open source stuff

Posts Tagged ‘decibel’

Telepathy Update – End of February/Start of March

Posted by grundleborg on March 7, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, I started an attempt to give regular updates on what’s going on with Telepathy development in KDE. Unfortunately, I’ve fallen behind already (thanks to a insanely busy fortnight), but hopefully I can catch up, so here’s a list of what’s going on at the moment:

  1. Porting of existing Telepathy stuff in KDE to use the new library, telepathy-qt4.
  2. Some work on the presence plasma applet and dataengine
  3. Work on a protocol plugin for Kopete to be able to use Telepathy.

Now some more detail on those three things:

Number one is annoying but necessary. Although it doesn’t get us any closer to having full-blown Telepathy awesomeness in KDE, it needs to be done. The old telepathy-qt library (and tapioca-qt, which it was used in conjunction with) is unmaintained and seriously showing its age. It also has a horrible flaw – it is a synchronous API. Although synchronous API’s are nice to work with, they end up driving you mad in a situation where many API calls require slow network roundtrips behind the scenes. The result was slow applications with regularly blocking GUI’s. eugh. telepathy-qt4 is a new library that is currently under heavy development. It is fully asynchronous and designed with future extensibility in mind. Its got a fair way to go yet, but given the current pace of development that shouldn’t be long in terms of time. So, back to how this affects KDE. We are porting all existing Telepathy stuff inside KDE to use this new library.

On point number two,  Siraj Razick has done some great work on the Presence plasma applet and dataengine. They now allow you to set your presence as well as show it. The presence applet is still rather ugly, but work is ongoing to make it truly beautiful. Expect an update with pictures as soon as this work is complete.

Number three: Dariusz Mikulski (Polish only) has been working to bring the bit-rotted Telepathy plugin for Kopete up to date. Work is progressing fast with that – last time I tried it, I could create accounts, and bring them on and offline, and see my buddies list. Again, expect more updates on that as it evolves, hopefully with screenshots too next time.

So, in summary – lots going on, lots of busy people, but still loads more to do. And just in case you missed my post last week – if all this sounds really cool, why not join in the fun by applying for a Google Summer of Code project.

[Disclaimer: This blog post talks about applications that are incomplete and not available in released versions of KDE – in other words – the stuff being talked about here may break or disappear at any time… you have been warned]

Posted in KDE, Telepathy | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Getting back to regular posts

Posted by grundleborg on February 20, 2009

I haven’t been writing here regularly since last Summer but I think its finally time to get back to regular updates on what I’m doing in KDE. However, this long absence from the planet doesn’t mean I haven’t been contributing.

I’ve been working madly for the last couple of months on getting the infrastructure in place in KDE for widespread use of Telepathy. Nothing exciting to show off yet, but I will be posting regular updates on the progress of this work, starting imminently.

It’s great to see the plasma browser plugin being mentioned and played with again. I plan to work on making it more than just a proof-of-concept again soon, but not just yet. I’m waiting until a secure ecmascript API is in place for plasmoids. Otherwise, as people rightly pointed out on the original blog post comments, it would be a security disaster. Perhaps the KDE 4.4 timeframe will be the right time to resume development of it.

Also, I’m really happy to see the Bugsquad still going strong… This incarnation is rapidly approaching its first anniversary – perhaps we should find some bug-tastic way of celebrating…

Posted in Bugsquad, KDE, Plasma | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »


Posted by grundleborg on August 8, 2008

Although I’ve been back in Europe for just over a week now, I still couldn’t help noticing what a lucky day today is. (8 is a very lucky number in Hong Kong). So, what better day to be travelling to Belgium. I was hoping to put this at the end of a blog with some technical details about decibel in it, but since I haven’t managed to write that yet, and I am now on the train out of England, at which point my 3G dongle (supported out of the box, much to my surprise, by linux) will become prohibitively expensive to use, so here it is.

Big blog about the recent past and near future of Decibel soon – once I’ve finally met the other developers!

Posted in KDE | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Decibel in 14 easy steps

Posted by grundleborg on March 10, 2008

In case the title has misled you, this post is completely free from satire, and is literally a step by step guide to trying out Decibel.

1) Decibel has some dependencies. You will need telepathy-qt and tapioca-qt compiled and installed to compile it. Some of the demos we are going to use also require a KDE4 development environment to be up and running.

2) You will need telepathy-qt and tapioca-qt from the tapioca-voip project (the versions in kdesupport are not yet supported by decibel). They can be got from the SVN repository by issuing the following commands:

Instructions to compile and build them are included in the file README files with each of them.

3) Get and compile decibel. Decibel is located in kdereview at the moment. It can be got by:

  • svn co svn://

Again, compiling instructions are included. Make sure you compile it as you KDE 4 user.

4) Decibel itself cannot communicate with instant messaging networks. To do this, we need telepathy compatible connection managers. For this demo, we will use gabble. Install the gabble package that comes with your distro.

5) Now we need two jabber accounts to test with. Decibel can’t create the accounts on the server yet, so if you don’t already have two jabber accounts, you will need to use kopete (or your favourite instant messaging client) to create them. If you are looking for a jabber server, there is one located at

6) Once you have your two jabber accounts, you need to make sure they’re both friends with each other. Then, log in to one with kopete (or your favourite instant messaging client).

7) Now its time to start up Decibel. Open up a konsole and type ‘decibel’. If all has gone according to plan, the daemon will start and you will be presented with a KWallet dialog asking for your KWallet password. Once you have entered that, the decibel daemon should block the konsole (this makes debugging a lot easier than if it forks).

8) Now we need to register the second jabber account with decibel. At the moment, it is done by using one of the demos. Open another konsole and cd to $YOUR_KDE_INSTALL_DIR/lib/Decibel. This is the folder where th demos are stored. If you ‘ls’ in this folder, you should see a series of executable files whose names fit the pattern ‘decibel_*_demo’.

9) We are registering an account with decibel, so the demo we want to use now is ‘decibel_registeraccount_demo’. The command line you type should be the following, replacing and yourjabberpass with the appropriate values. The ‘s:’ before the values tells decibel to expect a string.

./decibel_registeraccount_demo decibel_protocol=s:jabber password=s:yourjabberpass

10) Now that your account is registered with decibel, it is time to bring it online. To do this, we use the ‘decibel_setpresence_demo’. It should be called as follows replacing ‘handle’ with the numeric account handle returned by decibel_registeraccount_demo.

./decibel_setpresence_demo handle 2

If that worked correctly, your first jabber account running in your favourite instant messaging client should see your secondary account appear online.

12) The final step is to start a chat with your decibel jabber account from your favourite instant messaging client. If all the above steps have worked correctly, you should see a ugly little GUI pop up, allowing you to continue the conversation.

13) If no GUI appears and decibel spits out errors about .service files, try opening a third konsole and running ‘textchannelgui’ in it. This will register the gui with dbus in case the .service files are installed in the wrong locations.

14) Be warned, decibel is still using a rather old implementation of the telepathy-spec, so don’t expect your chat to work for more than a few messages. We are making rapid progress with getting decibel up to the latest spec, and I will blog again as soon as it is using that.

More information on using the decibel demos can be found on techbase.

If you are having problems, or even better, would like to help out, drop by #decibel and shout. There will often be someone there who can help you out.

Posted in KDE | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Decibel gets a TextChannel GUI

Posted by grundleborg on March 8, 2008

So, decibel finally has a demo that lets you have a “normal” text chat. All you need to do is checkout the latest version of decibel from kdereview SVN, build it, and you should have demos/textchannelgui built. So, launch decibel and start a chat with your decibel account. It should pop up with hideously ugly, but functional GUI, and you can even send messages back!

Please note that both the appearance and the code are hideously ugly! I’m going to make it less unpleasant soon (unless somebody beats me to it 🙂

Code can be found here. No screenshot yet because its just too painful on the eyes. I’ll post again soon when its looking better, and I promise there will be screenshots then.

Posted in KDE | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »