Welcome to KDE's Annual Report 2021

By Aleix Pol

Picture of Aleix Pol

2021 made us all wiser. In many ways, 2021 feels like the outcome of a worldwide what if exercise. Considering the circumstances, it was a good year for KDE. We successfully continued working together, steadily developing our different software products. And we did most of it from our respective homes around the globe. It sometimes feels like we’ve mastered remote collaboration, both at technical and organizational levels. Much like in 2020, we organized several online gatherings. We had Akademy, LAS, our 25th-anniversary celebrations, multiple sprints for our different teams, and we regularly held meetings among ourselves, and included our neighbouring communities.

Last November, we celebrated our quarter-of-a-century mark, a significant milestone for any organisation. KDE was among the groups that kickstarted this massive movement now known as “Open Source”, of international software communities that coordinate efforts worldwide towards a shared project and vision. It is time to find ourselves what that long-term what if exercise meant. We have learned a lot over the last few decades, and especially new lessons on collaboration for the last two years. We have also missed each other. This human connection that is fundamental for working effectively with one another has been unattainable recently.

We can count ourselves lucky, nevertheless. We enter this new era with plenty of very interesting and exciting projects and challenges for us. You can find our work on people’s laps and in their pockets. We assist you when you travel worldwide; we help you express your inner artist. Furthermore, we’re welcoming a new wave of gaming users, and many of them will discover FOSS for the first time with us. And, to top it all, we get to work on all of this with this outstanding group of people.

I am looking forward to figuring out all of our challenges soon with all of you!

Featured article - The Year KDE Turned 25

By Paul Brown

2021 was a significant year for KDE. We made a special website, we designed and sold stickers and T-shirts and dug out historic photos of events and landmarks, as well as screen-grabs of KDE being used in the wild, including at NASA, on TV shows, and behind the scenes during the filming of the likes of James Cameron’s Avatar.

We delved deeper still into the history of the project and we put up virtual machine images of older versions of KDE/Plasma so visitors could experience for themselves what it was like to be a KDE user in the 90s and 2000s.

We met people from around the world, put together a video with our friends and played a jolly, bouncy song on a loop in the background for 4 minutes straight. For the icing on the virtual cake, we held special chats, including one with KDE founder Matthias Ettrich. (All of the above is available from KDE’s 25th Anniversary page).

After all, it is not every day the project you started celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Once Upon a Time in Linux

Even more so if you consider that Matthias Ettrich’s epiphany, when he started KDE back in 1996, was not, according to his own admission, a long term one. He was definitely not thinking of literally thousands of contributors building graphical environments for all sorts of devices and dozens of applications of the most diverse nature.

Matthias Ettrich’s vision was much more mundane. He had just come back from a hiatus away from computers, and discovered the promising primordial soup of the 80s microcomputing scene, the world of the Commodore 64s, ZX Spectrums, Amstrad CPC64s, and so many other marvellous and exciting machines, had died. Inexplicably, it had been replaced by the overpriced, clunky, drab-grey and boring desert of the IBM PC and MS DOS.

KDE meetup in 1997
Matthias Ettrich (first from right) meets with fellow developers at the KDE 1 event in 1997.

Nevertheless, young Matthias still enrolled to study Computer Science, and soon discovered Linux, a system that married the retro of 1970s’ command line UNIX tools, with the futuristic of advanced networking and nascent online services.

Charming and exciting as it was, Matthias quickly realized that Linux would have a hard time going mainstream among everyday computer users in its then cryptic and arcane form. So he set to work making Linux friendly for everyone. That idea is what morphed over time into KDE’s current vision:

“A world in which everyone has control over their digital life and enjoys freedom and privacy.”

The Day Today in KDE

So, a quarter of a century later, how well has KDE as a community and a project managed to keep to its promise of giving control, providing freedom and privacy-protecting software to a large audience?

KDE has grown beyond the development of a desktop and has become a true environment, in that it provides a fertile space for other projects to mature and prosper. Krita, for example has managed to become a de facto yardstick for digital painting program, with more than a million downloads a year. LabPlot, KDE’s tool for data analysis and visualization, has been quietly making its way into research and engineering circles worldwide and is now used in such prestigious institutions as NASA and CERN. Kdenlive, KDE’s full-featured video editor, has officially broken into the mainstream and has been accepted into the ASWF Landscape, the list backed by the Linux Foundation and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (i.e. the folks that give out the Oscars) of recommended open source tools for movie-making. Kdenlive is quickly becoming one of the favourite editors for indie film-makers, advertisers and vloggers. GCompris, our suite of fun, colourful and educational activities for children, is so ubiquitous, it is nearly impossible to keep up with all the people and organizations using it. There is not a day that goes by without us discovering a new school, education board, or whole regional or national educational authority that has decided to deploy GCompris to support their teachers.

KDE apps running on Plasma
KDE success stories: From left to right, LabPlot, Krita, Kdenlive and GCompris running on the Plasma desktop environment.

All combined, KDE’s apps put the number of KDE software users easily into the many millions, even by the most conservative estimates. It would be fair to conclude that, with that amount of users, KDE is on the right route to becoming a provider of Free Software for everyone.

And then we have KDE’s Plasma desktop. Now, a desktop is a hard sell to end users outside the FLOSS bubble. Installing an app is one thing, but installing a whole new graphical environment is another thing altogether. Even Linux diehards will tend to get Plasma bundled with their distro of choice and not go out of their way to install it by hand.

Notwithstanding, Plasma is growing its user base by becoming a versatile platform for hardware vendors. Companies are preinstalling Plasma on their laptops, experimenting with Plasma Mobile on phones and tablets, and looking to Plasma because it allows them to build customised interfaces for smart devices.

For the last few years, we have lived with the sensation that we were teetering on the brink of a major breakthrough into the end user market. One push would bring about the fabled year of the Linux desktop. And the push came.

Through indirect estimates, we could already place the number of Plasma users conservatively in the 15 million region, but, in November 2021, Valve’s Steam Deck catapulted Plasma into the hands of eager gamers and, at the same time, into the mainstream. For the first time, a massive potential market opened for a Linux desktop, and gamers will browse the web and their files, install software (through KDE’s Discover) and launch programs, run emulators so they can play older games, chat with friends, and check the news, and they will do all this using Plasma. KDE’s desktop provides an environment that users will find responsive, attractive, stable and familiar.

Steam Deck
Valve's Steam Deck runs KDE's Plasma for its desktop mode.

In short, Plasma is on spec and provides an environment for everyone.

Back to the Future

Where do we go from here? Well, the existing breakout apps, frameworks and environments have still plenty of places to go. Despite their growing popularity, KDE’s creativity, productivity, development and educational applications have just started nibbling at the edges of markets that have been dominated up until now by closed source alternatives. Also, KDE is run by a community that has no need for revenue goals in a given timeframe and does not decide the viability of its projects based on the results written into quarterly reports. This means the rules that can often make or break a corporate product do not apply, and a KDE project can patiently wait and gradually work up to the right moment and the right breakthrough.

The same goes for Plasma, an environment that can run virtually anywhere and on anything, and also look like anything, making it what providers would want from an OEM environment: lightweight, ready-made, secure and customisable. The world of consoles, mobile and smart devices is Plasma’s oyster.

As for things unimagined, precisely because KDE is run by its community, and the community is varied and imaginative, it is unlikely we will ever run out of new ideas and projects that will continue to contribute to bringing KDE’s vision about.

Read on to find out what the KDE got up to during its 25th year of existence.

Supported Activities ‒ Developer Sprints and Conferences

PIM Sprint

By the KDE PIM Team

Attendees to the 2022 online PIM sprint.

From 2003 to 2012, the KDE PIM community used to meet at Osnabrück for its traditional New Year’s meeting. Originating from a project to bring FOSS groupware to German public institutions, these meetings were instrumental in forming the KDE PIM community, shape the development of Kontact, and act as the birthplace for famous (and infamous) technologies, such as Akonadi.

In 2021 we wanted to revive this tradition for a one-time get-together of former and current members of the KDE PIM community. As we can’t meet in person, we did this as an online afternoon meeting we called “Virtual Osnabrück”.

We met on the 9th of January 2021. The purpose of the meeting was to (re)connect the community, to meet old friends, and to talk past, current, and future KDE PIM. Some of the topics we covered included:

· KDE PIM today and in the future

· History or lessons learned from the Osnabrück meetings

· What happened to project XYZ we conceived or talked about at Osnabrück?

· KDE PIM anecdotes

· What’s hot in KDE PIM today?

We had the first two sessions, the first looking back to how Osnabrück came to be and what happened there between 2003 and 2012 when the KDE PIM community regularly met at Osnabrück. Bernhard showed some historical documents on how the meeting emerged from the work on adding encryption to free software email in the “Ägypten” projects and how this was followed by the bold idea of implementing free software groupware based on proven scalable email technology. This was the birth of the adequately named project “Kroupware”, which later resulted in the development of Kontact and tools such as Kleopatra. We heard how this was all about the nose ;-)

The idea of KDE PIM as a sub community also was realized in Osnabrück. One of the results of the first meeting was the move of KMail from the kdenetwork module to the new kdepim module in, back then, CVS. It joined KOrganizer and KAddressbook there, and provided a natural home for Kontact, which integrated all the tools for a groupware client. The culture of Osnabrück was a shaping factor in moving this community forward, using the meetings as a place to talk to each other, not just for hacking and chatting on IRC, but for having the structured high-bandwidth conversations which are possible when meeting in person.

Till continued with the story of Akonadi. It was born in 2006 as an ambitious project to overcome the limitations of the architecture of KDE 3’s PIM. The idea of separating caching, storing, and managing PIM data from the user interface in form of a server or daemon was floating around in several variants. With Akonadi as an implementation of this idea based on the proven protocols of IMAP for accessing data and D-Bus as a control channel, this idea became reality. Till and Volker showed us screenshots from the first moments when it started to work and we saw data from the Akonadi server in KMail, and Cornelius hinted at the fact that we even had a tool to create Akonadi architecture diagrams. The goals of the project were lofty.

Did Akonadi fail? Well, it’s still there today. It’s the base for the KDE PIM applications and more, and it’s not going away anytime soon. People use it and enjoy it. But did it realize its ambition? Probably not. We discussed that. One conclusion was that the idea of the universal, scalable platform, where people just could plug their application in in a simple way, didn’t take into account that that was also adding too much weight to use cases of single applications. We saw that in applications which moved away from Akonadi and went for their own simple backends. The effort to really develop, polish, and maintain such a platform in a stable way for a huge audience was more than what the KDE PIM community could sustain. Would more funding have helped? This sparked an interesting discussion which later was picked up when talking about the future of fat clients.

Thorsten talked about KTimeTracker, which represents the other side of the KDE PIM spectrum, not the big groupware solution, but the simple tool for a specific purpose, tracking time on projects. It has found a new maintainer with Alex nowadays. It’s a testament to the frugality and health of a community if projects continue for many years and go from one hand to the other.

After a break which included the successful attempt to create a virtual Osnabrück group picture (you guessed it: we wrote a tool for that), we continued with the second presentation session looking at what is currently in KDE PIM and what is coming.

Bernhard gave an inspiring presentation about the value of the fat client, explaioning how it gives users control, it delivers scalability, it makes it possible to combine data without having to reveal it to cloud providers or other central instances. To all effects, it meets users’ real needs. KDE PIM always has been about providing this fat client experience in a big way. But we see that, although there is a need, it’s hard to provide sustained funding for the development of fat clients. The data-collecting and ad-based business models of cloud providers don’t apply, and not everybody realizes the value that lies in being in control of your own data.

Still, there are quite a few fat client projects, not only in KDE PIM itself, but also around it. Christian presented the state of Kube, an alternative groupware client, partly based on KDE PIM technology, but which also uses its own concepts. It emerged from the Kolab project and is actively developed. It’s not meant to cover all possible use cases, but provides a fresh look at how to think of groupware clients.

Volker finally gave a presentation about a new side branch of the KDE PIM community, covering KDE Itinerary and friends. This is about collecting, processing, and presenting transportation information and more in a beautiful and helpful way. As a highlight, Volker showed train and hotel data from the historical Osnabrück events in the new shiny user interface. Starting from extracting tickets and other travel information from emails this has developed into a bunch of new applications and frameworks to help with use cases such as navigating train stations, checking the availability of shared bikes, or reminding of what power plug adaptor you have to bring when you are traveling abroad. This also is based on KDE PIM technology but also reaches out into a new set of technologies and communities, beyond what we expected back in the Osnabrück days. In some way, it developed its own life.

We ended the meeting with favorite beverages, and chatting and discussing everything we had learned. BigBlueButton proved to be a stable and supportive platform for the meeting and its aftermath. We augmented that with a KDE PIM themed Work Adventure room, where people assembled around the Akonadi lamp, or at the KDE kitchen table to chat in smaller groups.

All in all, a really nice way to reconnect, remember and talk about what’s cooking in KDE PIM land.

Plasma Mobile/LMMS Sounds Contest

By the Plasma Mobile & LMMS Teams

Plasma Mobile held the first-ever Sound Contest in collaboration with the LMMS community. The competition produced a brand new selection of ringtones, alarms and system sounds for PLasma Mobile. Judges from both communities selected a variety of sounds made specifically for Plasma Mobile and Nesdood007 won the competition, receiving a selection of KDE goodies as a prize. Also, the runner ups Shell Raiser, Neyrax, Axel Lopez, Ivan Kiselyov, Technology Sound Massacre (TSM), and Derek Lin were the very talented musicians and sound engineers who generously provided the Plasma Mobile project with cool alarms, ringtones and a variety of other interesting sounds.

You can download all the sounds from the KDE Invent repository.

Wayland Goal Sprint

By the Wayland Team

From the 23rd to the 24th of January, the Wayland team held their annual sprint. During the sprint, the team discussed and worked on:

  • The QtWayland threaded polling patch
  • Scene Redesign
  • Input Methods
  • Virtual Keyboards
  • Compositing Scheduling Recap
  • Compositor hand-offs
  • KWin Stand-alone/Embedded
  • Wayland as Default
  • Custom Plasma Protocols
  • Feature parity
  • QtWayland patches and Qt 5
  • Wayland on Qt6 and KF6

Season of KDE

By the SoK Team

The KDE Student Programs has been running Season of KDE Since 2013. Season of KDE is a program similar to, but not quite the same as, Google Summer of Code. It offers an opportunity for everyone (not just students) to participate in both coding and non-coding projects that benefit the KDE ecosystem. In the past few years, SoK participants have not only created new application features, but have also developed the KDE Continuous Integration System, statistical reports for developers, a web framework, ported KDE applications, created documentation, and contributed to KDE with lots and lots of other tasks.

In 2021, SoK ran from 13th January to 9th April. The projects were related to Promo, Documentation, KStars, Peruse, Plasma, Plasma Discover, ISO Image Writer, Live USB Maker, Calamares, KWeather, Plasma Firewall, KClock, Elisa, NeoChat, KQuick Image Editor, and eurOS. This year Season of KDE was longer and was a fun event to participate in.

Frameworks 6 Virtual Sprint

By the Frameworks Team

From the 27th to the 28th of March, the KDE Frameworks team held a virtual KDE Frameworks 6 Sprint. One and a half years after the initial steps towards KF6, the transition to Qt 6 is getting closer and we needed to map out the next steps forward.

The virtual sprint allowed many more people to participate than we at the last physical KF6 sprint, peaking at more than 30 attendees. You can see more details on the KF6 workboard and the sprint meeting notes, but hese are some of the topics that we covered:

  • Qt 6 Migration
  • ECM and Qt major versions
  • Version-less CMake targets
  • The structure of the KDE Frameworks
  • 5.15 minimum requirement bump timeline.

Linux App Summit

By Aniqa Khokhar

Linux App Summit banner

Linux App Summit (LAS) was held online from the 13th to the 15th of May and a single-track event. Like every year, KDE and GNOME co-hosted LAS, the conference that brings the global Linux community together to learn, collaborate, and help grow the Linux application ecosystem.

The event was well attended by 437 participants that met on BigBlueButton and reached 1032 viewers on YouTube. The event included talks, panels and Q&As on a wide range of topics, including a talk about “Adaptive Apps: The Future is Now” delivered by Tobias Bernard, Karen Sandler shared insights on “Software Freedom in the Pandemic: Wins, Losses and Lessons Learned”, “Writing native Linux desktop apps with JavaScript” by Philip Chimento, and many more.

Meet Mini Sprint

By the Meet Team

From the 3rd to the 4th of April, Kenny Duffus, Kenny Coyle, Carl Schwan, and Bhushan Shah met online for the Meet Team’s 2021 sprint.

Over the last year, KDE has been running BigBlueButton on meet.kde.org. Where initially, meet.kde.org was built to support Akademy 2020, it has become a very valuable community resource enabling remote meetings and events.

The main goals of this sprint were to:

  • Reflect on what has worked and what can be improved.
  • Determine if there are any key traits that we should add to meet.kde.org to turn it into a better, permanent community resource.
  • Perform some discovery on other events using similar technologies and determine if their implementations could give us some inspiration.
  • Look forward to Akademy 2021 and design the “conference experience,” outline any new technology that we might need to put it together.
  • Where possible, build prototypes for any new technologies that we would like to build, proving (or disproving) the concept.


By Paul Brown

Akademy 2021 attendees
Attendees to KDES's 2021 Online Akademy event.

Akademy 2021 was hosted online from the 18th to the 25th of June, 2021.

The annual conference of the KDE Community this year featured training sessions, presentations on the latest KDE developments, talks, workshops, Birds of a Feather (BoF) sessions, hacking and coding sessions. Akademy this year welcomed more than 86 speakers, attracted 476 attendees on BigBlueButton, 1248 viewers on YouTube and reached the global KDE Community and beyond.

Day 2

Talks, Lightning Talks & Panels

First thing in the morning, Aleix Pol, president of KDE, introduced the event and explained how Akademy 2021 was still “special” because we could still not meet in person.

Aleix then introduced the first keynote speaker of the event: Patricia Aas, co-founder of TurtleSec and a C++ developer and trainer. In her talk, Patricia explored bugs, types of bugs, how to deal with the secondary problems bugs create.

Goal Champions
Aleix (2nd from left), Meven (4th from left) and Niccolò (5th from left), with Adam and Lydia

Then Aleix was back with his own talk, in which he told us about KDE’s “All about the apps” goal. The goal encourages community members to develop, improve and help distribute KDE apps. This it turns out, is especially important for new KDE environments, such as Plasma Mobile! He explained how the goal is going and encouraged people to join the effort.

Niccolò Venerandi took over and talked about the “Consistency” goal. The Consistency goal seeks to make sure all KDE elements integrate well with each other, and makes sure the look and feel of apps and environments are similar across the board. He explained, with live drawings, how people working on this goal establish rules for each of the elements in graphical elements, such as app windows, and how that has contributed to apps gracefully integrating with each other.

Méven Car then talked about all the progress made by the people working on the Wayland goal, and Vlad Zahorodnii covered the next steps of what would soon be arriving.

All the goal Champions, Aleix, Meven and Niccolò, got together with Adam Szopa and Lydia Pintscher and talked about their projects and how they help focus the efforts of the KDE community. Although, as Lydia pointed out, it is not the only way to get things done in KDE, it is a good way to start and understand what KDE’s main concerns and aims are.

The morning ended with four lightning talks, in which Anupam Basak talked about how to use Qt with Python; Carl Schwan analyzed the health of the KDE Community with some very illuminating (and colorful!) graphics and charts; Andreas Cord-Landwehr talked about SPDX License Markers in KDE, that is markers placed inside code that identifies the license the code is distributed under and that can be read by a machine (saving a lot of money in legal fees!). Finally, David Redondo talked about Power Profiles in Plasma, that is, how Plasma manages the power it needs, the state of the battery and so on.

The evening talks started at 17:00 UTC with the Sponsors’ Talks, where the companies and organizations that helped finance Akademy explained their products and services, and the role Open Source software plays in their businesses. Mbition, KDAB, Qt Company, GitLab, Fedora all delivered talks.

Later, in Room 1, Nicolas Fella used his talk “What’s cooking for KDE Frameworks 6” to explain the work being carried out to build KF6. KF6 is the version of KDE Frameworks that will use, and be compatible with Qt6. In the talk, developers learned about upcoming changes and how they could contribute to the effort.

Meanwhile, in Room 2, in his talk “Staying Indoors - OSM indoor maps for KDE Itinerary”, Volker Krause observed that providing information about the insides of buildings, such as big stations and airports, can be vital for travelers. Unfortunately, often the data you get from online services is confusing and overwhelming. Volker explained how KDE’s Itinerary app splits up the information, making large buildings easier to navigate.

At 20 past six, Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen took over in Room 1 and told us their History of Software Distribution, and explored the many ways they have tried to get the software to users.

At the same time, in room 2, Daniel Vrátil, introduced us to C++ Coroutines, a new feature in C++ 20. He explained how coroutines can be used with certain Qt operations, such as DBus calls, network replies, and so on.

Then Massimo Stella presented Kdenlive, KDE’s advanced video-editing software. In his talk, he covered Kdenlive’s new features, such as the “smart” subtitler, the zoom bars in the timeline, and same-track transitions.

Meanwhile, in room 2, Kevin Ottens, in his presentation “KF6 the Architecture Overview - Time to Slice Things Up Yet Again”, talked about how the KF5 offer was originally structured and how it has led to some issues over time. He then explained an idea that could help improve things while moving to KF6.

Back in room 1, Paul Brown and Aniqa Khokhar explained to attendees how they can take advantage of the Promo team in “Promo as a Service”, and how KDE members could improve the visibility of their projects.

Meanwhile, in room 2, David Edmundson was delivering “Wayland for Qt application developers”. In his talk, he explored what Wayland means for Qt application developers, some common traps and pitfalls and how to avoid them.

During the last session in room 1, Cornelius Schumacher explained in “Towards sustainable computing” what the impact computing had on our environment and talked about strategies KDE could adopt to become more efficient, and how developers could create apps that used less energy.

Finally, in room 2, Alexander Saoutkin used his talk “ARM Memory Tagging Extension - Fighting Memory Unsafety with Hardware” to explore the threats posed by memory unsafety in C++ programs and some new tools that help minimize them.

Day 3

Working Groups, Plasma, Networks and the Life Story of a Born Hacker

The day started at 8:00 UTC sharp with four very interesting lightning talks. Kai Uwe Broulik talked about how to become productive using Plasma at home. He pointed out tips and tricks that allow you to avoid interruptions and improve your time working from your couch.

Niccolò Venerandi explained from experience how to grow a KDE Video Community. Niccolò runs a fledgling and upcoming YouTube channel and is advised on how to manage your content and even how to successfully monetize it.

Alexander Saoutkin talked about KIO FUSE and how it brings a slew of useful features that help integrate remote file systems into the local one.

Rohan Asokan talked about Kalk, his first OSC project and his first experience developing for KDE. His story was an uplifting look into how you can get started in Free Software development.

At 9:00 UTC, Aleix Pol, Adriaan de Groot, Eike Hein, Lydia Pintscher and Neofytos Kolokotronis delivered their traditional yearly live KDE e.V. Board report. The Board members gave an overview of the activities carried out over the last year and provided an outlook for the next. Highlights included employing more contractors to carry out vital KDE work, plans for upcoming events and sprints (in person at last!), and the plans for KDE’s 25th Anniversary happening later this year.

This was followed by KDE’s working groups’ reports. Tomaz Canabrava kicked off things by telling us about the Community Working Group, the group of valiant volunteers who tackle conflict resolution within the Community. Although 2020 was rough for many reasons, the CWG managed to solve disputes and added a new member to their ranks.

Frederik Gladhorn and Olaf Schmidt-Wischhöfer told us about the KDE Free Qt Working Group. The KDE Free Qt Foundation is in charge of maintaining and managing the agreement between KDE and the Qt Company regarding the licensing as free software of the Qt framework. The working group is supporting the members of the foundation and helped set up KDE’s Qt 5 Patch Collection.

Bhushan Shah then introduced the work being carried out by the Sysadmin Working Group. The list of tasks and achievements completed by KDE’s sysadmins over 2020 is too long and impressive to list here, but, the highlights include setting up the Big Blue Button infrastructure for KDE events and sprints, upgrading and modernizing KDE’s server infrastructures so it can handle the increase in demands from the Community (it served 40 Terabytes only in April!), the implementation of MyKDE, which will soon substitute KDE Identity, and improved specialized services, like maps.kde.org, that serves maps and plans to KDE’s mapping applications such as Marble and Itinerary.

Neofytos introduced the Advisory Board Working Group and explained its role as a point of contact for sponsors and members of the Advisory Board. Neofytos also introduced KDE’s two new patrons: Pine64 and Slimbook.

The Financial Working Group reported that one time donations increased by 40% in 2020. These are donations made by private citizens. The income from student mentorships (GSoC, Code-In) decreased as the interest seems to be trending down for these activities. Meanwhile, major income sources remained stable, although financial assets grew in 2020. Hence, as a non-profit, KDE needs to spend more money and is currently doing so by starting to employ more contractors.

Carl Schwan introduced the Fundraising Working Group, the group that identifies fundraising opportunities. Carl introduced the new member of the group, Niccolò Venerandi, and told us about the updated relate.kde.org and donations pages.

Regular talks started again at 10:20 UTC, and Raghavendra Kamath told us how they built a new way for artists, users and developers to communicate in the Krita community using Discourse. Apart from the technical details of the implementation, Raghavendra explained different features and how they benefited the users.

Meanwhile, in room 2, Kai Köhne, from the Qt Company, talked about “Porting user applications to Qt” and how the release of Qt 6 is going. Kai explained that, although 6.0 was released in December, not all of Qt 5 was ported at that time. Gradually, over 2021, more and more Qt libraries and frameworks will be implemented into Qt6, reaching completion in early 2022.

Later, in room 1, Neofytos Kolokotronis delivered his talk “Developing products that break out of our bubble(s)” in which he presented the various levels of bubbles that KDE’s products need to break out from in order to grow their userbase. He used examples from applications that are already doing well, and proposed candidates ready to travel outside KDE’s orbit.

In room 2, Timothée Ravier introduced us to “Kinoite”, a new immutable Fedora variant with the KDE Plasma desktop based on rpm-ostree, Flatpak and podman. Timothée explained how “Kinoite” improves the user experience with atomic and safe updates for the system (rpm-ostree), the applications (Flatpak) and development tools or containers (podman).

The morning sessions finished with Lydia Pintscher and Neofytos again in room 1 talking about “Making a living in KDE”, and Arjen Hiemstra in room 2 with his presentation “Closing the distance between CPU and GPU with Signed Distance Fields”.

At last year’s Akademy, the KDE e. V. board announced that they were putting together an initiative to help people make a living with KDE products. In today’s presentation, Lydia explained what they wanted to do in that regard and the plans for the future.

Meanwhile, in room 2, Arjen explained how traditional 2D rendering methods using exclusively CPU were missing out from using increasingly powerful GPUs. In his talk, Arjen described a technique called Signed Distance Fields, already in use in the KQuickCharts framework and ShadowedRectangle in Kirigami, that offers a very powerful tool for advanced 2D rendering.

After a break, the conference started up at 17:00 UTC again with sponsor talks. openSUSE, Canonical, reMarkable, Pine64, Shells and Collabora all sent video messages explaining what they do and wishing the Community a happy and productive Akademy.

In the first talk of the evening in room 1, Andreas Cord-Landwehr introduced us to “The Art of Logging”, and showed us how the Qt logging framework worked and how one can access and analyze logs via remote access even using an embedded device, like a Plasma Mobile smartphone.

In room 2, Marco Martin talked about “Plasma internals: the next few years”, where he talked about the move from Qt5 to Qt6. He explained that, while the port to Qt6 is not posing a technology challenge as big as when KDE migrated from Qt4 to Qt5, it does open the door to learning from the lessons of the Plasma 5 lifetime, and the possibility to refactor and simplify things in order to offer a leaner and more robust experience for users and developers alike.

At 20:20 UTC, David Edmundson presented “Addressing Wayland Robustness” in room 1, in which he talked about the current inherent instability of Wayland and how Plasma, as a late-adopter of the X Windows successor, could possibly avoid some of the issues that troubled other environments.

In room 2, Christian Strømme took us to another dimension with his talk “Qt Quick 3D in Qt 6.2”. In his talk, Christian introduced us to Qt Quick 3D and its features and showed us how it could be used to create spectacular 3D renders and effects.

Later, Björn Balazs took to room 1 and told us “How we can solve the personal data problem”. Given the issues derived from collecting and processing personal data, Björn provided in his talk a vision for the KDE Community of a system, that would be trustworthy, democratic, transparent and that guarantees digital privacy for each and every one. At the same time, it would provide fair access to personal data for those interested.

Meanwhile, in room 2 Igor Ljubuncic, aka “Dedoimedo”, took us to Snaps, the final frontier with “Dev Trek - The Next Generation”. In Igor’s talk, he told us about the advantages of Snaps, self-contained applications, that boast reliable updates and a coherent behavior across a wide range of distributions.

Towards the end of the evening, Bhavisha Dhruve, Aniqa Khokhar, Aiswarya Kaitheri Kandoth and Tomaz Canabrava told us about KDE Network, the project that builds communities in places where Free Software adoption would otherwise be scattered at best. In the talk, the panel explained the achievements they have reached since the program began, and the upcoming projects they are currently working on.

Jeri Ellsworth
Jeri Ellsworth teold us about her career, from fram girl to top Silicon Valley hacker in her keynote.

The last session was the keynote by Jeri Ellsworth, “Journey from Farm Girl to Holograms”. Jeri is a maker extraordinaire, ex-Valve hacker, self-taught chip designer and inventor of a system for playing 3D tabletop games using Augmented Reality glasses. She told us how her mentors helped her become the successful techie she is today in a roller coaster of a story, with so many twists and turns, that this brief description cannot do it justice.

From Monday to Thursday, Akademy attendees participated in Bird of a Feather (BoF) meetings, private reunions, and hackathons.

Day 8

BoFs, Talks and Awards

After 4 days + 1 morning of BoFs, hacking sessions and meetings, talks at Akademy resumed in room 1 on Friday at 17:00 UTC. Kevin Ottens and Christelle Zouein from enioka Haute Couture kicked things off with the talk Community’s Adventures in Analyticsland - Or the State of the Community Through New Analytics. Christelle and Kevin showed us the data analysis tools they have been working on to study information collected from KDE’s development repositories and the surprising facts and trends they discovered.

At the same time, in room 2, Volker Krause talked about Releasing Android Apps - Building, optimizing and deploying release APKs. In this talk, Volker explained that, because KDE developers are producing more and more mobile-friendly applications, there was a need to better understand how to release mobile platforms.

Volker covered the efforts to expand KDE’s tools for building packages (that already help produce packages for Windows, macOS and AppImage) so developers can also use them to create Android packages.

At 19:40, Manav Sethi and Paul Brown came on in room 1 to talk about a new KDE project: Kockatoo a tool to simplify the management of social media posting. After Paul explained the issues derived from managing multiple accounts on a wide variety of platforms, Manav demonstrated how Kockatoo can help. The speakers then explained what was missing from the project and how they thought Kockatoo could help the different KDE projects be more efficient on social media.

In room 2, Lars Knoll from the Qt Company, talked about Qt 6, its new features and the current roadmap leading toward its completion. In the talk, Lars gave an overview of the largest changes that are included in Qt 6, where the development stands right now with Qt 6.1 and where it is headed.

At 20:20, Albert Astals Cid talked about the KDE Qt 5.15 patch collection, the branch of Qt5 maintained by the KDE community after the Qt Company halted updates to concentrate on Qt6. Albert explained in his talk why this patch collection was created, what it is and how it is maintained.

Meanwhile, in room 2, Shawn Rutledge talked about Interactive UIs in Qt Quick 3D. In his talk, Shawn explored the possibilities of enabling controls and interactive elements in 3D virtual reality-like environments and showed us some seriously cool examples of how technology works.

At 21:00 UTC, Nuno Pinheiro took over in room 1 and talked of his work developing O² (“Oxygen squared”), a new icon set based upon KDE’s iconic Oxygen designs of yore.

In room 2, Thomas Hartmann introduced us to Qt Design Studio, a new tool that intends to break the cycle of painstaking feedback loops between designers and developers.

After this talk in room 2, all the attendees convened in room 1 to hear Aleix Pol, president of KDE, talk about working professionally with KDE. In his presentation, Aleix shared his own experiences of working with the KDE Community and reflected on the experience of having hired several contractors to work within KDE.

The last act of Akademy 2021 after the BoF wrap up of the day, was the traditional ceremony of the Akademy Awards. This year they went to Alexander Semke of LabPlot for Best Application, Paul Brown from the Promo team for Best Non-Application Contribution, and Adriaan de Groot, who received the Jury Award for his selfless dedication and work within the KDE Community.

And that was it! Another fun-filled and fruitful Akademy was over, and now we all look forward to meeting next year again, hopefully in person this time.

All the talk recordings are now available on PeerTube or if you prefer you can also just grab the files

Online Fundraising Sprint

By the Fundraising Team

From the 11th to the 12th of September, Kenny Coyle, Carl Schwan, and Lays Rodrigues met up for a mini-online sprint. The aim of the sprint was to discuss the implementation of the platforms needed for KDE’s 25th Anniversary Fundraising Campaign.

The main goals of this sprint were to:

  • Focus on the KDE 25th Anniversary
  • Discuss how KDE can use this event to generate fundraising engagement
  • Design messaging around the event
  • Implement the campaign website
  • Implement the fundraising platform

NeoChat Mini Sprint

By the Neochat Team

NeoChat attendees
NeoChat developers (from left to right) Tobias, Nicolas and Carl.

On the 16th October, we held an improvised NeoChat mini development sprint in a small hotel room in Berlin on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of KDE. In a good KDE tradition, Carl spent this time improving NeoChat settings. He ported both the NeoChat general settings and the specific room settings to the new Kirigami CategorizedSetting component. Tobias fixed a lot of papercuts and now the power level should be fetched correctly. We also show the number of joined users instead of joined+invited users in the room information pane, and the user search is now case insensitive. Nicolas focused on fixing our Android build by making the spellchecking feature compile on Android.


By Aniqa Khokhar

Attendees to Akademy-es 2021

The sixteenth edition of Akademy-es, KDE’s yearly event for the Spanish speaking community, was held online from 19th to 21st November. For over 15 years, Akademy-es has been promoting and bringing this great event to the general public as well as to all the developers.

This year as well, there was a weekend full of virtual talks, presentations, workshops and virtual social events in which we discovered the news of the KDE Community and the progress of one of the most important free projects within Free Software.

The conference started with the opening ceremony by Adrián Chaves, president of KDE Spain. Then there were talks on various topics such as The KDE Qt 5.15 Patch Collection, Kdenlive, 10 KDE tricks, Blockchain and free software, Hardware and KDE, as well as lightning talks and much more.

KDE Eco Sprint

By Joseph P. De Veaugh-Geiss

On 11 December 2021, KDE Eco held the first of many planned Sprints. The Sprint was originally intended to be an in-person event to set up a community measurement lab, but Corona had other ideas. Nevertheless, the community deployed its usual resourcefulness, and we met online instead.

We discussed the next steps in KDE’s Eco project, and the day’s conversation was varied, covering topics such as setting up a team space for the project (achieved), completing the Blauer Engel application for Okular (submitted), along with several technical issues related to energy-consumption measurements in the lab, including Standard Usage Scenarios, replicable reference systems, standardizing data output, budget vs. professional power meters, and more. See the minutes for details.

The online Sprint was a wonderful opportunity to bring the community together and move the KDE Eco project forward, especially as we prepare for the community measurement lab that will be held at KDAB Berlin and the first of many measure-athons (planned for early 2022)!

Projects & Apps

Angelfish - A Light Web Browser for your Phone

By the Angelfish Team

Angelfish Browser running on a PinePhone
The Angelfish browser works both on desktop and mobile devices.

Angelfish is a modern lightweight web browser that will work on your desktop and your Plasma Mobile device.

It supports typical browser features, such as

  • bookmarks
  • history
  • tabs

Haruna - Play Online Videos

By the Haruna Team

Haruna is an open source video player built with Qt/QML and libmpv.

Some of its feature include:

  • play online videos, through youtube-dl
  • supports youtube playlists
  • toggle playlist with mouse-over, playlist overlays the video
  • auto skip chapter containing certain words
  • configurable shortcuts and mouse buttons
  • quick jump to next chapter by middle click on progress bar

Kalendar - Modern Calendar and Task Manager

By the Kalendar Team

Week view in Kalendar
Kalendar is an advanced calendaring and task-managing app for both desktop and mobile devices.

Kalendar is a calendar application that allows you to manage your tasks and events. Kalendar supports both local calendars as well as a multitude of online calendars, including Nextcloud, Google® Calendar, Outlook®, Caldav, and many more.

Kalendar gives you many ways to interact with your events. The month view, as the name suggests, provides an overview of the entire month; the week view presents a detailed hour-by-hour overview of your week; and the schedule view lists all of your upcoming events so that you can easily and quickly plan ahead.

There is also a tasks view that makes it easy for you to manage your tasks and subtasks with Kalendar’s powerful tree view and its customisable filtering capabilities.

Kalendar was built with the idea to be usable on your desktop machine, on mobile and everything in between.

Kalk - A Calculator for your Phone and Desktop

By the Kalk Team

Kalk is a convergent calculator for Plasma. Kalk is a calculator application built with the Kirigami framework which, although mainly targeted for mobile platforms, can also be used on the desktop.

Originally starting as a fork of Liri calculator, Kalk has gone through heavy development, and no longer shares the same codebase with Liri calculator.

Some of its features include:

  • Basic calculation
  • History
  • Unit conversion
  • Currency conversion
  • Binary calculation

KGeoTag - Place and Locate your Pics on a Map

By the KGeoTag Team

KGeoTag screenshot
KGeoTag is a stand-alone geotagging program.

Another new app released in 2021 was KGeoTag. You can use KGeoTag to assign image files to GPS locations on a map. This can help you remember the exact location of where a photo was taken, or discover images that were taken at the same place. Of course, this is most useful when used together with another program such as KPhotoAlbum, that can also display this information and lets you search by GPS coordinates.

With KGeoTag you can

  • match image coordinates to GPX track files based on time information
  • drag and drop images to points on the map
  • store bookmarks for frequently used places
  • set the elevation (manually or by looking it up online).

Koko - Convergent Image Viewer

By the Koko Team

Koko is an image gallery application designed for Plasma Mobile that can be used to view, edit and share images.

With Koko, users can:

  • browse the images of the standard Pictures directory. If the user chooses a collection then a new column is pushed into the row and if he/she chooses an image then the chosen image is shown in high resolution.
  • select the images to browse using various filters. The user can select the filters from the left sidebar.
  • select multiple images at a time and delete or share them (just the images and not the collections or the folders).
  • view images of a folder in a higher resolution. Images can be viewed in windowed mode as well as full screen mode which can be toggled by pressing F.

Phonebook - Manage Contacts on your Desktop and Phone

By the Phonebook Team

This new KDE application is a convergent contact management application for both desktop and mobile devices. It provides a central place for starting conversations. Depending on the information available about a contact, you can phone, text or message them.

With Phonebook you can

  • view contacts
  • add and remove contacts
  • import vCard files.

Skanpage - Lightweight Scanning Utility

By the Skanpage Team

Skanpage is KDE’s new image scanning app. It’s a simple scanning application designed for multi-page scans and saving of documents and images.

It works for scanning from both flatbed and feed-through automatic document feeder scanners. It lets you configure options for the scanning device, such as resolution and margins, and you can re-order, rotate and delete scanned pages. The scans can be saved to multi-page PDF documents and image files.

Subtitle Composer - A Full-Featured Subtitling App

By the Subtitle Composer Team

Subtitle composer screenshot
Subtitle Composer gives you all the tools you need to caption your videos.

We love making videos, and, to make those videos accessible, it’s great to have subtitles in them. Subtitle Composer is a new app from KDE that helps you add texts to your videos. You can set the timing, font, size and add multiple languages.

For translations and transcriptions, you can work with two subtitles side-by-side. Subtitle Composer lets you adapt the waveform to your liking, fit your subtitles to your needs and change the interface itself! The user interface is adaptable, so you can use whatever colours work best with the video and you can move panels to find a workflow that is the most comfortable for you.

It works with all the subtitle file formats, including text and graphical subtitle formats, formats supported by ffmpeg, demux formats, MicroDVD, and graphical formats supported by ffmpeg.

It does speech recognition too, so it can even add the subtitles for you. And you can quickly and easily sync subtitles by dragging several anchors/graftpoints and stretching the timeline, doing time shifting and scaling, lines duration re-calculation, framerate conversion then joining and splitting the subtitle files. Spell checking is included, of course, and it can even be scripted in multiple languages.


Pinebook Pro - Everyday Computing with Plasma

By the Promo Team

KDE apps running on Plasma

The Pinebook Pro comes with Manjaro using the KDE desktop. It is meant to deliver solid day-to-day Linux or *BSD experience and to be a compelling alternative to mid-ranged Chromebooks that people convert into Linux laptops. In contrast to most mid-ranged Chromebooks however, the Pinebook Pro comes with an IPS 1080p 14″ LCD panel, a premium magnesium alloy shell, 64/128GB of eMMC storage, a 10,000 mAh capacity battery and the modularity/hackability that only an open source project can deliver – such as the unpopulated PCIe m.2 NVMe slot. The USB-C port on the Pinebook Pro, apart from being able to transmit data and charge the unit, is also capable of digital video output up to 4K at 60hz.

Steam Deck - Valve's Plasma-enabled Gaming Console

By the Promo Team

Staam Deck game console

In November, Valve announced the Steam Deck – a handheld gaming device running KDE Plasma under the hood! By using a Linux-based OS, Valve is hugely improving the gaming space on Linux. And by running KDE Plasma, tons of people will gain exposure to KDE’s software when they use the device docked with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, because yes, you can do that! This thing is a real computer and can be used like one too!

PinePhone Pro - 2nd Gen Plasma Mobile Phone

By the Promo Team

PinePhone Pro

Powered by a modified Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core SoC operating at 1.5GHz, the PinePhone Pro was ready for ordering in November. The PinePhone Pro ships with 4GB of dual-channel LPDDR4 RAM as well as 128GB of internal eMMC flash storage. It features a high-fidelity 13MP main camera sensor and a 5MP front-facing camera.

The PinePhone Pro is the device of choice to test run KDE’s Plasma Mobile, an entirely free and open sourced environment for mobile devices.

Trade Shows and Community Events


By Aniqa Khokhar

This year FOSDEM was held online from 6th to 7th February, and was very different from in-person events. As it was our first time having a booth online, we learnt a lot from the event.

We organized demos at KDE’s booth and had Bhushan Shah show off the new features of Plasma Mobile, Marco Martin did a live programming demonstration with Kirigami, Ramón Miranda painted live on Krita, Carl Schwan talked about NeoChat (KDE’s new chat application for Matrix), Adam Szopa presented Live News about KDE, Tomaz Canabrava demo Konsole new features, Luis Falcon talked about MyGNUHealth (KDE’s new health application), and Massimo Stella did a live video-editing demo with Kdenlive. To make our booth more interesting, we also offered Konqi stickers for the Matrix Room.

Overall, it was a fun weekend. On Saturday, 329 people signed in to the Matrix room and 223 people on Sunday. On average, between 20 to 60 people were watching the demos at any given time, and there was a lot of engagement from the audience.


By Aniqa Khokhar

FOSSASIA was held online from 13th to 21st March and we were participating for the first time.

We had two sessions at the Summit: The first was in the exhibitor’s room and was an hour-long session. The second session was part of the main hall and we were allotted five minutes to talk but we ended up having around 15-20 minutes.

Approximately 35 attendees in our session and it turned out to be a good platform to attract new contributors and users from Asian countries.

Calamares does Hacktoberfest

By Adriaan De Groot

Calamares is an independent Linux-distro-installer. It was recently added to FreeBSD ports as well, although you won’t be able to use it as an installer yet. The Calamares project is KDE-adjacent – but independent – so it participates ins some things that KDE projects do not. One of those things is Hacktoberfest.

Hacktoberfest is now in its eighth year. The Calamares project has participated before and we’ve seen some small benefits from it. This year, the rules have tightened to be stricter on spam pull-requests (in 2020 we got a couple), and I’m glad of that. Potential contributors can check out the list of good starter-issues. Most of those issues have a checklist to help new folks along. The checklist should take you from “get Calamares to run at all” through to “submit a PR that can be merged”.

Libre Graphics Meeting

By Aniqa Khokhar

In 2021, Libre Graphics Meeting (LGM) was held online and physical from 27th to 30th May.

The LGM is a yearly event about Free Software related to graphics. Organized every year since 2006, the goal of the Libre Graphics Meeting is to attract developers, artists and professionals using and improving Free Software for creating graphical work. The LGM fosters discussions between developers and users. Unlike many other events dedicated to Free Software, the LGM always has a strong artistic direction, with designers and artists showing their work along with the developers’ work.

KDE’s community members participated at the LGM. Livio Fania illustrated a portrait demo using Krita, Ramón Miranda talked about Krita’s growth and Arkengheist demonstrated live Video editing with Kdenlive.

Google Summer of Code

By Aniqa Khokhar

From 17th May to 31st August 2021, the KDE Community welcomed Google Summer of Code students for 2021. Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a global program focused on attracting students to Open Source software development. Students work with an Open Source organization on a three-month programming project during their break from school.

This was our 16th year of mentoring students. The following students have worked with our development teams throughout the summer.

Linux Application Ecosystem

By Burgess Chang

Attendees to the Linux Application Ecosystem event

I helped KDE Network China and Ubuntu Kylin’s with its first event, Linux Application Ecosystem Salon on October 23rd at Central South University, Changsha. The goal of this event was to promote the development of FOSS/FLOSS software within Chinese universities and to make it easier for students to understand the development of open source in China by popularizing KDE software and open-source activities in other communities.

We had around 10 speakers and over 100 students who participated. We had sessions about KDE and the GNU/Linux Real World and KDE Plasma Mobile.

After the event, I was approached by many students asking about how can they support KDE.

As an organizer and participant of this event, I went on my first outreach trip on behalf of KDE. Through my interactions with the students, I learned that the students were interested in participating in FOSS, either out of interest or in terms of career planning. Perhaps this is the beauty of the FOSS culture that inspires us.

OpenUK Awards

By Jonathan Esk-Riddell

The OpenUk awards recognise and celebrate the best in open tech in the UK. It was held on 11 November with a day of events about sustainability with technology emphasising why open tech is the most effective way to do that.

Sessions included an opening from former government minister Francis Maude, Launch of the OpenUK Consortium Data Centre Blueprint, Open Collaboration Opening Sustainability led by Red Hat, Opening Up the Energy Sector, building the Sustainable Open Future for the UK.

In the evening I hosted the OpenUK awards 2021, showcasing and recognising the best people and organisations for open tech in the UK. I also made an announcement about KDE’s sustainability effort in front of the politicians and tech audience.

Working Groups


By Ben Cooksley

2021 was a year of continued building on foundations laid down in prior years, with much being achieved.

Gitlab continued to be an area of focus for us, with our Continuous Integration system being adapted to work natively. This involved a complete rewrite of the tooling due to significant differences between how Jenkins and Gitlab CI operate, and also allowed us to offer CI services both as part of code review as well as on developers working branches for the first time. These changes also greatly simplified the addition of Qt 6 builds. Additionally to this, we also rewrote a portion of the hooks which process all Git commits, allowing us to introduce functionality available in newer versions of Git.

Continuous Delivery services were also improved during the year, with a stable release F-Droid repository being established for Android application builds. Significant progress was also made surrounding our API Documentation, which to date has been generated on a single server whose setup is difficult to replicate. During the year progress was made on transitioning both to newer tooling which is more maintainable, as well as to a Docker image which can be run by anyone on a local system. We expect the transition to this new setup to be completed in 2022, which will improve the long term maintainability and sustainability of our infrastructure.

The replacement of older parts of our infrastructure also continued, with the servers for KDE Identity and our translation services both being replaced. These changes have improved the security of both, and in the case of translation services also expanded our capacity to complete nightly processing tasks in a more timely manner.

  • Created 42 subversion accounts
  • Disabled 3 subversion accounts

  • Created 3 kdemail.net aliases
  • Disabled 1 kdemail.net aliases

  • Created 7 kde.org aliases
  • Disabled 1 kde.org aliases
  • Modified 4 kde.org aliases

  • Created 11 kde.org mailing-lists: kde-l10n-my kstopmotion energy-efficiency kgeotag kde-ev-free-qt-wg kde-l10n-ta kde-l10n-ar kde-l10n-fi kde-i18n-sq kphotoalbum
  • Disabled 1 kde.org mailing-lists: kde-ev-patrons

Financial Working Group

By Eike Hein, Marta Rybczynska and Till Adam

Income (€):

Patrons: 64,700.00
Supporting members & donations: 104,713.28
Akademy: 29,840.55
Other Events: 14,199.48
GSoC and Code in: 5,296.08
Other 20,180.28
Total Income: 238,929.67

Expenses (€):

Personnel: -150,289.93
Akademy: -3,609.10
Sprints 0.00
Other events: -666.35
Infrastructure: -9,046.76
Office: -7,079.03
Taxes and Insurance: -21,038.50
Other: -26,667.08
Total: -218,396.75


The year of 2021 was financially largely uneventful. It was again dominated by the global pandemic, impacting KDE’s activities on both the income and expenses side of our finances. Overall, the financial result for 2021 is broadly similar to the previous year. This is good in that our organization continues to be of very strong financial health, with many options to fund activities going forward. It is, however, bad in that we had planned to significantly outspend our income in 2021, but in part due to a presently risk-averse ecosystem did not do so.

The reusable infrastructure for online events that was put in place in 2020 could be leveraged in 2021, as hoped, making our event activities in 2021 relatively low-cost. The response from our sponsors to our event activities was in line with previous years. As all events were held online, there were again very few travel expenses related to them.

We spent more money on personnel costs, partly because of a change in attribution of secondary salary costs (for example health insurance and personal work equipment) to personnel expenses, as opposed to taxes and insurances. The planned contracting only happened partially, leading to less spending than planned in this area.

The category of “Other” income grew, partially because grant payments from the environmental ministry of Germany, supporting the FEEP and BE4FOSS projects being conducted under our KDE Eco initiative, are accounted there. This additional income largely maps to expenses on the personnel side.

Donation income from KDE e.V.’s patrons and supporters, and individual donations, overall remained strong and stable in 2021. In these annual numbers, income via our patrons appears slightly inflated due to delayed payments of 2020 membership fees. However, throughout the year, KDE e.V. gained three new patrons while also losing one patron. Of particular note among the individual donations is a large single donation by one of our new patrons, PINE64, of almost 20.000 EUR.

For 2022, travel is expected to resurface as a significant expense as events return to in-person or hybrid formats. Contracting activities are also expected to pick up, following earlier plans. The budget for 2022 reflects the sustained goal of spending more aggressively in order to actively use our financial resources to support our community and further our aims.

Financial Support: If you or your company are interested in financially supporting the KDE Community on an ongoing basis, please visit the Supporting Members page on the KDE e.V. website.


By the Promo Team

In Highlights we talk about the year’s events we think will have a big impact on the future of the KDE project as a whole.


KDE Eco is important for several reasons. Firstly because it has the potential to become a trend-setter. By effectively starting the race to get a green seal of approval with Okular, it has established that the speed and features are not the only criteria to take into account when gauging the quality of a software product, but energy effectiveness must also be considered. Hence, we will hopefully see public institutions and companies factoring the energetic efficiency into their software purchases and, in consequence, all software providers look to make their products greener.

Secondly because, although it has the word “KDE” as part of the name, it is a project that aspires to encompass all Free Software*. As is customary for our community, all information we gather from our labs and experiments is made publicly available so others can learn from it. We share everything, from the solutions to optimise efficiency, to the tools we use to measure the before and after, and the results we obtain. We also actively encourage other Free Software projects, regardless of whether they are part of the KDE project, to join us, to go through the tests, and get certified too.

Valve’s Steam Deck

We have known for some time that the lack of devices with Linux graphical environments pre-installed is the number one hurdle standing in the way of the mass adoption of FLOSS desktops. Users don’t usually pick their desktops, but have Windows thrust upon them instead.

That is why Valve’s choice of Plasma for the Steam Deck is so important for KDE.

Valve has a cult status within the gaming community, and gamers have steered clear of Linux in general in the past. By putting KDE’s desktop into a gaming device that was sold out before it was even available, Valve has opened up Plasma to a demographic that will find the idea of using a free platform less intimidating in the future.

* Closed proprietary software by definition cannot be audited so won’t be able to qualify for a green seal like that of Blauer Engel.

Thoughts from Partners

There is a strong sense of gratitude and admiration I have toward the KDE community. From originators to newcomers, every person I had the pleasure of meeting associated with KDE chooses to make the world a better place through selfless action. In short, KDE makes the world a better place. A huge thank you for the inspiration each of you give and the commitment Konqis make toward software freedom.

Douglas DeMaio, openSUSE Project Coordinator/Manager/Marketing

The FSF is a proud supporter of the work KDE does for the free software community. KDE is empowering people every day to have more control over their devices. They do this work with passion and with skill, collaborating with volunteers all over the world, proving on a daily basis that if a community sets their mind to driving change, they will.

Zoë Kooyman, FSF Executive Director

Not just that we became KDE patron - our TUXEDO_OS will be from now on with KDE Plasma Desktop, as it offers a wealth of customization options. In addition, KDE Plasma Desktop enjoys great popularity alongside Gnome.

The change to the KDE Plasma Desktop not only meets customer requirements, but also provides an opportunity to initiate a large development project that can be carried out in cooperation with the community. This will result in a product that can meet and satisfy all requirements.

Herbert Feiler, CEO TUXEDO Computers

Thanks to KDE e.V. and the amazing KDE community, since 2017 we were able to ship open-source notebooks and smartphones pre-installed with Plasma Desktop and Plasma Mobile, which has always integrated well with our product range.

Marek Kraus, PINE64

We are very happy that KDE is actively working to migrate their frameworks and applications to use Qt 6 and value KDE's feedback and contributions that help improve Qt.

Tuukka Turunen, Senior Vice President R&D of The Qt Company

New Members

KDE e.V. welcomed the following new members in 2021:

  • Janet Blackquill
  • Arjen Hiemstra
  • Ismael Asensio de la Fuente
  • Kurt Hindenburg
  • Camilo Higuita Rodriguez
  • Stefan Gerlach
  • Matthieu Gallien
  • Johannes Zarl-Zierl
  • Tobias Fella
  • Devin Lin
  • Ahmad Samir
  • Noah Davis
  • Alexander Semke
  • Waqar Ahmed
  • Alexander Lohnau
  • Luis Falcon
  • Bhavisha Dhruve

KDE e.V. Board of Directors

Aleix Pol i Gonzàlez

Eike Hein
Treasurer and Vice President

Lydia Pintscher
Vice President

Neofytos Kolokotronis
Board Member

Adriaan de Groot
Board Member


Advisory Board

The KDE Advisory Board is a group of representatives of KDE e.V.’s patrons and other select organizations that are close to KDE’s mission and community. It currently has 13 members, and there is a KDE e.V. working group with community members acting as direct contacts for our partners.

In 2021, we held two calls with our Advisory Board partners, one in January and one in October, with the goal always being to inform the members of the Board, receive feedback and discuss topics of common interest. The calls covered several topics, including updates on the status of Qt and the role of the KDE Free Qt Foundation, KDE’s Community Goals, and our partnerships with hardware vendors regarding products that are shipping or will be shipped with KDE technologies.

We also discussed changes within the e.V.’s organization, our staff and contractors, and the new job ads we planned to publish to further support the KDE community and its products. Finally, the members were briefed on the status of our major events (Akademy, LAS) and all the sprints that took place remotely.

The Advisory Board is a place and a symbol of KDE’s collaboration with other organizations and communities firmly standing behind the ideals of Free and Open Source Software.

Its current members include Blue Systems, Canonical, City of Munich, Debian, enioka Haute Couture, FOSS Nigeria, FSF, FSFE, OpenUK, OSI, Pine64, Slimbook, SUSE, The Document Foundation, The Qt Company, and TUXEDO Computers.


Current patrons: Blue Systems, Canonical, enioka Haute Couture, Google, The Qt Company, Slimbook, SUSE, Tuxedo Computers.

Current supporters: KDAB, basysKom.

Community Partners

Current community partners: Qt Project, Lyx and Verein Randa Meetings.

About KDE e.V.

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.

Report prepared by Aniqa Khokhar and Paul Brown, with help and sections written by Aleix Pol, Neofytos Kolokotronis, Burgess Chang, Jonathan Esk-Riddell, Adriaan De Groot, Joseph P. De Veaugh-Geiss, the Plasma Team, the Plasma Mobile Team and the Promo Team at large.

This report is published by KDE e.V., copyright 2021, and licensed under Creative Commons-BY-3.0.