All posts by Christoph Cullmann

Dr.-Ing. Christoph Cullmann is a Senior Software Engineer at AbsInt Angewandte Informatik GmbH. His work is focused on static analysis of both binary and source programs and the WCET analysis of embedded systems. In his spare time, he works on the KDE project and maintains the Kate editor application and component.

Bug Fight!

Lets fight the bugs (or here bugs fighting each other, from de.wikipedia).

Dominik and I did a nice bug squashing here at Berlin Desktop Summit 2011. We already met some weeks ago to hunt down bugs in Kate at Saarbr├╝cken, but this additional time really helped a lot. The progress of the last 365 days look quiet promising.

We actually really fixed quiet a lot of them and sorted out no longer valid ones. In addition a lot of wish list items got either done or invalidated. We just can’t keep wishlist items for any missing feature we have, e.g. for any missing highlighting. It is not manageable. We won’t close any wishs for valid extensions, but stuff like: i would like a hl xml file for XYZ or I would like a js indenter for XYZ must go away. Either submit a own .xml or .js file for the job or we won’t get it anyway.

Here a BIG THANKS to all people that actually submitted for example new highlighting files in their wish list items or who pointed to places to get open source highlighting files to add!

It would be really nice to get some help with the bugs/wishs.
A lot are just very small things to do, but nobody in the Kate team has really a lot time for it.
Others just take a lot of time to debug and fix, which is not available, either :(

To write a highlighting, we have a real well tutorial here.
The same holds for indentation javascripts, look here.
If the tutorial lack anything, we are really happy about any update for them!

If you like Kate and use it and have any clue about developing with C++ (and a bit knowledge about Qt/KDE), please step up and help us to fix the remaining issues. Any help is welcome and on any recent distribution you can build Kate in no time with this tutorial. You need no bleeding edge KDE, 4.5/6 should be ok, for sure 4.7 will work, too!

Please all interested people, head over to Kate’s bugs and Kate’s wishs and help to get rid of them!

But please have a hearth for the real bugs, like the above shown Lucanus cervus, they are quiet rare, at least here in Germany!

Plasma Active, the stage is yours

Thanks a lot to Intel for passing around the ExoPC at the AppUp workshop yesterday. Its kind of nice hardware to start developing for Intel based tablets, whereas for normal use, the battery life and weight is kind of problematic. I really like the idea to be able to write nice and shiny Qt applications which run both on MeeGo and Windows and the AppUp store is really open in respect to allowing distribute open source software.

But…

After playing a bit with it last night (it runs some preloaded MeeGo image with the table UX from Intel), for me it is clear, Plasma Active is here the way to go.

The pre-installed tablet UX is really, lets say, interesting. Already the startup is kind of weired: your X comes up, you see the ugly X11 default cursor and then, after some flashing around small windows, the UX is there. Some triangle at the right let you go to the main screen. But no, you not drag at it, you need to click. If you then start using the UX, you get kind of scared away by either rendering artefacts, lags or really interesting design concepts (to go back to main screen from an application, you need to touch the left/right upper corner, without any visual hints, kind of confusing, I am dumb, I just rebooted several times to come back to the main screen). In addition, at least this MeeGo version doesn’t seem to be able to handle multi-touch, which really kills off any fun on using, you can’t even zoom your pictures (or just the applications don’t support it, in any case compared to this, Nokia’s N9 has really a powerful UI).

The good thing is: You need not to use the default MeeGo installation. The hardware is really open in the sense that driver support is no issue (the nice thing with mostly standard Intel hardware). So, go fetch your most recent and flashy Plasma Active image and have fun.

Plasma Active has really a big chance here! Given the current state of the “default” MeeGo table UX, Plasma Active is BIG step into the right direction. I hope the Plasma and KWin developers keep on improving this.

A shiny Wayland based KWin + Plasma combo might really be a game changer here (presentation about KWin + Wayland).

I hope more people and perhaps companies (like basysKom, which did a real nice job with the above shown Contour shell for Plasma Active, short article here) step up and start pushing this effort even more.

Therefore: Thanks again to Intel, I guess they will see more MeeGo apps around soon and lets hope that Plasma Active will get a nice boost, too. Intel will benefit from a better UX in any case!

Maintainer Needed: Kate – External Tools Plugin

The “External Tools” plugin is one of the oldest plugins of Kate. A big hug to Anders Lund for writing it years ago, a lot of people enjoyed using it.

It allows the user to specify own commands (aka snippets of shell programs) to be executed with the text of the current document or the current file.

Basic stuff you can do with it:

  • Create you a little command that shows an Git/SVN/… diff of current file
  • Sort the file with command line sort program (or more advanced scripts)
  • Pipe the text of the document into your most loved perl script

Unfortunately there is no maintainer for it at the moment. Therefore it will be disabled for KDE 4.8, as a lot of bugs sneaked into it during the late 3.x and whole 4.x life-cycle. (Mostly because of bad porting done by me and others and no time to fixup any real bugs)

If you want to step up for maintainer ship, please contact me (cullmann@kde.org) or kwrite-devel@kde.org.

Thanks a lot in advance ;P

Btw., some of the bugs (now no longer valid but interesting for future maintainers):

  • https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=117946
  • https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=181528
  • https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=261210
  • https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=97569
  • https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=110485
  • https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=153963

KDE 4.6.5 > StarCraft 2

I normally enjoy StarCraft 2 in the evening a bit or like now, if it is raining and I have no fun in any more real work.

But just now and some days ago, it has again proven, KDE > StarCraft 2.

Just again, StarCraft 2 (played with wine, thanks a lot wine team, you do a great job!) got sluggish and then terminated.
A quick dmesg call shows the cause.
Like last time, the OOM killer got me.

Now, first I thought: What, this stupid game uses more than my 4 GB of RAM? (I have no swap, have only one ssd)
But now, the reason is much easier: KDE has beaten StarCraft 2…. (even if we call it KDE SC, it still not loves SC 2 :)

Looking at my process table, is is just clear: StarCraft 2 is the biggest memory user, that is just normal, around 2.5 GB, at peak.
But no reason to crash, or? With 4 GB.
But wait, I let my kontact run the background, big failure.

My stats here:

Kontact and co, just only taken the > 50 MB RSS offenders, there are lot of other smaller processes running around:

cullmann 1452 2.1 10.7 1243552 436228 ? Sl 11:05 9:33 /usr/bin/kontact
cullmann 1132 0.5 9.6 813136 391996 ? S 10:38 2:33 /usr/bin/akonadi_nepomuk_email_feeder –identifier akonadi_nepomuk_email_feeder
cullmann 1127 2.6 1.3 550532 54860 ? Sl 10:38 12:13 /usr/bin/akonadi_imap_resource –identifier akonadi_imap_resource_0
cullmann 1060 2.0 2.8 481124 114288 ? Sl 10:38 9:34 /usr/bin/mysqld –defaults-file=/home/cullmann/.local/share/akonadi//mysql.conf –datadir=/h

Summa around 1 GB, with the smaller ones.

+ my friend the semantic desktop :/
cullmann 1104 41.6 2.1 168752 88320 ? SNl 10:38 193:59 /usr/bin/virtuoso-t +foreground +configfile /tmp/virtuoso_hX1095.ini +wait

The planet is no place for bugs, I know, but anyway, this is no bug report. What should I report at all? That just using KDE + Kontact eats >> 1 GB of my RAM and virtuoso around 40% of my CPU? And yes, it even uses that with Kontact shutdown and all other apps closed… And no, I have no indexing active, that OOM’d me last time, even before Kontact + Akonadi on :/

I kind of think, we need to improve in that area, really.
Beside, in the old days, if Kontact did take too much RAM, I just closed it, now, still the akonadi parts + mysql stay alive, with around 1/2 GB memory usage :/
Guess need to kill them hard before starting to play :)

A lot of persons at work switched back to GNOME or whatever, because we can’t get rid of these problems. Either kdeinit eats our CPU (with Ubuntu Natty) or nepomuk/strigi/akonadi and Co. eat the memory + fill our NFS homes :/ And no, we don’t do bug reports for this, as these are not reproducable problems. (Beside the memory usage I guess and that virtuoso runs amok, but that are known issues if you look at our bug tracker)

Good side of things: In that light, Kate’s memory usage is kind of non-existing in comparison :P

I will continue to use KDE for sure and try to be more clever and shut down Kontact and co before playing (and turn of nepomuk completly, even if I get here and then a error message because of this) or I will just buy more RAM, 4GB to ease the pain should be not the biggest issue. Happy enough, at work I have anyway 8GB or more in every workstation because of our static analysis software needing it ;)