UDS App for MeeGo and Symbian

Are you attending the Ubuntu Developer Summit? Maybe you want to try the UDS app then 😉

Some time ago I started writing a mobile UDS app to manage UDS affairs on my mobile phone. Being a Qt fanboy and owning multiple phones with Qt the choice of toolkit was rather obvious. And oh boy is it awesome.

Right now there are stable versions for Meego 1.2 Harmattan (Nokia N9 and N950) as well as Symbian^3 (basically every Nokia Symbian device after the N8). Additionally there is a working prototype for Maemo 5 (Nokia N900) as well as platform UI code for Android >= 1.6.

Get it while it is hot! From the Nokia Store (for the N9) or here (for Symbian^3).

If you want to help with the Desktop/Maemo5/Android UI please poke me on IRC or drop me a mail.

The code is available at projects.developer.nokia.com.

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Kubuntu 11.10 Mobile Devices Sneak Peak

As mentioned in the general sneak peak, Kubuntu 11.10 will have a strong focus on mobile devices. Since I did not go into details yet, let me make up for this by presenting all the more interesting changes in the area of mobile device support.

First off, Kubuntu 11.10 will get a tablet version.

Kubuntu Mobile

For Kubuntu 10.10 we presented for the first time a tech preview of Kubuntu Mobile, the first Plasma Mobile powered distribution ever. It was (and quite frankly still is) primarily targeting the Nokia N900.

In 11.10 we will make this amazing product see its first stable release. In particular it will be the first release to finally integrate telephone features.

Namely it will be possible to do phone calls and send SMS. Additionally Kubuntu Mobile will get spiced up with a completely reworked default software selection. This has various advantages. First we will remove all non-mobile parts to shrink the size of Kubuntu Mobile down to a bare minimum. Instead of “desktop” applications we will then include a whole bunch of awesome software for mobile devices. This includes primarily Kontact Touch and Calligra Mobile, two amazing upcoming mobile versions of the well-known desktop applications.

Kubuntu for Tablets

For as long as we have been working on Kubuntu Mobile, we were thinking about expanding to the tablet as they are in many ways very similar. No wonder, that the Kubuntu team welcomes the arrival of KDE’s Plasma Active project, trying to bring the awesomeness of Plasma for emerging devices such as tablets and smartphones. All the better is the fact that they are currently having tablets as primary target.

Following this great development we will release (at least) a tech preview of a Kubuntu version for tablet devices alongside Kubuntu 11.10. At the center of Kubuntu for tablets we will once more place the excellent Plasma technology, in the form of Plasma Active. The on-screen keyboard will either be provided by Plasma as well, or by the keyboard used in MeeGo.

Which devices might be targeted by this new version of Kubuntu is not yet known as the Kubuntu team is not sufficiently supplied with tablet-like devices to work with at the time of writing. Something which we hope to get resolved in time, so that we can make our new product available to users of certain devices as soon as possible.

I do however have a prototype running on my Archos 10.1 internet tablet, using Kubuntu Mobile:

KWin OpenGL ES

More mobile stuff, will it ever end?!

Some time ago the KWin developer Martin Gräßlin presented a KWin version that is capable of using OpenGL ES for desktop effects. This a very important development for two particular reasons:

  1. Most graphics drivers of ultra mobile devices only support OpenGL ES (well)
  2. Plasma and KWin strongly interact to make the Plasma user interfaces super attractive (transparency, blur and the like)

So, having OpenGL ES support is crucial for Kubuntu on mobile phones and for Kubuntu on tablets. In Kubuntu 11.10 we will provide a KWin version for OpenGL ES, alongside the regular OpenGL version. This enables everyone who would like to test it, to do so, even on the regular PC (if the graphcis drivers supports OpenGL ES of course :)).


Amazing times are ahead! Nothing more to say.

Kubuntu 11.10 Sneak Peak

Last week the Ubuntu project met in Budapest for the Ubuntu Developer Summit. The Kubuntu team discussed an incredible amount of cool things, of which I’d like to present a number of generally interesting topics.

A very strong focus of the 11.10 release will be continuing innovation in the area of embedded systems such as mobile phones, but also for the first time on tablets. Since the work in embedded systems is quite extensive, information on that will be posted separately in a special ‘Embedded Sneak Peak’.

Boring things first. Kubuntu 11.10 will come with KDE 4.7.2 as well as Qt 4.8.


Accessibility always was a bit of a sore spot in Kubuntu. Mostly for two reasons:

  1. Getting the average developer to care about it is hard
  2. Qt did not support some important features

While the first problem is difficult to fix, the second one is perfectly fixable.  Some weeks ago Qt developer Frederik Gladhorn presented the initial code for Qt AT-SPI 2, which essentially allows screen readers such as Orca to work with Qt (and thus KDE) applications. This is absolutely great news for everyone who needs to use a screen reader, as the better part of the free software desktop world (Qt and GTK+ applications) will be accessible.

In cooperation with the awesome Ubuntu accessibility team we are doing our best to get this into Kubuntu 11.10.

We will also improve the out-of-the box accessibility experience. Primarily by integrating existing KDE accessibility software stronger into the Kubuntu system.

To find out more about Ubuntu accessibility check out their blog.

Low Fat Kubuntu

As a result of ongoing efforts in the area of embedded systems, the Kubuntu team has acquired a lot of knowledge in slimming down the default KDE Workspace to a bare minimum, freeing up more resources for other use. This makes it possible for use to introduce a new set of default configurations enabling a low fat Kubuntu setup.

While we realize that many of the technologies that make the KDE 4 workspace the incredible amazing product that it is, we also see a demand in reducing resource consumption on systems with limited hardware resources. The low fat configurations of Kubuntu 11.10 will enable users to run the KDE workspace on setups where it is essential that the base system uses as little resources as possible.

Touch This

Needless to say from all the work on “touchable” systems, we have plenty of awesomeness related to touch up our sleeve. Kubuntu 11.10 will by default (though probably not activated) come with an application called Touchégg.

Touchégg enables you to assign certain input gestures from your touchpad or trackpad to certain actions. For example if you tap with two fingers at once it could mean a right click, or if you swipe with 3 fingers from left to right it means ‘switch to next track in Amarok’.

After having tried this on my netbook I must say, this is one of my personal favorite new features, though one needs a sufficiently large touchpad to use it properly.

To find out more about Touchégg please visit the project website.

Package Manager

For quite some time we have been using KPackageKit as default package manager in Kubuntu. While it has seen constant improvement over time, a very strong competitor appeared meanwhile: Muon. Muon is developed by one of the Kubuntu Developers and uses, unlike KPackageKit, the native APT libraries. As it is using APT directly it enables Muon to have a much tighter integration into Debian-like systems (such as Kubuntu) as well as expose specific functionality of APT/DPKG more directly.

As a result of these and other advantages the default setup of Kubuntu 11.10 will feature the Muon Software Center instead of KPackageKit, The Muon Software Center has an interface very much like the Ubuntu Software Center, it is however not a clone of it.
For more advanced users there is also a Muon Package Manager which has an interface much like Synaptic and thus allows for more involved “management” of packages. Whether the package manager interface of Muon will be part of the default installation of Kubuntu or not is not yet decided, in any case it will be easy to install.

To find out more about Muon please have a look at Jonathan Thomas’ blog about Muon 1.2.