LinuxDay Vorarlberg 2023

After four years KDE finally made it to Dornbirn, Austria again for the annual LinuxDay Vorarlberg where Carl Schwan, Tobias Fella and I showcased the latest and greatest in KDE software and hardware.

KDE booth at LinuxDay, a table with blue table cloth, KDE logo printed on it, KDE banner in the background. Various monitors, devices, and input devices on the table.
KDE booth at LinuxDay Vorarlberg

On Saturday, 30 September morning after barely any sleep I drove three hours to HTL Dornbirn near Lake Constance to set up our booth, table cloth and all. We’ve had quite the impressive hardware product range on display, all powered by KDE software:

On the left, we used an ultra-wide monitor to demonstrate the latest build of Plasma 6 running Wayland. Our “KDE For” pages made it easy to visually guide visitors through the apps relevant for their use cases. You’re a student? KDE for Students. You’re getting around a lot? KDE for Travelers. Our fantastic travel companion app KDE Itinerary sparked a lot of interest and we got a couple of people installing it on their phone right then and there. You’ve got children? KDE for Kids. You’re a gamer? KDE for Gamers.

Close-up of booth table, Steam Deck (a handheld gaming console) on the left, “guarded” by a plush Katie (Konqi’s girlfriend). To the right a laptop running Krita with a graphics tablet in front.
Steam Deck and Krita – two prime examples of KDE in action

Speaking of gamers: of course the biggest eye catcher was the Valve Steam Deck, a handheld console that can be used both for casual game play as well as boot into a fully featured Plasma desktop. Plug in a keyboard, mouse, and an external display and you’ve got a fully productive office setup.

We’ve also demonstrated our versatile digital painting application Krita on a laptop with a graphics tablet. Unfortunately, the One Mix 2S, a small convertible laptop, we wanted to present somehow lost its UEFI settings over night and wouldn’t boot into Linux anymore. It’s not an easy task fixing GRUB on the go using its miniscule keyboard, so we didn’t. Also, its display is mounted portrait while its keyboard is landscape. However, thanks to my first ever Linux kernel patch the default panel orientation has now been fixed!

Configure dialog “Colorblindness Correction”, showing a grid of colors (red, green, blue, purple) at varying intensity levels. A combo box popup listing Protanopia, Deuteranopia, Tritanopia
Color blindness correction filter settings

What made me really happy was one passerby who said they were colorblind and asked whether Plasma had any accessibility feature for that. I recalled that we experimented with various KWin shader effects way back at the 2017 Randa Meetings in the Swiss alps but none of it made it to a release yet. I dropped a message in the KDE Accessibility goals chat just a couple of minutes after the discussion I’m glad to report that thanks to Fushan Wen Plasma 6.0 will provide color filters for helping with Protanopia, Deuteranopia, and Tritanopia!

That alone made me really happy to have attended the event. There wasn’t much time for us to listen to any of the talks but I did sit in a presentation about heat pumps, solar, and home automation – a topic I covered myself at this year’s Akademy. Finally, once the day wrapped, we headed over to the after-show Käßspätzle party, which is of course the main reason all of us went to Dornbirn in the first place. ;)

A plate with Spätzle, a kind of pasta with melted cheese, chive, roasted onions on top

2 thoughts on “LinuxDay Vorarlberg 2023”

  1. I always though KDE has a color filters in accessibility settings, good to know (even I don’t use them) it will make in Plasma 6.

    Out of curiosity, how much time did you spend for your first (congratz!) Linux kernel patch, including setup and testing?

    1. Half a day I’d say. Compiling really took the longest, I couldn’t figure out how to just build that one DRM module. Xaver Hugl, one of the KWin developers, told me which part of the Linux kernel to look, then it was straightforward. The Linux kernel build system can even generate you a .deb package you just install, reboot into, and test your change.

      The hardest part was using git send-email to be honest…

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