KDE for scientific work

Monthly Archives: December 2010

Cirkuit released

Cirkuit has been updated to version The main differences with respect to version 0.3 are:

  • Added possibility to export to TeX source
  • Can export to GIF
  • Fixed a bug that caused wrong syntax highlighting detection in Kate
  • Correct escaping of mathematical expressions in the Gnuplot backend
  • Fixed a bug that prevented the user to overwrite an exported file even when the user has confirmed that he wants to overwrite it
  • Fixed compilation issues
  • Improved localization
  • Various minor bugfixes

Additionally, the migration of Cirkuit to the KDE infrastructure is now completed. This means you can now find the code at, you can submit bugs and feature requests to, and you can use to propose patches. From now on please use these tools, so that bugs, patches and feature requests do not get lost in comments or mails. Thanks to the KDE sysadmins for the great job!

Introducing Cirkuit

Hello Planet!

in this post I would like to introduce another project I have been working on lately: Cirkuit. It was born as a KDE interface to Circuit macros (hence the name), a great set of macros that can be used to produce high-quality diagrams typically (but not limited) for inclusion in a TeX/LaTeX document. The main purpose of Cirkuit was then to provide a “live preview” of Circuit macros code and to export the result in various formats (PDF, EPS, SVG, PNG, JPEG).

However, since I used also other graphical tools to produce graphics for my publications/presentations, I wanted to add support for other “backends” in addition to Circuit macros. At the moment, there are two additional working backends: TikZ/PGF and Gnuplot. So, it is now possible to write TikZ and Gnuplot code and get a preview of the result. The interface in based on the Kate part and so it also supports syntax highlighting. Here are a couple of screenshots:

Notice the use of LaTeX in both the examples to nicely format the legends/symbols.

Cirkuit just moved to (thanks to the sysadmin team). If you are interested in it and want to check out/contribute code, visit the project page.

Advanced calculator runner

Hello Planet!

since this is my first post on the Planet, I’ll shortly introduce myself and my activities in KDE. My name is Matteo and I am the maintainer of the Qalculate plasmoid and runner since SC 4.5. I am also the founder and maintainer of Cirkuit, a KDE app to produce publication-ready graphics using different backends (TikZ, Circuit Macros, Gnuplot).

In this post, I would like to describe some features that have been introduced in SC 4.5 (and polished for SC 4.6) in the Calculator runner. The reason for this post is that apparently many people are not familiar with many of the features offered by the Calculator runner since 4.5.

First of all, how do you use the runner? Simply press ALT+F2 and type a mathematical expression with a ‘=’ sign at the beginning or at the end of the statement, as shown in the figure below.

Since KDE SC 4.5, the calculator runner has an optional (compile-time) dependency on libqalculate. So, if you compiled kdebase with libqalculate support enabled, the runner has some “advanced” features, like unit conversion, exchange rates, equation solving, and many more.

This means that you can perform calculations involving Newton’s laws of motion or Ohm’s law just by pressing ALT+F2 and typing the expression (see pictures below).

You can’t remember the derivative or integral of a certain function? This can also be accomplished by the runner:

You can also solve equations:

You can find out additional features at the Qalculate website. I will write an additional post about the Qalculate plasmoid, illustrating more features of the Qalculate engine. Feel free to suggest improvements in the comments.