Plasma Sprint 2023 in Augsburg

After what felt like an eternity we were finally able to come together in Augsburg, Germany for the Plasma Sprint that was originally planned for April of 2020, kindly hosted by TUXEDO Computers in their offices. There were sixteen attendees from six countries and it was great to have three newcomers on board, too.

A large plush penguin "Tux" wearing a blue KDE hat in front of a TUXEDO Computers logo banner
Sadly, I wasn’t allowed to take him home.

Naturally, everybody travelling to and from a KDE event is obligated to extensively use our digital travel assistant KDE Itinerary and help fix any quirks and bugs encountered along the way. Due to all the construction going on at Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof and the resulting Fernwanderweg™ from S-Bahn to long-distance trains, I decided to play it safe and took an earlier train. This also gave me some time to correct a few mistakes in the indoor maps on Open Street Map, such as shops located on the wrong level, and to fill in opening hours. Next time I’ll make sure to bring a laser gauge to measure some of the missing staircase widths. Furthermore, Itinerary live status information on DB regional trains now includes information about cancelled stops and the reason, if any. Whilst on the train, I analyzed how the “Comfort Check-In” worked, which lets you notify the conductor that you’re sitting on your designated seat and don’t need to be woken up for ticket inspection.

The next day, we walked to the TUXEDO office located on the 12th floor in the BüroCenter Messe and were greeted with a Brezel breakfast, drinks, and a nice view of the alps. Friday morning didn’t really have an agenda because we were just glad to see each other again and exchange thoughts and ideas that have accumulated since the last physical sprint. I spent some time setting up a Plasma 6 environment and fixed a few bugs related to QML TapHandler. While I like the concepts behind input handlers – how often did I have to re-arrange half my code just to add a MouseArea – they appear to be quite easily misused, e.g. set to respond only to mouse but not touchpad clicks, and Qt having changed both API and behavior between 5 and 6 didn’t help.

Later that day, I spent some more time on Itinerary when I noticed that I couldn’t just share tonight’s dinner reservation from the wiki page in my browser to Itinerary, which turned out to be just a matter of extending the ACTION_SEND intent handler. Volker showed me how to use Docker and Craft to build KDE applications for Android, which took quite some time to download and build but other than that was straightforward, kudos to those who set this all up and documented it so well!

An AMOLED screen running Plasma 6 in HDR mode with the default wallpaper (a pale blue painted mountain scenery) and a panel on the left side
KWin Wayland running in HDR mode on an OLED screen, courtesy of Xaver (the picture of course doesn’t do it justice)

Finally, we started going through the list of Plasma 6 Proposals. While we’re not planning to have a radical departure from the well-established desktop paradigm, a major version change is still a good opportunity to tweak some defaults, revamp the design, and consolidate some settings. For remote attendees to weigh in, we set up a hybrid meeting through Big Blue Button and passed a microphone around. After having a kebab for lunch, Volker, Nico, and I evaluated a Notification portal version 2 proposal which looked very promising and should eventually enable us to provide a proper notification history, actions included!

In the afternoon, I revisited some of my previous work which didn’t make it for Plasma 5, mainly the QR code scanner for the network applet. In preparation for that, I introduced a StackView for the applet and moved the “Show network QR code” feature from that full-screen window into a sub-page of the applet popup. Qt Multimedia in Qt 6 was quite a nuisance to build and work with – it’s not very talkative about its dependencies and more irritatingly bluntly aborts your application when no backend is available – so I am not sure I really want to add this into a core Plasma component. I also still need to figure out in which framework to put the MeCard parser used to process the WiFi information.

Sunday had us assess more of the Plasma 6 proposals and review Marco’s future KSvg framework which extracts all the SVG rendering, dynamic icon colorization, and FrameSVG (“9-patch” images) into a simple easy-to-use framework for use also outside of Plasma. Then a discussion ensued on the future of FormLayout, Kirigami, and how to proceed with Kirigami Addons and whether we need a Kirigami “Labs” playground.

For a lack of remaining vacation days, I had to cut the sprint short and will head back home within the hour. It’s been a great couple of days and I am looking forward to seeing you all again in Thessaloniki for Akademy in July!

Going to Akademy, Thessaloniki, Greece

One thought on “Plasma Sprint 2023 in Augsburg”

  1. Thanks for the write-up, always a pleasure to follow on your amazing work!

    Any news on the topic “Wayland by default?”? Fingers crossed

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