A new stable version of Knights is now ready for public use. There are relatively few user-visible changes, especially considering the long time it took from the last release. However, there are a few behind-the-scenes improvements, which prompted me to bump the version number.
Playing on freechess.org with Knights version 2.4.0
One is the ability to speak opponents’ moves using Jovie. Another, with less immediate advantages but with more effect in the future, is the ability to control Knights via a D-Bus interface. It has no current uses, except with an unreleased version of Simon, enabling voice-only interaction. It could also lead to other interfaces reusing the code of Knights, for example a Plasma widget.As you can see from the screenshots, the feature of turning around the board when the local player changes is now optional, making it possible to use Knights on a tablet as a chess board replacement. I also made use of some recent developments in the KDE libraries, like the nice KMessageWidget as a replacement for the existing offer display.
Finally, some bugs with both the computer and server interfaces were fixed since the last version. The most notable is probably better handling of moves undoing. The XmlGui is also cleaned up, fixing some behavior issues.
As usual, the latest version can be downloaded from KDE-Apps with the help of OpenSuse Build Service.
Alternatively, you can get source from the git repository (tag v2.4.0) or from Dropbox (direct link). Binary packages for most popular Linux distributions are available at the OBS site here.
Bugs and wishes
Please report and bugs (I’m sure there are some) and wishes to http://bugs.kde.org.
I didn’t do much for KDE this summer, even after GSoC was over, despite my best intentions. The time was instead spent for major changes I made. I hope they will all pay off in that I’ll be more productive on the future.
Maja and I finally found a place to rent, so we’ll be living together now. The flat is rather small, only 30 square meters, but it’s nice and we managed to decorate it really well. We’ve been together for five years now, so out was about time, and we’re closer to our school this way. This is the first time I’m moving away from home, so it’s a big step for me.
I decided to take the opportunity of moving to also refresh my computers. I bought an Android phone, and I installed more appropriate distributions on the desktop and laptop. I’m still experimenting with the setup, but I think I’ll go with Arch on the desk and Ubuntu or Fedora on the lap.
I also renamed them all after fictional spacecraft, and added desktop backgrounds matching their names.
And the cloudy
I’m also finishing the experiment of running my blog with Drupal on the Amazon cloud. The free period is running out, and a fuzzy feeling is not worth the 15 bucks a month, so I’m moving back to WordPress. It was fun, but I figured I had better things to do than searching and configuring a plethora of modules to replicate the functionality WP has by default. I found that for me, writing code was much more interesting than administering a server, so I’ll focus on that instead.
Amazon’s free micro instances are also rather slow, and the load was showing whenever I posted an article to PlanetKDE. I tried aggressive caching, CloudFlare and FeedBurner, but the site still wasn’t performing as it should.
Since now I mostly use my laptop for school and programming work, I thought of using the desktop as a sort of a server. So I installed ownCloud on it, to test it and see what works. It did take a little going through the code, guesswork, and installing most sql-related packages.
The first thing, installation instructions on the wiki are outdated, because of the recent addition of dependency on MDB2. The server reported no database driver found, so I sorta guessed what I needed and install MDB2 from Ubuntu packages.
The web GUI looks very bare-bones, and uploading files could certainly be improved. But everything works, so most of the work appears to be done well.
Mounting it as WebDAV also works seamlessly. I only tried it from the laptop running Linux, so I’m not sure about other platforms.
Then I tried to link from its data folder to my 1TB external disk. It might be due to using SQLite as the database, but the server nearly stopped, and I had to restart apache. I haven’t tried using MySQL instead to see if there’s improvement, I’ll experiment with it this week and post the results. It’s quite a shame, because I was looking forward to hosting and sharing my movies and music collection.
There’s currently no way to make a share or a folder Public, like there is with Dropbox, which is why I’m not hosting my school projects there yet. It’s also impossible to create an account with no password, or to link files between accounts. I suppose one could create a “public” account, but everyone would have to know the password as well, making it a little inconvenient.
Even though it’s currently our exam period (or maybe because it is), I needed a way to have breaks from studying that were less mind-intensive and easier to save/restore than programming. So I looked into a couple of free open-source games that work on Linux. I’ve looked into other comments and blogs, and then decided to try some of them. Here’s the first batch of the more well-known strategies.
Continue reading »