Qt Wayland, Supercharged

One of the key components to using a Plasma Wayland session is obviously the Qt Wayland Client module for running Qt applications in a Wayland environment. While it has been successfully deployed to millions of devices over the years, there’s still a few areas that feel like they haven’t been touched much since its inception as part of the Qt Lighthouse project, what turned into QPA, the Qt Platform Abstraction.

Message dialog popup, asking for confirmation “The document ‘Untitled’ has been modified. Do you want to save your changes or discard them?” with actions “Save”, “Discard”, “Cancel”
WIP: Qt Wayland client-side decoration with a proper drop shadow and all
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Qt Contributor’s Summit 2023

Earlier this month I traveled to winterly Berlin for the Qt Contributor’s Summit. After having contributed many patches to Qt in the past months in order to make the upcoming Plasma 6 really shine I decided to attend for the first time this year to meet some more of the faces behind our beloved UI toolkit.

A crowd of people sitting in a conference room, looking at the speaker, slides on projector read “Welcome to Qt Contributors Summit 2023”
Welcome to Qt Contributor’s Summit 2023

The event took place over the course of two days adjacent to Qt World Summit at Estrel Hotel in Neukölln – a massive hotel, congress, and entertainment complex, and actually the largest in Europe. It literally took me longer to walk from its main entrance to the venue than getting from Sonnenallee S-Bahn station to the entrance.

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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
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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.

What a roadtrip! QtCon Brasil

Earlier this month I had the chance to give a keynote speech at QtCon Brasil in São Paulo, Brazil. It was the second leg of a three weeks long trip across the Americas that began with a company meeting in the US.

Bad weather in Atlanta made for some gorgeous scenery

After a ten hour flight on the Airbus A330 pictured, I arrived at Guarulhos airport in the morning. I was lucky to have found myself on a half-empty plane with an entire row of seats for me alone. The conference lasted Thursday to Sunday with the first two days reserved for embedded programming and 3D development trainings. Not having signed up for any of these, I took the opportunity to explore the city on Friday. I visited the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP) and walked over to the district of Liberdade which is home to the largest Japanese community outside Japan. Unfortunately, I couldn’t visit the Museum of the Japanese Immigration as they didn’t accept credit cards.

Plasma for Device Creation

Saturday and Sunday is when the main talks happened. With my rudimentary Latin and Spanish knowledge I tried to make the most of them, since they were all held in Portugese. Nonetheless, I quite enjoyed the talks about Qt for Python, a live demo of a setup using Boot to Qt, and Qt “for Robots”.

My speech was Sunday morning, entitled “Plasma for Device Creation” where I explained to the audience what Plasma is, how flexible it is, and that it can be virtually anything you want it to be. An important part of the presentation was to present ways to get in touch with the KDE Community and who to approach when you want to realize this amazing product vision you might have. While there was no recording of my talk, you can download the slides as a PDF.

Many thanks to the organizers of QtCon Brasil for hosting the event, spreading the word about Qt down there, and inviting me over to my first trip to the South American continent!