[kde-community] Why were there no talks about Ubuntu Mobile at Akademy?

Aaron J. Seigo aseigo at kde.org
Thu Aug 15 19:34:44 UTC 2013

On Thursday, August 15, 2013 13:37:56 Jos Poortvliet wrote:
> See the subject - I don't understand why, if Ubuntu wants people to
> develop apps for their Qt/QML based Phone OS (and perhaps, later,
> desktop), they were not at Akademy? Not as sponsors, not with a booth,
> not with talks and sessions... Or were they and I just didn't notice
> them?

FWIW, my experience has been they are not apt to much effort into working with 

When Canonical first started openly using Qt technologies we had just recently 
finished a successful collaboration with them regarding the system tray and 
status notifiers. I figured we could build on this and I reached out to 
Canonical management, including Mark Shuttleworth (who had in our prior 
discussion said I should contact him whenever if there were opportunities for 
KDE and Canonical to work together more). I sent an email to Mark saying that 
we both have interests in libraries based on Qt, perhaps we could schedule a 
meeting with relevant developers to discuss which library topics were most 
interesting to each of us and see if there was overlap and if there was to see 
if we could work together on this.

He replied that I should talk to their developers. An odd response since he 
already at the time had stepped away from the CEO position (iirc, anyways). So 
I sent the same basic email to the person he directed me to and there was no 
response. I just put it up to the person being too busy or not seeing it as a 
priority or whatever and moved on.

A couple weeks later someone approached me privately on IRC saying they had 
talked to Mark online and asked why Canonical and KDE were not working 
together more now that we both were using Qt .. and Mark told the person the 
fault lay with me (personally!) because I didn’t reach out to them. He told 
them I had not spoken to anyone at Canonical for quite some time and if I 
didn’t have an interest in doing so, neither did he.

So this person came to me and quite nicely suggested that I contact Mark.

Given Mark and I had exchanged emails 2-3 weeks earlier about this very topic 
.. I was pretty surprised.

Since then we’ve reached out to them on matters of QML, also to no avail. We 
even added a bit of compatibility API (in particular the units API) to kde-
runtime in 4.11 .. no interest has been forthcoming.

I’ve also heard some pretty odd comments from within Canonical about their 
perception of KDE recently. Apparently the theory many hold is that I am 
somehow in direct control of KDE. Perhaps they figure BDFL must be the way all 
free software is managed since that’s how Ubuntu is? I don’t know .. but they 
have a very warped viewpoint about KDE and in particular my role within it.

It’s no secret that I have not been quiet when I have disagreed with Canonical 
on matters of substance, and given the internal viewpoint about KDE and my 
relationship to it I doubt that helps any.

It may help if someone from KDE tried to address that issue with them. Doing 
that publicly may not be the best of ideas as it could be potentially 
embarrassing and/or cause new kinds of problems for KDE .. but doing so 
directly with Canonical management may be of use.

Then again, in the last 2 years they’ve demonstrated a lack of desire to work 
with many others, including their traditional allied upstreams, and so perhaps 
any window of opportunity for working with them

The fact that they have forked the graphics stack on the one hand and are 
using KDE technologies such as Marble and apparently Konsole (?) quietly 
without any apparent contact with the projects may also be another negative 
indicator. They seem to believe that they need to do it all themselves, which 
probably limits the (perceived) need for working with external groups.

So it should not be surprising that their footprint at the Qt summit and even 
more so at Akademy was small.

But who knows. 

It may be worthwhile to give it another try, with someone who is a good 
representative of KDE and who does not have any conflicting interests and a 
reasonably good ability to be diplomatic (both in terms of tact and 
shrewdness) to reach out to them.

p.s. if anyone feels the need to jump on me for “bashing Canonical” let me 
remind you of two things: 1: the above is merely factual and I think can help 
people understand the situation more clearly; 2: if i wanted to “bash 
Canonical” i have far, far less savory experiences than this, but I don’t 
think they add anything whatsoever to the discussion. So before jumping on me 
(as people already have on Jos in this thread), consider that and consider 
that I am a long time productive member of KDE rather than an outsider whose 
motives you are merely guessing at.

Aaron J. Seigo
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