October?

Gosh, you just blink and the month is over, eh.Let’s do an info-dump.

FreeBSD bits

FreeBSD ports contain Qt 5.11.2 (except for WebEngine), KDE Frameworks 5.51, KDE Plasma 5.12.7 (LTS, but there’s movement lower in the graphics stack that should allow us to update to the current feature release soon-ish), and Applications 18.08. I just updated deskutils/latte-dock to the latest 0.8.2 release. Tobias has been doing everything, updating stuff all over.

There are also things going away from FreeBSD ports. I’ll repeat for the hard-of-understanding: KDE4 ports are being removed on december 31st, 2018. We’ve notified those maintainers that we can — people using BitBounce deserve a special place and haven’t been informed, although we tried. New is that Qt4 ports are deprecated on FreeBSD and scheduled for removal on march 31st, 2019 (three months after KDE4, the main consumer, is removed). This is a bigger deprecation step, actually, since it touches applications maintained outside of kde@. The issue is simple though: Qt4 went EOL in 2015 and maintainence is increasing (e.g. for OpenSSL 1.1.1, changing C++ compilers, etc.). We have started updating default flavors (for things that have both) and informing maintainers.

KDE bits

Photo of Edinburgh from Calton Hill I went to Edinburgh to staff the KDE booth at the Embedded Linux Conference, along with Jon and Paul. I helped make lots of soup on the weekend and it was delicious. And then I spent three days from 8am to 6pm standing and talking to the 2000-or-so attendees of that conference.

It was exhausting, but worth it. Mostly the message is the same: Plasma has had lots of performance work done (for the Pinebook, among other things) and so Plasma runs on a whole range of devices, from this 2GB-ram low-power ARM64 board, to, over there, the 22-core Power 9 workstation. If you thought KDE was bloated (you mean KDE4, and last looked nearly 10 years ago, right? right) then here’s what we’ve done for you: come back and try it again.

KDE was one of only two “community” booths. The other was from Code Your Future, which is a coding school to give refugees new skills. When you spend three whole days at a booth, you hear the “pitches” around you a lot of times, so by the end of the second day I could do a pretty keen presentation for them as well. On the other side was a stand from Togán Labs, who do Yocto-based board bring-up and stuff .. not immediately our cup of tea, but I did end up talking about late-80s Canadian jazz bands with one of their developers. It’s a small-ish world.

At the end of the row was the stand from the OpenPower Foundation, with a demonstration Power9-based workstations. That’s a whole different ballgame from the low-end ARM boards, and seeing 32 hardware threads (at least, I think it was a 2-CPU times 8-core times 2-threads setup) running is pretty keen. The machine arrived with KDE Trinity installed, which .. well, I was wearing my KDE4 launch event T-shirt on tuesday and lets say that KDE3 looks even more dated than a ten-year-old conference shirt.

Rasterman beat me to it, and the machine was quickly running a gorgeous Enlightenment environment all with fancy bubbling backgrounds and other stuff that would drive me mad quite quickly. But pretty. There is Debian installed on it, so a brief chat with the people at the stand allowed us to install Plasma 5 Desktop (apt install whatever..) to check that it works nicely. And it does! The performance work done really does pay off up and down the stack.

Calamares Bits

The next Calamares release, 3.2.3, is delayed. That is at least partly due to events-preparation and general futzing-about. I was intending to get it done this week, but I can tell already that that’s not going to happen: there was an issue reported just today that definitely needs attention. So it looks like after-the-next-event, mid-november, is a good bet for that release.

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