[dot] Akademy 2008 - Day 1

Dot Stories stories at kdenews.org
Sun Aug 10 12:06:07 CEST 2008

URL: http://dot.kde.org/1218353987/

From: Jos Poortvliet <jospoortvliet at gmail.com>
Dept: slight-headache
Date: Sunday10/Aug/2008, @00:39

Akademy 2008 - Day 1

   Akademy 2008 [http://akademy2008.kde.org/], the annual KDE desktop
summit, officially kicked off on Saturday, 9th July in
Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium, with a schedule packed full of talks,
discussions, and development. Read on for the highlights of the first
day of the conference.

     Friday, August 8. There is a small cafe (appropriately named
"Friends Cafe") close to the train station in Mechelen - and the staff
will surely remember the date. The three hosts had to draft beer and
carry food like they haven't in a long time. What's so significant to a
more-busy-than-usual night in a Belgian Cafe? Well, us, of course. The
registration point for Akademy [http://akademy2008.kde.org] was just
next to the cafe, and most KDE members found the beer before they found
the bags and badges. After we registered and sorted through our swag,
some spread out over the city looking for more food and refreshments,
while others returned to one of the two hostels or various hotels for an
early night. The next day was going to be very busy...

     Saturday, the introduction started a little later than planned -
which was good, as people still streaming in. Adriaan de Groot received
immediate attention by hitting the front table with his pink whip. Yes,
he had one of those motivational tools to ensure we'd listen. He then
welcomed us to Akademy 2009 2008, and gave way to Patrick Pelgrims from
the De Nayer Institute [http://www.denayer.wenk.be/index_eng.htm] who
welcomed us to the campus and wished us a great time. Adriaan came back
to the stage, as he had some important administrative issues. First of
all, he's looking for the person who lent him 20 Euro for the train;
secondly, the bikes outside are being moved to the bikeshed. Does
anybody know the color of the bikeshed? We really want to know... After
we worked out these urgent issues, the first keynote began.

     The keynote was given by Frank Karlitschek
[http://dot.kde.org/1075252150] who talked about the KDE community. In
2001, Frank founded kde-look.org [http://www.kde-look.org], a well-known
collaboration platform for KDE. Before then, artists needed to work with
CVS to be able to contribute to KDE, a major obstacle to many. Thanks to
the kde-look.org website, the artwork community grew from 2 to 2000 in a
year. There is of course no "top-down" control - this is about power to
the people; voting, discussing the artwork, and a general sense of
community. In time, sharing between the different Free desktops and
interconnecting them became possible.
     After this history lesson, Frank started to talk about our project
- KDE. And our community. He argued our community should be what makes
us special - after all, it's what drives us. If you look at the default
KDE desktop - you can't help but wonder: where is the community? Why
isn't there a "KDE users nearby" Plasmoid? Could the agenda in Kontact
be filled with local KDE and F/OSS related events? Brainstorming
further, Frank talked about many other parts of KDE which could be
improved to facilitate involvement from the community. Asking questions,
cooperating on documents, allowing an user to become a "fan" of an
application, and more direct input and communication between community
members and users from within the KDE interface. And all this isn't just
random ideas - far from it.

     The first draft of the Open Collaboration Services Platform is
already out there, and work is going into implementing this, and more!
The ideas and plans were interesting and stimulated some creative
discussion. The questions asked already proved this - the talk quickly
turned dangerously in-depth and technical, and went in every direction
imaginable. The ideas put forward in this talk will surely be the topic
of many discussions during Akademy. Starting Akademy with such an
original and thought-provoking talk was an incredible idea - it sets the
standard for a full week of high-bandwidth, high-quality talks and
discussions about new solutions to problems we didn't even realize we
had just a day ago. There are so many opportunities and ideas out there
- it's up to us to grab them and do something with them!

     The morning saw many more talks, from Riccardo Iaconelli about
Oxygen and Till Adam & Volker Krause about Akonadi
[http://pim.kde.org/akonadi/] to a story about large-scale KDE
deployments in Brazil by Mauricio Piacentini. The vibrant atmosphere,
set by the first talks, was amazing. Everyone was enthusiastic, happy to
meet their fellow contributors, and immersed in interesting talks and
discussions. All the presentations have been recorded, and will be
online as soon as possible - check the Dot for an announcement over the
coming days. The talk about the "Future of KDE Development" will have a
separate article.

     Between and during the talks you can find KDE developers in every
corner of the building, preparing and discussing presentations or code
in every language you can imagine. Alone, in pairs or small groups,
behind laptops or playing with all kind of gadgets. Sitting, on chairs,
behind tables, or on the floor. Of course, the "food corner" acts as a
gravitational force, a place you can always find some people. Next to it
is a Nokia corner, sometimes less busy but at other times buzzing with
activity. We found a lost GNOME walking around, who happened to be the
GNOME release manager Vincent Untz, who just attended the talk by
Sebastian Kügler and Dirk Mueller about KDE development. We would like
to thank Vincent for coming, and for his great input. He gave a talk
about FreeDesktop.org collaboration, and joined us for beers and more
talk in the evening).

     After lunch, we listened to another keynote, this time from Nokia's
[http://www.nokia.com] Sebastian Nyström about deepening KDE and Qt
collaboration. While we waited for him to start talking, the screen was
filled with a huge "Qt loves KDE" slogan. Trolltech as an entity is no
more - it is now "Qt Software" (yes, still pronounced "cute"),
continuing as an internal Nokia endeavor.

     After introducing Nokia (with a slogan of "connecting people") and
its colorful history, Sebastian turned to Nokia and its relationship
with open source software. He pointed out Nokia greatly believes in
F/OSS, and wants to learn how to work with a community. This was
definitely a factor in their acquisition of Trolltech - the symbiotic
relationship between Trolltech and KDE is very interesting. Nokia plans
to take full advantage of the capabilities Qt brings with it - the power
of Qt means easier deployment across devices. Trolltech also brought in
great developers, and the KDE community provides even more access to a
range of smart hackers. As Sebastian puts it - no matter how big you
are, not all smart people in the world work for you.

     Besides, the aims of KDE and Nokia align very well - their work on
the desktop, integrating online data and the desktop - these things are
of great interest to both. Nokia will continue to sponsor people and
projects, and want to become more active within KDE. Sebastian tells us
Nokia realizes they have made mistakes in the past - and they are sorry
for their behavior. Currently Nokia is looking for a conversation: how
can we help you reach your goals as a community?

     Here Sebastian describes the opportunities for KDE:

    * Nokia wants to do a long-term investment in KDE

     The keynote ended with a request from Nokia: How can we continue to
develop together to drive innovation faster?

     The Nokia keynote wasn't the only presence from Nokia - besides
them being the Platinum sponsor and sponsoring the food & drinks at the
Saturday evening social event, and few guys wearing Nokia t-shirts. A
short talk with one of them revealed they were Nokia engineers who
volunteered to visit Akademy to mingle with the KDE community. We would
have a much harder time identifying them tomorrow, he promised, as they
wouldn't wear their Nokia t-shirts anymore... the assimilation has
     Nearing the end of the day we all gathered outside for the group
photo. As usual, it was a little painful, more so than last year, due to
having more visitors than ever. Yes, this year Akademy crossed the 300
contributors threshold - and still everything is going quite smoothly.
After the picture had (finally!) been taken, it was time for the first
social event at the "Het Anker brewery". Then they day ended, though
later for some than for others! Most people we talked to said it had
been very productive - let's see if we can top this tomorrow...

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