Let’s make identi.ca and Twitter a little more KDE!

It’s been bugging me for a while that most sites on identi.ca and Twitter look rather boring and I thought it would be nice to give them a little KDE touch. cosmonautirussi was so kind to do some cool backgrounds for KDE contributors, developers, translators and users as well as a generic one. You can just upload them to identi.ca (or any other StatusNet site) and Twitter, adjust the page background color a little to fit your taste and voila!

You can grab them on community.kde.org.

Wanna see what it looks like in action? Check out this, this, this and this.

What is KDE for you?

For me KDE is:

  • working with great people
  • good friends
  • people to depend on
  • a community that helps me do things I would never have imagined I would be able to do
  • me going to random places around the world and having a couch to sleep on
  • a team that gets stuff done
  • having someone to share good and bad things with
  • people who are so far away and yet so close
  • a team that brings me to my limits
  • a crowd that has seemingly endless energy to make better software
  • so much more than just a desktop environment.

Let’s start small, Junior!

When a new contributor comes to you and wants to start coding on KDE do you have a small task to hand him or her immediately? The moment they show up in your IRC channel, email inbox, identi.ca or wherever else they find you is the moment their motivation is incredibly high. They are willing to invest time and energy right there and they likely have a few free hours to dive into a simple task. This is the moment we need to get them hooked. If they have to wait a few days, a week or even longer for a task they might well have lost that initial motivation and will be gone never to be seen again.

Now we all know that our time is limited and we can’t be there 24/7 and give out tasks to newbies. Thankfully we have a solution: Junior Jobs on bugs.kde.org. The sad thing: There are less than 50 of them at the time of writing this posting. Let’s improve this. Have a simple task you don’t have time for right now? File a bug right now (you can even skip the wizard), tag it with the keyword “junior-jobs” and be happy to have a list to give to a potential new coder next time someone approaches you.

But having this list to point to is not the only benefit. It will also be used by people looking for something to do on their own. They might be too shy to approach you for the time being, but looking at a task-list on their own and maybe trying to fix one of the bugs is possible for them.

Let’s get this list above 100 within the next two weeks together!

Now say you don’t have a suitable Junior Job for someone. There are a few things you can do to keep them involved until you have something:

  • let them set up their devel environment
  • ask them to test something for you
  • ask them to help a little with bug triage
  • ask them to go trough your websites and see where they are out-of-date and maybe get them updated
  • have them check if someone needs help in the forum
  • let them organize a meeting for your team if needed

While Junior Jobs are used for coding tasks mainly it would be nice to have a similar system for promo for example. I am not sure Bugzilla is the best tool for that though. Are there better tools we could use for promo task scheduling?

KDE Education Survey

We must not believe the many, who say that only free people ought to be educated, but we should rather believe the philosophers who say that only the educated are free. – Epictetus

The KDE-Edu team is looking for feedback from their users to improve their applications and to find out where to invest the limited time they have. If you are a student, teacher or just casual user of any of these applications we are looking for your feedback:

  • Kanagram
  • KHangMan
  • Kiten
  • KLettres
  • KWordQuiz
  • Parley
  • KAlgebra
  • KBruch
  • Kig
  • KmPlot
  • Blinken
  • KGeography
  • KTouch
  • KTurtle
  • Kalzium
  • KStars
  • Marble
  • Step
  • Cantor
  • Rocs

We created a short survey (1 page – about 5 minutes) where you can tell us about the 3 problems you have with any of the applications listed above as well as give some general feedback. Those 3 problems can be small or big. We want to know about them. This feedback is incredibly valuable to the team so if you know anyone who should take this survey but doesn’t read this blog please send them a link.

Make KDE-Edu rock even more!

PS: If you want to help with any of the programs listed above (by writing code, creating example content, documentation, promotion or anything else) please get in touch with me.

Busy Bees

As you might have noticed from other blogs on PlanetKDE the KDE promo people have been quite the busy bees this weekend in Stuttgart. Getting together with great people, getting stuff done, having good beer and food -> great sprint. And of course a sprint with Jos and me has to include at least one proper group hug 😀
group hug

(fltr: Valerie, Kenny, Martin, Claudia, me, Rainer, Justin, Jos, Eckhart, Ingo, Stuart, Daniel, Luca, Cornelius, Frank, Troy, Frederik)

It was a great weekend which got us a lot further to the 4.4 release announcement, the rebranding of KDE, a new KDE booklet to give out at events, a redesign of www.kde.org and more. It is amazing what you can get done if you get the right people together for 3 days.

Most important for me though was finally getting to know Ingo, Stuart and Luca. It was their first KDE meeting. I hope we introduced them properly (including group hugs and old stories about KDE) 😀 It feels good to know that that part of the forum team got even closer to our community now after doing an incredible job for a while already.

Getting feedback on stuff like the rebranding discussion or the move to Git from the people who helped start KDE was very valuable. We should definitely make sure to keep this connection as long as possible. A simple “been there – done that – it was an incredibly stupid idea” can save everyone from quite some headache and bike shedding.

I miss you all already… Damn.

But the promo people were not the only busy bees. No the Amarokers decided it is time to release 2.2.1. It includes improvements to podcasts, collection scanning, automatic script updating and much more. Read the release notes and download it. Of course don’t forget it is Rokvember 😉

Amarok 2.2.1

What People Are (Really) Saying About Windows 7

Remember my Social Media Guide For Free Software Projects? Skreech was so kind to point me to a really great un-example site: Microsoft’s social media page for Windows 7, where they show what people are saying about it. Go take a look.

Now there are a few interesting things to mention about this page.

Quite fast, huh? Lots of people talking about it. Are those messages real-time? Nope. The page is just made to give you the impression they are. I picked a few random ones and got pretty much everything between 3 hours and 8 days old. See the slider at the top? Yea you can slow it down to actually be able to read it unlike the default.

If you feel like it just watch it for a few minutes and watch the same messages appear again. It started to loop after about 10 minutes here.

Now let’s take a look at the actual content of the messages shown. Windows 7 must be the most awesome operating system out there. In the 30 minutes or so I watched the stream there were 2 messages with a slightly negative touch. Every single other message praised it. Every single one. Now call me biased but I don’t believe it. So I had a look at the actual Twitter search page for Windows 7 and Win7. And indeed you find tweets, that are less positive, like this, this, this, thisthis, this, this, this, this, this or this. They do however have little stabs at Linux and Apple in their selected tweets (“I though Apple had it together but with Win7 out of the door they better get moving.” and similar.). This page seems to indicate that they do indeed filter for family friendliness and so on. Fair enough. But it also says that they do not filter out the negative stuff. Uhhhhm yes you do.

The Facebook messages are taken from the Windows fan page on Facebook. Now my guess is that the audience of said fan page is slightly biased 😉 but I’ll let that one slide as there aren’t a lot of good ways to get such messages out of Facebook.

There is probably more but those are the things that immediately jumped into my eye. Please leave comments if you find other gems.

Now the sad thing is: From my quick check of Twitter and Co it seems that Windows 7 is indeed good according to quite a few people. There are indeed a lot of people tweeting about it. There would have been no need to hide behind filtering and sneaky web-apps trying to create an illusion of a lot of communication. This would have been a great opportunity to show what people really think about it and gain credibility. But it failed. It failed to be honest and instead took the secure way. If you want to take the secure way stay away from social media!

Wanna learn how to do it right? Get in touch with me and have a look at buzz.kde.org (which is indeed live and unfiltered and could use some coding help – ping me if you want to help).


Group Photo, originally uploaded by warthog9.

Leo and I went to California for the GSoC mentor summit to talk to lots of other mentors and admins about Summer of Code and whatever else was on our mind. In short: absolutely awesome and definitely worth the travel (which included lots of hours in airplanes and airports for me including an unplanned 6 hour stay in Salt Lake City – thank you very much border control).

The energy you get when you put that many geeks together is amazing. And at the same time it is quite different from conferences where you only have one project present like Akademy. It shows you that people working on competing projects are actually pretty cool people when sitting in a hot-tub with them *g*. (If course I knew that one before but it feels good to be reassured about it.) It shows you a lot of white spots on your personal open source map. Any idea what the Boost community looks like? Any idea how huge the Apache Software Foundation is? Now I do. It has definitely been interesting for me to see how different communities are managing their day-to-day business and especially GSoC. And the most surprising thing for me: Even pretty dysfunctional communities can release decent software 😀 I also learned that you can indeed have a session on minorities in free software and actually get useful results everyone can apply in their communities instead of getting derailed and discussing colors of random bike sheds. (They should all be blue and have pink doors of course.)

Check out the session notes (not 100% complete at the time of this post but hopefully soon), the one thing people learned at the summit and pics.

Thanks a lot to Google and everyone who attended the summit for making this happen. It has been 2 intense days and a great experience.

After the summit I stayed another 2 days with Alejandro to check out the area. Thanks so much for offering a place to crash. We went to San Francisco – what a great city – and met up with Gary and blauzahl who were great hosts. (Sorry I wasn’t more talkative that night folks but the previous days really drained my energy.) And it again showed me one of the best things about our community: No matter where I go on this world, friends are never far. I uploaded a few pictures to my Flickr page.

What a crowd!

I’ll definitely have to return – not just for the massage chairs and hot-tub.