In the interest of supporting the multilingual community of Brussels, today’s post title is brought to you in (possibly bad) French. After a night’s sleep I ought to be able to distinguish between Haralds and Nikolajs. Lydia mentions the bomb which is what kept Paul, Sebas and myself from catching an early tube train (well, this was after drinking the entire on-tap menu at the Slutty Nun bar) back to the hotel. Since the universe seemed to be opposed to us going back, we went to the FOSDEM beer event instead.

The KDE stand, as has been written elsewhere, was a success. It’s hard to fit so many people into such space, especially with howling Amarokkers and hacking KDE folk. I think we managed to strike a good balance between the two projects, actually, and in the end we had people hacking on both sides of the table. Being on the “hall” side meant you were interrupted every few minutes by questions. That’s fine; booth duty means talking to people. I chose to sit on the hall side and do something that looked vaguely interesting to draw people in. CMake’s color output helps for that. The folk on the “window” side were protected from other visitors and could afford to look surly and/or continue to work. Or hand out refreshments to the rest of the booth.

Picture of SunRayI actually spent most of the weekend sitting at a piece of proprietary hardware hacking on KDE4. In that sense I’m not that different from the MacOSX folk; darn closed (hardware) platform, Free Software on it. I think having very shiny proprietary hardware helps. This particular bit of KDE branded shinyness was supplied by Sun Netherlands, who had an identical box over at their own stand. I seriously never before have seen consumer electronics that people would actually pose with. If you want one, they are not cheap (about 150 beers at Brussels prices), but drop me a note. This particular picture is of it back at my kitchen; there will probably be pictures of the stand up at some point and you can spot it there too. The kde-artists, Nuno in particular, deserve applause for cooperating on making this happen as well, slaving at my deadlines and specifications.

Session migration is one of the neat features of this thin client. The trick was to fiddle about with KDE4 on one of them at one stand and then move the session to the other device at the other stand and carry on. For that we wired up our own private stand-to-stand network, as this year FOSDEM was missing the complicated and horrible tangle of wires that traditionally lives behind the stands and under the tables. Instead, there was just wireless that worked. That was really impressive, and something that we should duplicate at aKademy.

I’ve mentioned before that the graphics support isn’t all that hot, as most of the gradients and blending that Oxygen / Plasma does is not supported; I hear a firmware upgrade in the future should get that out of the way. In the meantime switching KDE4 to Plastic / Plastique improves the look a lot because there’s no more dithering. Well, most of it goes away. The Plasma panel and palette continue to show artifacts, which Aaron assures me are gone in trunk. So when I get around to compiling trunk I’ll be able to see it.

There were a couple of things that I noticed with KDE4 branch that I thought were really weird. Missing features, and when I raised these with some other KDE developers I got the now standard “you don’t really want to do that anyway,” but I think they were joking. I hope so, anyway. Afterwards Sebas showed me that at least one of these is fixed in trunk, so I’m not worried in the long term. Here goes (for all of these it might be that it doesn’t show up in my build for some reason, even though it is stock from KDE SVN, so feel free to point out where I should be looking or what’s going wrong in branch):

  • Focus follows mouse is gone. Actually, every focus policy except "click to focus" is gone or very well hidden. This is on both thin client and local logins, but might be a branch or Solaris issue.
  • No desktop wallpaper image but just a flat color is gone. I can choose "Wallpaper" and "Slideshow". Sebas has an extra option "None" in his trunk build, so it might just have been forgotten in branch.
  • Logout doesn't. I can use qdbusviewer to logout immediately, but something goes wrong when a confirm dialog is needed. On a local login where all the fancy effects are possible, the confirm dialog does come up, so this is a thin-client issue. Probably something gets lost in all the rendering fanciness.
  • Systemsettings mouse cursor themes page crashes it, both local and thin-client.
  • Changing the wallpaper sets the wallpaper, then switches to a white background, both local and thin-client.

It is this kind of runtime testing and checking that we can only start doing once the software compiles fairly regularly. My Solaris box is nowhere near as new as my FreeBSD workstation, so I possibly see more issues in a local login than I would on other platforms: a Matrox G450 is not exactly cutting edge, and waiting for the grey-out effect on logout is slow. However, at this point I can use KDE4 as my desktop on Solaris pretty much all the time (as long as I don’t hit ^C in konsole, but that’s another story); maybe I should switch back to FreeBSD and help out on that side of the fence again.