17 December, 2009


Yes, I know, for many of you a bit of snow is like 'so what?'. And for others, living in a perpetual summer, it's something to point-and-laugh about. Still, I've got an internet connection, a bunch of unwilling readers (ya'all) and enough irritation to fill a thousant webpages.

But pictures say more, or so I've been told.

In the morning...

It was pretty.

In the evening...

Less so.

Combined with the sheer incapability of the dutch public transport to handle anything but a sunny summer day (actually they screw that up once in a while too) and the resulting delay my trip home wasn't as good as it could have been. Especially considering I left a christmas drink at work early 'cuz I had to visit the town hall for some paperwork. !FAIL

Luckily I had nice company on the way home (2 girls on the last image). And some decent C2H5OH containing beverages in the fridge to sooth the pain.

09 December, 2009

Krita fundraiser going strong!

I'm really glad to see the Krita fundraiser went so well. At the time of writing, they're more than 500 euros over target, and more might follow. That's in just a couple of days. Wonderful! This means Lukáš will be working a little over 2 months fulltime on Krita, and if more donations come in he can extend that period.

Let's make sure Krita the best Free Software painting application for artists there is - donate too!

Help raise Krita to the next level and make a donation at www.pledgie.com !

Read more on the Krita site.

08 December, 2009

Who is KDE? (continued)

In my previous blog I talked about who KDE is and how the web is full of cool blogs and podcasts and more about our community. In this blog a few more links ;-)

Check out the Blue Mint blog. Darn. This one is way cool for sure. The blogger (James Cain) aims to help and inform Linux Mint KDE users about their favorite desktop software. He started only 6 weeks ago but is very productive. Imho this blog would fit nicely on planet KDE, he might not be a developer but writes excellent and informative blogs. Or should we create a KDE user planet?

Here's jmiahman, blogging since april 2009. Clearly a Mandriva user, he recently wrote a nice review of the development version of KDE SC 4.4. Regularly blogs about other KDE stuff too, his latest one (as of this writing) is about amarok.

Robert Penz (family of our Peter?) regularly blogs about KDE, as he is a Kubuntu user. His blog mostly sports all kinds of tips and tricks (worth reading, I tell you) and every now and then an nice KDE article comes trough ;-)

A guy (or girl, I suppose...) who calls himself "Technophile Monkey" considers KDE SC 4.3 a winner. So much I think he switched, I only see Gnome screenshots in older blogposts and Plasma workspace/KDE apps in newer ;-)
He also did a nice Windows 7 review, comparing it to SC 4. Worth a read!

For now I'm gonna stop this as there is plenty more but I guess ya'll get the drift - plenty of cool KDE related blogs and people who care about what we do. I consider them part of our community. Not hardcore developers for sure, but part of KDE.

One final thing I (as Arch user) didn't want to let go: a great "create a supercool KDE SC on Arch" 2-part series on IT news today.

Oh, and for the potential writers among us - there is a request for an article about Kontact for http://linuxrants.net - anyone interested, let us know on kde-promo or mail me personally.

04 December, 2009

Who is KDE?

So who is this KDE we've just 'rebranded'? Who belong to this community? I would say anybody who cares about KDE and does his or her thing to help spread KDE and make this world a little better - is certainly part of our community. This includes people who might not see themselves as part of our community. I've met plenty of people who hang out on KDE forums, helping others out, blog about KDE, put up tutorials here and there, even gave a talk about KDE at a tradeshow - and when they meet me they say "wow you're from KDE, that's so cool!". And in what world would I be 'more KDE' than they are? Just because you don't code doesn't mean you're not part of this!

While browsing you might find them. In lots of cases they blog in Italian, Spanish, Korean and other languages I don't speak - making it a bit harder for me to contact them, get them closer to our community. But they are what we often call 'the wider community'. They are important to KDE - they're the backbone of our success.

Imho it is important to realize that. And it's important that THEY realize it, too. Being part of KDE is special. Yes, it is. We're changing the world, remember? But it is not exclusive. It's easy to be part of this community, to change things. Just telling a developer he's done a great job makes a difference. Helping another user install KDE makes a difference. Writing a tutorial. Translating an application on KDE-apps. Packaging KDE applications for a distribution.

So let me give a few random examples I recently stubmled upon. And yes, these people ARE KDE. And my limitations (me only speak dutch & english) prevent me from finding Korean or Indian KDE.

First would be 'Klaatu'. Stubled upon his blog and podcast a while ago. Nice blogpost here. He has a few more interesting KDE blogs, including some comparisons with Mac OS X he used to use. It's nice to see ex-mac users, usually very sensitive when it comes to style, liking KDE. We exchanged a few emails, and he promised to help out spreading the word on Camp KDE. He might even go there and so should you ;-)

More next blog :D

Edit: Oh, how could I forget, KDE SC 4.4 Beta 1 is out!

30 November, 2009

promo work

Hi all,

If you're interested in becoming part of the marketing & promo team and do something meaningful, check the KDE promo tasks page.

We've been working on creating a list if things which has to be done, and that list is huge. And often still too vague etcetera. And too many are on my name ;-)

To give you a taste of some tasks, let me go through a few of them.

One area were we'll be doing a lot of work is of course the marketing of KDE SC 4.4. We have been identifying the main message for the release announcement, and that will get done. But we need one or two good screencasts for the announcement and a few more for the feature guide. They must be made during december. What should be in them? ask on promo ;-)
So if you always wanted to make a screencast with over a 100.000 viewers, join kde-promo and start working on this!

Then there is the feature guide. It is a lot of work - but this will guide new users through all the cool stuff in KDE SC 4.4 and is thus very important! We haven't even started yet... Is it hard? Nope, not when working with so many cool people as are on the promo list. So if you feel like coordinating this - email me or the promo list. I've done it before so I can give some tips and help out.

Then for something completely different. Ever given a talk about KDE? Tried to sell KDE software to a bunch of geeks, housewives or ICT managers? No, but you'd love to? Either way, you can help yourself AND others to do this. Many in the promo team have experience with that but we need somebody to go and put it all in a wiki. Some info is already available on kde.org site and that needs to get in the wiki page as well.There is a wiki page for this already, you can get started right away!

And again something different. There will be release parties for the 4.4 release and we need somebody to help coordinate some things, make sure each release party has some good promo stuff like posters, stickers and stuff - and anything else you can think of to make the parties rock. Go to the wiki and make a difference ;-)

Some of the tasks are pretty small, and if you feel up to it - just add your name, announce it on kde-promo and go ahead. The promo team will be more than willing to give tips and tricks and get you going. You can make a difference!

Oh, one more thing: I'm bad at wiki's. Really bad. Unstructured and stuff. Feel free to fix anything ;-)
Here's the wiki for Promo.


Hey, ppl are picking the rebranding spirit up ;-)

Love this brainstorm idea - why not use digikam instead of Fspot on Ubuntu?

Unfortunately digkam brings in over 200 mb of dependecies - that's a bit much, I can see that. So we should simply strive to make sure most if not all these dependencies become part of a standard linux desktop installation. Making KDE applications work better in non-KDE-plasma-desktop environments is an important step in that regard...

On a different topic, I'm in Oslo still, the KOffice meeting is of course over and I've caught up on sleep a bit. I still have about 4 hours to spend in this city and I'm unsure on how... Currently I'm working on some promo/marketing things but I guess it's healthy to take some time off - tomorrow will be day job until friday so if I don't relax a bit now I've have skipped on a weekend - again. Last time didn't agree with me (was tired all week) so I shouldn't do that.

28 November, 2009

KOffice meeting

Had a good flight yesterday, now I'm in Oslo. The KOffice meeting has started. Was a bit late this morning - The Other Jos had put his phone (with alarm set) next to my bed. He needs to do that to force himself to get up and turn it off. However, I didn't need to get out of bed - just smash the phone. Ok, didn't do that, but I did turn it of quickly, turned around and continued sleeping. The Other Jos didn't even wake up. We had to take a cab, shared with Jstaniek and lukas Tvrdy.

Aaah well. Be on the lookout for an article later today, it's under review now ;-)

24 November, 2009

Finally: rebranding KDE

I'm relieved. After close to 2 years of thinking and discussing, the rebranding of KDE is official. From now on, the K Desktop Environment is dead. "KDE 4.4" will never see the light of day.

Today, "KDE" has officially moved on.
KDE is no longer software created by people, it is people creating software!

I won't go into this any further, as the dot article isn't up yet - but it will be soon - just gave Stu the go to publish. When he does you will be able to read what this is about.

Don't worry: most of it will sound familiar, we have changed our communication over the past year to fit the new branding. But some of it will be new. After years of discussing this and consulting the wider community (both by contacting key figures by personal mail and by discussing it on kde-devel, for example) it was time to move. We have made decisions (many of them at the recent marketing meeting), and yes, you could debate them. Please don't. Dark blue or light blue bikeshed, it does not matter.

We're not done yet, lots of text has to be rewritten (help is welcome!) and there still are some decisions to be made. But I'm feeling relieved now, really. It's out.

22 November, 2009

Keep on marketing!

Today, Casper v Donderen visited me. He wanted to discuss an article he'll be writing for a dutch Linux magazine about Maemo development. We went through the messaging and structure. Of course I'm blogging this to both remind him of the agreed deadline (2nd week of december) and to put on some pressure.

Yes, I'm like that. Very nice when we first meet - makes you wanna join the promo team. From then on, you'll be harassed by me. If I would have the travel budget, I'd actually stalk people - showing up in the middle of the night on their lawn, singing songs to their windows. Stealing underwear and stuff. Unfortunately the e.V. board didn't want to sponsor that particular motivational scheme. Too bad.

I also showed Casper the upcoming rebranding announcement mentioned in this article for the dot. Darn, that's gonna lead to some flamewars I'm afraid. Really. It's a big change which raises many hard-to-answer questions. We did our best, discussed it with the wider community (thread on KDE devel, blogging) and it was all thought out on a public mailing list, but still. At the marketing meeting we had to make some executive decisions to move this forward - every time you discuss it, the argument seems to ends in bikeshedding.

Which can be seen as a good thing. People care about KDE. About what it means, what it stands for. And they each have their own opinions on that. Naturally, these have emerged from these years of cooperation, and it's a very implicit thing. Not unlike the values the KDE community shares - now codified in our code of conduct. That one is worth a read - it is not only about how you SHOULD behave but also gives a nice description of our culture, how we are and how we think.

But shared values aside, we're still individuals, who disagree on things. We're not all here for the same reasons, you know... Some are in it for the money (ok, I actually doubt that's true for many, but I do think it's a valid reason). Others for the fame. Some want to make the world a better place. Others just want to have some fun.

I can go on of course, and for many it's a bunch of reasons, not a single one. I just want to say that when you read the announcement, to be posted in a few days, think about what the most important message is: KDE IS YOU. It is about us all, it is who we are. Yes, fluffy, yes, I sound like a hippy. Or something. And it's far less concrete and clear than KDE as a product. But it IS true.


All of you. What, you only read the planet, don't do much else? No? You never answer questions on a forum, IRC, mail? You never installed or recommended any KDE application to anyone? You don't care about world domination for Free Software? You don't have to write code to be part of this community, you know... You don't even have to spend >10 hours a week on it. I've never written a single line of code, and sometimes I don't have time for KDE stuff for weeks. But I feel part of this wonderful community. Fluffy feelings, yay! And so can you.

17 November, 2009

Back from Marketing in Stuttgart

Had to wait for 1.5 hour in Frankfurt on the way back home, so I decided to have a look at the city. I've never seen the area around central station (hauptbahnhof for bloody germans). Right in front of central station there is plenty of entertainment, of an interesting variety. Bars which don't focus on beer - seems un-german to me, but I guess that other need has to be serviced even in Germany.

I recently saw the Red Light district in Amsterdam for the first time when I had Hölger over for a visit. I must say the Frankfurter integration of the sex related services in their city center is far more elaborate. The Red Light district sports a few bars & one or two evening shops, but that's about it - it's pretty disconnected from the rest of Amsterdam. Not here, in the center of Stuttgart. Above a "girls girls bar" there was a youth hostel, and a nice but expensive looking indian restaurant was sitting just next to another "nice girls" bar. Interesting. The area was filled with suits walking from (presumably) work to the main station. Combined with the more shady types hanging there it created a weird atmosphere.

At Hauptbahnhof I found a german würst shop (well it said "schnell restaurant" but was more sausage-oriented than any butchery I've seen in my home country). Bought some to bring home. Didn't have the bratwürst I've been asking Eckhart for all weekend - the German style lunch (big Pizza) was still heavy on my stomach. Will have to wait until next time I'm in Germany.

On to KDE-ish stuff: if you want to help the world domination plans Stu mentioned, join KDE promo or mail me. Skills? If you can read it'll do, we have plenty of big marketing geniusses already - you'll be one of those in a couple of months, believe me.

Frankly marketing in the FOSS world suffers from having more ideas than people willing to actually DO something... The KDE promo team is blessed with a rather healthy number of worker bees but it is still hard to keep things happening. I must admit the planning is cool, and we do have big plans - after world domination, the next five year plan involves the Milky Way - but at some point, sites have to be build, text has to be written, people have to be talked to. And that's fun too, just takes a bit more of an pro-active attitude...

15 November, 2009

one more thing

I just learned there is a new star on the rise in the KDE community. Forget OpenSuse, Pardus, Kubuntu, Arch - enter Hannah Montana. Yes, uses the Plasma Desktop Workspace and many other KDE applications ;-)

marketing and more

Gush, the marketing meeting is almost over.

No, not because it's 10 at night, just because everyone is exhausted. Or it's just me being exhausted enough for all, I dunno, I only know I can sleep anywhere now.

Still, we accomplished a lot. I asked ppl involved in all topics to present the results for the group. Stuart will write a dot article about the meeting and of course include those results, so be on the lookout for that. I must admit we still haven't gotten to actual world domination so there still is a lot to do. Not the least of that would be finishing our work on a booklet and lots of other writing.

Aaah well, currently I mostly think about how nice it would be if there happened to be a bed just around the corner. Unlikely, given we're sitting in a large office building, but you never know. I can dream, right? Here? Please?

Picture time now.

Food & drinks (or what's left of those) on Thursday night.

Troy explained a pig would be a much better mascotte for KDE than our current dragon. If we really wanted we could give it fangs and make it pink, of course. Or blue. After that we had a familiar discussion about bike sheds and such.

Thursday we went to some ice skating & gluh wine drinking stuff. Lights, colorful people, me likes. Wine was very hot. I prefer cold beer.

And here is proof that even after slave-driving everyone for a couple of days they still like me. Kind of. I hope.

Slaves at work.

On an entirely different note, if you're an systems administrator, the NLUUG is organizing a conference for YOU. If you're experienced, think about sending in a proposal for a talk. If you're not, be sure to go and change that.

And of course, I'm going to Camp KDE. Think about going 'cuz it's gonna be great! The US community really needs to show up in large numbers - so if you're a KDE contributor in the US make sure you're there. And yes, you are a contributor if you help ppl on forums.kde.org or edit pages on userbase.kde.org, installed a PC with KDE for your dad or hang around often in KDE IRC channels.

And if money is an issue, just contact us (see the website) or the ev board directly (ev.kde.org) and there will be help.

12 November, 2009

Marketing Meeting sucks

(Title courtesy of the great atmosphere on the planet right now, I obviously thing the meeting is going to rock)

Currently I'm in Stuttgart, sitting in Frank Karlitscheck's office with Eckhart, Claudia and Frederik (who has cut his hair since last time we met). During the train trip I worked on the release announcement for 4.4, and discussed KDE with a good looking blonde we might see in KDE some day - so yes, my trip was great.

Most of the preparation for tomorrow is done. People are or rather will be arriving soonish, and I look forward to that too. Hugging ppl I haven't seen in a long time, yay! And of course introducing new ppl to the traditional hugs.

Now back to working on the release announcement, it's enjoyable especially when you have the right ppl around to question about stuff.

02 November, 2009

halloween & stuff

Last weekend I had a fun halloween party where I made some pics I'll share. Haven't seen any on the planet.kde.org (yet?) so this makes me first ;-)

Also included a pic from the recent NLUUG meeting - the dinner we had afterwards... Unfortunately you're missing out on the beauty who sat next to me, but how can I not post the one where Frank looks like he's planning to murder me?

Way cool dude in a wedding dress who gave some kind of live performance outside...

Niels, good friend of mine, who was taking pictures with his oversized "I'm cooler than thou" camera. He should get himself a blog and post pics there...

Pics above speak for themselves I'd say ;-)
This is Nienke, who, with her brother, organized the party. Evil doesn't fit her, whatever she wears looks cute on her...
And she made Evil Cookies.
Yeah, there's me in a blurry pic with some green daemon.

I know, pretty much all pics are blurry. You could blame the N900 but it's more likely just me.

And here's the pic I promised showing Frank (and sebas and steven and a few more ppl I don't know) during dinner last Thursday:

On a more personal note, I'm leaving home now to travel to my new job. First day, yay :D

And in KDE related news, a few more dot articles in dire need for review. Anyone who can read and has a little time on his/her hand, please join kde-promo@kde.org and help out every now and then :D

20 October, 2009

Looking for something to hack on? Think of Krusader...

I'm sure many of the dot readers are avid Krusader users. I have used it myself only in KDE 3 times, but I clearly understand the need for such a tool for power users. Luckily there is now a KDE 4 version, Krusader 2.0, released a few months ago.

Krusader, you ask? Ah, yes, some people do NOT know it. Well, let's use the description it's developers give:

Krusader is a simple, easy, powerful, twin-panel file manager (commander-style) for KDE and other *nix desktops (All POSIX, All BSD, Mac OS X with macports.org, and experimental port for Windows).

The Krusader Krew is looking for new developers eager to see a much better Krusader.

Since the Krusader team has lack of free time to write new code due to many private and professional obligations, we need developers to continue Krusader development.

Skills: C++, Qt, KDE

But I'm betting new developers can get up to speed with some help from the Krusader team...

Source code can be found here.

Please contact Frank Schoolmeesters for more information

17 October, 2009

KDE marketing and promo meeting

Hi all!

Next month, November 13 to November 15 to be exact, the KDE marketing and promo dudes and dudettes will have a meeting in Stuttgart. The goal is to discuss a wide range of marketing topics and get some work done in preparation for the future KDE releases, Akademy 2010 and more.

Among other things, there will be a booth sprint to discuss posters and artwork, the content of the booth box, a KDE showcase and general management of the whole 'attending conferences and fairs' thing.

The marketing sprint will focus both on strategic issues like the rebranding of KDE and more practical issues like the texts on various KDE sites, writing a new booklet about KDE, spread.kde.org and the work on the dot.

Finally, a www sprint will focus on kde.org and the planned improvements there.

So, a wide range of topics, high expectations, ambitious plans... But we'll have over 15 participants from around the world and I'm confident we have the resources and (wo)man power to get a lot done. The previous marketing meeting, with only about 4-5 participants was hugely successful but seeing the agenda for this meeting and the enthusiasm of the participants I think we will top it.

More info about the marketing and promo sprint can be found here.

I'd like to urge all participants to book their flights/train tickets/car/bike/shoes and update the wiki with costs, arrival times etc.

If you are interested in contributing to KDE marketing and promotion, get involved. Join us on kde-promo@kde.org, visit the meeting in Stuttgart (while the budget is booked, if money is an issue you can contact KDE e.V. for support) or talk to us on IRC on #kde-promo (freenode, of course).

And I'd like to thank Eckhart and the other local gearheads for taking care of finding a spot for the sprint and a place to put our tired bodies to rest ;-)

10 October, 2009

Nokia stuff @ Maemo 2009

Just a little heads on for those who kind of expect an article about the Maemo conference: working on some stuff :D

There is just too much going on here, I haven't visited many talks but the best stuff goes on with all the hackers hanging around everywhere. Hint: plasma runs just fine on the N900 :D

Tonight: beer, I promised Holger. After all, last week I left him all alone in 'De Melkweg' (I left at 0300). First of course food - it seems we will go out with a bunch of ppl...

03 October, 2009

Marketing heroes

After my previous blog about promo I wanted to tell a bit about writing efforts going on at KDE promo. We've got a few new heroes join the gang, and cool things are going on.

it-s and Jeremy started working on a way cool promotional brochure for KDE, the graphics are real good we got some good text in there as well. Wait a bit and see what will show up ;-)

Furthermore, as you might have noticed, Troy is back in town again. And we have two new enthusiastic writers: Justin Kirby and Stuart Jarvis. Justin has published an article already, Stuart has pretty much finished a very interesting article and you'll be enjoying that one soon. Of course, more is coming.

Moreover, our booth babes are planning a sprint and the writers among us are also planning a meeting. Yes, we should have communicated this - even among the ppl who are supposed to do the talking we have communication issues. I only figured this double date when catching up with my email & blog backlog... But we'll find a solution, hopefully combining the two meetings.

And there is a request from a US magazine for KDE related articles. So if you're up for writing a decent piece about something which is going on in the KDE 4 desktop area, let me know.

As usual: anyone with KDE promo ambitions - make sure you're on kde-promo@kde.org and join the meeting :D

Edit: and I almost forgot to mention the KDE forums team ROCKS :D


Amarok 2.2 is out, and boy, is it good! After seeing the announcement (a bit late, I'm a lot behind on KDE stuff) I updated my Arch, hoping the new Amarok would pop up. But those darn arch devs had updated Amarok a few days ago already, so without knowing, it was already installed.

And, I must admit, since the 1.x series, Amarok finally really made me rediscover some music again! Did I ever mention I love Pink Floyd? No? Sorry about that ;-)

BTW for the second week in a row I have a KDE geek visiting - Holger Schroder is sitting behind me on the couch. Last week I had Kenny over - poor guy. First I dragged him over to the dutch Film Festival on Friday, and on Saturday we went to the Mandrivaclub Meeting in Oss. Monday he left for Finland, Tampere, on a super-secret mission ;-)

Holger will be joining my buddies and me tonight for drinking in Amsterdam, and flying from Schiphol tomorrow - but will be back for the Maemo summit next weekend (I'm still trying to get in there too, as registration is closed already).

27 September, 2009

Promo efforts

Way cool stuff going on in the promo area lately - things are really speeding up. More people are working in one area or another, spreading the word and helping users out.

The recent efforts by the KDE forums team rock. Luca Beltrame just introduced Kdialogue while Sayak Banerjee blogged about the teams other efforts like improving the speed of the KDE forums. Over the last year the KDE forums have become a vibrant community, making a difference.

Meanwhile the KDE community continues to attend conference after conference, giving thousands of visitors a chance to meet those behind their software or to discover KDE - Myriam just blogged about the latest one, but lots more are in the pipeline. I haven't had time to go to many events lately, but I have fond memories of the last few I visited. Meeting hard working people like Eckhart makes it interesting in itself, and the many visitors are often fun to talk to. There are so many misconceptions and easy-to-answer questions, and many are so interested in seeing what is going on it gives a lot of energy. Unfortunately we can't visit even half the events we'd love to go to, so if you're interested in spending a weekend or a few weekdays with a bunch of gearheads, join the KDE promo team!

Of course more happens at KDE-promo, including the writing of articles and announcements, but that's for another blog.

26 September, 2009

Should be easy-peasy.

Kenny and I just discussed it, and it should be easy. After all, it gets it right about 50% already...


Konqi. It is reasonably smart with tabs - you can enable opening new windows and pop ups in tabs. So you click a link in Gmail, and it opens a background tab. I often want to read it so I have to activate the tab - redundant. Firefox is slightly smarter - middle click (open in tab) opens a background tab, a normal click, which opens a new window (in a tab), activates the new tab, and goes back to the previous one after you close it.

Yet sometimes I want those windows to open in background tabs too.

Basically, the solution would be to have Konqi open the tabs and activate them only if you want to. Who writes the patch which makes Konqi read my mind and choose the right thing 100% of the time instead of 50%? Should be easy...

13 September, 2009

government - big or small

Sorry, this is a rant about politics. I try to not let it bother me anymore, but sometimes I can't help myself. Skip it if you don't care about such stuff...

He. Havoc blogs about the size of government and how various political parties think about it.

He links to a pie chart of the US government spending on Wikipedia and accuses both liberals and democrats of saying one thing and doing the other. Basically, Republicans say they want tho make the government much smaller, Democrats want to increase it's size. The reality is that both balloon the size of the government (see what Republican Bush did with federal spending...). Of course the public prefers decreased taxes and increased spending, showing they're just as nuts as the politicians.

Personally I've often felt irritated when there was talk about problems and solving them. Apparently, the solution is always 'spend more money on it'. Because budget is always limited, we take money from something not currently in the spotlight and move it to an area the public currently cares about. Then, in a few years, that less-important topic becomes news - cuz you know, the budget cuts hurt, and now service in that area sucks. So the money is moved again...

Instead of the whole liberal/socialist discussion, why can't we stop moving money and start focusing on returns? I am not interested in how many billions are spend on health care, I'm interested in good health care for the lowest possible price. In other words, efficiency. If good health care for all dutch citizens costs us 20% of our yearly budget, so be it. As long as I don't have to pay 25% for getting 15%!

Politicians focus too much on how much money is spend on a certain category. Why can't we define what we want from that service and make sure we get it for the least amount of money? I don't hear politicians talk about 'lean six sigma' and improving management. They always want to trow more money at the problem.

And we all know what happens if you double the amount of money spend on something. You might get 10-20% more, but output never doubles. I'm not saying management bull crap like six sigma is going to save our government, but the public sector is on average between 10 and 20 years behind on management innovations used in the private sector. I believe a combination of good management and good management techniques DOES improve efficiency. We can do so much more with our money, and every citizen of every country knows it... I don't get why politicians don't talk about THAT.

A well known dutch politician, shot for his ideas a few years ago, Pim Fortuyn, actually spoke about this. Of course in his typical, rather extreme fashion - the attitude he was shot for. But he said it: decrease bureaucracy. Do 20% more with 10% less. I doubt he, or anyone, could have pulled it off in a 4 year term, but at least he made it a real topic.

Oh, current politicians in NL do work on it - by letting others solve the issue they can't. They are introducing market economics in our health care system, and successfully did the same in the mobile phone and internet connection markets (our rates are now among the lowest in the world). Yes it works. But in many areas it isn't possible. And I think it's not a vote of confidence in yourself if you admit you can't do something reasonably well so let someone else (the market) take care of it... Get of your lazy asses, read a few management books and do something! Local governments won't get of their asses themselves - research has shown the vast majority of government agencies only introduce new management techniques to improve efficiency when the law forces them to. And the few which do experiment and strive to improve are often almost beheaded when something goes wrong - don't ya dare to try something new and better!

Meanwhile, what will be the topic for the election? "wat kost een allochtoon" (what are the costs of an immigrant for society). Sure, important I guess. But I'd rather pay 10% less and get 20% more - a few immigrants won't make a difference if that were to happen...

16 August, 2009

Who wants to write a dot story 2!

Hi all,

As some of you might have read, the KDE forums are phpBB forum of the month. Who's up for writing a story about that with an interview with someone at the phpBB forum development community?

I've already written a start for the article you could use (don't have to, of course) so it's easy and quick to get started. Send an email to kde-promo or to me personally if you want to help!

And please don't think stuff like 'but my english sucks', dot stories are always reviewed by some native English speakers (and yes, they review mine, if they didn't the stories would be ridden with spelling and grammar and style mistakes).

Check my email to the promo list for more info. And even if you don't have time during this and next week, you could still subscribe to promo and help another time!

14 August, 2009

picture viewers/editors

Hi all!

Scanned an A4 using my HP all-in-one. It doesn't print (days of struggeling) but the first time I choose 'scan image' from KWord it worked all fine. Life's like that, I suppose. And I primarily bought it for the printing. Blegh.

Anyway, that's not the topic. The scanned image is, in a way. I scanned with defaults, so that's 600 DPI - resulting in a rather large 7000x5000 something pixels. Enthousiastically I opened it in Gwenview, which took at least 5 seconds to start, then freezed another 15 sec to open the file. And the file looked horrible - while the original was perfectly readable, on screen, resized to fit, it was almost impossible to read!

So I fired up showfoto. Which opened right away, showing a progress bar loading the file. And it looked great, while zooming works much smoother!

But it's not very nice to browse through pictures, like Gwenview, which is very easy to use and has all these nifty features... So I'm wondering... How about putting the thumbnail stuff, the image loading & zooming all in a lib or something and sharing it? Cuz really, showfoto and Gwenview share so much functionality and purpose yet it seems less code than they should ;-)

Yes, I'm not closely involved with either teams and I know it's easy to call for such things from the sideline. But I know both apps are actively developed, both are innovative and not afraid to experiment (I actually use both digikam and gwenview together with dolphin, showing their unique variations on the dolphin file selection mechanisms, during my presentations about KDE and innovation). Come on guys, make me even more proud of you!

11 August, 2009

help KDE? A request for a dot story!

So what if you don't code. And don't like doing translations or documentation. But you want to help KDE. There is always community work: help people set up linux, find KDE features. And you can blog about KDE, give it some publicity.

If you like talking and/or writing, consider KDE promo. We're doing lots of things - from (wo)manning booths all throughout the world to writing articles for dot and other venues.

And we can always use help. If you are willing to enjoy a day at a booth, talking to KDE users, interested windows or mac or gnome users, and of course some fellow KDE members - join the KDE-promo list and when an event is near your place, volunteer! I promise, it's big fun and you're doing something good as well. Can't argue with that, right? It's a way better way of spending your time compared to playing World of Warcraft, honest... It's much more gratifying and fun.

And for those who enjoy writing - here's an easy way of getting into that. Write a dot story about this. It's a google translation of an Italian page discussing KDE-on-windows running on ReactOS, a FOSS OS based on the design of Win XP/2003.

Friedrich Kossenbau found it while looking for Okteta stuff (he's the author of Okteta). And rightly assumed it would be interesting to have a short or longer dot story about it. It is interesting from the cross-platform perspective and keeps people updated on progress on KDE on win.

So what is needed? Anything you want. Keep it short, or write a longer story. Use some screenshots from the post. You might contact the writer of the forum post for an interview but just summarizing what he wrote is more than enough. (although an interview often means you have someone else writing most of your article, hehe)

20 lines of text is just as OK as 200. We want to get the news out, not write books - only occasionally do we write really elaborate stories. (yes, I know I'm guilty of writing way too long articles)

It's bloody easy, really. Write a rough draft, ask for feedback, incorporate it, repeat, done. Everyone gets feedback, lots of it, and that's good (especially if you're not a native english writer or have sloppy spelling habits - I suffer from both). And if you really have no idea how to start, just ask. Someone will get you started.

So if you're interested in writing about this cool piece of development in the KDE-windows world, or anything else, join the kde-promo mailinglist. Announce you're willing to write it, then start doing it. Send the draft, and make sure you have a dot account when you send in the final one. We'll throw it on there with your name slapped on it ;-)

10 August, 2009

Little gem!

While reading some scientific papers with KPDF Okular I used my mouse to grab the paper and scroll.

Annoyingly, you have to click and drag all the time. Then, after reading intensively for some time, I suddenly realized I hadn't used my mousebutton for a while. Yet I read through a few pages already. Looking for my mouse cursor, I noticed it was on top of the screen. ???

So - I drag the page down, continue to drag even while reaching the bottom of the screen and lo and behold! Once you cross the bottom of the page, the mouse cursor appears on top of the screen and you can just continue to drag! I used a great feature and didn't even notice...

I've admired Okular since it was KPDF. It's clean interface, speed, powerful search capabilities and ease of use were a hallmark of Free Software. To me, Okular, while 'just a PDF reader' was clearly miles ahead of especially the proprietary competition. A showcase of just how much better Free Software can be. The lovely auto scrolling (SHIFT-Arrow down; you can now use SHIFT[arrow] to increase and decrease the speed!), easy tekst selection, the annotation support - throughout the years I've enjoyed it. Not to mention how the Okular team provides us with a great example of cross-desktop collaboration on the Poppler library.

And yet, after being a faithful user for so long, the developers still surprise me. Way to go, Okular devs!

For the dutch readers, this prompted me to add an okular section to the KDE-tips in the dutch Mandrivaclub Wiki. Showing my love for both Mandriva and KDE :D

07 August, 2009

clutter/Qt/Arthur etc

Dear lazyweb,

I've been looking a while for some info about Clutter which just released version 1.0 and how it fits in the big scheme of things. Yes, I've read their website, but it doesn't help ME much... I've heard comparisons of Clutter and Qt's Arthur but googeling Clutter and Arthur isn't gonna help me either ;-)

I know you could use Clutter in KDE apps, and I've seen that KMPlayer does that. So what are the advantages to that?

I did find this reasonably extensive comparison between Qt and GTK: http://techfreaks4u.com/blog/?p=1021

It is informative but doesn't tell me that much about Clutter, besides it is probably outdated already considering the usual speed of development...

Anyone who can provide me with a (preferably unbiased) writeup?

06 August, 2009

Mandriva is SOO COOL :D


I just removed a blog which was unfortunately ridden with responses to a (admittedly rather stupid) misconception I had about Mandriva... I'm so sorry to all Mandriva ppl! Helio and all other ppl wearing a mandriva t-shirt ... wait, that's wrong, I can't offer beer to anyone wearing a mandriva T-shirt, Helio might just bring 400 of those to next Akademy and I'm done... Ok, Helio, you get a beer. Drink it for all Mandriva users.

Seriously, guys & girls, I love Mandriva. I'm one of the oldest dutch Mandrivaclub members. I've just been out of touch for a while, clearly ;-)

I promise: Next time I'll do a bit more reading before posting a blog. And I also promise to stay around for at least 10 minutes so I can fix things instead of leaving for a 1.5 hour trip just after hitting 'publish' :D

BTW did ANYONE grog the REAL topic of my (now removed) blog?!?

27 July, 2009


Most of you probably have read about the Amazon Kindle and Orwell's 1984 incident, but for those who haven't or those interested in a good insight in what it really means for our society, the article I link below is a good read.

Last week a few Kindle owners awoke to discover that the company had reached into their devices and remotely removed copies of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm. (...) Amazon was only trying to look after publishers' intellectual property. The Orwell incident was too rich with irony to escape criticism, however. Amazon was forced to promise that it will no longer delete its customers' books.


15 July, 2009

about akademy 2009

-> some ramblings from short after Akademy I still hadn't published ;-)

Yesterday we put the impression article online, and I have to get something of my chest about that one.

Don't mis-understand me, this meeting has been great. There sure are things which could have been better, but hey, can you expect to put 800 ppl to work in one place and expect everything to be perfect?

It's just that I (we) had to be a bit politically correct in the article, so I want to clarify a few sentences for those who did stay home. Note that this is ENTIRELY personal, my opinion, and probably mean towards some people.

"Negative voices are few and far between, at least on the KDE side, and even those who do not value the cross-desktop cooperation see advantages in this larger meeting."

In other words, many KDE people have really been appreciative of the joint meeting. They were interested in joint and GNOME technology. The things said during the KDE e.V. meeting were very positive and all except like 3 ppl voted for a joint meeting next year.

But apparently at least some (important/influencial) ppl on the GNOME side think different. A big issue seems money: the joint conference means sharing revenue. This is even mentioned in the poll about a joint conference on the GNOME site. Personally I don't see the relevance in light of the great things we accomplished... But knowing the financial situation at their side I guess it's to be expected.

Another thing was the organisation - way too much ended up on the shoulders of our people like Kenny and Claudia. I think that's unfair. Now they apologized for that, but it is something we'd have to do better if we do this joint meeting thing again. BTW Stormy did a lot for the event, esp in the sponsors area. And I'm sure there is enough blame for everyone, not just on the Gnome side (actually I myself should've gotten involved in an earlier stage, the PR would've been better if I had).

But the above is not black and white. I was pleasantly surprised by the attitude Collabora people, the Tracker and Zeitgeist developers and many more. There might also have been KDE people unfriendly towards our gnomy friends (I hope not, and have not seen any such behaviour).

"There are tensions too admittedly, not everyone was appreciative of our primary sponsor, but the conference has acted as a real focus to break down such attitudes."

What happened is that at the first Gnome keynote someone introducing the speaker basically told the audience to put a GNOME foot sticker over the logo of the biggest sponsor, Nokia's Qt. An act I described initially as 'childish'. I do however understand it - imagine that a few minutes before that Quim Gil told the conference audience Maemo would move to Qt. And imagine you work professionally on GTK, getting your business from Nokia... I do however think it was very unprofessional by the person introducing the speakers to say such a thing.

Ok, enough complaining. I can think of other things I was unhappy/disappointed about but that'll have to wait for another time. Besides, there was enough good stuff there as well. And things to improve (also for myself). I hope I managed to keep this reasonable (I tried) and not too offending. And I'm open to input - as always.

14 July, 2009

GCDS over

It's over. Sitting here in the lobby of my hotel, contemplating a swim. Still a bit tired of all the writing and running around, but generally satisfied with the whole thing.

I've been playing catch up to my backlog of email and blogs. Almost done. Now on to some more writing and wrestling through the businesscards and other stuff.

(ok that was 2 days ago - forgot to finish and publish the blog. So I'll just continue)

This time I'm in my hotel room. Just had Japanese food with Kenny - interesting, as usual. Yesterday we took a car and drove through the center of the island, stopping a few times to admire the view. We also climbed some big rock to the highest point of the island. That was fun (and I got a bit sunburned). Kenny was less lucky, aside from the sunburn his cold got worse and his left ear has issues with the differences in air pressure. I hope for him it gets better before he boards the plane...

The rock from a distance

Rock a lot closer :D

None of my pics actually gives a reasonable impression of the actual size of that thing (hint: in the previous pic, you wouldn't be able to see a human standing next to it...) but I do have a photo showing the view standing at the feet of the rock:

Spot kenny ;-)

I'm working on some more geeky blog stuff, but that'll have to wait a bit - I think I deserved some relaxation after all the running around I did last week.

BTW you might have noticed that Troy is back working on promo stuff - first articles are online already, and more is on the way.

another more geeky thing, I agree with Richard: Moblin "We don't have menus, we think they're useless" 2 is seriously awesome! Great performance and a very interesting take on small-screen interfaces. Seems very usable. The more technical among you might say Intel would've done it faster and cheaper by choosing 'the right technology' (probably starting with a Q or a K) but the enduser in me thinks "bullocks: I couldn't care less, it works great!". That doesn't mean I don't like the stuff notmart and the others are doing, btw ;-) I do think they should probably have a very good look at Moblin.

09 July, 2009

GCDS day whatever

GCDS is continuing. The party Monday night was very quiet for me, and I noticed many other people being rather quiet as well. Guess we should have at least one day between parties so people can gain their strength back.

Anyway. Lots of stuff going on here. We've moved to the university. It's hot here, no airco. But power and a cable for every chair - very good network. I'm now listening to Gokmen who's talking about Pardus and KDE integration. On my left there is Jonathan with a beach pic of him and our BUGSQUAD mistress (we all know who she is...).

Yesterday the two PR ppl (Thomas Keup, GNOME and me) planned a cross-desktop marketing meeting. Well, it was initially planned for Thursday morning, then moved to Tuesday. Me being slightly off on Monday, I failed to notice there was the KDE e.V. meeting. No cross-desktop meeting after all.

We did have some interesting discussions while we planned the bof, and I'll try to put some of the ideas we had here (or rather, MY interpretation, don't go and kick Thomas for what I say).

The goal we have is to get a bottom-up approach in marketing for the Free Desktop. As both KDE and GNOME can do this, we wanted to discuss this together. This is not about technical plans or roadmaps - it is about getting people enthusiastic and get them to spread the word about what they love.

That's basically the point - love. Why do we love KDE or GNOME? Those reasons are different for everyone, but often emotional rather than rational. This is a well known fact - how do you get people to believe you? Focus on emotion rather than ration. So we need to know what emotions we feel and convey them to others.

According to research there are 5 important areas people are sensitive to these days:
- Persionalisation
- Emotionalisation
- Simplicity
- Eco-awareness
- Austerity (less is more)

To keep things simple, I'll group this into three, cuz personally that's how I feel about these:

So how does KDE make you happy in these area's?

For me, one of the strongest points of KDE is how personal it is - you can make it look and work any way you want. Especially plasma is very good in this department. It makes me feel like my laptop is really mine - compare it to putting a sticker on something that's yours, or painting your room, or even picking your own clothes. Wouldn't it be boring if we all were wearing the same grey clothes?

And of course a second part of this is the community - all the great people here are so cool. The new Social Desktop initiative is already bringing the KDE community to your desktop - in KDE 4.3 there is the social desktop widget showing KDE users in your neighborhood! You'd be surprised how many people within 5 kilometers of my home already are testing KDE 4.3 and run this applet.

Simplicity is there in many area's - take network management, it is far easier with the networkmanager plasmoid in KDE than on windows or mac. The same goes for many other things, and I like that a lot.

Finally, I truly believe contributing to Free Software (and just USING is contributing already and makes you a real member of the KDE community) is very important to the world. Thanks to what we do, children in Brazil and other countries all over the world have access to good education. Thanks to what we do the reliance of governments around the world on a small number of large corporations is decreased. Thanks to Free Software computers don't need to be replaced as often and use less power, helping our environment. We spread freedom in China and other countries were freedom is limited. We allow computer users around the world to take back control over their own hardware. After all, in a world where speech depends on software, Free Speech depends on Free Software*.

So. Think about this. Why do you love KDE? What is it that makes you happy? Then go and tell people about it. Tell your boyfriend, tell your girlfriend. Tell your friends, family. Boss, colleagues, competitors. The pizza boy, the cleaning lady. Everyone!

I'd love to hear some blogs about what makes you love KDE!

Another piece of Cool Stuff from GCDS:
Will Stephenson just said he was green (SUSE green, of course) with envy about the work Pardus has done on KDE integration, and he said we, as KDE community, should applaud them for it. And so we did ;-)
(their tools are integrated in plasma and systemsettings, they use KDE things like Solid and Phonon etc etc - really makes for a unique and smooth experience).

There is more talk going on about cross-distro collaboration, getting (more) tools upstream and such. I'd love that ;-)

I' working on two articles for those not here to give an impression of this conference and to tell ya'all about the cross-desktop collaboration, sit tight!

* by Don Marti jr.

06 July, 2009

GCDS day 3

I'm very surprised that the party we had last night has not been blogged about yet. It was really a great party - my head and stomach remind me of that continuously... Maybe I shouldn't have had that last beer. Or a few of the ones before. But I agree with Troy that our community rocks, and I think we did prove ourselves yesterday. Lots of KDE ppl dancing (I'm most proud of getting Praedeepto to dance). Most of the KDE Board members did their duty, only Cornelius Schumacher disappointed me and refused to dance. I tried talking to his conscience ("you have to set an example!") and his sense of honor ("look, even Sven is dancing and as Amarok dude he knows how sucky the music is") but no dice. Tried bribing him with beer (he's german... How the heck could he refuse?!?), tried to involve some others (thanks to those who tried). In the end I had to give up. So I offer 5 beer to the person who gets Cornelius to dance at one of the next parties here in GC. I do want to see it, however.

There will be another party tonight and I promise I'll be a lot nicer. I won't go around, sneaking up behind ppl and giving them a surprise hug, I won't annoy ppl by 'accidentally' bumping into them, or explain to Gnomes why KDE is a happy community using a very outdated term. As long as you guys & girls don't scream at me today, I'm in a sensitive state. Deal?

Yeah, about that state.It took me until about 15:00 to feel reasonably human again. I just started breakfast. And I wanted to do soo much today... Ah no problem, there will be more days.

Currently listening to Sebas who is trying to get some input from the community on the direction we will be taking in the future. Seems the party has afflicted a lot of damage, everyone is quiet ;-)

05 July, 2009

GCDS day 2

So much is happening here, so little time... So let's do this list-wise.

First, reasonable weather. I'm so glad it's not sunny, the humidity is killing me already. But it is windy so quite OK. Sea looks like it wants me to swim in it but I'm too busy... Still for today I brought my towel, so please someone force me to take a dip sometime today!

Second, the conference is fun and interesting. I'm planning on actually taking advantage of that today, not hiding in the press room. I'm going to let some of the local personel keep the press happy ;-)

Third, Zeitgeist. WTF? Yeah, while walking to the conference building I bumped into a Zeitgeist and a Tracker hacker ;-)

Most of the KDE-ies must have read about that stuff - seen a screenshot. Well, I didn't know the screenshot wasn't really the interesting part ;-)
Zeitgeist has two components, and the most interesting one is the underlying, low-on-dependencies (Glib & Gio, from what I understand) library. It tracks events - like Application A opens file D, Application X kills kitten Y etcetera. They're working on storing that info into tracker and creating a Nepomuk ontology for that. From what I understood they would also like to have a Qt/KDE gui for Zeitgeist. So what we need now is some KDE people interested in indexing, logging and search to get to the Zeitgeist Talk later today and more importantly the Zeitgeist BoF ;-)

Now I'm off to some talks...

01 July, 2009

same day - twice!

Whoaaah, two blogentries in one day. I'm on a stroll. And it's such a bad day. Imagine. This poor sod is sitting on his balcony (view on the sea) - no shirt, it's too hot for that. Then sudden disaster - I spill some of that icecream I'm eating on my belly. COLD! Oh boy. Luckily I brought some cold beer so this day isn't completely bad.

Ahem. I'm sure you all feel for me. Meanwhile, I had a stroll through the area around the hotel, had a chinese salad (?!?) with a beer and followed it up with a swim in the sea. That's still the Jamaican spirit, by the way, I wouldn't even have thought about swimming if I didn't enjoy it that much in Jamaica.

Here you see where it all happened...

During the evening I got a call from Holger Schroder who told me there were already people at the conference location, working on the preparation. It was quite a long walk along the beach (lot's of distractions there, beautiful nature for sure). So that's where I am right now. We've just folded a few hundred papers which are going to be put into plastic now. All the while there are various discussions going on - it seems I have some writing to do before the press conference on friday morning...

Las Palmas!

So, I've arrived at the hotel. Most of the journey went smooth. Aside from my brand new laptop suddenly scaring me with weird harddrive-related errors and a busdriver letting me wait for another bus for nothing, it was fine.

So how is it here? A bit windy, which is good considering the temperature. It's a nice island. Not very green - actually it can look surprisingly 'desert' in some area's. Very nice people, lots of ocean. And I have wifi in the hotel so what more can I ask for?

Just two days and Akademy will start. Several ppl are supposed to be here already, I'll meet a few of them for dinner tonight. Looking forward to it, didn't have time to catch up much at Linuxtag in Berlin last week.

27 May, 2009

a week with KDE on Windows

I thought it's time for a little update on my experience with my new Vaio Laptop. Running Vista and KDE 4.2.3. First about the hardware. It's serously good. Right now I'm typing with the brightness on it's lowest level, yet it's almost too bright. I've even used it in the full sun already, and if the black casing wouldn't have gotten so hot with the sun burning on it I might have stayed longer ;-)

Secondly, I'm typing in the dark. So I can't see the keyboard, yet I didn't make any mistakes with that smiley above. Maybe I'm a great touchtypist, or easily impressed - but I'd rather think this keyboard is just amazingly intuitive. Oh, and logging in by swiping a finger - well, let's just say any geek would appreciate that.

Then about KDE. Getting it installed was a little challenge - the installer still needs a little work. Well, it didn't get one of the dependencies, and many of the servers didn't work or were outdated, the installer itself works just fine. If only it would pick servers automatically...

I've installed an Amarok nightly, and beta3 of KOffice. I must confess I miss plasma and KRunner (at least plasma is there but it's integration with windows is... missing...) but Explorer and I are getting along reasonably well. That app has some seriously powerful features, yet it's reasonably easy to use. The windows menu however is horrible (how can people complain about Kickoff if this is the standard for most computer users?). Luckily you can use it as KRunner - hit the 'Win' key, type and hit enter. Mostly works. As soon as MS fixes the windowmanagement (or lack thereof) I would probably consider Vista 'ready for casual use' ;-)

Anyway. So what KDE applications are a great addition to the MS desktop? I'd start with Okular. Adobe's pdf reader is an abomination, and Okular feels like a breath of fresh air. Kolourpaint is surprisingly similair to MS paint, except that it's not THAT anorexic in the feature department. Perfect replacement. And I often run Kopete, Konversation and Choqok in the communication department. Gwenview is a fine replacement for the normal Vista picture viewer.

As I said, Explorer is rather OK as a filemanager, and Dolphin, lacking some Vista integration, doesn't make a lot of sense as replacement right now. And imho nothing beats Chrome in the performance department so that's what I use to browse the web.

Unfortunately Beta3 of KSpread 2.0 doesn't work with most of my ODF presentations. I know the RC on linux does so I guess a later version will do better - and the final release is soon. KWord is fine for casual texts, and it can do more advanced stuff as well - but the interoperability with OpenOffice isn't great and some things are missing or work rather uncomfortable so I wouldn't recommend removing OO yet.

KTorrent works, and downloads just fine. Digikam - well, beyond starting it up I haven't used it yet. Thanks to a broken monitor I'm stuck to this laptop so I use it a bit more than usual but I still don't feel like working on it like I would on my normal PC...

All in all, KDE on windows works pretty well. It is an alien environment for the KDE applications, which sometimes shows, but generally they do a fine job. Performance is comparable to native windows apps and stability is reasonable. Personally, I still find windows a bit uneasy so I find it hard to judge how good it all really is, but with the KDE apps it feels a bit more at home for me so I like it ;-)

14 May, 2009

New lappie!

In the last weeks I've been pondering the aquisition of a new laptop. It arrived tuesday - happy me. Instead of throwing linux on it without even a single boot in Vista, I decided to try MS' offering. If it works well enough, there is no reason not to run and demo KDE on Windows, right? After all, I paid for it. Now I had a hard time not turning this blog in one big rant about Vista (guess what - lots of things I disliked...) so please forgive me for a few small slips...

The laptop I bought, a Sony Vaio VGN-TZ31something is very nice. 1.2 kilogram, 11.1" 1366x768 screen, 2 gb ram and dualcore 1.2 ghz intel C2D. And a dvd drive (I won't ever need). Not as sturdy as reviews said it would be - I shiver at the thought of buying my second choice, a Toshiba 790 gram laptop with similair hardware specs. That thing was described as 'flimsy'. Well, if this Vaio is 'rock solid', the Toshiba must be made out of paper. The screen on the Vaio, however, is as excellent as the reviews say - crisp, bright. Beautiful. Sorry for the bad camera used for the pic above ;-)

It took a few hours for the preinstalled laptop to actually boot into an usable Vista installation. And you have to stay close to it as it'll ask you to click 'OK' buttons a few times. Later that day I allowed Vista to install 57 updates - which took all night. I guess I should blame the slow (4200rpm) harddrive, but even then, it seems excessive to me.

Once Vista was finally working, I had a look around. The mix of widgets in different applications is a bit unsettling (and people complain about GTK and Qt being inconsistent?) but some things really look good. The copy dialog looks nice, for example, and Windows Photo Gallery, while not as powerful as gwenview, looks nice. And I do like the window effects a lot. The way applications slide away when you close them and how minimizing is animated is just subtle and silky smooth even on this hardware. The animations in applications can be very nice too - sadly it often doesn't really fit with the other contents.

And, as the reviews promised, the Vista loaded on it is full of crap. That is, it has a million smaller and larger tools installed which (according to the reviews) slows the system down to a crawl. Well, it is hard to say for sure if it's true - I removed a lot of it and it's still slow in starting up apps. Once the app runs it works reasonably fast, and graphical performance is much better than linux. It is relatively easy to get the mousecursor to stutter in linux, or to have moving windows stutter. Not so in Windows, you notice the graphical stuff clearly has a high priority. I hope the current architectural changes in the graphical stack of FOSS can bring it up to the level of Windows, but that'll definately take a while.

Once you start removing and installing software you notice the archaic software management system (or, mostly, lack there-of). Linux users are used to just selecting what software they want to add and remove and clicking 'OK'- and the installation and removal of the software proceeds without any questions. Not so on Windows - it takes a long time to remove things like the MS Office 2007 Demo. Not just because the individual uninstallation procedure takes about an hour (including some silly questions), but also because it is split into 5 or 6 parts you each have to select and uninstall sequentially. So all in all, it took me 2 days to get to the important next part.

Installing KDE. After downloading and starting the installer & following the steps - it didn't work. Starting binaries gave a weird error which, according to the intarwebz was tracable to a missing library. Just started the installer again with the package manager and installed pretty much everything I could find and running windows update after that did the trick. No idea if it was the windows update or something I installed from the installer - but it works. Yes, truly a "close your eyes, point your gun somewhere in the direction of the target and just keep pulling the trigger". Works for me, YMMV.

After installing the apps I changed the theme to Oxygen. It looks much nicer, and fits reasonably well with the Vista look.

So what is the result? Not everything works. Plasma especially lacks most plasmoids (no taskbar, no systray). The applications didn't show up in the menu initially but this has been fixed after a new installation - I do miss krunner, however, as it doesn't work on Vista. Starting apps via the default Vista menu is inconvenient to say the least. I even prefer kickoff. The main reason for that is that Vista doesn't categorize applications, they are all there at once. I shiver at the thought of having installed even half as many apps as I have installed on my linux box... So I made a shortcut to the KDE applications folder on the desktop to work around that menu mess.

Once started, most applications work smooth and I encountered few crashes. Well, Dolphin sometimes creates crashing KIOslave processes on using previews.

The first things I started to use were Konversation and Kopete. Excellent apps, work perfectly fine. Konqi is OK, but I prefer Google Chrome - that thing is fast! Unfortunately I couldn't find Dragonplayer. The default Windows Media Player couldn't play anything, VLC however is perfect. I do notice sometimes apps refuse to write data, so you can't save files - annoying for sure. Hope this gets fixed... A pleasant surprise was KWallet integration. Somehow I didn't expect this to work properly, but it does perfectly fine. No remembering passwords, lovely!

Now see how long I tolerate the slugish startup times (both in booting, resuming-from-sleep and app startup) and the lack of proper integration in the underlying OS. And bad windowmanagement. And how Vista insists on showing the SD Drive and Memory Stick drive even while they're empty ;-)

Yeah, it's the small things which can be so annoying... Thinking about it, it might actually be a strength of the Free Software development model. The 'scratch your own itch' rule seems to make sure annoying bugs get fixed swiftly. Larger stuff and big features tends to go slower, as does usability work - I see several things Vista is clearly ahead in. But overall, I prefer my linux box by far.

08 May, 2009

OpenSuse Community Week

If you've wanted to contribute to FOSS but have no clue how - there's the OpenSuse Community Week for ya. The idea is not only to do something useful right there and then, but also to help others get involved. Throw some community building in the mix and you have the typical combination of fun, learning & being productive which is so typical of a Free Software community.

Of course there will be KDE ppl there, check the KDE schedule. Rob Scheepmaker, Marco Martin and Kevin Krammer will be there - and there is plenty of room for more so sign up if you think you can help others to get involved! I'm contemplating to join the Marketing Schedule - depends on how much time I have and whether joining the KDE schedule seems more appropriate ;-)

Talking about time, I sometimes wonder if I take this workaholic thing too far... I was home from work last night at 20:45 and up and working on KDE promo stuff at 5:00 this morning. Aaah well, I'm having fun, and I don't do that every day (I wish I had the stamina...).

22 March, 2009

usability in KDE

I'm not a usability dude, and following the usability mailinglist has taught me it's an art I shouldn't get too involved in. Unfortunately, while we have a few hard-working usability experts in KDE, they can't thoroughly check each and every application.

Luckily, we have users joining KDE from a platform known for a strong focus on usability. I'm not saying we should copy the approach others have chosen for usability. KDE is different and has different ideas about usability - enough has been said about that. However, advice never hurts - and there are several points in this blogpost that make sense. The contents have been discussed a bit on the usability mailinglist, and as I said - several points make sense, others might not. Yet Sebastian's blog might be helpful for somebody who wants to improve some obvious areas in KDE in terms of usability, so I thought it'd be good if ppl read it.

Personally I think such articles (I can hardly call it the usual blog) can help in improving KDE, as they point to issues and solutions developers might not have been aware off. Peter Penz (of Dolphin fame) has read it and implemented at least one suggestion, while several others were already done in KDE 4.3 branch. Who's next?

13 March, 2009


Today, I was going to write a rather sarcastic and hopefully funny story about silly responses my blog a few days ago. It would have involved hamsters forcing KDE developers to write code. Including proof, in the form of images with KDE developers and my own little dwarf hamster.

Unfortunately, there won't be such a story. Somewhere between last night and coming home after work today, Thomas, my beloved dwarfhamster, died. This is a sad day.

No more watching him run in his weel. Or through my room, or on my lap. No more feeding him nor giving him silly things to play with. No watching him shred paper into little pieces. I will even miss cleaning his cage :(

Life goes on, but I'll miss my little hamster...