The Document Foundation has announced the release of LibreOffice 4.2.3 which is available for free download. The foundation says “LibreOffice 4.2.3 ‘Fresh’ is the most feature rich version of the software, and is suited for early adopters willing to leverage a larger number of innovations. For enterprise deployments and for more conservative users, The Document Foundation suggests the more mature LibreOffice 4.1.5 ‘Stable’.”
The version also comes with a fix for the most terrifying bug ‘Heartbleed’. In addition the release comes for HiDPI monitor support. Other notable fixes to improve compatibility with Microsoft’s Docx include fix for nested tables anchored inside tables, layout problem with automatic spacing and verwriting of WW8Num* character styles. You can check out fixes and improvement in the changelog here.
Windows XP has officially died today as Microsoft pulls the plugs that leaves millions of users as juicy targets for crackers and cyber criminals and there will be massive attacks on these systems so it’s extremely important for Windows XP users to move away from this dead OS. There are two options for such users – either they upgrade to heavily criticized Windows 8 (which may not even work on their current hardware) or they simply move to Linux.
As I wrote in this article, depending on their needs there are so many Linux choices for Windows users. I talked about openSUSE in the previous article and in this article I will talk about another good operating system called Kubuntu which can be a perfect answer to all the problems of Windows XP users. In this series Windows to Kubuntu, I wil try to deal with as many problems as a typical Windows XP user may come across.
Kubuntu uses KDE Software, which has quite some resemblances with Windows XP interface, a user won’t have to re-learn things. At the same time it is extremely customizable so a Windows XP user will be able to customize their system with greater ease. We will talk more about KDE and Kubuntu in the next article.
Kubuntu will work on most hardware however in order to ensure smooth installation your system should have at least 2 Ghz processor, 2GB of system RAM, at least 5GB of free hard drive, DVD drive or USB ports. You need to check if your system supports booting from USB or DVD from the BIOS settings.
It’s very easy to enter BIOS, each motherboard has dedicated key for it which could be any of the function keys, Delete or Esc keys. You can check which is the key for your motherboard or PC. Once you are inside BIOS you may see ‘Boot’ menu (if you don’t then go through each menu and look for Boot). There you will find the name of supported boot devices; if you see ‘USB or Removable Storage Device’ that means your PC can boot from USB. Now change the boot order and choose USB or DVD as the first boot device, depending on whether you are going to use DVD or USB for installation. I would suggest USB as it is faster than DVD.
Preparation before installing Kubuntu
It’s extremely easy to install Kubuntu on your machine. In this tutorial we will install Kubuntu in a manner that you will be able to keep your Windows XP as well so you will be able to switch between Kubuntu and Windows on your system. Before we perform the installation we have to do some preparation. The most important thing to do is back-up all your data because the installations are always tricky and you may lose your data. Then boot into Windows and de-fragment your hard drive so it’s clean for installation.
Create LiveDVD or LiveUSB of Kubuntu
First you need to download Kubuntu (32bit) from this link. Though I recommend using USB for installation, in case your system doesn’t support booting from USB you can create a LiveDVD of Kubuntu (What’s LiveUSB/DVD). Open the Nero Image Burning software (or any other such program you have) and select the option to burn the image and select the ‘.iso’ file that we just downloaded. If your system does support booting from USB, then download a small program called UNetbootin for Windows and follow these steps:
Open the application and select Kubuntu
Browse the .iso file of Kubuntu.
Select the USB drive which you want to use and click on “Create” button.
Once your bootable USB or DVD drive is ready you can use it to install or test Kubuntu.
Booting from Kubuntu
Put your DVD in your DVD drive, or if you are using USB plug into your system, and then reboot the system. Since we already configured to boot your it will boot from that device into Kubuntu. Once you are in Kubuntu you can use the ‘Try Kubuntu’ option to try it out without installing it on your system. If everything works out fine again reboot your system and this time select ‘Install Kubuntu’ option. The first option would be ‘Preparing to install Kubuntu’ where you can see if everything is fine (you can leave the two boxes unchecked). If you have Wifi enabled on your system Kubuntu may show you Wireless network so you can connect. The third step is the most important one – here you is the partitioning of your hard drive takes place. Kubuntu should show the first option as ‘Guided – resize (name of the hard drive). It means that Kubuntu will automatically resize your Windows partition to create Kubuntu partition. At the bottom it will show you current status of your hard drive and the partitioning structure after Kubuntu resizes it. You will notice an arrow (slider) which you can move to resize the hard drive. I would give 50% to Kubuntu.
Kubuntu will take care of everything, just hit the ‘continue’ button. In the next window it will show you the world map so you can choose your location, click ‘continue’. On the next window you will be able to choose your preferred language and keyboard. In third window you will have to create your user name and password which you will use to log into your Kubuntu system. If you don’t want Kubuntu to ask password at every boot, you can check the option called ‘Log in automatically’.
Just hit the ‘continue’ button and wait for it to install. Once the installation is finished, Kubuntu will ask you to reboot the system. Remove the USB/DVD and reboot the system. When it boots again, you will see the option of choosing Windows from the menu; by default it will boot into Kubuntu. You can use the up-down arrow key on the keyboard to choose Windows or Kubuntu.
In next article I will give a quick introduction of Kubuntu, similarities with Windows XP so you get the best out of it.
KDE’s Frameworks 5 enters beta stage today. The beta release introduces porting aids for Application developers so that they can easily port their Frameworks 4 applications to Frameworks 5.
As mentioned earlier, Frameworks 5(KF5) are group of libraries which will power the next KDE. Frameworks 5 will be replacing KDE Platform. It’s an uphill task for an application developer to shift from one platform to another. Porting Aids should make things easier for a developer.
Porting aids are group of kdelibs4 modules and API’s that are being deprecated. These libraries will help a developer port an application to KF5. The Porting Aids group will be supported only for a limited time. Application developers are encouraged to port away from these libraries. Once support is ended, these libraries won’t be a part of KF5.
The libraries which are part of Porting Aids include: khtml, kjs, kjsembed, krunner, kmediaplayer, kdelibs4support
It might be possible to have KF5 runtime and kdelibs4 runtime together. Applications will be able to use either one of them. It will provide compatibility for older apps.
KF5 on your Computer
KF5 is relevant only to application developers. End users have no use for KF5 as of today. You need to make sure if you really want to install it. If you do want to install Frameworks 5 on your system read these posts to get an idea of what it’s all about:
Precompiled binaries are available for popular KDE distributions. Below are the methods to install them on Kubuntu and OpenSUSE.
Kubuntu Project Neon, the guys behind nightly KDE builds, maintain KF5. Project Neon 5 is the codename of KF5. Daily and weekly snapshots of binaries are available. Packages will be installed in /opt/project-neon-5. This should keep production environment safe. Weekly snapshot is recommended since it is usable.
Neon 5 ISOs are available for download. These are custom Kubuntu ISOs containing KF5 and Plasma Workspaces 2. The daily-snapshot repository is enabled by default. Download the latest ISO here.
Frameworks 5 and Qt 5.3 binaries are available in “KDE:/Unstable:/Frameworks” repository. KF5 is available only on 13.1 and Factory releases.
zypper ar -f http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/KDE:/Qt53/openSUSE_13.1/ QT53/code> zypper ar -f http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/KDE:/Unstable:/Frameworks/openSUSE_13.1/ KF5B1/code>
For Factory Images
zypper ar -f http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/KDE:/Qt53/openSUSE_Factory/ QT53/code> zypper ar -f http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/KDE:/Unstable:/Frameworks/openSUSE_Factory/ KF5B1/code>
The second alpha of the KDE Frameworks 5 has been released. The first alpha of frameworks was released a fortnight back .
This alpha marks the end of kprintutils library. Also kwallet-framework has been renamed to kwallet. A number of other frameworks have been added. Efforts were directed for frameworks to work on Wayland on Linux and Mac OS X.
As mentioned in my earlier post, Frameworks 5 is meant for developers only. They are libraries which are used by KDE Applications. It should not be used on production environments. For the brave few ,Kubuntu based neon 5 ISO are available for download. It is meant to bring the latest of Frameworks 5 and Plasma Workspaces 2.
If things progress on time ,we might get beta in first week april. The final version is scheduled to arrive in June.
Ubuntu derivatives have announced the first beta for 14.04 release. Since ‘daddy’ Ubuntu releases only one beta before final release the images for Unity are not available. Being a KDE user I am definitely looking forward to Kubuntu which will come with KDE Applications 4.12.2 along with newest Muon Software Center. I did notice a bug in Kubuntu beta and that’s freezing of installer if you have more than one hard drive attached to the system. I hope developers will fix this ‘deal breaking’ bug before the final release. Other betas are from Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu Gnome and other members of Ubuntu family.
Kubuntu packs the all new Driver Manager replacing the old Additional Drivers application. According to the Kubuntu beta page, “The manager allows you to install and select the driver you want to use for software that has more than one supported driver, including proprietary drivers.”
I have started to like Muon Software Manager, though I feel it needs more work. The good news for Kubuntu uses is that “Muon 2.2 Alpha 1 is the first step towards a new version of Kubuntu’s software store. Retaining largely the same user interface, it features great improvements in robustness,” says the press statement.
Kubuntu 14.04 beta 1 brings a lot of updated KDE packages, you can read more about them. For now click on the link below and download Kubuntu 14.04 beta 1.
If you’re a KDE user, you’re probably familiar with Krunner, a launcher application. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s a small popup window that appears at the top of your screen when you press “Alt+F2″, which is the default shortcut for it. Krunner allows Plasma Workspace users to perform a lot of simple as well as much complex tasks. So, if you are a KDE SC user, you must get familiar with this pretty awesome tool.
Most KDE users will use Krunner to open applications, such as a file manager. However, Krunner is so much more powerful than just running simple commands. Here I’ll present a couple of different ways you can use Krunner to make your KDE experience easier.
First of all, if you find the default keyboard shortcut to open Krunner awkward to use, you can change this shortcut by going into your system settings, navigating into “Shortcuts and Gestures”, selecting “Global Keyboard Shortcuts” on the side menu, and selecting “Run Command Interface” from the scrolldown menu. In the options that appear, click on “run command” and then choose the shortcut keys you want, just make sure they don’t conflict with other general keyboard shortcuts. I would leave it as it is. One lesser known fact is that you can also open Krunner by clicking on your desktop wallpaper and simply start typing.
Depending on which distribution you are using, you may have to install additional packages to get most out of krunner; some features of Krunner, such as the spell check and unit conversions, can only be used after installing addon packages. Systems like openSUSE seems to come with some of these packages pre-installed, but if you are running Debian based distros like Kubuntu then you may need to install the Krunner addons package. You can do this by running this in your command line utility (for Debian based systems):
sudo apt-get install plasma-runners-addons
When you open up Krunner, there’ll be a question mark to the right of the text box. Clicking it will bring up a menu that will list everything that Krunner will do. Clicking the wrench to the very left of the launcher will allow you to disable certain plugins, which may speed up your computer. The button next to the wrench will open up the system activity, similar to “Task Manager” in Windows. This can also be opened with the shortcut “Ctrl+Esc”.
1. Searching and opening files
Krunner can search for and open files or directories. Simply type the name of a file or directory, and if it’s a recent document, it will open it using the default application you have set. This only works for recently opened or edited files. If it is not, you can still open it by typing “file:” followed by the exact path of the file or directory. For example, to open a text file “text.txt” in the Documents directory, you input “file:/home/username/Documents/text.txt”. In order to expand the functionality of search through Krunner, you can configure Nepomuk search then you will be able to search files across your selected storage devices.
2. Run applications
Typing the name of an application into Krunner will prompt it to open it for you. If it does not find the application, it will prompt an install of the program.
3. Calculator and Unit Conversions
By default, Krunner has a calculator installed which can perform simple arithmetic, such as “6 * 14″. However, with the addons package installed, Krunner can perform unit conversions. For example, typing “400m to mi” will output “0.248549 miles”. This is very similar to Google’s built in calculator.
4. Dictionary and spell check
The dictionary ships with an unmodified Krunner, but the spell check requires the addon packages. You can search the dictionary for a word by first typing “define” and then the word afterwards. The trigger word for the spell check is “spell”, and Krunner will find the closest words to whatever comes after “spell”.
5. Web shortcuts
Web shortcuts are one of the most useful features of Krunner. First, you have to configure web shortcuts in your system settings. They are under the “Account Details”. Web shortcuts allow you to perform a search from Krunner, without opening up a browser. The default method for using this is first typing the website shortcut, followed by a colon, and then the search term. “gg:linux” will open a Google search for “linux”.
These are just a few features of Krunner. There are many others, especially with the installed plugins, that can improve your experience with KDE and make using KDE much easier and more efficient.
So the question arises, do Ubuntu derivatives need license from Canonical? Jonathan disagrees and says, “… no license is needed to make a derivative distribution of Kubuntu. All you need to do is remove obvious uses of the Kubuntu trademark. Any suggestion that somehow compiling the packages causes Canonical to own extra copyrights is nonsense. Any suggestion that there are unspecified trademarks that need a license is untrue. Any suggestion there is compilation copyright is irrelevant in most countries and untrue for derivatives almost by definition. Any suggestion that the version number needs a trademark licence is just clutching at straws.”
Canonical has been very vague about their trademark and copyright issues from the very beginning. Despite FSF’s suggestion to avoid words like Intellectual Property (IP), Canonical changed their licencing policy to ‘Intellectual Property rights policy”. According to Jonathan this policy was “much more vague about any licences needed for binary packages”.
Yesterday (Feb 13) Canonical’s Community Council released a statement on Canonical Package Licensing. The statement is aimed at Linux Mint and another ‘un-named’ derivative. However the statement doesn’t do anything to address vagueness around the licence one requires to create an Ubuntu derivative. What it does do is tell such derivatives to discuss with Community Council instead of going public. Since the Community Council din’t really address the issue, potential users have no clue whether and why do they need licence.
Even CentOS or Oracle Enterprise Linux don’t need any licence from Red Hat to create clones.
Jonathan has an answer for such potential derivatives, “From every school in Brazil to every computer in Munich City Council to projects like Netrunner and Linux Mint KDE we are very pleased to have derivative distributions of Kubuntu and encourage them to be made if you can’t be part of the Ubuntu community for whatever reason.”
KDE community has released the first tech preview of KDE Frameworks 5. This comes after the official release of Plasma 2 Technology preview last month. This is the first of KDE libraries based on Qt 5. The community will do monthly releases with a beta planned for the first week of April and a final release in the beginning of June.
KDE Frameworks 5 is successor to KDE Platform 4 which is the foundation for all KDE Applications. They provide high-level functionality like toolbars and menus, spell checking and file access. One of the important goals of Frameworks 5 is to bring KDE technologies to Qt5 users outside the KDE community. Libraries are split into distinct components, making it possible for Qt developers to take components without dragging in other unnecessary libraries.
Developers and businesses can save development and maintenance work, time that can be invested in business-specific value. Using Frameworks means using mature, tested code. KDE has been around for a long time, and KDE libraries are based on real-world needs, having been used in more ways than most companies could test in-house. Developers using Qt will take less time to become familiar with this code, because KDE libraries follow the Qt code- and API style.
For organizations building their own ecosystems, such as Jolla, Blackberry and Canonical, there are additional benefits from using Frameworks: API stability and cross-platform support. Libraries like KAuth (authorization mechanisms wrapper) and Solid (hardware abstraction) are more useful than native APIs for long term API stability, even for an ‘owned’ underlying stack. Ecosystem providers should assume that developers prefer multi-platform-capable APIs as it eases porting (and learning to write for a particular platform).
Frameworks 5 consists of 57 modules: 19 independent Qt addons not requiring any dependencies; 9 that require libraries which themselves are independent; and 29 with more significant dependency chains. Out of these Threadweaver and KArchive have reached maturity level. Interested developers should take these modules for a spin. The tarball sources are available for download. Binaries are also available for download for Kubuntu, openSUSE and Arch Linux.
After the 4.x series, KDE release cycle for Applications, Workspaces and Frameworks is going to diverge. The Plasma Workspaces 2 is supposed to release in second quarter 2014 and Frameworks 5 is supposed to be released in first half 2014 . Applications will continue to use KDE Workspaces 4.11 which is supported for two years. Only after concrete release of both Frameworks 5 and Workspaces 2, Applications will start shifting to the newer base. So it will be a while before we see our favorite applications using the newer framework.
KDE SC was released a few days ago and I have already upgraded my openSUSE and Arch machines with it. That left my Kubuntu box behind which I updated today. It’s as easy to get KDE SC 4.12 on Kubuntu as it was on Arch or openSUSE.
Open terminal and first add Kubuntu Backport PPA to your system:
Kubuntu is a nice distribution which brings ‘safe’ Ubuntu experience with KDE technologoes. One gripe I have with Kubuntu is that it doesn’t come with a decent browser pre-installed. Don’t get me wrong rekonq is a nice browser, but I use Firefox sync so it’s easier for me to keep my passwords and bookmarks across the devices I use.
Kubuntu does come with a Firefox ‘installer’ but you have to install the browser – that’s why it’s called installer.
Kubuntu 14.04 will contain Mozilla Firefox as default browser. The Kubuntu team would like to invite everyone to give the all new Kubuntu 14.04 Alpha 1 a whirl and share their thoughts with us on our Google+ page.
Though it’s not hard to get the browser you need on any Gnu/Linux distribution offering Firefox as default would improve out-of-the-box user experience.