Improving our integration with KDE application teams, and supporting companies

Valorie Zimmerman valorie.zimmerman at
Thu Aug 23 23:23:29 BST 2018

Now that I'm coming out of jetlag, catching up on email and so happy
to see the direction this discussion is taking.
On Thu, Aug 23, 2018 at 7:51 AM Jeremy Whiting <jpwhiting at> wrote:
> Hi All,
> On Mon, Aug 20, 2018 at 1:29 PM Adriaan de Groot <groot at> wrote:
>> Mostly I'm repeating this item from Cornelius because it follows so well from
>> what Valorie *originally* asked, rather than a bunch of misintepretations and
>> discussing-something-else.
>> On Monday, 20 August 2018 10:58:05 CEST Cornelius Schumacher wrote:
>> > I don't think that anybody has a problem with having a healthy ecosystem of
>> > companies around KDE. That's not the debate we are having.

Slight pushback here: Boud has gotten negative feedback for having a
foundation to pay devels for Krita. Frank definitely got negative
feedback, enough to take ownCloud out of the KDE ecosystem.

>> The thread started with Valorie exclaiming surprise that there was pushback on
>> the entire notion of having companies / paid development around the KDE
>> community. Some people have chimed in saying that that's not what they hear at
>> all, so at this point I'm inclined to say that Valorie had the bad luck to run
>> into one or two grumpy people.

Possibly. However I've heard a lot of this over the years. It could
have been the same few grumpy people though; I didn't keep track. :-)

>> [Disclosure: Cornelius is presumably paid to work on Free Software-ish things
>> throughout the week; I am paid to work on Free Software things for at least
>> half of the week, and am looking for more.]
> I also work on Free Software-ish things myself, but haven't done as much KDE stuff
> in the past few years.
>> But we could run a separate email thread with this question:
>>  - do we (as a community) want an ecosystem of companies and paid development
>> around KDE?

This was my main question, and I and most answering here seem to say
YES. I believe that this growth is crucial to the on-going growth and
health of the KDE community.

> I would argue that whether we as a community want that or not we already have it. I can
> name on a couple of hands quickly a number of community members that either are paid
> to work directly on KDE stuff or on free software in general and do KDE stuff in "Community"
> paid time by the company they work for.

And to the extent this is true, and those companies make enough money
to keep paying them, this is a Good Thing. Blue Systems is great, but
do they have a plan to make money? As far as I can see, it seems to be
more a KDE charity. I think this is great, *and* I would like to see
profit-making companies surround us as well. Not just a few, but
*many* of them. Many of our applications, for instance, could be
world-class, and support small companies which in turn support them.
In addition, I'd like to see companies doing support for companies and
individuals using KDE software on Linux, Mac and Windows. I'd like to
see at least on the Windows Store many more applications making a bit
of money.

>> > > For those people who claim that having paid people work on a Free Software
>> > > project will inevitably kill all motivation for volunteers, let's look at
>> >
>> > > some examples within or close to KDE:
>> > We need to get clear on what we are debating. It's not that paid people are
>> > a problem. It's about how this is done and who is paying them.

Which is why we need a lot of companies. Having only a few means each
has an outsized influence on the direction of the developers and what
direction they take the software.

>> > We have a very conscious standing decision that KDE e.V. does not pay
>> > developers. This clearly separates paid and volunteer work there so that
>> > there can be no issue with harming volunteer motivation. We might want to
>> > revisit this decision but would need to be very clear about the governance
>> > of this work.
>> You're right. That's a very separate debate. That question is:
>>  - are there any circumstances under which KDE e.V. itself should fund
>> development, by paying developers directly or hiring companies to do so?

IMO the e.V. should be spending money to develop KDE infrastructure --
the website, both developer and user documentation, and our hardware
and the sysadmins who care for it. In addition, we need Promo (which
we now have, and paid and volunteer people happily work together),
sprints and other meetings, which again I think could use paid staff
and volunteers working together.

> Yes, I think this is the real question here. We already have paid developers, the question
> is whether e.V. should get involved in that aspect.
> One possible way to remove the emotional aspect of this would be to have the board
> or some work group come up with a bounty list of long-standing issues we would like to see
> fixed and whoever (individual or group/company) is able to properly fix the issue gets the
> money for that bounty. This could be tricky for board members to stay out of the conflict
> of interest gray area. (e.g. Hey, Lydia created that bounty because she knew the company/
> friends she works for/with could tackle it or somesuch) but with enough of a selection process
> of which bounties we want that could be decreased quite a bit (e.g. The whole kde ev membership
> voted on these bounties, no way for an individual to have influenced the bounties enough to matter).
> BR,
> Jeremy

I think the coming effort to survey the state of our documentation is
such an effort, and there was already some pushback over spending even
a modest amount on that. I hope we've gotten past that, because we
need someone outside of KDE to do the survey, in my opinion.
>> .. and there's a third question, raised by yourself at Akademy and touched by
>> Sven just now:
>>  - if KDE e.V. has money, and doesn't spend it directly on development, how
>> can it best support KDE development indirectly?

It all depends on how we define the terms, right? Is working on our
fundamental infra "development"?

>> These are three distinct questions, and really we should be very very clear on
>> which one we're tackling (which, thank you, you have pointed out -- as has
>> Sune, and others, and now I'm just repeating stuff :) )
>> [ade]



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