Meet Cornelius Schumacher – Akademy Keynote Speaker

Cornelius Schumacher
photo by Michal Kubeček

At Akademy 2014, outgoing KDE e.V. Board President Cornelius Schumacher will give the community keynote. He has attended every Akademy and has been amazed and inspired at every one of them. If you want more of what KDE can bring to your life, Cornelius’s talk is the perfect elixir.

Here are glimpses of Cornelius that most of us have never seen. They give a sense of what has made him a successful leader of KDE for several years.

Behind the KDE scene
Food?
I like eating, and I like cooking. I’m a recipe type of cook, so I have a large collection of cook books. At the moment Jamie Oliver is one of the favorites in my family. Especially his 30 minute menus fascinate me in terms of well-thought-through procedures. Sometimes I feel the urge to revolutionize the way recipes are presented, though. Especially these kind of sophisticated procedures such as the 30 minutes menus deserve a more accurate and consumable way of being presented, don’t they? I see something like flow diagrams in my mind. But that’s another project at another time…

Favorite beer?
I’m glad that you asked. I feel lucky to live in a region where the variety and quality of beer is so fabulous that there really is no excuse for drinking bad beer. One of my favorites is Kuchlbauer Weißbier. It’s one of the tastiest beers I know, and the brewery is a piece of art in itself. They have a tower dedicated to the idea of beer done as a project with the famous artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. There is an installation of beer dwarves in their cellar, as well as a full-size reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper”, along with some interpretation by the founder of the brewery himself. Kind of crazy, but absolutely worth a visit.

Who are you when you are not at work?
The energy from food and beer I don’t use for my job or KDE, I spend on one of my bicycles. My career as bicycle racer started and ended with the one race I did when I was sixteen. But I still enjoy going by bike whenever I can. My rough estimate is that I have done something like 100,000 km in total by bike in my life up to now.

What’s your tech setup?
I’m standing on the shoulders of giants. I have a stack of computers and devices which have accumulated over the years; some feel gigantic today. What I actually use these days is my current desktop—which is optimized to be silent, and a small laptop I mostly use for traveling. All my computers run openSUSE, which I discovered when it was delivered on floppy disks, and which is still one of the best systems out there.

Recently an Android tablet has sneaked into my life. It is a great device for some things. I only wish there would be more KDE software on it.

Why should someone attend Akademy?
Akademy is the place to be to see the KDE community in action. It’s always so amazing to see the high level of community KDE operates on. This hasn’t changed at all over the years. I have attended all Akademies and I haven’t experienced a single one which didn’t amaze me.

The level of energy is incredibly high, and the common passion for writing free software brings together such a diverse group of people. It is an example of what can be achieved by bringing together the right factors of motivation, people who are driven by a common idea, the environment, which allows these people to get stuff done.

Being at Akademy always feels like there are no limits to what a person can do.

Why should someone attend your talk?
I will tell how to become a better person through KDE. KDE is a tremendously supportive environment for growth, and I think we sometimes don’t recognize or value that enough. It is worth having a closer look at what happens there and why KDE is such a supportive environment.

I will also tell parts of my personal story, how KDE altered my life. I have been around for quite a while, and I have seen many things that illustrate how KDE facilitates growth. And I do have some embarrassing photos from the past, which work very well to prove this point.

What do you see as the most important issues for free and open technology over the next few years?
There are so many and such strong interests in computing from so many sides today that it really is a challenge to maintain the sovereignty and freedom of the individual there. The only way to prevent abuse of technology and harmful consequences of thoughtless use is to put a strong foundation of values under it and create examples and implementations of how to do things in the right way to protect people. Free software does both of those, so we have to make sure it continues to deliver on them.

What is distinctive and important about FOSS and about KDE in particular?
FOSS provides an environment which is tailored to stimulate the best that we can do with technology. It uses the right mechanisms to bring to the surface what good people can do. KDE has cultivated that to an amazing degree. It shows that we have done that for many, many years, and that we have learned one or two lessons about what works and what doesn’t.

Torvalds or Stallman?
I respect and value both of them. Richard for the clarity of thought and the strong vision he provides, Linus for his technical brilliance. If I had to choose, I would choose Richard, though. While I wouldn’t want to live without Linux or Git, I do think that technology in itself is not sufficient. It does have to serve a purpose.

Akademy 2014 Brno

For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest FOSS communities in the world—works online by email, IRC, forums and mailing lists. Akademy provides all KDE contributors the opportunity to meet in person to foster social bonds, work on concrete technology issues, propose and consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the following year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work to bring those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, or looking to begin using it.

If you are someone who wants to make a difference with technology, Akademy 2014 in Brno, Czech Republic is the place to be.

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KDE Commit-Digest for 25th May 2014

In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest:
Amarok implements popular demand to restore scroll location when collection filter is cleared; adds a new option to support icon-view large thumb size (over 256×256 px)
Plasma desktop streamlines comment fields of KCMs…

Meet Sascha Meinrath – Akademy Keynote Speaker

Sascha Meinrath
photo from fisl quinze (Fórum Internacional do Software Livre) CC-BY-SA

A few weeks ago, the keynote speakers for Akademy were announced. KDE is fortunate to have Sascha Meinrath at Akademy in Brno, Czech Republic to open our eyes about hot topics and important issues. Sascha’s work doesn’t fit into limited categories; he’s an activist, think tank founder, policy pundit, hacker, futurist, political strategist and more…as the following interview shows.

For people want to know more about you
Tech policy and political strategy work can often be both high-impact and high-stress. To relax, I like to cook — not the sort of “oh hey, I can cook a few dishes o.k.” cooking — more, “you should open a gourmet restaurant”. For the past 8 years, I’ve been hosting an epicurean feast called “Basque” (long story), which usually brings together 1-5 dozen people for 2-4 dozen courses. We’ve done everything from cooking with dangerous chemicals to building a KitchenAid-powered lamb rotisserie.

I’m also an avid gardener — which, I suppose, is an unusual skill for a technologist, having done a lot of permaculture over the years. And I bike around town as much as possible, play guitar, and enjoy working with my hands whenever I get the chance.

Prior to my work in Washington DC, I did a lot with a movement called Indymedia — which pioneered digital media documentation tactics that are now standard during protests and unrest. I’ve been chased, lied to, beaten, teargassed, and otherwise had my civil and human rights trampled upon by police while doing nothing more than documenting their behavior — which was an initial catalyzer for developing the technologies my teams have pioneered over the past 14 years.

What’s your setup?
I’m running a (heavily modded) version of Ubuntu on a Lenovo X1 Carbon. Thus, my monitor size is small for day-to-day activities. I also have a multi-media server hooked into a projector that faces a 10+ foot screen (hand built by me to have the perfect dimensions for my media room) — so either small or mind-blowingly ginormous, depending on whether I’m seeking to kill bad legislation or zombies (sometimes it’s difficult to know which is which). I also have a 4-year old daughter, which means I am thoroughly adept at mixing “kiddie cocktails”, building towers, sneaking around the house like “cat-princess-ninjas” and being subjected to tickle sneak attacks again and again and again… and again.

Why should someone attend your talk? How will people’s realities be affected?
Today, throughout the geekosphere, almost everyone is thinking about how to secure their communications over inherently insecure networks. No one’s paying attention to major leaps forward in circumvention technology — not to just keep personal information private, but also to create entire alternative infrastructures that are far more difficult to surveille, control, censor, and shut down. I’ll provide a world-wide survey of the state-of-the-art in circumvention *infrastructure* — and point to the resources participants need to build their own systems, whether within their neighborhood or community, city, or region. I’ll explain tools that are available — both fully legal and ones whose deployment is the equivalent of electromagnetic jaywalking but may prove vital in many of the worlds’ hot spots as well as in people’s own back yards.

What are some important issues for different kinds of free and open technology over the next few years?
We need an entire alternative ecosystem — I worry that we’re winning the battle (to create functional equivalents of proprietary software) while losing a war over the basic control of the hardware we use. We’re heading into a CryptoWar II epoch — where surveillance is moving out of the networks and into our edge devices — which means that we need to think differently about everything from how to maintain our privacy to how we fundamentally communicate. The core fault line is over the locus of control over new technologies — either it resides with us (the end users) or we’re simply serfs in a 21st Century Digital Feudalism. It is a very stark, and very real, battle.

What is distinctive and important about FOSS? And about KDE?
FOSS, as exemplified by KDE, is about placing control in the hands of its users. We are heading into an era that will be exemplified by an “Internet of Things” that surveille, intrude, and control our private lives in ways we currently think unimaginable. Within that near-future, FOSS and KDE are liberatory opportunities — the potential to develop a different societal trajectory for the future of a computer-mediated world.

Torvalds or Stallman?
I’ll definitely take a cranky old bastard who’s continuing to push the envelope over a game-changing developer (no matter how talented). To me, Stallman exemplifies the never-ending quest to liberate society writ large — it’s not enough to rest on our laurels or declare things “good enough” — until everyone is fully liberated from Digital Feudalism, visionaries like Richard Stallman provide leadership and guidance on where we should focus our next efforts.

Akademy 2014 Brno

For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest FOSS communities in the world—works online by email, IRC, forums and mailing lists. Akademy provides all KDE contributors the opportunity to meet in person to foster social bonds, work on concrete technology issues, propose and consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the following year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work to bring those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, or looking to begin using it.

If you are someone who wants to make a difference with technology, Akademy 2014 in Brno, Czech Republic is the place to be.

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LaKademy 2014 – KDE Latin America Summit

Two years have passed since the reality of the first Latin American meeting of KDE contributors in 2012 in Porto Alegre, capital of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Now we are proud to announce that the second LaKademy will be held August 27th to 30th in São Paulo, Brazil, at one of the most important and prestigious universities in the world—the University of São Paulo.

In this LaKademy we intend to do something different than what we did in 2012. It’s not going to be just an event to bring together KDE contributors in Latin America, who will dedicate time and passion in hacking sessions. This time we be in touch with the KDE user community and attract possible future KDE contributors. Thus, we prepared some activities such as talks and short courses for the public that will be taught by KDE members.

The event will be four days long. Its program reflects the diverse fields of KDE: there will be talks on systems administration, development with Qt (the programming library that forms the foundation under most KDE software), KDE and Qt software on Android, artwork and more. Specific technical sessions will be dedicated to topics such as developing educational software, networks, translation and software internationalization. The event will also include cultural activities, such as the Konvescote at the hackerspace Garoa.

The LaKademy 2014 website has more information about the program, directions to the venue and registration instructions.

Put LaKademy on your calendar and come join KDE community!

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Release 4.14 – KDE Applications get better and better

The KDE Community has announced the latest major updates to KDE Applications delivering primarily improvements and bugfixes. Plasma Workspaces and the KDE Development Platform are frozen and receiving only long term support; those teams are focused on the transition to Plasma 5 and Frameworks 5. This 4.14 release is dedicated to long time KDE contributor Volker Lanz who passed away last April. The full announcement has more information and details.

KDE Applications

In the past, KDE has jointly released the three major divisions of KDE software—Plasma Workspaces, KDE Development Platform and KDE Applications. The KDE Development Platform is being reworked into KDE Frameworks. The monolithic libraries that comprise the Development Platform are becoming independent, cross platform modules (KDE Frameworks 5) that will be readily available to all Qt developers. Plasma Workspaces is being moving to a new technology foundation based on Qt5 and KDE Frameworks 5. With the 3 major KDE software components moving at different paces, their release schedules are now separated. For the most part, KDE’s 4.14 release involves KDE Applications.

Development Platform/KDE Frameworks 5

The modular Frameworks structure will have widespread benefits for KDE software. In addition, Frameworks is a substantial contribution to the Qt ecosystem by making KDE technology available to all Qt developers.

Plasma Workspaces

Plasma 5 was recently released after 3 years of work; it is on its own release schedule with feature releases every three months and bugfix releases in the intervening months. The Plasma team has built a solid foundation that will support Plasma Workspaces for many years.

KDE Applications

Release 4.14 is not about lots of “new and improved stuff”. Many KDE developers are focused on the Next Experience (Plasma 5) or porting to KDE Frameworks (based on Qt5). Mostly, the 4.14 release is needed by aspects of our workflow (such as translations). This release offers more software stability, with little emphasis on new and less-proven stuff. People who want the latest and greatest KDE software may want to experiment with the Plasma 5 Workspace.

There are over 200 actively maintained KDE applications. Many of them are listed in the KDE userbase. Wikipedia also has another list of KDE applications.

Most previous releases had highlights of new features and prominent applications. This gave some people the impression that KDE developers favored new-and-shiny over quality, which is not true. So, for this announcement of the 4.14 release, developers were asked for details—small, incremental improvements and bugfixes that might not even be noticeable to most users. These are the kinds of tasks that most developers work on, the kinds of tasks that allow beginners to make meaningful, mostly invisible contributions. The announcement has examples of the kinds of improvements that KDE developers have made in this release.

Thank you to all KDE developers working on behalf of people all over the world.

Spread the Word

Non-technical contributors are an important part of KDE’s success. While proprietary software companies have huge advertising budgets for new software releases, KDE depends on people talking with other people. Even for those who are not software developers, there are many ways to support the 4.13 releases. Report bugs. Encourage others to join the KDE Community. Or support the nonprofit organization behind the KDE community.

Please spread the word on the Social Web. Submit stories to news sites, use channels like delicious, digg, reddit, and twitter. Upload screenshots of your new set-up to services like Facebook, Flickr, ipernity and Picasa, and post them to appropriate groups. Create screencasts and upload them to YouTube, Blip.tv, and Vimeo. Please tag posts and uploaded materials with “KDE”. This makes them easy to find, and gives the KDE Promo Team a way to analyze coverage for the 4.14 release.

Follow what is happening on the social web at the KDE live feed, buzz.kde.org. This site aggregates real-time activity from Twitter, YouTube, flickr, PicasaWeb, blogs, and other social networking sites.

Learning more and getting started

Find more details and download links in the announcement on the KDE website.

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KDE Frameworks Sprint – How to Release a Platform

DSC_0538
Konqui finds the Spectacular Montjuic next door to the KDE office.

KDE Frameworks 5 is the result of two years of hard work porting, tidying, modularizing and refactoring KDELibs4 into a new addition to the Qt 5 platform. In January, Alex Fiestas announced The KDE Barcelona Hub—an office where anyone is welcome to come and work on KDE projects. It was just what the Frameworks team needed to finish off the code so it could be released to the world. Read on for some of what happened.

Aurelien Gateau reports:

I spent most of my time working on translation support, ironing out details to get them to install properly and working with David [Faure] on the release tarballs scripts. I also worked a bit on KApidox, the code generating API documentation for KF5 on api.kde.org. I updated the script to match with the latest Framework changes and switched to the Jinja2 template engine. Using Jinja will make it possible to generate an up-to-date list of Frameworks on the landing page, based on the information from the Framework metainfo.yaml files.

api.kde.org now contains a complete list of Frameworks thanks to Aurelien with Frameworks 5 now the default option.

Alex Merry spent his time on the small but tricky tasks all software needs to be of a high enough quality for release.

Friday was spent trying to understand the KItemModels unit tests and figure out why one of the tests was failing. I eventually determined that the pattern of signal emission when moving rows around had probably changed between Qt4 and Qt5, and the fix was fairly simple.

He also reports on other important topics such as install paths, meta data files and writing the Advanced Git tutorial.

One important discussion that took place in Barcelona was on the KDE Frameworks Release Cycle. We made the controversial decision to do away with bugfix releases and instead have monthly feature releases. Although some distribution packagers noted concerns about the lack of stable release updates, this is the pattern Frameworks is now following, which allows for much faster turnaround of new features.


The Post-it notes kept things orderly

Few people have done more to help the Frameworks project than Kévin Ottens who kept the weekend ticking over by sorting the post-it notes with tasks and highlighting notes which were taking longer than expected to progress. He highlights the processes that the team are following to allow for monthly releases:

  • more dog fooding from framework developers;
  • more contributions from application developers;
  • more automated tests and peer reviews;
  • finer grained feature delivery.
  • Aleix Pol spent his time “Mostly moving things around in the CMake, especially install variables that got changed to make them more compatible with Qt 5“.

    Alex Fiestas reports “Kai and I worked on Solid, we added QML support and designed the new asynchronous power management api“.

    One of the people who has been a constant throughout the development of KDE’s platform is David Faure. He spent time working on the scripts that make releases possible without much overhead.

    It was a successful week that wrapped up many of the loose ends that were needed to allow for last month’s successful release of Frameworks 5. With Plasma 5 now out and Applications releases on their way, Frameworks can be assured to be a platform for future work for years to come.

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    First Bugfix Update to Plasma 5

    KDE is now getting into the swing of releases numbered 5. Today we add Plasma 5′s first bugfix update. The release features KDE’s flagship desktop project as well as the base software needed to keep your computer running. Plasma will have feature r…

    First Update to KDE Frameworks 5

    KDE has today made the first update to KDE Frameworks 5. Frameworks are our addon libraries for Qt applications which provide numerous useful features using peer reviewed APIs and regular monthly updates. This release has 60 different Frameworks, ad…

    Akademy 2014 Program Schedule: Fast, fun, inspiring

    The Akademy Program Committee is excited to announce the Akademy 2014 Program. It is worth the wait! We waded through many high quality proposals and found that it would take more than a week to include all the ones we like. However we managed to bring together a concise and (still packed) schedule.

    Sharing

    As we wrote in the Call for Papers, sharing is an important goal of Akademy. So on Saturday and Sunday in the morning, there will be a single track in the main room which will start with a keynote, followed by 9 short talks. These cover a wide range of KDE-related topics including technical, governance, design, social issues and more, providing inspiration and material for further conversation and debate. Some examples are:

    In the afternoon, there are two tracks of longer, more traditional talks, with a stronger-than-usual in-depth focus. The goal of these sessions is to share knowledge and experience, to learn from each other. In these sessions, you can explore:

    The entire schedule is here.

    The Akademy Program is packed with goodies for many interests. And there will be many opportunities to learn, contribute, and work hard throughout Akademy. We urge you to register now if you haven’t already!

    Akademy 2014 Brno

    For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest FOSS communities in the world—works online by email, IRC, forums and mailing lists. Akademy provides all KDE contributors the opportunity to meet in person to foster social bonds, work on concrete technology issues, propose and consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the following year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work to bring those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, or looking to begin using it.

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    Randa Meetings Interview Four: Myriam Schweingruber


    Myriam Schweingruber

    In one week the Randa Meetings 2014 will start and this is possible because of you. You supported us (and can still support us ;-) and thanks to you we will be able to improve your beloved KDE software even more. So it’s time to give you something new. Here is another interview with one of the persons who will be participating in this year’s meetings (and participated since the start in 2009). And watch out for some other interviews to come in the next days and weeks.

    Here is a glimpse into Myriam Schweingruber’s life and her dedication and love for KDE.

    Myriam; could you tell us a bit about yourself and where you live?

    I am 55 years old and a trained pharmacist from Switzerland. I currently work as a part-time scientific translator in the fields of pharmacy and medicine. I am also an avid computer user since the very first days of the Commodore 64 and the PC; you could describe me as kind of a nerd! I’ve been living in Germany for the last few years.

    How did you first get involved with KDE?

    When I first tried my hands on Linux in the late 90’s, KDE was the only sane desktop available. It must have been version 1 something and of course is not comparable to what we see now. Over the years I have tried a lot of other window managers and desktop solutions, but KDE applications and the Plasma desktop remain my solution of choice when I switch on the computer.

    Wow. That sounds so interesting. You’ve been with KDE for a very long time. How would you describe the evolution of KDE over the years? Any specific jumps/breakthroughs/changes that have been strongly imprinted in your mind? I’m sure everyone who’s been fairly new to KDE would love to hear about its history!

    Well, I have used KDE software since the first versions of it, but I only got involved as a contributor later. I think what we all fell in love with what was KDE 3: it was really a desktop way ahead and left all the freedom to the user who could configure whatever they liked. This was indeed the true spirit of freedom as an indication of what Free Software means. I don’t think there were other desktops around at that time that came up to par with it.

    And KDE SC 4 was yet another big step to pave the way onto how a modern computer works; but also a new challenge that was hard to meet and didn’t go without glitches. I remember to have been an early adopter of KDE SC 4 since the 4.0 previews, and I continuously had to remind myself that I was actually testing a technical preview, not a finished product. With the amount of applications that had to be moved to Qt4 it took years to get it polished, something maybe people were not aware of. What I usually reminded them of was to compare what is comparable: proprietary desktops get new releases every 5 or 6 years, at most, and there is a lot of money behind it. KDE SC 4 did it in just 3-4 years, and most of the work was done in our free time while still maintaining the Qt3 branches.

    Why is KDE so special to you?

    First of all; the community is awesome, as there is a spot for everybody who wants to get involved, regardless of your skills or background. It is probably also the only Free Software community out there who never had problems with integrating people. I am a member of KDE Women, of course. But while it is a stepping stone to attract more women into KDE it is certainly not needed as a hide-out; as women like all other groups have always been an integral part of the community.

    It is so amazing to find a lady so passionate about technology and coding which as per the old fashioned norms has largely been viewed as a male’s domain. What is your message to all the girls out there who are budding tech geeks and wish to be involved with coding and FOSS? How would you motivate them to make their space in a male driven area of interest? Any words to get them to try their hand at technology and venture into different spaces?

    One word: don’t be shy! We have the same capabilities as men do, and remember: the first computer programmers were almost exclusively women! I would suggest all women making their way into IT to read up the history of computers: both the Zuse as well as the ENIAC and other early computers were programmed by women, as men thought that it was like kitchen recipes, so it couldn’t be that difficult!

    Could you talk about how KDE in particular is working for more involvement of women and how gender biases as well as any other forms of discrimination are actually metamorphosed into encouragement and due equality so as to have a community where everyone feels just as welcome and no one is left out?

    Well, I don’t think we do anything special in the KDE community, we just consider every contributor as equals, and since we do that, we really don’t need any specific groups. Everybody is welcome to contribute, what we value is the contributor, regardless of their background. Unlike other women groups, KDE Women doesn’t act like a place where women come in and then stay there, it is just another door to the KDE Community. So the activity of KDE Women is rather low, we try to organize something on Ada Lovelace Day to get new contributors, but for the rest of the time it is just an open door and we never lock it!

    Which specific area of KDE applications do you contribute to?

    I am part of the Amarok team. I also contribute to the Bugsquad and the KDE testing team.

    Could you pinpoint any particular role you play in KDE when it comes to contributing?

    I don’t think I have a specific role, I just work on what I can contribute to, so currently I triage bugs, mostly for Amarok and Phonon, and also work on other non-coding areas in Amarok (promotion, user support, documentation, etc).

    Could you give a brief description of your experience in the past few years at Randa Meetings and your involvement?

    The very first Randa Meeting was actually a Plasma sprint and took place in the family chalet of Mario Fux. I and Mark were living in Switzerland at that time and went for a visit. During a walk I remembered the summer camps I spent in Randa as a kid and spotted the old house where I’ve spent many summers. We (Mario, Mark and I) had the idea of checking if the house could actually be used to host other sprints and that is how everything started. I have since then attended every sprint in Randa and those have always been the most productive ones I ever attended.

    Wow. So I think that I can very aptly label you as one of the founding fathers errr sorry; founding mother of the Randa Meetings! Any particular funny/memorable/scary incident in particular at any Randa Meet that you’d like to share?

    Don’t give too much credit to me, I was only one of the people who were at that particular sprint and Mario already had a similar idea, maybe I was just another push to move the idea forward.

    Have you got anything in particular planned for Randa this year?

    Randa has always been the place where we got a tremendous amount of work done. The gorgeous surroundings, the good air and the lack of local distractions make working in Randa very productive. So yes, I plan to concentrate on my usual work, namely triaging bugs and updating the current documentation and user handbook to the latest changes, as well as adapting the website theme so that we can make the transition to a newer Drupal instance. We also plan to prepare for the Amarok 2.9 release that will integrate a lot of the work done over the last year.

    What will you be looking forward to the most in Randa? Any particular people or projects you are eager to meet and collaborate with?

    First of all: meeting all the old friends who gather in Randa that we rarely see in real life, as all of us are from different places around the world and Randa is the perfect place to finally get together again. Unlike Akademy, it is a more intimate gathering, focused on working on our projects, without the distractions of the talks and sightseeing. For me it is also the perfect occasion to meet the team members again, and finally also meet a GSoC student who is working with us since quite some time. Of course collaboration with the other KDE multimedia people is something I am also looking forward to, and of course the great food!

    How important has Randa been for you in your journey with KDE and FOSS contribution through the past few years?

    I think it is important not only for me, but for all who’ve been in Randa before, and we can all agree that it really is the best place to get a lot of work done. In the last few gatherings we managed to do a lot of work that needed active collaboration, like documentation, just to name one specific field. One of the Randa sprints was probably the week where we fixed more Amarok bugs than we did in the whole year before the meeting, just because we had everybody together in the same place.

    Why do you think Meetings such as Randa are very important for KDE and FOSS communities around the globe?

    While a lot of the work in Free Software is done over the internet, nothing replaces the real life meetings, as it provides an extra drive in terms of motivation. Modern software development is mostly agile, something even corporate software development is using more and more. Due to the global distribution of our contributors; Free Software development has always been agile to start with, even if we didn’t put a label on it in the early days.

    And in agile development; sprints are a very important element to push the project forward. While sprints can be done over the web, they are hindered by time-zones, external distractions, availability of contributors, etc. Having real life sprints, even if those are few, are more productive as all the hindrances of the web meetings are eliminated and the productivity is greatly enhanced.

    Why do you think supporting such meetings is of importance and how has the support helped you as a KDE developer?

    The support allows us to bring developers together who would not be able to attend the sprints and would then have to be involved with it remotely, with all the downsides of remote work.

    Could you give a brief description of what your typical day in Randa was like in the past few years?

    Get up early, grab a great breakfast and meet the team members at the breakfast table; plan the day, eventually schedule a meeting for later during the day or attend the meetings scheduled in advance. Then discuss specific problems with the people on site, get some work done, lunch break, short walk to get fresh air, discussions during walks, get work done, grab some fruit, work again, oh, it is already supper time! After supper, continue work, relax with friends and discuss more plans, eventually get aware that time flies and it is already midnight and try to get some sleep.

    During the whole day tea and coffee are available, as well as fruits and sweets. Since all teams have specific rooms you always know where to find somebody, and of course we all use IRC to communicate and eventually schedule a meeting within 5 minutes.

    Lastly; any particular message to the people of the world?

    Support KDE and the Randa Meetings!

    Thanks a lot, Myriam, for your time for the interview and dedication to Amarok and the KDE community.

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    Akademy 2014 Keynotes: Sascha Meinrath and Cornelius Schumacher

    Akademy 2014 will kick off on September 6 in Brno, Czech Republic; our keynote speakers will be opening the first two days. Continuing a tradition, the first keynote speaker is from outside the KDE community, while the second is somebody you all know. On Saturday, Sascha Meinrath will speak about the dangerous waters he sees our society sailing into, and what is being done to help us steer clear of the cliffs. Outgoing KDE e.V. Board President, Cornelius Schumacher, will open Sunday’s sessions with a talk about what it is to be KDE and why it matters.


    Sascha Meinrath – photo by Faith Swords

    Sascha Meinrath on the Internet of Things

    Sascha Meinrath is well-known in the broad FOSS community. Wikipedia describes him as an “Internet culture leader and community Internet pioneer”. He was a leading voice in the successful opposition to the U.S. SOPA and PIPA legislation, and is the founder of the Open Technology Institute (OTI), a public policy think tank advocating policy and regulations that are healthy for open source, open standards and innovation. OTI also works on lowering the barrier to wireless communication (Commotion Wireless) and advancing network research in the Measurement Lab. Recently, Sascha started the X-Lab, which anticipates technology directions and develops public policy for them, rather than reacting afterward with the risk of being caught off guard.

    Sascha looks ahead at potential challenges, aware of the ways governments and companies abuse technology or could do so. With the Akademy program committee, he discussed “digital feudalism—the interlocking system of devices and applications that are reducing us to a serf-like state”. Having coined this term, he is in a good position to explain the ways in which private and government forces are undermining the democratic, participatory platform of the Internet. And how this subterfuge has further broad impacts that reduce our freedom.

    Resolving this dilemma cannot be solely a technical endeavor. Sascha said, “I see the work with the Commotion Wireless Project or fighting against NSA surveillance or on major spectrum licensure reform as different facets of the same problem, but am most worried about what happens with the so-called ‘Internet of Things’—which I view with extreme skepticism”. The Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to transform communication networks massively. Enormous security implications aren’t even the biggest concern. Sascha notes that “there are tremendous opportunities for building open ecosystems and privacy-protecting equivalents to mainstream products—but that has to be combined with strong pushes in governmental/policy circles as well as in outreach/PR”.

    In other words, it is Sascha’s intention to ensure that this transition to the Internet of Things—whatever shape it will have—is built on open standards, protocols and strong protection of individual freedom. “And if that disrupts the dominant business model of many major corporations today (who all want to commoditize your private data), so be it”.

    Sascha Meinrath is one of Time Magazine’s “Most Influential Minds in Tech” and Newsweek’s “Digital Power Index Top 100 Influencers”. KDE is in a strong position to provide technical innovation and has consistently demonstrated the power of community, freedom and openness. At Akademy 2014 in Brno, there is a strong possibility that this partnership will produce outcomes that will benefit people the world over. Anyone who is committed to having technology make a difference owes it to themselves to be part of Akademy.


    Cornelius in the (g)olden days – photo by Helge Heß

    Cornelius Schumacher on How KDE Makes You a Better Person

    A strikingly related subject will be brought to the Akademy audience on Sunday. Cornelius Schumacher, president of KDE e.V., has been a KDE contributor since 1999. He has seen changes in every direction and has been at the heart of several of them. Cornelius will talk about the tremendous opportunity KDE provides to learn and grow, not only technology, but also people. He will show how the community consistently acts as a breeding ground for software and for personal growth as well. “I joined KDE for the technology, but stayed for the community”, Cornelius says. “I have never stopped being amazed by the people around me in KDE, the talent, the friendship, the passion to do something for the greater good. I learned so much from these people and owe a big part of my career and personal development to the community.”

    Over the years Cornelius has seen many people join KDE and grow, and often outgrow the community. Roots for industry-changing technology and for amazing careers can be found in KDE. But what makes this environment so special? What holds it together over the many years where hundreds, even thousands of people contribute and form the KDE community? Cornelius gives a hint: “If the community is the soil, freedom is the fertilizer. The ideals of free software create the foundation that makes KDE possible, and these ideals extend to more than just software. Within KDE, it’s a commonly felt responsibility to give everybody access to great technology, retaining individual freedoms and control about not only your computing, but your life.”

    Cornelius’s topic is not just abstract or conceptual; it is something which relates to all of us on a personal level. This is a challenge and a chance. In the end Cornelius will reveal the secret of how KDE makes you a better person.

    Akademy 2014 Brno

    For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest FOSS communities in the world—works online by email, IRC, forums and mailing lists. Akademy provides all KDE contributors the opportunity to meet in person to foster social bonds, work on concrete technology issues, propose and consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the following year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work to bring those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, or looking to begin using it.

    If you are someone who believes that it’s possible for technology to make a difference in the world, Akademy 2014 in Brno, Czech Republic is the place to be.

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