Small applications missing in KDE 4

I have been working in the last weeks in the removal of the last pieces of KDE 3 from the Debian archive and I have found there are a lot of packages that is sad having to remove.

If you are looking for a good idea/excuse to learn and improve your KDE 4 / C++ /Qt4 skills, have to do a small application for school or you just feel like some useful coding, here is the list:

  • creox – real-time guitar effects
  • kbarcode – barcode and label printing application for KDE
  • kbiff – KDE mail notification utility
  • KKBSwitch – keyboard layout indicator for KDE (see this post also)
  • kmyfirewall – iptables based firewall configuration tool for KDE
  • kpogre – a graphical administrator tool for PostgreSQL
  • kredentials – KDE taskbar applet to update kerberos/AFS credentials
  • ksociograma – technical educational software to make sociograms
  • ktechlab – circuit simulator for microcontrollers and electronics
  • qalculate-kde – Powerful and easy to use desktop calculator – KDE version
  • score-reading-trainer – trainer for reading music notes

Note that I do not list here software whose port in KDE 4 is being developed although it is still not finished and therefore it is not packaged in Debian.

By the way, even if all those packages are being removed from Debian testing and unstable, they will remain in Squeeze, so you can keep using them or install it from there.

post and pre-release fun

The last weeks before a Debian release are usually boring with respect to working on new stuff since unstable is pretty much closed to development. Now that the release is finished, this fun is back \o/

I have been in an ‘upload frenzy’ since yesterday night and I have updated some packages in unstable: KOffice[1] and KOffice-l10n 2.3.1, yakuake, rsibreak and tintin++. Another of my packages, kid3, got magically updated itself in unstable before I had time to look at it, the magic of having active co-maintainers.

[1] Thanks for the gentle push to update this, Pino :)

I also emailed one of my upstream maintainers to ask him about the KDE 4 version of his application and he will likely make a release soon. One of the goals for wheezy is remove completely KDE 3 and Qt 3. If you are maintaining a KDE 3 or Qt 3 based application, we are about to start annoying you about this! See and

The last 2 weeks before the release I had some fun watching how the Squeeze release countdown banner I published at spread to a lot of websites, personal blogs, community sites, forums to news portals.
The traffic has been increasing little by little through the 2 weeks the banner has been online and currently is still moderately high, since people keeps retweeting the news item about the Debian release. While writing these lines, the banner has been served 449575 times to a total of 244975 unique IP addresses!

Debian at the Google Code-in 2010-11

As you might know, Debian was one of the 20 organizations selected to participate in the first Google Code-in.

We got a moderate success since we started preparing the contest very late (I joined as mentor/admin the very first day of the contest!). Because of this, unlike other organizations, we did not manage to engage interested students from the very beginning of the Code-in. Since we did not have too many Debian tasks the first days, we did not attract many students, and thus did not have very many throughout the contest.

Given Debian tasks were mostly about improving and contributing to Debian, it was quite hard having tasks that did not require having a Debian installation and that made it difficult for many students to get involved. Also, until the last two weeks we did not have any translation task that could have attracted earlier students without too much confidence in their technical and English skills.

Nonetheless, Debian got 39 tasks done:

With about 30 students participating and at least one of the students has keep contributing to Debian after the contest!

The contest was sometimes stressful with several students wanting their tasks to be reviewed at the same time, and the date was problematic due to the winter (or summer!) holidays but still I am quite happy with the final result :D

Debian will be also participating again this year in the Google Summer of Code 2011. Join the soc-coordination mailing list and stay tunned if you want to participate as mentor or student.

KOffice 2.3.0 and future

It took a bit of time due to the holidays, but KOffice 2.3.0 is finally available from Debian experimental (give some hours to your mirror to sync!). If you are unstable user don’t be afraid to fetch it from experimental, it is there only because the Squeeze freeze. Squeeze will ship with KOffice 2.2.1, while not all the applications are so polished as it would be desirable, it clearly offers huge improvements over old KOffice 1.6.3.

I do not know if there will be a KOffice 2.3.1 upload but I know for sure the future is with Calligra :)

Videos de la dudesconf 2010

Los videos de la dudesconf, (la mini-debconf española) están ya disponibles en Una vez más, me gustaría aprovechar estas líneas para darles las gracias a todo el mundo que trabajo para hacer la tercera edición de dudesconf posible.

Poco a poco, empieza a haber mucho material en español sobre Debian, como echaba en falta tener un sitio desde donde enlazarlo todo, he creado una página en el wiki de debian: Si sabes de algún video, no dudes en añadirlo :)

Actualización: Hay problemas con los enlaces de los videos de las dudesconf, espero que en unos días estará arreglado.

KOffice 2.2.0 packages for Debian

As some of you might have seen, KOffice 2.2.0 was finally released today. Quoting the release announcement:

“There are still areas in the user interface that we want to work on before stating that KOffice is fit for the general public. We are, however, at a stage where we think that KOffice can be used for real work by some users.”

I agree with this statement and it is still to be decided if KOffice 2.2.0 will make it into Squeeze. I am inclined to do so but I would love some well argumented feedback. Take into consideration some applications are more mature than others.

The packages will be uploaded to the official archive soon, but they still need some minor work and given they include new deb files (kformula shape and kexi), they need to go thru the NEW queue, it might take some time.

Meanwhile, you can find packages for amd64 & i386 from the semi-official repository at:
You also have available the localization packages (see the list here) and braindump, an interesting application based in KOffice libraries.

These packages are not in the Debian archive so please *don’t* report bugs against them in the Debian Bug Tracking System. If you see any packaging problem, please report it in the debian-kde mailing list.
If you find a bug, miss a feature or have a wishlist, please file a report in the KDE bugzilla: Include all the information you can about your system (Debian experimental, KOffice 2.2.0) and all the details you are able to give. In the case of crashes, install the package koffice-dbg to get a backtrace. Read more at this techbase article.

KDE 4.4.3 in unstable

Following Qt 4.6.2, uploaded a couple of weeks ago, KDE 4.4.3, has finally found its way to unstable in the last 48 hours.
Given KDE 4.5.0 is not expected until August, it is likely the next point release, 4.4.4, will be the KDE version included in next Debian stable, Squeeze. What this means: go and update to 4.4.3, test, and when you find a bug, please, follow this instructions. If you are lazy to read it: report upstream bugs at the KDE Bugzilla and report the packaging/integration bugs in the Debian BTS. When in doubt, you have the Debian KDE mailing list, that is being successful so far in maintaining a good signal-noise ratio.

I would like highlight the drop in the open bugs in the BTS experimented in the last 2-3 months, I published this graph in February:

Number of bugs reported against KDE in Debian in the last 3 years - February 2010

And look at the situation now:

Number of bugs reported against KDE in Debian in the last 3 years -May 2010

This is mainly due to the great work of Eckhart Wörner. Also there is other people who contributed to it more modestly, a big thank you to all of you!

As you can see in the second graph, there are less than 1000 bugs open now in the BTS, they are still too much and time has taught us it is very easy going over 1000 again, so we still welcome more volunteers looking at bugs.

If you are not the bugsquasher type, you can write HTML and you do some IRC, we also need somebody to help us reorganize a bit the pkg-kde website. I will help you personally on this task, but it is good if you can lurk by IRC and you are not scared to share your doubts with the rest of the team there.

Finally, I promise I will publish something about the status of KOffice pre-2.2 in Debian, but I still can not say whether it will be in Squeeze.

Not the Debian-KDE post you were waiting for

Sorry! I cannot tell you when KDE 4.4 will be uploaded to unstable. I am not working on that. My initial plan was writing about other tasks I am planning to work on and asking for your help. But I realized people would be more interested in knowing about KDE 4.4 packages. Once you know about this, I might trick you into helping in others areas ;)

Debian packages for KDE 4.4 are being worked on, just slowly and of course, keeping on with the quality you are used to. There will be also some changes that have been in some people’s TODO for long time.

The goal is having them in very good shape for Squeeze, that will ship with some point release of 4.4. The doubt is which point release will be: 4.4.2? 4.4.3 ? The schedule for the point releases has not been made yet, so it makes a bit harder trying to predict it. In the same lines, I can not tell you when Squeeze will be released neither, it needs to be frozen first!

If you want to know about the reasons of this delay, it is simple math: KDE has been growing a lot of more than the number of people working in Debian packages of KDE. I am not talking about size in lines of code in KDE, it is more the number of new dependencies that the KDE team have to take care now too: soprano, libutempter, … Have you wondered why some are under the name of Debian Krap maintainers? :) And there are releases much more often than in the KDE 3 times. You might have notice not only 4.3.5 have been skipped, it also was the case with 4.2.3 or 4.1.4.

This is not good or bad, it is just the same number of maintainers (or less) with more work. And what is worse… with more bugs open in the Debian BTS! I think reiterated calls for not to file upstream bugs in the Debian BTS and directly in KDE bugzilla (see my blog post about this here) have helped but still we have a large amount of bugs piled through the years. This graph could give you an estimate how we tried in the past fighting against without too much success:
Number of bugs reported against KDE in Debian in the last 3 years

Olivier Vitrat, we miss you :)

One of the most heavy (and boring) talks that needs to be done for the KDE 4.4 packages is the copyright checking. I am not sure a total newbie can help with this, but if you have knowledge about licenses and you want to try helping, we are waiting for you.

About other areas of the packaging maintenance, if you are interested in start learning and helping with future releases, you are welcome to start lurking in the #debian-qt-kde channel in OFTC and in the mailing lists.

Update February 21th: 4.4.0 is for sure not being uploaded into the archive. Probably KDE SC 4.4.1 to be released 2nd March will be uploaded to unstable or experimental.