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 😉

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 😛 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 😛 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 😉

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 🙂

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).

Malina, Malina, Malina!

The first alpha of Amarok 2 has been released.
My first time as release gal. Turned out to be a little more complicated than I expected due to broken scripts and lacking documentation. But well. Worked out very well in the end.

Enjoy and please digg: http://digg.com/software/First_alpha_release_of_Amarok_2_0_Malina

Amarok Alpha 1 Malina

But it is looking shiny!

Daniel, my GSoC student, has been working on the GUI part of the biased playlists and did some work behind the scenes this week. It is really getting into shape even though it is still trying to fool you a little. Read more about it in his weekly report and don’t forget to check out the screenshot 😉

Oh and of course:

Akademy 2008

Move your applets freely!

Ok kinda blogging-by-proxy ahead 😉

Starting with commit 827860 you can move applets in your panel. \o/   This will be included in KDE 4.1 final.

And for those who say seeing is believing here is a short video showing it ;-)  (Planet readers might need to visit my blog to see it.)

Quote of the day: “Just as energy is the basis of life itself, and ideas the source of innovation, so is innovation the vital spark of all human change, improvement and progress” — Ted Levitt

Let’s be dynamic again!

Hands up in the air everyone! Please cheer for Daniel! 😉
Dynamic playlists are back \o/

Daniel, my Summer of Code student, has been working hard to get one of the most loved features of Amarok 1.4 back for Amarok 2 and probably made a lot of people very happy by doing that last week. He implemented a dynamic mode as basis for the biased playlists he will be working on next. First results can be seen now and it is going to be great. It already improved a lot over what we had in Amarok 1.4 because it is easier to discover, configure and use. And I am sure Daniel will continue to improve it and kick ass 😉

You can read more about it in his status report for this week and of course try it yourself with Neon or your own build. Go read it!

/me is proud and so happy she can listen to music again without having to select songs herself all the time

Aaron, we love you!

Looking at what is happening here makes me sad. For a long time, Aaron put up with needless crap at levels far greater than anyone should be forced to, but he isn’t the only one. Several people have approached me lately having problems similar to Aaron’s, if not as extreme. Something needs to change, and I think it is the way we all react to the crap we as a community put up with. We look away when other members of the community are being harassed. We look away when people that do not contribute anything useful to KDE disrupt its development. And the result is that an amazing community is spoiled by a few outsiders having fun by belittling others.

I hear a lot of “Don’t feed the troll!” remarks, where what is really meant is “Let them talk and do whatever they want and just ignore them.” But this will just build upon itself to lead to still more trolling and other disruptive behaviour, even outright harassment, becoming accepted. Worst of all, it will make the victim of the harassment feel alone. And that’s the last thing the friendly KDE community should ever encourage.

Something has to change. We can’t control what people say, but we can control how we react to it.
I will not be silent when people use the mailing lists as their personal vendetta grounds.
I will not be silent when seeing a comment on the dot that is spreading hate.
I will not be silent when people harass contributors on IRC.

This is not calling for censorship, but rather for sanity. Let’s get back to being the awesome community we are, and stand up not only for ourselves, but each other.

Let us all make sure that this will not happen again!

Who is with me?

What a Sunday…

Whoa what a ride 😉

The Amarok bugday was a blast. Thank you everyone who took part. And an even bigger thank you to those who are still hugging the beasties. YOU ROCK! The goal of flooding my inbox with bugmail has been reached 😛

Kubuntu tutorials day went very well. To my surprise I got the honour to pitch in for nixternal since he couldn’t make it.  Thanks nixternal; also for the notes 🙂 Logs of all talks can be found in the KubuntuWiki.

Lots of love for my little FolderView intro. I didn’t expect that to be honest. But it is nice to see that more and more people realise what a powerful and beautiful tool they will be given with KDE 4.

In the comments I was asked to show screenshots of the menu of FolderView. Since this was not implemented in time for KDE 4.1 Beta 1, which I am using right now, I couldn’t provide them. But fear not. Yours Truly asked and was given 😉 Thanks Tony.

FolderView menu

FolderView menu 2

FolderView menu 3

FolderView is the awesome?! [updated]

So there has been a lot of confusion about the KDE 4 desktop and FolderView lately and some nasty stuff I don’t want to go into right now. In the comments to Aaron’s blog someone said they don’t see how exactly it will be better and help them be more productive. So let me show you it 😉

For those who don’t know about FolderView: It is a Plasmoid you can add to your desktop in KDE 4 to show files. It can also be used to emulate the “normal” desktop (for those who really really want it) but let me show you a few more very nifty things you can do with it.

FolderView showing my todos

This screenshot shows my self made todo plasmoid. I have a ~/tmp folder where I throw in all the stuff that is, well, temporary. This stuff needs to be moved somewhere else and I was just too lazy to do it right away or is stuff I need to look at and that can be deleted afterwards. And there are also a few TODO files in there that need my attention. So Plasma to the rescue! I created a FolderView that shows the content of my tmp folder and (here comes the nifty) filters it to only show me the stuff I really care about. Which is files with TODO in the filename.

But what about this cool thing: In KDE we have KIO and it is just fantastic. And of course you can also use KIO in FolderView and show all kinds of remote folders right on your desktop.

Here it shows the folders that keep my irc logs on the server my irssi is running on.

FolderView showing remote folders

And here some files on my ftp server:

FolderView showing remote folders

And of course you can also show something totally boring like my home folder 😉

FolderView showing home folder

I hope this shows how powerful this already is now.
But it will become even more awesome once Nepomuk search can be used with this. (Or can it already?) Imagine showing all files tagged with “todo” across your whole file system. Or how about showing all files related to your thesis? Just tell it to show all files containing words related to your thesis.

Get creative people! There is a lot of nifty ahead of us 🙂

How are you going to use FolderView?

And before someone asks: You will be able to use it just like a “normal” desktop.


Daniel, the SoC student working on Nepomuk integration in Amarok, just send me this:

FolderView showing Nepomuk search results

Sweetness 🙂  (It is still a work in progress and therefore in Playground.)