ProInfo and Linux Educacional – KDE in Public Schools in Brazil

One of the highlights of fisl9.0 for me was getting to know better the work that is being done by Brazil’s Ministry of Education (MEC). They have just unveiled the numbers for the ongoing ProInfo project. What is interesting about this project is that it not only provides infrastructure (computers and net connectivity) but also open content to students in public schools.
The software installed on these systems is “Linux Educacional 2.0”, a very clean Debian-based distribution, with KDE 3.5, KDE-Edu, KDE-Games, and some tools developed by the project. You can have a look at the clean desktop here:
Linux Educacional
Notice the addition of a quick navigation bar on top: this was the result of study conducted by the project’s researchers, and gives quick access to content and activities. The whole system performs extremely well and it was available at the forum in multiterminal stations. This new versions incorporates lots of improvements gathered from the feedback provided by the previous version, which is already deployed to thousands of labs in the country.
For the first time, MEC shared some of the number for the ProInfo project. I will post some slides here, which I translated to English from the original Portuguese ones presented at the conference:

As this first slide shows, until the end of this year there will be already 29,000 labs deployed, serving approximately 36 million students. This number grows to more than 53,000 by the end of 2009, and at that time 52 million students will have access to them. You can also see in the slide a solution that is being developed for classrooms: a single hardware unit with integrated projector, cpu, bundled content and DVD player. With it, digital content will no longer be restricted to the info lab, and will be usable by teachers in the traditional classrooms as well.

Each info lab contains a server and 7 CPUs, providing 15 access points via a multiterminal hardware and software solution:

There is also a different lab configuration for schools in rural areas. These schools usually have only one or two rooms, and very weak infrastructure. So a solution that minimizes power consumption was devised, and it allows 5 seats using a single CPU, with no server required:

ProInfo also specifies a different configuration for the SEESPs, the schools for people with special needs. In this case a very large LCD monitor is used as the display, bundled with accessibility tools in the distribution:

Brazil is also in the second phase of the UCA (One computer per student) project. There was not a lot of information about it, other than they are going ahead with the trials, and expect to deploy 150,000 machines in this next phase of the project:

The open content and the Linux Educational distribution can be found at http://webeduc.mec.gov.br/ for now, in Portuguese only. I was told that they are looking into ways for sharing this content with other projects in Latin America and Worldwide.

As a member of KDE, I was personally thrilled to see our software as an enabler for projects of this magnitude. We are talking about ways to collaborate with MEC to incorporate KDE4 applications in the near future to the distribution, and work with their team to gather feedback from teachers and students, and make sure high quality free software is available to all students in public schools in Brazil. This is just the start, I can not wait to see what we will have 5 years from now.

fisl9.0 – II

Back to the hotel after another full day at FISL. Well, and ending with (another) barbecue. Seems like some diet will be required in the next few days to recover from these days.
I did my presentation about KDE-Edu: Creating knowledge, and it was generally well received.  Thanks to Helio for helping me. Lots of questions, and I had a chance to show both edu apps in Mandriva 4.0.3 (KAnagram, KHangman, Marble, Kalzium) and some directly from trunk,  KTurtle and Step.
Step specifically was a big surprise for most people: even some KDE guys had not seen it yet. There were members in the audience very familiar with KDE-Edu, as they work on the organizations that are doing big deployments down here. I created some simulations with particles, springs and ropes, and I can say that Step will generate a lot of interest in the educational community. Well done, vladimir!
In about 8 hours we will have the First KDE Brasil Meeting, so I will better get some sleep now. More reports when fisl is over. As a teaser: did you know how many students will be exposed to a KDE desktop by the end of this year, in what is already the largest case of educational free software deployment in the world? Some alternatives:

a) 1 million
b) 10 million
c) 36 million

What is your guess?

fisl9.0 – I

First day at fisl9.0. We got lost in Porto Alegre, but Gustavo Boiko managed to conduct us to PUCRS safely at the end. We were prepared for the crowd (~7000 people registered), but the view of the registration lines was still amazing:

Trolltech has a booth here, and here are some familiar faces:

Hélio did a very good presentation about KDE 4: the evolution. I will let him blog about it, but it was the best possible start for our KDE Forum.  More people are coming (Kevin Ottens has just arrived), so you should get a stream of blogs directly from Porto Alegre later today.


My own presentation on KDE-Edu is tomorrow. Rooms are completely packed, so I need to research it a little bit more to make sure I got all the bits right 🙂

KDE and fisl9.0

Helio, Thiago and myself are working with the FISL organizers in order to guarantee that KDE’s presence at the event will be noticed. As part of this effort we cooked up a press release, and a loose translation is presented below:

KDE project lands in Porto Alegre for fisl9.0: First KDE Brazil Meeting

04/08/2008 – KDE, one of the largest free software projects in the world, will be present in the International Free Software Forum (FISL) with the largest representation ever in Brazil, gathering developers, translators, users and representatives of the project in the country, as well as several international guests. The following presentations will compose the “Forum KDE” track at the event:

  • KDE 4 – Evolution – by Helio Chissini de Castro
  • GGZ: progress in the free games area on the Internet- by Josef Spillner
  • Modern Graphics in Qt – by Andreas Aardal Hanssen
  • The KDE-Edu project: creating knowledge – by Mauricio Piacentini
  • “Tupiniquizando o desktop” (Making the desktop Tupi-like) – by Fernando Boaglio (KDE) and Leonardo Fontenelle (Gnome)

Also fisl9.0 will host the First KDE Brasil Meeting, with the presence of most people involved with the project in the country, and opened to anyone interested in helping with it.  This initiative marks the maturity of the project in our country, and this will be celebrated with the official launch of our new Brazilian Portuguese site, http://www.kde.org.br. This initiative is spearheaded by Maurício Piacentini, KDE games and edu developer.
As part of the Forum KDE track, we will also have an OFFICIAL training session in Qt programming, with 4 hours of duration, totally free and offered by Trolltech and KDAB. This session will be conducted by Kevin Ottens, father of the Solid technology and senior developer of  KDAB, one of Trolltech’s main development partners. Space is limited and available only for those that are already registered for fisl9.0. For a chance to win one spot send an email to helio@kde.org, with your name and ID/passport number until April 14th. We will notify the winners by email.

[pt-BR]

Projeto KDE aterrissa em Porto Alegre para o fisl9.0: Primeiro Encontro KDE Brasil

04/08/2008 – O KDE, um dos maiores projetos de software livre do mundo, vai estar presente no Fórum Internacional de Software Livre (FISL) com a maior representação até hoje reunida no Brasil, formada por desenvolvedores, tradutores, usuários e representantes do projeto no Brasil e diversos convidados internacionais. Farão parte da trilha “Fórum KDE” as seguintes palestras:

  • KDE 4 – Evolução – por Helio Chissini de Castro
  • GGZ: progresso na área de jogos livres na internet – por Josef Spillner
  • Modern Graphics in Qt – por Andreas Aardal Hanssen
  • O projeto KDE-Edu: criando conhecimento – por Mauricio Piacentini
  • Tupiniquizando o desktop – por Fernando Boaglio (KDE) e Leonardo Fontenelle (Gnome)

Além disso, será realizado no fisl9.0 o Primeiro Encontro KDE Brasil, com a participação da maioria dos envolvidos com o projeto no nosso país, e aberto a todos os interessados em colaborar. Essa iniciativa inédita marca a maturidade do projeto em nosso país, fato que será celebrado com o lançamento oficial do novo site em português, http://www.kde.org.br. Essa iniciativa é capitaneada por Maurício Piacentini, desenvolvedor KDE da área de jogos e educacional.
Como parte do Fórum KDE, teremos ainda um minicurso OFICIAL de 4 horas de programação em Qt, totalmente gratuito, oferecido pela Trolltech e KDAB. O curso será ministrado por Kevin Ottens, pai da tecnologia Solid e desenvolvedor sênior da KDAB, principal parceira de desenvolvimento da Trolltech. As vagas são limitadas e estão disponíveis apenas para aqueles que já tenham feito sua inscrição no fisl9.0. Para concorrer a uma das vagas, envie um email para helio@kde.org, informando o seu nome e número do RG, até o dia 14 de abril. Os 40 primeiros por ordem de chegada serão notificados por email.

Introducing KBlocks

Yesterday I finally managed to finish the features I have planned for KBlocks, and it is now living in kdereview. If everything goes as planned, it could be in kdegames for KDE 4.1.
And I realized I have never blogged about KBlocks until today! KBlocks is a single player falling blocks puzzle game that I started in Glasgow, during last year’s Akademy. One of the purposes of the game was to serve as a test ground for APIs and technologies introduced in libkdegames for KDE 4 and Qt4 as well. It has been very useful as a test application, where I could experiment with different methods of doing animation in QGV, usage of different types of graphics item (svg X cached pixmap), and more. As far as libkdegames goes, it uses almost all of the new convenience classes: KGameThemeSelector, KScoreDialog, KGamePopupItem, KGameDifficulty and KNewStuff2 (integrated into KGameThemeSelector.)
KBlocks also attempts to give more flexibility and power to the artists and theme designers, allowing the specification of game screen layout and other game parameters directly in the theme files. It also uses animation subtly, and includes classes (KBlockAnimators) that will be extended in the future to implement additional animation types that could be used by theme authors. Currently, only fade in and fade out are available. Some screenshots here, including the default theme and the black and white test theme downloaded with KNS2:

KBlocks
KBlocks theme selector
KNS2

I will post a step-by-step tutorial on creating KBlocks themes with Inkscape in a couple of days. If you are in a hurry, check the default_theme.svg and .desktop files at

http://websvn.kde.org/trunk/kdereview/kblocks/themes/

I hope it can serve as a good resource for getting into KDE games development and QGV. Not to mention the hours of fun I had “testing” it already 🙂

[pt_BR]
Ontem eu finalmente consegui finalizar minha lista de items para o KBlocks, que agora está disponível no módulo kdereview. Se tudo correr bem, o jogo vai fazer parte do módulo kdegames no KDE 4.1.
Aí percebi que eu não havia blogado a respeito do KBlocks até hoje! KBlocks é um jogo para um jogador do tipo “quebra cabeça de blocos que caem”, iniciado em por mim em Glasgow, na última Akademy. Um dos objetivos do jogo era servir como campo de teste para APIs e tecnologias introduzidas na libkdegames para o KDE4 e no Qt4. Tem sido bem útil para isso, pude tentar diversos métodos de fazer animação no QGraphicsView, como usar os diferentes tipos de itens gráficos (svg X pixmaps cacheados), e mais. Em relação a libkdegames, KBlocks usa quase todas as novas classes de conveniência: KGameThemeSelector, KScoreDialog, KGamePopupItem, KGameDifficulty e KNewStuff2 (integrada no KGameThemeSelector).
KBlocks também tenta dar mais flexibilidade e poder aos artistas e desenvolvedores de temas, permitindo a especificação do layout da tela de jogo e outros parâmetros diretamente nos arquivos de tema. Também usa animações sutilmente, e inclui classes (KBlockAnimators) que podem ser expandidas no futuro para implementar tipos adicionais de animação usáveis pelos autores de tema. Atualmente, apenas fade in e fade out estão disponíveis. Algumas telas estão disponíveis acima, incluindo o tema padrão e um tema preto e branco de testes baixado com KNS2.
Vou postar um tutorial passo a passo sobre como criar temas do KBlocks com Inkscape na próxima semana. Se estiver com pressa, veja os arquivos default_theme.svg e .desktop em

http://websvn.kde.org/trunk/kdereview/kblocks/themes/

Espero que possa servir como um bom recurso de aprendizado sobre como se iniciar desenvolvimento de jogos para o KDE e o uso do QGraphicsView. Sem contar as muitas horas de diversão que eu já gastei “testando” o KBlocks 🙂