KDE’s WebKit browser Rekonq gets extension support

Sometimes pretty cool things happen and yet almost nobody knows about them.
One of the coolest things I came to learn recently is the development of extension support in rekonq.

The development is done by Nikhil Marathe. He’s implementing Chrome’s extension API which is luckily based on HTML, JavaScript and other web standards which makes it easier to adopt than Mozilla’s current XUL-based model (which is being deprecated my Mozilla in favor of Jetpack in Firefox 4.0 anyway).

Kudos to Nikhil for his awesome work!

In related news, from what I’ve read rekonq 0.5 is shaping up nicely. According to the roadmap all targeted features are done which hopefully means that the release target in June is hit.
Rekonq will (at least if nothing unexpected happens) also become the default browser of Kubuntu 10.10. It’s already default in nice Arch-based distro Chakra.
Now only Fedora 14 KDE and openSUSE 12.0 need to follow. 😀


Oh my… the hypocrisy around WebM / VP8

For years we were told by Mozilla and the like that they won’t ship MPEG codecs, because they are patented. At the same time they refuse to support the patent-free but high-quality Dirac codec (developed by the BBC using techniques whose patents expired – Xiph used the same method when designing Vorbis).

Then one day Google shows up and releases the sources to a codec that’s merely a derivate of the patented MPEG-4 AVC Baseline codec. Suddenly all hell breaks loose, Mozilla immediately supports the new (possibly patented) codec.

This raises various questions:

  1. Why does Mozilla refuse to use Dirac since years but adopts WebM / VP8 immediately?
  2. Why did Mozilla refuse to adopt the Matroska container until Google blessed it?
  3. Why is Google’s word on VP8’s patent situation just being taken as truth without an independent patent review?
    (After all, Android is covered by patents from Microsoft and possibly Apple’s as well.)

I suspect that since Mozilla (and Opera as well) gets many million dollars per year from Google for being the default search provider, questions about WebM are not asked. I think Mozilla mainly wants to please its pimp main sponsor to get the money.

Luckily KDE is not part of the discussion (I merely state my opinion as an individual). Konqueror simply uses Phonon to play back HTML5 videos, hence the video can be in whatever format as long as a compatible Phonon back-end is used – WebM, Dirac, AVC,…

The Haiku operating system reaches Alpha2

Don’t know if you noticed, but our friends from the Haiku project released the second Alpha of their operating system.

Haiku is a FOSS operating system inspired by BeOS. It’s not very useful as of yet, but it shows good progress. Haiku is also proof that C++ can work in the kernel.

Haiku (and BeOS) is noteworthy in a KDE context simply because pretty much all some of what Nepomuk tries to achieve, BeOS already did 10 or more years ago. 😉

Among other things, new features compared to include a WebKit browser, WLAN support, and internationalization support.

And now fire VirtualBox up and give Haiku a spin. 🙂

K3b 2.0 status update (incl. note to distributors)

It’s been quiet about K3b 2.0. It’s not that it’s no longer developed or anything.

There are two blocker bugs:

One related to DVD-DL burning (https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=234033) and one to Blu-ray burning (https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=236069).

The main problem is that Michał, the main developer, does not (yet) have a Blu-ray recorder to work on the a fix himself. He sent out letters to drive manufacturers to see whether they can sponsor one. No reply as of yet.

And the DVD-DL bug cannot be verified by either Michał or Sebastian.

So if you can help with either bug (eg. sponsoring a recorder, contributing code, testing), leave comment in the appropriate bug report or send Michał an e-mail (his address is also in the bug reports).

And now the note to distributors:
All KDE Platform 4-based releases were preview releases (Alpha, Beta, RC) of 2.0. This means unless a new pre-release added a dependency that you can’t meet (IIRC it only affects the switch from sudo to KAuth that was done relatively late and AFAIK also requires SC 4.4), you really should package newer K3b releases as official updates – especially as there is a full feature and string freeze in place since the first RC (when you shipped pre-releases of Firefox 3.0 and Thunderbird 3.0 you had no problems doing the same).
The K3b team is very very small. And while I try to get some of the work load off Michał’s back (like blogging about status updates), incoming reports for bugs that are already fixed, but you don’t package newer versions, increase the load in an unnecessary way.

Thanks for reading and since I like promoting bands who are not known around the world, here’s one song from an awesome Romanian music group (and the vid’s funny, too): Șuie Paparude – Armada verbală

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