My Photo

People person, technology enthusiast and all-things-open evangelist. Previously community manager at SUSE and now at ownCloud while continuing an decade long involvement in the KDE community. Enjoys avoiding traffic and public transport on bike through Berlin, but only when the weather is good. Loves cooking for friends and family and playing with our dog. Find me also on Twitter!

31 August, 2012

Creative all the way?

You gotta give it to Theo - he manages to get the weirdest things together...

I mean, really, check this one:

Like or no like, you have to admire the creativity. He 'just asks for help', or so he claims... Yeah, right. But really. It's one of the things I like about FOSS - brings creative things out in people. Ok, some of them are silly (a cow, really?) but it's part of the fun!

09 August, 2012

Dolphin immediately useful

Like many, I read this already famous blog post about the stripped-down Nautilus with growing surprise. I won't go into what I think it's wrong with it as others have said enough already. I'd like to focus on the positive: the very first point made.

Immediately useful

Mccan describes how Nautilus should be immediately useful upon starting. This is accomplished by showing recent files instead of the home folder of the user. A very neath idea, actually - I always have all my files sorted on date (newest on top) and most of the time that means I just have to click on the top-left of the file view in a folder to get what I want. But I first have to go to the right folder... So I'd say - awesome idea.

I also realized this is extremely easy to have in dolphin due to the Nepomuk 'timeline' KIOslave. This shows you a calendar of your active files per date. The screen shot below shows this - yes, I use the split function to show both the files and the dates, I hope it is not confusing ;-)

And of course, the timeline has a vitual 'today' folder which basically shows you all files you touched today. Drag the folder to the side bar, call it 'recent', give it a proper icon and it's just like the new Nautilus:

With KDE's technology being as it is, it will also show in file open dialogs (even in Firefox, as openSUSE has KDE integration by default):

(unfortunately it can't actually open the files as the Firefox KDE integration only works with real, local files and these are 'virtual')

Of course, what you really want is that this is the default - the home folder that Dolphin opens when you start it. Unfortunately, here you'll bump in a limitation (or bug?) in Dolphin: it won't allow you to set this location from the GUI:

But challenges only exist to be overcome. Just edit
and navigate to the [General] section to edit the HomeUrl into: HomeUrl=timeline:/today.

Hit save and be happy. Ensure you don't have Dolphin running while you do this as it will overwrite the changes upon exit!

You'll now have your recent files always visible when you start Dolphin:


And may I hereby propose to make this the default in Dolphin? I know, it depends on Nepomuk running, but we're going there anyway... I expect that the 5.0 release of Plasma Workspace has a Nepomuk up to this task, if the current one doesn't do it yet - for me, Nepomuk as part of KDE's 4.8 platform is good enough already and I know many bug fixes have been going in since this release. And of course we can always check if Nepomuk is available and if not, fall back on the 'old' home folder.

Scrap that proposal, the Dolphin developers are (of course) much smarter than I'll ever be. As you can see in the Plasma Workspace 4.9 announcement, Dolphin already has a feature similar (but better) than this:

I strongly suggest to support KDE developers as they are clearly VERY smart people ;-)

07 August, 2012

Questions about laptop hardware on Linux

Dear Intarwebs,

I have a new laptop (Samsung NP900X3C) and am setting it up with Linux. Most things work fine, some don't out of the box but I managed to fix them. Some baffle me to no end...

chmod 777 doesn't seem to work on rfkill

You can set the things like brightness by echoing numbers to /sys/devices/platform/samsung/leds/samsung::kbd_backlight/brightness. To make this possible without root rights, I added "chmod 777 /sys/devices/platform/samsung/performance_level" to /etc/rc.d/boot.local to allow users to set this. Simply works.

But not everything is as fluffy bunny as it should be.
  • First, I know 'chmod 777' is a tad rude. What should be safer?
  • Second, when I do the very same thing (chmod 777) to /sys/devices/platform/samsung/rfkill/rfkill0/state (or /soft), I still get
      echo 1 > /sys/devices/platform/samsung/rfkill/rfkill0/state
      bash: echo: write error: Operation not permitted
    as user (but it works as root). Why? Now I am forced to use kdesudo in my script...

can't asign keys

I am unable to use the Fn F9 and Fn F10 keys to adjust brightness. These keys have no keycodes asigned to them but a simple 'setkeycodes e016 237' etc in boot.local takes care of that. Now, xev should be able to see these keys and I should be able to use them, right? Nope... The kernel has stopped telling me the keys have no keycodes but they still don't show up :(

Even weirder, the Fn F12 key (wlan) doesn't even show a kernel message that it has no keycode but doesn't show up in xev either.

However, while mucking around with these keys, occasionally the terminal (or any other app) gets suddenly filled with a stream of characters (often @ or ±) and the mouse sometimes stops working and I have to (re)start synaptiks to get things working.

U no Power?

The kernel doesn't notice if the laptop is on power or not, nor does it give off any indications if the laptop lid is closed. The relevant acpi files in /proc (/proc/acpi/ac_adapter/ADP1/state and /proc/acpi/button/lid/LID0) don't change anymore after booting. It's a bit of a pain, does anyone know where these are set and if there's any way I can fix it (and where to send that fix)?

Segfaults in synaptiks

Last but not least, while I'm at it - anyone know if synaptiks is supposed to segfault after resuming from suspend-to-ram?!? The app is awesome and I wouldn't be able to use a laptop with a touchpad without it. The segfaulting is a tad annoying, though.

All this on openSUSE 12.2 RC 2, btw. That runs Linux Kernel 3.4.6. Once I've set everything up and fixed these issues I'll make a post with tips, tricks and some scripts to get the most out of this laptop ;-)

02 August, 2012

Berlin KDE Release Party

Heya all,

As you might have read on Lydia's blog, the Berliner KDE release party will happen at our place again. Address is on the Party Page. We'll have Pizza and you have to bring your own drinks (there's a 24H store downstairs so you can simply get a beer or coke there).

We'll start around 18:00 (order pizza between 18:30 and 19:00) and hang out until about 22:00 or so. I'm still not feeling well enough for a party until deep in the night, but there's plenty of place around where you can go afterwards if you want ;-)

Bringing laptops is allowed but far from mandatory. We'll be sure to have a device or two with the latest & greatest from KDE, of course (and I hopefully will get to show off my new laptop).

Oh, and there will be cake. Lots of it...