Saturday, October 22, 2016

Happy 20th birthday, KDE!

KDE turned twenty recently, which seems significant in a world that seems to change so fast. Yet somehow we stay relevant, and excited to continue to build a better future.

Lydia asked recently on the KDE-Community list what we were most proud of.

For the KDE community, I'm proud that we continue to grow and change, while remaining friendly, welcoming, and ever more diverse. Our software shows that. As we change and update, some things get left behind, only to re-appear in fresh new ways. And as people get new jobs, or build new families, sometimes they disappear for awhile as well. And yet we keep growing, attracting students, hobbyist programmers, writers, artists, translators, designers and community people, and sometimes we see former contributors re-appear too. See more about that in our 20 Years of KDE Timeline.

I'm proud that we develop whole new projects within the community. Recently Peruse, Atelier, Minuet, WikitoLearn, KDEConnect, Krita, Plasma Mobile and neon have all made the news. We welcome projects from outside as well, such as Gcompris, Kdenlive, and the new KDE Store. And our established projects continue to grow and extend. I've been delighted to hear about Calligra Author, for instance, which is for those who want to write and publish a book or article in pdf or epub. Gcompris has long been available for Windows and Mac, but now you can get it on your Android phone or tablet. Marble is on Android, and I hear that Kstars will be available soon.

I'm proud of how established projects continue to grow and attract new developers. The Plasma team, hand-in-hand with the Visual Design Group, continues to blow testers and users away with power, beauty and simplicity on the desktop. Marble, Kdevelop, Konsole, Kate, KDE-PIM, KDElibs (now Frameworks), KOffice (now Calligra), KDE-Edu, KDE-Games, Digikamkdevplatform, Okular, Konversation and Yakuake, just to mention a few, continue to grow as projects, stay relevant and often be offered on new platforms. Heck, KDE 1 runs on modern computer systems!

For myself, I'm proud of how the KDE community welcomed in a grandma, a non-coder, and how I'm valued as part of the KDE Student Programs team, and the Community Working Group, and as an author and editor. Season of KDE, Google Summer of Code, and now Google Code-in all work to integrate new people into the community, and give more experienced developers a way to share their knowledge as mentors. I'm proud of how the Amarok handbook we developed on the Userbase wiki has shown the way to other open user documentation. And thanks to the wonderful documentation and translation teams, the help is available to millions of people around the world, in multiple forms.

I'm proud to be part of the e.V., the group supporting the fantastic community that creates the software we offer freely to the world.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Kubuntu 16.10 is released today

Kubuntu is a friendly, elegant operating system. The system uses the Linux kernel and Ubuntu core. Kubuntu presents KDE software and a selection of other essential applications.

We focus on elegance and reliability. Please join us and contribute to an exciting international Free and Open Source Software project.

Install Kubuntu and enjoy friendly computing. Download the latest version:

Download kubuntu 64-bit (AMD64) desktop DVD    Torrent

Download kubuntu (Intel x86) desktop DVD            Torrent

PCs with the Windows 8 logo or UEFI firmware, choose the 64-bit download. Visit the help pages for more information.

Ubuntu Release notes
For a full list of issues and features common to Ubuntu, please refer to the Ubuntu release notes.
Known problems
For known problems, please see our official Release Announcement.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

2016-2017 Season of KDE begins

Do you have a project in mind which will help KDE? Whether you are an experienced developer who would like to mentor someone as part of that project, or a less-experienced person who wants a mentor to help you create the project, Season of KDE is for you.

KDE Student Programs today announces the 2016-2017 Season of KDE for those who want to participate in mentored projects which enhance KDE in some way.

Projects from past Seasons of KDE include new application features, the KDE Continuous Integration system, new reporting for developers, as well as a web framework, porting and a plethora of other work.

Successful mentees earn a certificate of completion along with  a very cool tee shirt and other goodies. Any person who wants to complete a project is eligible to enter.

Those who want to mentor are asked to add ideas here: The sooner the better, please!

Students are asked to begin discussion about your ideas or those on the various KDE mail lists and IRC channels even before applications open. The more consultation is done with the team you want to work with, the more likely you are to succeed.

The schedule this year will be:
  •  7 October to 31 October:  Student and mentor applications
  •  1 November: Official coding period begins. Students can start work after once mentor and student agree on the project scope and the timeline
  •  28 February : End of coding period
To apply as a mentor or student, please visit

 Photo by Erik Drost, Mentor Marsh Nature Preserve through a Creative Commons license. Thanks!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Snowden -- see this film!

You've seen the news stories, and maybe the documentary. The film Snowden will still scare and inspire you. Oliver Stone has made a film that will draw you in, engage you, and even feel anxious about Snowden's safety. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is amazingly like the man you've seen on TV or Youtube.

Imdb says about Snowden: Its performance during its opening weekend was the lowest opening of Oliver Stone's career for a film playing in over 2,000 theaters. So go to a theater near you, and see it!

Then come home and join the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF). And thank goodness you still have the freedom to do these things.

I'm so happy that the time I've spent working with KDE and Kubuntu support freedom and privacy too. These issues grow more important as the attacks on both grow more frequent and bold.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Book reviews: Eleanor Roosevelt, and Bog Bodies Uncovered

Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol. 2: 1933-1938, by Blanche Wiesen Cook

What a fantastic ride this biography is, seeing the world through the eyes of ER, born in 1884 into one of the oldest New York families, niece of the President of the United States, but also daughter of an alcoholic, and orphaned by age 10.

Always insecure because of her childhood, she rose to be one of the world's most beloved and respected women, surviving almost unbelievable challenges along the way. Because of her class and mores of the time, she was able to help her husband and distant cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt become a New York State legislator, Governor, and US President all while he battled the after-affects of polio, even as she recovered from his betrayal of her with Lucy Mercer.

She went on to build a life of her own in parallel to his, both holding "courts" of power, both having other lovers and deeply intimate friendships while supporting one another in their pursuits of what was best for the United States and the world as another world war loomed.

It is hard for me to believe after about ER's accomplishments, that we as a culture are still evidently not willing to give women direct power when they are qualified and willing to take on the difficult job of governing the US. I hope I'm wrong in my gloomy assessment of the US cultural landscape.

Now that part three of this biography has been published, I have it on hold at my local library.


Bog Bodies Uncovered: Solving Europe's Ancient Mystery by Miranda Aldhouse-Green

I borrowed this from a friend (thanks, Christine!) after I became absorbed in it up at our cabin in the mountains. The drawings and photos are great, and the analysis is good, if a bit speculative. I see that Nova has a documentary on the bodies; I'll try to check that out. Slim book, well worth the time. We can learn so much from these ancient mummies.