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This afternoon, walking with the dogs, I noticed a fresh dear trail in the snow, which we started to follow. A few meters away, the deer was standing foraging for food under the snow, curious and cautious, the dogs walk until a few meters away from the deer. We must have come under the wind, since the deer did not notice us, until…
… Vovve started barking. And immediately, the deer run away, tailed by the two dogs.
There is absolutely zero chances for the dogs to get to the deer, it is simply much faster. After a few jumps, it is already far away in the wood.
On a more technical point of view, this illustrates the challenge for photographing wild life, as a photographer, you get a few miliseconds, to frame and focus the picture. Your best hope is actually to take pictures in burst, and hope that something good comes out of it. The first picture I took was completely blured, for the second one the camera had focused on trees (see the first picture above), then I got a couple of shots with the deer running, in all kind of strange positions, or dogs hidden by trees.
Today was the main day for the meeting, the morning was dedicated to some general discussions, while the afternoon was about the user interfaces.
In our general discussions, we talked about the release schedules, this include starting releasing monthly snapshots, until the first beta in September, for a stable release that would occure by the end of the year. Then we would switch to a four monthes schedule. We also discussed our marketing message, to emphazie more the different user interface (desktop, mobile), the availability of an office engine and lastly we discussed some logo drafts (they look really nice !).
After a short break, we had some discussions on whether we should be more Qt-only, or if the KDE libs dependency is not an issue, but while a year ago, the Qt-only road was very tempting, a lot of work has happen on KDE libs’s mobile profile that is making the dependency less a problem. Then we talked about some issues surrounding calligra extensions, especially the problem of selecting the default for plugins and to load plugins only on demand. And finally we had some discussions on the scripting APIs.
For lunch, we first started by walking a kilometer (or two) and get loss somewhere in Berlin, before going back close to the office, and have a lunch in a nice Croatian restaurant. And we had discussions around the future of Krita.
After the lunch, we held discussions around the User Interface. First, Anna presented the results of usuability testing of Calligra Words, focused on the startup dialog and the docker interractions. There is some work to do, and we will get some gigabytes of results. Then we had a long discussions on what belongs to the tool options, or to some general dockers, or if we could have options on the canvas… Then Jaroslaw presented an alternative for the startup dialog.
For the break, we had the first projection of the first movie made using Krita:
Then we had long discussions on how to embedd documents, from KParts to creating a custom canvas. And how to create a seperation between the engine and the UI, for each applications.
Last evening, we left our little dog at the dog-sitter, a ton of food for the cat. And this morning, at 4:30 the alarm clock rang and we left Linköping for Berlin. We arrived in the middle of the afternoon at KDAB’s office, and we met Jaroslaw and Jarek on the street in front of the office.
People kept arriving after us, and are still arriving. And right now, it is the usual friday night, computers on the table, people talking about difference between Russian and Slovak, other being more serious and fixing bugs, unit tests, discussing patches, refactoring… Or simply talking about the meaning of life.
Soon we are going to head out and eat food.
Tomorrow, we will meet all together for the first Calligra Sprint, many of us knows each other from the KOffice time, so it is not an entirely new things. But what is going to be impressive is that is almost a mini conference, with 30 people attending (compared to the 16 last time) the community is growing and more vibrant as ever. Personnally the last few months have been rather tiring, with a lot of self inflicted work pressure (yeah I feel like I am masochist), I am hoping that this sprint will be very refreshing and motivating to keep producing a lot of code to improve Calligra and Krita.
I think the major topic will be our user interfaces and how to make them fit all together. Read more at the calligra website.
The latest version of KOffice 2.3.0 has finally been released today. More information available in the announcement that you can read either on koffice.org or on the brand new website calligra-suite.org. Among improvements, a lot of bug fixes, performance, and especially Krita has reached the quality level required for users to make art with it, as shown in the video in the Krita announcement.
But this release also brings new features, such as a slide sorter view, or support for viewing annimations in KPresenter (as shown in the video below), a new color selector or canvas rotation in Krita. More detailed information available in the KOffice 2.3.0 changelog.
I have been dreaming of this feature for ages, and then I bought a tablet PC a few days before it get implemented in Krita when I do not need it anymore But it is still an extremelly cool feature, that was started by Lukáš Tvrdý and finished by Dmitry Kazakov.
When drawing in real life, like on paper, it is very common to rotate the paper to be able to positionnate your hand to optimize the control on a curve. Unfortunately, rotating the tablet does not work, the brain seems unable to map the hand gesture with the screen content. The only solution is to rotate the content, in older release, you would have had to use the transform tool, but then it introduce quality loss for each rotation, and now, there is a feature that rotate the canvas without affecting the quality. The pan tool allows to select the rotation, by shift-clicking.
In combination with the infinite canvas and the possibility to mirror the canvas, Krita makes sure artists get the best drawing experience.
This represent my view of the events, and of what I expect will happen. And not in any case, the KDE community or Calligra project views. I also hope it gives some answers to a few questions and comments.
The triggering reason of the new name is indeed the consequence long time disputes in the community. We tried hard to solve them. But it was two visions of how the project should be conducted, and of its aims, that could not be conciliated, so at the end we concluded that it would be best to part and follow different paths. Unlike what I have seen on identi.ca, it is not exactly true that we hide that in last night announcement. It might have been the trigger but it is not the driving reason. I think that when the discussions around the split started, the majority was in favor of keeping the KOffice name, but slowly, the idea of changing took over in our mind.
First of all, the KOffice name itself has a lower value that it might seems, it is often associated to the office suite that has potential but does not deliver, it is hardly known outside the KDE world, it is not such a good name, and above all, KOffice includes applications that are not traditionally associated with office applications. Also a new name is a good opportunity to get a new start, and from what I have seen, it has boost energy inside the project, and it is fueling the enthusiasm of many people, and I am confident that it has helped us to leave the past behind, and focusing on making the future of Calligra. And I am thankful to Jos Poortvliet for advising us for a new name.
After long discussions, we have settled for a new name, Calligra, based on the word Calligraphy. It might not be my favorite of our choices, but I think it is a good name, it refers to “Writing” and “Beauty”, which are two main aspects of our suite of applications, meaning that it makes all our applications feel at home.
Actually our present is to work on the release of the version 2.3 of KOffice. In my view, the renaming was poorly timed, since it happens slightly before a new release, and quiet far away from our first release. But we did not have full control of the agenda either, especially since last week-end the project moved to git, and it is simply more convenient to point people to a repository that will stay for a long time than to ask everybody to switch in six months. And also the split precipitated the events.
There is a lot of speculation about the future, between Mobile and Desktop. Several person have presented Calligra as being mobile oriented. Lets be clear, it is not true. Calligra is focused on developing technologies related to office and creativity applications, on top of those technologies, the Calligra project is delivering a set of desktop applications and mobile applications (and maybe tablet, in the future). All of it is build over the KDE technologies, using the Qt toolkit, which makes it potentially available to an incredible range of devices and operating system: Linux, Windows (desktop and mobile), Mac OSX, Symbian, Meego, Haiku (and maybe Android, iPhone, WebOS…), using a desktop computer, a laptop, a mobile phone, a tablet, your TV… And all with an user interface that is most suitable for your form factor.
Well of course, Qt and KDE being available on a platform is not sufficient to make Calligra available, it needs more work. The majority of the volunteers are working on linux and targeting the desktop, Nokia is supporting the mobile phone and Meego efforts. And anyone is welcome to come and give us a hand with their favorite platform and form factor.
Personally, I find those goals very exciting. Since it pretty much in line with my vision of where computing should be in 10 years, I do not believe in web applications, or thin clients, I believe in web servers as a storage space, while the intelligence remains on the actual device, and collaborations goes through peer-to-peer solutions, using open standards such as ODF.
On the organization level, we want to build a community where every contribution is regarded equally, where people’s work is properly acknowledge, where discussions remains friendly. Where maintainers are facilitators.
I hope this answer a few question, we are also preparing a FAQ, so if you have more questions, you can ask them on this blog, on our irc channel (#calligra on freenode), on the calligra-devel mailing list or in the calligra forum.