18 October, 2011

Almost too much going on...

Been a busy week, last week. There was Plasma Active One, OwnCloud 2.0, openQA 1.0 and KDE's 15th birthday. Each of them deserves a lot of attention, which they got. I'll just add my thoughts!

Plasma Active One

Let's start with Plasma Active One. Now that is one heck of an exciting technology. Where the Linux Desktop will probably follow the general 'desktop computing world' into a (far less relevant) niche, tablets are hot. There is quite a bit of competition: iPad of course, and Android. Soon Microsoft will come out with something that might be viable on tablets. But the competition also means the market is dynamic and people are used to choice.

Plasma Active is an unique product in many ways. The UI itself is quite different from competitors, yet easy to use and intuitive. There are innovations like the heavy use of Activities and Nepomuk, stuff like Share-Like-Connect. And the way it is developed by a dedicated team, using 'agile' techniques and working with a number of companies is really interesting. I have a tablet with it and despite the horrible hardware in there (essentially GPU acceleration doesn't work) it's easy to see the potential.

Obviously I'm excited to see the team using the openSUSE infrastructure and technology. And it's working for them. OBS allows the team to have the new code packaged and available for the interaction designers overnight, resulting in a fast design-implement-discuss cylce which is surely part of the success of Acive One.

I think the Plasma Active team is on to something and congratulate them with their first release!

OwnCloud 2.0

OwnCloud 2.0 made a stunning release as well. Their new platform is easier to use, introduces a huge number of new features and... we're working on integrating it in openSUSE. You can already download an SUSE Studio image (Virtual Machine, USB, CD or Hard drive images available) to get it up and running in minutes. If you enter your Amazon Cloud credentials you can deploy it to EC2 without even downloading anything! Other stuff I am not allowed to speak about or I'll be jumped by a couple of big, German openSUSE dudes who can crush my back by looking at me.

As Frank said, the biggest thing he's proud off with OwnCloud is the community, and right he is. I met some of them at the Desktop Summit in Berlin but there's a whole bunch more and they are like busy bees. Just following their mailing list a little, I can't wait for the next release! So, OwnCloud team - congrats on your release!

openQA 1.0

On the same day as OwnCloud 2.0 came available, openSUSE released openQA 1.0. openQA is basically a tool which boots up an ISO file into a VM, giving (where needed) input via virtual keyboard or mouse events and takings screen shots of the process. It then compares the screen shots to reference screenshots and BAM, you know if the ISO did what you expected! It is stunningly easy to use on your own computer: clone the git repo and start the tests by running os-autoinst/tools/isotovideo [isodisc]. You'll get a log file as well as screen shots and a video of the whole boot - installation - run process in a directory.

The tests are written in Perl, something not everyone loves, but the whole thing is quite flexible and can be used to test ANY operating system. There's some support for Fedora, Debian and openIndiana but if Microsoft is interested in getting some QA to their OS they can get support in quite easy ;-)

I think, while there's work to do, for an 1.0 openQA is pretty cool and there's plenty of application for it. Let's hope other distro's will look at it, see if they can use it to improve the state of Linux quality all over the place.

So, openQA team, congrats on the successful release!

KDE is 15 years old!

15 years ago KDE was started. In that time it has evolved into the largest and most vibrant Linux Desktop project. I'm proud of this 15th birthday milestone! The cool thing about such an anniversary is that you tend to look back at what has been. But KDE has always been a community which looks forward. New technologies and innovations continuously flow from the community and while I would love it if the Free Desktop world would be a bit less 'NIH', much of this is adopted in other places at some point. Everyone knows about WebKit for sure but it is also cool to see KWin lead in the efforts towards Wayland and openGL-es, Nepomuk innovate on the semantic desktop and Plasma Active shows the world what a 'device spectrum' UI should really look like!

So instead of dwelling on the past (and yes, I've done and seen plenty in my ten "KDE years") I'll look forward to the future too. And I bet the next 15 years will see KDE continue to grow like Paul Adams' graphs show us. I'm proud to be part of two communities which are so close - openSUSE and KDE. And I congratulate my KDE friends with their 15 year birthday and celebrations!

I hope this week will stay a bit more quiet as I have some time off ;-)


  1. I'd be interested in "which" tablet(s) you could buy to get a sort-of good experience with Active One.

    It's really great what they have done there, and it's for sure fun porting some of my apps to QtQuick making them touch friendly and running them on a tablet with Active One.

  2. Hi Jos,
    Plaasma Active was a very big thing. But we're not just working with openSUSE, we're using the Infrastructure of MeeGo too.

    Have a nice day

  3. @Sascha - well, I know, and MeeGo is dead, or at least on life support. Tizen might or might not take over in one way or another; Mer might keep (some) MeeGo things alife. But it ain't fun over there so openSUSE seems to be the main platform for now, for better or worse.

    I guess the openSUSE ARM project started just in time :D

    Are you guys involved in any way in that, btw?

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  5. Why wouldn't Mer work, do you have a valid reason to cite?

    For whatever reason, Plasma Active might be the one element to give it the boost it needs to pick up speed and flourish. :-)

  6. @anonymous - see, I wrote that quite a while ago, when Mer had no devices and about 2-3 people involved, so it wasn't that weird to assume it wasn't going far :D

    Now there's a device (the Spark) and there are a few more people involved. It's still a small project but they share a lot of infrastructure with openSUSE so that saves them work. I hope they will release something some day for my N9 :D


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