KDE is an ever-changing Free Software community. After nineteen years developing high quality software solutions, welcoming new contributors, learning from our mistakes, celebrating our achievements, and striving to build a healthy and thriving community, some of us could deservedly rest on our couches wondering that we are done in such a journey towards Free Software contribution. I wouldn't bet on that if I were you.
The KDE community is geared by an unceasing need of reinventing itself, continually thinking about our strengths and weaknesses in an attempt to stay relevant in current FLOSS panorama. And that's a quite challenge effort: it requires changing our perspectives, expectations, technologies, well-established practices and social arrangements.
Side by side with such constant renewal of practices and directions, we have seen the strengthening of KDE communities in places other than Europe. The fifth edition of conf.kde.in was a massive success, bringing together roughly 300 participants around all sort of KDE contribution activities. The 3rd LaKademy ‒ the Latin-American KDE Summit ‒ has been found its way towards establishing a regular and consolidated venue for discussing actions, making contributions of many facets, and supporting newcomers for KDE in Brazil and Latin America.
This report describes the major KDE activities undertaken during the 1st half of 2015. It starts with a feature article about conf.kde.in 2015 and an overview of the developer sprints and
community events undertaken in this period. The report concludes by presenting an overview of sysadmin activities and the new members who joined KDE e.V.
Furthermore, with this issue of KDE e.V. reports, we start the use of a new format and layout which enables a richer and modern reporting of KDE community activities and status. Enjoy the reading!
for the KDE e.V. Board of Directors
conf.kde.in has become an everlasting tradition for the scene of FOSS in India and each year brings with it a new story, a new adventure and a whole new bunch of members who are exposed to the Open Source culture and the KDE community. conf.kde.in has been unique in it's approach as opposed to all the other KDE summits and conferences organized around the world because it focuses on students and teachers and emphasizes on cultivating an exposure regarding the opportunities and the alternatives that Free and Open Source Software offers to budding engineers. conf.kde.in has had a tradition of being organized in engineering colleges from it's first successful venture in 2011 in the R.V. College of Engineering in Bangalore to it's successive meetups in Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology in Gandhinagar in 2013 and 2014.
An odd set of 200 to 300 students ranging from a minimal exposure to code to a rampant expertise in it and with little or no knowledge of FOSS to students who've already dipped their toes into some or the other Open Source Initiative ‒ each and every one of them got a chance to explore an alternative style of how they interacted with their computers, their softwares and their Operating Systems. Besides being exposed to an alternative means of interaction with their study material and their laptops, conf.kde.in has been instrumental in providing them with an engaging means of learning to code and more importantly, learning to code for a cause, and to code for a change.
The 2015 session of conf.kde.in kept this essence alive amidst the wonderful backwaters of Kerala in Southern India in the town of Amritapuri. Amrita University which hosted conf.kde.in 2015 has a thousand students from all over the country pursuing their undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and a subset of these very same students comprised the organizing team for the conference. It was wonderful to see a student driven effort by the FOSS club in their college that undertook an interest in creating a greater awareness among their peers and telling them what KDE was all about. It was also wonderful note the enthusiasm amongst the teachers at the university who believed in including participation in FOSS communities as a part of their course curriculum.
It was a two day event from the 17th to the 18th of April which commenced with an offbeat keynote by Noufal Ibrahim who was instrumental to initiating PyCon India. Noufal gave a hands on demo on the power of command line utilities and showed the students a step-by-step approach to solving the task at hand ‒ which in Noufal's case was summarizing Moby Dick and performing other such manipulative tasks which can help one analyse a large piece of co-related text. It was one of the most well conducted talks of the session and built up an enthusiasm and an appetite among the students out there to learn more about KDE which Pradeepto and Shantanu talked about as well as demonstrated to them in depth. After laying the perfect foundation for the rest of the speakers to build upon, a bunch of KDE community members ranging from students to professionals who've been actively involved with numerous KDE projects since the past years talked about their personal lessons and words of advice to the students.
Krita, Baloo, Plasma Media Center, Trojitá, Marble, KStars, KDE Promo, digiKam were only a few among the many projects that were focused on by past GSoC students, SoK students, current active developers and GSoC mentors and dot.kde.org contributors who gave 30 minute informative talks regarding the KDE project, a brief demo, how to get involved with it and their personal journeys with KDE.
Besides this, focused lab sessions were undertaken by Shantanu and Rishab who taught the students how to make quick games using Qt and exposed them to the basics of QML. These lab sessions continued till the late hours in the evening following the day sessions of talks. The conference ended with a hearty discussion with the organizing team as well as their wonderful faculty mentor who had been motivating and guiding them in the entire process of conducting conf.kde.in. The students had been alotted the task by their professor of picking up an Open Source Organization of their choice and contributing to it regularly as a means of getting themselves better acquainted with coding techniques and their relevance in the real world. After conf.kde.in 2015, he said that there was quite a bit that the students could be involved with when it came to the numerous types of projects that were fostered by KDE and that the mentoring programs which were talked about in the conference were a wonderful way of students to interact with KDE.
Out of the 300 students who attended conf.kde.in in 2015, there was a spark of curiosity and an honest desire to explore KDE that was observed in many of them, and there were quite a few who flaunted brand new KDE installations on their laptops the very next day and stayed late in labs hounding the speakers with their queries. Students who'd previously been involved with the Wikimedia, Ubuntu and Python communities now curated an interest in KDE and were delighted by the welcoming nature of the community. Initiatives of such a sort which are different from the regular KDE developer sprints taking place are vital in initiating new members to the KDE Community as opposed to the sustenance of the current community members and it's projects which is what sprints have been focusing on and have been successfully achieving since a while.
India churns out 1 million engineers every year, all of which are taught introductory level coding in C in their first year in college. Even a minute fraction of the power vested in such a magnanimous proportion of human resources can be extremely crucial to a huge community like KDE which can use all the helping hands that it can get. conf.kde.in has always been an entity that has been touching their lives since the past 5 years and has seen the KDE community touched in return, consistently. conf.kde.in 2016 will keep the guiding light burning and will be held in LNM Institute of Information Technology in Jaipur on the 5th and 6th of March and will be hosting talks and hands-on workshops to another wide crowd of students, eager to be a part of KDE.
In February 2015 the Plasma developers met in the Blue Systems office in Barcelona to discuss and plan out where we would take Plasma over the duration of the next year. The sprint brought together active Plasma developers and visual designers from around the world, from Canada to India. One of the important parts of Plasma is making it as easy for others to contribute as possible.
Good power management has always been a fundamental part of the Plasma experience, during the sprint KInfoCenter was restored to life to be a useful central hub of advanced information. This provides all sorts of extra information without cluttering the main desktop. This will make it possible to visually identify where your battery life is going.
Plasmashell was modified to allow it to boot directly into media center mode, allowing it to be launched directly from the login screen. It was moved into the main Plasma released and was released with Plasma 5.3. During the hacking time, designers Jens Reuterberg and Ken Vermette began producing and designing additional promotional material for Plasma's upcoming marketing needs. This included updated logos, vectorised Konqis, and other assets. Much of the sprint was spent planning Plasma's future goals. KPurpose, the new framework for sharing actions and invoking actions across applications, was discussed, as well as the future of notifications for not only current instant notifications but calendar based alerts. Work and initial prototyping went into unifying application header space and making use of window decoration space in applications.
Marco worked on a tool making it easy for designers to explore, edit, create and assess the completeness of Plasma themes. Sebastian introduced "Cuttlefish", a tool for designers and application developers to examine the current icon set of a system. It can be used to display the icons available on the system, and how they are presented at various sizes. These were released as part of the Plasma SDK in Plasma 5.3.
Plasma 5 has become part of the mainstream Linux distributions and the press coverage is confirming it will continue to be the flagship offering from KDE. We have plans for the years to come and we welcome anyone who wants to take part joining us.
The KDE PIM spring sprint was held in Toulouse, France in March this year in Makina Corpus offices. At the previous sprint in Munich, in November, when Christian Mollekopf and Aaron Seigo introduced their new concept for the next version of Akonadi, it was decided to refocus all the efforts on working on that, which meant switching to maintenance mode of the Kontact Suite for a very long time and then coming back with a "big boom". In Toulouse, this plan was re-evaluated and decided that it is not working for the team and that it will be much better for the project as well as the users if they continue active development of Kontact Suite instead of focusing exclusively on the “next big thing” and take the one-step-at-the-time approach.
So the current releases of KDE Applications 15.08 have a really shiny Kontact Suite. Vishesh Handa also brought up the topic of the bug count situation. They all realized the sad state of the Kontact Suite bugs and talked a bit about re-organizing and cleaning up the bug tracker. The clean up part has already begun as Laurent with Vishesh have mass-closed over 850 old KMail 1 bugs during the sprint to make it at least a little easier to get through the rest. Regarding the re-organization a short summary would be that we want to remove Bugzilla components and close bugs for the application they decided to discontinue and maybe do a few more clean up rounds for the existing bugs.
The result was that the team re-focused on releasing the Frameworks 5 based Kontact Suite in August as part of KDE Applications 15.08. After that, they will be fixing bugs and further stabilizing by improving the current code and adding new features as normal. At the same time they will be preparing the code base for migration to the new major version with the Akonadi 2 backend. So instead of one “big boom” of Akonadi, which Christian will be working on in the meantime, this approach ensures that they finally do the switch when the code base is ready for it. With that approach, the disruption to user experience will be minimal, while allowing for active development of the project. Another discussion was closely related to the 15.08 release. The Kontact Suite is a very huge code base but the active development team is very small. Even with the incredible Laurent Montel on their side it's still not enough to keep actively maintaining all of the suite. So they had to make a tough decision and abandon some parts of the KDE PIM project, at least until new maintainers step up. Some of it will only move to Extragear and will live their own lives there. What they released as part of KDE Applications 15.08 is what is called KDE PIM Core and it consists of the core PIM applications: KMail, KOrganizer, KAddressbook, Kleopatra, KNotes and Kontact.
If your favorite PIM application is not in the list you can volunteer as a maintainer and help us make it part of the core release again. We believe that in this case quality is more important than quantity and this is the trade-off that will allow them to make the next release of the Kontact Suite the best one to date. Thanks to hard work of Christian Mollekopf and Sandro Knauß most of the changes they did for Kolab have been upstreamed during the sprint. There are some very nice optimizations and performance improvements for Akonadi included, among other things.
Last but not least, Franck Arrecot, Remi and Kevin Ottens have been working on Zanshin and are aiming at polishing for its next release. It comes with a lots of tests, some of them might become tests for Akonadi itself after discussing it with Dan Vratil. Huge thank you to Franck Arrecot and Kevin Ottens for taking care of the team and securing the venue for the sprint! All in all it was a great sprint and they are happy to say that they are back on track to dominate the world of Personal Information Management.
The KDE Latin America Summit – LaKademy – has found its way towards establishing a regular and consolidated venue for discussing actions, making contributions of many facets, and supporting newcomers for KDE in Brazil and Latin America. The 3rd edition of LaKademy took place from 3rd to 6th June, 2015, at the Information Technology Offices of Federal University of Bahia, in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.
Daniela, Alana, and Filipe worked at removing KDELibs4Support dependency from Cantor. Aracele did some porting of translation tutorials to the new KDE Brazil website and updated some old KDE3 stuff. Lamarque worked on the triage of PlasmaNetworkManager bugs.
Ícaro, Rodrigo, and Fernando made their first steps towards KDE contribution by implementing a feature for increasing the ball size as game runs in Kollision. Simone, who is doing her PhD on software ecosystems, participated doing interviews and surveys about several technical and social aspects of being a KDE contributor. Rafael, our sys-admin master, presented a short-talk about the KDE infrastructure and areas of contribution. As usual, the promo meeting raised plenty of work to be done. We also better organized such tasks in the KDE Brazil kanboard, reviewed our finances, and decided about some actions for FISL, Latinoware, and the continuous presence of KDE in Brazil and Latin America. One of the outcomes of the promo meeting is Engrenagem (gear, in Portuguese) – a video series about KDE that is going to run on a regular basis, initially aimed at the Brazilian community. The first episode – named "Everything you'd like to know about KDE" (not meant to be overly pretentious, but to feature a quite general first episode) – has already been recorded on the 20th of June. The second one, devoted to "The role of Qt in the KDE Community", happened at 18th July. The 3rd Engrenagem episode was transmitted at 23rd August and focused on "Translation Contributions in KDE Community".
For the first time, a fund-raising campaign in the weeks leading up to the meeting was undertook, which covered part of the expenses for LaKademy 2015. Once again, we would like to thank those who contributed to the campaign, we greatly appreciate your support! Fifteen participants, from veterans to newcomers, met in those four days of sprints.
It's notorious how the roles, relationships, and dependencies among Linux, Qt, and KDE are still obscure for a general audience and for some young CS students and practitioners. We hope Engrenagem will contribute to shed some light on such misunderstandings and make the motivations and roadmap to KDE contribution more widely communicated.
Developer accounts created
kdemail.net aliases created
kde.org aliases created
kde.org aliases disabled
kde.org mailing lists created
macaw-movies, rkward-users, social-media, rkward-tracker, and rkward-devel
kde.org mailing lists disabled
campkde-organizers, kde-ev-research, kde-uwg, kde-science, digikam-soc-devel, and kde-docbook
Given the way KDE e.V. operates ‒ getting sponsorships deals and fundraisers at different times of the year every year, having Akademy in different quarters every year, getting money before or after events the money is for ‒ we have decided to release KDE e.V. financial information once per year and, therefore, will be available in 2nd half of 2015's report.
Treasurer and Vice President
Aleix Pol i Gonzàlez
Albert Astals Cid
KDE e.V. is a registered non-profit organization that represents the KDE Community in legal and financial matters. The KDE e.V.'s purpose is the promotion and distribution of free desktop software in terms of free software, and the program package "K Desktop Environment (KDE)" in particular, to promote the free exchange of knowledge and equality of opportunity in accessing software as well as education, science and research.