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

Lydia Pintscher lydia at kde.org
Fri Feb 5 09:03:27 UTC 2016

On Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 8:20 AM, Martin Graesslin <mgraesslin at kde.org> wrote:
> On Wednesday, February 3, 2016 10:10:27 AM CET Lydia Pintscher wrote:
>> 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."
> In the world of IT we see again and again the introduction of disruptive
> technologies which change the field of computing. In the past KDE as a
> community mastered some of them great, some of them badly. When KDE started
> the world was in the middle of the disruption known as the Internet. KDE
> handled it great. Today basically every person connecting to the Internet is
> using a KDE technology for that.
> The next disruption "mobile" wasn't handled well, though. We were years too
> late and still haven't really got there. From our hundreds of applications
> only 3 are available on the most important distribution channel for mobile
> application. We clearly missed this disruption.
> Currently we are again in an disruptive stage. We have the cloud and social
> networks. Again we are moving slowly and are not adapting to the disruptive
> change. But we had good cards for cloud with e.g. ownCloud. Overall I don't
> see any strategy on how to move our applications into the cloud and how to
> integrate the cloud better. We were great in the Internet age, but are not
> catching up. Similar the social net is not integrated at all into our
> products. Thus I would conclude that we are missing this disruption just like
> the last one.
> Personally I think that we missed them because we didn't have a clear vision
> on where to go and were too focused on the good old things.
> Thus now my question: How will this vision provide us guidance for the next
> disruption? How will we be able to use this vision to be a leader in the next
> disruption? Please explain why you think that the vision will help in the next
> disruption. If you don't think that the vision is for that please also explain
> why you think that. E.g. if you think we shouldn't care about the next
> disruption, please explain the reasoning for it.

That's an excellent question, Martin!

I think we absolutely should care about the next disruption. Let's
take a look at what Wikipedia has to say about disruptive innovation:
"A disruptive innovation is an innovation that creates a new market
and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value
network, displacing established market leaders and alliances. The term
was defined and phenomenon analyzed by Clayton M. Christensen
beginning in 1995. More recent sources also include "signi´Čücant
societal impact" as an aspect of disruptive innovation." I think this
last part is crucial to answer your question.
Innovation (disruptive in the true sense or not) after innovation we
see over the last years makes our digital life easier, more things
possible and social connections across cultural and social barriers
more easy and immediate. At the same time we see two very disturbing
trends: technology gets more closed - at least the ones adopted on a
large scale by consumers and we more willingly accept being spied on
for our own or other's perceived good. We seem to more readily accept
that the book on your Kindle can't easily be shared with your friend -
or that it might vanish the next day. We seem more ready to accept
that we can't repair our own car anymore. This has a huge impact on
society. So how do I see KDE fit into this? I believe in two ways.
1) We are there to provide a viable and even better alternative for
every-day people. We need to show that we can have all the benefits
technology brings us while not having to give up control and
sovereignty. This starts on your personal devices you use every day to
do work and enjoy life.
2) We need to be there to show people that they can tinker. We need to
show them that they don't have to accept closed systems but that they
can actually meaningfully alter their personal world and how they
interact with the rest of the world. The shift towards more and more
closed systems in consumer technology is only going to change if
people demand it. We need to remind them that they can.


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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