GSoC info session in Karlsruhe

Since Google Summer of Code is coming up again very soon Sven, Phil and I will be doing a short info session at the University of Karlsruhe on Thursday at 4pm in room HS -101 in building 50.34 (Infobau). We’ll be giving a short intro to GSoC and tell a bit about how GSoC works in KDE and Debian and of course answer lots of questions. If you’re planning to apply this year you should definitely show up ๐Ÿ™‚ Please drop me a short email if you want to attend at lydia at kde org.

If you’re not in Karlsruhe or anywhere near there are info sessions in other cities around the world listed in the GSoC calendar.

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.

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, this,ย this, this, this, this, this, this or this.ย 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 familyย friendlinessย 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 (which is indeed live and unfiltered and could use some coding help – ping me if you want to help).


In the last 14 weeks the Amarok team has been working hard to get Amarok 2.2 ready for prime-time. We’ve worked in dark cellars, in a nice living room in front of a warm fire, at the beach, at airports, in cabins in the wood, on the train – yea you get it – pretty much everywhere.

Today we can finally present you the result. Amarok 2.2 is out in the wild and brings lots of goodies people have been waiting for. Check out the release announcement and please digg it!

With that I say bye bye and run off to a very sunny island with my fellow rokers – oh wait, no – we gotta prepare 2.2.1. Stay tuned ๐Ÿ˜‰

More serious though: I’m getting ready for the GSoC mentor summit. Soooo excited.

Tune your Quassel!

If you would do a quick analysis on which programs I use the most you’d probably get Firefox, Quassel, Amarok and Kopete (in this order and Firefox being way ahead of everything else). Using those programs extensively of course leads to optimizing workflows.

Quassel is the fourth IRC client I use now. MIRC back on Windows. Then I learned to love Konversation when I switched to Linux. At some point I got tired of missing stuff when I was offline so I got shell access on a friends server to run irssi. It was ok and I customized the hell out of it to fit my needs pretty perfectly but I always missed Konversation’s nice GUI. I’m just not the type that really enjoys a CLI app (well except for listadmin maybe – but more about that another time). And then came Quassel, developed by a good friend of mine. I got a GUI and always-online in one app without hacks. Heaven! Well ok – close to heaven. There were a few usability issues that thankfully got fixed with help by Celeste. But one thing is still problematic: Quassel keeps all queries (private chats) in your default channel list. (Konversation had (has?) this nice feature that it closes inactive queries after a while and they are gone after a restart anyway so your channel list doesn’t grow too huge.)ย  With a huge list of queries (not hard to achieve if you’re using IRC for a while) you easily miss new messages in Quassel. Since I noticed a few people having this problem I’ll share how I tuned my Quassel to never miss queries again.

I have 2 chat lists. One with all my channels and queries and another one with only new stuff – that means unread channels and queries. It looks like this:

Quassel channel buffer

Once I read and leave the queries again they are removed from the news chat list – same for the channels. A nice side effect of this is that I can easily manage a lot of channels even on the small screen on my netbook without scrolling.

To set this up go to View -> Chat Lists -> Configure Chat Lists.

Settings for my All Buffers chat list:

Quassel All Buffers

Settings for my news chat list:

Quassel news chat list

How about a list of only new queries? Easy:

Quassel queries-only

How about a chat lists with only channels with highlights? There you go:

Quassel highlights-only

Enjoy and never get angry looks from friends again for missing a query ๐Ÿ˜‰

How did you tune Quassel?

social media guide for free software projects

Lately more and more people come to me with questions like “What does $randomsocialmediaterm mean?” or “How does $socialmediasite work?” or “How do I do this on $socialmediasite?“. It seems people start to understand that social media can be a huge thing for free software projects but don’t really know where to start or where to look for help.

So I sat down for a few hours and wrote the Social Media Guide For Free Software Projects. Download it and find out how social media can help your project stay in touch with your users and make it rock even more. Learn about digg, Twitter,, and more. The guide includes basic intros to different sites as well as advanced tips for how to deal with social media in general.

Enjoy and please leave feedback for the next version of the guide ๐Ÿ™‚

Where is the buzz?

The buzz is at of course ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  Check it out and watch what people are saying about the KDE 4.3 release on, Twitter, Flickr, Picasaweb and YouTube. Don’t forget to upload your own screenshots and screencasts!

(Thanks to the Ubuntu team for the code, toma for putting it into a KDE theme and Nuno for a new header image.)

Communication ninjas all around?

Have you ever noticed that some people check their IRC backlog and answer every ping while others couldn’t care less about who tried to contact them while they were away? Are there people around you who answer emails within a day (most of the time much less though) while you can wait a week for your uncle to answer that email asking for photos of your latest family reunion?

The people around us communicate very differently on the web for various reasons.ย  Let’s simplify it by separating them into 4 groups:

  • communication ninjas
  • selective communicators
  • part-time communicators
  • communication abstainers

Communication ninjas are those who you can always reach, no matter where. They read their emails regularly, check IRC backlogs, follow what is happening on Twitter/, know who broke up with whom on Facebook and have a huge contact list for different networks in their instant messenger of choise.

Selective communicators are reachable on a few selected mediums. They might check emails regularly and Jabber. Or follow and IRC. They have chosen one or a few mediums and stick to it. You can rely on reaching them there but don’t bet on reaching them anywhere else.

Part-time communicators are on top of things when they are “online” but nearly completely drop off the earth from time to time. They are probably the trickiest of them all because you can’t always rely on their communication pattern.

Communication abstainers… Well, don’t rely on them getting any information. They don’t like communicating online or simply don’t have the time for it. You will have to spent some extra effort on them.

So you might ask yourself why this is important for you. It is very important if you want to get a message to a person or a group of people. Unfortunately in the Free Software community we forget about it too often or are not aware of its implications while relying so heavily on communication every single day.

Say you have a part-time communicator who does IRC and reads backlog. There is little sense in sending him a simple “ping”. He’ll read it 5 hours later due to time-zone difference between you two and “pong” you. This ping pong can go on for days without ever any of you two getting the message to the other. (Yes I’ve see it happen multiple times. Don’t ask.) “ping – I need you to do X” would have been so much more effective in this case.

Other example: You have a communication abstainer and need to contact him quickly. You could send an email and wait days to get a reply. Or you could ask around in his network and get his cellphone number and call him quickly. Or ask his collegues at work to tell him you need him to do X or know about Y.

Another example: You have a part-time communicator who can’t use IRC at work but you need something dealt with quickly. Contact him on Jabber which he uses at work.

Things to take away:

  • Find out which category people around you fit in and then adjust accordingly if you want to get your message across successfully.
  • Spread important messages to the communication ninjas in your network and ask them to spread it. They are often also the multipliers in your network who reach the most people most effectively.
  • Take into consideration what kind of a communicator people in your team are. Do some of them feel excluded because they can’t or don’t want to keep up with IRC/mail/ all the time? Are they loosing out on valuable information? Are they kept out of important decisions?
  • Not all of us are communication ninjas. Don’t rely on it!
  • Where do you fit in? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Berlin, we’ll meet again

As others on PlanetKDE already wrote we had a really great time in Berlin last week. The KDE/Kubuntu/Amarok booth was well staffed with my favorite gearheads and new KDE people now to be added to the former group ๐Ÿ˜‰ It was nice to meet you folks! One of the best things about this year’s Linuxtag: We finally managed to get our booths (KDE, Kubuntu, Amarok, QtSoftware and KDAB) together as close as possible ๐Ÿ˜€ No more running from one side of the exhibition to the other like in previous years \o/

Gearheads at Linuxtag

Thursday was probably the busiest day for me. Ingo interviewed me about Amarok for RadioTux. (Excellent job as always, Ingo! ;-)) The recording of it is available at RadioTux. Shortly after that I had to rush off to join Alexandra in giving an introduction to community management in free software projects in our “Community Management 101” workshop that was well received.
The other days were filled with meetings and lots of talking to visitors and other projects. It is nice to see the shift in attitude towards KDE 4 compared to Linuxtag last year. A lot of people came to our booth to let us know they use and like KDE 4 now. This really rocks! Those who were not happy with KDE 4 yet mostly had very minor problems which we fixed in a few minutes; like showing them how to add applets to their taskbar or what the places bar in Dolphin is capable of. Oh and I was surprised how many people first didn’t believe I was running a stock KDE 4.2.4 on Kubuntu on my 7′ EeePC. So once again: The tiny thing does indeed run KDE 4 ๐Ÿ˜‰ Special thanks for that to the Plasma and KWin team. Plasma and KWin on the EeePC are quite an eye catcher at events like Linuxtag.

KDE 4.2.4 on EeePC

Kreuzberg surprised a small group of us on Saturday with CSD. Definitely not what I would have expected for that evening but it was awesome! And let me tell you: Marge‘s outfit was great but it wasn’t the best one by far. That one goes to someone dressed as Hellboy shouting “KDE! Awesome!” after seeing Frederik’s KDE shirt. This was my second time in Kreuzberg and the second time there was a party on the streets. Rock! (Way less police than on May 1st though ;-))
Sunday and Monday Frank, Cornelius, Thorsten, Danimo, Dominik, Milian and I met at the QtSoftware office to talk about the future of KDE’s wikis. It was quite productive and results will be visible soon.

Thanks go to KDE e.V. and Amarok for funding and of course the Linuxtag team for another great event.

Oh and btw: I of course signed the FLA as well. (I think I got number 10 – nice round number.)

Everyone going to Gran Canaria: Have a nice time and lots of fun and make sure to blog/dent/tweet a lot for those left behind at home. I want to see lots of photos ๐Ÿ˜€