Wednesday, February 23, 2011

GSoC idea 3: Store annotations within PDF

As I mentioned in my previous post I can't mentor GSoC students myself and therefore are looking for a developer to jump in for me.

GSoC idea 3: Store annotations in PDF file

Application/component: Okular/Poppler

Brief explanation:
It is possible to store annotations with Okular. They are saved in separat files. One of the most wanted bugs is 151614 (123 comments, 739 votes). It would be awsome to have that feature in our wonderful Okular.

Expected results:
  1. Store annotations in the PDF file.
  2. If that is not enough apped support to modify the PDF (insert, delete pages etc.)
In my next life I will become a developer and the I could mentor that project myself. Until this happens I am really hoping someone else steps up.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

GSoC idea 2: Improved (more elegant) keygeneration in KMail/Kleopatra

As I mentioned in my previous post I can't mentor GSoC students myself and therefore are looking for a developer to jump in for me.

GSoC idea 2: Improved (more elegant) keygeneration in KMail/Kleopatra

Application/component: KDEPIM/KMail and Kleopatra

Brief explanation:
Signing and encrypting emails is very old, however only a minority is using it. One reason might be, that it is not easy enough for regular users to use it. The importance for private and business users is still high. Private companies started to sell proprietary, secure e-mail services (e.g. in Germany DE-Mail and e-brief). There are good key creation, signing and other key management functions present in KDE software. The goal of this proposal is to make it easy and fast to work with signed and encrypted emails.

Expected results:
  1. Analyze and optimize the key creation, signing etc processes, make it dumb easy to create and use a key/signature. One way could be to add a button “Generate Key” (next to “Change”) in the KMail – Identity settings – Cryptographie; start the key creation wizard from Kleopatra and take the name and email address from that identity (at the moment you have to enter them manually). The user just has to enter the passphrase and is done. Offer a button “Save private key and revoke key on usb” or something like this and “send public key to server” / “Make key public”. Add the key creation (or import possibilities) into the identity / account creation wizard of KMail. Add the possibility to create revoke keys within the gui (when sending the key to the server, there is an information message yet.) 
  2. Guide the user through the whole process of signing and encrypting/decrypting emails. Offer possibilities to learn about the topic in an easy and fast way (offline help, online help / wiki, videos, tutorials etc). Show how they use the keys, how they get their keys signed, how they sign other keys etc. 
  3. Integrate other free/open services like CAcert. 
These are just some ideas. If there is someone interested I could go more into details if necessary.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

GSoC: Mentors wanted! - Elegant display settings for presentations

I recently mentored some students during the Google Code In project. Now the preparations for Google Summer of Code have begun. Unfortunately I am not a hacker, I am a promo guy and I can't mentor here. Nevertheless I have some ideas for GSoC and I hope to scratch somebodies itch so she or he will mentor that idea. 

Idea 1: (More elegant) Display settings for presentations 

Application/component: Plasma

Brief explanation: The handling of multiple screens has continuously improved during the last releases. The handling of a stationary setting of two screens seems to be rather good. When it comes to presentation-mode with a projector I would be delighted to see even more elegance (simplicity).

Expected results: When doing presentations there is in general only one question to decide. The presentation mode:
  1. The same picture of both screens or 
  2. The notes on the notebook, the presentation on the projector. 
To 1: Autodetect the smallest max. resolution of the two displays. Instead of scaling the picture to full screen it would be nicer to keep the ration and leave some space blank on the left and right notebook screen.

To 2: Autodetect the max. resolution of each of the two displays and set those different resolutions. The panel, all the widgets and all the open windows should stay on the notebook screen. The projector screen shows only the wallpaper. It does not matter if the projector “screen” is located above or on the right or wherever of the notebook screen.

It would be very useful to link that dialog to the keyboard shortcut (e.g. Fn+F7) or to start it automatically when a projector is attached. (At the moment I have to start krandrtray from krunner first or have the symbol in the taskbar all the time. I am not sure if a new users could work that out in a couple of seconds.)

Save the display/plasma settings (esp. widget positions etc.) to restore them when the projector is detached. (Perhaps that could be solved with activities.)

Extra points: It is possible to save the standard settings. In a second step different screen setting profiles could be saved and loaded (like in powerdevil). Presentation-mode 1 and 2 could be such profiles and a user could modify them (e.g. projector on top or right) if it is necessary.

So what do you think. Is that scratching your itch? Can you imagine how cool this would be to have? At least for me as a presenter that would really rock.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Free/Open Content for promo

I am presenting and promoting open source software at various locations. It is much more impressive to show the power of KDE/Linux when you have some content with you; Amarok rocking the booth is much more attracting than a plain KDE Plasma Desktop (the plain Plasma Desktop is attracting anyway but it could be enriched :-) ). Interested people could play around by themselves if they find some data on the demo machine. You can't do much expect moving Dolphin windows with a blank system (unfortunately most live CDs don't provide content). We wanted to change that. So I submitted a couple of tasks during the Google Code in project.

* we have cc music (which works with Amarok's Wikipedia, lyrics and CD cover downloads features,
* we have HQ blender videos (like sintel) to show multimedia power (moving pictures are always attracting),
* we have documents in ODF- and MS-formats to show the import/export capabilities,
* we have pictures for your favorite photo-management software (like digiKam or Gwenview).

The next step would be to create compressed archives to make it possible to download the whole packages but I haven't found a good place to put them.

You can download the content onto your promo machine (e.g. I put it into my demo-user home directory) or integrate the content onto live CDs (or more likely DVDs when talking about videos).
With Suse Studio you can create a live CD/DVD/USB-Stick within a couple of minutes. You can choose the applications you want to have included and you can upload all the demo content.

Perhaps the creators of live CDs find some space on their media to include at least parts of that demo content. IMHO it would significantly increase the experience for a our users / testers.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Google Code In – My Summary

(C) by Wade Olsen

It was my first time I mentored a couple of students during a Google sponsored project. It was possible to submit non-coding tasks as well. So I focused on promo stuff.

Over all I submitted ten tasks (nine could be closed).

The first block of tasks (solved by Todor Stoyanov and Paul) was about the creation of a free/open content collection that could be shown during demos and presentations or could be integrated into live CD/DVDs.

The second block of task was covering KDE and FLOSS in the area of education (solved by TheOne and Giannis Konstantinidis). It started with a survey of needs of students, doing the survey, analyzing student tasks and ended with a concept for students how to promote KDE and FLOSS at their school (incl. promo material e.g. a poster, presentation, talking points for students etc.). One of the students is going to test it within his school. Isn't that rocking?

I truly believe that KDE and FLOSS (esp. KDE EDU and the openSUSE based Desktop4Education and Server4Education projects) have so much to offer for schools and students. We should do even more in this area.

For me it was very difficult to set the level and the time needed to fulfill the task when I was submitting it. It depends so much on the skills and the age of the student. The task to find free music and test it with Amarok (support for CD cover, lyrics and Wikipedia information) would be easy for a student with installed KDE and with some experiences with free and open stuff. A student new to the open source world will need days to work out that (for him) difficult task.

All in all it was much more work than I expected, on the other side it was a wonderful experience to see how the students developed themselves over time (and how fast the tasks were taken). It was a great success and I am looking forward to the next time.

@my students: Thanks for your contribution. It was a great pleasure to work with you. Let's keep in touch. Let's keep on rocking the world!