Plasma Browser Integration 1.7

I’m pleased to announce the immediate availability of Plasma Browser Integration version 1.7 on the Chrome Web Store as well as Firefox Add-Ons page. This feature brings a slew of important bug fixes, translation updates, and exciting new features.

Dark blue space background with stars, a cute dragon wearing a red bandana with a "K" on it, sitting ontop of the Earth which has a blue network cable plugged in whose lose end is squiggling around the KDE Plasma logo
Konqi surfing the world wide web

Plasma Browser Integration bridges the gap between your browser and the Plasma desktop. It lets you share links, find browser tabs in KRunner, monitor download progress in the notification center, and control music and video playback anytime from within Plasma, or even from your phone using KDE Connect!

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Shaping the Future of KDE Frameworks

(or: “KDE Frameworks 6 Planning Sprint in Berlin”)

Only two weeks after my previous Berlin visit I came back for the KDE Frameworks 6 planning sprint, kindly hosted by MBition in their posh offices near Spree river and Landwehrkanal.

A whiteboard with a more than 50 sticky notes, mostly orange, some blue, with various KDE Frameworks written on them
Three days’ worth of discussions in a nutshell

Already during this year’s Akademy we started discussing our strategies for a Qt 6 transition and created a giant work board of tasks for our next major release of Frameworks. Overall our goal is to keep API breakages to a minimum while still cleaning up some cruft that might have built up over the years. We kicked off the sprint Friday morning with discussions mostly around policies and guidelines.

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Qt World Summit 2019

Last week Nicolas Fella, Roman Gilg, and I represented KDE at the Qt World Summit 2019 in Berlin.

KDE booth at Qt World Summit, shiny black vinyl floor, a KDE-branded table, three bistro tables with devices on them
The booth just before the venue opened – half an hour later it was crowded in here.

This year we set up a lounge area upstairs for people to chat, see our hardware and software offerings, as well as charge their phones between talks. At the center of our booth we had a large KDE-branded table with various bits of swag and a KDE Slimbook on display which we used as our main device for demoing our extensive KDE Applications and Frameworks offerings.

The letters "#QtWS19" 30cm tall of styrofoam with suggested Berlin skyline of cardboard behind
#QtWS19
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Taking Itinerary to the Next Level

(also: KItinerary + Browser Integration = <3)

KDE Itinerary is a project to get your travel itinerary presented to you in a unified, well structured and always up to date fashion, by extracting structured data from emails, boarding passes, and other sources. I successfully traveled the world with it!

Step 1: The crazy idea, is it viable?

Itinerary Research extension showing popup of structured data found on a restaurant website
“Itinerary Research” extension showing what it’s found

Since I’m always looking for new innovative features to add to Plasma Browser Integration, having KItinerary not only look at your emails but also websites seemed like a natural evolution. During the Nürnberg Megasprint™ in June I pitched the idea to Volker Krause and he talked me through how all of this structured data and boarding pass magic worked. I then wrote a quick and dirty browser extension that scanned your open tabs for any such annotations, so we got a sense of how common they actually are in the open web.

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Akademy 2019 in Milan

Last month I attended KDE’s annual gathering Akademy, which took place at the University of Bicocca in Milan, Italy. Never before had I been to an Akademy where I was interested in so many workshops and discussions that I hardly wrote any actual code.

It’s important to stay healthy during a conference – a bunch of KDE developers taking a swim in Lake Como
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Plasma Browser Integration 1.6

I’m pleased to announce the immediate availability of Plasma Browser Integration version 1.6 on the Chrome Web Store as well as Firefox Add-Ons page.

Dark blue space background with stars, a cute dragon wearing a red bandana with a "K" on it, sitting ontop of the Earth which has a blue network cable plugged in whose  lose end is squiggling around the KDE Plasma logo
Konqi surfing the world wide web

Plasma Browser Integration bridges the gap between your browser and the Plasma desktop. It lets you share links, find browser tabs in KRunner, monitor download progress in the notification center, and control music and video playback anytime from within Plasma, or even from your phone using KDE Connect!

Continue reading Plasma Browser Integration 1.6

Privacy Sprint in Leipzig

Fernsprechamt
Entrance to the sprint location

Our three main goals for the general direction we want to take KDE in the next couple of years are: Top-notch Usability and Productivity for Basic Software, Streamlined Onboarding of New Contributors, as well as Privacy Software. The first sprint dedicated to one of our goals, Privacy Software, took place in March in the City of Leipzig. It took place in the former “Fernsprechamt” (telephone exchange), quite a fitting location when it comes to privacy, isn’t it?

Microphone Indicator

One of the features I worked on was a microphone tray icon indicating when the microphone is in use with an easy way to mute/unmute it by middle clicking as well as change the recording volume using the mouse wheel, just like you can with the volume icon.

Microphone indicator tooltip, "Microphone: Chrome input is using the microphone"
Microphone indicator showing that Chrome is recording
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Networking in Berlin: Qt World Summit 2018

Two months ago a small group of KDE enthusiasts, namely Adriaan, Roman, and me traveled to Berlin to attend Qt World Summit 2018.

Me posing at the KDE booth at Qt World Summit

At our little booth we showcased Plasma running on a variety of devices, ranging from a Nexus 5X running Plasma Mobile through two ARM laptops to the powerful KDE Slimbook. Plasma was praised for its performance and reliability and since the focus of the event was mostly on embedded systems, we could easily demonstrate with our selection of devices that Plasma and the KDE Frameworks are a viable option for an endeavor in this area, too.

It was very interesting to see the diverse set of people presenting their products and roaming the stalls, to see where Qt is in use today without you even realizing. We were approached by several companies evaluating using KDE Frameworks in their products and also tried to lay a foundation for an eventual partnership. And then there was Daimler who just parked an A-Class in the hallway, whose MBUX infotainment system is also powered by Qt.

Give Milian, author of hotspot (a profiler GUI we use a lot for Plasma), any device and he immediately starts profiling!
What’s inside? The large box isn’t a 5¼” HDD but the battery

The star of our stand, however, was the MNT Reform DIY Laptop which is a retro-style ARM laptop running Plasma with a mechanical keyboard and even a real trackball! Its case was 3D-printed just the day before, including a rubber band to hold the screen shut, and for educational purposes sported a transparent bottom cover so you could look inside. What got us very excited was the fact that it ran mainline Debian and a super recent kernel version, something that’s quite uncommon when it comes to ARM devices. Even better: its i.MX 6 SoC let Plasma fly and we didn’t even do any adjustments for the device. It really shows that our hard performance work and focus on polishing the stack over the past years is paying off.