Mario Fux

Archive for July, 2010

Question to the KDE multimedia meeting participants

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

If you were a participant of this years KDE multimedia meeting I would be interested in your opinion:

As you probably know this was the second kde meeting I organized and I plan to do another one next year (btw I got today the OK of a certain person and I think this means the topic for next years meeting is set but more about this in the following weeks). What do you think if I would earn some money with the organization of the next meeting.

As I like or love to organize such meetings and I doesn’t seem to be that bad in this I’d like to organize another and another and … You see ;-) . But even if it’s a lot of fun it’s also work and time consuming work nonetheless. For the meeting this year it took a good month of time to organize everything (incl. the meeting time). The whole amout of time is or was distributed over half a year.

And the other thing is that I need to eat (;-), pay the bills and as I’m moving to my girlfriend and my studies end in the next year or two a family is not that far away. And that’s another reason I’d like to professionalize the meeting, make a conference/sprint out of it. An annual one. And don’t missunderstand me: I’d don’t want to become rich on the shoulders of kde developers and/or the KDE e.V. The contrary I starting to plan and search for sponsors much earlier this time to decrease the amount of money the e.V. "needs" to sponsor.

Oh and if or when you’re waiting for my next "kde work day" blog. It’s in the making but as I’m moving (the whole room is full of stuff to package ;-) some stuff delays a bit. And there’s anoher idea floating in my mind. Something somehow kde related but not code related and something for the kids and probably something to play and something about Konqi the dragon but …

Oh and I’ll do something like (yes, I like the word "something" ;-) a qt and kde course in my local linux user group… Oh and this is the last oh: I’ll do an english course in the next semester to meliorate my english grammar. Hopefully to your pleasure as well ;-) .

KDE work day 1 – xml and nepomuk

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

I’m sitting in the train from Zurich to Burgdorf (Switzerland) and want to report, dear reader, about my first week of KDE (or atm qt) development. It was not really as I planned it, I did not work a whole day on qt and kde, but several hours during the week.

As I told you last week my first week was about an xml indenter. Some years ago when I started to track routes for my Garmin GPS device spat out bad formatted xml (GPX) files. Bad means here that all of the content was on one line and as I sometimes wanted to extract single tracks me and the dear editor (Kwrite or Kate) had some problems to read and understand it. So then I wished there was a simple possibility to indent and format this piece of … I’m sure there are tools for this and probably I would have found them quite fast but as I didn’t search that much … Now in the last weeks when I played with QtXml and the dom API i stumbled over a simple function which did exactly what I wanted.

And so last week on my train home (other track ;-) I took out my laptop and decided to write this little program to solve my indention problem. 50 lines and 15 minutes later it worked. You can download it here if it’s of any use for you. It takes two arguments (input file and output file name) and a third optional one (number of indention spaces) and is of cource a command line tool. And don’t forget: I’m no code peat – at least not yet.

The other project was about a Wikipedia reader or Wikipedia viewer. Almost the same circumstances here. Some weeks or a year ago I already played a bit with Qts WebView component (QtWebkit). It was amazing how easy it was to write a webbrowser ;-) . So last Friday on the train (which got broken after ten minutes what gave me more time to hack ;-) (btw it was the same track as this one (and yes I like nesting ;-) ) to my girlfriend I did it.

It was amazing for me how easy it was and how good the Qt documentation is. After something like an hour there was it. A simple Wikipedia reader where you just have to write the word or concept you want to search for and it shows you the corresponding Wikipedia article (hopefully even in the right language). If you are a KDE or Qt developer you’ll say how simple this thing is but for me it was a great experience.

As I did not have an internet connection on the train I could not try it out. But the internet connection where my girlfriend (and soon I ;-) live does not yet work for my Debian laptop. So on the other day I thought to myself: let’s try to “port” the Wikipedia reader to her Windows notebook which has internet access. “Port” is in quotation marks because it was not really porting. I download the Qt SDK for Windows (Open Source version of course) which was actually the hardest part of “porting” (not because of Qt or Nokia but because of the lame internet connection).

Two hours later I just copied my wikiviewer folder to a usb stick, plugged it into the Windows laptop, imported the .pro file (waited a moment and yes, I don’t like Windows Vista and yes my girlfriend will get a GNU/Linux installation and yes I asked her ;-) , pushed the “Run” button and it worked. It just worked. Sorry, I know. It may be normal for you but I’m amazed.

During the last week and days I did a lot of reading. Beneath the reading of blog posts on and the lurking and reading of 10 to 20 kde mailing lists I read a lot about RDF (Resource Description Framework), LinkedData, RDFs (RDF schema), OWL, etc. Almost all of the stuff where presentation slides of a course I took a year or so ago at the university about the semantic web. After some reading I wanted myself to visualize some ontologies (the meaning, semantics or vocabulary). And I (re)found the W3C RDF validator which outputs the graphs in different graphics formats.

After downloading the Nepomuk (and here we are finally ;-) ontologies in the RDF/XML format I saw that the validator takes URLs as input as well (anyway I want to work with the RDF/XML version as well). Interestingly three of the ontologies failed to produce a graph (namely the NIE core, the NID3 and the PIMO ontology). I don’t know where the failure is but there could be something wrong.

This blog post gets longer and longer and there is still some stuff remaining (hope somebody likes to read it anyway). During the playing with the Wikipedia reader I recognized that already with such small things and few lines of code a version control system could be handy. So next week I want to read about Git, work and play with it and probably set up a git server (for the Strafful project I need it anyway).

And yes (or no) Strafful will be open source and free software but I won’t publish it before it has some basic features and some things I want it to have. The earliest you’ll see a 1.0 version is January 2011. And no (or yes ;-) It will be about RDF, Nepomuk, the semantic web and the end of Google ;-) .

So next week you’ll read here about Git, hopefully about my setup of a KDE development environment (and yes, we need something that easy like the Qt SDK for KDE: choose the platform, download a package and begin to develop. Qt has a great development platform but KDE’s is even better) and probably I’ll tell you what “Strafful”, the name, actually means.

My plan is still that I dedicate a whole weekday for Qt/KDE development, more or less half of it reading documenation (at least at the beginning) and half of it developing. And at most 30 to 45 minutes to write a blog post about it. Hope to be shorter next time and for something somehow unrelated: do you know and the TEDtalks? Great page, visit it!

BTW: Now I miss a feature in Blogilo: checking if all the links work.

I want to develop (for) KDE and I will!

Monday, July 5th, 2010

From now on I want to dedicated at least one work day each week to develop and program. Of course not all the 24 hours but something between 8 and 9 hours.

It’s not the first time I start my kde code contribution but hopefully it will be the last time. This blog should be something like a diary for this experience. There were already some blogs some time ago here on the planet about people’s first experiences with kde development. But this blog won’t be a howto or step by step introduction but a blog with links and what I’ve done on this day and about what I plan for the next week.

And by this way probably my big project "Strafful" will become alive or gets at least a first 1.0 releason in something around half a year or a year from note. I’m taking notes about it, about a manifesto, about milestones, different widgets, different platforms, a lot of stuff but the first public release will be 1.0. But more during the next weeks and months.

Btw this won’t be, as I already told above, my first first experience with Qt and KDE. A year ago I already worked through (and btw I hope my english will get better during the next months as well ;-) Daniel Molketins Qt4-Book (german homepage here). A really nice start. And I’ve done some smaller experiments and little project with Qt and Co. Like a toponym detector for a computational linguistics exercise (together with a collegue and foma: a finite-state machine toolkit and library. And I’ve read several Qt tutorials and tutorials and articles on KDE’s great techbase pages.

So here is something like a teaser for the next blog of my KDE work day. As I’m doing some geo tracking for from time to time a problem appeared to me that my Garmin devices spits out horribly formatted GPX files. And as I worked with Qt dom xml stuff lately I’ll do a short xml formatter next time and a simple wikipedia reader. These are the plans for my first real KDE work day. Let’s see what the outcome will be.

My secret about the KDE multimedia meeting 2010

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

I’d like to tell you a secret of why in fact I organized the KDE multimedia meeting. It was completely egoistic. I just wanted stable versions of my preferred multimedia software. And the success is finally arriving. On the 31st of May Christoph Pfister released the long awaited 1.0 version of Kaffeine for KDE 4. Thx a lot for this. And k3b‘s Michał Małek released the 2.0 stable version some days ago as well. Thx a lot!

But this was just an introduction and not really the main topic of this blog post. It’s about some statistics of the meeting. I did a questionnaire, which you can find here in pdf form. And 25 people completed it. The day before yesterday (when I started writing this blog post some weeks ago ;-) I put all the ratings, remarks and data into rkward (a KDE tool for statistics) but today they all disappeared :-( . I don’t want to blame rkward because it’s becoming a really great tool worth a look! Fortunately there were some plots but the rest was undiscoverable. Today I recollected the data in and here are the results of the Swiss jury (yes, I like the Eurovision Song Contest ;-) .

The questionnaire consisted of a part about the person (sex, age, first time in Switzerland and group), a rating part and two last questions about the idea of another KDE group which could come to Randa and if they want to come back themselves. But first some general information about the meeting and the location.

We had 45 persons there which means developers, artists, organizers, bug fixers, etc. The house has a capacity of up to 100 people with something like 20 single rooms, 6 group bed rooms, 4 group rooms, one big group room under the roof, a chapel, two dining rooms, a club room, a chief office, 4 restrooms, a kitchen and some other infrastructural rooms. And there is a BBQ place outside surounded by a big green field.

Randa is located at approximately 1440 meters above sea level. We did a trip to Zermatt (1600 above sea level and 12 km away) walking back to Randa. And some of us even went up to the top of the Klein Matterhorn which is at 3883 meters above sea level.

From the 45 participants where 10 female and from the 25 questionnaire fillers were 6 female. In the picture below you see the age distribution.

Age distribution

We served almost 500 meals during the 5 days (thanks a lot to the cook Hadrien Eggs who was on holiday and cooked for us the whole week) and spent 15 EUR or 10 CHF for the food and drinks (excluding beer ;-) per person per day. The alcohol drinkers at the meeting (i don’t drink any) emptied 360 bottles of FreeBeer. The network helpers (thx Oliver Summermatter and Co) distributed several dozens of network cables and 6 or something wifi accesspoints.

We had more the 150 guest-nights in the house. And I hope (and think, because of the fresh mountain air ;-) most of the people slept well even tough the wooden floor of the old house was sometimes quite noisy (btw I slept in my families chalet nearby where the plasma meeting Tokamak3 happened ;-) . But now back to the questionnaire and its results:

As 6 people are female who completed the questionnaire there must be 18 male people who completed it as well (one was missing ;-) . Of the 25 people 11 were already in Switzerland and for 14 it was the first time. The average age was 29 years. The group distribution shows 8 people from amarok, 10 from the kdeedu team, 1 from the games team and the remaining 5 ticked off “multimedia general (other)”. Now to the rating questions where I always indicate the average rating (scale: 0 = not good, 1= could be better, 2 = good and 3 = very good).

  1. Accommodation: Bedrooms: 2.32
  2. Accommodation: Group and meeting rooms: 2.417
  3. Location (house) in general: 2.6
  4. Location (area, geographically): 2.8
  5. Food (Breakfast, lunch & dinner): 2.917
  6. Transport/travelling to the meeting: 2.375
  7. Infrastructure: Power: 2.28
  8. Infrastructure: Network (cable): 2.318
  9. Infrastructure: Network (wireless): 1.76
  10. Information about the meeting beforehand: 2.36
  11. Organization staff friendliness: 2.96
  12. Organization staff competence: 3

So as you see most of the items are between “good” and “very good” except of the item about the wifi. As I heard and experienced wifi is always a bad point at conferences but nonetheless we’ll do better next year. And yes there’ll be probably a next years meeting. More information to come…

On the proposal and remarks site of the questionnaire we got some valuable information: “real coffee” was missing, we need a “more formal registration system” next year and the house was sometimes noisy where we can’t fix a lot unfortunately. In the last question I asked if the people know of another KDE group which should have a meeting in Randa and the answers where between “yes”, “no” and “Nepomuk (the same and all the others” ;-) . All want to come back to Randa, nobody ticked off “no” ;-) .

And to end this post and staying somehow in the row of all the other posts here on the planet: I’m not going to Akademy. But if everything worked out fine I’ve a proxy there for my vote at the KDE e.V. agm. And I’ll read and watch everything that happens over there so write and capture a lot!

Oh an btw: I begin to love Blogilo! What a nice piece of furniture …ah… software.