KDE’s releases debranding

A new step in KDE’s  branding has happened today, or rather debranding.  The old dump of everything we made used to be called just “KDE” and then some projects wanted to release on their own timetable so calling it “KDE” became less accurate.  After a while our flagship Plasma project wanted to release on its own and lots of projects did their own release too but many wanted that faff taken care of for them still so those projects got called “KDE Applications”.  But  that didn’t quite fit either because there were many plugins and libraries among them and many Applications from KDE which were not among them.  So today we removed that brand too and just make releases from a release service, which are source tars that are not very interesting to end users so they get a boring factual release page.

And to keep our users informed the Monthly Apps Update is now published direct on kde.org and covers both self released and release service releases.

And as our website enters the 21 century we now updated the way the stories are published so now anyone can edit or propose patches to them in Git writing Markdown.  So if you know of any new features or developments in our apps which will be released by this time in January then send us a patch.

 

 

Voting SNP in the UK Election

I’m voting for Owen Thompson and the SNP at the UK election on December 12th.  Normally for an election I would look through the manifestos and compare them along with consideration of the candidates and the party leaders to decide.  But this election is a single issue election.  It was called because the flawed 2016 referendum on EU membership did not ask what people wanted, it asked what they didn’t want (EU citizenship) but because there was no question asking what people did want instead it led to three years of parliament being stuck.  The SNP policy is for a double proposal to have a referendum on the UK’s EU membership against the Withdrawal Deal as currently negotiated, and then to have a referendum on Scottish independence.  This offers me the best chance to keep my EU citizenship and the freedoms it brings, while offering a good chance to get rid of a corrupt and pointless layer of government.

As I’ve said before all the political parties let us down in 2016 by not effectively campaigning for EU membership and letting the racists and populists win over. They continue to let us down here on those measures.  Not one party proposes to ban political advertising online as done with TV despite the well documented populism that gives.  Not one seems to have a commitment to reform the rules of election and referendum campaigns to stop the illegal behaviour that Johnson’s Vote Leave campaign used in 2016.  And I’ve never heard anyone point out that asking a referendum question which only says what you don’t want and not what you do want instead is a pointless question.

But here’s a quick look at the manifestos anyway.

SNP Good stuff about refendums, no nuclear bombs and critique of why Westminster if broken.   The usual  vague stuff about ending austerity without defining it and promises for the NHS with no explanation of why that public service deserves them more than every other public service.  Various good ideas for things to be devolved like broadcasting or employment law.  They do want to fix the voting franchise for UK elections to include non-UK EU citizens and people from age 16.  They seem to think the UK government will allow an independence referendum while also de-legitimising the idea that there is no need for anyone to allow Scotland to have a referendum, this is a dangerous stance to take as well as incorrect, no other country considers that it has to ask its neighbour for permission for independence. Climate emergency comes in a bit later in the manifesto than I’d like to see but I suppose there’s not much the SNP can do at the UK level since the right layer of government for this is the EU and Scottish layers.  Complying with international law to allow the return of residents of Diego Garcia is pleasingly in there but not on Catalonia.  I’ve done door knocking with their candidate Owen Thompson this election who is an experienced politican from local and UK layers and I’m happy to support him.

Labour doesn’t get round to the Brexit question until page 80.  The central issue of the election which defines if I will have freedoms and a functional economy in a year’s time and they can’t be arsed to highlight their policy on it.  When they do they say they’ll negotiate a hard Brexit (outside the customs union; outside the single market) and then have a referendum on it.  This sounds faffy and dislikeable.  The leaflet from their candidate said she would campaign to remain and reform but with no suggestion of what they reform would be and there’s nothing about it in this manifesto so I think she’s lying on that point.  They support weapons of mass destruction despite the party membership in Scotland voting against them and UK and Scottish leaders campaigning against them, which shows what a mess this organisation is.  Lots of interesting stuff about renationalising public services which I think is a strong part of the cause for the party leadership wanting to leave the EU, EU law will mean having to pay full rate for renationalising these industries while outwith the EU they can pay below market rate, but on the whole I’m against cheating the rules of a functional economy, after all this is my pension scheme they’d be cheating.  No mention of complying with international law about Diego Garcia or Catalonia.  Fixing the voting franchise is in there.  Climate emergency is pleasingly put as a headline item.

The Lib Dems have clear constitutional positions which is fine but being against referendum on them is hypocritical.  They compare Scottish independence to Brexit, which is nonsense. Climate emergency doesn’t come until half way through.  No mention of Diego Garcia or Catalonia.   No mention of nuclear bombs.  Nothing devolved to Scotland.  Pleasingly they do want to fix the undemocratic where we get a prime minister without a vote of parliament or people and they do want to fix the shutting down of parliament.  Otherwise largely underwhelming.

The Conservative party is now a radicalised dangerous nationalistic vehicle which support shutting down parliament, corruption of referendums, limiting the voting franchise, blocking the release of reports on foreign interference in voting and ignoring international law.  Everyone should vote to stop them from getting power.  They will start the Brexit process with the Withdrawal Agreement but still with only a minimal plan for how to implement Brexit, but their lie that this will “get Brexit done” rather than the truth that it is only the start of the process seems to be ignored by the media.  Their hard Brexit will put up new borders, shut off supply chains, limit the economy and take away my freedoms.    The headline item of course is to stop a referendum on independence which is as hypocritical as it comes.      Climate emergency doesn’t seem to feature.  There is scary protectionist British nationalism like “When we leave the EU, we will be able to encourage the public sector to ‘Buy British’” which goes against basic economics and shows how far they have fallen from their Margaret Thatcher free-market politices, which as simplitic and damaging as they were, at least were consistent.  This party is run by people who ran illegal campaigns in 2016, take power without a vote, ignore international and national law and shut down parliament, they are not democratically accountable, they need to be stopped.

[ Update to the below paragraph, in my rush I missed the Green manifesto which is full of good stuff.]

The Greens aren’t standing in my constituency and don’t have a manifesto and because of the voting system won’t get any result except maybe help the SNP lose where they should win so despite being a party member I can’t advocate voting for them.  They make the point that the climate emergency is more important than Brexit, but alas the EU is the right layer of government to take the lead on it so EU membership is vital to helping prevent or limit it and the votes this election need to be directed towards that.

So hopefully an SNP win in Scotland (like they have in every election for the last decade) will help them support a Labour government in England to have a referendum (with rules fixed to make it a valid and fair one) on EU membership vs Johnson’s hard brexit proposal and then a referendum on Scottish independence.  But it probably won’t be that simple.

Linux Applications Summit

I had the pleasure of going to the Linux Applications Summit last week in Barcelona.  A week of talks and discussion about getting Linux apps onto people’s computers.  It’s the third one of these summits but the first ones started out with a smaller scope (and located in the US) being more focused on Gnome tech, while this renamed summit was true cross-project collaboration.

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Oor Aleix here opening the conference (Gnome had a rep there too of course).

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It was great to meet with Heather here from Canonical’s desktop team who does Gnome Snaps, catching up with Alan and Igor from Canonical too was good to do.

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Here is oor Paul giving his talk about the language used.  I had been minded to use “apps” for the stuff we make but he made the point that most people don’t associate that word with the desktop and maybe good old “programs” is better.

20191113_103309

Oor Frank gave a keynote asking why can’t we work better together?  Why can’t we merge the Gnome and KDE foundations for example?  Well there’s lots of reasons why not but I can’t help think that if we could overcome those reasons we’d all be more than the sum of our parts.

I got to chat with Ti Lim from Pine64 who had just shipped some developer models of his Pine Phone (meaning he didn’t have any with him).

Pureism were also there talking about the work they’ve done using Gnomey tech for their Librem5 phone.  No word on why they couldn’t just use Plasma Mobile where the work was already largely done.

This conference does confirm to me that we were right to make a goal of KDE to be All About the Apps, the new technologies and stores we have to distribute our programs we have mean we can finally get our stuff out to the users directly and quickly.

Barcelona was of course beautiful too, here’s the cathedral in moonlight.

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OpenUK Meets the Crumbling of UK Democracy

This week I went to Parliament square in Edinburgh where the highest court of the land, the Court of Session sits.  The court room viewing gallery was full,  concerned citizens there to watch and journalists enjoying the newly allowed ability to post live from the courtroom.  They were waiting for Joanna Cherry, Jo Maugham and the Scottish Government to give legal challenge to the UK Governement not to shut down parliament.  The UK government filed their papers late and didn’t bother completing them missing out the important signed statement from the Prime Minister saying why he had ordered parliament to be shut.  A UK government who claims to care about Scotland but ignores its people, government and courts is not one who can argue it it working for democracy or the union it wants to keep.

Outside I spoke to the assembled vigil gathering there to support, under the statue of Charles II, I said how democracy can’t be shut down but it does need the people to pay constant attention and play their part.

Charles II was King of Scots who led Scots armies that were defeated twice by the English Commonwealth army busy invading neighbouring countries claiming London and it’s English parliament gave them power over us all.  So I went to London to check it out.

In London that parliament is falling down.  Scaffold covers it in an attempt to patch it up.  The protesters outside held a rally where politicians from the debates inside wandered out to give updates as they frantically tried to stop an unelected Prime Minister to take away our freedoms and citizenship.  Comedian Mitch Benn compared it, leading the rally saying he wanted everyone to show their English  flags with pride, the People’s Vote campaign trying to reclaim them from the racists, it worked with the crowd and shows how our politics is changing.

Inside the Westminster Parliament compound, past the armed guards and threatening signs of criminal repercussions the statue of Cromwell stands proud, he invaded Scotland and murdered many Irish, a curious character to celebrate.

The compound is a bubble, the noise of the protesters outside wanting to keep freedoms drowned out as we watched a government lose its majority and the confidence on their faces familiar from years of self entitlement vanish.

Pete Wishart, centre front, is an SNP MP who runs the All Party Intellectual Property group, he invited us in for the launch of OpenUK a new industry body for companies who want to engage with governement for open source solutions.  Too often governement puts out tenders for jobs and won’t talk to providers of open source solutions because we’re too small and the names are obscure.  Too often when governements do implement open source and free software setups they get shut down because someone with more money comes along and offers their setup and some jobs.  I’ve seen that in Nigeria, I’ve seen it happen in Scotland, I’ve seen it happen in Germany.  The power and financial structures that proprietary software create allows for the corruption of best solutions to a problem.

The Scottish independence supporter Pete spoke of the need for Britain to have the best Intellectual Property rules in the world, to a group who want to change how intellectual property influences us, while democracy falls down around us.

The protesters marched over the river closing down central London in the name of freedom but in the bubble of Westminster we sit sipping wine looking on.

The winners of the UK Open Source Awards were celebrated and photos taken, (previously) unsung heros working to keep the free operating system running, opening up how plant phenomics work, improving healthcare in ways that can not be done when closed.

Getting governement engagement with free software is crucial to improving how our society works but the politicians are far too easily swayed by big branding and names budgets rather than making sure barriers are reduced to be invisible.

The crumbling of one democracy alongside a celebration and opening of a project to bring business to those who still have little interest in it.  How to get government to prefer openness over barriers?  This place will need to be rebuilt before that can happen.

Onwards to Milan for KDE Akademy.

 

polkit-qt-1 0.113.0 Released

Some 5 years after the previous release KDE has made a new release of polkit-qt-1, versioned 0.113.0.

Polkit (formerly PolicyKit) is a component for controlling system-wide privileges in Unix-like operating systems. It provides an organized way for non-privileged processes to communicate with privileged ones.   Polkit has an authorization API intended to be used by privileged programs (“MECHANISMS”) offering service to unprivileged programs (“CLIENTS”).

Polkit Qt provides Qt bindings and UI.

This release was done ahead of additions to KIO to support Polkit.

SHA-256:
5b866a2954ef10ffb66156e2fe8ad0321b5528a8df2e4a91b02f5041ce5563a7
GPG fingerprint:
D81C0CB38EB725EF6691C385BB463350D6EF31EF

Notable changes since 0.112.0
———————————————————
– Add support for passing details to polkit
– Remove support for Qt4

https://download.kde.org/stable/polkit-qt-1/

Thanks to Heiko Becker for his work on this release.

Full changelog

  •  Bump version for release
  •  Don’t set version numbers as INT cache entries
  •  Move cmake_minimum_required to the top of CMakeLists.txt
  •  Remove support for Qt4
  •  Remove unneded documentation
  •  authority: add support for passing details to polkit
    https://phabricator.kde.org/D18845
  •  Fix typo in comments
  •  polkitqtlistener.cpp – pedantic
  •  Fix build with -DBUILD_TEST=TRUE
  •  Allow compilation with older polkit versions
  •  Fix compilation with Qt5.6
  •  Drop use of deprecated Qt functions REVIEW: 126747
  •  Add wrapper for polkit_system_bus_name_get_user_sync
  •  Fix QDBusArgument assertion
  • do not use global static systembus instance

 

KDE.org Applications Site

I’ve updated the kde.org/applications site so KDE now has web pages and lists the applications we produce.

In the update this week it’s gained Console apps and Addons.

Some exciting console apps we have include Clazy, kdesrc-build, KDebug Settings (a GUI app but has no menu entry) and KDialog (another GUI app but called from the command line).

This KDialog example takes on a whole new meaning after watching the Chernobyl telly drama.

And for addon projects we have stuff like File Stash, Latte Dock and KDevelop’s addons for PHP and Python.

At KDE we want to be a great place to be a home for your project and this is an important part of that.

 

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.