Telepathy-KDE: Questions and Answers

If you are reading this post is probably because you have questions about “Telepathy-KDE”… I’m sorry, you won’t find the answers here, yet. But since you are here… We want you to contribute the Q&A with your questions! (yeah, I must admit this is cheating)

I just came home from the Telepathy-KDE Sprint and I’m reading blog posts and comments. What I just realized is that people still don’t understand exactly what is telepathy, why do we want it in kde, if it will just replace kopete, if it will die like decibel, if it will be maintained and by who, what is a tube, if it can do <insert your favorite cool feature here>.

I think that we really need to do an effort to clarify everything to both “users” and “developers”, because we believe that telepathy is REALLY cool and it’s a shame if we are not able to transmit our enthusiasm to you…

A good start could be a good Q&A page somewhere (probably the KDE wiki will be a good place). I don’t have much time in this period and I prefer spending time coding than trying to guess what people wants to know! So please, leave your questions here as comment and I’ll try to answer to all of them.
Just ask anything you want to know. Also help is very welcome, so if you know something but you think that people might ignore, or if you can answer to a previous question feel free to leave both questions and answers.

Also I think the Q&A should be split in sections by category of users, so when you leave a question tell me who you are (this will be really helpful in sorting the questions):

  • a “basic user” (what the hell is telepathy, I just want to chat with my friends with a nice interface)
  • an “advanced user” (you will be using basic application like chat, file transfer, but want also advanced features)
  • a “developer” (you want to use instant messaging features in your application)
  • a “contributor” (you contribute or you want to help us developing telepathy integration in kde and plasma)
  • an “empathy user” or a “gnome user” (you already use empathy you want to know some details in what Telepathy-KDE is different from empathy and why our instant messaging application won’t have a cool name)
  • “someone else” (please specify)

Thank you!

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20 comments to Telepathy-KDE: Questions and Answers

  • developer

    As usual, I guess the underlying structure will be first finished. The thing that interests me is loading the list of contacts and opening (requesting to open) a chat window (or other similar actions).

    When are we to expect this stable enough for testing? And when can we expect API stability?

    Cheerio and thanks for putting IM back in focus!

  • Does telepathy-kde4 replace and deprecated Decibel? It seems like decibel is completely gone now….

  • anton

    advanced user:

    Will it support video conferences (with jingle – to be compatible with google talk) and voice with SIP?

  • akreuzkamp

    advanced user (maybe contributor, if I find the time)
    How will the contact-list be organized? Maybe through KAdressbook?

  • Nicolas Wack

    developer:

    I probably could have looked these up, but since you’re asking, here are my questions :-)

    I’m writing an app and I’d love to be able to have telepathy manage a list of contacts for me to which I can:
    – detect whether they’re online (easy I guess ;-) )
    – send files in background to synchronize some metadata (ie: some small files, but the user doesn’t accept those explicitly)
    – secure connections
    – also, is it possible to identify user just with IP+ssh key for instance, instead of requiring them to have an IM account
    – is it feasible to transfer huge files; can I resume a broken transfer?
    – can I do streaming, ie: audio or video streaming?
    – do you have python bindings for all of this? :-)

    – and bonus question: how much of it is kde-specific and how much can be done with Qt only?

    Thanks for your answers and your efforts on this!!

    • Some of these questions are a bit tricky, so let’s discuss them here:

      Question 4) What do you mean identify them with ip+ssh? Probably not, you will have to go through an IM protocol. What’s the point of using telepathy if you are identifying users directly with their ip?

      Question 6) Do streaming where? In your application? You can do it, but you will need to duplicate code from the call handler and use the GStreamer and Farsight libraries. Is there a reason you would want to do that instead of using the kde call handler?

      • Nicolas Wack

        (reposting from below, I somehow missed the reply button the first time…)

        Hi George,

        Thanks for the reply. I’ll try to be more precise:

        question 4) The idea I have in mind is that I want to easily manage a list of users and know about their online presence at a given moment in time. I’d like to do this regardless of whether they are on gtalk, msn, yahoo, … Ideally I’d even like to be able to add users in that list that are not on an IM network, because what I mostly want is detect whether they’re somehow connected and send them some files. Using Telepathy when I already have an ip is nice because it can go through firewalls, NATs, etc… right?

        question 6) OK, maybe I spoke before thinking Now I realize this might have little to do directly with Telepathy, you’re right. The idea I had in mind was the following:
        - users Alice and Bob are online. Bob has a list of videos on his computer, which Alice knows about (the list) because they’re both online (background sync, or whatever)
        - Alice decides to watch one of these videos in streaming, so she connects to Bob’s computer (via a tube?) and starts streaming the video. The video will play in mplayer, VLC, etc… but not in the application, however maybe there’s a way to use a telepathy tube to, as said before, go through all the obstacles (NAT, …) in the same way that you would use an SSH tunnel to hop through multiple computers.

  • uetsah

    kde user

    Question: Will Telepathy-KDE result in yet another resource-hogging, hard-or-impossible-to-get-rid-of daemon like Akonadi?

    (Don’t be offended kdepim devs, Akonadi is great if you actually use KMail, but if you don’t, it’s really annoying that it starts up with plasma every time, uses memory, cpu and (worst of all!) disk access time for no apparent reason and has no “off” switch in the configuration.)

  • uetsah

    kde user

    Does it work behind a firewall/router?

  • uetsah

    kde user

    Will this technology also be used for supporting collaborative editing in KDE apps (e.g. KOffice)?

  • uetsah

    kde user

    Will each application that uses Telepathy-KDE keep it’s own contact list, or will all apps use a central contact list (e.g. one in KAdressbook or Kopete)?

  • uetsah

    kde user

    category: security

    – Are incoming connections restricted to trusted user? If not, what protective measures are implemented against spam, malicious impersonation, and similar attacks?

    – Do telepathy tubes use SSH authentication and/or content encryption?

  • uetsah

    kde user

    Telepathy seems to be a freedesktop.org specification. Does this mean that KDE and Gnome apps (with similar use cases) which both use Telepathy tubes will be able to interact smoothly? (Not only in theory, but also in practice?)

  • malte

    Doh. The server was unreachable yesterday evening, when I wanted to post my comment:

    I think doing this in a blog is a very bad idea. So I created a link on

    http://userbase.kde.org/Applications/Internet

    which directs to

    http://userbase.kde.org/Telepathy
    .

    Later may barely considered a sceleton, but it is there and people can just add stuff to it (what I am the wrong person for).

    I dont know how these translate-tags work and I think that they might scare people off, so i havent added any and maybe the link on Applications/Internet is wrongly translated, I dont know.

  • TheBlackCat

    advanced user:

    Some questions have sort of touched on this, but will telepathy contacts integrate with PIM contacts like akonadi or evolution?

    Will there be a way to store your contacts to a flash drive for easy transfer between computers, or even using a contact list stored on a flash drive directly? (I know there was a nepomuk backup GSOC project)

    Is there a possibility of putting the chat interface directly in plasma instead of using a separate window, or an easy way for developers to embed a chat interface in their program for collaborative work?

  • Nicolas Wack

    Hi George,

    Thanks for the reply. I’ll try to be more precise:

    question 4) The idea I have in mind is that I want to easily manage a list of users and know about their online presence at a given moment in time. I’d like to do this regardless of whether they are on gtalk, msn, yahoo, … Ideally I’d even like to be able to add users in that list that are not on an IM network, because what I mostly want is detect whether they’re somehow connected and send them some files. Using Telepathy when I already have an ip is nice because it can go through firewalls, NATs, etc… right?

    question 6) OK, maybe I spoke before thinking ;-) Now I realize this might have little to do directly with Telepathy, you’re right. The idea I had in mind was the following:
    – users Alice and Bob are online. Bob has a list of videos on his computer, which Alice knows about (the list) because they’re both online (background sync, or whatever)
    – Alice decides to watch one of these videos in streaming, so she connects to Bob’s computer (via a tube?) and starts streaming the video. The video will play in mplayer, VLC, etc… but not in the application, however maybe there’s a way to use a telepathy tube to, as said before, go through all the obstacles (NAT, …) in the same way that you would use an SSH tunnel to hop through multiple computers.

  • Alan Jones

    I’m surprised I’ve not found this question yet – any packages, nightly or whatever that can be installed?