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A shiny new release fresh out of the oven

Rohan Garg -

The Kubuntu and KDE team has been hard at work for the last 6 months, which has culminated into a rocking Kubuntu 14.04 release which introduces a whole bunch of new features, the most important of which are :

  • A new semantic search framework for KDE SC 4.13, leading to faster email and file searches
  • Automatic error reporting in order to improve the quality of KDE and Kubuntu
  • A new driver manager to make it simpler to activate hardware that requires proprietary drivers
  • Notifications for when additional drivers or language packs can be installed to improve your Kubuntu experience
  • A new touchpad management app for laptops
  • Misc. bug fixes and features that can be found here

Kubuntu 14.04 is a LTS release, so while introducing new applications, we’ve also taken into account personal and business users who would want to run it for extended periods of time, which is why the Kubuntu team makes the following promise :

  • Kubuntu 14.04 will keep receiving security bug fixes when such fixes are available from KDE upstream for the next 5 years
  • New releases of the KDE SC will be backported to 14.04 and be available via Kubuntu PPA’s for the next 2 years
  • A long-term upgrade path to the next LTS release

Along with the above, the Ubuntu team also has plans to backport new Xorg and friends releases as well as new kernel releases as part of their LTS Enablement stack, making sure that your hardware performance keeps improving over the time of 5 years.

All of this makes Kubuntu the ideal distribution to use for enterprise rollouts, OEM’s and of course regular users who want a longer support cycle ( as opposed to the regular, 9 month, support cycle )

You can download your copy of Kubuntu 14.04 from here. We also have some Kubuntu swag that you can purchase over here!

conf.kde.in 2014

Rishab Arora -

February 21, 2014 to February 23, 2014

When we were leaving from the KDE Meetup at Gandhinagar in February 2013, I remember Pradeepto and many others talking about organizing conf.kde.in again. The first one happened in 2011 when I hadn’t yet begun to contribute to KDE. 3 years later and precisely 1 year from the KDE Meetup, conf.kde.in has become a reality! The team at DAIICT and the members of KDE did an amazing job to make this happen.

This years event spanned 3 days starting with an introductory talks with a workshop, followed by 2 days of talks on a variety of talks. Pradeepto stressed in the introductory talk about having fun. And I’m sure the next days spent with the community would convince anyone that we’re all a fun loving lot. It’s always great seeing people I know, like Shantanu, Pradeepto, Yash, Sinny, Nikhil, Vishesh, Kevin, Jos, Peter but also meeting contributors which I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet, including Smit Shah, Sujith, Shubham, Avnee, Vijay.. the list will never end!

The conference featured 19 talks ranging from how to contribute to C++11. It also featured memorable incidents like breaking open a coconut that Smit Shah received for his talk ’KDE. Unlike a coconut.’ All of us were inspired by the people we met at conf.kde.in immensely. I gave a talk on KStars and talked about what KStars is and how to contribute to it. I demonstrated the process by fixing a small bug and talking about Junior Jobs.

Kudos to Yash and the DAIICT team for a terrific experience. Thanks to Digia, VCreateLogic, and Janastu for their support! And <3 to ThoughtWorks for sponsoring the travel for Shantanu and I.

Rocking conf.kde.in 2014!

Sinny Kumari -

conf.kde.in happened 2nd time in India after huge success in 2011.  conf.kde.in 2014 was a 3-day conference held in DA-IICT college was even more successful, rocking, inspiring and motivational for all attendees. Attendees were very active and enthusiastic throughout the conference which was proved by asking as well as answering different questions with speakers.

One of best things was that there were  no parallel talks, all talks including Qt workshop  were scheduled in one conference room. This way all attendees were able to attend all talks without any rush for switching places.

tl;dr: If you missed the talks, you can find some slides here http://conf.kde.in/accepted-talks and photos


https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-l8o820kAo7c/UxTX-ibQNGI/AAAAAAAAB98/WDmzjfwPMxA/s640/DSCN3516.JPG             //lh4.googleusercontent.com/-ALFYTeYDRLI/UxTXYtWB4XI/AAAAAAAAB9Q/kGvt5gr-toc/s640/DSCN3503.JPG



Day 1

Conference started at 2 pm with opening talk by Pradeepto with warm welcome to everyone to KDE family! Later, Qt workshop started by Prashanth Udupa (from our sponsor VCreate Logic ). He taught basic Qt programming to attendees, followed by Shantanu  who taught some cool stuff with QML. Other speakers and volunteers were helping attendees in solving  their doubts and weird errors. This workshop helped students with getting familiar with how Qt and QML code look like and proved useful for next two days talks.

Day 2 and 3

Day 2 started with keynote by Smit Shah on KDE unlike a Coconut. It was very interesting listen his story from college till now. At the end of his talk he got questions that were very interesting, curious and quite innocent - pretty much expected from college students.

Later different KDE related talks started. There were variety of talks from different KDE projects like Mer, Baloo, Artikulate, Localization, Simon, Plasma Workspace 2, Digikam, Kstars, Khipu etc. Some talks were also which gave generic idea of what KDE is and how to contribute to KDE.  There were also a great talk on C++11 explaining what all nice features new C++11 has.

And yes, this year I also gave a talk on my most favourite KDE project  Plasma Media Center to which I contribute to. This was first time when I was giving talk to a large conference. It was very amazing experience talking about what this project is and what all features it has, how easy to contribute into this project. Shantanu already showed demo of Plasma Media center many times in between different talks, so people were already familiar with it which increased their interest in listening to my talk too :)

Result of this conference was amazingly more than what we expected. Attendees were listening to each and every talk with great interest and feel of learning new stuff. They had so many curious questions at the end of talk. Sometime, we had to request them to take questions offline due to time limit. More than 30 people (dunno exact count) built Plasma Media Center during conference itself and we helped them with errors and issues. Some people came with useful feedback and ideas as well. It was great talking and seeing interest in different KDE project from newbies. Many people also join kde-india Mailing List and posted questions.


https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-33VJuqt69So/UxTY_AqGtYI/AAAAAAAAB-U/t00C22JuA5I/s512/12764523735_3407955a06_o.jpg       https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-hRbk2ylFspY/UxTdsXEugPI/AAAAAAAAB-4/mf5EsflbEX4/s512/14020034.jpg

This conference was one of the awesome and productive KDE conference which we had in past!

Thanks to everyone who attended, volunteered, gave talk, sponsored, etc. I am pretty sure, we get few awesome new KDE kontributors from this conference :)


conf.KDE.in 2014

Sujith H -

Me, Shantanu and Smit reached Gandhinagar(Gujarat, India) on 21st Feb 2014. I was almost out of events from 2010 and hence this event was so special for me. On the same day I met Jos Poortvliet and Kevin Ottens. After having dinner our room became the adda  ( meaning: place where everyone joined ) where I met Rishab and Shubham .

Day 1: Feb 21 2014

My room mate was Smit and we woke up early. I heard a familiar sound from next room, “Arey shantanu …”. Hey it was our Pradeepto. I felt so good to meet him after 4 years!!!  After having some normal chat we were ready for breakfast. I met one of the old friends Prashanth Udupa for breakfast. Prashanth and Shantanu were discussing over Qt workshop for the day. After breakfast we moved to DA-IICT. To be honest its one of the awesome colleges I had ever seen till date. In the registration area I met Peter Grasch. Spent couple of hours there and moved ahead for lunch.

After lunch Pradeepto gave inauguration speech. He did a good job. And then on Prashanth started the Qt workshop. Prashanth kicked off the workshop with small example and went further. During workshop we helped students by fixing the problems they faced. Some had linker issues, GL files missing, fail to compille the code. Many had windows laptop and being a GNU/Linux user I felt bit difficult to tackle some of the issues they faced. But then some of the rockstars of KDE were ready to tackle them. Kudos to team KDE :)

After day one event we reached hotel. It was time to have dinner. And we decided to have some pizza’s. Except cold noodles and pasta ( I don’t prefer cold noodles and pasta ) the pizzas served were awesome. After dinner we came back to hotel. Had lots of fun in discussing some of the old stories, politics and what not.

Day 2: Feb 22 2014

Start of day 2 was with Smit’s talk. He shared with students how he got into KDE and how it had helped him in his career. How good KDE community. He also shared example of communities which helped students to understand how easy is to get into KDE community. And hence KDE community isn’t hard as a coconut :) Nikhil gave the second talk on Qt C++ idioms. This was a technical talk. He helped students realize about QPointer, QWeakPointer etc. And hence he did a good job. I had to give the third talk. After 4 years I am on stage. So I was very nervous. I described how I got into KDE community by contributing to Klettres. I also showed students how to find a problem and reach solution for the same. The fourth talk was given by Siteshwar and Shantanu on Mer project. They described how to have a common build system for different mobile vendors.  After each talk we got good bunch of questions from audience.

Lunch was provided in the front of the hall ( not exactly in the front :) ).

After lunch, Vishesh got into stage for his talk. His talk helped students to understand that its essential to have knowledge on the underlying technology of the project. He described how he had faced the hurdles while working on Nepomuk. Next talk was delivered by Samikshan. His talk was on how to use KDE edu packages like parley  and to learn language using the edu packages. Next talk was given by Sinny on plasma-mediacenter. She showed how plasma-mediacenter was used to play songs,videos etc. She also demonstrated on how plasma-mediacenter was used for viewing youtube videos. She didn’t forget to mention about contributing back to plasma-mediacenter :) Next it was Chandan’s talk on localization. He emphasized more on the tools used for localization.
Next was Shubham’s turn. Shubham described about his SoK experience. Shubham also described how he enjoyed working on KDE Multimedia. The day ended with Kevin’s talk. He described how FOSS works. There were points regarding cultural reasons for its shortcomings and how it can be improvised etc. When everyone emphasized on word “Open Source”, I really loved the way Kevin used word “Free Software”.

The second day’s talks were over and we moved ahead to our hotel rooms. There was already plan made to go out for dinner as a team. It was far away from the hotel and for commute, vehicles were ready. We had lots of PJ’s and fun during the drive. We had kind of Gujarati+Rajasthani style dinner. After dinner we came back to hotel.

Day 3: Feb 23 2014

First talk of the day started with Jos. He helped the audience to understand about how and where KDE is going ahead with KDE5, Plasma 2 etc. There were quite interesting questions form the audience as well. Next talk was by Kevin on C++11. It was purely technical talk on the new changes brought in to C++ like lambda, auto etc. He tried his best showing sample snippet code to students and demonstrating the old way of writing and new style with c++11. Next talk was given by Prashanth on GCF. He explained some of the IPC mechanisms used in GCF and how it can be used in local network.

We had lunch in front of the hall.

Post lunch talk was kicked off with Avnee. Avnee showed how she contributed to KDiamond game during GSoC. She showed about components in QML and how to reuse them. She also showed about custom components which user can create and use them. Next talk was given by Peter. He started of with architectural diagram of Simon. He demonstrated how to play songs in amarok using simon. He also shared ideas on how to integrate simon to specific applications like plasma-mediacenter. Next was Bhushan’s talk on Plasma2. He showed the video of plasma workspace 2. He showed students on development and porting phases of Plasma 2. Next was Rishab’s turn. Rishab demonstrated a bug in kstars UI and how to fix it. He also asked students to file a bug or send a patch to kick off contributing to kstars. I missed Puneet’s talk as I went outside to take snaps. And finally we all gave a big round of applause to the volunteers who were involved in the event.

Me, Shantanu, Smit and Prashant returned back to Bangalore on the same flight. So when I look back at the event I got an opportunity to meet old friends, make new friends, had lot of fun, learned new stuff. I would thank DA-IICT for providing the venue and all speakers and audiences who came. I also give special thank to Digia and VCreate Logic for sponsoring the event. My special thanks to KDE e.V too :)

Here is the link to photo’s I captured during the event in flickr.

New Touchpad management app in Kubuntu 14.04

Rohan Garg -

Hot on the heels of the new driver manager, we have the new touchpad management app that we introduced in Kubuntu 14.04.

New Touchpad KCM

The new app replaces the old Synaptiks touchpad management app and has many more buttons and settings that you can twiddle and tweak to get the best experience. The Kubuntu team would like to thank Alexander Mezin for working on this replacement app as part of his GSoC project. The package comes complete with its own plasmoid for easy access to enable and disable touchpads! Quite useful for folks who don’t have a physical hardware button to Enable/Disable touchpads ;)

Users of Kubuntu 14.04 can grab the new touchpad management app from the Ubuntu repos by installing the kde-touchpad package.

New Driver Manager for Kubuntu

Rohan Garg -

Hola Kubuntu users

Ubuntu ‘recently’ deprecated jockey and moved to ubuntu-drivers-common. ubuntu-drivers-common is a python backend which will try to figure out which drivers are best suited to your system. Up till Kubuntu 13.10 we were still relying on the backend called Jockey which is python2 , however for the 14.04 cycle, one of our major tasks was to rehaul the driver manager interface and use the fancy new ubuntu-drivers-common backend which is python3 based.

By leveraging this new backend, we are now at feature parity with Ubuntu when it comes to driver handling. Packages are now available to trusty users and can be acquired by installing the ‘kubuntu-driver-manager’ package.

Once installed you’ll find it in your System Settings Menu under “Driver Manager for Kubuntu”


If you find any bugs , please report them here

Astro-scripting using KStars' D-Bus interface

Akarsh Simha -

I was telling Henry about
an interesting use case of KStars a few days ago, and he
suggested that I blog about it.

I encountered this problem while preparing for a Practical Amateur Astronomy workshop that we were organizing. We had made lists of
various celestial objects for people to observe, along with some
hand-written descriptions. We edited the lists collaboratively on
Google Spreadsheets, and at some point I declared the lists final and
made a CSV export. I wanted the lists to be organized by constellation
and also have some more vital information about the objects filled in.

Enter KStars and D-Bus. KStars has D-Bus interface functions that let
you access many of its features. I use qdbus to access
them over the shell. (Note that the following is known to work on
GNU/Linux. I am entirely unsure about Windows and Mac
platforms). Here’s a brief example of making KStars point towards M

qdbus org.kde.kstars /KStars org.kde.kstars.lookTowards "M 33"

(Note: Due to some bug in KStars at the moment, you need to invoke the
above multiple times to get the object in the center)

Then, let’s say we want to query information on NGC 2903. We can do so
by using:

$ qdbus org.kde.kstars /KStars org.kde.kstars.getObjectDataXML "NGC 2903"

and KStars outputs an XML blurb describing the object.

One can now use tools like xmlstarlet to work with the
XML on the command line.

There. That has all the information I need to complete the
checklists. So I went ahead and wrote a small shell script to order
the objects by constellation and typeset a table using LaTeX. The
results look like this:


Many more wonderful things are possible because of the D-Bus
interface. In fact, my Logbook project
relies heavily on KStars’ D-Bus interface. The Logbook project uses
KStars to produce amateur astronomers’ logbooks complete with fine and
coarse finder charts, relevant data and DSS imagery.

One can use qdbusviewer and qdbus to further
explore the available D-Bus methods in KStars and profit from
scripting using KStars.

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