lunedì 18 aprile 2016

[Linux Gaming] [How To] PAYDAY 2

Hi guys! Recently Windows 10 decided to wipe (for the second time) my entire linux partition because... well because yes. So I decided to finally start using only linux and make the big and scary switch that was considered the real "wall" between windows and linux for normal users: GAMES.

One of the games I'm playing most lately is PAYDAY 2 which recently has been ported to our beloved operating system.

I experimented in many ways how to run perfectly this game and I have to say I'm more less at a point in which I have the same performance / goodies as in Windows. So let's start with the needed tools:

  1. First: Use the very latest software / drivers! The perfect one is latest nvidia binary blob 361 in *buntu. The we find the brand new (yet still very experimental) AMDGPU driver that's more and more usable every day (opengl 4.5 was almost in mesa?). Our third choice is... Nvidia nouveau with experimental reclocking patches. This is only for hardcore purists and religious fanatists. Our latest option is the IGD (intel usually) with it's great intel driver. Unfortunately it's a great driver for poor cards.

    I'm currently using Nvidia GTX 970M with official PRIME. Can't stress this enough: use official PRIME, not optimus/run/primusrus as that will basically run 2 separate display servers introducing quite a bit of overhead here and there copying compressed buffers around.
  2. Second: Throw away Unity, Gnome, KDE etc... and install XFCE. We need to spend most of our CPU power for running poor eON ported games on our linux box so a lightweight desktop environment is crucial. An other thing to do is: disable the compositor. We don't need fancy shades, we just want to avoid micro-stutters.
  3. Install steam and payday 2 (this can take a looot of time).
  4. Fourth (optional): Screen too dark / mouse too slippy fix. I loved the options in the Intel control center in windows where you can set up lightning, hue, saturation, gamma.... GAMMA. Most of PAYDAY 2 maps are definitely too dark so I used to increase gamma in drivers. Well, in Ubuntu + Intel IGD + Nvidia you simply can't do that on nvidia-settings nor on general system settings. Then I created a small c++ graphical utility to do this for us.

    You can find the source there:

    Just unzip the package and run:
    sudo make dependencies
    sudo make install

    We'll have then a nice slider the will endarken/enlighten our screen. We can also completely disable mouse acceleration and the revert it to default value. This fills the gap to nearly everything we need to decently run PAYDAY 2 on a linux box.
  5. Comment? Feedback? Please comment down here, I'll update the article when new features will be available (like v-sync for nvidia blob with optimus prime that will avoids our gpus to fry).

giovedì 30 luglio 2015

Ocs-server 0.1 Technology Preview released! (with cats!)

Finally, after many iterations, we have something that works! The ocs-server team (Claudio Desideri and Francesco Wofford) is therefore announcing the first release of ocs-server 0.1 technology preview.

Any information and download link on community page!


It currently supports PERSON, CONTENT, CONFIG, FRIEND, ACTIVITY, FAN with a partial implementation, that means for example not every parameter of uploaded contents can be handled. It then just partially works with these calls but the results are pretty neat for now.

We also built an Admin panel and a first run wizard that will help you set up your ocs-server and get it in production without needing to understand how OCS works. It can be extracted, configured painlessly and used with all major clients like libAttica, KNewStuff or our php OCSClient.

What system administrator love the most? Cars? Travels? No, documentation! That's why we started writing tutorials guiding you through server configuration and first run wizard. We also finally documented our web framework built around ocs needs and a little hacking guide is coming soon (so you can extend and/or contribute).
Our IRC channel is #ocs on freenode, feel free to ask us anything or comment below.


In this tech preview release the current developing version of ocs-client, "Plasmastore", has been included as an example client implementation. A lot of parts are still in production so you may found half written, bad written or badly optimized stuff (please don't kill me for that xD). Anyway the client can successfully handle user login, logout, content download, upload and edit. I'm still working on the "friendship system" and content rating but the client has been included in the release only to have a working example that may come in handy to new users that are willing to adopt ocs-server.

Francesco Wofford (woffy)

KNewStuff and Plasma integration

We tested and fixed our server to start working with KNewStuff and we achieved our greatest result for now: we switched Plasma's background server to our local and could fetch and install a kitten background.

We also tried to insert some content in Muon and it worked too (didn't try the install phase this time because it won't work due to wrong category)! Some content attributes are missing but it's mostly there.

Is it stable?

Short answer: no. It's still a technology preview, so we're constantly adding features and bug fixing. We're sure there will be bugs we're not aware of, so this release is more a sneak peek of our work and is like a stable commit that works for experiments. We don't suggest to use this for production environment.

domenica 28 giugno 2015

GSoC update: ocs-server

Hello planet! Here is a small update from the "newborn" ocs-server project.

Currently me and the guy behind the "plasmastore" client are working together very close. We're able to meet in person almost every day so that's quite amazing. I can help him build what it's mainly an ocs client.

But be prepared. We got great news ocs side! We're very close to a first testing release with some extra goodies. First, let's look at the real core of the project: the support of the ocs protocol.

At this time we support:
  • FAN
Our next calls in the roadmap would be KNOWLEDGEBASE and PRIVATE DATA. We also did some theorical test on NewStuff compatibility and it /should/ work altough never tested mainly because it works if queried by libAttica used in Gluon Player. We also found some parts of the protocol to be obscure or not well documented, so we contacted Frank, which is the protocol mantainer (correct me if I'm wrong), and came up with the possibility to troubleshoot and/or extend the protocol itself, which is amazing. Me and Francesco thought about the possibility of adding support for HASHTAGS and we're writing a more formal proposal to be sent to review.

I also prepared an Admin Panel that is quite ready to go, used by admins to administrate the ocs-server. It can run some tests on server status checking what works and what it's still broken, and can also administer content categories.
Along with the admin panel, there's the first run install wizard that will guide you in installing and configuring the ocs-server with the local/remote database and some other basics configurations.

My aim is to release an alpha (that will surely contain bugs) within one week, with all the documentation on our community wiki page:

So everyone that will need a server that handles a generic type of social content with users management and an open interface with plenty of tools (php with our OCSClient library, libAttica, newstuff etc...) for quickly writing clients we got it!

Ah, last thing! I'll be at Akademy this year so feel free to come and talk to me, as I'm a bit shy!

lunedì 16 marzo 2015

Google Summer of Code meetup at Udine University

After being Google Summer of Code student with KDE I finally decided to organize a GSoC meetup in University of Udine. I requested a classroom with projector to show a little presentation of the program. The number of attendees 80 exceeded expectations. We were expecting around 40 people but more than  actually showed up. Luckily there was enough room for everyone.
The response was great with a lot of people asking for guidance and details that are covered in the FAQ and also personal opinions and advices that only a past student can provide. I'm now actively helping a bunch of students connecting with opensource organizations in order to get ready to work during the summer. It seems, in my opinion, that one of the biggest troubles is the fear of failing and the misconception of GSoC being a corporate job where the students needs to just work and know everything from the beginning. Apparently what blocked students most is the fear of be judged by potential mentors.
I also presented KDE project, which joined GSoC every year since the beginning, and the amazing fact is that I received many questions on how to interact with KDE due to GSoC as well as for just joining the community itself, like in pure opensource philosophy.
Overall the event was a success with great response from participants for both GSoC itself and opensource communities in general.

Here are some photos from the event:

martedì 10 marzo 2015

Ideas to restructure Plasma content delivery system

Last years at Gluon

During the past few years at Gluon Project we chose to adopt OCS (Open Collaboration Services) protocol in our distribution system, developing a minimal and working server and client that works on Gluon, however, never went into full production so people couldn't test our infrastructure and the distribution system never went above the "experimental phase".

Our mission

1) Develop further our OCS server in order to have it usable by every project that needs it. In this phase we'll need to refactor and prepare it to be installable and configurable easily. We'll include install/config scripts with a nice interface. It also will be full Attica/NewStuff compliant.

2) Implement Desktop and web client that will let users download and use content like apps, backgrounds, themes etc. The Desktop client will be written in Qt/QML and the web client will be web based.

We want in the end users to be able to get user created content for Plasma in an easy way from one single common place as well as for creators to upload it. Our secondary target is to unify Gluon and Plasma content server and implement user / login capabilities via KDE Identity in order to have a centralized infrastructure. Our dream is to have a common desktop environment experience also regarding the content distribution system across all distributions

This is a scheme of the future structure:

Technology stack

We have in plan to develop OCS server and client libraries at the same time, creating a full set of classes that are shared between the both libs. This will enhance manteinability and modularity having a php library for both uses that shares most of the model codebase.

Now, having a working server we imagined the Plasma web client to be built on top of the OCS client library (of course), using php/mysql (or generic sql database) and for the client part HTML, CSS, a bit of jQuery and maybe the opensource library (we still need to do some feasibility studies on this latest).


  • Openess of OCS protocol, simple interface in human-readable REST / XML / JSON
  • Ownership of KDE project of their content distribution system (we'll have a full working in-house implementation)
  • Merge of Gluon games, backgrounds, themes etc... all in a single place, with a single unique login on KDE Identity. This also enhances in users the concept of KDE as a full desktop environment with the same content across various distribution opposed to other semi-proprietary implementations (like Canonical's one)
  • Modularity of the server and clients. OCS is a wide protocol and potentials are there. For example I implemented a real-time chat between users in Gluon Player. This could give us some ideas to brainstorm.


  • ocs-server at, and Gluon Player (includes gluon player libraries that wraps libattica)
     written by me, Claudio :)
  • "Plasma AppStore" (name is just a placeholder), consisting in Desktop client and Web client, by Francesco Wofford, my guest in this blog post
We already started to work on a few prototypes because we really care about this project so we're asking for feedback from all of you. We're going to propose those projects as GSoC with KDE so feel free to drop your comments below. We need them!

Have a nice day! And have a cookie! :)

mercoledì 2 luglio 2014

Gluon Project Update

Hey KDE people! I'm Claudio and, again, I'm the only student doing GSoC and improving Gluon Project. This does mean there's a lot to do but often this translates in a lot of fun.

My project basically consists in mantaining the Gluon Player and all the distribution service in general from the server to player library that handles OCS requests to the actual QML client. This meant in porting the Qt4 player to Qt5, which led to a partial rewrite and rearchitecturing After the porting I started implementing "friends" features. This means that YOU, with a Gluon account, can ask an other Gluon user for friendship and he can accept. This is the basis of the social features we're introducing.

Oh and did you know we have a working partial and opensource implementation of the OCS protocol? I really care that you know this because when I started writing it, there was no open server-side implementation and I had to start writing it. As for now, the server supports CONTENT, PERSON, FRIEND, FAN, COMMENT and CONFIG with some calls not exaclty following the standard (nested comments feature missing). And this server also is tested with our beloved libAttica. I'll publish the source as soon as I can in a personal scratch repo for now, but I'd like to move it in the KDE infrastructure (admins?).
Ah, and I'll spend the next time of my project implementing a xmpp-based realtime chat between users. And also activity streams and other social features.

What is really missing to Gluon then?
Unfortunately I'm just focusing on distribution and user parts, but being Gluon a platform for creating, playing and deploying games, also Creator and Engine needs attention, care and most of all port to Qt5. Our idea would be to give you a usable release (oh, I really want to do my Gluon Konqui game). In order to get this possible please donate to the Randa Meeting, where gluon developers will meet :)

See you in days!

giovedì 16 gennaio 2014

OpenSourceDay 2013

Probably almost all of you didn't know about an Italian event called OpenSourceDay. It's organized and set up by a small group of university students that share the passion for Computer Science and hacking. Yeah, I'm part of it, and I went there representing KDE and it's spirit, along with the Qt framework.

The event was quite a success with around 1100 visitors. Many of them also stopped at our booth primarily asking what KDE was. I was pretty surprised that while there was a good percentage of people that alread knew (and used) KDE, there was also an other good part who believed Ubuntu/Unity was the only desktop environment for open source OSes.
Despite from that I had a good response with people appreciating in particular Plasma's design, usability and responsiveness. I had to write instructions on how to install it on various distributions for more than one person. So I'm also here to say: good job mates!

If you have time/interest, we're usually holding the event on the last week of November every year. And everyone is invited of course. Here are some photos of the event.