Building KDE Frameworks on Windows from Source

Some notes on how to build KDE Frameworks packages from source on Windows using Visual Studio tools.

To do so, you need to first have a version of Qt compiled by MSVC installed. Some system environment variables to be set, using Qt 5.15.2 as an example:

  • PATH needs to add C:\Qt\5.15.2\msvc2019_64\bin
  • Qt_DIR needs to be set to C:\Qt\5.15.2\msvc2019_64

Example instructions for building CMake-based projects (all KDE projects), the command below should be executed in x64 Native Tools Command Prompt.

mkdir build && cd build
cmake .. -G "NMake Makefiles" -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX="C:\Qt\5.15.2\msvc2019_64"
nmake && nmake install

This will install the compiled KDE module into the Qt installation path. You can install it elsewhere, but if you do, make sure you update PATH environment variable accordingly.

A New Termux Mirror

TL; DR. https://termux.librehat.com is a new Termux packages mirror! Maintained by me, synchronised every six hours, located in the United Kingdom, hosted by Oracle Cloud.

In the full article below, I’ll write up how to set up a Termux mirror (or in general, a Debian packages repository mirror).

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Building Qt for Termux Android

This is by all means, not the first blog post about Termux. It serves as a journal for myself, as well for anyone who’s interested in cross building Qt or Qt-related projects for Termux (which is a native Linux environment for Android) from their x86_64 machines.

We already have @xeffyr who has done a great amount of work on building Qt for Termux. The work I’ve done recently would be 10 times harder, if not for what’s achieved by them already.

If you’re new to cross building for Termux, I recommend you to start with Developer Wiki.

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Fedora Linux with MATE Desktop on Android

I know some of you geeks have already done something like that, running a GNU/Linux distribution on top of an Android device. It’s an interesting time, with projects like proot we don’t need root privilege on our Android devices to run a containerized Linux environment. Here in this post, I’ve written down the steps that I’ve taken to have a usable desktop environment up running on my Galaxy Tab S5e (this blog post has been written up purely within such environment).

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Building Linux Kernel on Odroid-U3

This is the year 2020, Odroid-U3 is far from a powerful ARM development board in today’s standard, but it is still more than capable! Quad-core ARMv7 CPU and 2GB RAM, which means I can still run some light services and test my toy projects without paying any fees to AWS or Azure. The year 2020 also means that this little device can be powered by the mainline Linux kernel without many troubles (if any)! Better than that, the process is ridiculously straightforward!

In this post, I put together the steps I did to build the Linux kernel using upstream mainline source code natively on Odroid-U3. If you’re interested in cross-building from your x86 machines, you can find plenty of tutorials on that on the Internet.

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Virtual Linux Desktop Experience in Azure

I wouldn’t believe that I will be writing this 10 years ago. It’s 2020 though. Microsoft has improved a lot of services for Linux, ranging from developer tools like Visual Studio Code, to the protagonist today: Azure (cloud computing). Azure has steadfastly become a real credible alternative to Amazon EC2 (or AWS in general). Today, I want to share my experience of using a virtual machine on Microsoft Azure cloud. To be more specific, it is a Linux desktop virtual machine (SLES 15).

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Visual Studio Code Server on Android

Microsoft has been steadily enhancing Visual Studio Code Remote Development. One of the components is VS Code Server, which is also open-source and hosted at GitHub. With VS Code Server, you can use Visual Studio Code in a browser. The usual setup involves a server (a VPS perhaps) that hosts the code server. It turns out that it’s also possible to run them locally on your Android device! Here is how.

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Announcing YapStocks 2.0

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working on a new plasmoid (KDE Plasma Applet) that provides a simple interface to monitor stocks. The first version was rather basic, being able to show the current market price only. Now it’s time to announce the availability of the second iteration of YapStocks (Yet Another Plasma Stocks Applet). I’ve recorded a short video clip showcasing all the features it has, ranging from the information summary to the historical price chart.

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Hands-on Sailfish OS on Redmi Note 7

Not sure if this is related to the COVID-19 lockdown, but we’ve seen a lot of geeky hobby projects coming up recently. A lot of community ports have been done over the last few months for niche mobile operating systems such as Sailfish OS. That’s exactly the one I played with briefly after purchasing a second-hand Redmi Note 7 on eBay (don’t ask me if I think it’s a waste of money now LOL).

If you come here hoping to find the resources, head to the GitHub repo directly where you can find the ROMs to download.

Make sure that you’ve unlocked the bootloader already! If not, you need to register a MI account and apply for unlocking here. You must log in to your MI account on both the unlocking tool and your phone (MI, POCO, RedMi). If you don’t have a Windows PC, I recommend using XiaoMiTool V2 which works on macOS, Linux, as well as Windows. Though I couldn’t find this on the official FAQ, you have to have a working SIM card inserted. You have to use the mobile data instead of WiFi when unlocking the bootloader on your phone because XiaoMi is doing some verification.

Another problem I encountered was that in fastboot mode, RedMi Note 7 would just say “Press any key to reboot” when any commands are sent from my laptop. After googling on this, there seems to be a driver bug that makes RedMi Note 7 fastboot USB3 unfriendly. Using a USB-Hub worked for most people, including me 🤷.

I wish you all a successful attempt to flash Sailfish OS into your RedMi Note 7. Here are some screenshots I took.

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Use npm packages in QML

I’ve been trying to code up some nice GUI for a hobby project which was done in JavaScript (Node.JS). I’ve looked at a few options that I have

  1. Use the not-yet-stable NodeGUI
  2. Go Web and use Electron
  3. Rewrite the core in Python or C++ to use Qt
  4. Use QML which has limited support for JavaScript

I’ve explored the option 1, however, I soon ran into the problems with the Model/View/Delegate architecture which means I would have to implement native plugins/add-ons in order to use ListView. Not to mention the framework itself is still heavily under development.

As for option 2, I’m not a web frontend engineer and personally I much prefer something that is native (or looks and feels native at least). For the third option, it feels a bit overkill but it is a possible way out.

Luckily I don’t have to do the re-implementation, because I’ve managed to get the core functionality bundled into a single JS file which works flawlessly in the QML environment. Before I start diving into the details on how you can make your npm packages work in QML, I have to emphasise that there are many limitations in the QML environment and it’s very likely that only a small subset of the npm package that you’re interested in is going to work.

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