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Category: KDE e.V.

KDE is All About the Apps, an Akademy 2021 recap

Besides the talks, something very important about Akademy is the meetings you get to have with the different people working across KDE products. Our community work can fall into small groups, it’s in this occasions when we get to share and collaborate that we have that opportunity to make a big difference, at large.

All About the Apps

Today I would like to sum up a bit the discussions we had among the different binary curation fronts. We had several of them, namely Linux, Plasma Mobile, Android, Windows, Mac and Automation.

You can take a look at the notes we took on the different meetings in the backlog of the goal’s matrix channel.

Something I find that is especially relevant here is to see the similarities we have across the board as it brings the opportunity to create ever better solutions than the work we’d manage to do separately. In this case, we have a repeating workflow across that consists of: building, testing, publishing and updating.

One obvious topic that was discussed in every single meeting is integrated tooling to actually build the applications. We already have certain infrastructure to do this already for most platforms in https://binary-factory.kde.org, but we are not entirely happy about it. So much so that we had a separate meeting together with sysadmin to see what we could do to improve it. They did mention that we are moving from Jenkins to GitLab CI which we expect to take this part of the process to the next level. If you have experience with DevOps and GitLab and would like to help, don’t hesitate to reach out to our sysadmins team!

Another part that was also discussed was Quality Assurance (QA). Is there practical ways to deploy a system that can help us there? openQA was floated several times as a solution, nobody seems to be very experienced there, also it’s unclear to us how that would work on other platforms as well. Again, feel free to reach out if you have experience and some time to spare. πŸ™‚

The next step we always need to take is publishing. This is a topic that we have rather well solved on Linux through AppStream but less so on others. But in the end we always want the same descriptions, translations, icons everywhere. We have been trying to leverage it by converting these files into the formats other platforms use. It’s still to be seen if others will make it possible as well. Beyond the metadata, seeing to have applications updatable semi-automatically would be ideal and it is what we are aiming for, so when there’s big releases, we don’t need to have someone updating every binary one by one.

Streamlining this process can only make it more pleasant to work on our apps and making sure they reach everyone who need them. If you care about people using them, if you care to improve any of the apps, don’t hesitate to join the goal and talk to us.

https://kde.org/goals

Join the Linux App Summit in Barcelona!

As many of you will know we, at KDE and together with GNOME, are organising the Linux App Summit (LAS for short). It will be in Barcelona between the 12th and 15th November.

For those of you who haven’t heard of LAS:

The Linux App Summit is designed to accelerate the growth of the Linux application ecosystem by bringing together everyone involved in creating a great Linux application user experience.

Participate!

If you would like to talk about what you have been working on, you still can send us your talk. We extended our call for papers to the next week-end. You can learn more about it here: https://linuxappsummit.org/cfp/

Come!

Registration is now open, and it’s open to everyone! Meet leading experts in Linux and have interesting discussions about the future together.

You can register here: https://events.linuxappsummit.org/

Reaching out

One of the activities that we have been promoting is joining conferences on topics that we’re interested in. Last September I joined two of them: the Libre Application Summit and EduCode.

Reaching out within the community

In the Linux community we’re portrayed as tribalistic quite often, there’s good reasons of that. Having been part of KDE day to day for years, I also must say that it’s clearly been blown out of proportion. There’s collaboration all over the place and we should celebrate when it happens. Sitting together and sharing visions is useful, which we did in the last Libre Application Summit in Denver.

Among others, we learned about Flatpak’s internals, elementary’s software distribution approach, fancy new ways of distributing linux operating systems and how some free software we have available on linux can be used by graphics designers and how they reach them. Of course, there were the KDE bits that Albert and I brought.

I would say that the ultimate goal for all this wasn’t exclusively to learn about it but to actually sit together and talk. Which we did and I’m looking forward to do so again next year, hopefully with the rest of communities working on desktop, applications and distribution.

Reaching out to users

It’s a completely different story, for sure, but it needs doing too. In this occasion we joined a conference full of Belgian and French teachers who are interested both in Free Software and having the best educational tools available for their students.

This is especially important for two main reasons: we get to explain to some of our most prominent stakeholders what our software does and why it’s great but also we get to see how they react and what they miss. Caring and listening to users is crucial to the health of any project.

I was tempted to upload another picture of the crew up there (Adriaan, Paul and myself) but it’s rather unflattering to say the least, so we’ll stick with Paul looking all smart. πŸ™‚

Of course, these were only the conferences I attended the last few months, but there’s been several other conferences where KDE has joined, join the planet KDE to know more!

A laptop by KDE

Earlier this year we announced a joint venture between KDE and Slimbook that we named the KDE Slimbook.

Last Akademy we had the opportunity to meet the Slimbook team and discuss its purpose and future. I’m quite happy about the discussions, here’s my feedback.

KDE Slimbook

Why?

Before talking about future stuff, let’s set the context.

Personally, this has been a long-standing pet-peeve of mine. We create software solutions for virtual hardware specifications. We require our users to go the extra mile by replacing the manufacturer’s operating system, often with some annoyances because their hardware isn’t properly supported. This is not necessarily our fault, but most of us agree that we should improve this situation.

On the software side of things, while it’s our area of expertise, we are still far from being able to deliver the product we would like to give. Our ecosystem is still complex and our users have to take several decisions, some of dubious nature.

Hence, I started pushing for this project with some colleagues from KDE.

Where are we?

As discussed in the Akademy presentation, the project worked reasonably well. Devices were delivered and the KDE community does see value in the project.

We have reached a point where we understand the value of the initiative and understand the environment much better. We are happy with the results so far and we see room for improvement; both in the task we do to make a better device as well as in defining the product.

Future

I want to see the project moving forward and I will keep working towards better cohesion between hardware vendors and KDE. In the future, I would like to see the devices that we see available, especially when it comes to different use cases, and therefore form factors.

I don’t think it makes sense that we continue doing it just to do so. There is a good deal of hardware vendors that will offer devices with good setups. Most of them they will even offer you these laptops with KDE on them upon demand. If we put our effort in such projects, it needs to be because we are making something special.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. One step at a time. Let’s continue to provide good solutions by staying simple by default but powerful when needed.

KDE dinner in Berlin – 13th May

In a few days (May 13th-14th) the KDE e.V. board will be having an in-person board meeting in Berlin.

We’d like to take this opportunity to meet and talk to other people in Berlin besides ourselves, so we’re organizing a dinner on Saturday 13th around 19:00 (location still undecided, suggestions accepted).

So if you are interested in talking about KDE, KDE e.V., Free Software, Open Source, or any other random talk and want to have a good time let me know that you’re coming as soon as possible, space is limited.

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