[kde-community] KDE Mission - let's do this!

Thomas Pfeiffer thomas.pfeiffer at kde.org
Fri Apr 29 16:01:27 BST 2016

On Donnerstag, 28. April 2016 22:43:02 CEST Alexander Neundorf wrote:

> Does the order of the sections imply priorities ?
> E.g. "tinkering" comes before "presence on all device classes" ?

Not really, I just put them in the order they came to my mind. If you think a 
different order makes more sense, I'm absolutely fine with that.

> > To provide control, freedom and privacy, KDE's products
> > - allow users to "tinker" with them
> As Aleix said, what do you mean exactly with that ?
> I could interpret it as
> - sources are available
> - it is easy to build
> - it's highly configurable
> - data is stored in easily accessible formats (text, or documented binary,
> or binary with low level tools, etc) ?

I had all of them in mind (except "easy to build", but tha's just because I if 
I build software myself, I always use scripts that make it easy to build, 
Should we put all of them in separate bullets instead?
> > - apply open standards to prevent "lock-in"
> > - integrate well with existing online services sharing the same values, or
> > create their own where those do not exist
> I wouldn't want to restrict us to integrating well with online services
> which share the same values.
> This implies to me that good integration with e.g. Facebook or being able to
> use a kdepim client to connect to an Outlook server is not a top priority
> for us. Both are ...very important for a large set of users. More or less
> everybody is on Facebook, if you need to work with an Outlook server at
> your job it would be great to be able to do that using at least a client
> which gives you freedom and privacy.

>From my perspective, integrating well with services that track users to sell 
information on them and/or lock them into a certain ecosystem does not promote 
users' control, freedom or privacy at all.
That's why for me, integrating with those is purely a part of "reaching users 
where they are", not of giving them control, freedom and privacy. See also my 
reply to your other email.

> > - provide users with _at least_ the features and quality they expect
> > coming
> > from non-free products
> Well, we have the advantage that our software is free, so we offer freedom,
> independency and (if we are successful with that) privacy, something
> non-free software just can't do. If our software is also stable and
> reliable then, I can very well live with software which has somewhat less
> features than non- free products.

While I, as a user, have the same perspective as you do, I fear that this is 
not ambitious enough given our goal is to give control, freedom and privacy to 
_everyone_ . If we think that freedom and privacy should be enough to convince 
people, we only reach those who value these highly. All those for whom they 
are nice, but not very important won't sacrifice functionality or quality for 

> > - be at the forefront of emerging trends like mobile/desktop convergence
> Boring engineer speaking:  Nice goal. Not sure how realistic this is.
> We have only a very limited number of full-time developers, so aiming for
> very advanced, complex solutions can quickly require more resources
> (developer time, for new devices also actual money) than we have.

"Be at the forefront" may be a bit marketing-speech, but currently, 
convergence is clearly a goal for us, for Plasma as well as applications.
Kirigami is all about convergence, and there are several convergence-ready 
applications currently in development.

I think it KDE would be in a much better place right now if we had embraced 
emerging trends like cloud, mobile and now convergence earlier. Especially 
young developers want to do things which are hip and cool _now_, not things 
that were hip and cool five years ago.

If we don't even aim to embrace emerging trends due to our limited man-power, 
we create a nice little self-fulfilling prophecy / vicious circle for 

> > - integrate well with other Free products to complete the experience
> > 
> > To reach users where they are, KDE
> > - strives to make our products available on major Free but also
> > proprietary
> > operating systems and platforms, mostly by applying Qt as a technology
> > that
> > allows easy portability
> I'd simply put "Free and propriety" instead of "Free but also proprietary",
> so they both sound like equally first class target platforms.

We obviously have different opinions here. While I agree with you that 
proprietary platforms should get much more attention from us than they do now, 
I'd still like to give Free platforms a higher priority, because according to 
our vision, that's where we want people to end up eventually.
> > - aims for a presence on all relevant device classes (desktop, mobile,
> > embedded)
> To me this means e.g. that we'll try to get our applications running on
> Android (good !). Is this how this is intended ?

Android is a platform, "mobile" is a device class. Android is certainly a very 
important avenue to get onto the mobile device class, of course, but not 
necessarily the only one.

Android is definitely an important target for Kirigami apps, and the nice thing 
is that those apps will work e.g. on Plasma Mobile as well, with little 
modification (and on iOS, and hopefully on Windows Mobile and Tizen and Sailfish 

> Do we aim for embedded ?
> IMO with KF5 and Plasma we can, I don't know how much that POV is shared.

That one is still up for discussion. I think we should. It's also a matter of 
the definition of "embedded". For me (and at least the "Linux on embedded 
systems" article on Wikipedia [1]), e.g. in-vehicle entertainment systems are 
"embedded systems". For Aleix, they are more like tablets inserted into a car.

So if we count things like IVIs and TVs under embedded, then yes, I think they 
should definitely be our goal.

If we think only of things like control panels for machines, then that could 
be a goal for KF5, but probably not Plasma.
> > - continues to offer a "classic desktop" product which makes the switch
> > from proprietary operating easy
> "continues to" sounds a bit ...not strong enough, like "well, we didn't kill
> it yet".

Alternative wordings are welcome :)

> Also I'd leave out the "switch from proprietary operating [systems] easy".
> We can stress that we provide a first class desktop for Linux/UNIX OSs.
> Beside that, I'd prefer us to be mostly OS-agnostic. If we can give a user
> on ... Windows [maybe it'll be Open Source in a few years, who knows, MS
> ain't that evil anymore], Free software for his needs, let's say email,
> office, education software for kids, etc., that's a great achievement. That
> this runs on top of a proprietary kernel, oh well, IMO the OS is not our
> mission.

See my statements above regarding support for proprietary things.

> > - offers products that also inter-operate with proprietary software,
> > formats and services in order to ease the transition to Free alternatives
> > 
> > ---
> > Now we have concrete points we can discuss and fine-tune.
> > Looking forward to your reactions,
> I like your draft.

Thank you :)

> It does not mention providing libraries explicitely, but focuses only on
> applications (if I didn't miss it).
> Is that something which should be added ?

You didn't miss it. I simply forgot to mention them, probably because
1) I'm not a developer so I don't come into contact with them that often
2) I worked backwards from our vision, which focuses clearly on end-users

That said, I think they should be part of our mission, because they are an 
important part of our work. The question for me is: 
How exactly do they bring us closer to our vision? Are they mostly a tool for 
_us_ to create consistent, high-quality desktops and applications more easily, 
and the fact that others can use them as well is mostly a nice side-effect? 
Or do we also want to help others outside of KDE create applications in line 
with our values? In that case: Do we care more about those using our 
frameworks in Free software then those using them in proprietary software?

So, with our vision in mind, we should really ask ourselves: Why are we doing 
KF5? What is our motive?

Thank you for the input, I feel we're on a very constructive path here!


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_on_embedded_systems

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