Since MeeGo uses Connman instead of Networkmanager to handle network connections, that means there is not (yet 😉 an user interface to control in right from the KDE workspaces.
If you happen to have one of the Desktop summit Exopc with the Contour user interface that there has been installed on several devices, here are some easy steps to get the MeeGo tablet Connman ui installed and be able to connect to a wireless network.
A device running the Contour MeeGo ui
An USB keyboard
Either an USB ethernet adaptor (preferred) or a thumbdrive
Open a konsole
vim /etc/zypp/repos.d/ and replace the urls there with http://download.meego.com/MeeGo/snapshots/stable/220.127.116.11/latest/repos/oss/ia32/packages/ (unfortunately repos url changed since the image was built, with newer releases should be smoother)
If you have the ethernet usb adaptor: zypper install meego-ux-settings
If you don’t have it, download from the url above the following files on a thumbdrive:
From the device, as root, rpm -Uvh /media/whatever/*.rpm
After having installed everything on the device, start the settings application with meego-qml-launcher –app meego-ux-settings. After it connects to your access point, it will automatically reconnect on next startup, so no need to launch the settings app again until you want to change access point.
Don’t forget the two getting started IRC session that will be held this week, where we can help on this and other issues
A plasmoid that can manage connections using Connman is planned shortly 😉
It’s always hard to get a real firm impression on something at the first shot of an unfamiliar new thing, but i can say that it has been a really good conference, at least the impression was of a warm and friendly community even if the organization was on an huge scale (having a *stadium* all for us was kinda a weird feeling, as the meego commercials at the sides of the playing field during the football game, geekiness in the most ungeek place :p) and the netbooks/tablets are quite sweet too 🙂
As the KDE side, I am seeing quite a lot possibilities of collaboration. So far most of the problems seems to revolve around one thing. Awareness. I’ve seen many times real interest after a quick chat explaining what KDE actually is.
Unfortunately KDE is seen as that big monolithic project completely desktop specific…
As soon we started to talk about the kde-mobile modularization effort of kdelibs, the multiple shells of Plasma (Plasma as a building block set to make greatly customized workspaces for any kind of device and/or simple fullscreen applications that can dynamically load a different ui for each profile)
So, in the end was quite educational for everybody. It did let us discover more about what MeeGo, how it works, and what their parts are, and many of the MeeGo community find out about what KDE is. Two communitites encountering without colliding. Great!
Today I’m in Berlin at the KDAB office. They were so kind to host an happy bunch of KDE people to discuss and develop with a mobile target in mind.
Given that almost everybody here has that tablet, expect nice demos and videos of some surprising use of that tablet later this week, alongside (finally!) real packages to make easy for everyone to try KDE on MeeGo.
I already extensively talked on this blog about the new QML declarative AppletScript that will be present in the upcoming 4.6 release of the KDE Platform and how is important especially in the light of the QtComponents project.
A little new feature got in some days ago: in technical terms, is a fallback chain for Plasma::Package
Wait, a what? wtfbbq?
Let’s see what this means with this video 😉 Here you see some further developments over the RSS reader we seen the last time, like a search as you type filter bar and a bookkeeping of read/unread feeds (done with Plasma::Storage, a projects of the last Google summer of code).
But wait, there are 3 rss readers shown in that video!
The other two, shown as standalone windows, they have a very similar and coherent behavior compared to the one on the desktop, but they look completely different and have some important differences in their behavior.
They are a version targeted to MeeGo Handheld and MeeGo Tablet (the one with a two column layout, that is possible in a larger screen)
Those two version, use a (very early and under heavy development) version of QtComponents for MeeGo, that in turn uses the MeeGo touch framework theming system to have applications with the same look and feel of native MeeGo touch apps, but with a QML declared interface.
What is really neat is that those are not 3 plasmoids: it’s only one, in a package that weighs less than 80Kb 😉
Also, the proper version is automatically chosen at startup by the Plasma package system (at the moment depends from an environment variable) in the code you won’t have to put explicit switches to discover what platform you’re on. You just have to provide the files for the proper platform in the proper directory, and they will be automatically chosen respecting the specified fallback chain.
Once this is in “full steam”, we will be able to have a set of plasmoids that are:
Traditional desktop widgets
more reduced widgets for the Plasma Mobile workspace
“Full apps” on standard MeeGo handset and tablet
“Full apps” on a different mobile system, for instance one completely based on Plasma Mobile.
How this can be done?
Now, (actually depending of environment variables) the actual path of the files depend from the device used, so you can decide for instance, that when you are working in a mobile environment to replace one of the package files with other one.
Files are searched from the more device specific to the more generic ones. In the example of the video there is the chain: MeeGo tablet (or handheld) -> “MeeGo generic” -> “completely generic” (where the Plasma-desktop case is treated as the most generic one right now since is the most common).
They can be qml files, images, ui files, svgs, whatever.
Bit after bit all the pieces come together: what’s impressing is how much the Plasma framework we have built into years is paying now.
Plasma Mobile still lacked a widget explorer: the particular formfactor really required a custom one since the one used in the desktop has a pretty different usage pattern and is targeted at a really different form factor (here we are targetting -really- small screen sizes).
I was expecting that writing one could take a quite long amount of time, after all getting there the firt time taken a fair amount of work…
I couldn’t have been more wrong. In less than two days I have now a working widget explorer, that works pretty well on small touch screens, using a mix of QML, Plasma Widgets and C++ models
The main interface is a big flicking icon grid, with a side panel that shows detailed informations on the widget (that can be scrolled with the finger as well).
To add a new widget into the screen, just click at the “+” icon positioned where the widget will be. Interaction wise is way simpler than the Plasma Desktop mechanism, because of both precision of the input device (where with device I mean a fat finger :p) and of screen size (where with size i mean actual phisical size, not pixel resolution)
This little video shows it in action on the usual device. ah, and a curiosity, at some point you see the screen switches to an activity with a big numeric keypad.. that’s not a mockup, as Artur announced during Akademy, if it runs on a N900 phone, that can do actual phone calls.
Now there is a new kind of activity for managing widgets there, a new addition to the Desktop (that you normally use on normal computers) and the newspaper (designed for netbooks and big tablets)
This one, that is called mobile desktop, is explicitly tought for very small screens (in phisical size, pixel resolution has nothing to do with size!). It’s based on a big flicking scroll widget, just as the newspaper, because the main method of interaction if a touchscreen, but shows only 2 widgets per screen, (at their minimal size to still make sense)
If you scroll everything around no interaction with the widgets will happen, but if you tap one, it will get maximized, getting a size big enough to be really interacted.
The behaviour of the shell changed a bit as well, since it was quite difficult to hit empty areas to make the whole thing flip, now dragging the panel of the activities, pulls the whole screen, making everything rotate in a 3d way (it has also considerably been optimized for speed)
In the video you can also see the progress of the mobile status indicator summer of code, by Yuen.
Sometimes when times are ready some ideas really want to come up and be used
Without calling the examples in the history of science, that is quite a bit exagerated here, in the recent history of computing, at all levels from low level stuff to the UI.
this happened over and over again, because of advancement in hardware that makes something possible, because a certain fraework matured enough, because some projects take inspiration from another one, maybe with changes that may improve over the original one or may get it worse (that’s all about the evolution in nature is btw) or some times they just pop out in the same moment even if one doesn’t really know about each others work.
As a result, the evolution follows very similar steps on several quite different platform.
I’ve tought about it quite a lot when i seen this video:
(no, don’t have other formats since that video isn’t mine)
This is a preview video of the user interface intended for the MeeGo distribution to run on tablet devices. The main “primary” UI shows two “pages”, one is a grid of icons with an optional search field that has been seen in several places already, from the very very old mobile devices such as the first Palms to things like The iPhone or the Plasma Netbook Search and Launch interface (where our search functionality is quite more powerful than just searching applications to launch)
The second interesting “page” is a space where is possible to have widgets that connects to webservices, list your media files, PIM data etc.. does this ring a bell?
This is quite similar to the netbook “Newspaper” ui, there is quite different, instead of being two columns that scrolls vertically, it’s one single row that scrolls horizontally, because when you have only touch as input, it’s indeed a way to use it quite more convenient.
Now, what’s interesting, that in prevision of adapting pieces of the netbook ui on devices like tablets, there is an hidden mode in the netbook ui that permits exactly this behaviour. In not suspect times (November 2009) i did shot a screencast that shown also that feature among other things (go to 2:39 to see it):
Yes, it’s quite funny to see this video now, since the project came quite a long way in the meantime and so it works way more smootly, but it shows the idea already basically working.
In KDE SC 4.5 the newspaper ui as well the other components received quite some love, so now the general usage feels much more smooth, even this hidden just-a-little-experimental feature of the newspaper, so for today I’m leaving you with a brand new video of this kind of interface as is in today’s trunk (and SC 4.5) running on the usual low powered VIA tablet:
This entry will show off a new cute thing, while also being a pretty shameless call for help 🙂
Last couple of days i was playing with the MeeGo sdk, it’s still a very young system but is really interesting (probably also exactly -because- it’s so young)
After installing the meego atom image on a netbook (by basically copying everything by hand, don’t think there is already an automated installation procedure yet?) and after updating all the packages I noticed at the current stage there indeed -is- a working X11 on it, so the subsequent step was quite obvious of course 🙂
The setup of the main SDK on the development machine as described on their wiki is really straightforward, so having a complete chrooted build environment is a matter of a moment.
Then i started to build a trunk version of KDE… almost all packages -required- for a build are already available (and recent enough 🙂 in the standard MeeGo repository, so I did a pretty basic build (with optional stuff kept to the minimum, will be important to decide carefully what would or would not be included in a build for that, since is targeting mostly low power mobile devices)
The result can be seen in this video (of course with Plasma Netbook shell, since we are on a particular environment like that)
As a side note on this video, is also show some new features of the Plasma Netbook shell in the upcoming KDE SC 4.5, but this is another story 🙂 (will do screencasts on those shortly)
It can be seen that the boot is really really fast, and the performance is quite good too. It is significantly faster than on an older X11 on the same machine, however there are still some graphics glitches (not present on OpenSuse on the same machine) But I’m confident all of this will be gone on a new release of video drivers/X11/Qt (we have been here some times already after all :))
So, moral of the story, this shows KDE libraries and apps can be build really quickly there, they can work really well and that is the platform where some of our new projects can really shine, like the Netbook, the Mobile and the Mediacenter shells. Now think about for instance remote widgets between a mediacenter and a phone, or a phone and a netbook, just to name some of our technologies that would really come to full potential when having them on different devices
So, if you know how to do -good quality- packages, (that honestly, is really -not- my expertise :)), maybe already involved in the MeeGo packaging effort, some help will be really really appreciated, it would be really cool to set up a repository that people can use to quickly install a whole KDE stack on a (at the moment still text mode only) MeeGo install