I decided to devote some time to polishing KMix. I cannot reveal too much at this point, but here is a sneak preview of the new configuration dialog. This dialog got more and more crowded, so I decided on a tabbed design like many KDE applications use.Also it will be a central place for all the configuration, including Sound Menu and OSD.
Feedback is welcome, but keep in mind that this is a very early preview snapshot. I will commit the work in one or two weeks, when the development line gets “unfrozen”.
Dear KMix Users, and reader of this blog . This is a mission statement.
“I am now happy. Happy with the KMix version shipping with KDE4.11. Happy that I can now declare Media Play control as stable.”
You might neither be surprised or impressed or as happy as I am now. Here is the explanation: For years I mainly maintained KMix for following up with changes dictated by the outside world. The last year was very different and awesome – last year’s KDE Randa Meeting brought enough motivation to do critically needed KMix refactoring, and add support for media player contol (MPRIS2). KDE4.11 stabilizes the media player support. It is now really smoooooth.
Enough talking about me, and back to you, the user. Integrating media player control (MPRIS2) was dramatical harder harder than I anticipated. Issues arose where I did not expect them. I sincerely apologize if you endured issues, hangs during start or running the KDE Desktop due to KMix. Please go for KDE 4.11. All will be well now. If not, let me know.
I thank everybody involved, especially apachelogger for practical advice and Albert Astals Cid for coping with me technically being too late for KDE 4.11.
 Well, I guess that everybody reading this is a KMix user. But not the other way round.
I had busy months after KDE 4.10, alas it was all about KMix unrelated actions, like my Java Job and theatre performance in Jekyll & Hyde. So work has piled up, but I am happily announcing that I am back on track. I did an initial cleanup session some weeks ago and will continue this weekend. So what will happen (I’ll keep it short):
- Fix hangs for MPRIS2 backend
- Prepare for KDE 4.11
- Cleanup Reviewboard
- Fix MPRIS2 polling: Trunk has a working version, but it consumes too much CPU.
- API documentation: Especially about how to write a proper Backend, including polling versus event-based mode (the latter is strongly preferred).
So everybody who still waits for an answer from me should have it next week – don’t hesitate to contact me – I will promise not to bite.
I enjoy running my Desktop under Linux. And while I am a long-term KDE supporter, my desktop diverges from the standard KDE setup quite drastically: There are no “Activities”, no noticeable Plasmoids and nothing on the desktop except one folder view. This flexibility is exactly Linux greatest strength, but the average users neither needs nor want this. Wikipedia claims 1.19% desktop market share – a stagnation at best. I do not want it to go down. So who will give Linux Desktop a new push?
Canonical has recently started diverging drastically from other distributions – no KDE, no Gnome, just Unity including intentional AdWare and privacy issues and a built-in Software Shop. This un-unifying does not help Linux.
Now Valve has entered the Scene - providing Steam, developing the Linux based Steam Box, and doing native ports of their game engines and games. While at beta, Valve is already doing things the Linux way: You have desktop files, it integrates into the package system, installs requirements like 32-bit libs and so forth. Valves investment is a good thing. They are tackling many issues that bring Linux forward, for example pushing hardware vendors like NVidia or providing a better fullscreen mode .
So I will be positive and count Valve’s work as a second chance for Linux Desktop and Multimedia. Users are more likely considering Linux if there are well-known games around.
Half Life under Linux requires PulseAudio. In the middle: KMix OSD.
 Fullscreen mode has sometimes quirks:
- Unexpectedly leaving fullscreen. For example some Flashplayer applications or “Trine 2″ may leave fullscreen when you press KMix volume buttons (even w/o OSD)
- Problems with global keyboard shortcuts. Apps can sometimes take away keys from fullscreen applications
- Popups showing up. The image above shows the KMix OSD in Half Life.
Christmas time is always busy – this time another topic kept me even more busy. And that was the release of KDE 4.10 RC1. If you have some spare time you are invited to run a test drive. KDE is running an extra detailed beta-testing program throughout the 4.10 beta and RC releases. For many distributions, updating is quite simple.
If you do, I am happy to read your comments. While you test, I am doing media player compatibility tests, this time with Tomahawk.
Have a nice test drive,
Three weeks have passed since the Multimedia sprint, and KMix keeps happily evolving. The TODO list is melting at the same amazing speed as the bug list. There are about 20 items on my TODO list left, so lets show what we have of today.
Multimedia Control MPRIS2:
The multimedia control “MPRIS2″ is now officially part of KMix. It is activated by default on all systems that support it, for example you get ALSA + MPRIS2 or OSS + MPRIS2. Pulseaudio has its own application stream volume control, so MPRIS2 is disabled to avoid showing the same stream twice.
Sound Menu Setup:
Are you a power user, or do you rather prefer a classical single master control?
Everything is possible – configure your Sound Menu now. See the image on the right – it allows to select which Master Controls you will see, and whether you also want to see the application volumes to get a full Sound Menu.
Six days of talking, redesigning, eating (yum!) and hiking are over. It has been a nice time in the famous and fabulous Mattertal.
It was relaxing and productive, and has again proven why Sprints are so important. They help me to focus and to change perspective. For example I understood that the “communication infrastructure” needed a complete change. Without the Sprint I would have tackled that never-ever.
Also Sprints encourages cross-group work, for example José Millán Soto from the Accessibility team has added Accessibility support for KMix during the Sprint.
So what has been accomplished:
- Redesigned and implemented KMix’s new communication infrastructure
- Finalized the Sound Menu (I updated the screenshot in the former post)
- Fixed 5 bugs
- Closed all 2 Reviewboard task
- Agreed to update http://userbase.kde.org/KMix and use it as source for the handbook
A big “Thank You!” to the local organization team lead by Mario Fux, and the kitchen team for keeping us happy with Swiss food specials, and a never-ending stream of coffee and water.