18 Jan 2020

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Itinerary extraction in Nextcloud Hub

Nextcloud announced their latest release and among the many new features is itinerary extraction from emails. That's using KDE's extraction engine, the same that powers similar features in KMail as well.

Nextcloud Hub

Yesterday Nextcloud turned 10 years, so that was a good date to announce a big new release, Nextcloud Hub (which I erroneously called Nextcloud 18 on Twitter). Nextcloud Hub now has email support built-in, and with it support for extracting booking information from train, bus or flight tickets as well as hotel and event reservations. Besides an easy to read summary of the booking data on top of the mail, there's also the ability to add corresponding calendar entries.

Frank presenting itinerary extraction in Nextcloud Mail. Frank presenting itinerary extraction in Nextcloud Mail.

Those are very nice and useful features of course, but obviously I'm particularly happy about this using the same technology we implemented over the past two years for KMail and KDE Itinerary, thanks to a collaboration started at FOSDEM 2019.


How to get a C++ extraction library and a PHP web application together isn't entirely straightforward though. We ended up doing this via a separate command line extractor tool, similar to how the Plasma Browser Integration interfaces with the extractor as well.

During the Nextcloud Hackweek last week we also extend the command line tool to produce iCal output, to avoid some code duplication for the calendar integration and ensure compatibility with the KDE Itinerary app. These changes didn't make it into the current release packages, but should become available with the next update.

That leaves the question of deployment, for PHP applications that's usually just unpacking an archive, but for native executables things are a bit more complicated. The installation packages therefore contain a full static build of the extractor. As a side-effect of this itinerary extraction is currently only supported on 64bit x86 platforms.

A Deutsche Bahn train ticket display in Nextcloud Mail (screenshot by Nextcloud). Nextcloud Mail showing a Deutsche Bahn train booking.

Using the same technology everywhere of course also means improvements benefit everyone. So I'm very much looking forward to the increased user base resulting in more data sample donations and contributions in general :)


If you are visiting FOSDEM in two weeks, there will be plenty of opportunity to learn more about all this, for example by visiting Jos' Nextcloud talk, my KDE Itinerary talk, or by dropping by the KDE stand in building K and the Nextcloud stand in building H. See you in Brussels!

18 Jan 2020 10:45am GMT

17 Jan 2020

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Learning about our users

In a product like Plasma, knowing the kind of things our existing users care about and use sheds light on what needs polishing or improving. At the moment, the input we have is either the one from the loudest most involved people or outright bug reports, which lead to a confirmation bias.

What do our users like about Plasma? On which hardware do people use Plasma? Are we testing Plasma on the same kind of hardware Plasma is being used for?

Some time ago, Volker Krause started up the KUserFeedback framework with two main features. First, allowing to send information about application's usage depending on certain users' preferences and include mechanisms to ask users for feedback explicitly. This has been deployed into several products already, like GammaRay and Qt Creator, but we never adopted it in KDE software.

The first step has been to allow our users to tune how much information Plasma products should be telling KDE about the systems they run on.

This mechanism is only integrated into Plasma and Discover right now, but I'd like to extend this to others like System Settings and KWin in the future too.


We very well understand how this is related to privacy. As you can see, we have been careful about only requesting information that is important for improving the software, and we are doing so while making sure this information is as unidentifiable and anonymous as possible.

In the end, I'd say we all want to see Free Software which is respectful of its users and that responds to people rather than the few of us working from a dark (or bright!) office.

In case you have any doubts, you can see KDE's Applications Privacy Policy and specifically the Telemetry Policy.

Plasma 5.18

This will be coming in really soon in the next Plasma release early next February 2020. This is all opt-in, you will have to enable it. And please do so, let it be another way how you get to contribute to Free Software. 🙂

If you can't find the module, please tell your distribution. The feature is very new and if the KUserFeedback framework isn't present it won't be built.

17 Jan 2020 6:06pm GMT


Hans de Goede: Plug and play support for (Gaming) keyboards with a builtin LCD panel

A while ago as a spin-off of my project to improve support for Logitech wireless keyboards and mice I have also done some work on improving support for (Gaming) keyboards with a builtin LCD panel.

Specifically if you have a Logitech MX5000, G15, G15 v2 or G510 and you want the LCD panel to show something somewhat useful then on Fedora 31 you can now install the lcdproc package and it will automatically recognize the keyboard and show "top" like information on it. No need to manually write an LCDd.conf or anything, this works fully plug and play:

sudo dnf install lcdproc
sudo udevadm trigger

If you have a MX5000 and you do not want the LCD panel to show "top" like info, you may still want to install the mx5000tools package, this will automatically send the system time to the keyboard, after which it will display the time.

Once the 5.5 kernel becomes available as an update for Fedora you will also be able to use the keys surrounding the LCD panel to control the lcdproc menu-s on the LCD panel. The 5.5 kernel will also export key backlight brightness control through the standardized /sys/class/leds API, so that you can control it from e.g. the GNOME control-center's power-settings and you get a nice OSD when toggling the brightnesslevel using the key on the keyboard.

The 5.5 kernel will also make the "G" keys send standard input-events (evdev events), once userspace support for the new key-codes these send has landed, this will allow e.g. binding them to actions in GNOME control-center's keyboard-settings. But only under Wayland as the new keycodes are > 255 and X11 does not support this.

17 Jan 2020 1:39pm GMT

Iago Toral: Raspberry Pi 4 V3D driver gets OpenGL ES 3.1 conformance

So continuing with the news, here is a fairly recent one: as the tile states, I am happy to announce that the Raspberry Pi 4 is now an OpenGL ES 3.1 conformant product!. This means that the Mesa V3D driver has successfully passed a whole lot of tests designed to validate the OpenGL ES 3.1 feature set, which should be a good sign of driver quality and correctness.

It should be noted that the Raspberry Pi 4 shipped with a V3D driver exposing OpenGL ES 3.0, so this also means that on top of all the bugfixes that we implemented for conformance, the driver has also gained new functionality! Particularly, we merged Eric's previous work to enable Compute Shaders.

All this work has been in Mesa master since December (I believe there is only one fix missing waiting for us to address review feedback), and will hopefully make it to Raspberry Pi 4 users soon.

17 Jan 2020 10:02am GMT

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Plasma 5.18 LTS Beta (5.17.90) Available for Testing

Are you using Kubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine, our current Stable release? Or are you already running our development builds of the upcoming 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa?

We currently have Plasma 5.17.90 (Plasma 5.18 Beta) available in our Beta PPA for Kubuntu 19.10.

The 5.18 beta is also available in the main Ubuntu archive for the 20.04 development release, and can be found on our daily ISO images.

This is a Beta Plasma release, so testers should be aware that bugs and issues may exist.

If you are prepared to test, then…..

For 19.10 add the PPA and then upgrade

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kubuntu-ppa/beta && sudo apt update && sudo apt full-upgrade -y

Then reboot. If you cannot reboot from the application launcher,

systemctl reboot

from the terminal.

In case of issues, testers should be prepare to use ppa-purge to remove the PPA and revert/downgrade packages.

Kubuntu is part of the KDE community, so this testing will benefit both Kubuntu as well as upstream KDE Plasma software, which is used by many other distributions too.

Please review the release announcement and changelog.

[Test Case]

* General tests:
- Does plasma desktop start as normal with no apparent regressions over 5.16 or 5.17?
- General workflow - testers should carry out their normal tasks, using the plasma features they normally do, and test common subsystems such as audio, settings changes, compositing, desktop affects, suspend etc.

* Specific tests:
- Check the changelog:
- Identify items with front/user facing changes capable of specific testing. e.g. "clock combobox instead of tri-state checkbox for 12/24 hour display."
- Test the 'fixed' functionality or 'new' feature.

Testing involves some technical set up to do, so while you do not need to be a highly advanced K/Ubuntu user, some proficiently in apt-based package management is advisable.

Testing is very important to the quality of the software Ubuntu and Kubuntu developers package and release.

We need your help to get this important beta release in shape for Kubuntu and the KDE community as a whole.


Please stop by the Kubuntu-devel IRC channel or Telegram group if you need clarification of any of the steps to follow.

[1] - irc://irc.freenode.net/kubuntu-devel
[2] - https://t.me/kubuntu_support
[3] - https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/kubuntu-devel

17 Jan 2020 9:48am GMT


Iago Toral: Raspberry Pi 4 V3D driver gets Geometry Shaders

I actually landed this in Mesa back in December but never got to announce it anywhere. The implementation passes all the tests available in the Khronos Conformance Tests Suite (CTS). If you give this a try and find any bugs, please report them here with the V3D tag.

This is also the first large feature I land in V3D! Hopefully there will be more coming in the future.

17 Jan 2020 9:45am GMT