Back on track for Sound Menu

_TSF0831I 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. 🙂


Desktop Linux – Steam as a new Chance

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 [1].
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.

KMix in Half Life 1

Half Life under Linux requires PulseAudio. In the middle: KMix OSD.

[1] 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.

KDE 4.10 available in January 2013 – run your Test Drive now

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.

Participate in the KDE 4.10 Test Drive

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,

What you set is what you get – Sound Menu Setup

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.

KDE Multimedia Sprint 2012 is closing down – Final thougts and achivements

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  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.

More consistent GUI, and updates to the SoundMenu

Screenshot was updated on 2012-09-26 to show the final design.
Today I completely reworked KMix’s communication infrastructure. Changes like Volume level, Master control, and the options from the configuration dialog are now transported consistently to all GUI elements.  Main window, Dock, Dock Popup (see image) and OSD all need to be informed, and doing this is now easy and extensible.

Additionally I addressed comments  from yesterdays Post about the Sound Menu. I added a screenshot, so you can compare it yourself with the one in yesterdays Post.

Sound Menu in KMix – Live from the KDE Sprint

The KDE Sprint in Randa is progressing well. Thanks to everybody who contributed on the

KMix's new Sound Menu

KMix’s new Sound Menu was developed on the KDE Multimedia Sprint 2012 in Randa (CH).

funding Pledgie. A lot of topics are being discussed. And I have completed the  Sound Menu in KMix. As you see in the screenshot I also implemented the function to restore volumes, which was formerly only available as a mockup picture.

It is midnight here in Randa, so I will postpone the rest of the news . Please be prepared for more news and check back often or subscribe to this Blog.