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

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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

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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.

KDE e.V. is looking for its first Executive Director

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KDE e.V. has been successfully supporting the KDE community for over 17 years. For many of them we had the tremendous help of a business manager, several interns, an event manager and countless volunteers to be able to do this. In the coming years we want to be able to support the KDE community even better. In order to do this we need strong support from an Executive Director. The Board of Directors has decided to hire someone for this position in the coming months. We are looking for a passionate individual who understands our community and can drive our business interaction. Do you want to be a part of bringing great software to millions of users? Do you want to really make a difference for a Free Software non-profit? Then this is the job for you! If you would like to know more about the position please read the job ad.

One thing that would make KDE better

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I went to Akademy with two notebooks and a plan. They should both be filled by KDE contributors with writing and sketching about one thing they think would make KDE better. Have a look at the result:
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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 make KDE better?

(Thanks to Fabrice for the idea.)

Q&A with the board of KDE e.V. at Akademy

Only a few days left until Akademy. I’m looking forward to meeting old friends again and making new ones. There are many exciting talks in the program that I want to see. Have a look!

The board is going to do a Q&A session on Saturday afternoon. We want to give more people a chance to ask questions than just the ones attending Akademy. I started a wiki page to collect them and we’ll try to answer as many as we can.

Akademy 2014 banner

Are you KDE e.V.’s new Event Manager?

Akademy is KDE’s community gathering every year. It is the place and time where KDE gets to meet face-to-face. Where we talk about our work. Where we have important discussions. Where we prepare for crucial decisions. Where we have fun. Where we meet friends. Where we make a difference. Where we plan our next steps for world domination. Or in short: Where things that really matter happen. But such an event does not just magically happen. It takes a lot of effort from a dedicated local team, previous Akademy organizers and many more people. To support the organisation of Akademy 2014 in Brno KDE e.V. is looking to hire an event manager. If you have what it takes to manage an event for a crowd of about 200 charming free software people you should apply. If you know someone who would be a good fit please let them know about this opportunity.

More details about the job and how to apply in the job ad.

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