[kde-community] finding a clear vision for KDE - first draft for discussion

Lydia Pintscher lydia at kde.org
Wed Feb 3 09:10:27 UTC 2016

Hi everyone,

last year I have started to push for KDE to gain more clarity about a
few key questions that we need to answer. These include such important
things like: What is it that we are trying to achieve? How do we want
the world of tomorrow to be different from how it is today?

When KDE started, this was much clearer for us than it is today.
Without this clarity many decisions become hard. We do not have a
clear frame of reference to make choices in. It makes our messaging to
the outside world harder. Having a clearly defined “why?” again will
help us attract new talent to help us reach our goals.

The need for an answer to these questions was one of the key findings
of the survey we did last year as part of Evolving KDE
(http://evolve.kde.org). At Akademy in A Coruña I presented those
results and put out a call to action to work on this over the coming
year. At Akademy we had a lot of discussions in workshops, in the
hallways and during the nights. Since then further discussions
happened on mailing lists and IRC.

A small team has now sat down and condensed all this input into a
first draft for a vision statement. It is intended to guide us by
clearly stating what we are trying to achieve and to what end goal we
are working to change the world for the better. It intentionally is
not supposed to codify how we are doing that - that is left to the
mission statement we can work on next. It is also intentionally not
meant to define who we are as our manifesto (http://manifesto.kde.org)
already covers that.

The first draft reads as follows:
"KDE, through the creation of Free software, enables users to control
their digital life. KDE software enables privacy, makes simple things
easy and complex scenarios possible while crossing device boundaries."

Here is how we believe this relates to a few subgroups in KDE and
related projects:

KDE PIM software enables privacy in communication around open
standards. In complex scenarios, it allows “casual users” to use
complex functionality, such as encryption and thereby enables them to
lead a more private life.

KDE Edu:
KDE Edu enables teaching in schools, universities and at home using
free and open technology. Introducing people to open technology early
on is vital to not lock them in to a proprietary system. The
technology they grow up with will have a big influence on the
technology they are familiar with and will use later in their life.

Plasma allows to access computers in a fundamental way, by providing
the interface to the computer. The base system shell is enhanced by
functionality that give access to many functions, such as search,
starting applications, etc.. None of these are designed to spy on the
user, or share data without clear consent of the user. Plasma provides
an alternative for systems that do spy and restrict the user. It is
designed to make the whole thing easy and efficient to use.

KDE Games:
KDE games allow users to enjoy the experience of games without locking
themselves into the restrictive worlds of DRM and controlled online
platforms, and without giving their data away to gaming companies. It
keeps them from accepting the often pretty tough restrictions that
proprietary games impose on them as an unavoidable fact which may be
transferred to other areas of the digital life as well.

WikiToLearn brings collaborative and accessible textbooks to the
world. These books allow students and professors to choose their own
path towards knowledge, through personalization and customization of
the learning material. WikiToLearn also makes it easy to set-up
complex learning environments, e.g. a Linux desktop to learn how to
develop free software. All our content is accessible on every platform
(even paper!).

Konsole is the ultimate power-user tool that gives the user control
over the whole system.

Mentoring is a crucial activity in KDE because it empowers people. We
teach them how they can influence technology and thereby their life in
a profound way.

Community activities:
Promotion, system administration, user support etc. all serve the goal
as “supporting services”. In order to fulfill its goals, KDE needs
infrastructure. This infrastructure should adhere to the same set of
principles as the software KDE produces, but ultimately, fulfilling
our goals is more important than doing it the right way. This means
that KDE should give preference to open and Free tools, but should not
let itself be limited by them.

Qt is our base technology of choice, as it’s the most promising tool
to achieve our goals, while aligning with our values and core
principles of Free software and open development processes, while
maintaining a high quality. KDE software contains lots of Qt’s DNA,
yet Qt is not what defines us, but Qt expresses very well how we want
to achieve our goals. A decision whether or not a KDE project uses Qt
is a choice driven by pragmatism, and in fact, Qt has a lot going for
it: It’s very high quality, performs well, allows us to reach many
platforms and devices and it allows us to participate in its
development. In some cases, using Qt may be the wrong choice, and that
is completely fine. Qt is not our goal or purpose, it’s is ‘just’ one
of our most important tools to realize our goals.

I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback on this to make sure
we can collectively agree on this or some modified version as the
representation of why we are here.

Thank you to all the people who have helped clarify the thinking
around this so far - among them: Cornelius, Paul, Kevin, Vishesh, Boud
and Alexander.

Lydia, Sebas, Riccardo, Thomas, Valorie, Clemens

Lydia Pintscher - http://about.me/lydia.pintscher
KDE e.V. Board of Directors / KDE Community Working Group
http://kde.org - http://open-advice.org

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