All posts by Mauricio Piacentini

KDE Games IRC meeting ‚Äď July 1st

Hi, people. We did not have a meeting last month, for a change. And people seemed to miss it, gladly ūüôā

So, if you are contributing to KDE Games, or willing to contribute, our monthly meeting is back! Please add to your bookmarks:

Information about time and location can be found in the URL above. Hope to read you there.

Pink games for a pink desktop

Hi. You might remember the Fluffy Bunny Plasma theme. Wouldn’t it be nice if some of our games could be configured to match it? I know my nieces would love it ūüôā
Wait… Eugene Trounev from the kdegames team comes to the rescue! And at the same time, we have a preview of KNewStuff2 support in KBlocks, which will be part of KDE 4.1 Huge thanks to Josef and Jeremy for their work on the server.
So, if you are building kdegames from source, or when you get the first KDE 4.1 alphas and betas, chose Configure KBlocks, and click the GET NEW THEMES button. You will then be able to install the Pink Bunny one:

Pink Bunny theme

And also some other cool ones, like Aztec and Retro Classics, all by Eugene:



Isn’t this great? My ambitious goal is to have at least 10 themes ready for the 4.1 release. Artists, are you ready?

Oh, and these are works in progress, a little disclaimer needed otherwise Eugene will kill me ūüôā Version 0.1 for all of them, improvements coming, ymmv, etc, etc.

ProInfo and Linux Educacional ‚Äď 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 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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:

H√©lio 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 ūüôā

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, This initiative is spearheaded by Maur√≠cio 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, with your name and ID/passport number until April 14th. We will notify the winners by email.


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 F√≥rum Internacional de Software Livre (FISL) com a maior representa√ß√£o at√© hoje reunida no Brasil, formada por desenvolvedores, tradutores, usu√°rios e representantes do projeto no Brasil e diversos convidados internacionais. Far√£o parte da trilha ‚ÄúF√≥rum KDE‚ÄĚ as seguintes palestras:

  • KDE 4 – Evolu√ß√£o – por Helio Chissini de Castro
  • GGZ: progresso na √°rea 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, Essa iniciativa é capitaneada por Maurício Piacentini, desenvolvedor KDE da área de jogos e educacional.
Como parte do F√≥rum KDE, teremos ainda um minicurso OFICIAL de 4 horas de programa√ß√£o em Qt, totalmente gratuito, oferecido pela Trolltech e KDAB. O curso ser√° ministrado por Kevin Ottens, pai da tecnologia Solid e desenvolvedor s√™nior da KDAB, principal parceira de desenvolvimento da Trolltech. As vagas s√£o limitadas e est√£o dispon√≠veis apenas para aqueles que j√° tenham feito sua inscri√ß√£o no fisl9.0. Para concorrer a uma das vagas, envie um email para, informando o seu nome e n√ļmero do RG, at√© o dia 14 de abril. Os 40 primeiros por ordem de chegada ser√£o 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 theme selector

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

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 ūüôā

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.
A√≠ percebi que eu n√£o havia blogado a respeito do KBlocks at√© hoje! KBlocks √© um jogo para um jogador do tipo “quebra cabe√ßa de blocos que caem”, iniciado em por mim em Glasgow, na √ļltima 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 √ļtil para isso, pude tentar diversos m√©todos de fazer anima√ß√£o no QGraphicsView, como usar os diferentes tipos de itens gr√°ficos (svg X pixmaps cacheados), e mais. Em rela√ß√£o a libkdegames, KBlocks usa quase todas as novas classes de conveni√™ncia: KGameThemeSelector, KScoreDialog, KGamePopupItem, KGameDifficulty e KNewStuff2 (integrada no KGameThemeSelector).
KBlocks tamb√©m tenta dar mais flexibilidade e poder aos artistas e desenvolvedores de temas, permitindo a especifica√ß√£o do layout da tela de jogo e outros par√Ęmetros diretamente nos arquivos de tema. Tamb√©m usa anima√ß√Ķes sutilmente, e inclui classes (KBlockAnimators) que podem ser expandidas no futuro para implementar tipos adicionais de anima√ß√£o us√°veis pelos autores de tema. Atualmente, apenas fade in e fade out est√£o dispon√≠veis. Algumas telas est√£o dispon√≠veis acima, incluindo o tema padr√£o 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

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 divers√£o que eu j√° gastei “testando” o KBlocks ūüôā

KDE and Campus Party Brasil II

Yesterday I gave the “Creating games and educational applications with free software and KDE” talk at Campus Party Brasil. It was nice, a small bunch of people stopped by and I ended up adjusting the presentation to the audience, which was not all aware of what free software is. I spent some time talking about KDE the development API, how this relates to KDE the Linux/Unix desktop environment, KDE the community, and the Windows/MacOSX port efforts for KDE4. At the same time, I had a chance to show several of KDE games and edu applications, and it is very interesting to see the reaction of people that have never seen them before.
Of course, there were also some long time users of KDE in the audience. I was very pleased to meet Fausto from MEC (Brazilian Ministry of Education.) They have a Debian/KDE-based distribution for schools that includes all of kdegames and kdeedu, and we talked a little about translation issues and possible inclusion of KDE4-based apps in it.  This is what these events are for: meeting people and forging bridges.
The event is nice and the atmosphere is very relaxed. I am also making contacts and talking to people about our upcoming First KDE Brasil Project Meeting, which will happen in  April, at  FISL. More information soon.
Link for the presentation slides here. (in Portuguese)


Ontem eu falei sobre “Criando jogos educativos com software livre e KDE” no Campus Party Brasil. Foi legal, com as pessoas parando para dar uma olhada dentro do caos controlado da Campus Party, com v√°rias palestras ao mesmo tempo, uma ao lado da outra. Eu ajustei um pouco a apresenta√ß√£o para quem estava l√°, j√° que muita gente n√£o conhecia software livre. Fiquei um tempo falando sobre o KDE como plataforma de desenvolvimento, como isso se relaciona com o ambiente desktop KDE para Linux/Unix, a comunidade KDE, e os projetos para rodar em MacOSX e Windows. Enquanto isso, pude mostrar quase todos os jogos e aplicativos do kdeedu, foi bem interessante ver a rea√ß√£o das pessoas neste primeiro contato com tantas aplica√ß√Ķes.
√Č claro, tamb√©m tinha um pessoal que usa KDE faz tempo na plat√©ia. Foi um prazer conhecer o Fausto do MEC. Eles t√™m uma distribui√ß√£o baseada em Debian e KDE (3) para escolas que inclui todo o kdegames e kdeedu, al√©m de muitos outros programas. Falamos um pouco sobre quest√Ķes relacionadas √† tradu√ß√£o, e uma poss√≠vel inclus√£o dos jogos vers√£o KDE4 neste ambiente. Enfim, um primeiro contato, mas estes eventos servem basicamente para se fazer estas pontes.
O evento em si est√° √≥timo, uma atmosfera tranquila. Estou conversando com bastante gente e come√ßando a discutir o Primeiro Encontro KDE Brasil, que vai acontecer no FISL, em Abril. Espero ter mais informa√ß√Ķes em breve.
Link para os slides da apresentação aqui.

IRC Meeting Summary

Another month, another IRC meeting for the KDE Games project. The meeting agenda and logs are posted here. Things moved swiftly, and we are now at the feature planning stage for 4.1. Lots of entries are already in, have a quick look to see what is planned for 4.1 so far. We will have new games (KBlocks, Kubrick, KBreakOut, Kollision, maybe more) and improvements across the board, like KNewStuff integration. If you have suggestions, please use the kde-games-devel mailing list to communicate with us, or the #kdegames IRC channel at freenode.

PS: if you know of a better way to prevent techbase from reformatting the meeting logs please adjust the page, I am not really familiar with Wikimedia syntax. Thanks!

KDE and Campus Party Brasil

From February 11th to 17th S√£o Paulo will host the first edition of the Campus Party event in Brazil. This is an event that congregates thousands of people, and exists since 1997 in Spain. Some of the tracks are astronomy, free software, games, robotics, art, music… basically an event that brings together communities that use to meet over cyberspace, and have a chance to camp and party for one week.
I will coordinate a workshop with the title: “Creating educational games with free software and KDE”. Schedule is not final, but it looks like it will take place on Wednesday the 13th. I think it will be a nice place to introduce KDE to people that are heavy users of technology, internet and games, but are not necessarily familiar with free software. Let me know if you are planning to attend so we can meet and have some fun.

De 11 a 17 de Fevereiro vai acontecer em S√£o Paulo a primeira edi√ß√£o da Campus Party no Brasil. √Č um evento que junta milhares de pessoas, e existe desde 1997 na Espanha. Algumas das √°reas de interesse s√£o astronomia, software livre, jogos, rob√≥tica, arte, m√ļsica… basicamente um evento que re√ļne comunidades que est√£o acostumadas a se encontrar no ciberespa√ßo, e agora tem a chance de acampar e festejar por uma semana.
Eu vou coordenar uma oficina com o t√≠tulo: “Criando jogos educacionais com software livre e KDE”. A grade n√£o foi finalizada, mas parece que vai ser na quarta-feira, 13 de fevereiro. Acho que vai ser uma oportunidade legal para apresentar o KDE para pessoas bem integradas ao mundo digital, usu√°rios de internet e jogos, mas que n√£o necessariamente conhecem software livre. Pretendo ir em alguns outros dias tamb√©m, quem quiser se encontrar para bater um papo √© s√≥ mandar um email ou mensagem, ou me achar por l√°.