Cùran's life
A Debian Developer's observations

1st March 2011 00:00 (GMT)
Weather Forecasts In A KDE Environment

As Squeeze was just released, some might be on the lookout for a replacement for LiquidWeather++, a SuperKaramba script. Others might just search for the first time for a way to have a weather forecast displayed on their desktop.

With my yaWP maintainer hat on, I'd like to recommend yaWP for the job.

Why yaWP?

Short answer: because it's the best (SCNR). Longer answer: because yaWP is easy to use, yet highly customizable. yaWP can track the forecasts of several cities for you, you can put yaWP on your desktop or in your control bar. You can limit the amount of days displayed (in the control bar mode). It's localized for many languages (if your language isn't among the already existing ones, please consider translating yaWP). yaWP can work with multiple services, is themeable and can display a satellite image for your area.

Now, some of you might still (don't ask me why) prefer a different Plasmoid for displaying the weather forecasts. But even those can benefit from yaWP and use one of its three data engines (AccuWeather, Google Weather Service and Weather Underground (Wunderground)), thanks to KDE's Weather Ions.

Ok, and how does it look?

Please remember, that yaWP can be themed, so the picture below just shows one option of many.

A screenshot of yaWP displaying data
Included from screenshots.debian.org (License: GPL2 or later)

Permalink | debian, kde, yawp.
8th March 2011 13:00 (GMT)
KDE4 with multiple displays

This is kind of an "Dear Lazyweb" entry: I'm looking for a way to make a KDE4 control bar span more than one display. Just consider two displays next to each other, configured with RandR to form one big desktop. I haven't found a way to have the control bar span both screens. Sure I can add another control bar to the second but that's not what I want.

And while at it: is there a way to hid the toolbox thingy of the desktop activity in the upper right corner (at least once, because having it on two displays sitting next to each other doesn't make that much sense)?

Just to make sure: the displays are not in clone mode, but create a large desktop spanning two displays. The Squeeze version of KDE is used.

So, if you know how to do this or have a pointer to some article, please let me know.

Permalink | debian, kde.
16th December 2011 13:03 (GMT)
QApt was accepted into Debian's archives

Today QApt was accepted into Debian's archives. It took me some time, in fact a lot more than I hoped it'd take, to get the final pieces into place [UPDATE](the inital work was done by José, the co-maintainer of QApt)[/UPDATE], but now you're able to use QApt as a simple-to-use wrapper around the whole APT, DPKG and Xapian stack. The target users are C++ programs using the Qt framework. The use cases range from graphical package manager to allowing easy updates of certain packages from within another program.

My interest in QApt comes from me being co-maintainer of Kingston, the update notification Plasmoid for KDE. We have a wishlist bug open against Kingston, requesting the addition of a "do update" button. We could have used the update-manager infrastructure, but both Sune and myself weren't too thrilled with that. Luckily there is an alternative in the form of QApt. I'll hope I find some time during the next weeks to implement the update mechanism for Kingston.

The next things to come for QApt will be minor cleanups, already waiting in Git, a new upstream bug fix release (no date is set yet) and a multiarchification (already partly done in a local branch).

Permalink | debian, kde, qapt.
6th January 2012 17:12 (GMT)
Skanlite 0.8 in Debian's experimental suite

In case you haven't heard of Skanlite let me give you a quick overview: Skanlite is a really simple scanning application for KDE 4 (if you used Kooka with KDE 3 you'll probably be happy with Skanlite too). It doesn't offer too much options besides preview and real scans except some basic colour corrections, a selection whether you want colour scans or not and whatever options the SANE driver for your scanner offers. But then it doesn't offer too much options, finds your scanners automatically (if SANE can find them) and suffices most needs.

With the basic "what does it do" question out of the way, I'd like to point out, that version 0.8 just entered Debian's experimental suite. The reason for the upload to experimental instead of Sid is, that 0.8 needs a method in KSaneWidget, that was added in the 4.7 branch. Sid has only the 4.6 branch. As soon as KDE 4.7 becomes available in Sid, I'll upload a version of Skanlite to unstable.

If you want to give Skanlite 0.8 a try, you need to upgrade most parts of your KDE installation to the 4.7 versions in experimental. So be careful not to break anything (on the other hand 4.7 has been working quite nicely for me so far), maybe try it out in a virtual machine or something similar.

Permalink | debian, kde, skanlite.
18th January 2012 15:36 (GMT)
Announcement: new yaWP packages available (0.4.2)

Just a short announcement: yaWP 0.4.2 is available from Debian Sid and should enter Testing (Wheezy) in ten days. One of the main changes (compatibility with KDE SC 4.7+) isn't affecting Debian yet, but the fixes to e.g. the Wunderground ION are nice to have (no matter which wheather frontend you use).

Thanks to Ulf, the current main upstream developer, for keeping yaWP the (in my partial opinion) best weather Plasmoid out there!

Now a little request to the various users around the world: It'd be nice if some of you would upload a screenshot of your yaWP instance to screenshots.debian.net in order to get a little variety on the package page for plasma-widget-yawp. Other themes or usage in the bar would be most welcome.

Permalink | debian, kde, yawp.
4th March 2012 10:25 (GMT)
ZTE MF190 under Debian with KDE SC 4.7

I've recently acquired an UMTS USB stick, a ZTE MF190 (USB ID 19d2:0117/19d2:2000, after and before mode switch, the second ID can be seen while the stick offers its data partition for Windows driver installation). Naturally I wanted to use the stick with Debian. Normally that is no problem at all (as long as you've usb-modeswitch, modemmanager, ppp and a kernel configured with CONFIG_USB_SERIAL, the driver for your device, most likely CONFIG_USB_SERIAL_OPTION in this case, and CONFIG_PPP installed; in short a Debian standard kernel plus network-manager with its recommended packages does the trick). So why write about this at all? Simple: if you have KDE SC 4.7 installed (from experimental), then you need to recompile networkmanagement, the source package building the Plasma widget for controlling the NetworkManager under KDE, as there have been incompatible changes (see e.g KDE bug #282453 for one related bug), which cause a crash after PIN entry.

To do that, just follow the few easy steps below:

  1. Download the networkmanagement source package: dget -d http://cdn.debian.net/debian/pool/main/n/networkmanagement/networkmanagement_0.9.0-1.dsc (please note, that the version available in Debian might have changed, check the latest version on the PTS page).
  2. Build the source package. (Make sure you build in an experimental chroot, otherwise you end up with the same binary.)
  3. Install the binary package(s) you just built (most likely plasma-widget-networkmanagement and maybe the debug package).
  4. Restart your KDE session.
Permalink | debian, kde.
1st April 2012 09:57 (GMT)
kvpm in Debian now

Just a short announcement: kvpm (short for "KDE volume and partition manager") is now a part of Debian's unstable distribution, Sid, and should enter testing (Wheezy) soon.

The big thank you for this goes to Benjamin, upstream author of kvpm who has become also the Debian Maintainer of his software!

The story behind packaging kvpm started with Benjamin writing an e-mail to pkg-kde-extras, in which he asked for inclusion of kvpm into Debian. After an initial answer by myself about filing a RFP bug, in case he wouldn't like to package kvpm himself, a discussion in private ensued. There I explained that Debian is a do-ocracy, where things get packaged if some maintainer uses something herself or if the requesting party does the work.

Benjamin took up the challenge and packaged kvpm, I helped only with feedback and finally sponsoring the upload. Why do I tell this story? Because I hope it encourages other people to do the same as Benjamin did: package the software they'd like to see become a part of Debian. We, the Debian Developers around the world, are more than happy to assist you. Just ask us (e.g. by e-mail or through IRC (#debian-mentors)).

Permalink | debian, kde, kvpm.

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