Evolving KDE – The goals are set!

Since Akademy in Almería we have been going through the process of defining goals for KDE for the next 3 to 4 years. Different ideas were proposed and refined. 10 of them made it into the community-wide vote to select 3 of them. Today I am proud to announce the result based on the 684 submitted votes.

The 3 goals KDE will be focusing on over the next 3 to 4 years are:

  • Top-notch usability and productivity for basic software: We want our users to love our software and enable them to do their day-to-day work hassle-free. As part of this goal we will focus on polishing our basic software so everyone will be delighted to use it. For more details see the proposal.
  • Privacy Software: A central part of KDE’s vision for the future is privacy. As part of this goal we will work on improving privacy-related features, settings and applications all over KDE’s software. Once done KDE software enables and promotes privacy, which is crucial for a free and open society and protecting our users from harm. For more details see the proposal.
  • Streamlined onboarding of new contributors: KDE can only achieve its vision if we enable many people to join our community and support us with their specific knowledge and skills – be it programming, artwork, promotion, translation, event organizing or any of the other hundreds of areas needed to make KDE successful. As part of this goal we will identify and remove barriers to entry in our documentation, infrastructure and processes. For more details see the proposal.

I am excited about what this will bring for the next years of KDE and how it will help bring great software to our users.

What will happen next? I am helping the proposers of the goals come up with a plan. There will be sprints related to the topics in 2018 as well as a progress report at Akademy. None of these goals is going to be achieved without help. It’ll need all hands on deck – including yours! If you are able to help with one of them please add your name to the proposal on Phabricator linked above so you can be contacted once the plan for each of them becomes more clear.

Thanks to everyone who submitted one of the great proposal, Ben for providing the list of voters and Kevin for his help in making sense of the votes.

Evolving KDE – Time to review the goal proposals

A little over a month ago I asked KDE contributors to submit proposals for goals that KDE should focus on over the next 3 to 4 years. I am very happy with the proposals that were submitted from different parts of the community. A lot of work and thought went into them and they all would make great focus areas for KDE over the coming years.

From today until the end of October we will go into the next phase and refine these proposals. You can help make them ready for the vote in November. Read them and add your thoughts and ideas as a comment to the proposal. What do you like about the proposal? What can you add to the proposal? What isn’t ideal or worth pursuing? Are they ambitious but achievable? Is now the right time to push them forward? Are they specific enough so we know what everyone needs to do to move them forward? Are they bringing us closer to our vision of a world in which everyone has control over their digital life and enjoys freedom and privacy? Those are just some of the questions you should ask yourself and comments about. Then if you are interested in seeing the goal pursued add your name to the list of interested people. Even better, if you are willing to put work into a particular goal add your name to the list of people who want to work on the goal.

Head over to the list of all submitted goal proposals and start reading 😉

Evolving KDE – Let’s set some goals

Since 2015 I and other people have been talking about Evolving KDE – meaning reflecting on where we are, where we want to go and how we will get there. We have made great strides with defining our vision and mission since then. It has not been an easy exercise but a necessary one because it gives us focus and clarity about our purpose.

Our vision is: “A world in which everyone has control over their digital life and enjoys freedom and privacy.” We stand behind this. We want to fill this vision with life now. We came together at Akademy to discussed how to do that. How can we give the whole KDE community the opportunity to express what they think we should all be working on right now? How can we find all the creative ideas and ambitions that are hidden in so many of our community members? And how can we talk about them all together? I believe we have found a way.

Starting today all of KDE is invited to propose goals to work on for the next 3 to 4 years. We will then discuss and refine them. Finally we will have a vote for the goals we should pursue together. Goals can be about anything you consider important – it doesn’t have to be about writing code. The top 3 proposals will get supported in various ways for example with sponsorship of a sprint and presentation slots at next year’s Akademy. This way we will shine a spotlight on the most important things we are working on and together support that work in the best way we can. The plan is to do this every year and add one or two goals to the mix every time.

The timeline looks as follows:

  • Today until beginning of October: work on the proposals
  • All of October: talk about the proposal
  • First two weeks of November: vote on the proposals by everyone with a KDE contributor account
  • Middle of November: publish the results

To make it more concrete, here are some examples of potential goals that could come out of this:

  • Improving the Developer Story: a new contributor should be able to create his first patch to any KDE application in 15 minutes or less;
  • Big in Asia: users in Asia should be able to write in their writing system in any of the software produced by KDE;
  • Appeal to All our Senses: a visually impaired user should be able to use all the software produced by KDE;
  • Virtual Reality Painting: artists should be able to paint in 3D straight from a VR world using software produced by KDE;
  • Speaking Your Language: 90% of the computer users worldwide should be able to use the software produced by KDE in a language in which they are fluent.

Do you have an idea for a goal for KDE? Get a small group of people together and propose it today by adding it here.

Thank you to Kévin Ottens, Mirko Boehm, David Faure, Frederik Gladhorn and everyone who helped flesh this idea out.

KDE signs the User Data Manifesto 2.0 and continues to defend your freedom

I believe that in today’s world where more an more of our daily life depends on technology it is crucial that people have control over that technology. You should be empowered to know what your technology does and you should be empowered to influence it. This is at the core of Free Software. Unfortunately it is not at the core of most of the technology people interact with every day – quite the opposite – walled gardens and locks wherever you look with few exceptions. KDE is working hard to provide you with technology that you control every single day so you are empowered and the one ultimately in charge of your technology, data and life – the basis for freedom for many today. This is written down in the first sentence of our manifesto: “We are a community of technologists, designers, writers and advocates who work to ensure freedom for all people through our software.”

Therefor I am proud to announce that KDE (through KDE e.V.) is one of the launch partners and thereby initial signatories of the User Data Manifesto 2.0. The User Data Manifesto defines basic rights for people to control their own data in the internet age:

  • Control over user data access
  • Knowledge of how the data is stored
  • Freedom to choose a platform

Do you want to join us in providing more people with more access to Free technology? Today is a good day!

Moooooaaaaar impact!

Last year I went to Akademy with two notebooks and sharpies and asked people to draw or write about one thing they think would make KDE better. This year I did the same again. The question was: “What’s the one thing KDE should do to have more impact?” Here are some of the great results:





The complete set is in this Flickr album. Check it out! What’s your favorite? What’s your one thing – big or small – that would help KDE have more impact?

Evolving KDE – framework and next steps

One of the outcomes of the survey we did for Evolving KDE was that we need to get more clarity on our vision, strategy and focus. At Akademy we had many discussions to explore more how we all see this topic. We discussed what different contributors think KDE’s vision and focus should be. We tried to clarify what it actually means for KDE to have a vision, strategy and focus. And we talked about ways to get to a vision that would work for KDE.

Here’s a visualization of how I see the different parts fitting together:
Evolving KDE overview

Some time ago we created KDE’s manifesto. It answers the question “Who are we?”. What we need to work out now is our vision. It will answer the questions “What do we aspire to do?”. Different teams inside KDE can then in addition find their own local vision which can overlap more or less with the global one. The manifesto and the vision together will give us a framework in which we can develop our strategy. The strategy gives us the answer to the question how we want to go about achieving our vision. From the strategy we can derive a number of concrete actions that will get us closer to where we want to be.

The goal of all this is to give us clarity on who we are, what we do, why we do it and what everyone’s part in the big picture is.

Over the next weeks we will summarize the different ideas and thoughts concerning the vision that were brought up at Akademy and open it up for wider input and discussion. We will also hold another office hour on IRC. Depending on how all this goes we will have a sprint to work on it more.

Evolving KDE – recommendations

As part of Evolving KDE we have done a survey to get a better understanding of where we are, where we want to go and how we get there. I published a summary of the responses. Based on this I recommend a number of actions:

  1. Develop our vision, strategy and focus
  2. Review all initiatives and products and evaluate which we should concentrate our focus on
  3. Improve recruiting and on-boarding processes and documentation
  4. Simplify and clarify our main web-presence
  5. Develop ideas and processes for how to make better use of our social media presence, dot and other outreach venues

The first point – develop our vision, strategy and focus – is crucial in order for KDE to move forward. When KDE started our goal was very clear: create a desktop environment and applications for end-users on Linux. But both KDE and the world around us has changed considerably since 1996. KDE has moved from being software to being a community. The world has rapidly moved towards more technology platforms (mobile, web, internet of things, …). In this transition we partially lost a shared vision that we can build a strategy on and that helps us focus our efforts. Without a clear and articulated vision we lack a frame of reference to make decisions in which makes taking these decisions considerably more difficult and sometimes painful. We need to change this and get back a shared vision so we have clarity, can focus our efforts and truly bring free and open technology to our users. We live in a time where free and open technology is crucial for everyone. We can only provide this if we have vision, strategy and focus for the work we do.

Once we have this shared vision and strategy we can have a look at the initiatives and products we have and decide which ones we should put more effort into and where our focus should be. This doesn’t mean that we will stop the rest. But it will guide our work, resources and communication. We get to say “More of this!” to the things that are important to us.

With more clarity gained through the first two steps we can then go and tackle the remaining three points. We will improve our recruiting and on-boarding processes and documentation. We need to analyze where and why people are struggling to get on board and then remove or lower these barriers together. We will simplify and clarify our main web-presence to match our vision, strategy and focus. And we will develop ideas and processes to make better use of all our communication media (social media, dot, etc).

Over the next days I will publish the next steps for finding our shared vision, strategy and focus as well as some clarification of what exactly I mean with these.

Evolving KDE – survey results

In April we started Evolving KDE. The goal of Evolving KDE is to take an honest look at ourselves and evaluate where we are and where we want to go. Based on the answers to these questions we can then figure out how to get us there. The result should bring clarity on a number of questions: What do we do, why do we do it and what is everyone’s role in it? We started with a survey for existing users and contributors to figure out how we all see KDE collectively. We have received 202 responses to the survey and gone through all of them. 92 of the respondends identified themselves as users and 91 as active contributors. (The rest specified “other”.) Most of the active contributors are involved casually or intermittent and are involved for 5 or more years. More than half of the survey responses came from Europe. The results (which were already sent to the KDE Community mailing list before Akademy) can be summarized as follows:

What motivates you and makes you happy when contributing within the KDE community?

The responses indicate that most people are motivated by being in a great community. After that the technology is mentioned. Runner ups include: the potential impact one’s contributions can have, identifying with the ideology of the project, scratching one’s own itch and the potential for learning by contributing.

What do you appreciate in the KDE Community?

Survey responses here almost uniformly focused on the friendliness of the KDE Community. Openness was mentioned second-most. People also appreciate that it is easy for them to get support from others inside the community. Runners ups include: technical excellence, diversity and the products we produce.

What holds you back in your involvement with the KDE community?

The most mentioned theme here was time and energy. Among users then came the lack of skills as well as clear tutorials and help pages that give a clear entry point to contributing. There seems to still be deeply-held belief that unless one is a programmer it is not possible to contribute to KDE. Among the existing contributors the most mentioned points were then: a lack of vision and focus, lacking documentation and other help, in-group behaviour as well as a lack of skills.

What are your ideas to improve the KDE community?

Users very clearly demanded better documentation and entry points for newcomers here. After that came focusing on quality, more user-centered development and more outreach. Existing contributors mentioned about equally focus (but opinions differed in what to focus on), improved outreach activities and better documentation for getting involved. Then came a more active role of KDE e.V., outreach to specific groups (women, countries, etc), being more welcoming to commercial contributors and taking a more active role inside the Qt ecosystem.

Imagine yourself as a happy member of the KDE community in 5 years, what does KDE look like?

The answers here focused a lot on bringing KDE’s software to more devices and the cloud and convergence – possibly by being a distributor directly to the end-user. Then came the focus on creating truly excellent free software that is better than any other – not just other free software. Continuing to be friendly and open was another major theme. Overall people expect KDE to be well known, its software used everywhere and still defending the freedom of our users – both by providing them with great free software and doing advocacy. We should be concentrating less on ourselves and more on the big ecosystem we are a part of and work together with other entities in it more closely. Respondents were also in favor of slightly more involvement by companies. Contributors have a clear desire for a vision and strategy. It seems it does not matter too much which vision and strategy it is as long as we have one.

Over the next days I will publish the recommendations based on these findings and thoughts about the next steps.

Evolving KDE office hour

swing

A couple of weeks ago we started the strategy process for KDE. The responses have been great and very useful so far. Many people have already sent their feedback and opinions, which we really appreciate. If you haven’t filled the questionnaire yet, please do so when you have some time.

Since this is an important step for KDE we would like to do an office hour to answer questions you might have and discuss ideas you have. We’ll be doing this on Freenode IRC in the channel #kde-ev. We’ll be meeting at 5:00pm UTC next Wednesday.

Evolving KDE

fish

When I became president of KDE e.V. in September last year I made a list of important things we need to do over the coming year. The biggest item on this list was helping KDE and KDE e.V. get a better understanding of where we are, where we want to go and how we want to get there. Today, with the help of many others, I want to start this process and I want you to be a part of it.

KDE began its life as a desktop project and Qt showcase back in 1996. Since then KDE has evolved to become something more significant; the modern KDE is a global community of technologists, designers, writers and advocates producing some of the world’s finest user-centric Free Software. As we have evolved, so too has the world around us. The user’s experience is no longer restricted to the desktop. It has expanded to the user’s hands, wrists, glasses and more and will continue to evolve into areas we have yet to imagine.

In KDE we want to be in charge of our future. We want  to have a clear and honest approach for reacting to and influencing our shifting environment, to continuously and consciously improve. We want to do what is necessary to be the thriving community for creating technology that will satisfy the needs of the next 20 year’s users.

In order to shape our evolution it is crucial that the wider KDE community understands its current position and where it aims to be in the future. As the primary support structure within the KDE community, KDE e.V. is instrumental in guiding that journey. Through regular honest assessment and reaction to our environment the KDE community continues to remain effective and relevant and ensures that KDE’s users will continue to Experience Freedom.

In order to provide the KDE community with the means to assess its current position and find future direction we have devised this yearly iterative process:

  • First, we will gather extensive input from the wider community: everyone from core contributors to casual contributors to users. This will be done via various means, the main one being a survey, but also including forums, mailing lists, IRC office hours and in-person meetings; for example at Akademy.
  • This input is then consolidated into a report. It is going to be published before Akademy for public consumption. This report will summarize community conclusions and potential areas of focus and improvement.
  • During KDE e.V.’s annual general assembly, the report is discussed and some of the recommended focus areas are agreed on as goals.
  • At a strategy sprint, core community members come up with measureable suggestions to achieve those goals.
  • Finally, there will be a wrap up session that will evaluate how much progress we have made towards the goals we set ourselves. The evaluation will be presented at the next general assembly meeting.

KDE e.V. will support this process and its outcome. The outcome of this process are happy contributors and happy users.

I’d love for you to be a part of this process. As a first step please help us by taking the time to fill out the survey. Further information will be published on evolve.kde.org. If you have questions please ask them on the KDE community mailing list.