Yep, I didn’t have time to blog during aKademy as you may have noticed 🙂 The main reason is that I had a lot of discussions and attended to a huge number of BoFs. This aKademy rocked just as the others that I went. Huge thanks to the organization team, KDE e.V and sponsors for providing ways to make this happen and to have a lot of KDE hackers there!
Instead of doing a technical blog today, I will just say that during this aKademy KDE ‘called home’ for the first time. This means that for the first time in history 🙂 we had KDE running on a mobile phone and we made a call with it! This was AWESOME! Just a summary: Plasma-Mobile and a plasmoid that worked as a dialer did the work, using the phone API of Maemo5 on a N900.
As Aaron noticed, our first call was a little bit more “interesting” than Graham Bell’s one. The first words on a telephone in history are:
Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.
Interesting…..but you may think that the transcription below is a little bit more interesting. I will also omit some context that would explain some of the questions/answers during this talk as I think that it may turn this more…let’s say…special 😉 Enjoy!
My phone rings (for the sake of curiosity, my ringtone is “Snow” by Red Hot Chili Peppers) and the ID of the caller is “+41”. I answer and the call drops. I tell Helio that it should be some company from Brazil during TeleMarketing. While we walk to the bus for aKademy’s day trip it rings again. Alexis Menard is the caller this time:
Me: Bonsoir! er, Bonjour Alexis! Alexis: Guess what?!
Me: hhmm, you’re going to miss the dray trip because you just woke up? Alexis: NO! Guess what ‘amiguinho’!? (note: ‘amiguinho’ means ‘little friend’ in portuguese) Me: Oh, I got it! You’re the guy! Your bed is warmer than it should be? Alexis: What?! No, no, no! Come on! GUESS WHAT?! Me: I don’t know then! Let me think….ow yeah! GREAT! This phone call was made through the Plasma-Mobile stuff that we did yesterday?! Alexis: Yes!! Finally!! I’m turning off my computer and meet you at the bus! Me: OK! See you!
And then I tell everybody that was by my side that it was the first KDE phone call in history! REALLY GREAT! 🙂 The conversation above may seem non-sense but all the questions had a reason and the answers too 😛
Soon we should post some more technical bits about Plasma-Mobile and also I plan to talk a little bit about KDE-Pim-Mobile, the new Sharebin engine (that will support scripted plugins and GHNS) and if you want to contribute to some use cases of Plasma-Mobile take a look at this link.
As a kind of “sad note”, I would also like to tell you that the QEdje scriptengine was removed due (my) lack of maintenance of the QEdje project.
I’ve been busy with some “internal work” that was not that fun and due to that, it was not worth it talking about it :(. However during this time I wrote some KDE stuff and right now I’m busy with some awesome work and this one I’ll share with everybody 🙂
The benefits? It’s easier to extend and support new services so no more bugs on bko asking for this or that service (you can *easily* implement it and provide it through kde-apps.org). Because of that, applets using the new data engine will be able to use GHNS to extend the amount of services that it uses.
As soon as we unfreeze trunk, I’ll send the engine for review and then update the pastebin applet to support it. Ah, we are also using KIO inside the data engine now! 🙂 So, we also have support for “remote shares” (remote as in getting a file that is in the network – samba share for example). Good news right?
Now, I started to help the KDE PIM dudes and KDAB with their mobile version of the suite and anything that is related to it. So, I’m really looking forward having a great PIM suite for mobile devices. It uses all of the KDE infrastructure and the brand new Qt technology for creating rich UI interfaces: QML. It’s important to say that everything is being done on the open and upstream. Take a look at kmail mobile right now:
At the same time I’ll be in touch with the guys working on the Qt Components project, to provide feedback and use the stuff they are getting done. This is a really important project for QML and if you ever played with QML you know what I’m talking about ;).
I’m also going to Akademy this year thanks to the help of the e.V. and it’s sponsors (special thanks to Claudia that helped me with the booking :P). I’ll have a talk there with my fellow Alexis Menard about Plasma mobile and I hope that everybody that will be there enjoy the talk and the paper that we are working on! I also recommend the talk about Qt Components from Eduardo Fleury! If you want to talk about KDE Mobile, any other mobile subject (MeeGo, Maemo), anything KDE related, just about soccer or say hello…just do it 😛 I’m too small to prevent you from doing any of the above listed things 😛
Reading this post you were able to watch a video about Plasma Mobile (actually, Plasma on all kind of devices) and see some screenshots. But if you don’t know the ideas and concepts behind that, you are just going to bash it as it’s just the bootstrap of the project and a lot needs to be done.
And if for some reason you are wondering about the future of the netbook project, don’t worry 🙂 Plasma Netbook and Plasma Mobile, besides being oriented for smaller form factors than a regular Desktop / Notebook, have different concepts as they’re serving for different purposes. Marco (notmart) and all the Plasma team will still keep working on the netbook shell and if you read this post you can see the netbook shell running on Intel’s Jax10 devices. This was done to give us an idea about how the netbook interface would behave on touchscreen devices and helped Marco to do a lot of bug fixing and improvements.
Back to the mobile shell, this interface presented here was created for the same Jax10 device but the architecture was designed to support different “Views” (as in MVC) for even smaller devices (N900 anyone?) , while still sharing the same concepts though. Even if the interface was not designed for the N900 for example, we were able to run it with great performance and the usability was very good. What means that we’ll just need to slightly tweak the view to make it perfect for the N900. And all of this can be done by designers as the View is 100% done in QML 🙂
So our first step was to brainstorm about launching menus (and how regular grid views seems to be so boring) and how different contexts affects the way you use your mobile. I mean, we are making desktops aware of contexts more and more and it’s silly to think that you don’t use this concept on your other devices.
We thought about having regular activities so the user would be able to have different set of plasmoids for each context that he’s working on. However it still needs to be very easy to do some stuff like:
Going to your dialer if it’s a phone;
Change between activities (later we can make the shell location aware so it’s possible to auto switch);
Launch applications easily and context aware (presenting the applications related to that context);
In order to achieve these goals we came with this idea: having a regular containment and a kind of panel that auto hides itself after some seconds. Important to say that right now this panel is 100% QML and is not like the desktop’s panel (that is a containment in another view). This makes the shell use less memory and be faster as it’s just playing with pixmaps in the end. After hiding, it shows a collapsed representation of the panel at the bottom that the user can either click on it or drag it up to show back the panel. This makes it really easy to change between one activity to another one while keeping the user interface clean enough so the user can play with his applets 😉
First Mockup by Nuno
The panel while in it's collapsed mode
But then you ask me: “I want to launch applications ? How can I do that ?”. One solution is to add an application launcher as one of the main activities and the other one is to enable context aware application launchers. So, looking at the pictures above think that you are at the “Internet Activity” and you want to launch your applications. You can always launch the application related to one plasmoid from it so if you have an RSS Feed plasmoid you are able to launch your feeds reader using this plasmoid. But if the applications doesn’t have a related applet, in our concept you can just flip horizontally the current activity and you’ll find on it’s backside a context aware launcher that have shortcut icons for your applications and it’s size is proportional to the times that you launched the application and how much related to that activity the application is. This way it’s easy to find the most important applications for that activity.
Activity flipping to show...
...the context aware application launcher that right now is just a gradient 😛
It’s not there right now but the idea is that at the top we will have this small bar (that will be a containment) to show the status related widgets like battery, signals strength and other stuff very plasma, like clocks! It’s not there yet, but it will be!
Regarding the transitions from one activity to another we thought about sliding the activities up and down so there is the idea that we are throwing the current activity somewhere else and bringing the new one.
Throwing away the current activity....
...bringing the new one and fading out the panel....
...and the switch is done!
\Basically this is the concept behind the Plasma Mobile shell and after this it was just a matter of thinking about nice animations that would make sense, tweaking it’s timers and polishing icons 🙂 It’s clear to us that during the development we’ll find flaws in this ideas and we will need to fix them, as well as that the implementation right now is a little bit dirty due to time constraints (Tokamak doesn’t last forever unfortunately). Next steps ? Fix all the ugly code, finish implementing the launch menu, polishing and bug fixing…what means that we just bootstrapped!
Ah, if you are wondering: the Plasma Netbook project still keeps up to speed and is not sharing this backend (besides sharing a lot from libplasma). The deal is that the Netbook really needs it’s own concept and implementation while Plasma Mobile is really meant to be used on smaller devices than netbooks 😉
So, I just prepared a nice post about the job we have been doing during Tokamak 4 and what happened this days but I really don’t want to spoil cool stuff before we can at least give you some screenshots and videos 😉 Keep reading this blog as the next two posts will explain all of this and give some pretty and nice screenshots and videos!
First of all I would like to thank Will Stephenson, openSUSE and KDE e.V. (and of course everybody who supports the KDE e.V.) for hosting this developer sprint. It was awesome to put together people from three different teams that develop stuff that have a huge overlap area (Plasma + KWin + Oxygen). Really, thank you very much. I’m proud that you’re part of the KDE community!
Weather has been good (compared to Oslo and Finland where I was spending the last weeks) and the office is really good to work on. We have a lot of different devices to hack on (big computers with touchscreens, small devices from Intel and Nokia and the regular notebooks and netbooks) and we were able to expose a little bit more of our work to the local community (as well as see some old pictures of a sprint that happened at this same place in 2002).
From my side I was planning to bump the Pastebin applet with some new ideas and work on Plasmate and shell mobile but it seems that in the end I was able to just stick with one of these three targets. Anyway I hope that I can finish at least one more of then until the release of KDE SC 4.5.
Here is everybody that joined our developer sprint and keep watching this blog because tomorrow I’ll have some cool stuff to show everybody! Again: thanks to our hosts and to the Plasma, KWin and Oxygen teams for being so great!
Tokamak Group Photo: Plasma, KWin and Oxygen teams
Latinoware was a nice conference held in the south of the country last week, from the 22nd to the 24th of October. It was a really nice conference and we had a lot of KDE exposure there as we had our logo on the main website of the conference, a booth and also a lot of talks KDE/Qt related.
It was really awesome that Ade and Annma could go there. It shows that Brazil and South America are not “3rd class citizens” in the community. A lot of people here in Brazil tend to think that we are not that special in the world besides our beaches and carnival. So, specially for students this is really important. Probably it’s also important for those that are at the beginning of their free software careers as they think ‘ow, a foreigner came here for KDE…this project must be important’. Ah, of course: it was also really a pleasure to have them here. Great great great people :).
Ade explaining what is KDE
During my talk we had some people really interested in netbook stuff and it was nice to give this presentation as I did a similar one during GCDS but the one during GCDS didn’t have too much demos as everything was at the first steps. Now, with Marco working full time on this and some others that will join the team, I had a LOT of cool stuff to show off, not just the ideas behind everything.
During GCDS I talked about the base ideas and research we did for Plasma Netbook. It was nice from a concepts point of view but I had no demos, just screenshots of pre-alpha versions and nothing fancy to show off. But this “pre-alpha” stage for the project was important so we could create a vision for the project and stick with it. Now, after some (few) months we have done a lot of things and the vision starts to show off.
Instead of going on through all the details I’ll just explain the final demo of my talk: I had a netbook (with Plasma Netbook of course), running Amarok and playing some Cold Play song (bonus points for Cold Play that released a 5 songs live album for free on their website – funny fact: the music playing was ‘Viva La Vida’ , life is really great in KDE world, isn’t it 🙂 ? I had the now playing plasmoid on my Newspaper desktop and just shared it. Took an N900 from my pocket and showed how far KDE can go: using our technology I was able to ‘get’ the shared plasmoid, and remote control Amarok from my mobile phone (btw, thanks to Vudentz to let me use his N900 as I don’t have one yet).
As you may already have seen in other posts on Planet KDE there is already a KDE-Maemo effort going on and yes, we have the power an can go everywhere, just as Qt. And we will deliver a really rich user experience for our end users. More to come, keep following…. 😉
The KDE Latinoware Booth
PS: really awesome to meet the KDE-MG people during latinoware. Kudos to them and of course to Live Blue guys. You Rock! 🙂
It has been some time that I had some ideas regarding different devices. My first try was with the so famous “Mysterious Device” that we had during Tokamak 3 and later I played a little bit with my N85 and QtS60.
Qt Everywhere: yes, this means a lot of things. For Nokia it means that the same framework will be available for different platforms, for users that they will have more software being developed and for us, developers, that we can bring our software for all the devices that Qt is ported to.
Let’s also talk a little bit about platforms: Nokia has been playing with Maemo for some time now and the platform itself is pretty mature. Of course it will have problems but it’s pretty mature and compared to a lot of others out there it’s much better. But Maemo was “confined” to internet tablets…a device that was not good enough to be a netbook and not small enough to be a phone. It was “just” a pocket computer.
However the scenario changed and now we have a mobile phone running Maemo out there (N900) and Nokia learned the lesson about how to attract open source developers (just think that while Apple charge developers to get the full SDK and deploy their software, Nokia gives big discounts on new devices for developers).
I was pretty sad that I couldn’t go to Maemo Summit and show my ideas to everybody out there and it became worse when I saw that everybody there had their N900 and would be able to create awesome stuff for the device. This is one of the downsides of living in Brazil: it’s almost impossible to get/buy new hardwares without paying huge taxes and the developers program always helped on this matter. Too sad =/. BUT it seems that today was my lucky day! I (and some others) received a mail saying that we would receive a discount on an N900! Awesome! So now it will be possible to do all the stuff I was planning to do!
Plasma Netbook is one of my main objectives for the short/mid term (take a look here for the last news). It has a lot of potential and a lot of great ideas around it. We already received good reviews even in “less than alpha” state and we’re looking for companies that want to sell their stuff with something that will provide a unique user experience. If you are interested, contact us…we can explain our ideas and provide details about it. Also know we have Marco working full time on this, while I’m working full time on Qt and others are keeping plasma up to shape.
And probably you’re asking yourself why you should be interested in what I said above. The reason is just below. Take a look at the pictures and at the videos.
Shared Plasmoid on N900
I didn’t use Plasma netbook for this demo because I needed to recompile some stuff and it’s much better in a real netbook. This demo I’ll do during my talk on Latinoware. But for those that can’t go, I’ll talk a little bit: user experience is more than what the user does in front of his computer. It’s all about tasks. Recently, Rob integrated into KDE 4.4 his wonderful SoC called Remote Widgets. This enables two machines to share Plasma content in a very nice and easy way (I don’t even need to say that developers using libplasma get this feature for free, do I ?).
For me it was a pretty clear path to go. I want to share my widgets (that helps me during my day-to-day tasks) between different devices, so I can “take” them with me even if I leave my computer. This can be applied to many plasmoids and this is just a demo. I get a plasmoid that is in my desktop and share it with my mobile phone (in this case an N900 that a friend that went to Maemo Summit led me for this weekend). Pretty simple and easy to achieve (ok, it was hard to record the movie, talk and do all the stuff at the same time hehe). For security reasons it asks for pin codes between the two devices (just like bluetooth pairing – and you can have trusted devices too) and you can even save your passwords using KWallet :).
Thanks to Mek and Darktears for sharing Qt/KDE compile problems in scratchbox, Vudentz for the device and Aaron and work mates for calming me down when I was compiling all the stuff 🙂 Any questions are welcome and remember that we can extend this a lot! (preempting one question: yes, it’s possible to share the “now playing” plasmoid and control your Amarok from the device 😉 ).
Well, last day of Tokamak. It’s sad that I must say goodbye to all of these people that actually lived with me for one week. It was so intense that I almost didn’t realize that we were together for one week. But let’s talk about what we did during the sprint.
During the first days I talked with everybody I could about anchor layouts, animated layouts and Qt stuff. It was great as it’s hard to explain the stuff and get feedback from a lot of great hackers at once and as fast as we can get when we are in this kind of developer sprints. We had great discussions about Qt, regarding bugs, features, future and everything else we could talk about. I really can see that every time that we put all these great hackers in the same room, we save some months (maybe years?) of development. All of that to make you take less time to code 😉
While everybody else was merging their brand new stuff on trunk, commiting bug fixes and new features I was fighting with cross compiling KDE to the “mysterious device” that Aaron brought to us. What I could achieve ? We have KDE 4.2.X working PERFECTLY on this device, with all the features and beauty that KDE could bring to you. It runs really really fast on this ARM device. We were all impressed!
And then came the second part of the experiment: run trunk on it. While it was ok to compile stuff on scratchbox using Maemo SDK, the lack of a proper SDK for the device gave us some headache: some bug on qmake prevented it to detect correct paths and made me find out each library that was not properly added to cmake’s links.txt file and correctly add it. By the end of kdebase compilation I already had almost all the names and did a script to fix that, but until the time I found out all the libraries it was compiling and stopping all the time (I don’t need to tell that it was really slow to compile and due to this problem, it was even slower).
After some days I finally had kdelibs + plasma-destkop and plasma-netbook compiled. However when we put all this stuff on the hardware we faced a problem with Svg files not being show. So althoughf we have plenty new stuff full of new features running on the device, it looks a little bit “ugly” without the proper background, etc.. we just have white background…white as snow. But come on…we just had a few days with the device…we can do MUCH more with it and imagine if we had a proper SDK ? We can make this hardware AWESOME with our software and I can only hope that we’ll have some more time with it in the next months…(we would need less than 1 month with a proper SDK to make it really really really ROCK!).
Ah, meanwhile it was compiling kdelibs I created the pastebin dataengine/service, migrated the pastebin applet to use that and also fixed some bugs on other applets…
Talking about snow, today was the first day I saw snow in my life 🙂 It was a unique experience for me :). It’s really hard to describe with words how happy I was and how beautiful it was in the top of that mountain. Thanks Mario for this trip…it was one of those moments in our lifes that you never forget.
Tomorrow morning I’m heading to Brazil again. It was an awesome sprint. If someone asks me what comes next from my point of view, I would answer: running plasma-netbook on the “mysterious device” (please, I just need one week with a proper SDK 😉 ), finishing and optimizing anchor layout for Qt 4.6 (I really hope this will help people out there to create rich UIs with Qt) and of course: keep all the stuff we have discussed during Tokamak going on!
Thank you Mario, thank you Plasma developers, thank you Qt/INdT and thank you KDE 🙂 What a wonderful personal and professional experience.
I’m at Tokamak 3 in Randa where Mario is hosting us. First of all, thanks to Mario: everything is perfect!
Great landscape surrounding us
During the last days we had presentations, meetings and talks. The GSoC projects are being merged in trunk (a lot of great features coming: new widgets explorer, mouse plugins, remote widgets, plasmate), the netbook stuff is going on, Qt stuff being solved, etc..
I talked about QGraphicsAnchorLayout, the new layout engine that will be present on Qt 4.6 and even did a small demo about that. We are nailing down the remaining bits (API, bugs) and hopefully we’ll have an awesome layout engine to create rich UIs when Qt 4.6 comes to “the streets” !
I’m also working with Alexis (darktears) to debug some problems that we’re facing with the raster engine on embedded devices. The thing is that the performance was not so good as it was in 4.5.0 and we’re tracking down where is the regression. Besides that we already tested Qt 4.6 on some hardware that we have here and the performance is much better than 4.5.X (regarding GraphicsView). While we wait Qt cross compiling, I’m also updating the pastebin applet to provide a nice dataengine/service so other plasmoids/applications can take advantage of this.
Until now, it has been a great sprint with lot of work being done on Plasma and on Qt 4.6. It’s awesome how much our speed increases when we are together! 😉
Last week we went to Porto and had Tokamak II, the plasma’s developers meeting. It was just a wonderful time and it was great to meet some people again and to put faces in some nicks.
I mainly worked on Plasmate, the new “plasma IDE” for writing scripted plasmoids. Specially in the previewer and I used the time to also take a look at some bits of plasma that I didn’t have the chance (time) to look at yet. So now I can say that I can help with plasma even more and that I have a lot of ideas for the upcoming releases.
A lot of good stuff was also showed there like the status of Qt-Kinetic, ideas for the picture frame, improves on extenders, crystal, lion mail, community stuff, etc…
Thanks KDE for this wonderful oportunity and I hope we can keep improving plasma for everybody 😉
It’s coming! Finally! Every year before the conference I have this feeling of happiness mixed with a lot of expectation. This is the third edition of this conference and the other two was just awesome….
It was after the first one that we started working on the base of Canola2, after the second one we started working on QEdje and….what will be this year ? hehe…To be honest I already have some idea of what we are going to do but, I’ll just wait 😉
About this edition I can say that we’ll have people from even more open source communities, having the pleasure of receiving KDE people. Who comes to Bossa Conference will have the opportunity to watch talks about Qt Kinetic, declarative UI’s, Webkit, Plasma, Enlightenment (EFL), software security, HAL/PolicyKit, Python, wireless technologies, free software licenses, Openembedded, VoIP, Maemo…..ouch, a lot of topics 😉
Besides that we have hacking times with code camps, discussions inside the pool, parties, beach and a lot of food =) hehe…
Being honest: It’s just great! It worth it =). I hope I can meet some of you guys there (some I already know I’ll meet).
So after a year of conferences: aKademy, Maemo summit, linuxconf.au, Camp KDE, here comes Bossa Conference. Take a look in the video below to see what happened last year….