KDE Traffic #18 For 20�Jul�2001

By Aaron J. Seigo

Table Of Contents

Introduction

Welcome to KC KDE! The 2.2 feature, message and GUI freeze continues on this week. This hasn't had much impact on the number of CVS commits, though, as more bugs are being squashed, features brought to completeness, security issues addressed and stability is improved. The sheer number of patches posted to the lists for review in the last week was very impressive. The self-imposed lull in new features and the looming inevitability of starting work on the next version of KDE has given many developers some time to consider the future of KDE. As a result several large threads regarding which direction to take things in the near future have occurred on several of the KDE development lists, some of which are covered in this issue.

Waldo Bastian also gave an updated release schedule for 2.2 targeting the first week of August for having the sources packaged, binaries built and announcements made. This will be a momentous release as there are a lot of patches, both large and small, floating around on the lists that are just waiting for CVS to be reopenned. August is going to be an fun month in KDE development. Happy hacking!

1. Thumbnail Icon Effects

11�Jul�2001�-�12�Jul�2001 (6 posts) Archive Link: "[PATCH] Highlighting thumbnails in konqueror"

Topics: Thumbnailing, Icons, Look and Feel

People: Martijn Klingens,�David Faure

A little eye candy now and then never hurt anyone, in fact there are users out there who seem to live for the stuff. Konqueror has gained many features in the eye candy department since the original KDE2.0 release, such as preview icons rendered from the contents of the file itself. One of the problems with this feature is that thumbnail icons didn't obey the icon effects, which is another highly appreciated whiz-bang feature. Well, no more. The two effects have been wedded, as Martijn Klingens reported:

Until now thumbnail icons in Konq didn't use the icon highlighting settings. For the default gamma effect that is not too annoying, but on LinuxTag I saw the effect when 'colorize' is used instead on Rob Malda's notebook: that's ugly!

Attached patch should enable highlighting for thumbs as well. To do this it stores the thumb internally in the KFileIVI object, so the KIconEffects can later be applied and undone again.

Martijn fixed a few bugs were found in the patch and added some performance enhancing code as well after some conversation with David Faure. David then went on to scrutinize KIconEffect and reported his findings:

Working on a very slow X link is a good way to find what takes the time when building the GUI :) QPopupMenu is the most guilty (bug report sent to TT), but KIconEffect is also a bit stupid - it does a pixmap->image->pixmap conversion even when NO effect should be applied at all... The patch below fixes this.

It's not often that a beauty enhancement also produces an efficiency improvement, so it was a welcome development.

2. Mapping KDE Developers Across the Globe

11�Jul�2001�-�12�Jul�2001 (15 posts) Archive Link: "Map of KDE developers"

Topics: Promotion

People: Marc Mutz

If you have ever wondered where the KDE developers are in the real world, wonder no more. Marc Mutz announced his developer map project saying:

The Debian and Flightgear projects maintain a map of developers, which is quite nice to get an overview of where they are strong and where they lack developers.

I mentioned this to a few people on LinuxTag and no-one seemed to object, but no-one seemed to like it enough to maintain it, either. So I'll do it if enough people send me their coordinates in this format:

<latitude> <longitude> "Full Name" ""Nick" # Town, Country male/female anon=y/n

So my line would look like this:
52.196 8.590 "Marc Mutz" "" # Buende, de m anon=n

The results thus far can be seen at http://www.mathematik.uni-bielefeld.de/~mmutz/kde-developers-2400.jpg (http://www.mathematik.uni-bielefeld.de/~mmutz/kde-developers-2400.jpg) (599k). There are smaller versions including one that shows Europe only, but they do not seem to be in sync with main picture at this point.

Marc has also extended the data to others in the project who want to take this idea further, saying, "I'll gladly send the coordinates to everyone who wants to experiment (sans names that say anon=y, of course) with zooming, clickable imagemaps which lead to people.kde.org pages, web interfaces for adding / modifying entries, and everyone who wants to convert this into a debian-stype developer database. They're all nice ideas and worth implementing, but I've got not enough time for that :-("

If you are a KDE developer, documenter, translator, artist or affiliated with KDE development in some other way, be sure to send your coordinates in to Marc Mutz. It would be very nice to be able to get a good picture of where all this development effort is occurring.

3. XIM Asian Character Support for KOffice

12�Jul�2001�-�17�Jul�2001 (17 posts) Archive Link: "Patch for KIllustrator and KWord (XIM)"

Topics: KOffice

People: Toshitaka Fukioka,�David Faure

Hailing from Japan, Toshitaka Fujioka brings an Asian perspective to KOffice development. One of the challenges for Asian users of productivity applications is the representation and input of text in their native writing form. Toshitaka posted a patch to add XIM support to KOffice. He announced his accomplishment saying, " These patches can let XIM work in KIllustrator and KWord . XIM completely work. ;) I hope that this patch is adopted for every XIM user using KIllustrator and KWord. Please review." An example of what a XIM-enhanced KOffice looks like in action can be seen at http://www.kde.gr.jp/~toshitaka/Kde/KOffice/KWord/xim.png (http://www.kde.gr.jp/~toshitaka/Kde/KOffice/KWord/xim.png) .

David Faure noted that the patch was quite small given the functionality it added. Toshitaka and David went back and forth refining the patch for inclusion in the KOffice CVS.

4. The Road Ahead: KDE after 2.2

13�Jul�2001�-�16�Jul�2001 (54 posts) Archive Link: "What to do after 2.2?"

Topics: Development Plans, KDE Core Development, KDE 3

People: Rob Kaper,�Torsten Rahn,�Waldo Bastian,�Peter Kelley,�Martijn Klingens

What tack should KDE development take after 2.2? It was a discussion that has been looming on the horizon for a while now, and everyone knew it was only a matter of time before long threads appeared addressing and debating the issue. Rob Kaper kicked off the inevitable when he wrote:

During LinuxTag there was a discussion between the Trolls and KDE team regarding KDE 2.3 / 3.0 and it would probably be a good idea to start thinking about this now so we can walk a path as soon as 2.2 is out the door.

The TrollTech guys seemed to be in favour to skip KDE 2.3 and to base the next major release on Qt 3.0 instead. Most of the present developers seemed to agree and that there would first be an (unreleased?) KDE 2.9 which would be an exact port of the current codebase to Qt3, after which the new features would be added for KDE 3.0.

This looks like breaking binary compatiblity twice and technically it will be, on the other hand 2.9 should by no means be considered as official release.

Another solution would be to opt for a 2.3 release as planned, then immediately after that do a port to Qt3 and call it KDE 2.9 and only _then_ release KDE 3.0 after hacking in all binary incompatible changes.

I think the major issue here is not whether porting and adding features should be seperated, I hope everyone agrees that this is probably the cleanest method to work.

The real issue is: is Qt3 ready for our needs? And very important: are our goals for new features well defined? There is no use in breaking binary compatibility already unless we know exactly what kind of changes we want for the 3.x series. If we do not have a clear roadmap yet, we cannot create a perfect 3.x API and we'll be bitching about it during the entire 3.x life cycle. On the other hand, if we do, let's please jump to Qt3 and enjoy all that it gives us.

I would like to ask all core developers and others who would like to see changes in the core parts of KDE to think about the changes they require or want, so we can find out which road to take.

Rob listed several advantages and disadvantages to the various possible approaches. Many were in favor of creating KDE3 sooner rather than later and tackling porting to Qt3 quickly. However, there were two main reasons cited by some of the developers for not jumping quickly into a KDE3 development process.

Torsten Rahn voiced one of these reasons saying, " Correct me if I'm wrong but last time I talked to core-developers the idea was that for KDE 3.0 we break BC only where really necessary. So essentially what you consider to be the 2.9-release would basically be the 3.0-release. After all one of the reasons why there are so many GTK-applications is that they had a more or less stable API for a long time. If we make KDE 3.0 anything beyond something that is slightly more than a recompile then you shouldn't expect that the number of KDE-applications will grow significantly over the next 9-12 months which would really bad in effect and which would push us quite a bit back. Who wants to develop for a platform if it changes every few months?" People were quick to point out that releasing a KDE3 by 2002 would probably give it a 2 year minimum life span and that prolonging KDE2 would only shorten KDE3's shelf life. Others noted that the KDE3 release would not be a large reengineering of KDE, as the move from KDE1 to KDE2 was, but rather simply porting to Qt3 and cleaning up some parts of the internal API that can not be touched right now due to binary compatibility issues.

Still, there was concern over third party developers as Waldo Bastian noted saying, " Although I understand the advantages, in general I think that major version updates are very bad for KDE because it fragmentates the efforts of third party developers. There are plenty of applications out there that have never been ported to KDE 2, hell, even in our own CVS we have tons of applications that still have to be properly adapted. (grep for QDialog to see what I mean) In think that KDE's current strength is its framework and that actual applications are its weak points. Moving to Qt 3 is a huge improvement for the framework, but it puts a strain on application developers. Development can go too fast as well, you know. Having a great KDE 3 desktop is nice, but not if we lose all application developers in the process."

The other main point of concern was the current state of KDE2 and the number of outstanding bug reports. Peter Kelley verbalized this objection saying, " I think having a 2.3 version will be very important from the point of getting a stable and relatively bug-free version of khtml. Right now there are over 700 open bug reports for khtml and kjs combined. A few more months and a 2.3 release would hopefully mean we can get the majority of issues sorted out. Assuming there will be a considerable time before the 3.0 release, it will mean that there will be a "stable" version of khtml out there that people can use while bigger changes & feature additions are taking place for 3.0. Assuming other apps take the same path, we can then take our time with 3.0 and make any major architectural changes etc. there instead."

Martijn Klingens answer this saying, " As far as I understood it the KHTML won't be rewritten in KDE 3.0 as is was for 2.0. It will just continue to evolve using the same code base. Hence open bugs are still applicable and can still be fixed. Chances that KDE 3.0 will have _at least_ KDE 2.1's stability are quite big given the fact that nobody plans completely new technology."

The discussions continued on for days before everyone was satisfied that their opinions had been heard. So, what will the future hold for KDE? Waldo Bastian posted the following email on Monday, June 23rd:

To wrap up the Qt3 discussion and to bring everyones expectations a bit in line, here is a proposed time-table for the rest of this year:

Aug 2001: Release of KDE 2.2
Sep 2001: Release of KDE 2.2.1
Okt 2001: Development release, KDE 2.89 aka Qrash3.
Nov 2001: KDE 3.0beta1
Dec 2001: KDE 3.0beta2
Jan 2002: KDE 3.0 final

I suggest to switch KDE CVS to Qt3 after the release of 2.2.1.

If you would like to be the release dude for KDE 3.0, now is a good time to step forward :-)

5. Text to Speech Plugin for Konqueror

15�Jul�2001 (7 posts) Archive Link: "Text to Speech plugin for Konqueror needs testing"

Topics: Konqueror, Multimedia, Audio

People: George Russel

Making computers accessable to the everyone is very important as we rely on them more and more in day to day life and business. Konqueror was brought one step closer to being usable by the blind and illiterate by George Russel who posted the following to the development lists:

Text to Speech plugin for Konqueror needs testing

Download it from http://dogma.freebsd-uk.eu.org/~grrussel/speaker.html and you'll also need a working install of the festival speech synthesis system linked to from that page. Enjoy and test! and let me know any problems.

The news was picked up by Internet news sites and so quickly got a lot of attention. Some patches were sent in to George and there was discussion on how to make this technology available to all KDE applications and how to wed it with better speech synthesis applications.

6. KIllustrator Is No Longer KIllustrator

16�Jul�2001�-�18�Jul�2001 (7 posts) Archive Link: "KIllustrator Renamed"

Topics: KOffice

People: David Faure

By now most everyone has heard about Adobe flexing its muscles and firmly requesting that KIllustrator's name be changed due to trademark violations. This news was covered on Slashdot, LinuxToday, The Dot and other news sites ensuring that it did not occur quietly. What did occur quietly, however, was the actual resolution of the issue with a name change. David Faure announced the new name saying:

KIllustrator is now known as "Kontour" (after Adobe claimed that KIllustrator was too close to Adobe Illustrator, in case you haven't followed the news).

This obviously breaks translations... I have kept the name killustrator.po[t] for the message files, so this remains. But the appearances of the word KIllustrator have been replaced.

This delays the release by about 2 days - so that there is time to get the new messages translated for rc1 if you're fast (and for the final release otherwise).

Sharon And Joy

Kernel Traffic is grateful to be developed on a computer donated by Professor Greg Benson and Professor Allan Cruse in the Department of Computer Science at the University of San Francisco. This is the same department that invented FlashMob Computing. Kernel Traffic is hosted by the generous folks at kernel.org. All pages on this site are copyright their original authors, and distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2.0.