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12.06.13

Links 6/12/2013: KDE and GNOME News

Posted in GNU/Linux, KDE at 11:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

11.27.13

KDE 12 Iterations After the 4.0 Release

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, KDE at 10:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Now is the time to abandon Windows and dodge Microsoft trespassing

Windows

Summary: The world’s most features-rich desktop is coming to a milestone which represents expansion to yet more form factors

KDE SC is approaching its 12th KDE4 release [1], which brings further improvement [2] not just for desktops [3]. KDE has become a platform for tablets and perhaps phones, not just desktops and laptops. Even home media centers are an area of focus and in places like CERN KDE gets uses scientifically as a kind of server/experiments front end. Based on what we’ve seen on the Web, these efforts from KDE are all fruitful and people are increasingly satisfied with KDE, even those who used to dislike it. Development of KDE continues [4] even if some KDE/Qt applications lose momentum [5] (they cannot die, in part owing to the licence) and new GNU/Linux releases continue to show signs of confidence in KDE; even the bad guys use KDE [6]. GNOME has a new release too [7] and it brings significant improvements [8], which helps show that a decade and a half down the line these two leading desktop environments can coexist and mutually thrive. Now is an excellent time to migrate to GNU/Linux. It’s mature, it’s reliable, it is easy to use, and it’s user-respecting. People no longer should assume that Microsoft is inescapable.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. KDE Ships Third Beta of Applications and Platform 4.12

    KDE has released the third beta of the 4.12 versions of Applications and Development Platform. With API, dependency and feature freezes in place, the focus is now on fixing bugs and further polishing. Your assistance is requested.

  2. KDE Applications Get Further Fixes In 4.12 Beta 3

    The third beta of KDE 4.12 was released this week, but for those that missed the news only really are the 4.12 apps being improved in this next KDE desktop release.

  3. KDE Plasma Media Center 1.2 Beta Has New Features

    Plasma Media Center, the KDE project to slowly take on the likes of XBMC and provide a nice user-interface for multimedia tasks atop the KDE experience, is up to version 1.2 beta. The 1.2 beta release of Plasma Media Center is packing a number of new features.

  4. KDE Commit-Digest for 10th November 2013
  5. KDE’s Kdenlive Video Editor Has Gone Dark

    While there’s many Kdenlive fans out there for the KDE-focused open-source video editor, it seems new development efforts around the project have ceased.

  6. openSUSE 13.1 KDE
  7. GNOME 3.10.2 Has Been Officially Released
  8. GNOME Shell 3.11.2 Supports Disabling Browser Plugin

11.07.13

UNIX and GNU/Linux: The More, The Merrier

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, KDE at 6:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Why in the world of GNU/Linux and UNIX/BSD, having more diversity is a good thing, not a thing to be feared and rejected

IT HAS long been recognised that cooperation combined with some competition leads to faster development and elimination of weaker concepts/implementations. We see a lot of this in the aviation and automobile industries. Many planes and cars use components from the same suppliers, but they still integrate uniquely in order to compete. Their improvements and integration work set them apart. The Linux Foundation, a unifying force in the world of Linux (kernel) development, says that “Competition Among Open Source Projects Delivers Better Technology Faster” [1]. Remember there even within Linux (and UNIX) there is a lot of competition, e.g. between file systems. There are pros and cons to each candidate and weaker ones cease to be developed.

What people call “Linux” is much more than a kernel; in a practical sense they often refer to Linux/X/GNU/KDE/Mozilla or something along those lines. The abbreviation “Linux” for what would better be described as the Free/libre operating system (not necessarily just GPL-licensed and not necessarily desktops) is so deeply rooted in society that it would be virtually impossible to change now, but let’s look at the desktop layer for a moment, taking into account recent news.

“It is disheartening to see a lot of anger directed at those who conceptualise and then implement their own alternatives which they deem technically better.”GVFS, which causes me much trouble at work, has a new release available for testing [2] and the same goes for GNOME Notes [3]. Cinnamon [4] and Wayland [5] help show that Shell and X are no longer the only game in GNOME town, demonstrating diversity in other layers of the stack too (GNOME does not necessarily run on GNU/Linux, either). GNOME is probably the most widely used Free/livre desktop environment, but over time it becomes easy to see that it branches off in many directions.

When it comes to KDE, which has a lot of power [6] and is actively developed by a very large group [7,8], the same is true. KDE can run on almost any operating system, with varying degrees of compatibility and integration. It’s not just for desktops, either. That’s why KDE was pretty much renamed/rebranded a “Software Compilation” a few years ago. My wife uses KDE because KWin makes it easier to use and it is more visually pleasing. But it’s not for everyone.

Let’s not forget others players like Xfce [9] (usually considered third in popularity) and of course the plethora of tools which make the command line so powerful [10,11,12,13]. On servers where performance comes first, command-line tools are a must.

When the “Free Desktop” expands to other form factors, supports more desktop/interface environments, initialisation systems, file systems, graphical servers etc. we should expect it to evolve faster, not more slowly. The development community grows when diversity increases. It is disheartening to see a lot of anger directed at those who conceptualise and then implement their own alternatives which they deem technically better. It’s not the spirit of GNU to just slag off those who come up with new solutions, seeking to replace — based on merit — what’s currently popular among users. It is okay to criticise those who try to leverage software patents to ban or tax their competitors (like Novell did with Microsoft), but to berate companies for doing GNU/Linux their own way (under copyleft) is worse than a waste of time; it’s very counter-productive and it distracts from the real threats.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Competition Among Open Source Projects Delivers Better Technology Faster

    Today we’re pleased to announce that The Linux Foundation will host the Open Virtualization Alliance (OVA), the organization dedicated to education and advocacy for KVM. KVM is growing in popularity among businesses and open source communities like OpenStack with a 50 percent increase in deployments this year, according to IDC. We will work with OVA to extend education and advocacy that supports and helps advance the important work of this developer community.

  2. GVFS 1.19.1 Is Now Available for Testing

    The first development version towards the GVFS 1.20 application for the GNOME 3.12 desktop environment was announced a few days ago, introducing various fixes and improvements.

  3. The First Development Release of GNOME Notes 3.12 Arrives

    The first development release towards GNOME Notes 3.12, a nice and simple application designed to create, view, and edit notes on the GNOME 3.12 desktop environment, has been announced on October 27, 2013.

  4. Cinnamon Desktop: Breaks with GNOME, finds beefed-up Nemo

    The Cinnamon Desktop project recently released version 2, a major overhaul of the desktop environment that’s best known as the default option for Linux Mint’s flagship release.

  5. Running The Latest GNOME Wayland Shell On Fedora 20

    With the Fedora 20 beta coming up I decided to see where the latest Fedora 20 packages are now at for their support of Wayland and the GNOME Shell Wayland session. In particular, looking at whether the session is still buggy and how the XWayland performance is for Linux gaming.

  6. How-to configure keyboard layouts in KDE 4 (video)
  7. KDE Commit-Digest for 13th October 2013
  8. KDE Commit-Digest for 20th October 2013
  9. I installed the Whisker Menu for Xfce

    I just read about the Whisker Menu for Xfce at OMG! Ubuntu and installed it on my system from the Fedora repositories.

    While I’m happy with my panel on the left and the traditional Xfce Application Finder, I thought the Whisker Menu would be worth a try.

  10. Special laptop keys with Linux

    Laptops often have special keystroke combinations for certain functions or commands

  11. Bloated Audio Players? No Thanks!

    The term lightweight is a label attached to computer software which is relatively simpler or faster than its counterparts. Feature bloat is endemic in software especially commercial software. Often, the easiest way to persuade users to upgrade to the latest version is to add new spangly features. This happens with open source software (to a lesser degree), and open source music software is not immune to feature bloat. Music players can often seem to be designed for everything except actually listening to music with tons of bloat that you do not actually need.

  12. In Depth Look at Linux’s Archiving and Compression Commands
  13. Linux rsync command with practical examples

10.28.13

K Desktop Environment/KDE Software Compilation Attracts Funding, New Patrons

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, KDE at 10:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Digia

Summary: Noting the continued momentum and importance of KDE

KDE is in many ways more advanced than its counterparts, which may make it hard for beginners to grasp but at the same time irreplaceable for longtime users [1]. Google is actively supporting KDE [2] and so does Digia [3,4], the company behind Qt (which has changed many hands but is still in Finland). Some KDE applications, such as GRUB2 Editor [5], are useful for both GNOME and KDE, just like GParted helps both. This takes us back to the point made in the previous short article.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Seven Things You Can Do in KDE (But Not on Other Linux Desktops)

    If you don’t know KDE, you don’t know what the Linux desktop can do.

  2. KDE Accomplishments – Google Summer of Code 2013

    Google Summer of Code 2013 (GSoC) brought fifty budding new shoots and branches to the mighty KDE family tree, and the canopy of warmth and love offered by the community helped them blossom and bloom in the three months of the program. With a few snips, a little trimming and pruning, they have learned, innovated, created and contributed to one of the largest free and open source communities in the world, and have developed software that will touch many people around the world. They now have their roots firmly planted in the KDE community with the successful completion of their projects and are ready to shelter budding shoots to come!

  3. Digia becomes KDE patron

    Digia, the company that acquired Qt from Nokia, has now joined KDE e.V as a patron. Digia looks after Qt development and it’s licencing to other companies. The company also looks after the Qt Project under open governance and KDE software is based on the Qt framework.

  4. Digia becomes Patron of KDE eV

    We are happy to announce that Digia is joining KDE e.V. as a Patron.

  5. GRUB2 Editor 0.6.4 Is the Perfect Tool for Your GRUB Needs

    GRUB2 Editor, a KDE Control Module for configuring the GRUB2 bootloader, is now at version 0.6.4.

GNOME Desktop 3.10 Continues to Bring Great GTK-based Applications to All GNU/Linux Users

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, KDE at 9:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GTK logo

Summary: A quick note addressing complaints regarding “fragmentation” and “benevolent dictators”

THE schism — perhaps even the rivalry — between KDE and GNOME (or Qt and GTK) often overlooks the fact that both sides benefit from the other. The more they both advance, the more applications GNU/Linux have and the more compelling platform GNU/Linux becomes for more people. With bridges between these two toolkits and desktop environments it is evident that those who use GNOME and KDE as an example of maligned “fragmentation” simply misunderstand or berate GNU/Linux using misconceptions. For choice and freedom to be more than just marketing terms we do need to have competing (and quasi-collaborating) toolkits and desktops. What’s important is standards and copyleft.

“If many users are unhappy with a direction that some project takes, then it is probably that a large fork/branch will develop.”Many nice applications come with the latest GNOME (either core applications [1,2] or non-core ones [3]). Developers are free to do with these applications as they please [4,5], even port them to Qt if they like it better, so complaints like [6] sort of miss the point. Developers are not in the business of pleasing every user, but they should at least allow any single individual to take the project in any desired direction. If many users are unhappy with a direction that some project takes, then it is probably that a large fork/branch will develop.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. GNOME Settings Daemon 3.10.1 Fixes Memory Leaks

    The GNOME developers announced a few days ago that the first maintenance release of the stable GNOME Settings Daemon 3.10 package, a daemon run by all GNOME sessions to provide live access to configuration settings and the changes done to them, is available for download.

  2. GNOME Control Center 3.10.1 Released with Multiple Improvements

    GNOME Control Center, GNOME’s main interface for configuration of various aspects of your desktop, is now at version 3.10.1.

  3. GNOME CAKE 3.10 – Fully Baked, No Bugs
  4. Learn how to compile from source Linux software with AbiWord 3
  5. Writing a GNOME thumbnailer

    How does GNOME generate thumbnails for files? It uses a collection of programs called thumbnailers, each one generating thumbnails for a specific set of content-types of files. For example, totem-video-thumbnailer generates thumbnails for video files using GStreamer; evince-thumbnailer generates thumbnails for PDFs and other document files.

  6. The Linuxsphere – Benevolent Dictators Need Not Apply

    The issue was improving Nautilus by bringing back the ability of adding color and texture to the background. For as long as I can remember, Gnome/Nautilus users have been able to set a background in this file manager.

10.24.13

GNU/Linux Desktops Continue to Multiply to Appease Users

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, KDE at 5:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Display variety in GNU/Linux

Summary: GNOME is ditched by Cinnamon, which is yet another example of users and developers taking control in the interest of users

DEALING with varying user requirements is hard. There is no one-size-fits-all paradigm when it comes to desktop environments. Just as we require many types of vehicles (trucks, vans, motorcycles, etc.) we need to facilitate a variety of needs, which vary from person to person. Microsoft and Apple ignore this and they try to shoehorn people into their own restrictive environments. GNU/Linux is different. Development of KDE, the world’s most advanced desktop, carries on [1,2] and documentation improves as well [3]. The KDE Community Forums turns 5 [4] and new users come to KDE [5], which is — although it is debatable — better than GNOME when it comes to applications but not as a desktop for new users [6] (KDE is very advanced, too much for some). Cinnamon 2.0, in the mean time, is forking GNOME [7] and even ditching it [8]. It is now available in Ubuntu 13.10 [9], which is Mirless [10]. Many distributions still use classic GNOME [11] or modified GNOME [12], but what’s clear overall is that over time we are left with more choices of desktop environments. KDE itself has been forked to satisfy those who wish to keep the KDE3 experience. This is a strength, not a weakness.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. KDE Commit-Digest for 6th October 2013
  2. KDE Commit-Digest for 29th September 2013
  3. Plasma Active Handbook released

    The Projectsite of the handbook is placed under: http://pactivehandbook.sf.net. There you can download a PDF in the english or german language. Also a XHTML version of the book is available in both languages there.

  4. 5 Years of KDE Community Forums
  5. Installed KDE via Kubuntu v13.04 – My First Thoughts

    I moved to Kubuntu early Sunday morning, and it was not without a few minor perils. I wanted a clean install, thus formatting /home was a must. I was coming from Linux Mint 14 XFCE to Kubuntu 13.04 which of course uses KDE as the default desktop manager. I really didn’t want any cross contamination in /home nor did I want to dual-boot. It was all in or nothing. So I chose the all in and I am glad I did.

  6. KDE vs GNOME: Settings, Apps, Widgets

    Video: While one desktop appears clearly superior to the other, its rival offers some better apps for key uses.

  7. Cinnamon 2.0 Desktop Is Readied For Release

    Linux Mint’s Cinnamon 2.0 desktop fork of the GNOME Shell has been tagged and is being readied for release.

  8. Cinnamon 2.0 Ditches GNOME, Features Enhanced User and Window Management

    Cinnamon, the desktop shell using in Linux Mint, has finally released v2.0, which features new window tiling and snapping, along with enhanced user management options. And there are lots of other changes under the hood too, including a new backend that no longer requires GNOME.

  9. Cinnamon 2.0 in Ubuntu 13.10 Screenshot Tour

    Cinnamon 2.0, a fork of GNOME 3 desktop environment, developed by Clement Lefebvre, the father of Linux Mint, has been released to critical acclaim and now you have a chance to see it working in Ubuntu 13.10.

  10. Not so Saucy after all: Ubuntu reveals Mirless Salamander… and what, no Britney?
  11. First Look at GNOME 3.10 on Arch Linux

    After approximately two weeks of testing, the Arch Linux developers promoted earlier today, October 7, the recent GNOME 3.10 desktop environment to the stable channels, allowing users to upgrade their six-month-old GNOME 3.8 installation.

  12. SolusOS 2 Will Use a Custom GNOME 3.10 Desktop

    Thanks to a leaked screenshot on Google+, we’ve recently discovered that the upcoming and highly anticipated SolusOS 2 Linux operating system will have a darkish and highly modified version of the recently released GNOME 3.10 desktop environment.

10.08.13

KDE News Roundup: Plasma Active 4, Frameworks 5, Krita, and Akademy 2014

Posted in GNU/Linux, KDE at 1:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Konqi

Summary: The latest news from the world of KDE, bundled together

KDE, the powerful desktop environment for GNU/Linux, is changing its release structure [1] after its most recent release [2] which brought Plasma Active to more form factors than before [3]. With Frameworks 5 [4] seemingly imminent (Qt5 makes it so) to excite users [5] because core parts are actively developed [6,7] along with peripheral programs [8,9] and various other bits [10-13], the future of KDE looks bright.

Akademy 2014 is also coming [14], promising to help bring KDE developers from different parts of the world of KDE (it is treated specially in Europe [15] and Asia [16]) and many choice remain for people who want a distribution with KDE preinstalled [17].

Regular users of KDE may know that the project no longer focuses just on desktops and laptops. Adaptations are intended to address shifting market dynamics, but inherently, applications remain the same. For phones and tablets that are as powerful and versatile like desktops, KDE is essential.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. KDE Release Structure Evolves
  2. KDE Ships September Updates to Plasma Workspaces, Applications and Platform

    Today KDE released updates for its Workspaces, Applications and Development Platform. These updates are the first in a series of monthly stabilization updates to the 4.11 series. As was announced on the release, the workspaces will continue to receive updates for the next two years. This release only contains bugfixes and translation updates and will be a safe and pleasant update for everyone.

  3. Plasma Active 4 – ready when you are

    The KDE Community announces the release of Plasma Active 4 (PA4). Plasma Active is a user experience technology stack for consumer electronics. While the default user interface is for tablets, it can be customized to work on smartphones, settop boxes, smart TVs, and touch computing devices such as home automation and in-vehicle infotainment. There are major new improvements to the Files application, an overhaul of the on-screen keyboard and a completely free and open source system based on the Mer Core. The Plasma Active team invites involvement from people who want to participate in the widespread movement towards mobile computing on open platforms.

  4. Frameworks 5

    A recent Dot article explained changes in the KDE release cycle that will be happening with the upcoming introduction of Frameworks 5. The changes to KDE’s core libraries are enough to warrant a name change from ‘Platform’ to ‘Frameworks’. This article provides some background, an overview of the changes, and the benefits and improvements that can be expected from KDE Frameworks 5 for the entire Qt community. A later article will address Frameworks 5 benefits for KDE developers.

  5. Switching to Kubuntu comments
  6. How Desktop Grid brought back SystemSettings

    One of my personal adjustments to KWin is using the top right screen edge as a trigger for the Desktop Grid effect. With the switch to KWin on 5 this hasn’t worked for me any more as we don’t have code in place to transfer the old configuration to the new system.

  7. New KScreen Mock-ups Spark Conversation

    KDELast week Björn Balazs posted of the results in a user survey with the goal of redesigning the KScreen multi-monitor configuration interface. After taking all the data into account, new mock-ups have been designed and posted. However, Aaron Seigo said that power settings are “fine” but do not need to be in the main interface confusing users.

  8. Krita Demonstrated at IDF Keynote
  9. New: Clones Array tool!
  10. KDE Commit-Digest for 1st September 2013
  11. KDE Commit-Digest for 8th September 2013
  12. KDE Commit-Digest for 15th September 2013
  13. KDE Commit-Digest for 22nd September 2013
  14. Akademy 2014 Call for Host
  15. ALERT Project concludes successfully

    Back in the last months of 2010, the ALERT Project began. Partly funded under the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme, the project followed in the footsteps of research efforts such as NEPOMUK. Its objectives were to help open source developers to work more effectively and to produce better software by improving bug tracking, resolution and software quality tools.

  16. ezgo – Free And Open Source Software In Taiwan’s Schools
  17. Free and Open Source Software in Taiwan has made impressive strides thanks to the work of the ‘ezgo’ team. They have put together a pre-configured set of Free and Open Source (FOSS) software that makes it easy for teachers and students to get up and running. The New Taipei City government has decided to install ezgo 11 on 10,000 PCs for elementary schools, bringing thousands of students in contact with Linux, KDE and educational Free Software. The ezgo team has written up an account of ezgo and how it came to be.

  18. It’s All About Choice: Alternate Applications For Your Kubuntu / NetrunnerOS / Linux Mint KDE Computer

09.23.13

KDE Enters the Era of 5

Posted in GNU/Linux, KDE at 5:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Konqi

Summary: Qt5 finds its way into the very core of KDE, arguably the best desktop environment in the world (most features-rich)

The K Desktop Environment (KDE) has undergone some major changes in recent years, development-wise. Some say that development stagnated, whereas others say that it’s as good as ever before. The death of Nokia in Microsoft’s hands has certainly not helped the toolkit upon which KDE is based (Qt), but there are signs of progress because the lead KWin developer merged in Qt5 [1,2], with evident development pace accompanying this milestone [3-6].

Amarok, which was seemingly abandoned for some time after a botched bunch of releases, is back in active development with funding from Google [7] and old KDE applications refuse to become deprecated [8] (Krusader and Konqueror are still better than Dolphin in many respects). There are even active surveys [9] regarding the development of KDE and polls which determine the best KDE distro of 2013 [10].

KDE is anything but dead. It’s my desktop environment of choice and after some bad reputation it received in the 4.0-4.1 releases people should definitely give it a go. It’s now hopping on the Qt5 train, later to be followed by the “5″ branch of KDE — the first major leap in several years.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Next step: dogfooding

    Almost a month since my last blog post. And of course lots of work in KWin in the frameworks-scratch branch since then – about 160 commits. Today I finally reached the next milestone: dogfooding. I dared to replace the KWin of my working session by the new version based on Qt 5 and it’s useable.

  2. Qt5-Based KDE KWin Enters Usable State

    The next-generation KDE KWin window manager for KDE Frameworks 5 and using the Qt 5.x tool-kit is quickly entering a usable state and can now handle “dogfeeding” by its developers.

  3. KDE Commit-Digest for 4th August 2013
  4. KDE Commit-Digest for 11th August 2013
  5. KDE Commit-Digest for 18th August 2013
  6. KDE Commit-Digest for 25th August 2013
  7. Wishfix part 2: Amarok.

    Once upon a time Linux had what I think was the best music player/manager, its name was Amarok and people even brought it up as a way to try convince others to move to Linux, intelligent playlists, auto fetching of cover arts, lyrics, last.fm integration, etc, and it was great. Fast forward a few years (almost a decade to be fair) and now Amarok and all KDE music players seems to be lacking, with KDE 5.0 maybe this is the time to fix it.

  8. 10 reasons why you should try Krusader

    Find out 10 reasons why you should try Krusader, a twin-pane file manager that might be faster than Dolphin on older computers or just a better match for your computing habits.

  9. KScreen Management Survey Results Posted

    Björn Balazs has posted the results of a recent user survey in a “study about the requirements for the screen management tool KScreen.” The purpose was to find out how important screen management is to users and which setting configurations are needed most to aid in development of the Kscreen.

  10. Best KDE distro of 2013

    Normally, at the end of the year, I tend to run my best annual distro roundups, choosing the finest among five operating systems or flavors thereof that showed the greatest promise in terms of stability, usability, elegance, support, and other curious items in the outgoing twelve-month period. But I have never dedicated much thought to selecting the best implementation of any one particular desktop environment, regardless of the system underneath.

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