[kde-community] KDE Mission - let's do this! : Feedback on survey draft

Thomas Pfeiffer thomas.pfeiffer at kde.org
Sun May 22 18:29:22 BST 2016

On Sonntag, 22. Mai 2016 15:38:39 CEST Agustin Benito (toscalix) wrote:

> One of our historical problems, in my opinion, has been our little
> engagement with the "commercial world". Words can help or holding us
> back from turning up side down our current situation.
> Two examples:
> I consider the word  "support" controversial. Support in commercial
> environments has a specific meaning. It is related with paid service.
> I would use a different word.

How about "compatibility with"?
> The other word is "product".
> I understand that Open Source projects, and we are no exception, have
> a bigger and better "end to end" conscious. That is good. Still, there
> are several stages of what the commercial world understands as
> "product cycle" we do not cover. The motivation for creating
> "products" is also different, so the expected outcome.
> I would use a different word in the Mission statement.

For me, using the word "product" is very important especially in the Mission 
statement. Yes, we currently do not treat what we make as "products", and I 
think that is a problem.
If there are stages of a product life-cycle we do not cover, than chances are 
that we _should_. Thinking in terms of products would remind us that we should 
think about quality, about bringing our products to market or about handling 
"end of life" properly.

This is one area where I think KDE is not "professional" enough, and it would 
be helpful especially for a better relationship with the "commercial world" if 
we improved that.

> ++ KDE and Qt
> I think we should try to better reflect the aim that KDE has to become
> even more relevant in the Qt ecosystem, and how important it is to us.
> I read two references in the current draft:
> * "strives to make our products available on all major Free and
> proprietary operating systems and platforms, for example by applying
> Qt as a technology that allows easy portability"
> * "provides frameworks and libraries which facilitate the development
> of high-quality Qt applications"
> I would remove both references.
> The first one is irrelevant. In the same way that we mentioned Qt we
> could have mentioned any other technology. In a mission statement
> every word counts. In fact, I think that in general we have too many
> already. It is not easy, I understand.

I had put that in because in the Vision discussion, several participants 
expressed their fear that KDE might be losing its focus on Qt, so I wanted to 
make clear that Qt is still very important to us and we are still very 
important for Qt.
Since the survey is there to find out what the majority of the community 
thinks, though, maybe I should add another question 
"Should a focus on Qt be stated in our Mission?"
Then we find out what the community thinks.
> The second one reduces our scope. I thought we agreed on being a host
> for different projects. It seems here that if it is not a Qt based
> app....

We do host many different projects and they do not necessarily have to be Qt-
based, but do we want to host non-Qt _libraries_ as well?

> I would write instead a sentence that reflects the position within the
> Qt ecosystem we want to play and how important it is to us.

Suggestions for how to phrase such a question are welcome!

> ++ Free vs Open Source
> I do not like the idea that "Open Source" is the default way for 99%
> of the world to refer to Free Software. Like most of you, I think it
> refers to a wider concept. open does not mean free, right? But,
> specially in commercial environments, that is the current state.
> I propose to use "Open and Free Software", Free and Open Source
> Software" or "Libre Software" instead of "Free Software" .

Ok, makes sense, I'll change "Free Software" to "Free and Open-Source 

> I think the above changes would help to reduce our gap with the
> commercial world..
> ++ Participation in key forums
> There is something missing to me.
> The Free Qt Foundation has demonstrated to be a key player, we
> participate in other forums.... How is that reflected in our mission
> for the coming years? Do we want to improve our positioning? How? Is
> it important to us? important enough to be reflected in the Mission
> Statement? Do we participate only to promote Free Software values?

Good point! Any idea how we could phrase that as a question for the survey?
> ++ "classic desktop"
> We have suffered the last few years from having two different visions
> within our community on what desktop means/is. Going through the
> process of redefining the strategy should serve to solve these kind of
> fundamental issues.
> When I read the mission, I understand that we have used a "political
> way" to provide satisfaction to both views. In that regard, these two
> points:
> * aims for a presence on all relevant device classes (desktop, mobile,
> embedded) * offers a "classic desktop" product which makes the switch from
> other popular operating systems easy
> do the job very well.
> I question though that this is the way to go. We should focus on
> solving this issue and state the consensus clearly in the Mission
> Statement instead of perpetuating the problem, leaving our mission,
> that should lead our main goals for the coming years, unclear.
> Do we understand desktop as Plasma for a laptop or a PC or is a
> desktop also Plasma for mobiles and embedded, for instance? Is a
> desktop an "application" or a "base layer" in a block diagram where
> apps lay upon? Is it both?
> At the mission level, what is so relevant (other than our own "issue")
> that force us to differentiate between a 7"screen from a 32" one in
> such a way?
> So my suggestion is to solve this controversy for once and find a
> single sentence that reflects the agreement. If we cannot reach an
> agreement, then the mission should reflect the minimum common
> multiple, not both ideas. Mission statements are about agreements, not
> a reflection of everybody's ideas. Mission statements are about taking
> decisions, not about satisfying everybody.
> Maybe some of you think that this last point has little to do with
> what it is written or what is happening. If that is the case, it might
> be only about being a little more accurate, if possible.

> If that is the case....
> 1.- I believe that mobile/desktop convergence is not an emerging trend
> anymore.
> 2.- We do an innovative and modern desktop. Even if we do a "classical
> desktop", we should not state it that way in our mission. The next few
> years should be about keeping what is good about the "old concept"
> that took us here and evolving it. We are not dealing with cars from
> 1920 here. If we have to use quotes in a Mission statement, a document
> that should be crystal clear not just to ourselves but the "external
> world"...

This is exactly the kind of question why I've set up the survey: I know that 
some people still care a lot about the "classical desktop" (i.e. a thing that 
runs on desktop and laptop PCs) whereas for others, desktop and laptop PCs are 
just one among many device classes and form factors.

Since the Mission should reflect where the majority of the KDE community wants 
to go, I want to offer people the possibility to clearly state what they care 
about more. This is why I have both variants in the survey and we can see 
which gets what score.
> I would like to finish thanking those who has put so much effort in
> this document. My job here is easier. Take it as a constructive
> opinion, please. I tried to be "graphical" in some of my comments.

Thank you for your feedback!
Providing the feedback earlier would have saved me the time it now takes me to 
edit the survey, but that does not make it any less valid or useful, of course 

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