Job Offer for KDE-Programmer

This is a guest post by Clemens.

Hello everyone!

Netrunner ( aims to become one of the leading KDE-centric Linux distributions, and to achieve this we need your help! Thanks to the financial support of Blue Systems we have the opportunity to hire one developer experienced in KDE/Qt/C++ programming to improve some areas of KDE software. You’ll be able to work full-time on various KDE-projects, such as

  • Improving Kmenu, the panel and other parts of Plasma Desktop
  • Fixing various bugs
  • Improving/adding functionality

The improvements will be pushed upstream to make them available for all KDE users.

We guarantee monthly payment depending on your skills and experience with regards to KDE.

If you are interested in taking the offer, please send me an email with your CV to:


Thanks and “Happy Holiday Season”!


The journey to a simple ToDo widget

Alternative title: More reasons to love Free and Open Source Software.

This is a story about how I got what I wanted through toil, sweat and tears (thankfully no blood was spilled; the sweat and tears part might also be slightly exaggerated). All thanks to the nature of Free and Open Source Software.

Like many other times, it all started with a harmless thought: “So many things to do, I think I need a ToDo list”. Before I would keep track of things to do in a Notes widget on my desktop (screenshot), but this felt a bit primitive. It was time to get something better, although still simple, as I only needed the most basic features:

  • A clear list of tasks that need to be done and when they must be accomplished
  • Easy way of adding new tasks and marking tasks as completed
  • Possibility to create tasks that are repeated (e.g. a task that needs to be done once every day)
  • Basic priority settings

with the last point being a “nice to have” rather than “must”. With this in mind, I set out on my journey to find a suitable ToDo widget for my desktop.

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Share your Knowledge

As Anne already blogged about, I suggested during the WebWorld sprint that we try to strengthen the UserBase Wiki image. I made two proposals:

  • Whenever UserBase is mentioned the first time in a new context, call it “UserBase Wiki” or “KDE UserBase Wiki” if the context doesn’t make it clear that it’s KDE-related. The reason for this is that many people have mentioned that they didn’t know what a “userbase” was, and that they weren’t aware that UserBase actually is a wiki anyone can edit.
  • Give UserBase its own unique logo.

I had made a rough logo based on the idea “Connect the pieces” and intended to simply replace the KDE icon in the sidebar, but Claus and Anne saw another mockup I had made (for a completely different purpose) and thought it would look good with some text as well. Brilliant idea, strangely enough I hadn’t even thought about it – isn’t it wonderful to work with other people? During the sprint we set on “Share your Knowledge” and asked our logo creator Eugene to make a logo for us. Here’s the result:

Of course you should just head over to UserBase directly and see it in action. If you still see the old KDE logo you might have to refresh your cache, Shift + F5 in most browsers.

Finally, a reminder:

UserBase is a wiki for KDE users, made by KDE users. Registration is no longer necessary to contribute. Share your Knowledge »

KDE WebWorld 2011: Last day and summary

Today was another warm and sunny day at Linuxhotel in Essen, where the first KDE WebWorld sprint was held, but the increasing cloudiness and predicted rain in the afternoon meant that it was time to pack and go home. A lot of things have happened during these days, so here’s a summary (because Ingo forced me to do one):

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KDE WebWorld 2011: UserBase (day 1)

If you follow the planet you should know about WebWorld 2011 by now, but if you don’t this picture summarizes it quite well:

In this post I’ll write about what the KDE UserBase Wiki team has worked on during the first day – and it’s quite much in just one day! The wiki has always had much potential in my opinion, but unfortunately not too many contributors. We want to change that.

  • Everyone is a potential contributor. To lower the entry barrier further, we now allow non-registered users to edit pages. This is great news for those who just want to make spontaneous contributions. However, registering has many benefits and is still recommended.
  • Everyone can contribute. We have made small changes to the sidebar and the pages for contributors to make it clearer. Hopefully this will make it easier for new contributors to get started.
  • Details are important as well. It is awesome to have all these different people gathered here in the same place (and what a wonderful place it is). This has allowed us to quickly fix a bunch of small and some larger issues with UserBase. Those are issues the user shouldn’t experience in the first place so I won’t go into any details, let’s just say that it has improved the user experience of the wiki. There has also been improvements in the translation tools, small tweaks in the style and other nice stuff.

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Switch to specific activities with keyboard shortcuts

Update February, 2015: Updated commands for newer versions.

Update August 17, 2013: In newer versions it’s possible to set the keyboard shortcut directly in System Settings → Shortcuts and Gestures → Global Keyboard Shortcuts → KDE component: KDE Activity Manager.

In my last post about switching between activities in KDE Plasma Workspaces I had the following on my wishlist:

  • The possibility to set a keyboard shortcut for each activity, for example Meta+F1 for the first activity, Meta+F2 for the second one etc.

This is actually already possible in 4.6, although it isn’t very straightforward for those of us who aren’t D-Bus wizards. However, since I know that there are other people who want this, I’ll share what I figured out today. After reading this post you’ll be able to set keyboard shortcuts (such as Meta+F1, Meta+F2 etc.) to switch to specific activities.

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7 ways to switch activities

One common complaint about activities in KDE Plasma Workspaces is that it’s hard to switch between them. With virtual desktops you have many alternatives – you can use the Pager widget, desktop effects, keyboard shortcuts, switch desktop on screen edges etc. But what about activities? I counted the methods that I know and ended up with 7 different ways to switch activities (depending on how you count), all of which I’ll share in this post. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new favorite?

Continuing with activities after a hiatus, this time how to switch between them

Note that I’m using Plasma Desktop 4.6.x – some of things described might be different in earlier versions (for example different locations in System Settings), and some might not work at all.

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Activities – A change in workflow?

Ever since the introduction of the activity concept in KDE Plasma Workspaces, it has caused confusion to many people. To spread some inspiration I wrote a blog post some time ago with examples of how I used activities. It ended up, much to my surprise, to be one of my most popular posts. This seemed to suggest that many still didn’t know what to use activities for.

Back then I often explained activities as ‘similar to virtual desktops, which are groups of windows, but instead activities are groups of desktop widgets’. However, in 4.6 they have evolved past this stage – now windows are also associated with activities. Therefore I wanted to write a blog post about the current state of activities, but someone beat me to it; a few days ago Jason Lim Yuen Hoe posted a very nice article on activities that brought up most of the points I planned to talk about. I found that the post reflected my own thoughts very well, and if you haven’t read it yet, I recommend giving it a read.

In this post I’ll instead write about my personal vision of how I hope activities will change my workflow. It’s based on my own experience and what I’ve read about activities. Note that it doesn’t necessarily coincide with the vision of the Plasma team, but if there are any inconsistencies I would appreciate if a Plasma developer could point them out in a comment below.

After reading this I hope that you will get a better understanding of what activities are and start to think about how you can benefit from them. I will also try to answer the frequently asked question “Why should I use activities instead of virtual desktops?” and explain when I think you should use what.

Translations: Portuguese | Russian

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What has happened to the Dot, the KDE Forums and the KDE wikis?

Some of you might see a message if you visit, or try to edit a page in one of the KDE wikis and wonder what it’s all about. There’s no need to worry though, everything is proceeding fine.

The sites are being moved to a new server, and it might take some time for your ISP to update their DNS (up to 72 hours). If you see the message, it means that you still try to access the old server. To avoid losing content, the forums etc. have been disabled until the DNS propagation is complete.

New Plasma HowTo version is up

It’s a bit late, but the 4.5 version of Plasma HowTo is now available on UserBase. This is a page for people who wonder how to do things in Plasma Desktop but don’t want to read too much text. It’s also useful to direct someone to a specific animation, for example in a forum, if he/she doesn’t know how to perform a common task in Plasma Desktop. It can look like this:

Plasma HowTo - Resize Widget

The program I used to record these (read more about it here), byzanz, has also been updated. The new version improves the quality in some parts, but unfortunately some other things end up looking horrible. There seems to be a problem with colors regardless if I have composite enabled or not (example here). If you have any ideas how to fix this, please drop a message in the comments section. When the problem is solved I’ll probably redo some of the animations.

Another problem I ran into is that UserBase didn’t create any thumbnails for the GIF files, so if you land on a page looking like this you just need to click on the link under “No higher resolution available.” Again, we’re looking for a solution to this.

Anything else? Feel free to leave a comment about Plasma HowTo – feedback is much appreciated!