE Categories

Jings no wonder people find computer programming scary when the most easily accessible lanugage, JavaScript, is also the most messy one.

Occationally people would mention to me that the categories on Planet KDE didn’t work and eventually I looked into it and it mostly worked but also sometimes maybe it didn’t.  Turns out we were checking for no cookies being set and if not we’d set some defaults for the categories.  But sometimes the CDN would set a cookie first and ours would not get set at all. This was hard to recreate as it didn’t happen when working locally of course.  And then our JavaScript had at least three different ways to run the initial-setup code but there’s no easy way to just read a cookie, madness I tell you.  Anyway it should be fixed now and set categories by default but only if it hasn’t set some before so you may still have to manually choose which you read.

In the Configure Feed menu at the top you can select to read blogs in different languages.  By default it shows only blogs in English, as well as Dot News, Project News and any User blogs who have asked to be added (only two are listed in our config).  You can also show blogs in Chinese (also only 2 listed), Italian (none listed), Polish (one), Portugese (two), Spanish (four but kdeblog by Jose is especially prolific) or French (none).  Work to be done includes working out how to make this apply to the RSS feed.

 

 

Planet KDE Twitter Feed

Some years ago I added an embedded Twitter feed to the side of Planet KDE.  This replaced the earlier feed manually curated feeds from identi.ca and twitter which people added but had since died out (in the case of identi.ca) and been blocked (in the case of Twitter).  That embedded Twitter feed used the #KDE tag and while there was the odd off topic or abusive post for the most part it was an interesting way to browse what the people of the internet were saying about us.  However Twitter shut that off a few months ago which you could well argue is what happens with closed proprietary services.

We do now have a Mastodon account but my limited knowledge and web searching on the subject doesn’t give a way to embed a hashtag feed and the critical mass doesn’t seem to be there yet, and maybe it never will due to the federated-with-permissions model just creating more silos.

So now I’ve added a manually curated Twitter feed back to Planet KDE with KDE people and projects.  This may not give us an insight into what the wider internet community is thinking but it might be an easy way to engage more about KDE people and projects as a community.  Or it might not, I haven’t decided yet and I’m happy to take feedback on whether it should stay.

In the mean time ping me to be added to the list or subscribe a bug on bugs.kde.org to request you or someone you know or or your project be added (or removed).  Also volunteers wanted to help curate the feed, ping me to help out.