[kde-community] RFC: Distribution outreach program

Thomas Pfeiffer thomas.pfeiffer at kde.org
Fri Jan 29 16:06:14 GMT 2016

Hi everyone,
distributions are - and most likely will be for the foreseeable future - be 
the main channel by which users get our software. Therefore, we're eternally 
grateful for the job they are doing.
However, it happens - too often for my taste - that users face problems while 
using our software which only happen in their distribution. We could say 
"well, that's not our problem, then", but of course our goal is to provide our 
users the best possible experience, so blaming others for problems does not 
help us.

I believe that we can improve the situation by intensifying our cooperation 
with distributions even further. On the other hand, however, distributions 
also have to do their part in order to make our software run optimally on 
them. Of course we're not really in a position to demand anything from them 
per se: If distributions make decisions which screw up our software, we cannot 
effectively keep them from doing so.

What we _can_ do, however, is offer them incentives for doing so. This leads 
to my idea: Establishing a "Distribution Outreach Program", coupled with an 
official "badge of approval". How could this work?
1. We define - as strictly as necessary - criteria which a distribution has to 
meet in order for our software to run optimally on them. These criteria could 
include things like
 - How fast do they have to deliver our newest major as well as minor releases
 - Which version of our dependencies they should ship with each version (not 
just the minimum dependency, but the version we've identified to work best)
 - With which options they should compile and package our software
 - Other measures to avoid common downstream problems we've identified
2. Distributions can agree to comply with these criteria
3. They officially become part of the outreach program which gives them
 - More direct help with problems that may still arise
 - A badge like "Works great with Plasma" or "Works great with KDE 
Applications" which they can put on their website
 - A position in a special section on https://community.kde.org/Distributions 
4. We check if they really meet the criteria and if they stop doing so, there 
is a defined procedure for notifying them and eventually kicking them out if 
they continue to fail complying

This could give them a strong incentive to work towards becoming optimal 
foundations for our software to run on, for mutual benefit.

What do you think?

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