Created: 2005-04-23 by MattZimmerman
Kubuntu 5.04 was our first release made alongside Ubuntu Hoary. It has been well received by users and KDE developers alike and makes up almost a third of downloads from torrent.ubuntu.com. This is a roadmap for the next release scheduled to be made alongside Ubuntu Breezy. Areas to focus on include usability improvements, system integration especially with configuration tools and improved accessibility for those with disabilities.
Scope and Use Cases
Kubuntu is already the best GNU/Linux distribution available. We want to improve our install rate to be the most popular and expand Kubuntu's appeal outwith the KDE fan base.
KDE has not yet defined a release schedule for either KDE 3.5 or KDE 4. Currently it seems likely that KDE 3.5 will not be released within the breezy timescale so we may ship with the latest version of KDE 3.4.x. Our goal is to make a release alongside KDE 3.5. If 3.5 is released shortly after Breezy we may delay the Kubuntu release to be able to use 3.5 otherwise we will make another release with KDE 3.5. Nevertheless we will start packaging KDE 3.4.1 and following bugfix releases, which are due after KDE's Subversion transition.
To further enhance Kubuntu's support of KDE we would like some packages to be moved to main. This will indicate that they are fully supported by us. These are: kdeaccessiblity to support users with disabilities; kdevelop because it is the best Free Software IDE; kdesdk which includes vital tools for translators and developers; kdebindings especially Python bindings. We would also like to evaluate KOffice 1.4 (due out this week) to consider if it can match OpenOffice.org for functionality while being less resource intensive and better integrated. Kiosktool is an important and undervalued feature for KDE, we will include this along with a range of Kiosk user profiles. Kiosk user profiles can also be used by OEMs to personalise their Kubuntu CDs and desktops. Other packages for main include KISDN to support ISDN connencted users, QtParted as a valuable tool for users especially on the live CD and KDE Bluetooth should be included as this is an increasingly popular technology. There is likely to be more as well.
Kubuntu should supply packages of the latest KDE development versions from CVN/SVN. This will help creating packages for KDE releases because we will already be following KDE development and will gain us a lot of KDE developers as Kubuntu users. We will script this to make it automatic as much as possible and will use the GrumpyGroundhog infrastructure in the future. It may be possible to use svn-buildpackage to create packages directly from Subversion.
We will need our own version control repository, probably Subversion to match KDE, with repositories hosted at novo (the machine we have access to). This will be used to keep our packaging. It should be easy for the public to join and help the project so external developers will need access to this.
Our packages should be build using Unsermake instead of Automake. This is a KDE developed tool which provides faster compiles and more intelligent file installs. It is also part of the general move away from autotools which we are likely to see more of in KDE 4.
The converstion to GCC 4 will be a signification challenge for the next Kubuntu release. GCC 4 comes with a new C++ ABI which makes any package which depends on libstdc++ incompatible with older versions. There will be new package names for the new versions of Qt and arts. Packages from main and universe which depend on Qt need scripting to conflict with old Qt versions and use the new. Some packages may use KDElibs without using Qt, these will have to be treated as special cases. KDE is known to compile with GCC 4 however it is not well tested when running. We will need to check every package carefully to ensure it works correctly and reliably.
Currently we do not have access to the seeds which make the Kubuntu meta-packages but instead have to go through those who do have access. To speed up changes to which packages are included in the seeds we have been changing the dependencies of the meta-packages for each KDE module. This is bad practice because the KDE module meta-packages no longer reflect KDE itself. The seeds should be fixed to specify the packages themselves which we need rather than the KDE meta-packages. We should keep the seeds in our version control repository so we can keep a copy ourselves which we can edit.
Our artwork should reflect our status as a KDE centred distribution and not deviate far from recognisable KDE defaults. Improvements should be made where there are clearly better options than KDE defaults. We would like to include some further Kubuntu branding to make it easier to track use of Kubuntu, for example being able to identify when screenshots are taken with Kubuntu. Probable places for this include the Konqueror throbber, window decoration and system menu icon.
We will work with the community to come up with distinctive artwork for our next release to be used as the background, splash and login screen.
Currently most KDE applications do not supply icons in the default theme for the freedesktop.org icon standard, hicolour. This means they do not get shown when the icon is needed by other desktops, most prominently in the application menu of Gnome. We will work to fix this upstream and backport the changes to our KDE 3.4.x packages.
Changes to KDE
The KControl configuration application has serious useability problems. It will be replaced in KDE 4 but until then Kubuntu can test an alternative as part of the move away from KControl. We will evaluate Systempreferences (http://www.icefox.net/gallery/phpquickgallery/?gallery=2005%2FSystem+Preferences/) as a possible alternative to use in our next release.
Kubuntu 5.04 made several improvements to the default KDE menu, tidying up the applications and menu structure and including a System menu for access to system places. We would like to further tidy the applications on the menu and improve the system menu to include the non application entries from the k-menu and remove duplicates between the two menus. These menus should move to 22x22 icons which will require adding a lot of new 22x22 icons which are currently missing from KDE.
KDE 3.4 comes with Zeroconf support. This uses Apple's mDNSresolver library and daemon which is not currently in the Ubuntu archives. Recent licence changes to this mean it is now licenced under similar terms to libhowl, the mDNSresolver used by Gnome. We will review the licence situation with Apple's mDNSresolver and if suitable include it in Kubuntu so we can support Zeroconf out of the box.
As part of a move to including the best KDE applications which are not part of KDE itself we will investigate packages such as metabar (a context sensitive sidebar for Konqueror), Komposé as a full screen task manager to manage windows and katapult to start applications and bookmarks as a complement for minicli (Alt-F2).
Appeal is a new project of some of KDE's core developers to create the next generation KDE desktop. It has a focus on the highest quality usability and artwork. We would like to actively work with Appeal in making Kubuntu used as a testbed and early adopter for their ideas before they are put in KDE itself.
We would like all user's home directories to come with predefined folders by default. These could include Documents, Music, Pictures and others. The folder names will need to be translated for the appropriate language settings if possible. Appropriate applications should be modified to use these folders at startup.
We have a lack of user documentation for Kubuntu. It should be easier for users to find out how to use Kubuntu. Documentation should be available which is comparable to that under development for Ubuntu. This should be included on the Kubuntu CD and easily available to new users. We will work with the documentation team to create this for our next release.
Kubuntu has had significant interest from the community and a number of people are or would like to help with developing it, our goal is to create an active support and developer community around Kubuntu which will donate to the project and perform testing and feedback. We will create a KDE MOTU team to look after KDE packages in Universe and add new packages of interested KDE releated projects. The KDE MOTU team will help with testing, reviewing and fixing apps in Universe possibly including security fixes. Our hope is that KDE MOTU developers will also move to helping with KDE packages in main. For the next release we should define QA checks for Kubuntu. These checks can be followed and added to by other people as a way to get more testing for Kubuntu and enhance the quality of the distro.
Ubuntu has a net install option available which uses a small image and tftp to boot a computer completely over the network. We would like to have a similar option for Kubuntu and will work with the Ubuntu netinstall developers to make this available. We also want Full Automated Installation for Kubuntu.
The current version of the Kubuntu Live CD comes with the same Windows Free Software as the Ubuntu CD. Although Kubuntu branding was made for this it did not make it onto the final CD. We will work with the WinFOSS developer to create Kubuntu branded Windows Free Software and include KDE related applications such as KDE PIM-PI and Kexi. A similar scheme for the PowerPC live CD to include KDE related Free Software for MacOS would be a good addition.
Our current package manager, Kynaptic, is underdeveloped and misses a lot of features that other package managers have. Kapture is another package manager under development by the Kalyxo project based on a new library, libapt-front, which is likely to also be adapted for Synaptic. We would like to be active in Kapture development and include it in the next release. If it will not be ready by our next release we may make some improvements to Kynaptic but the focus of any work should be on Kapture. We would also like to have an installer focused on applications rather than packages with features such as extended descriptions, screenshots and user ratings. This could be part of Kapture or a separate application based on the work being done in Ubuntu on such an application.
Update-notifier is an important part of Ubuntu which ensures users can keep their system updated with the latest security packages or development versions. A KDE version of update-notifier is needed and should be ready by the next release.
Another innovative tool from Ubuntu is hwdb, the hardware database frontend. We would like to work with the hwdb developers to create a KDE/Qt frontend for this so it can be included in Kubuntu.
Future versions of Ubuntu will have a graphical installer, possibly based on installation direct from the live CD. Kubuntu will need a Qt version of this, which will likely require Qt bindings to debconf.
The current Kubuntu lacks a lot of configuration tools. We have knetworkconf as a graphical network configuration but it has not had a lot of testing and lacks features such as wireless support. A number of possibilities exist for adding configuration tools in the next Kubuntu version.
* MEPIS is a KDE based Debian derivative distribution which comes with its own set of configuration tools. Sources are not currently available however since they use the GPL version of Qt we should be able to get hold of them.
* SuSE's Yast has recently been relicenced under the GPL and packages are now under development for Debian and Kubuntu. It is a comprehensive suite of tools. http://yast4debian.alioth.debian.org/
* Guideance is a project to create configuration tools for KDE written in Python. Currently they include X configuration, users, init and fstab editing. http://www.simonzone.com/software/guidance/
* Further Gnome System Tools development. Creating KDE frontends to GST and improving the existing knetworkconf.
We will investigate the projects above and use the best available in the next version of Kubuntu.
The language packs which come with Kubuntu are not tailored at all to Kubuntu but instead include all the language files needed by Ubuntu. The Language BoF has specified a scheme for splitting the language packs into base, Ubuntu and Kubuntu which will allow us to include KDE translations along with Kubuntu.
KDE language infrastructure puts all KDE translations in its kde-i18n module rather than keeping translations alongside their programmes. Currently Rosetta can not handle this but the Rosetta developers will modify Rosetta to work with KDE's translation layout.
We also need to ensure that spellcheckers and other language support is installed with the correct language settings.
Our website should be translated into as many languages as possible. A contributor has already created a way to make the website translatable and we will investigate if his setup can be used with Rosetta for translations.
All KDE packages. Qt, arts and some KDE base apps will need their package name changed to allow for the transition to GCC 4.
Some Ubuntu base packages will be affected for branding such as usplash and isolinux. OpenCD's WinFOSS will also be affected.
A number of key decisions still have to be made, primarily which KDE version to ship with, this will be decided as soon as KDE has a release schedule available.
UDU BOF Agenda
- Kubuntu 5.04 feedback, well receieved, accepted by a number of KDE developers, people are excited
- KDE 3.5
- Packaging of CVS/SVN snapshots
- KDE release schedule
- KDE 4.0 will be probably released in May/2006.
- Alternatively the KDE team release a preview version with KDE 3.5 there isn't any date set, it is expected in September/October 2005
- KDE 4.0 will be probably released in May/2006.
- better (User)Documentation ( onlinehelp ? )
- better Systemintegration ( tools/backend to reconfigure the system )
- selectable Userprofiles ( kioskmode )
artwork ( window decorations ) (Konqueror throbber, system menu icon)
- automated packaging, snapshot packages from CVS (will get KDE developers on board)
- better menu harmony GNOME-KDE
- better communication with Debian
- kynaptic, Graphical package manager or Kapture
- Graphical installations/boot
- OEM set ?
Replace KControl with System Preferences http://www.icefox.net/gallery/phpquickgallery/?gallery=2005%2FSystem+Preferences/
http://www.simonzone.com/software/guidance/ configuration tools (users, init.d, fstab, X config)
- update notifier, gnome-app-install for KDE
- wifi and network configuration
- hwdb port to Qt
- Katapult (better than minicli if it worked)
- Icons move from crystal to hicolour (fix upstream)
- KDE 3.4.x in hoary-updates? (timeframe is 2 weeks after SVN transition complete)
- testbed for Appeal?
- Major problems with hoary: kcontrol sudo, i18n package upload, python, /etc/kderc dissappears, reports of panel being messed up
- Move to main? kdewebdev, kdevelop, koffice 1.4, kdesdk, kdebindings: ruby, python
- Build community, review and accept packages, get a KDE MOTU team (led by motaboy?)
- Translations: can we use Rosetta?
- Need version control repository for debian/ directories which can be used by people who aren't yet maintainers
- netinstall images
live CD Windows software, kubuntu branding has been created but not uploaded http://www.theopencd.org/ubuntu/winfoss/ (can we think of any KDE orientated software to include?)
- gcc 4 conversion, KDE compiles with gcc 4 but is not well tested
- Meta-packages were changed as an easy way to alter seed results, that should be fixed back (would be nice to be able to changes seeds ourselves)
- Website, translateable?
- Make system menu good
- automount removable media and pop up konqueror
- KDE Roadmap:
- Change to subversion (finished and ready on 20050504, now CVS is readonly)
- KDE 3.5 (application only, for those who don't want to port to Qt 4 straight away, no release date)
- KDE 4
- Port to Qt 4 (The porting of kdelibs is started on 20050510, in the SVN branch: branches/KDE/3.4/kdelibs/ )
- DCOP changes (port to DBUS hopefully)
- Probably new build system (unsermake + ??)
- Soundsystem (gstreamer for conversion then server independent?)
- Start preparing initial packages, buildsystem
- KDE 3.4.2 mostly in but kdebase and dependencies awaiting xmkmf
- Working with upstream on guidance configuration tools, libpythonise issues mean not quite working
Package manager underway, working with Peter Rockai
- Simplified Konqueror and Control Centre.
- GCC 4 transition done
- Need to update kde-style-lipstik to fix toolbar issue
- Documentation under way but slowly due to no installable CDs
- WinFOSS done today, needs tidying
- Language packs pitti seems to have working, waiting upload