Thursday, August 4, 2011

Approaching the desktop summit

It's only one day left until the global KDE and GNOME communities meet at Berlin for the second desktop summit. Hundreds of free software contributors from all over the world, the core of the free desktop community is meeting at the Humboldt-Universit├Ąt zu Berlin in the middle of the German capital from August 6th to 12th.

It's those people who create the software, which millions and millions of users see, feel, and use every day, on the desktop and beyond, who make great technology accessible to everybody. Many of you participate in this effort, and by doing this with free software we are providing nothing less than one of the building blocks of free society. Getting all the creative minds, the people with passion for beautiful, elegant, powerful, amazing software, together at one event, that's remarkable, and I'm looking forward to what we'll breed at Berlin, what ideas, collaborations, what code will emerge.

For me one of the most important parts of the desktop summit will be the general assembly of KDE e.V. Without KDE e.V. events like this wouldn't be possible. It provides the organizational foundation, which is necessary to run a community on the scale KDE has reached. The general assembly is the annual check point, where we report and reflect on the state of the organization, and decide about its future direction. As a member of the board it's my duty and my honor to report on what we have achieved.

This year is a bit special as we'll have elections for two of the five board positions, and I'm running for my third term. While we have achieved a lot with KDE e.V. over the past years, we are still in a position, where we have the chance to achieve a lot more, for the KDE community, for free software, and, as already said, for a free society in general. To make some of this happen is one of the main goals I have for my third term. I need your support and your help for that, and I hope we can build an even stronger organization, where many of you join the effort of making the world a better place through our technology.

The main part of the desktop summit of course is the conference. We have a great lineup of keynote speakers: Thomas Thwaite, Claire Rowloand, Dirk Hohndel, Stuart Javis, and Nick Richards.We have dozens of other presentations, which cover the whole spectrum of the free desktop, technology, community, from both, the KDE and GNOME communities, and related project. If you are interested in free software on the desktop and reaching beyond the desktop, there is no better place to be than Berlin next week. As a special highlight we have a panel about copyright assignment with Mark Shuttleworth, Michael Meeks, and Bradley Kuhn, moderated by Karen Sandler. This is going to be interesting. KDE has a clear position there with the fiduciary license agreement we created with the help of the FSFE, which preserves freedom, gives equal rights to contributors, and doesn't create any barrier of entry.

The other big part of the desktop summit will be the workshops and BoF sessions, the less formal events, which take place towards end of the week. This is where people have time and opportunity to mingle, to collaborate, to exchange ideas, to discuss projects. I'm running an experiment there, the attempt to cover a full year of KDE sprints in one hour. We'll have a series of lightning talks giving an impression of what happened at the 21 sprints we had since Akademy a year ago. I'm also looking forward to discuss and finalize the recommended KDE git workflow we came up with at the sprint in Randa in June. Finally I also intend to move forward with the idea of a Qt library archive, which also originated at Randa, and which we discussed in more detail at the Qt contributors' summit.
As always I'm also carrying the hat of my employer, SUSE. openSUSE is a great distribution to run both KDE and GNOME, and SUSE Studio, my main project at SUSE, also can be useful in the context of the desktop communities in various ways. If you are interested in any of that, would like to discuss it, or need help getting something done, don't hesitate to talk to me.

Tomorrow I'll board a train and go to Berlin to dive into this special sphere of the free software community again. It's my ninth of the big annual events organized by KDE, be it Kastle, Akademy, or the Desktop Summit. I can't wait to meet all the old and new friends who make up this wonderful community.

See you in Berlin.

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