SeeqPod and LibriVox

Be seeing you, originally uploaded by Olivander.

Amarok 2 has two scripted services that are really cool. For one SeeqPod, that lets you search for any kind of music on the web and listen to it in Amarok. And the other one is LibriVox, that integrates the LibriVox service. LibriVox offers free audiobooks of public domain books. Both services are great and definitely deserve to be in Amarok 2.0.

The problem is that they were written a few weeks ago in Ruby. Now they need to be ported to QtScript as that is the only scripting language we allow for internal scripts to reduce the headache of script dependencies especially keeping the Windows and Mac releases in mind.

Among all the stuff that needs to be done before the release of Amarok 2.0 those two scripts were kinda forgotten until now and really need some love. If you want to help us get those two scripts back please let me know. Free cookies and hugs included πŸ˜‰


If you want to meet some KDE folks, want to see KDE 4.1 in action or if you have questions about KDE FrOSCon in St. Augustin is the place to be this weekend.

Come and say hello at the KDE/Amarok booth and in our dev-room.
We have interesting talks for everyone in our dev room:

11:15 KDE Edu (Frederik Gladhorn)
16:30 KDE Community – How to get involved (Alexandra Leisse and Lydia Pintscher)

11:15 Amarok 2 (Sven Krohlas and Lydia Pintscher)
15:15 Kubuntu – A KDE desktop (Marcus Czeslinski)
16:30 KDE Grill – Ask questions about KDE you always wanted us to answer (KDE dream team ;-))

And on Saturday 15:15 Sebastian Kügler will talk about KDE 4.1 in his talk “Don’t look back” in the main track.
Hope to see you there.

Oh btw: Last year’s social event = best social event of 2007. Let’s see if they can beat Akademy this year πŸ˜‰

Akademy / Summer of Code survey

Finally back at home. Less tired after sleeping in my own bed again. Missing everyone. Caught up on stuff. Laundry still piling up πŸ˜‰

Akademy was great. Very big THANK YOU to Wendy, Bart and their team. You did an amazing job.

Akademy was quite productive. Talked to lots of people about lots of stuff. Wait for some interesting things to happen in the next weeks and months.

I took the time to talk to some of our Google Summer of Code students about their experience. I wanted to find out where we as a community are doing very well and what we can improve in their opinion. Of course it wouldn’t be of much use if only I knew this so let me share it with you:

  • Everyone seemed to agree that KDE is a great community and that they felt welcome in our community. Akademy was seen as a great opportunity for the students to get to know people and it seriously helps in turning some of the students into contributors outside of GSoC. (Note to self: Find out how many of them are still committing code in 6 months.)
  • Documentation!!! The Amarok team seems to be doing a bad job here :(  (Not really sure about the rest of KDE.) I need to find ways to improve this. Suggestions welcome.
  • The Big Picture: This seems to be missing. Mentors should try to give an overview of the code and community and how it fits together at the beginning. Some of the students felt lost at the beginning and it took them a lot of time to get used to everything. For Amarok I created a wiki page with all the important links to websites and mailing lists for the students. Unfortunately the code overview part of it did not get finished.
  • Blogs: The Amarok students were encouraged to blog about their work every week and post it on Planet Amarok and Planet KDE. Same goes for some of the students that worked on other parts of KDE. Everyone seemed to agree that this was a good thing. The feedback they got was encouraging and helpful. They felt pushed to produce something worth blogging about at the end of the week which was seen as positive and motivating. It also showed that people are interested in the work they do and that their progress is monitored.
  • Branches: Working in a SVN or Git branch outside of trunk was seen as a problem. Code did not get reviewed and tested enough before it hit trunk. Those students worked too much in their own little world. Immediate testing and code review by other developers would have been preferred and a lot of problems would have been avoided. (I know there are reasons for branches but something needs to be done about this.)
  • Timezones: Timezone mismatches between mentor and student made students switch their sleep/wake times by several hours. I got a few complains about this but it was always seen as a minor problem. I don’t think it is too healthy though. So maybe this should be considered next year when matching students and mentors.
  • Gurus: Every single student was very thankful for having very knowlageable people in our community they could ask when reading manuals didn’t help. Even if their questions from time to time weren’t the most clever ones they got help. You rock!
  • Mentor being away: Some mentors left for a week or more on very short notice. This should be avoided or a backup mentor in place.
  • Students liked that they were mostly free to do what they want, i.e. solve problems the way they want and work on their own schedule.
  • Mentors in general seemed to have done a good job. You rock!

Thanks everyone who had a chat with me about their GSoC. If I didn’t find the time to talk to you at Akademy or if you were not there feel free to ping me on IRC. I will make sure your feedback gets heard.

I hope a lot of our students stay with KDE after GSoC. You have done an amazing job. Rock on!

PS: Thanks to everyone who signed my Moleskine at the social event. I considered doing nasty stuff to Sebr when he took it away from me but I have to reconsider this now since it is the BEST THING EVAR πŸ˜› and will be reminding me of Akademy for years to come.


Rokers on speed?

whatever happened to the rock and roll?
Originally uploaded by johnnyalive.

Paul always does sweet little graphs to show interesting stuff. Since everyone in the Amarok team felt that development really sped up in the last weeks/months I wanted some proof of that mainly to show it off πŸ˜› and to find out where it came from. So I asked Paul to help me with that by doing what he does best. And only a few hours later he presented the results. If you haven’t read it yet you should do it now before reading the rest of my post.

Impressive, right?

So now that Paul did his part I should probably do my job and explain why this is happening πŸ˜‰

There are several “sources of developers”:

  • Google Summer of Code: With 6 of our 7 students (Alejandro, Casey, Daniel, Daniel, William, Peter) doing an excellent job they really help getting things done. You rock!
  • Season of KDE: Teo is working on his SoC project (mass tagging) without sponsorship from Google. He is doing a great job. Two others are starting to work on another project right now. You rock!
  • KDE BugSquad: Edward started triaging bugs for us during the Amarok bugday and is now starting to help with development. He already made a very impressive start. You rock!
  • Oldtimers: Our core developers are doing a lot more lately. On the one hand they help new developers getting used to Amarok development and give them a hand when they have trouble with stuff like the buildsystem. On the other hand they seem to be a lot more motivated to get Amarok 2 ready for release now that we have the alpha releases out of the door and things are starting to fall into place. You rock! (But you know that right? ;-))
  • Other contributors: A few new people showed up in the last few days and already presented promising results. I hope you all stick around. You rock!

So the next question is: Why are more people interested in Amarok 2 now than they were say 2 months ago. The reasons I can see are:

  • With the release of KDE 4.1 it became easier to start developing on Amarok because the hurdle of compiling KDE from trunk was gone.
  • With Neon a lot more people could give Amarok 2 a try without compiling it from SVN. (Which also helped non-dev team members _a lot_.)
  • The release of alpha 1 and 2 made it a lot easier to try Amarok 2 with distro packages and gave the signal “We have something we think is worth testing now”.
  • A lot of very positive reviews in the press.
  • People actually start to understand our vision for Amarok 2 and want to help making it reality.

Last but not least: Developers are motivated by:

  • Very positive reception of the alphas in the press and among users.
  • A lot of bug reports that show that users are caring about what we do and want to help us improve as much as possible until the release of the final 2.0 version. Among those bug reports are a lot of junior jobs which makes it easy to get started with a small task and get used to everything.
  • Actually switching to Amarok 2 as their main player without big problems.
  • Development being in a very exciting phase, i.e. we left the really hard start behind us where we literally had no new blood at all for a very long time (for reasons see above) and are not yet in boring maintenance mode.
  • The frameworks actually start to pay off.

It is pretty interesting to see how most of this, if not all, can also be applied to KDE 4.1. Let’s see if we can get some nice stuff put together at Akademy to prove this πŸ™‚

Exciting times and more of them ahead of us! Now is the right time to join KDE development (and any other non-dev part of KDE of course).