About Me

  • Free software developer and advocate since 1994
  • Kubuntu developer and documentation writer since 2005
  • KDE developer and documentation writer since 2005, user since 1996
  • Debian Maintainer for a couple of packages, KDE based of course
  • Co-Author of the Official Ubuntu Book (Edubuntu chapter - huh?)
  • Go by nixternal on every communication protocol imaginable
  • Email me at nixternal@kubuntu.org

About Kubuntu

  • Official project of the Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution
  • We use the same exact base system as Ubuntu, we just use KDE instead
  • It is pronounced koo-BOON-too
  • First released in 2005 with the Hoary Hedgehog (5.04) version
  • http://www.kdedevelopers.org/node/591 - The post that started it all, by some guy named Jonathan Riddell

About KDE



  • 1998 - KDE 1.0 (21 members make up the core team)
  • 2000 - KDE 2.0
  • 2002 - KDE 3.0
  • 2005 - KDE 3.5 (Currently 3.5.9)
  • 2008 - KDE 4.0 (Currently 4.0.3)
  • July 29, 2008 - KDE 4.1 (Happy birthday to me!)


  • 1,800+ SVN Accounts
  • More than 2,800 weekly commits
  • Over 5 million lines of code
  • Available in 65+ languages


I am going to briefly cover the new KDE 4 desktop. The topics I will cover include:

  • Beauty
  • Usability
  • Portability
  • Functionality


The beauty that makes up the KDE 4 desktop includes:

  • KDE Window Manager (KWin)
  • Plasma
  • Oxygen


KWin is not just another Window Manager for X. KWin has gone through amazing transformations for KDE 4 and now features:

  • Compositing support and management
  • Similar graphical effects to that of Compiz
  • Functions even when there is no system support
  • Includes a desktop grid, window switcher, shadowing, wobbly windows, snowflakes, and more...


This is the part of the KDE 4 desktop that everyone has been seeing, and in most instances drooling over.

The KDE of yesterday included a desktop that was made up of the KDesktop, Kicker, SuperKaramba and more.

Today the KDE desktop is made up of just one appliance, Plasma.

Here are just a few features of Plasma today:

  • Unified workspace that embodies innovation, beauty, and usability
  • Replaces KDesktop, Kicker, SuperKaramba, and more...

  • Consists of containments, data engines, runners, plasmoids, and more...
  • 4.1 with WebKit will include Mac Dashboard widget support

  • 4.1 will include support for SuperKaramba widgets

  • The language bindings for writing Plasmoids continues to grow

One of the complaints we have been seeing is that there aren't many plasmoids available.

Well with KDE 4.1 and WebKit, there will be thousands of widgets available for your desktop.


When people hear about KDE 4 and Oxygen, one thing comes to mind: super sexy icons!

Well, Oxygen is more than just icons, Oxygen is:

  • Icons (duh we just said that!)
  • Widget and window styling
  • Mouse cursors (makes using the mouse fun again!)
  • Audio theme (crank up those speakers and let everyone hear the love!)


KDE's goal has always been to make an easy-to-use computing environment.

With KDE 4, this hasn't changed. KDE worked closely with the Open Usability project (http://openusability.org).

One of the main goals for KDE 4 was to identify ideas that were lacking and work hard to make these ideas a reality.

The research-driven development behind KDE 4 brought modern and extensive human interface guidelines

These new guidelines provide the developers something to aim for, and seeing some of the updated applications, they aimed high and won!

Why does this really matter? Easy, usable software makes the end user happy!


I use Konqueror, Kate, Konsole, and more on my Windows and Mac desktops!


One of the goals of KDE 4 was to make it portable, and making it portable is what they are doing, BIG TIME!

With the KDE 4 libraries you can easily write a single application for multiple platforms!

If you can put Linux on it, you can put KDE 4 on it! My toaster runs KDE 4!!!

As we sit here in IRC, totally awake I hope, KDE 4 has the following platform support:

  • Linux - libraries, backends, applications, and workspace - all in place
  • Solaris - libraries, backends, applications, and workspace - all in place
  • BSD - libraries, backends, applications, and workspace - all in place
  • *nix - libraries and backends in place, applications and workspace in development
  • Windows - libraries in place, backends and applications in development, workspace nonexistant
  • Mac OS - libraries in place, backends and applications in development, workspace nonexistant


What is going to make KDE 4 so functional?

There are so many new technologies and platforms included with KDE 4 that my head spins just thinking about them.

The ones I will briefly cover include:

  • Solid
  • Sonnet
  • Strigi
  • Phonon
  • Akonadi


Solid is a device integration framework aimed at developers.

Solid does not manage your hardware, but it makes managing your hardware through a single API possible.

Current backends for Solid include:

  • HAL
  • Networkmanager (or Networkmangler if you have problems with it)
  • BlueZ

If you are interested in utilizing Solid in your applications, I recommend that you review http://solid.kde.org


Sonnet is a multilingual spell check application.

Another spell check application you are asking? Heck no, this goes above and beyond any other spell checker I have experienced.

So what makes it stand out?

  • Automatic language detection - the language you are typing in, can be recognized by Sonnet within the first 20 characters typed
  • Performance! - it is fast
  • Various improvements in different languages
  • Unlike KSpell2 which consisted of 7 components and had a complicated API, Sonnet has 1 component
  • Provides the ability to have a primary and secondary dictionary


Not only does it have a weird name, but what it stands for is even weirder Smile :)

Networked Environment for Personalize, Ontology-based Management of Unified Knowledge

I think I will stick with NEPOMUK, that is way to many words to remember!

So what exactly is this alien of an application? (Kubuntu - Linux for everyone, unlike Ubuntu who only covers humans...Kubuntu loves the aliens too!)

First off, NEPOMUK isn't an application, it is an open-source specification.


Ya, same exact thoughts here, but it is cool, or should I say KOOL?!?! (ya, I know all of you just went, "OMG! did he really just put a K in there, my what a loser!")

NEPOMUK is a specification that is concerned with the development of the Social Semantic Desktop.

Social Sem..WHAT?

  • Social - of or relating to human society, the interaction of the individual and the group (m-w.com)
  • Semantic - of or relating to meaning in language (m-w.com)
  • Desktop - I hope you know what this is!

OK, so what does it really mean? After breaking down each word, NEPOMUK brings them together to provide your computer the needs in order to more easily share data between various applications and tasks.

Maybe http://nepomuk.kde.org can help you understand NEPOMUK a bit better.


Strigi is a fast and light-weight desktop-independent search daemon.

In KDE 4, Strigi is the core component of the semantic desktop.

Strigi indexes just about anything!

If you were disappointed with Strigi in KDE 3, well don't worry, it is way better, far more stable, and not as agressive in KDE 4.


Phonon is a cross platform multimedia API, aimed at developers. Phonon is NOT a multimedia framework, but it does interface with existing frameworks.

Some of the features and benefits of Phonon include:

  • Pluggable backends - Gstreamer, Xine, and more...
  • Easily switch backends on the fly
  • Included in Qt 4.4!
  • Provides a great control of your accessories in combination with Solid
  • A central place for audio and video related configurations
  • Automatic device selection

The last bullet point, automatic device selection, is very cool.

Phonon will act on a signal from Solid and automatically make use of the accessory/device where requested.

An example of this would be when you plug in a USB headset, your VoIP application would automatically switch from using the internal soundcard to the headset so you can start chatting away with granny!

More information on Phonon can be found at http://phonon.kde.org


Akonadi used to be the new Personal Information Management (PIM) framework for KDE, but just recently that has all changed.

The developers have pulled out all of the KDE essentials out of the framework, allowing other systems to easily incorporate it into their applications without having to depend on the KDE libraries. Cool!

Akonadi's goal is to provide a single extensible data storage solution for PIM applications.

Akonadi will also include search, a library/cache, as well as notification of data changes.

Kubuntu and KDE 4

All of this is great for KDE, but what about Kubuntu? What are Kubuntu's plans to provide a solid KDE 4 platform and solution?

Well, to be honest, the future of Kubuntu and KDE 4 is still open.

Kubuntu is definitely on the right track and luckily got involved with the KDE 4 development process over a year ago.

Many people didn't like the decision to drop LTS for our 8.04 release, and either did many of the developers to be honest.

The reasons behind the non-LTS decision related to:

  • Unknown timeframe for the continued support for KDE 3.5 by the KDE community
  • KDE 4.0 wouldn't be stable enough for a LTS release
  • Kubuntu didn't have the support contracts in order to justify continuing on a LTS track at this time

Another question we see is, "Will 8.10 be a LTS release since it will include KDE 4.1?" The answer is no. If we were to do LTS, then that would mean every other project within Ubuntu would have to do the same, as we rely on the same base.

Anyways, back to KDE 4 lovin'!

With UDS coming up, all of the KDE 4 issues involving Kubuntu haven't been decided upon. We will know more after UDS of course.

A few things we are looking into at this time include:

  • Moving KDE 4 into main, and moving KDE 3 into universe
  • Working with upstream and other distributions to create a unified migration utility from KDE 3 to KDE 4
  • Converting our Qt3 applications to Qt4
  • What kind of changes Kubuntu will make in order to stand out from the crowd

This is where YOU, the user or the developer come in!

We need all of YOU, and I mean those who don't even use KDE or Kubuntu, to give us a try and help mold our future.

What we will need is this:

  • Bug reporters and triagers
  • Documentation writers (a whole army would be nice! Check back on Friday @ 21:00 UTC for my documentation talk here at Open Week)
  • Developers! Developers! Developers! (I just got up and did the monkey dance too!)
  • Community! Community! Community! (oh man, I think I just broke my arm!)

Remember, what you are seeing right now is KDE 4.0, the developers release so-to-speak. 4.1 will be out in a few more months which will mean stability, usability, and functionality for all.

If you have been looking for a project to get involved with, Kubuntu and KDE 4 is that project.

Come join us and be a part of the future!


I would like to thank each and every one of you for attending this meeting.

I hope it wasn't to boring for you and that you are now ready to explode with questions, comments, and ideas.

I ask that you provide your question, comments, or ideas in accordance to the rules set forth in the discussion channel for the Open Week talks.

Thanks again and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask, and comments and ideas can be fired my way as well.

RichardJohnson/OpenWeek/KDE4 (last edited 2008-08-06 16:31:48 by localhost)