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Archive for December, 2008

On the meaning of "beta" version…

14 December, 2008 1 comment

One of the most common complaint on KOffice beta is the lack of stability, and issues related to file handling. While I have already mentioned how critical those two issues where for the final release, it sounds like the real meaning of the word got lost.

For KOffice we follow the classical terminology, which means that beta is the testing stage that happen after feature freeze, following on this what Wikipedia says: “Often this stage begins when the developers announce a feature freeze on the product, indicating that no more feature requirements will be accepted for this version of the product.” And later it goes on to “Beta version software is likely to be useful for internal demonstrations and previews to select customers, but unstable and not yet ready for release.” Which is indeed what KOffice’s state is right now, it can demonstrates the new way of user interactions, you can use it to get a glimpse of what it will be, but not for a day to day use (unless you are ready to accept crashes, data loss, and/or to spend a little time to fix those issues as you encounter them). The Beta stage is also a stage where we feel more ready to get bug report, and even input from users on the new features (there is still time to change some things before the release on that area, as it was shown in the following days of the Berlin Meeting).

So that leave me to wonder, why that meaning is lost ? I read someone mentionning that in the past beta software, especially in the proprietary world, were nearly finished product with very few left glitches, which is in fact not true, until recently, the beta step in the proprietary world was limited to a set of selected people who got early beta for early testing, it’s only recently that the beta stage in the proprietary world got more open at an earlier stage. But I come to wonder if the real reason doesn’t come from the “Web 2.0”, with all websites being labeled as beta, while being well working. I do think that it was Google that started this fashion, and the real reason was that it is finished product but with limited server power.

All that to said, that yes we are aware that KOffice is currently not stable, not ready for production stage, and that if you want to help, reporting bugs is a good way.

KOffice 2.0 Beta 4 ! Still time to come and help !

10 December, 2008 4 comments

Today was the release of KOffice 2.0 Beta 4, the last beta for 2008, which close an other year without a major release of KOffice. The second in a row, but the last, but if you want 2.0 to happen quicker, and want to help, there is a lot of things you can do:

  • Testing, feeding the developers with bug reports, for this there are packages for the usual distributions: debian (in experimental), kubuntu (not yet online), opensuse (in the build service, either as beta or as nightly build), for more update information see beta4 release notes. If you feel like it you can follow the build instructions.
  • Coding, we won’t repeat it enough, but we are very short on manpower, so if you feel bored, or interested, don’t hesitate to join us (you can find some information on the junior jobs page)
  • Webmastering: prior to 2.0 release we want to revamp the KOffice 2.0 website, for this we are still looking for people interested in making web contents
  • Doc writting: you feel like explaining how things works in an application ? You like to write tutorials ? Well, all of our docs are completely outdated.

And if you have more imagination than me ! And find something else you want to do ! Do come as well, even if it’s just for dancing around the #koffice channel on irc.freenode.net !

Filter mask

6 December, 2008 6 comments

One of the new feature for Krita 2.0 is a much better way of dealing with masks, we have transparency masks in 1.6 but they are difficult to use and a little bit hidden, in 2.0 we still have transparency masks, integrated in the layer box, but we have a whole different sets of other types of masks, such as “filter mask”. Filter mask are basically a filter that is apply to a layer without altering the content of that layer. But since an image is worth a thousand word, an 1800 frames video is worth…. a lot:

As you can imagine, drawing with an invert filter makes things a little bit funky to select the correct color… And as you can see, it’s possible to change the parameters of the filters and to remove them and still keep the original pictures, because after all my drawing of a smiling face is better without any effect ! (one might argue that with an invert filter you just have to apply the invert filter again to get your original pixels… but go try to get your originial image after a blur effect !)