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

Stephen Kelly steveire at gmail.com
Tue Feb 23 21:46:56 GMT 2016

Ingo Klöcker wrote:

> I had very similar thoughts when I read the above. I immediately thought
> "No, I don't want only all users of _our_ technology to enjoys freedom,
> etc." I want all 7+ billion human beings living on this planet
> (including the ISS) to enjoy freedom, privacy and control.

Thanks Ingo for your contributions in these threads! You've really helped 
me to realize what this discussion is all about. In particular, in 


you made the point that a vision statement can be something which is not 
achievable by that organization alone (or even at all!).

It also doesn't make a reference to the organization itself (that would be 
a self reference).

> "a world in which everyone has freedom, privacy and control over their 
> digital life"

I think the form 

 "A world in which everyone has <foo> their digital life"

is fantastic!

The exact expression and placement of commas in the <foo> part needs to be 
considered to make it as universally understandable as possible and easily 
remembered as possible.

Things I like about this:

1) It is 'non-exclusive'

It doesn't mention KDE. It doesn't have a 'subject' at all. 

It's 'the vision from nowhere', so it is easy to attach to without feeling 
like subscribing to some organizations entire agenda. 

It doesn't even have an action verb like 'working towards' or such, so it's 
'something to keep in mind as a guiding principle' that you can just 
meditate on instead of 'doing something about this problem in the world'. 

Because there is no 'action', there is no method prescribed to achieve the 
vision. That's good, because the method is the realm of the mission.

'KDE envisions' is redundant because it 'KDE envisions KDEs vision'.

Notice that almost none of the examples at 


use a self reference.

A vision isn't a place to put a brand.

2) It is easily shared

A vision seems to be something that could be mistakenly for the vision of 
any number of organizations. Without checking the list, you can read these 
and guess any of about 5 organizations that could have it as their vision:

 * A just world without poverty
 * To become a world leader at connecting people to wildlife and 
 * A world where everyone has a decent place to live.
 * Equality for everyone
 * For every child, life in all its fullness; Our prayer for every heart, 
the will to make it so

3) It has a very-inclusive object: 'everyone'

Compare with:

 * ... *everyone* has a decent place to live ...
 * ... connecting *people* to wildlife ...
 * Equality for *everyone* ...
 * For *every child* ...
 * *all animals*
 * *future generations* 
 * *Every person* has the opportunity ...
 * *every child* attains the right ...
 * *all people* – even in the most remote areas of the globe ...

The counter examples are for organizations which are inherently exclusive, 
describing the subset of 'all' people who they address:

 * A hunger-free America
 * people with intellectual disabilities
 * eligible youth in America
 * veterans

KDE is not inherently exclusive, so those don't seem to be good examples 
KDE to follow.

4) It relates to a universally relateable aspect of being a human in 2016

That is, 'digital life'.

Compare with other aspects of 'being a human' that appear in the list:

 * poverty - even if you don't know it, you can't avoid it, and you know 
what you do to keep yourself out of it.
 * hunger-free
 * Equality
 * a decent place to live
 * the power of a wish
 * life in all its fullness
 * the opportunity to achieve his/her fullest potential
 * the power to create opportunity for themselves and others

5) It has a recognizable, idealistic, completely unachievable goal

Something along the lines of 

 * control - over digitally 'social' presence, absence etc
 * control - over availability of digital services
 * privacy - choosing what to share, knowingly
 * freedom - to be forgotten
 * freedom - to have, share, learn, modify, teach

Though I'm not sure 'freedom' should be in the vision - I think that's the 
means/prerequisite to achieve personal control and choice of privacy. 
freedom in the vision makes it overlap with the 4 freedoms. 

But what are the 4 freedoms attempting to achieve? Something like the 
to that could be the vision.


 * A just world without poverty
 * everyone has a decent place to live
 * a sustainable world
 * save a planet
 * survival, protection, development and participation

7) It is hard to disagree with the content of it

Who would counter it with a claim that everyone shouldn't have 
control/privacy/freedom by default?

8) It is vague and non-specific

This is good! If it's specific it's divisive!

9) It is completely un-dangerous

It won't help us make difficult decisions. It's not useful in that sense at 

And that's a good thing! That would be like a CEO micromanaging an some 
workers' tools. The vision is 'several steps away from' any kind of day-to-
day issues or organizational issues we face. The 'direct report' may be a 
mission, or something derived from that.

No one will win an argument by saying something like:

* Our vision says '... digital life', so project X should be in KDE!
* Our vision says '...', so we need to put resources into Y!
* Our vision says '...', so we need to get rid of Z to leave resource for W!

Because the vision doesn't prescribe a method by which it can be achieved 
all. From the point of view of the ideal universe, any things you try to do 
to achieve it is arbitrary, so there are no arguments in favor of doing the 
things embedded in the vision.

I don't think a vision needs 'usefulness'. It only needs to be a trigger 
inspiration. That's what motivates sharing it.

10) It is inspirational

The vision only asks you to want the thing it describes, it doesn't ask you 
to do anything for it. When you want it, at that point you figure out 
something it inspires you to do or a change you make.


 * Equality for everyone? WANT! 
 * Ok, so what am I going to do about it? 
 * Erm, let's see what I can do for the UN
 * Note: Example chosen because 'Equality for everyone' is not the UN vision

No one is going to go (logically at least) from an unbranded piece of paper 
with the words "A world in which everyone has <foo> their digital life" 
written on it to KDE. It works the other way around: someone new arrives at 
a conference and asks what KDE is about and you share the vision.

11) It is comparable to the other concise visions

This is just my understanding that I've encountered as a result of reading 
what Ingo wrote and comparing with the website list. I know others have 
different understandings, but I wanted to be specific about what insights 
I'm thanking Ingo for! I like the direction. 

I hope a vision can be found which is agreeable enough that we can bring it 
to conclusion and get thinking about the mission instead!



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