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Hello Hackfest!

Hi there!

If you're reading this, I'll have the pleasure of helping you contribute to KDE at Hackfest in January 2013. Or you've stumbled upon my blog, in which case you may read this as KStars Development 101.

Although most of things I will discuss at Hackfest will be independent of which project you eventually aim to contribute, I'll use KStars for context. i.e. You'll be hacking on KStars.


The only true prerequisite is that you should have a working KDE environment. If you aren't already using KDE, it is good idea to start now.

In case you're starting from a fresh install, you could start with Kubuntu. An alternate is to set up your own Virtual Machine if your host machine can perform well. A Virtual Machine is specially advantageous if you wish to play around with the distros first. Add and remove packages. Break stuff. Have fun!

EDIT: If you have Ubuntu and want to install KDE, please read this guide. Note that Ubuntu includes Unity by default, not KDE. Hence, you have three options:

  • Install KDE on Ubuntu using the above mentioned guide (Applications menu gets a little cluttered)
  • Wipe Ubuntu and install Kubuntu/openSUSE/Hackfest LiveCD (cleanest way)
  • Run a VM with Kubuntu/openSUSE/Hackfest LiveCD (slower performance, attempt only if your hardware is capable enough)

Everything after this point is optional. The more you learn about, the better. If you have any questions, leave a comment or email me.

Things to do

Here's a bunch of things you can learn about while you wait for Hackfest. These are not prerequisites but it will help if you are familiar with at least these.

  1. Search. Use Google, Bing, or the Large Hadron Collider. 90% of your issues have already been faced and solved by someone on the Internet.
  2. Learn about IRC. This will help you get support if you ever get stuck. But only if you use it right. Join us at the channels I mention at the end.
  3. Learn about Git. I personally feel setting up a Github account and practicing on a repository works best. You can start here
  4. Read some stuff about Qt. Maybe start with:
  5. Once you are ready, you may set up an environment to start hacking on KStars.

Setting up

Follow the instructions at:

Please note that an additional package: zlib (found as zlib1g-dev) will be needed to build KStars.

So for debian based systems:

sudo apt-get install build-essential cmake kdelibs5-dev libeigen2-dev libcfitsio3-dev zlib1g-dev

should get the prerequisites set up.

Virtual Machine

To experiment, you can use this Virtual Machine that I've made. It has all the prerequisites installed and KStars repository cloned. For Hackfest, you will be setting up everything from scratch, but you can keep the VM for experiments.

Kubuntu 12.04 LTS (32 bit) on Virtual Box

username: hackfest

password: hackfest

Let me know if you encounter issues with the VM.

Click here to download the VM (I'm uploading the VM using very slow DSL connection so it should be up by 31st Dec 10 PM.) Edit: The image is up.


Leave a comment, or email me at ra.rishab {at} gmail {dot} com

Ping me on IRC. I'm 'spacetime' and I idle at a lot of channels including #kde-in and #kde-kstars

To talk to the KDE India community, please join the KDE India Mailing List. Find us at #kde-in on freenode (IRC).

To get in touch with other KStars developers, join the KStars Developers Mailing List or, say hello at #kde-kstars on freenode (IRC)

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