KDE PIM Junior Jobs are opened!

Kontact Icon
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Do you want to help us improve your favorite PIM suite but you were always scared by its size and complexity? Well, fear no more! We have collected a bunch of simple and isolated tasks in various parts of the PIM suite that require none or just very basic understanding of how the entire Kontact and Akonadi machinery works. We have documented them and we are prepared to guide you and help you to accomplish the tasks. Those are small simple tasks, but they will make many users (and PIM developers) very very happy.

I’m in! What do I need to know?

Just some C++ and maybe a bit of QML if you want to go for the QML tasks. We don’t expect you to know anything about Akonadi or how the entire PIM thing works as most of the tasks are pretty self-contained (although you can read up on the basic concepts and architecture if you are interested).

Cool, what do you offer?

We have tasks to improve the look of KAddressbook’s contact list, contact view, and contact editor. If you prefer working on KOrganizer, you can help us to make the event view look more modern. We would also like to improve the Account Wizard experience by porting it to QML and improving Gmail/Google Calendar and Contacts integration. Of course, the key part of Kontact is KMail and even there we have a few places that can be improved: we would like to improve the IMAP quota warning and add support for Autocrypt. And finally, you can also make life easier for other KDE PIM developers by improving our debugging tool, the Akonadi Console: we want to be able to save the output into JSON and load it again, alphabetically sort some of the lists, make working with the DB console a bit more comfortable and be able to restart Akonadi agents whenever we want to.

There’s also a very cool effort ongoing to allow integration between Kontact and MyCroft, the opensource voice assistant. For this, we need help improving a command line tool that’s used as a bridge between MyCroft and Kontact.

If you don’t know any programming but you would still like to help, we have some non-programming tasks as well! Sure! We are working on a new website for Kontact and we could use help with both design and writing content for it! We also need help improving our user documentation, cleaning and updating our wikis on community.kde.org and userbase.kde.org or cleaning up our bug tracker. If you want to help with any of that, get in touch with us on the kde-pim mailing list!

You can find the full list of junior jobs on Phabricator.

Haven’t found anything interesting? Don’t worry, we will keep adding more over the time, so just check the list every now and then. Or do you have your own idea how to improve KDE PIM and you just don’t know where to begin? Get in touch with us and we will help you!

Now how do I get started?

1) Get in touch with us 

To make sure several people won’t try to solve the same thing, it is the best to get in touch with the PIM community first so we can look at the single topics in more details. Some of the descriptions of the tasks are intentionally a bit vague as there are multiple ways how to approach or solve the problem. It’s always better to talk about the options first so that no time is wasted on approaches that won’t work.

2) Get your development environment set up

The KDE PIM community wiki contains articles on how to develop KDE PIM inside a Docker container. Alternatively, as most of the changes are pretty isolated, you should be able to compile just a single component from source against your distribution packages (you will just need to install some development packages first).

3) Pick a task

Pick one of the tasks linked above, or just look at all the junior job in Phabricator. They span different topics, different components and are of different complexity and size. If you find a particular task that you would like to work on, assign it to yourself and get working! If someone else already has the task assigned, you can ask if they maybe want some help, or just look for another task.

4) Get to work!

Fire up your favorite IDE and start working! If you need any help with the task – from finding the right repository and code, through getting the program compiled to being stuck on a bug or something not working – just ask us! You can ask in the Phabricator task or send an email to the kde-pim mailing list and some of the PIM devs will help you.

Also, don’t feel limited by the description of the tasks – feel free to do only part of the task, or do even more than what’s in the task description. If you think you have a better idea how to solve something, let us know in the Phabricator task.

I have the code, what’s next?

Awesome! Now it’s time to upload the code for review. You can use the arcanist command line tool, or you can just generate a diff and upload it manually via the web interface. Don’t worry if you don’t know whom to assign for review, Phabricator sends the notification the entire PIM team automatically.

Plasma Pass

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You may have heard about pass, the standard Unix password manager. I learned about it from Milian Wolf some months ago and I really liked it for its simplicity, respect for privacy and multiplatform support. And so over the past months, I started to slowly change my passwords to randomly generated ones stored in pass.

To get a password from pass, you simply type pass -c SomePath/SomeService into console and pass will copy the password straight to your clipboard. Super simple. Slightly less comfortable when you are dealing with websites though. Luckily there’s a wonderful browser extension called browserpass that can fill online login forms with a single click and has automatic password matching based on the current domain.

But sometimes even I am simply too lazy to open Yakuake and type in a command, so I started looking for some GUI. There’s qtpass, but that’s not exactly what I was looking for. And so I dusted off my QML knowledge and wrote Plasma Pass: a systray Plasma applet to quickly find your password and copy it into the clipboard with a single mouse click. The applet also takes care of removing the password from the X11 clipboard as well as Klipper after 45 seconds so it won’t leak accidentally through your clipboard history.

The source code is currently available in my scratch repo: https://cgit.kde.org/scratch/dvratil/plasma-pass.git/

And now back to fixing Akonadi ;-)

Display Management in KDE

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As some of you might have noticed, display management in KDE is not really something we could be proud of. It does not work as expected, it lacks some features and it’s not really maintained. Time to change it, don’t you think? :-)

The effort was initiated by Alex Fiestas (who is too busy to making KDE rock, so the blog post is up to me :-)). Alex has written the libkscreen library that provides information about available/connected/enabled outputs and notifications about their changes. He also intends to write a KDED daemon that would listen for these events and depending on connected monitors (every monitor can be uniquely identified by it’s EDID) it would load specific configuration. For example, docking your notebook into a docking station at work would automatically turn on a second monitor and place it left of the notebook screen (or whatever you configure the first time you do it). Undocking the notebook and connecting a data projector in a meeting room would automatically set clone mode etc. etc.

This also requires a new UI in System Settings which is the part I’m working on.

It’s written in QML and allows you to configure your displays by dragging them around rather then configuring them through combo boxes. Picture is worth a thousand words, and when it’s a moving picture, well…..


Download OGV (1.8 MB) (in real time the animations are faster and smoother of course)

The best part of all this is that users won’t be exposed to the KCM very often, because connecting an already-known monitor will configure it and place it automatically depending on the last configuration. Connecting a previously unknown output should pop up a simple window/dialog where user can quickly select whether the display should be left/right/clone of the active screen or open the KCM and perform more advanced configuration.

(Note: this is just a preview, we will have the icons made by someone sane)

Right now I’m abusing the krandrtray icon for the applet. It does not provide any rich features like krandrtray though, it only has a context menu with a single action to start the KCM. This should be enough because unlike current krandr-based display configuration there most things will work automagically.

And of course we will take care of displaying these dialogs and windows on the correct screen (that is the one that is connected and enabled) :-)

Finally, we want to use KWin scripting engine to display a black overlay over the entire desktop when changing display configuration in order to hide Plasma flickering and resizing from users and make it look like a smooth transition.

Hopefully I didn’t miss anything :)