Akademy 2019 has been over for a little more than 3 weeks now. It’s been a great and eventful Akademy. Let’s take a look at what happened.
In 2017 we chose 3 goals to work towards together as a community. Those were improved onboarding, usability and productivity of basic software and privacy. For all of them we’ve made great progress and I’m thrilled by the result. But the original idea behind the goals wasn’t just to get work done on some specific goals. The other reason was to give us something to work towards together as a community (as we were starting to lose that uniting factor that binds us all together as KDE grows) and to get in new people by making it clearer what we need help with and where to dive in. Looking back now my expectations were exceeded quite a bit for those. It makes me so happy to see a lot of new people joining and being enthusiastic about contributing to KDE in meaningful ways – even going so far as to proposing 2 of the 3 selected initial goals.
At the beginning of the year we decided it was time to shift our focus to new goals and started the process for proposing and voting on new goals. We started Akademy with a review of the initial goals and then I had the pleasure to announce the new ones:
Wayland: We will finalize the transition to Wayland and embrace the future of desktop. This is a necessary step towards a lot of new features and improvements our users want to see, like better touchscreen support.
Consistency: As KDE’s software evolved small and large inconsistencies creep in that make our software less pleasant to use. It also means having to maintain different implementations of essentially the same component like a scrollbar. We will identify and remove these inconsistencies in all of KDE’s software.
All about the Apps: We want to refocus on KDE’s applications and make them easier to discover and install for our users.
I’m looking forward to the progress on these goals over the next 2 to 3 years. To start helping out please have a look at the goals page and get in touch.
As every year during Akademy we held the general assembly of KDE e.V. and elected new board members for the two open positions. I’m delighted to welcome Adriaan and Neofytos to the board.
After the election it was time to decide on the board positions. I have been on the board of KDE e.V. for 8 years now and the president for 5 years. Leading this organisation has been one of the most important things I have done so far and I believe I have made an impact. At the same time I am convinced that it is not healthy for an organisation to be lead by the same person for too long. That’s why at the start of my current term we discussed how we see the future of the organisation and our role in it. It was clear that Aleix has been doing invaluable work on the board as the vice president and would clearly be a good choice to lead the organisation in the future. We decided that we will have at least one year at the end of our current term where I will be on the board to support and advice and ensure a smooth transition for Aleix. This time has come now. I would like to ask you all welcome Aleix as the new president of KDE e.V. and provide him with all the support he needs. I am looking forward to working with our new Board and see where we will take KDE e.V. together in the next years.
The new board positions we agreed on are as follows:
Aleix Pol i Gonzalez: President
Lydia Pintscher: Vice President
Eike Hein: Vice President and Treasurer
Adriaan de Groot: Board Member
Neofytos Kolokotronis: Board Member
We are still looking for a host for Akademy 2020. If you’d like to host the KDE community next year please have a look at the call for hosts which has all the details and reach out if you have any questions.
In 2017 we discussed what goals the KDE community should focus on in order to get closer to our vision of a world in which everyone has control over their digital life and enjoys freedom and privacy. We went through a process of submitting and discussing proposals and then voting on them. The result were 3 clear goals that KDE focused on over the past 1.5 years: top-notch usability and productivity for basic software, streamlined onboarding of new contributors and privacy. The focus the goals gave us have led to significant progress in all 3 areas. Check out Nate’s and Neofytos’ summary! But not only that. We got fantastic new people on board and our larger community and users understood that we care about and make progress in areas that matter to them. Thank you to everyone who has and continues to put work into these. Your contributions make KDE better every single day.
The goals we had set were ambitious and in some sense they can never be completed. However after 1.5 years the large initiatives behind them are well underway and the ideas behind them have become part of our daily routine. This means it is time to think about the next goals (or decide to double down on any of the current goals) to focus our collective attention on. So today we are starting the next round of KDE community goals.
June: Anyone can submit draft proposals
Beginning of July to middle of August: We discuss and improve proposals together
Second half of August: We vote on the finalized proposals
At Akademy in September: We announce the new goals
KDE has set the focus on 3 goals around improved usability and productivity, privacy and easier onboarding of new contributors to KDE. On Thursday (15. March 2018) we are going to hold an office hour. During the office hour you can ask all your questions around these goals and tell us about your ideas for pushing them forward. We will be meeting in the channel #kde on freenode IRC at 16:00 UTC. We hope to see many of you there.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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:
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.
Review all initiatives and products and evaluate which we should concentrate our focus on
Improve recruiting and on-boarding processes and documentation
Simplify and clarify our main web-presence
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.