10 Years in KDE – A Retrospective

(or: “Accidental Autobiography”)

Can you believe how time flies? Today, ten years ago my first ever KDE patch was merged. A little while later I was granted KDE developer rights with write access to all of KDE’s git repositories. This power was somewhat frightening, after having submitted not even a hand full of patches at that time, and it actually took many years for the thrill of hitting Return on a “git push” to abate. Let me take this decennial as an opportunity to tell you stories from back in the days™ and how I ended up where I did, where I surely would not be without KDE!

A box cake with blue icing, in its tin, "20 years of KDE" written on it
Let’s have some cake, too!

I actually started writing on this blog post last December, to have plenty of time for collecting trivia and ideas, never before seen prototype screenshots, and more. I surely wouldn’t have thought this to turn into half an autobiography. Mind that I’ll try my best to verify the statements that follow but they can still be inaccurate or skewed from being just memories. Now grab a cup of your favorite beverage, sit back, and join me on this trip down memory lane.

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Sunsetting XRandR Brightness

For a change, let’s talk about a topic other than notifications. More than five years ago (can’t believe how time has passed) I took over maintainership of PowerDevil, Plasma’s power management service. While I did a lot of cleanup and feature work in the beginning, there haven’t been many major changes for some time.

Bar-like popup informing of a screen brightness change
“Blast from the Past” – just casually sneaking in the more compact volume/brightness popup we’ll have in Plasma 5.20 to get your attention

One of the first features I added back then was smooth brightness changes. PowerDevil supports three ways of changing screen brightness: through XRandR configuration, through DDC (display data channel, for desktop monitors, experimental and not built by default), and by writing to sysfs (/sys/class/backlight or /sys/class/leds). Since the latter requires privileges and uses a helper binary through KDE’s KAuth framework, I only implemented the animation for the XRandR code path, which was executed in the same process.

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