Although I promised I would have blogged more often, I find myself to be always very short on time to do that, and always in need of writing “wrap-up” posts to keep up with everything I do – I guess you can live with that. While writing this post I am stuck in Frankfurt Airport waiting for a train, so why not writing a blog post after quite a while. But let’s cut the introductory words and let’s get straight to the point(s).
Big updates in KDE Telepathy
Last days I have been working very hard on KDE-Tp and Tp-Qt, bringing some big changes and improvements to both projects. As Martin already blogged
, I took over a big part of the porting to the new Tp-Qt. One of the main reasons why we did that was some patches I have been pushing to it. First of all, thanks to the new Tp-Qt, we are now able to correctly detect action messages, such as “/me” (David already has a patch about that). High-level DBus tube support is soon to be merged as well, which will eventually allow many applications to take advantage of the feature in an easy way.
This is not everything though: the underlying architecture has undergone quite a change due to the fact telepathy-common-internals is now a private library used by all of our projects. Which means: if you want to compile KDE-Tp master, which will eventually be KDE-Tp 0.3, you will now need Tp-Qt master and telepathy-common-internals right before building anything else. Our final 0.3 release is obviously planned after the first release of Tp-Qt 0.9, so our packagers can stay assured we won’t rely on snapshots.
I have also been lucky enough to catch Nuno in San Francisco and take advantage of his awesome UI Clinic. I got some useful feedback I still need to reorganize and communicate, but it’s been indeed very interesting and useful. And I also learned something more about how to spot (and what are) UI design errors, which is always a good thing.
So, what’s coming up? Lots of things. The 0.3 release will mark the move of KDE-Tp out of Playground and into Extragear, leading the path towards our first, awesome stable release and towards starting to spread our software to all distributions near you. 0.3 should still be considered beta, but we are getting there. Our effort is complex and geared towards a stable and long-term solution, and I can assure you won’t regret the wait.
More stuff in 4.8 Power Management
If you are a loyal reader (you are, aren’t you?), you are probably aware of the big changes the Power Management infrastructure has undergone in 4.8. Before the final release, I still had the time to fix a few bugs (a lot of them were long standing from previous KDE versions, so you should indeed be happy), and to implement a few new small things. One of them is “supported actions”. What does it mean? From 4.8, individual actions are able to advertise if the system supports them. If that is not the case, the action won’t activate itself and won’t even show in the UI.
To give you an example, suppose your monitor does not support DPMS (unlikely, but well). Before this change, the “Turn off Screen” action would have appeared in the configuration UI and loaded under the hood. From 4.8 on instead, the config UI will not expose the action at all in the configuration, and the daemon will simply refuse to load it. And since the check is always done at runtime, you will be always 100% sure to see only the actions your system supports.
This is a huge step forward towards the integration of more complex and hardware-specific actions, which can now be shipped by default but be exposed only on systems which support those. It will be extremely useful on mobile devices, like in the Plasma Active land, but don’t underestimate the impact such a thing can have on desktops as well: my friend admiral
is coding an action to allow automatic switching of graphic cards on systems which have this feature (like my Macbook Pro) and support it. This is quite late for 4.8 of course, but thanks to the new architecture it can be shipped into a separate package for people who cannot wait. It will probably make it into workspace in 4.9 though.
Of course, this also means if you have hardware which supports particular power management features, you should really look into writing a new Action and finally getting rid of those scripts. Although writing an action is really straightforward, I indeed plan to write a decent guide on Techbase for interested people. As I had many cries for support of particular powersaving features in different video cards, be aware that you no longer have an excuse to prevent you from contributing!
Catch me around
If you want to catch me around in the next few months, in January I will be in Ballarat at linux.conf.au, talking about how to build social applications with Telepathy and Qt
, and most probably also on multithreading features in Qt and how to get the most out of them (yes, two separate talks of course). Otherwise, I will very likely be at FOSDEM in February to meet old and new friends. If you want to catch me for a beer, be my guest. Also, I will be going around with some ALERT
leaflets and will probably give out a lightning talk about ALERT and KDE’s involvement in that.
And that’s all for today, my train’s about to arrive. See you next time.