New contributors needed for KAlarm

KAlarm needs new contributors. In case you aren’t familiar with it, KAlarm is a personal alarm scheduler, providing display, audio, email and command alarms. It is one of the KDE PIM applications. My time available to work on it has reduced, and to keep up its momentum it really needs more contributors – mainly developers, but there is also a need for some other skills too.

KAlarm’s current status is that it has recently been ported to use the Akonadi framework for accessing calendar data. This involved splitting out the data access code into a new library (kalarmcal) in kdepimlibs, and creating KAlarm Akonadi resources. Since KDE 4.8.2 it has been reasonably stable, judging by the lack of bug reports. All this work should open the way to more versatile access to alarm data – it will allow Plasma applets or other applications to use KAlarm data, which until now has been impossible, and resources such as the Akonadi Google calendar resource may become usable by KAlarm.

There are a variety of tasks which new developers could work on. For example,

  • More testing and bug fixing of KAlarm’s Akonadi functionality.
  • Expanding calendar access to new resources such as Google calendar.
  • Implementation of new features – see the feature request list, or suggest new features yourself.
  • Bug fixing – see the bugzilla list. There aren’t too many outstanding bugs, but they are mainly ones which so far can’t be reproduced, so if you can manage to reproduce any of them and investigate, that would be very much appreciated!
  • Writing test code, including unit tests for the kalarmcal library. This won’t excite everybody, but would be really useful – it would be nice to have more confidence that new versions don’t contain regressions.
  • Packaging the standalone non-Akonadi version of KAlarm, using the openSUSE Build Service. In addition to being part of kdepim, KAlarm is issued as a standalone application which can be installed without other parts of kdepim.

Other, non-developer, contributions which would be welcome include

  • Audio files providing standard alarm sounds, e.g. an alarm clock ringing.

If you’re interested in getting involved, let me know what you’d like to work on, or ask for suggestions. There should be jobs suitable for most levels of experience, so don’t hold back!

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Why do KMessageBox windows prevent input to all other windows?

Have you been annoyed by the fact that KMessageBox windows always disable input to all other windows in your application, even those in another main window hierarchy? Contrary to its API documentation, KMessageBox is in fact always set as application modal. You now have another option in KDE 4.7.1 onwards.

To avoid breakage of existing applications, the decision was made to keep the existing behaviour and to modify the API docs instead to reflect the actual behaviour. But you can now specify in the Options parameter, using a new Option enum value, that the window should be window-modal instead of application-modal. This will allow windows in a different main window hierarchy from the KMessageBox parent to remain usable.

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OpenSUSE Build Service Debian/Ubuntu configuration

Have you wondered how you can create different configurations for different Debian or Ubuntu versions, in a similar way to what can be done for RPM based distros? It’s actually quite simple. I’ve updated the OBS wiki to tell you how – see the Debian Builds page.

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