[Kst] PR proposal for 2.0.3

Nicolas Brisset nicolas.brisset at free.fr
Sat Mar 26 20:01:31 CET 2011


since we're going to release 2.0.3 any time now (Peter, Barth: is there anything preventing us from doing it right now?), I thought it was a good idea to try and put together a small release blurb. Please comment/improve so that we can try to promote kst a bit wider than just this mailing list this time... 

My plan for this communication effort would be: 
- send the release mail to this list (of course) 
- send the release mail to the kde-science list 
- contact Stuart Jarvis to do an interview and publish something on KDE Dot News (he already offered to do that a little while ago, and Barth could certainly tell a couple of nice stories like committing from the South Pole!) 
- somehow get the news out to planetkde.org (maybe via Stuart again as we don't yet have any planetkde blogger in the kst community) 
- publish the update on kde-apps.org (right now the latest version there is 2.0.0 beta1!!!) 
- maybe also publish on qt-apps.org? 
- I have started contacted scidavis and QtGrace developers to see if there is interest for some cooperation. I already got some feedback, but as hard to believe as it may sound (for people using or working on open-source, Qt-based plotting tools) they don't know kst at all, so I guess it's going to take some time to identify what cooperation could mean, as they will need to try kst - just as we may need to test their tools. I'd like to emphasize that cooperation does not necessarily mean dumping some of the tools (even though it's always a possibility), but maybe some shared libs or plugins would already be interesting. In any case it could be interesting to get the information of the new release posted there too, provided that it is not seen as an offense by the respective devs 
- post the still-to-be-done screencasts on youtube, as even if the quality is not what I'd like for the ones which will be linked to the website, the audience there is probably greater and it can certainly help the google ranking of kst, which is not in the first page right now when you look for "free plotting tool", "free plot tool", or "cross-platform open-source plot tool" 
- pimp up the wikipedia page(s) somehow linked with kst 
- any other good idea you may suggest :-) 

Now in terms of contents, here is what I think we should address. The complete text I'm proposing for review can be found between the lines with stars. 
- new website 
- 3 platforms completely supported 
- much improved metadata support 
- ASCII datasource improvements (performance, config options) 
- KDE integration status and further plans (cmake, icons, KDE HIG, ...) 
- perspective for the next versions (in particular scripting + kst 1.x format support) 
- lots of bugs and crashes fixed 
- the fact that it can be installed alongside kst1, i.e. it can be tested without too much risk 

Kst 2.0.3 released March 29th 2011 

The Kst team is happy to announce the immediate availability of Kst 2.0.3, the not yet so well-known but outstanding open-source, cross-platform 2D plotting tool. Packages for Windows, various Linux distributions and Mac OS X are available, as well as the complete source code and cmake-based build files. 
A more detailed presentation of Kst can be found on the completely revamped web page at http://kst-plot.kde.org , which provides detailed screenshots , video tutorials and all the useful download links . 

Kst2 is a major rewrite to Qt4 of the long-existing, Qt3/KDE3-based Kst1 code base. Kst2 has not yet reached feature-parity with Kst1, but on the other hand Kst2 also offers some features not available in Kst1. Both versions are considered stable and can be installed in parallel. This Kst2 release has benefited from much more testing than previous 2.x releases and is now considered usable for real-life projects, even though there are still some rough edges, which are being polished release after release. For a more detailed discussion on the differences between Kst1 and Kst2, please refer to the bottom of this page . 
Note that in the course of the port to Qt4, it was decided to base the core of Kst2 on Qt only for ease of distribution, especially to non-Linux platforms. Currently, Kst2 has no dependency on KDE, even though optional integration of some KDE features is being worked on to benefit those users using the KDE platform. 

Highlights of Kst2 compared with similar plotting tools (like xmgrace/QtGrace, qtiplot/SciDavis, LabPlot) are: 
- outstanding performance: curves with millions of points are no problem at all! 
- plotting of live streams 
- out-of-the box support for a variety of formats (currently ASCII, netCDF, dirfile, Qimage-supported types) 
- very user-friendly and efficient, with a fantastic data import wizard and capacity to edit multiple objects at once 
- active community, with over 300 commits since the previous release in November and an active mailing list 
- easily expandable for new data formats or data analysis algorithms thanks to a plugin-based architecture 
- available on Windows, Linux and Mac OSX 

The most notable improvements brought by Kst 2.0.3 over the 2.0.2 version released in November 2010 are: 
- cmake-based build system, with Windows, Mac OS X and Linux installers 
- many improvements in the reading of ASCII files: extensive UI overhaul and huge speedup 
- support for metadata added for netCDF files (scalar and string attributes) and ASCII (units and some data-file info) 
- UI improvements (new icons, consistency with KDE HIG guidelines, some dialogs reworked) 
- lots of bugs and crashes fixed in less-often used parts of the code 

We hope you will enjoy this release and help us further test and improve the tool. Kst has been developed over many years by professional developers and has reached a high level of maturity, with a very nice, future-proof code base. It was recently field-proven during the Boomerang mission in Antarctica, during which the probably south-most commit ever made landed in KDE's subversion repository! 
We are aware that Kst is not very well known and generally suffers from a lack of awareness, and are seeking to address that with an ambitious communication plan, now that we have reached a solid, mass-consumption ready release. Please take the time to test kst, report the bugs you may find and tell your friends if you like it! 

The Kst Team 

Sorry for the long mail, but I had lots to say. Now I'm hoping for some feedback and suggestion improvements! 
I still have a couple of things to improve on the website and the screencasts to prepare. Maybe it would also be nice to give Linux packagers some time to prepare packages before announcing the release officially. 
I'm pretty excited to see how this release will be received. I think we're now ready to move to the next level, let's see what feedback we get! 

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