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Plex and Chromecast

Sun, 01/04/2015 - 22:47

It seems that everyone has their little magic transcoding line for having Plex and Chromecast to play nice, as everyone runs an underpowered server that cannot do live transcoding. My line follows here:

ffmpeg -i big_buck_bunny_720p_surround.avi -c:v libx264 -profile:v high -level 4.2 -crf 18 -maxrate 10M -bufsize 16M -pix_fmt yuv420p -vf "scale=iw*sar:ih, scale='if(gt(iw,ih),min(1920,iw),-1)':'if(gt(iw,ih),-1,min(1080,ih))'" -x264opts bframes=3:cabac=1 -movflags faststart -c:a libfdk_aac -b:a 320k -ac 2 -y big_buck_bunny_720p_stereo.mp4

The key points here are:

  • h.264 for video.
  • AAC for audio, I use stereo as I don’t use the Chromecast for my 5.1 setup.
  • Name the output *.mp4 to get an mp4 container.
  • -movflags faststart to “optimize for streaming”.

There are a number of similar magic lines floating around on the web, including on the plex forum. There is no way to tell which is the original, so I’ll let everyone Google around instead of explicitly giving credit to the thread I found first.

Some comments from my side:

  • Despite the Chromecast docs claiming to support h.264 level 5, the Chromecast.xml shipped with Plex limits the level to 4.2. Beware. This cost me an evening of transcoding.
  • ffmpeg has its own expression language with
    if, gt and min. Bloody amazing. I wonder if it does email.

Also, I learned that Big Buck Bunny consists of 14315 frames…

A modular manual to guide new krita users

Sun, 01/04/2015 - 15:25

First post of the year, so I can start wishing you all an awesome and happy new year!

As part of my work with Activ Design, I need to prepare some new training material to teach digital painting with Krita. Part of this material will be some kind of software manual. As we don’t have an up to date manual and the booksprint project we started to discuss is on stand-by for now, I started to write a modular manual to guide new Krita users. I call it modular because I want to split each aspect of the software to its own chapter, in separate pdf files (for convenience I’ll also make a version with all chapters in one file at the end). I’m writing both english and french versions: english as it’s the best base for everyone to read and translate, and french because our current students at Activ Design are french ;)

To follow the good old rule “release early, release often”, the first files are already available. This is just the beginning, I’ll add the next chapters in the coming days. Next topics will be the layer stack, the brush editor, and one chapter for each group of tools.

English files:

French files:

If you want to add some translations, the sources are in a git repository:


A little side note on another topic: if you’ve followed our fundraising campaign for GCompris, you may have noticed we extended the deadline to February 1st. We really need more budget to be able to complete new illustrations for all the different activities, which is needed to reach unified graphics. Please support this project if you can!

Changes to my blog in 2015

Sun, 01/04/2015 - 12:50

New year usually brings changes. And the same holds true for my blog.

In (early) 2015 I will finally finish my LL.M1. and therefore hopefully have more time for my blog (and myself). Below you can find some of the planned and already ongoing changes relating to my blog.

Slightly modified tagging system

From now on tags named after communities like FSFE, Kiberpipa / Cyberpipe and KDE represent not only topics that directly relate to them – but also topics should be of interest to those particular communities.

If you are reading this through a planet (or similar) aggregator and think some kinds of blog posts do not belong there, let me know and I will change the feed accordingly.

On the other hand if you are subscribed directly to my blog via the Atom feed, you can apart from the main feed, finegrain your selection by subscribing only to specific categories or tags. To do so, you only need to visit the hereinbefore mentioned two links and in the browser (or HTML source code) select the Atom feed(s) you like.

Testing comments system

As promised before (more than once) I am looking into bringing comments back.

From the options that I could find, it seems Isso seems to bring the best usability vs ease of administration for use on a self-hosted2 static blog, such as mine.

At the moment I am in the testing phase – trying to set it up and get it running. But after that, I plan to migrate the previous comments and make it live. This could take a while, since there is no Pelican plugin for it yet …there is a (broken?) pull request for it though.

Hopefully Isso will last longer against spam comments as systems I tried so far.

More content in 2015

Since this year I plan to finish my studies, I will finally have more time to spare to blog. I hope you are looking forward to more articles at least as much as I am to writing them!

Internet Archive

While I was at it, I also made sure that all the so far written blog posts are actually showing up on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine and not just the first page. Most of them did not, but they are now.

hook out → happy new year everyone! ☺

  1. My LL.M. thesis is about “FLA – new challenges” and you can follow its progress on Git. Unfortunately for most readers, it is required by law to be in Slovenian. But important outcomes will follow in English later this year. 

  2. Since I host my on blog, leaving something as precious as comments on a 3rd party proprietary server is out of the question. 

Kate5 on Mac

Sat, 01/03/2015 - 16:52

Given that the KF5 based Kate works OK on Windows, I would like to get the Mac version up and running, too.

As virtualization of MacOS X is kind of “forbidden” and not that nicely usable anyway, as no nice accelerating drivers are available for the standard vm solutions, I just went out into the world and bought some Retina MacBook.

I followed the nice guide on (thanks Harald :=) and got some installed Kate/KWrite (after patching kio to skip X11 detection).

But ok, not that usable, at least without any investigation which env vars are missing per default you get a Kate that crashs or just shows the main window central content without any actions/menus/toolbars/sidebars/…

In addition, the application is scaled, as the manifest that tells we are able to handle retina bla stuff is missing.

Guess lots of work ahead, but given I have now some Mac, I will work on that in the following months ;)

P.S. I never had a Mac before and got often told by “Mac Fans” that I should switch to some “real” operating system from my stupid borked unusable cluttered hacky … Linux. Given that the new shiny MacBook directly stalled for ever during the guided “create your user and give us all your data” installation wizard on first boot, I am not that impressed ;=) My mother would have been stuck and after some googling that seems to be a “known issue”, at least for me, after a hard reboot, the thingy worked and I had a login, more luck than others :P

SoK comes to an end

Sat, 01/03/2015 - 11:49

Hey everyone. Hope you all had a great christmas :) It has been a while since my last post, and here is another status report of my project. After around 2 month’s work on KHangMan I finally completed the task towards the end of December 2014.

During the last month KHangMan has gone through a few more changes. The Settings page needed some work. The UI was messed up to begin with. So I added a Settings button to the home page, clicking on which will open a Settings Dialog instead of a new Window as it previously was. There were 2 sliders in Settings – one to control the time duration for the hint display, and the other to control the time duration to guess a given word during the gameplay. Since the hint button toggles the hint text from visible to invisible, the first slider was not needed. There was also a language selection button, letting you to change the display language of the app. It was moved from the Settings dialog to the statusbar displayed at the bottom. After that I added the Ok/Cancel buttons to the Settings dialog, and as the names suggest, “Ok” saves the current state of the settings and loads a new word and starts the game, whereas “Cancel” will restore the last saved settings, and resume with the game from where the user had left it.




Another important feature that was missing from the UI was displaying the wrong guesses. At the top we have 10 blanks displayed, that are filled with corresponding 10 wrong guesses for a given word. When a wrong alphabet button is pressed, it fills up the next available blank. After 10 blanks are filled, the next word is loaded and a new game starts.




The KHangMan was initially a KXmlGuiWindow, but the new UI did not need a few things like the menubars and such, for which it was changed to a QMainWindow.The script was initially placed in src/desktop/ , but since those 3 folders (desktop, harmattan, plasma-active) were about to go, it was moved from there to simply src/ , and it was modified to translate the qml files also. After all these changes the code needed some heavy cleanup, because a lot of functionalities already implemented in the QML code were also defined in the cpp code. Some of the other cleanup tasks were removing commented out statements, removing unnecessary variables, optimizing the code by removing some unncecessary statements, and so on.

With all these above changes implemented, the UI of KHangMan seems to be in a stable state, although there is always scope for further improvement :) The branch I was working on (qmlui) was soon merged with master. Now with SoK being over, I am spending my time on some minor hacking on kde-edu apps. Currently I and Inge Wallin are working on step, a physics emulator in KDE.

It was a great experience working on this project. Jeremy is an excellent mentor and he had been a great source of help and guidance throughout the time. I am looking forward to remaining an active KDE developer in the long run, and Season of KDE was a good start to the journey :)

Season of KDE – December

Sat, 01/03/2015 - 10:29

After quite a lot of code review and corrections (and some profanity), I completed the UI for Star-Hopper.

Here are the additions :

  • The UI now displays directions for star-hopping.
  • The next button also centers the object in the map.
  • The skymap refreshes itself after drawing the path to star-hop.
  • Double clicking the star in the UI list centers the object.
  • Single clicking the star in the UI provides directions to star-hop to that particular star.

(Screenshots to follow after I go back home)



Krita Receives Artist Choice Award from ImagineFX

Fri, 01/02/2015 - 17:55

Make sure to check out the January 2015 issue of ImagineFX where Krita receives the Artist Choice award! That’s appreciation with a vengeance!  ImagineFX is the #1 resource for concept artists and illustrators in the entertainment industry. It is a great resource if you are looking to level up your art skills.

You can pick up the January 2015 issue at newsstands or on the website. The USA distribution takes a bit longer to arrive, so you might have to wait a bit before you see it in places like Barnes & Noble.

digiKam Recipes 4.3.1 Released

Fri, 01/02/2015 - 08:53

I ring in the new year with a digiKam Recipes update. This version features two new recipes: Remove Keywords from Photos and Add Web Interface to digiKam with digiKamWebUi. In addition to that, the updated and expanded Deal with Bugs in digiKam recipe now explains how to generate backtraces.


Continue to read

Retiring Plasma NN 0.9.0.x

Thu, 01/01/2015 - 20:53

I am in the process of retiring Plasma NM 0.9.0.x (aka old Plasma NM applet). The new applet (Plasma NM >= 0.9.8.x) is already shipped with all major distributions. I may release Plasma NM with some few bugfixes if someone is interested in that. However after there will be no further releases for the old applet. It will enter in unmaintained state and I will ask sysadmin to remove/disable NetworkManagement product from There is already product plasma-nm to report bugs in the new applet.

What's going on with measures in Marble

Thu, 01/01/2015 - 12:09

Here in the Marble world, we are working hard on expanding the current functionality with new features. Today I would like to show you some stuff we’ve recently introduced as part of the Measure tool. The measure tool is basically a multifunctional georuler, that allows to perform a variety of measurements. For instance, now you can easily measure distances on trivial paths or areas of complicated polygon shapes.

Polygon Ruler: LondonMeasuring area and perimeter

BearingsMeasuring angles between path segments

The polygon mode has a few options to enable: distance, bearing, bearing change, area and perimeter. The bearing is an angle between the North and the direction of movement. The bearing change is basically an angle between two path segments. All values are calculated for spherical Earth, so it should work for most cases.


Circle Ruler


The Circle mode offers radius, area and circumference features here. That’s enough for most cases. In the Circle mode, you obviously can put only two points, the first is the center of the circle and the second one lies on it.

You also can switch the current mode (Polygon/Circle) and enable/disable specific features in the Measure Config Dialog: Dialog

All new features have been developed by Sergey Popov (Sergobot) and me. Needless to say, what we see now is not the final “polished” version. It obviously needs some visual UI tweaks, these will be added soon, after a massive refactoring. From other topics that are being covered at the moment, priority takes Touring, Map Editing (EgorMatirov), OSGeoLive integration & packaging (Sergobot) and of course, bug fixing.

Happy New Year!

KDots 0.5.2 released

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 17:38

About 2 years ago I have started one project in KDE Playground called KDots. This is an implementation of the game of dots.

In this game players are trying to catch opponent’s dots by placing their dots on the game board where the lines cross. Possibly it looks like Go I suppose :).


Because of some reasons I abandoned KDots. And it has been left in the Playground up to this days with several known bugs and not so smart AI.

A week ago, I decided to come back to this project, and looks like two years ago I was a very horrible programmer, because the code couldn’t be read without facepalm, therefore I decided to redesign an architecture of the application and make fixes to stabilize it for a start.

All these changes have been included in the bug fix release 0.5.2.

Currently a players can play KDots on the same PC, through internet connection or with AI.

Many items still are in TODO list: * New AI * Saving game state * More pleasant UI

If anybody in the community can make any advice about possible improvements, your helps are welcome.

Source code can be downloaded from git :)

Round 2

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 17:20

Well the first two laps of my first SoK is over and now I finally enter into the final lap. In the first month I had finished with the design of the site but it was just plain and simple HTML/CSS and as we all know that is not enough. So the next question that arises is – what do we need ? And the answer to that will be a framework.

As my aim is to make a site that will be used for a long time and to enable that editing and updating information should me made easy and hence I have used wordpress to enable the same.

This months main challenge was to convert my HTML/CSS webpage into a wordpress theme. As I am a newbie to wordpress hence it was quite a humongous task for me but I as successful at the end. I converted my theme and imported all the old news on to my wordpress instance.

Click here to get a look at the site now.

As you might correctly notice that there are some images missing in the latest article section. That is the area I am currently working on. Once that is done then 99% of my task will be completed.

My only regret is the lack of communication between me and my mentors this month. When I am stuck at certain issue I remain stuck for a long time till I somehow complete it.

[SoK] Cantor Python backend status update

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 12:46

There were not many commits from my side to the Cantor project during the last month, but most of stuffs that are related to porting the Python 2 backend to Python 3 have been done.

In the next month I’m going to cover all these code by tests and try to fix existent bugs in the KF5 branch.

At the end, I would like to thank Felipe Saraiva, Pino Toscano and Alexander Rieder for the help that they have done during the SoK.

Happy New Year to all KDE community members.

2014 and 2015

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 12:03

In just a few hours 2014 ends. This is a great opportunity to look back at what happened this year in the ownCloud world and in my personal life. This was an absolutely crazy 12-month so this blog post is now way longer that I planed. A huge thanks you to everyone in the ownCloud community. It´s a blast to work together with so many clever and friendly people from all over the world.

ownCloud 7
First and most importantly we released ownCloud 7. This was a major milestone in the history of ownCloud because of several reasons. We made significant improvements in the area of quality and overall polish. The user-interface was refreshed and we implemented a ton of improvements all over the place. You can have a look at the feature page if you are interested:

But ownCloud 7 was also the first release which featured a big and strategic new direction for us which is server 2 server sharing. This is the first step to build a truly distributed and federated and open cloud. In my opinion it´s the future of a self controlled and self hosted cloud world, which respects privacy. But also enabled easy collaboration and sharing. ownCloud 8 will be another big step forward in this direction but this is something to discuss in 2015.

ownCloud Inc.
ownCloud Inc., the company behind ownCloud, grew significantly in number of customers and revenue. We opened up several new offices and hired a lot of new employees. This is very exiting for me because it´s so much fun to work with so many smart and dedicated people on ownCloud. I´m super happy to see how employees and community volunteers work together to push ownCloud forward.

ownCloud community
The ownCloud community is the source and foundation of the ownCloud development. I´m super happy that we are growing significantly and that more and more people join us to drive ownCloud forward. We use Bitergia to measure some community metrics. You can look at the statistics here:  Jos blogged about this last summer and we had close to 300 contributors in the past 12 month at the time. This is a very impressive number and ownCloud is already one of the biggest open source projects out there. But if you look at the statistics today than you see that we already grew to 372 contributors in the last 12 month since August in the meantime. This is just amazing. So I´m sure that everyone who wants to contribute to ownCloud finds a very friendly and open community to join. Let´s make the world a bit better together.

Lately we launched the new ownCloud Meetup program. Everybody is invited to start local ownCloud meetups and get-togethers.
We provide a lot of  useful helpful information on our website and you will get support if you want to organize an ownCloud event in your area. More information here:

We also launched the ownCloud insiders program if you want to help to promote ownCloud
The ownCloud community will be at FOSDEM and SCALE next year with tables. So if you are at one of the events please stop by and say Hi :-)

In the past a lot of people asked about the license of the ownCloud iOS app. So I´m super happy that a few weeks ago we found a way to open source the app. So everyone who want´s to contribute has now the opportunity:

ownCloud contributor conference
Last summer we organized our yearly ownCloud developer meeting in Berlin again. Because of our growing community of contributors we were able to transform this into the very first ownCloud Contributor Conference. Over 100 contributors joined to listen to talks, discuss, write code and socialize. You find some impressions here: This was a crazy event. Especially if you remember that the very first ownCloud meeting in 2010, just four years ago, had only 5 attendees.

A few days ago I learned that the Linux Journal readers voted ownCloud as number 4 of the best new open-source projects and number two of the best cloud based file storage solution. This is very exiting because only Dropbox is more popular at the moment that ownCloud.  The gap is shrinking fast compared to the numbers of last year.
A few days ago I learned that I won the Stiftung Neue Allmende award for starting and maintaining ownCloud which is endowed with 550,- EUR. This is a huge honor. Thanks a lot for that. Obviously ownCloud is not only developed by me but by our community. So I will donate this to the ownCloud community. We will use this for a nice social event at the next Contributor Conference next summer. Yay! Thanks a lot again :-)

2014 was also a special year for me personally. I moved to Boston, MA last spring to be able to work closer with my colleagues in the ownCloud Inc. headquarters in Boston. This is definitely fun and an interesting experience to live in the US full-time. I also took the opportunity to buy a motorcycle again which is awesome. I have a lot of fun with discover the great nature in New England by bike.

I also had the opportunity to meet very interesting people like Tim Berners-Lee, Linus Torwalds and RMS to discuss ownCloud and it´s great to hear that they all like it. What is also very exiting for me is that we are also working closely together with very clever people from the W3C offices at MIT Cambridge and CERN in Switzerland to develop innovative technologies that will hopefully land in ownCloud next year.

I also did a ton of travel last year to give talks and keynotes at conferences all over the world. Most important for me was the invitation the give a keynote as LinuxCon Europe about the future of cloud computing and federated clouds. This was a good opportunity to share my vision about distributed and federated clouds with a broader audience.

So what are the plans for next year?
The next big milestone is obviously ownCloud 8. Feature freeze is today the Dec 31th with a planed release date of early February. ownCloud, the software and the contributor community, reached a size where big monolithic releases don’t work anymore. The release of 7 was already very hard to coordinate, stabilize, test and to document all the features. So in the future we want to reduce the size of the core ownCloud server again and also release it more often and move to a time based release schedule.

So starting with ownCloud 8 we will release a major new ownCloud server version once a quarter. The apps on top should be compatible between different server versions and will be partly released independently.

On January 17th is the 5th birthday of ownCloud. At that day I announced the ownCloud initiative during the CampKDE keynote in San Diego. A bit later I released the first beta version and the first contributors joined. It’s amazing to see what grew out of a crazy idea. Does someone has an creative idea how to celebrate this special day? Please let me know.

Another important topic for next year will be the launch of the user data manifesto 2.0.  Hugo , Jan and I are working on this and a first draft is already out.
We got a lot of feedback from smart people and organization that we already incorporated. Everyone is more than welcome to participate in the discussions.

Thanks to everyone who made 2014 such a great year. I´m looking forward to keep on working with awesome people in 2015 again to push ownCloud and the ideas behind it forward. Let´s make the world a little bit better together.

Thanks and take care in 2015

Yet another way to make your app support StatusNotifierItem

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 11:49

Yesterday I was notified of this little neat project:
(And yes its author would be very happy about feedback patches and so on ;)

Basically it’s a pure C++ library with very few dependencies that implements the support for StatusNotifierItem enabling systemtray icons in KDE Plasma 5 and Ubuntu Unity.
recomonded to be used by C++ applications that don’t actually depend from Qt or GTK and want to keep their dependency footprint very small (it’s Mit licensed so should be ok to use it from an app based on any license)
So now there are officially no excuse to not use our new shiny system tray ;)

MUP, a Markup Previewer

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 09:11

Following up on my decision to promote more side-projects, here is a new one: MUP.

MUP is a markup previewer. It supports multiple markup formats. You can use it to read markup text, but it is also useful when writing markup text to check how your work looks, thanks to its refresh-as-you-save feature.

MUP in action

  • Supports multiple markup formats, easy to extend
  • Automatically refreshes itself when the document is modified, tries to retain the position in the document after refreshing
  • Skips metadata headers, such as those used by static blog generators like Jekyll
  • Supports gzipped documents, useful to read documentation shipped with Debian packages
Supported Formats

MUP supports Markdown and reStructuredText using Python modules.

It also supports other formats using external converters. External converters are command line tools which are invoked by MUP to convert input files. To be used as an external converter, the tool must accept markup on stdin and produces HTML on stdout.

Right now, MUP supports the following converters:

  • Markdown variants (you can never have too many Markdown parsers!):
    • Pandoc Markdown
    • GitHub Flavored Markdown via Kramdown
    • CommonMark
    • Gruber original Markdown
  • Man pages:
    • Ronn
    • Groff
  • Asciidoc

Adding a new converter is only a matter of creating a yaml file to describe its command line and the files it works with.

Sounds Familiar?

You may have heard about this project as "mdview". It used to be named like this but I renamed it because a) it supports more than Markdown and b) there are at least a dozen projects named "mdview" on GitHub :)

Want It?

MUP is on GitHub: git clone it and follow the instructions from the Install section of the README.

Flattr this

[SoK] Cantor Python backend status update

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 02:46

There were not many commits from my side to the Cantor project during the last month, but most of stuffs that are related to porting the Python 2 backend to Python 3 have been done.

In the next month I’m going to cover all these code by tests and try to fix existent bugs in the KF5 branch.

At the end, I would like to thank Felipe Saraiva, Pino Toscano and Alexander Rieder for the help that they have done during the SoK.

Happy New Year to all KDE community members.

Knetwalk running on KF5 :)

Tue, 12/30/2014 - 14:18
With this screen shot i think my work of porting knetwalk is complete. I would like other kde members to test knetwalk's framework branch and report if they are experiencing any issue installing it on kf5. I will try and fix that error on my part.

SOK Project – Kanagram-Introducing 2-player option #3

Tue, 12/30/2014 - 13:56

Well, It’s almost been a month working on the application, and its been an amazing experience.
There has been changes made to the UI, like adding icons and texts so as to aide the user to interchange between the modes.
Also, the coding for it is done, but it needs to be worked on, as it is not working as supposed to. Mentor Jeremy Whiting, has been very helpful, and it feels great to work with him on this project.
What remains to be done is to keep track of the scores, when in the new mode.
I have my own clone of the main repository where I push my changes which is at:

Next update soon. Till then.

January Bug of the Month

Tue, 12/30/2014 - 00:45

The KDE Gardening Team selected the January “Bug of the Month”. Before announcing it, let me write more about this initiative.

When I blogged about the nomination of the first bug, I probably left the impression that each bug is to be resolved in a time frame of one month. The bugs that get selected are often unresolved for a long time, and solving them might overlap with the announcement of the next bugs, so some patience is needed. But I have good news!

The first bug (Bug 324975: Volume gets restored to 100% after each knotify event) has been resolved thanks to the work of Albert Astals Cid. Because of translation changes, the fix will be available in the next KDE Applications release in April.

Regarding the second bug (Bug 288410: KDE daemon kded4 crashes on wake up), we already have a patch to test. There are packages available for openSUSE and Kubuntu, and Fedora packages are being prepared. Please check the recents comments in the bug report and give feedback.

But now to the bug for January. This time, a memory leak was selected.
It is Bug 271934: KDE daemon kded4 grows on memory usage

Reasons for the nomination:

  • the bug is the most reported memory leak in our bug tracker,
  • some people reported growth rates beyond megabytes per minute,
  • having to restart just to keep a low memory usage is annoying,
  • there was growing interest recently (raising CC list size),
  • getting more developers to try Milian’s new heaptrack tool.

If you are able to fix it, you will receive a honorable mention in the next issue of my blog post “The Bug of the Month” on Planet KDE.

Not all developers that would be able to fix it are subscribed to this bug. If you know someone, feel free to point them here.