Mario Fux


Posts Tagged ‘a11y’

New maintainership for the Simon speech recognition

Saturday, October 17th, 2015

But before I tell you more about my new relationship with and to Simon I need to apologize for the delay of the promised blog series called My Wishion for KDE (and yes “wishion” is an amalgamation of “wish” and “vision”). They will start, as soon as next week. Sorry that you need to wait a little longer but I had my good reasons. Some rather bad things happened last week and they had absolute priority.

This is a very ambivalent year for me. Some great things happened: e.g. the birth of my second son Simon and the finishing of my studies. And then there are these worst case things happened to my family. Oh and for the case you sent me an email recently and I didn’t answer yet. You will get your reply eventually, just be patient.

Now let’s talk about the other Simon – the open source speech recognition program. As you might have read Peter Grasch, the former maintainer of Simon, needed to leave the project and was searching for someone that takes it over. And as I was at this point in time the only person interested in this great tool and framework… So I’m the new maintainer of Simon and would like to thank Peter a lot for his trust and for the great work he did in and with Simon over several years!

These are some pretty big shoes to fill and I (and hopefully with the help of others) will need quite some time to learn and try. I lack a lot of the knowledge Peter has but I’m eager to learn and learn even more. So I’m going to try my best to bring Simon forward and will try to be a good father to both of my Simons.

Currently I’m in the process of reading all the bug reports, get an overview of the Simon forum, add myself as default assignee for Simon bugs, add myself as CC: for the old bugs, do some other administrative stuff and take a look at the code and some patches that already arrived.

I’d like to thank Michael Abrahams for a first port (or start of it) to KDE Frameworks 5 (KF5) and Qt5 and Frederik Gladhorn to commit Michael’s patches to a branch while I was busy with the Randa Meetings 2015.

For the future I hope to make a last Qt4-based release (probably even before the end of this week). Later I’d like to work on the KF5-port and see where it makes sense to restructure some things. Oh and I of course would like to work with Peter’s last gift: Lera.

So if you’re interested in open source speech recognition and Simon in particular don’t hesitate to contact me or subscribe yourself to the kde-speech mailing list.

Count downs: T -10 hours, -12 days, -30 days, -95 days

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

It’s already for quite some time that I wanted to write this blog post and as soon one of the fundraisers I’d like to mention is over I finally took the time to write this now:

So the first fundraiser I’d like to write about is the Make Krita faster than Photoshop Kickstarter campaign. It’s almost over and is already a success but that doesn’t mean you can’t still become a supporter of this awesome painting application. And for the case you shouldn’t have seen it there was a series of interviews with Krita users (and thus users of KDE software) you should have read at least in part.

The second crowd funding campaign I’d like to mention is about the board game Heldentaufe. It’s a bit a family thing as this campaign (and thus the board game) is mostly done by a brother-in-law of mine. He worked on this project for several years – it started as his master thesis. And I must say it looks really nice (don’t know if the French artist used Krita as well) and is “simple to learn, but difficult to master”. So if you like board games go and support it.

And the third fundraiser it’d like to talk about is one of our friends from Kolab. They plan to refactor and improve one of the most successful pieces of webmail software. And as everybody here should be aware how important email is, I hope that every reader of this blog post will go to their Indiegogo page and give at least 10$.

So some of you might ask now: and what about the -95 days? In 95 days the 6th edition of the Randa Meetings will start. And as I’m sure it will become a very successful edition again and a lot of people want to come to Randa and work there as hard as they can and we want to help them with sponsoring their travel costs we plan another fundraiser for this and other KDE sprints in general. So if you would like to help us don’t hesitate and write me an email (fux AT kde org) or ping me on IRC.

UPDATE: As the first comment mentions the Heldentaufe Kickstarter was cancelled this morning and you can read about the reason on the latest update. But I’m optimistic that there will be a second fundraiser campaign in the future and if you’re interested about it don’t hesitate to write me an email and I’ll ping you when the new campaign starts.

Last chance to register for the Randa Meetings 2015

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

Konqi - the KDE mascot in the Randa Meetings edition

If you are interested in participating in this year’s Randa Meetings and want to have a chance to be financially supported to travel to Randa then the last 24 hours of the registration period just began.

So it’s now or never – or maybe next year.

You can come to the Randa Meetings 2015 – Please register now

Monday, April 13th, 2015

The dates for the sixth edition of the Randa Meetings are set: Sunday, 6th to Sunday 13th of September 2015. The first Sunday will be the day of arrival and the last Sunday accordingly the day of departure.

So what about you? If you know about Qt and touch gesture support, want to bring your KDE application to Android and Co, plan to work on KDE infrastructure for mobile systems, are a UI or UX designer for mobile and touch interfaces, want to make your software more accessible or just want to work on your already ported KDE application please register as soon as possible on our Sprints page.

The registration is open until the 13th of May 2015. Please add your estimated travel cost and what you plan to work on in Randa this September. You don’t need to include any accommodation costs as we organize this for you (see the Randa Meetings wiki page for further information about the building). After this date we will present a budget and work on a fundraiser (together with you) to make it possible for as many people as possible to come to Randa.

If there are any questions or further ideas don’t hesitate to contact me via email or on freenode.net IRC in #randa.

Participate in the date selection for the Randa Meetings 2015

Monday, March 9th, 2015

I’m close to being back to KDE joy and work. Just one last exam on Thursday and I’m done with my final exams. But let’s concentrate on the subject.

For the topic of the Randa Meetings this year it’s planned to focus on tablet/smartphone and touch platforms and make our software fit for them (e.g. touch ui for Kdenlive or Android CI) and work further on already adapted software (e.g. KDE Connect, GCompris or KPhotoAlbum). And e.g. the Visual Design Group of KDE might help to design these new UIs (e.g. a tablet-ui for KRecipes where you can recook all the great dishes of the recent Randa Meetings ;-) or make them better. Or what are your ideas for this topic?

So if you think you should be part of this endeavour and you want to come to Randa this year please go to Doodle and select the start date that fits you best. The dates that can be selected are the possible start dates of the respective Randa Meetings. Just add another 6 days till you need to leave Randa again ;-) .

Oh and please forward this information to potential other participants and people you think should come as well.

Randa Fundraiser: The countdown is ticking

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Just some more hours and the Randa Meetings 2014 fundraiser will close. It will end at 23.59 UTC, afterwards you need to go to the normal KDE donation page to support us ;-) . So may I ask you one last time this year to help us and give something. It’s high time and we can still achieve a big jump on the progress bar with your help!

In the picture below you see the group photo of the Randa Meetings 2011 in the form of a jigsaw puzzle. The year and place when the KDE Frameworks 5 planning and work started which achieved an interim stop with the first stable release yesterday. Some great (KConfig, KArchive, Sonnet, ThreadWeaver, etc.) Qt addons for you Qt developers and for many different platforms.

Jigsaw puzzle of the group picture 2011

Jigsaw puzzle of the group picture 2011

And guess what we plan to work on this year in Randa? Porting even more KDE applications to KDE Frameworks 5. The KDE Edu group will be there too and will port its collection of educational software to KF5. Software for kids and people that want to learn and understand the world. Understand why it’s important to be free in your decision to choose the tools you use to create great things and communicate it to the world. All these are things we work on for your and our freedom.

So take a look at your wallet and give what you can and thus help to make another great edition of the Randa Meetings possible where we create even better software for you.

Randa Meetings 2014 – Which date do you prefer?

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

At the end of last year we started the organizational process for a new version of the Randa Meetings. After a year without them we’d like to invite some KDE (and other) people to Randa in the summer of 2014. One of the first things that need to be set is the date for the meetings and thus at the beginning of this year we started to ask some people in the KDE community (and the chef ;-) and started a Doodle.

Projects ideas we had and have for the Randa Meetings 2014 are:

  • Creating one or two new KDE books (possible topics: application development with KDE Frameworks 5 or Plasma Workspaces 2). The books should be done in the same manner as the well known KDE Guide.
  • KDE Edu group
  • KDE Multimedia, Phonon and Amarok
  • Kate and/or KDevelop
  • KDE Accessibility, Simon Speech Recognition and the new Open Speech Initiative
  • OpenStreetMap (Switzerland)
  • OpenUsability

Some other ideas are meetings of the KDE Workspaces, Nepomuk/Baloo or inviting an artist or two (hey Krita guys ;-) to Randa to be creative there.

The slogan for the Randa Meetings 2014 could be something like Porting KDE and Qt applications to KDE Frameworks 5. With a possible first stable KF5 release in June this could be quite a good time to push forward in this direction. About this topic see some recent blog posts on the KDE planet.

But now back to the actual topic of this blog post: the date selection for the next Randa Meetings. If you or your group is interested you (single person) may add yourself to the Doodle or come to #randa on freenode.net and talk about your ideas. We plan to finish the Doodle thing at the end of next week and then reserve the house.

Or you’d just like to help. We plan some crowd funding actions and other stuff where we could and would need your help.

It’s great to be a part of KDE

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

This is just a short blog post about a thought I had in mind right now. It’s really great to be a part of KDE. All the stuff that’s going on atm in such a great atmosphere:

And that’s just the stories I’m aware off at this small moment in life. Great to share some of my life with you KDE people and users… Thanks and cu in Randa…


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Go pledgie go – Randa Meetings status update

Monday, August 27th, 2012

First and foremost I’d like to thank all the people (anonymous and less-anonymous ;-) who already pledged some money for the Randa Meetings 2012 on our Pledgie.com page. It’s great to have gotten so much support from our community and we’re on a good way to reach the goal of 10’000 EUR till the 21st of September 2012.

On this date we are going to start the Randa meetings of this year and therefore I’d like to give you a short overview of the status of the preparations for the meetings and what you can expect from your support and from this year’s meetings.

As it showed it’s not necessarily easy to marry, get your first child and organize a Randa meetings event in the same summer and finally my university decided that I didn’t yet finish my minor in computer sciences as I expected. But these are all the bad news and the good news follow:

Most of the people already ordered their plane or train tickets and with more of your support we can offer to pay the accommodation and the train tickets in Switzerland (from border or airport to Randa and back) for our participants. By the way we searched for quite a while to get the best and cheapest offer for these tickets so we don’t waste your money!

As at every work one needs to eat something to have energy to produce amazing things and thus I can tell you that the kitchen team is already preparing the menu for the meeting at the end of September and they actually already started to shop, prepare and cook the first meals. And I can tell you it looks good, the menu, and the meals will give you a lot of energy to go back to the computer and hack as crazy till late at nights.

The next and probably for this blog the last but most interesting information is about the groups and what they plan to do in Randa (and thus what you get back for your support soon):

  • The accessibility (a11y) group plans to work heavily on KDE (and some Gnome) applications to make them even more accessible for differently abled people. We plan to invite some blind computer users to Randa to help us testing our applications. Together with our friends from Gnome we improve the general a11y infrastructure for better inter-application work. And last but not least the GSoC student who worked on lip recognition for Simon (a speech-recognition system based on the KDE platform) will be in Randa too…
  • The KDE Education group plans to port as many of their (and where it makes sense) applications to mobile platforms and since some time Android is a new target for KDE software and thus opens a whole new eco system of tablets and mobile computers.
  • The multimedia people from Amarok, Phonon and Co plan to work on the next Amarok version, Phonon’s port to Qt5 and QML (QtQuick) and further improvements of KMix and Co.
  • And last but not least the Plasma team plans to work on the next version of the Plasma libraries (libplasma2 for and based on KDE Frameworks 5). Another bigger topic is going to be the porting of more parts of Plasma apps to QML. And we expect to see one or the other Plasma Active tablet there and thus some e.g. educational apps or multimedia software on this devices.

Another great feature of the Randa meetings is the possibility to talk with the other teams, discuss and share ideas or just chat about some thoughts during lunch or dinner (breakfast is not for talking ;-) .

Some days ago I set up this years wiki page for the Randa meetings where you find up to date information of what’s happening during the meeting, links to old blog posts about the coming meetings and more interesting information.

So please go to our Pledgie page and donate and thus help us to hold yet another amazing and insanely productive series of meetings in Randa.


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Randa meetings foundation, N9 and Co

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

This will be just a short blog post but at least it will be one ;-) . This week first discussions will start about the creation of foundation (legal entity) for the Randa meetings. The following things are quite important for me on this:

  • To keep it alive for the next years.
  • Broaden the scope of free software communitites which can use this place.
  • Make it independent of my person (and thus make it able to to give to people working on this big organizational task at least some expense allowance (and for me to pay the diapers which I need to buy soon ;-) )
  • Find more sponsors to save free software organisations (like the KDE e.V.) from costs.e
  • Involve more and more locale people, schools and industry.
  • Bring even more KDE people to Randa in the next years.

And for this I created a new internal mailing list (German only, sorry). So if you’re interested send me an email (my lastname at kde dot org) and we’ll add you to the list.

Another nice thing that happened in the last weeks was the arrival of my new N9 I got from KDE. It actually was a nice coincidence that the device arrived at the same day I officially finished my WiktionaryParser university project which I’d like to port to the N9.

As I won’t find the time in the next days to port this software and work a bit on QML frontend at least I installed all available KDE software for this nice mobile. Thus I’ll be able to demonstrate KDE software on yet another device (and to e.g. show it to potential new sponsors for the Randa meetings.

And the last thing in the post. I’ve of course already some plans for this year’s Randa meetings: My favorite focus this year would be Accessibility (a11y). I’m already in contact with a11y developers and blind users. And this year September would be the date of choise… And don’t forget to flattr me if your like what I do :-) .


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