Category Archives: muon

A special sprint at CERN

Plasma

I came to the sprint hoping I could iterate 2 issues I’ve had been trying to get sorted with Plasma for a while:

  1. Integration testing for plasmoids
  2. Discuss how to keep pushing Discover for the next releases both with Plasma and the VDG.

IMG_20160308_112502

The new testing infrastructure is in place and I hope I’ll get to merge soon this week. Feel free to peek: patch1 and patch2.
This is very important because it will allow us to make the testing of plasmoids systematic, to some extent, making it easier to develop plasmoids and containments while maintaining and increasing the delivered quality.

Regarding Discover, there’s lots of ideas. Definitely far more than we can materialize. For now, we’ll be delivering a much more polished experience for 5.6 both on the strictly technical side (better appstream and PackageKit integration, better use of QtQuick in some areas) as well as on the looks side, mainly thanks to Andrew and Thomas who keep pushing me whenever something is not entirely perfect, which is awesome.

Visual Design Group (VDG)

The first special thing was that there was a VDG sprint in parallel. It wasn’t VDG people who joined us, but an actual sprint. This was especially good because it allowed for a fluid back-and-forth of ideas. It’s especially important both to have some designers full of dreams kicking our asses from time to time, as well as some kind of pragmatism back to them so the good ideas can end up being part of our workflows.

Plasma + VDG

WikiToLearn

Another special thing about the sprint was having the WikiToLearn team over. It was their first actual sprint as well as first time we all met together in a KDE event. I think it worked great, despite being different communities in nature, it’s interesting to see how synergies kept happening. I’m sure there’s good space for collaboration and I’m looking forward to keep working together.

IMG_20160307_104326

LHC

Apparently they have a particle accelerator there. What?!

AppStream offers a Cross-Distribution identifier for applications

One of the problems we’ve historically had in the GNU/Linux world (and especially in KDE, since we’re cross-distribution) is that we’ve always had a hard time at explaining how to install our applications. Basically because it’s different on each distribution.

My first approach to this problem was creating Muon Discover but that’s clearly not enough because, in the end, we seldom look for new applications. Often they will be recommended on a blog post or forum and we’ll want to install it. But then, while recommending it, it will either be a vague “you should try KMail” or a “you should ‘apt-get install kmail’ or whatever applies to your distribution.

What I’m proposing today is to embrace AppStream at the level of URL handlers (for web browser integration). AppStream shows GNU/Linux distributions maturity by offering a solution by letting the upstream projects set the identifier in their appdata.xml file (among other things) and then let distributions name the package however they want, rather keeping to push different naming schemes down each other throats.

AppStream has been supported in Discover for over a year now (only for PackageKit so far) and, since introducing this feature is straightforward, I implemented it in master.
If somebody wants to give it a go, test master and click here: KMail

I think this will be beneficial not only for KDE but any project packaged on GNU/Linux distributions that have a presence on the web and need to find their way in users’ installations. This will of course be limited to getting the URL scheme adopted by our peers.

/me winks at Gnome Software and Ubuntu Software Center.

Porting Muon Discover to KF5

Muon has been a project that I’ve been very eager to port and iterate for a longtime. I’m happy with the 2.0 series, lots of changes were made and it has served us well. More importantly though, we have a solid technology to keep pushing our work on.

Porting

Now the first change has been the port to Qt5 and KF5 and adoption of QtQuick 2. This has been one of the few projects that have suffered from it, especially because we did a couple of hacks so that Muon Discover would integrate with the rest of applications’ look and feel. In any case, it’s sorted out now, we adopted the new QtQuick Controls and it works quite good, only problem being the usage of QQuickWidget, but that will be solved eventually, when we have everything we need in place to take the next step towards better integration between KXmlGui and QtQuick.

What to expect?

The most important news is that it will be as good and fresh as it used to be, integrated with the newer look and feel themes, capable of offering different sorts of data, such as applications, wallpapers and plasmoids.

Furthermore, some new features will be introduced with the forthcoming Muon 3.0 that will change how we integrate Muon on our systems. First of all, Appstream is being adopted for good. Now it will be possible to get a useful PackageKit backend, which has been adopted recently.

  • Additionally, for the ArchLinux fans, I did some fixing on the PackageKit libalpm backend so now it can be used again. 😀 Still, work on the Appstream set up is needed and help is very welcome.
  • Since I wanted to use a good PackageKit reference implementation, I looked into Fedora. I’ve been trying to get it working, but haven’t succeeded that much yet. I expected Appstream to be a first class citizen there, and things keep falling apart. We’ll have to work more in this area.
  • Kubuntu will remain using QApt for now. It seems to be working properly and there’s no intentions to change. Debian has also been ported to use use the same backend, we are pending though on some decisions to be taken with regards of metadata sources, that is, Appstream again.

**shrug** Looks like we’ll have to give a good push to Appstream!

Future

I would like to see different Plasma-oriented distributions embracing Muon as a resource management front-end. So far, resource management hasn’t been part of our user experience, with the exception of KNewStuff.

Additionally, there’s a forum thread where a new graphical design is being worked on so it doesn’t look all that clunky (especially managing to make QtQuick Controls applications look good).

All this is already available on our Git repositories. A final version will be released early 2015 together with Plasma 5.2, although I’d like to roll a stable version first, so distributions can start adopting it.

Muon Discover, new version, new features, new look

A new Muon release is approaching and I wanted to use this occasion for sum up a little what happened in the Muon area, in view of the forthcoming 2.0 version.

The first thing you’ll notice is the version bump from 1.5 to 2.0. This is because the whole suite had 2 big changes. Firstly, Jonathan reworked libqapt which will be seeing a 2.0 version as well, and I refactored Muon’s internals so that we could have different back-ends in it.

I’m excited about this last change; not only for the features it’s already providing, like the KNS and Bodega backends, but for where I’d like it to go in the near future. We’ll know more about it soon though. 🙂

Another important change, was that we moved some of the Discover UI from QML to better integrate with the rest of KDE applications, specially by using a native scroll bar and prefer the main window’s toolbar to our custom buttons. I’m not much of a graphical person, but I’m quite happy about the result. I hope you are as well.

Here there’s a small video I made for you to see what’s going on in Muon Discover 2.0. I hope you like it and I hope you want it. 🙂

Cheers! \o/

Discovering your OS and beyond

Some time ago, I already talked about the project I started along with Blue Systems called Muon Discover. For those who didn’t follow, it’s some software to get to know the resources your OS is providing like applications.

Muon Discover has had quite a good welcome, somebody even recorded some pretty awesome review, but as you will understand we couldn’t stop there.

The first Muon Discover iteration was centered into building a new GUI to figure out your system’s available applications. The second iteration though, was meant to be an engine overhaul. The GUI wouldn’t change much but technically it changed a lot. Muon’s internal library was repurposed into a backend-based system where APT is only a backend, which means basically two things:

  • Now we can have multiple backends
  • Now we don’t depend on QApt

With all these changes, I chose to add another backend too (a backend-based system with 1 backend is sad), so I created some KNS+OCS backend that works well enough. At the moment, it is providing Plasmoids to be added to your KDE Desktop and Comics for your Comics Plasmoid. Here you can see a video of Muon Discover running on my ArchLinux system. 🙂

Muon Discover, KNS Backend from Aleix Pol on Vimeo.

Now the call for collaboration:
Do you want your OS resources to be available through Muon? Create a backend!
Do you want to support other resources than we’re displaying? Create a backend, or expose those through OCS.

Possibilities are wide and it’s a great moment to explore them. What do we want to offer? Only applications? Maybe also multimedia resources? Books? We have to figure all this out, and now it’s the moment to do so by joining the project :).

If there’s any way I can help, I’ll be glad to, so don’t hesitate to ask if there’s any question!

See you!

Explore applications with Muon Discover

As some of you know, I’m working for Blue Systems, during the recent months it’s been on improving some bits of muon and developing a new front-end that we’ve called Muon Discover.

The idea is simple. Haven’t you ever found a tool that was perfect for your need but you only found it after some time stumbling upon it on the net? When considering to install an application, don’t you wonder sometimes if it’s really worth it? Or if it’s actually what you’re looking for.

We are trying to address these areas in this new front-end we called Muon Discover. There you’ll be able to search applications, to navigate through categories and top5 lists and figure out what they are meant for by seeing the screenshots and reviews.

Furthermore, Muon Discover will let you manage the different sources of software you have and manage the applications you’ve already installed in the past but you don’t want anymore.

Here you can see a video that shows a bit what it does.

If anybody is interested, you can try it from our cyber-stuff PPA.

And last but not least, thanks to Jonathan Thomas, Muon maintainer who was really open to new ideas in all this process!

As always, I’m welcome to feedback. Please give us feedback, we need to know what it feels like to use it with your hands! 🙂