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2011 - the future of Marble

Wednesday, 12 January 2011  |  torsten rahn

The new year 2011 has just started and it looks very, very promising for Marble: According to the Release Schedule "KDE Software Compilation (SC) 4.6" will get released with Marble 1.0 in about two weeks. This will be an exciting release which will introduce largely extended worldwide Routing support (Online and Offline), Bookmarks, QML bindings for libMarble, official support for the Nokia N900 / Maemo platform and too many other things to mention!

With our usual release cycle the next big milestone would be Marble 1.2 which will be released together with KDE SC 4.7 (Summer 2011). We have hopes that this might introduce the first steps towards an OpenGL mode for Marble and lots of other bigger framework changes.

For all Marble addicts we have even better news: Google Code-In has just been successfully completed and the students who focussed on Marble tasks did some marbleous, amazing work! Utku Aydın for example created some great new functionality for Marble:

  • An Earthquake plugin which visualizes earthquakes in realtime via
  • A Social Contacts plugin which uses to display your friends on the Marble globe.
  • And a Map Creation Wizard that allows you to create your own maps (e.g. using ready made images, a WMS Server or a Server Url) and prepares them for upload and contribution to the Marble map servers. Really cool stuff!

Read all about it in Utku's blog!

Then there's Daniel Marth who worked on the new

  • Overview map configuration dialog
  • GPS / Position marker plugin configuration dialog
  • And lots of other improvements that make Marble an even more polished jewel.

See Daniel Marth's wiki page for all the exciting details!

And then there have been lots of other changes by students like Cezar Mocan and Furkan Üzümcü. Thanks guys, you rock the Marble!

Now all of these changes are in a state which is basically ready for release. And even better: Most of the work is binary compatible. Even more important: Some of the features have a social aspect and allow users to easily participate in creation of maps and making Marble a better world to live in. So we want to bring these features to our users as quickly as possible!

That's why we plan for something special: We would like to release Marble 1.1 by the end of March! Marble 1.1 will be the first feature release that is entirely binary compatible with a prior major release! So combining the library of Marble 1.1 with KDE SC 4.6 will not be a problem. And Marble 1.1 will be the first feature release that doesn't come with a new major version of KDE. This will be a bit of a challenge but I think we can make it happen. The biggest challenge however will be getting translations and documentation prepared. We have created a marble-1.1 branch already and our aim is to keep strings between trunk and the marble-1.1 branch in sync. So our preliminary release schedule that we are aiming for looks like this:

  • December 26, 2010: Creation of a marble-1.1 branch (has happened already)
  • January 26, 2011: Release of KDE SC 4.6 with Marble 1.0.
  • February 15, 2011: Soft message / feature freeze.
  • February 28, 2011: Hard message / feature freeze
  • March 1st, 2011: Marble 1.1 Beta 1.
  • March 15, 2011: Marble 1.1 RC1.
  • March 31, 2011: Marble 1.1 release for all platforms: Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, Maemo / Nokia N900
  • Summer 2011: Release of KDE SC 4.7 with Marble 1.2.

Again this development only affects the marble-1.1 branch. In parallel we'll work on Marble 1.2 which is scheduled to be released together with KDE SC 4.7 in Summer 2011. And again the biggest challenge will be to get Marble 1.1 translated!

Lots of helping hands were involved to develop the current version. Would you like to get involved? Please do!.