Posts Tagged ‘KDE’

OSOL + KDE 4.3.2

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

A while back I mentioned OpenSolaris packages for KDE 4.3.2, and while strictly true, they weren’t anything to write home about particularly. Some time — and some weekends at home, which is the critical bit — has passed, leading to improved specfiles; I have not published a full package set anywhere public yet.

Main issues that were gotten out of the way: nepomuk-rcgen was crashing on runtime-linking because of bad library order. Minor compile error in kdenetwork, already committed in trunk. That gives us all the regular KDE SVN modules again, plus konversation. I haven’t tried Qt creator this time around. Remaining obvious runtime problem is Akonadi, which doesn’t find the MySQL server (in /usr/mysql/bin, but then I can’t find a way to configure that at all, and all the akonadi tools segfault on startup anyway).

In any case, one step forward, meaning it might be almost done by the time KDE 4.4 comes out.

Travel and To-Do

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Spent yesterday in Germany. The usual applies: nice train ride and for once the ICE from Arnhem wasn’t horrifically late or broken down (for some reason the ICE in the Netherlands and on the stretch to Oberhausen is unreliable, but after that very good). Battery life of laptop pretty much as expected and published: a little over 2 hours. That’s fine for the purposes for which I bought it. Ridiculously pleased about German food. For some reason I nearly always leave a Dutch restaurant feeling like I got ripped off, while schweinhaxe (pork hock) and beer (I didn’t count, but it was tasty) seemed like an excellent deal. Thought a little about a To-Do list based on the hacking on KDE 4.3 that I’ve done recently — very often patches get delayed and then blocked because of freezes and then bumped to the next cycle and delayed again .. it’s a maintainence nightmare when fixes are not sent upstream (e.g. to KDE SVN).

  • File bug report for CMake’s FindBoost. Attach patch to that bug report.
  • Fix up KPilot’s akonadi resources wrt. Boost includes.
  • Figure out how to package soprano — I’m told that KDE 4.3 beta relies on an unreleased Soprano version. Guys, that just makes it more difficult to build, package and test stuff.
  • Write a spec file / package for the oxygen icons so that KDE looks less empty — or less tango-y, as the case may be. Thanks to sebas, nuno and other commenters who pointed out that they have moved.
  • Finally merge in the kpci nested-anonymous-union changes.
  • Try to change qstringmatcher.h so it doesn’t define a type in an anonymous union — this isn’t critical, but it’s an annoying warning to get for each and every file that is compiled.
  • And dozens more patches to upstream, but these are the ones that bother me most.

Some notes on OpenSolaris 2009.6

Monday, June 8th, 2009

As I mentioned previously, I’ve updated some of my machines to OSOL 2009.6. Only some, though. It refuses to start on my AMD 760G based machine — gets through grub, shows the splash and then hangs. I haven’t sat down to debug that one. It does run quite nicely on my new laptop (some folks asked: it’s an MSI GX620, which is nominally a “gamer’s laptop”. Poor battery life, but I realised that I don’t use the lappy in planes and on the longer train trips I have there’s power. GF9600, P8600, 4GB, 320GB — it’s slightly more powerful than my desktop machines. The keyboard is OK, takes a little getting used to because some of the punctuation is slightly smaller than usual. It has a numeric keypad, which as far as I’m concerned could have been left out for some bigger keys. The machine is a little noisier than I might have wanted, too.). There’s also a really nice VirtualBox image for OSOL 2009.6. That one only gets you a text login, though.

On the KDE4 front on OSOL, we hit some issues similar to what happens on Windows (and to a lesser degree on FreeBSD). I’ll quote Christian Ehrlicher from his recent “stopping Windows development” blog entry:

Another problem I’ve is that I could not fix bugs in kdelibs just because the dependencies are moving fast and since we have to take care for all system libs (png, xml, openssl, pcre, …). Making sure that they’re up-to-date can take a lot of time. And when I finally managed to compile a KDE program I hit compiler errors. This is all fixable but not when you’ve only a little amount of time for KDE development.

Pavel has been hacking up a veritable storm in updating our KDE builds to 4.3-beta, and I’ve been following along trying to update dependencies (gpg and friends, lzo, akonadi, …) as well. And then we hit new dependencies (what is openslp?) all of a sudden, which means backtracking and packaging some other bit of Free Software first.

All this hacking happens in the publicly writable kde4-specs-42 Mercurial repository on It’s publicly writable so that anyone can contribute, but that also means that it sometimes gets screwed up. By me, for instance, because I pushed something last week that broke all 64-bit builds in it. Gah. Anyway, that’s cleaned up now, and the current status is: KDE 4.3-beta builds, runs ok (oh joy of konsole compared to GNOME-terminal). In VirtualBox there are rendering issues. Those will go away in time, I imagine, or once someone fiddles around with default themes and such.

My intention is to release a OSOL 2009.6 KDE 4.3-beta VirtualBox appliance as soon as I have something that works “well enough.” That means that you need to be able to log in from a display manager (gdm or kdm, I don’t care — I haven’t gotten either of them to start up properly on the appliance yet) and get at least the KDE Plasma Desktop functionality, with Konqueror and Konsole as applications. That would make me happy, as a new milestone in the ever-shifting race to keep up with KDE development.

KDE in Amharic?

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

I mentioned recently a KDE Amharic (or Ge’ez) translation. Unfortunately, such a thing does not yet exist. My brother is moving to Addis Ababa later this year, though, so I’ll stop by at some point. That is the total extent of my own intentions for Amharic KDE (I do think it is a beautiful script and attended an interesting talk last year about text messaging in Amharic). However, starting a translation effort is relatively simple; the Hausa team (re)started this year. Bear in mind, though, that starting is easy, finishing all 148809 strings is not so.

First off, the statistics for languages currently being translated are on the KDE l10n pages. There’s a “participate” link on that page as well as a translation HOWTO to get you started. Very roughly:

  • Make sure you can enter the characters you need in a text editor. There’s not much point in starting if you can’t enter a እ from the keyboard.
  • Get the very first file to translatie, which is kdelibs4.pot and take a look at the kind of strings in there. I remember with Hausa there were long discussions about some of the terms — especially because there’s often not all that much context available and it can be useful to have a KDE4 installation running and to know where the strings are coming from or being used.
  • Start filling in the msgstr parts. You can use any text editor that supports UTF-8 entry. I used kate for a while. However, there are specialized applications that support translation workflows much better. KBabel in KDE3, Lokalize in KDE4. There’s also po-edit and others outside the KDE world.
  • Translate a few dozen strings in that file. Read the translation howto. Create a suitable directory structure for your language, copy the translated file in there, then .. gosh, I’d have to look up what to do next. I remember that the first real feeling of accomplishment in Kano with the Hausa team was when we’d (I say ‘we’ here very loosely: Mustapha, Ibrahim, Nasiru and the other guys did the translating and I did the typing) translated the KDE About box and some other bits and could start up LANG=ha konsole and read ‘Cire’ in the File menu. There was some compilation and futzing about involved there, which I can reconstruct from my laptop if it still boots.
  • Apply for a KDE svn account, inform the translation team coordinators, and start committing strings. And then send me screenshots 🙂

Reasons to attend Akademy

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

A while back Aaron wrote a bit about his reasons for attending Akademy. They aren’t *personal* reasons, but reasons of community building, community growth as well as the “special reason”, the overall question answered at the conference; unfortunately personal reasons will keep him from attending this year. Akademy (the yearly KDE world summit) and GUADEC (the yearly GNOME world summit) are hosted together on Gran Canaria, as part of the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit (GCDS). The reasons for this are twofold: the boards of both projects wanted to try a joint(-ish) conference and that Canaries have a strong track record in Free Software. I suppose you could also claim proximate cause and say that it’s being held there because the boards of both the GNOME Foundation and KDE e.V. decided (following membership consultation) to hold it there.

The generic reasons for attending a large KDE event — community building, putting faces to svn account names, doing design work on a whitboard with a cup of tea and a crowd discussing things and then finally taking a picture and putting it in SVN somewhere as documentation, discovering hidden shared interests and talents (team humongous will be on a foodie rampage, I can assure you) and the simple joy in being together and creating something beautiful and Free — will apply as always. I’ve never been to a GUADEC, but I imagine that the atmosphere there is similar, and look forward to looking around there.

The most generic reason of all to go to a conference is the content thereof; the programme committees of the joint conferences have put together a wonderful set of talks with cross-desktop and project-specific content lasting three days. The keynotes have a few surprises in store for us all.

Still, what’s the special reasons attached to the conference, its overall purpose? I think Aaron does well in aiming squarely for KDE 4.5 — to be released around Akademy 2010, that is. Taking the long view and ensuring the long term stability of the software platform and improving the user experience so that it will keep for a long time is a good thing to do. I have my own list of things that need doing and for which a large-scale event is necessary; they are ancillary to the long term goal and not, strictly speaking, at all essential:

  • Plan how we can expand the i18n efforts in novel locations (I’m thinking Hausa and Amharic for largely personal reasons here).
  • How to get Raffi to do a KDE theme song (because the bananaphone is ringing).
  • Ensure that the legal tidbits around KDE code are explained clearly to all contributors and that newcomers learn quickly how we not only do the technical stuff but the project management and legal mumbo-jumbo around it as well. As part of this we will be encouraging — gently, since it is an individual’s own choice — people to fill in a FLA to simplify our copyright situation.
  • I want to re-connect to the people working on Krazy and the English Breakfast Network. I’m sometimes (often?) better at starting things than seeing them through to to their technical perfection and conclusion, so I’ve been rather disconnected from the goings-on in KDE’s software quality checking system. I know Bertjan is doing cool stuff together with Allen and that Brad Hards is looking into gcc plugins (not necessarily for the EBN, but you never know). A long term plan — where do we want to go with this software quality toolset? what should be its direct impact on KDE code? can we promote the use of the tools and presentation software elsewhere?

I'm going to AkademyA large Free Software project like KDE has many facets. I’m going to Akademy to try to buff up a few of them and to get a picture of what the consensus is on the direction of the project as a whole.

Moving right along

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Some folks have noticed that my “Bobulate” blog on has gone away. This is true. For many years, the KDE-FreeBSD team used fruitsalad, kindly hosted by Hasta AB (a manufacturer of cool curtain rods and blinds). It seems the machine has rolled over and died one last time; the home directories are no longer mounted. While I might have liked a little notice (for instance to get backups off of the machine) there’s not much to be done about it right now except try to reconstruct things using search engine caches. Nonetheless, thanks to Hasta AB for hosting things for so long.

On the KDE-FreeBSD front, development things are now hosted at iXsystems, such as the ports repository, patches, and whatnot. I’ve been slowly updating all my FreeBSD machines to the current ports (KDE 4.2.3) to see what it’s like and what I should expect when updating the packages that I do for OpenSolaris.

As for my blog, I’m happy to move it in with the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE). I’ve been involved with the FSFE for some years now, latterly as an FSFE fellow (still owing Rainer much beer, I think) and as a member of the Freedom Task Force. These relationships with the FSFE follow from the kind of things I do as a board member of KDE e.V., where I wear the “legal dude” hat, and from my long-term commitment to Free Software. I’ll be using the FSFE blog platform (it’s WordPress) for my own writings from now on. I will try to continue to cover the usual topics: kids wearing funny hats, Free Software conferences, legal issues, KDE development and KDE packaging on non-Linux Free Software operating systems.