Archive for the ‘Kubuntu’ Category

Karmic Матрёшки

December 12, 2009
Karmic Koala Матрёшка

Karmic Koala Матрёшка

A couple матрёшки I painted at a Russian culture event a few weeks ago.  I started with a koala, and the penguin was suggested by a non-geek, as well as the fox (not pictured).


Kubuntu 9.10 Released!

October 29, 2009

After another 6 months of hard work by all the Kubuntu, Ubuntu, and KDE developers, Kubuntu 9.10 the “Karmic Koala” has been released!  There have been improvements in many areas from appearance to translations to network management to a general solidifying of the KDE 4 platform.  See the release announcement for new features.

Kubuntu 9.10 Screenshot

Kubuntu 9.10

Thanks to all the developers!  Go download! (preferably via BitTorrent)


September 30, 2009

I’ve been watching TV a bit recently (It’s stage 3 of dealing with the trauma of not having homework anymore.) and I keep seeing this date pop up, with a little girl talking about “happy words.”  It seems Microsoft Windows 7 is coming out soon.  I’ve heard about it here and there, but it didn’t really register that the next version is coming in just under a month until I saw the commercials.

So far I haven’t heard anything bad about the upcoming windows release, which is quite a contrast to the months leading up to Vista.  I looked around their website and there’s some interesting stuff, but nothing revolutionary.  Nothing important we haven’t got, or will have soon in a better form.  And it still has that nauseating default theme from Vista.

This makes the timing of the Kubuntu Karmic release very interesting.  It really seems like this should be the big faceoff.  A lot of good things are coming together for Karmic.  KDE 4.3 provides a smooth desktop experience with a lot of little annoyances fixed.  Finally most networks work (again) out of the box.  Legacy KDE3 things are finally gone from the CD.  It would be amazing if Kubuntu Karmic was the release you could pull out at the same time as the brand spanking new Windows 7 and blow away the competition.

And it’s close, but it’s not that release.  It’s just the first release where most of the KDE 4 desktop has come together, but there are still some issues to fix, polishing to do, and a couple core apps need to stabilize.  Another 6 months.  Concidentally, Lucid 10.04 is also the next LTS.  Perfect timing to really bring all the pieces together and make a polished release that will put the proprietary competition to shame.  I’m really looking forward to Lucid.  The drama would just be so much better if it was 9.10.

On Kubuntu hating

September 27, 2009

Lots of vague comments lately on how bad Kubuntu is compared to distro X.  What I am seeing is a lot of whining and not a lot of doing.  These comments aren’t coming from a nontechnical audience (they are, at least, following Planet KDE) or from people who just want to rat on Kubuntu.  They are on KDE developers’ blogs by users and developers many of whom claim to use Kubuntu as their primary OS and at least some of whom are interested in seeing Kubuntu do well.

The core Kubuntu team is small and we do our best to keep up with blazing fast development in all parts of the distribution.  In order for everything to come out as polished as we all would like, we need more community participation.

So, to the commenters: you are using Kubuntu because you think it offers some advantage over other options, but clearly there are some holes and rough edges so, if you see a problem — do something about it instead of whining. This is open source.  Use that little bit of programming you learned to fix a paper cut[1].  Write up a better project summary and feature tour for the website and send it to us[2].  Test a CD image.  Create a new website theme[2].  Help us sort out bug reports.  Run an alpha release on your extra machine.  Talk to a developer to debug your problem.  At the very least, file a bug[3].

And this isn’t the dreaded “send patches or we’re not talking to you.”  If the complaints amounted to something we could actually ask for a patch for, that would be progress.

[1] Contrary to popular belief, Kubuntu IS participating in the 100 papercuts project, and some bugs have been fixed.

[2] There was a contest for a new website a while back, but almost noone participated.  I find it hard to believe there aren’t a bunch of people out there who think the website could be better and know web design.  So help out!

[3] In Karmic, go to Help > Report Bug… in any application.

Oxygen icon set for

June 11, 2009

One of the things we discussed at UDS (for the third cycle now) is dropping everything KDE3 from default Kubuntu.  In Jaunty we got a new NetworkManager applet.  k3b is on its way.  The blocker for Karmic is KDE integration.  Well, work is underway on a KDE4 file picker.  That leaves icons — time to make OpenOffice fit in visually, at least a little.

Problem is the icon set has over 7000 files.  Most of them are named something like this: lc03241.png (that’s the new presentation icon, 32×32).  Fortunately most of those icons are for various obscure things, including images for the help and some pixmaps for easter eggs (anybody know how to get into some sort of starfighter game in OO.o?).  With existing Oxygen icons and a couple free days it’s possible to get a couple nice looking toolbars in Writer:


Unfortunately that’s as far as it gets with existing artwork.  The Oxygen team is only prepared to create office suite icons when the various office suites agree on an icon naming scheme.

UDS Days 2-5

June 10, 2009

I never got around to more blogging during UDS, but here’s a summary of the rest.

We had a discussion with Canonical’s Rick Spencer about the role Canonical’s desktop team is or should be playing in Kubuntu and how to avoid problems we’ve had in the past.  Conclusion: communication communication communication.

Then there was a session on Wine integration and what to do when a user clicks on a windows program.  Will need to keep up for Kubuntu.

We had a session on QA in Kubuntu.  We discussed how to avoid major problems we’ve had in the last couple of cycles and how to improve our QA process in general.  There was also a separate session about l10n problems.  The interesting thing that came out of this is a plan to have a feedback plasmoid on the desktop during the development cycle so we can pick up on problems quickly.  We also decided to expand the use of the Apport bug reporting tool and crash handler in Kubuntu.  The QA team has some neat plans for this tool, some of which are already being implemented, so hopefully the overall quality of bug reports will keep improving.

We had some discussions about the default IRC client and web browser for Karmic and came up with features we’d like to see in our options.

Several of the KDE guys and I sat in on a session about the messaging applet.  It really helped us understand what the Ayatana team is going for.  Sebas then showed off lion mail, which is similar in some ways, and several productive sessions kicked off regarding how to create a messaging indicator for KDE that both follows the DX team’s vision and the KDE way of doing things.

Riddell showed off some of the social web plasma applets available and we decided to include one or two by default in Kubuntu Social from the Start.

There was a session about what we need for KDE integration from Ubuntu One.

We had a session discussing the Kubuntu web site where we mostly talked about how much we like the Xubuntu website.  We came up with some things we can improve on the site, but most importantly, DESIGNERS WANTED!

There was a session discussing creating a way to create a bootable USB stick in KDE, and work is underway.

The last session I went to was on Canonical desktop and usability team’s “Death by a Hundred Paper Cuts” project.  The project will find and try to fix a hundred seemingly trivial usability bugs each cycle.  Neat!  We won’t get the benefit of the professional user testing on the KDE side of things, at least not during the current experimental stages of the project, but maybe we can start a similar initiative?

On the social side, we went out to a bar to watch the European soccer championship game, Barcelona vs. Manchester.  Quite a time and place to be in Barcelona.  Friday night was of course karaoke — barbie girl and bohemian rhapsody KDE style, and some other umm.. good shows.

UDS Day 1: LoCo events, apport, and Kubuntu plans

May 26, 2009

Improving LoCo events

After introductory talks, the first session I went to was a community session on improving LoCo events.  Considering we’re in Spain, the MA LoCo was overrepresented with both Martin and I there.  He has a good writeup on the discussion.

Apport Adoption

There were two sessions on increasing apport coverage and adoption.  The adoption session mostly concentrated on getting users to file bugs using apport rather than directly through the launchpad website.  The main thing I took away from this talk is that it was unfortunately irrelevant because Kubuntu/KDE apps don’t use appport for the report a bug feature.  This is the correct way to file a bug in Ubuntu.  TODO: update the Kubuntu version of the documentation.

KDE 4.3 vs. Ayatana

There was a session where sebas presented the KDE system tray plans to Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical’s DX team.  There was a lively discussion as to how that complements or conflicts with the Ayatana desktop experience project and what that project actually entails.  The topic is controversial, but the practical question was whether it is worth implementing the message indicator planned for Ubuntu Karmic for KDE.

Kubuntu Development and Packaging

We had two sessions to plan Kubuntu Karmic that were somewhat productive.  For the most part we just affirmed the points on the specs page.  Discussion is still ongoing about the default IRC client and web browser.  We are determined to get rid of KDE3 libs for Karmic, and are really hoping for KDE4 integration in time.  Those who have looked at it so far were baffled by the codebase, so we need some help in this area.

The day ended with dinner with the Kubuntu guys and girl and Albert, a local KDE developer of Okular and poppler fame.  He showed us to a nice restaurant, and I think everyone really enjoyed the meal.  I should have forseen the delicious but small main course though.

UDS Day 0: Coming to Barcelona

May 25, 2009

Left at 7pm.  Went to sleep at 10pm.  Slept an hour.  Woke up at 5am.  OK, so this is only my second time, first in 4 years, flying east.  Got some very tired first impressions of the city as I got off the bus: Plaça Espanya – wow! down into the subway, with luggage… whatever happened to escalators?  Finally made it to the hotel in the afternoon.

After finally taking a nap (about 9-11am EDT) I went into the city, to Plaça Catalunya and La Rambla.  I walked around there for a few hours, down the Rambla, along the waterfront, and through the little alleys.  I especially like the labyrinth of alleys.  There are all kinds of little shops and cafes and backs and fronts of churches and street performers in random places.  I ended up at the Catedral de Barcelona purely by accident.  The cathedral is quite magnificent inside though unfortunately it’s undergoing renovation on the outside.  I could probably spend days more just wandering in that area.

My sense of time was completely thrown off as I was walking around, not just by the jetlag, but also by my habit of using a cellphone for a watch.  The cell doesn’t work here — it doesn’t even give me the time.  So I walk around time-blind — it’s a rather strange feeling, and makes it all the more difficult to eat the right meal at a reasonable time.

Being in a spanish speaking area is really strange to me.  My brain is saying “language I can’t quite understand… french mode! french mode!”  I think if I were to manage to say anything in spanish other than “si” or “gracias” it would come out in a french pronunciation (which would in turn have an american accent).

I came back to the hotel fairly early, but was the most exhausted I’ve been in a long time.  Before crashing, there was just the little exercise for my roommate and I to figure out how to turn off the lights in the hotel room, almost as fun as the earlier exercise of figuring out how to turn them on.  Now to spend the week engineering Kubuntu Karmic just a little less intensely than the people who put together this place.

Kubuntu Bug Day on Tuesday!

July 14, 2008

This Tuesday we will be continuing last week’s work of transitioning KDE3 bug reports to KDE4. The Hug Day will be held all day Tuesday, July 15th 2008 in #ubuntu-bugs please join and help!

Last week we were able to close and otherwise triage dozens of bug reports, thanks to the work of JontheEchidna, txwikinger, apachelogger, and others. Here’s the progress in open bug reports in kdebase over the last week:

Open bugs in kdebase for the past week

Open bugs in kdebase for the past week

About a quarter of the remaining bugs are already triaged and/or reported upstream, or waiting on information from the reporter. It’ll be very important to get a good chunk of the remaining 300 reported upstream to

My 5 today: #243602 (kdebase-workspace),#243419 (kdebase-workspace), #243616 (meta-kde), #243416 (kdebase-workspace), #243421 (kdebase-workspace)
Do 5 a day – every day!

Kubuntu Bug Day Tomorrow!

July 7, 2008

Kubuntu Hug Days are back! Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 8th, 2008 we will be holding a Hug for a Bug Day to work on transitioning old KDE3 bug reports to KDE4.

Kubuntu Intrepid will bring major changes with KDE 4.1, fixing a lot of bugs or making them irrelevant. We need help sorting out which bugs can now be closed, which still need to be fixed in Intrepid, and which bugs are really important and need to be fixed in Hardy/KDE3. Join us in #ubuntu-bugs to help out and ask questions!