[kde-community] About ocs-server future

Claudio Desideri happy.snizzo at gmail.com
Thu Jan 14 17:55:37 UTC 2016

Hi guys, I'm Claudio (snizzo). I was part of the ocs-server project that
aimed to replace current openDesktop.org infrastucture. I was writing this
because I want to give you (the entire community) some explanations about
what happened to the project, because some of you asked, and because I
think that this project at least deserves an end. I'm writing this with
Francesco Wofford (woffy).

I started writing code four years ago along with the Gluon project, and
wrote an open OCS implementation server-side doing that. It was far from
complete, it was just a subset but was working, with libattica and with
Gluon Player and Gluon Creator. It never really reached the community
because at the time I didn't realize that was a very important task for
KDE. Then I was reached in early 2015 by Dan Leinir, asking us if they (or
us) could use our code to start an open implementation of OCS, during the
plasma sprint. I happily agreed to that. I was really excited to bring on
development of ocs-server. So the project officially born, at least that
was what I thought. I had a project.kde.org home set up, and involved in
development a new person, Francesco who's currently my colleague at Udine
University. I spent really a lot of time during the first months of the
year introducing him to the code base and mentoring him in order to be
ready to propose our GSoC projects. Then in late April, I discovered I was
accepted. I then continued working to both the ocs-server and to an open
PlasmaStore. I even managed to have it working with HotNewStuff. But then,
right after akademy I started to receive less and less information and
guidance from various people until October came. It was in our plan to
email Frank about the possibility to expand the OCS protocol itself, and,
following advices I wrote a mail and sent to Lydia for review (I didn't
know Frank directly, so I asked for feedback). I was told to "wait" because
someone should have contacted us. I asked repeteadly who that "someone"
was, but got no response at all. I then had to temporary freeze the
project. Then I got a private email from Sebastian Kugler (sebas) inviting
me to a meeting in Berlin in order to discuss about "the future of OCS",
without Frank. Then I was unofficially informed that a Blue Systems
employee is working fulltime on some kind of OCS propertary implementation
and was invited to that meet up. In fact, I was  informed of Blue System
having their hands on a proprietary implementation of OCS server. I asked
really many times if also Francesco could come to the meeting but no one
responded us. Just Dan told us he could come, in a very unofficial way so I
felt like the organizators just ignored the question. As of today, woffy's
still waiting for a response. I wasn't upset for an eventual negative
response, I just was expecting a response, "yes" or "no" from an
organizator. Then I discovered that the hotel in fact was a rented
apartment, so due to my social fear, the unexpected change and having to
pay before getting reimbursment (without any guarantee) I didn't go. Then
it's the complete silence of a black hole. I asked Dan for a follow up and
he stated that they decided our project and their project was in fact
different so they (BlueSystem) was going to develop their project further
for their objectives and I could continue development (little note here: if
they decided different, they told us our project could be merged or shut
down because the community doens't allow concurrent implementations inside
KDE). I then asked if our main target was still replacing openDesktop.org
but I never had an answer.

Since that day, I never had a response. I asked various times in the #ocs
channel what the (new?) scope of our project should be but I never received
an answer about that. Month after month of asking I simply lost hope. Our
mentor (only during GSoC) and project manager of ocs-server on
project.kde.org didn't even respond to one single question about the
project. The only single line response I had was: that will be part of
incubation process. Then, after 2 gsocs, going to akademy were people told
us I'll replace openDesktop.org the only thing I heard in months was about
"incubation". I guessed that Dan, being a BlueSystem employee, wasn't
allowed to tell us anything so I simply gave up after months of
non-existent communication and the feel of BlueSystem deciding for the
community. Now that I read BlueSystem acquired hive01, I (snizzo) have the
strong feeling that KDE is no more the community I used to follow, with a
company paying developers (and that's good) and effectively driving the
community where they want (and that's bad). I wanted to give everyone an
answer to "where are the replacements for openDesktop.org?".

We'd loved to continue development of ocs-server (and clients) but the
current status of things seems not too encouraging.

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