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KDE Traffic #34 For 1�Mar�2002

Editor: Aaron J. Seigo

By Aaron J. Seigo �and� Juergen Appel

Table Of Contents

Introduction

Welcome to KC KDE! Many of the core KDE developers met in N�rnberg this week to get KDE3 into release shape. The rate of CVS commits and general improvement was astonishing as they took advantage of this relatively rare occurance. Only four days into the month and already there were over 2000 messages on the CVS email list, which is 2 to 3 times the usual activity. Seeing as the bulk of commits were fixes and not new developments, those numbers are even more impressive. Pictures of the event can be seen at Daniel Molkentin's website which includes both a collection of candid shots as well as group photos.

With KDE3 right around the corner now, we present this week's mailing list discussion summaries and wish everyone the best! Happy Hacking!

1. Designed to make you want it: Project Crystal

17�Jan�2002�-�28�Jan�2002 (32 posts) Subject: "K-ARTIST:icons - project - crystal"

Summary By Juergen Appel

Topics: Look and Feel, Icons, KDE 3, Art

everaldo has started a new icon project called Crystal. It is not (yet) available on http://www.kde-look.org, and there is no package of these icons anywhere out there. The good news is that there are screenshots on KDE-Look, a Noatun theme and a wallpaper. At the moment everaldo is working on a splash-screen and svg icons. The Crystal Icon theme is likely to be included in KDE 3.0.

Take a look yourself and decide wheather you just found another reason to start counting days till the release of KDE 3:

everaldo was given cvs-access and asked to draw some icons for Atlantik, he happily agreed.

I'm sure my KDE 3.0 theme will be everaldos. Excellent work!

2. KMenu Side Image Colors

19�Feb�2002�-�21�Feb�2002 (6 posts) Archive Link: "[PATCH] K Menu side image color problem"

Summary By Aaron J. Seigo

Topics: Look and Feel, Kicker

People: Fredrik H�glund

One new piece of eye-candy in KDE3 is an optional side image in the K Menu. The KDE artists were experiencing problems coming up with a suitable image, however. Fredrik H�glund explained:

There have been some difficulties in creating a side image for the K Menu that works with all the color schemes in KDE. The one we have now is a compromise; it's one that's not too bright for dark color schemes and not too dark for bright ones. This compromise doesn't work as well when it comes to the colors - it's always blue regardless of what color scheme you use.

I've come up with a solution to this problem: dynamically recoloring the side image to the active titlebar color when it's loaded. Should the user change color schemes, the image is again recolored to match the new scheme.

This has the advantage of not only making the image always match the users color scheme, but IMO it also makes the side image seem more like an integrated part of the menu. It also gives the users a little more control over the look & feel of their desktops.

Qwertz was kind enough to put up a screenshot on his website that shows what this looks like: http://qwertz.r--e.net/composite.png Note that this screenshot was created with the previous version of the side image.

The patch limits the max/min brightness of the color that's used to a range of approx. 30% - 70%, so it will work even with color schemes that have a completely black or white titlebar.

The patch, which also included some fixes to KIconEffect, has been committed to CVS.

3. Rumors, Spam and those Alike

20�Feb�2002�-�25�Feb�2002 (44 posts) Archive Link: "[kde-promo] Negative feedback about KDE non-openmindedness in german Heise-Forum"

Summary By Juergen Appel

Topics: KDE in the Public

People: Chris Schlaeger,�Eva Bruchseifer,�Neil Stevens,�Navindra Umanee,�Andreas Pour,�Eva Brucherseifer,�Karl-Heinz Zimmer

Karl-Heinz Zimmer posted a link to a message posted on the german news-forum heise. This comment was written by Robert Ventura from California, USA. Robert claimed to be a member of an anonymous company which employs 100,000 people, has 1,500 branches, earns $16 billion each year and is known to 98% of the US citizens.

He stated that he was interested in a cooperation with KDE, but "KDE didn't want to cooperate in any case, it wasn't even concluded, it was aggressively denied from the first mail". Being treated like that, again according to himself, he switched his efforts to GNOME were he was more welcome and his now spending his company's money.

Some took these quotes as spam, others took it seriously, leading to different outcomes.

Chris Schlaeger, of KDE League, says about Robert's comment on the forum:

This is a hoax. I'm pretty sure that he never tried to contact any KDE developer. Why didn't he write something on the mailing lists? Since he doesn't even know how to spell Linus' name I think we can safely ignore him.

while Eva Brucherseifer came up with a different opinion:

Yes, it's quite frustrating, but I am not at all surprised. One only has to read the discussions on KDE League on this list it says a lot. Also it is not really clear who decides what in KDE. There are rumours about some kde-private mailing list where some old gurus decide things.

Adding to the uprising rumours were comments by Neil Stevens:

I've been told of two private, unarchived lists: one that writes press releases, and one that manages binary packaging. This other one is news to me, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The number of lists involved is almost enough to spark some paranoia, except that 1) KDE is free software 2) the kde-*devel and kde-cvs mailing lists make clear that private lists aren't controlling development.

and Navindra Umanee

All the discussion that used to happen on kde-pr has been moved here (or sometimes the closed dot list), and I'm sure most people will note that I, for one, do not mince words on kde-promo. :-)

[...]

Historically, the kde-private list has existed since the dawn of time and is no secret. Miguel de Icaza was mighty pissed of this when he was still trolling the KDE lists/irc.

Of course, Miguel quickly implemented the same thing for GNOME except that it was worse because he closed off the main gnome-hackers list. That changed a long time ago, when gnome-hackers was made public, and they got a proper gnome-private.

Besides this, there was discussion of KDE being:

spreading fears among some that KDE's future is in jeopardy. But a quick reality check shows KDE's Open Source model, even without a Chief Officer, is a successful award winning project, including such awards as Reader's Choice, Editor's Choice and Best Open Source Project.

Later on, there was discussion about more transparancy regarding what the KDE-League does, where money comes from and where it is spent. Andreas Pour, maintainer of several KDE websites and member of the League responded with the following:

There is currently no shortage of ideas on how to spend money, but a severe shortage of people willing to help [...] You can write to the KDE League Committee <kde-league-commitee@trolltech.com>.

Even if the League has funds for something, I for one would not favor funding projects that don't involve some volunteer work. An example is CD giveaways, which are very ineffective for a free project (AOL is another story, they charge a whole lot of money, plus ads, when you sign up with them).

But I do very much favor supporting volunteers with expenses and things like that (such as paying a developer's travel costs to give a presentation at a conference, and similar initiatives).

[..]if something (like maintaining the League website) does require my attention and is not something someone can do on their own, I am happy to help and provide assistance, but only if I can be reasonably confident that something good comes out of it. This is just an issue of maximizing my contributions and managing my time.

(ed. [Juergen Appel]

So again, it looks like the League is not constituted by "some old gurus" as some seem to fear. Even better, gurus haven't been seen anywhere, as KDE is only maintained, developed, promoted and pushed forward by YOU.

)

4. The Near Future of aRts

20�Feb�2002�-�21�Feb�2002 (6 posts) Archive Link: "aRts roadmap"

Summary By Aaron J. Seigo

Topics: Multimedia, aRts, KDE 3

People: Richard Brown,�Stefan Westerfeld

Coders may enjoy hacking, but when it comes to things like documentation and keeping their userbase up to date with what is happening they may not always be the most efficacious individuals. Regarding the aRts project Richard Brown wrote, " As a member of the Rosegarden team I'd just like to PLEAD with someone to tell us what the state of play is with the aRts roadmap. We're just humble application developers. We're non-IRC users, we're not aRTS code developers and we find ourselves very much left on the outside looking in."

Fortunately, once the need for communication is pointed out, developers often tend to be happy to step up and provide the necessary information. Stefan Westerfeld replied to Richard saying:

I have some uncommitted code lying around, and I've been planning to write an overview after it is in the CVS. But maybe its better if I give you a few corner points right now. Time is also getting very short for KDE3.0, and I hope to be able to get at least some of the pending changes in, but its quite sure that the midi API can't be frozen for KDE3.0, so that after that there will be some more tuning in coordination with you and other sequencer developers before it can be finally frozen (maybe KDE3.1).

Anyway, technical details:

I have code for wrapping a data handle. I guess it should be straight forward to extend it towards getting preview data out of the sample (which makes the sequencer look much more impressive, if you can see the shape of the wave that will be played). Code is pending to commit.

Stefan also reminded al the multimedia developers that aRts was an open source project, so the more help he gets from those depending on the library the quicker progress can be realized.

5. New KDE Version Header

21�Feb�2002�-�24�Feb�2002 (9 posts) Archive Link: "Move KDE_VERSION* to a header by themselves."

Summary By Aaron J. Seigo

Topics: KDE Core Development

People: Marc Mutz

The less time spent waiting for a compile to finish, the better. So Marc Mutz suggested, " To access KDE_VERSION* you currently need to include the heavyweight kapplication.h. Worse: You actually have to know beforehand what version you have, since for 2.x you need to include kapp.h. I know that we can't do anything about 2.x anymore, but for >= 3.0, we should probably provide these defines in a separate header."

After a brief discussion as to what to name the new header, kdeversion.h was added to the kdecore library. The new version header is #include'd in kapplication.h, but if one simply needs access to the version macros it is now only necessary to include kdeversion.h.

6. FAQ for Promoting KDE

22�Feb�2002 (3 posts) Archive Link: "[kde-promo] FAQ: KDE Promotion"

Summary By Juergen Appel

Topics: Promotion, Meeting

People: Thorsten Rahn,�Andreas Pour,�Torsten Rahn

As promotion for the KDE project is very important, and people willing to help spot up, Torsten Rahn has written a Frequently-Asked-Question Document which can be found in full length here. Thorsten encourages those who plan to set up a booth with the following:

We still have about 3000 printed brochures left. Send an e-mail to tackat@kde.org if you want to get some of them (The amount of brochures that you can receive depends on the importance of the purpose, the shipping costs and on your trustworthiness).

Andreas Pour adds that:

The League has an allotment of *free* t-shirts which are available for supporters staffing the KDE booth. Please request shirts at least 4 weeks in advance (sorry, there will be no rush shipments).

7. XFree86 Render Extension Loading Bug Found

23�Feb�2002�-�24�Feb�2002 (17 posts) Archive Link: "Cause of XRender/LD_BIND_NOW interaction found."

Summary By Aaron J. Seigo

Topics: Look and Feel, XFree86

People: Matthias Welwarsky,�antialias

What's more frustrating than a hard to find bug in your own code? A hard to find but in someone else's code, of course. Especially when that bug is intermitant and hard to reproduce.

That was exactly the sort of bug many people were running into when running XFree86 4.x and trying to turn on antialiased fonts in KDE. Matthias Welwarsky wrote in with the cause and the fix for this long standing and mysterious bug:

I have good and bad news for you.

Good: the cause for the XRender/LD_BIND_NOW interaction was found by Kevin Puetz (#kde: puetzk)

Bad: it's in XFree86 and the clean fix is to upgrade to XFree86 4.2

Technical discussion:
--
The bug is an uninitialized automatic variable in libXrender, which causes XRenderFindVisualFormat() to fail if a certain stack location is zero. Apparently, the interaction with LD_BIND_NOW is that _not_ setting it to "true" causes the dynamic linker to poison a certain location on the stack. The bug has been fixed in XFree86 4.2 during some code cleanup.
--

For those not able or willing to upgrade to XFree86 4.2 but who are willing to build Qt from source, a patch was included with the email that implements a rather clever (if ugly) hack in qapplication_x11.cpp to work around the bug in Xfree86.

8. New KOffice Application: Karbon

23�Feb�2002�-�25�Feb�2002 (6 posts) Archive Link: "Announcement: Karbon moving to koffice"

Summary By Aaron J. Seigo

Topics: KOffice, New Application

People: Lenny Kudling,�Robert Jacolin

KOffice development has been gaining steam over the last several months with more and more developers starting to show up with patches. This week a new KOffice application was moved from the kdenonbeta to koffice cvs module, which Lenny Kudling announced saying:

David was so kind to move karbon from kdenonbeta to koffice.

FAQ:

Q) What is Karbon?
A) (Yet another) vector graphics program.

Q) Why is yet another vector graphics program needed? Couldn't you just improve application xyz?
A) It's not needed per se, that's right. We personally just don't feel comfortable with existing solutions for several reasons.

Q) Is it ready?
A) No. But even in its pre-alpha stage it is already fun to use.

Q) So why did you move it then?
A) Karbon has always been a KOffice application. With moving it to KOffice we try to make it more visible, and hope to attract more developers. Both KOffice and Karbon will also benefit from tighter cooperation.

Q) Are there any screenshots?
A) See http://www.xs4all.nl/~rwlbuis/karbon/ for some work-in-progress screenshots. We hope to provide a brief overview there in the next time.

Q) Can I help?
A) Yes of course. There is a great deal to do. You don't even have to be a programmer. We can be reached via irc (irc.kde.org for example) in #koffice. Or pass us a private note (Email addresses can be found in AUTHORS file).

Robert Jacolin asked, "what is the difference with kontour ?" Lenny answered, "The most visible difference is that the former killustrator/kontour was based on shape primitives, while karbon is path-based like illustrator and freehand. But most important: kontour and karbon have a somewhat different culture/background. It's not easy to describe but it matters a lot for a hobby-project. Think of kde/gnome but less dramatic. I think it's like evolution: either kontour and karbon are so similar that they can merge, or they are so different that they have the right to co-exist. In the end it's about having fun and learning new stuff."

9. Trolls and the Dot

24�Feb�2002�-�26�Feb�2002 (18 posts) Archive Link: "[kde-promo] today's Gnossip"

Summary By Juergen Appel

Topics: dot.kde.org

People: Navindra Umanee,�Aaron J. Seigo

Since its inception theDot has been a place for discussion about anything related to KDE. As all forums have to face trolls, there has been a discussion about only allowing registered users to post on theDot. Navindra Umanee, admin of theDot, explained:

Actually, we do have anti-troll measures in place, *you* just don't notice them which in my book is a good thing. So while the trolls pay a penalty, I don't believe anti-troll measures should penalize our other innocent users. Judging by the number of legitimate comments from anonymous users vs trolls, I don't think it would be justified.

[..]

I've been unwilling to give full details of our anti-troll measures on this forum, because I'm sure the tr0ll3rs, hax0rs and skr1pt k1dd1es poll these lists for information.

Navindra's statement has been widely agreed, as registration has not been a solution to keep trolls away on freekde.org and would keep a lot of users who are unwilling to register away from the forum .

Aaron J. Seigo commented:

i'd like to take a moment and thank navindra et al for their hard work on theDot. you are doing an excellent job! and a (red) hat's tip to bero for hosting it _reliably_!

Damn right!

Sharon And Joy

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