[kde-edu]: This KDE Science thing

Stuart Jarvis stuart.jarvis at gmail.com
Fri Jul 16 16:48:13 CEST 2010

(Hopefully this only arrives once - I accidentally replied form my university 
email address, but I think I cancelled that while it was still in the 
moderation queue)

On Friday, July 16, 2010 02:25:24 pm Jeremy Whiting wrote:
> On Fri, Jul 16, 2010 at 7:11 AM, Aleix Pol <aleixpol at kde.org> wrote:
> > On Fri, Jul 16, 2010 at 1:22 PM, Stuart Jarvis 
<stuart.jarvis at gmail.com>wrote:
> >> Hi everyone,
> >> 
> >> (I subscribed so no need to cc me)
> >> 
> >> Some of you may have picked up on the stuff about KDE and Science that
> >> Luca and
> >> I have been working on (planet, Dot etc) and some of us who are
> >> interested in
> >> raising the profile of KDE science applications managed to talk to some
> >> of you
> >> at Akademy. Sorry for not getting around to contacting you as a list
> >> before,
> >> this has all happened pretty quickly. Anyway, we wanted to send an email
> >> to
> >> try and explain what we're up to and ask for your views, if you're
> >> interested.
> >> 
> >> There's one thing that we want to make clear to start with:
> >> For what we would like to achieve, we see zero changes required in
> >> KDE-Edu
> >> 
> >> Here's the basic issue we're trying to address: there isn't a place to
> >> discover KDE apps that are useful in science and are not part of
> >> KDE-Edu. There is also no dedicated place to find out who else is
> >> working with similar
> >> apps to discuss issues. For the science apps in kde-edu it's fine as you
> >> have
> >> http://edu.kde.org/applications/science (nice, btw). However, there are
> >> many
> >> other science apps that are not part of KDE-Edu.
> >> 
> >> We held a KDE Science BoF at Akademy and came up with a few short term
> >> proposals:
> >> - Set up a subforum on forum.kde.org for scientists and science apps
> >> (created,
> >> not yet publicised)
> >> - Set up a mailing list (low traffic, coordination only - chat is for
> >> forum).
> >> We've since found out that kde-science already exists but is dormant
> >> since 2005 so we'll just use that
> >> - Have a webpage somewhere that summarises KDE applications of use in
> >> science.
> >> 
> >> That last point is probably the biggest overlap with Edu, since it would
> >> include also the apps at http://edu.kde.org/applications/science The way
> >> that
> >> we see it is that the 'KDE Science' page would also list those apps, but
> >> have
> >> links to further information on the relevant page on kde-edu (i.e.
> >> http://edu.kde.org/applications/science/kalzium/). For projects outside
> >> KDE-
> >> Edu and the SC we'd link to whatever their webpage is.
> >> 
> >> Our consensus seemed to be that the KDE science page would sit best on
> >> the main www.kde.org - so it could be a page 'Science' under
> >> applications and probably  much like
> >> http://www.kde.org/applications/education/ Of course, this
> >> needs discussion in various other places (promo and web for example).
> >> Another
> >> possibility it to use Userbase, but this would be less visible to
> >> someone stumbling across the KDE website and trying to see what we have
> >> (though userbase would be a great home for additional info)
> >> 
> >> Any input on the above would be welcome :-)
> >> 
> >> We'll be discussing things on kde-science at kde.org mostly, so please sign
> >> up if
> >> you'd be interested. We'll be sure to discuss anything that could affect
> >> Edu
> >> here too.
> >> 
> >> One final question -  a few people have floated the idea of having a
> >> separate
> >> science module, though not - I think - KDE-Edu people. This is not
> >> something
> >> that's on our agenda. Actually, it seems like a bad idea - KDE Edu works
> >> well
> >> as it is - but we're not well placed to make that judgement and it
> >> definitely
> >> isn't our decision ;-) But if any of you were thinking of doing
> >> something like
> >> that it would be good to know as that could have some impact on KDE
> >> Science
> >> plans.
> >> 
> >> Please feel free to mail us with any questions: on this list,
> >> kde-science or
> >> privately. I (Stu) am also on IRC in #kde, #kde-promo and #kde-forum as
> >> jakamoko while Luca is einar77
> >> 
> >> Cheers,
> >> Luca and Stu
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> kde-edu mailing list
> >> kde-edu at mail.kde.org
> >> https://mail.kde.org/mailman/listinfo/kde-edu
> > 
> > Hi,
> > I think that it makes sense to have some targeting to science people but
> > I still don't really understand what do you want to make. Is it just to
> > create a website and mailinglist.

At present, effectively, that is it - plus the forum on KDE forums. That is all 
that is needed to tackle the issue we identified (how can scientists find out 
what KDE has and discuss issues with other scientists/users).

> > If it is like that I think that
> > shouldn't be much problem but I'd still prefer to see KDE Science as a
> > KDE Edu branch. 

How about the apps that are not part of the KDE-Edu module and which do not 
want to be part of the module? If there are some ideas and directions that you 
guys have I'm very happy to help with that rather than duplicate. And to be 
clear, unless there's a push from you guys to change it, I see Cantor, Rocs, 
Step and the like staying firmly in KDE-Edu.

> > We are already targeting that science/university world
> > and we don't want to create confusion but we can probably find a common
> > place together.

I think it is better for KDE-Edu to lead as you have the contacts and 
experience. If we are approaching people and looking for big deployments then 
I absolutely agree it makes sense to do it as KDE-Edu. The likely targets 
(universities) could also be interested in non-science education apps too.
> I think this makes a lot of sense too, but like Aleix I wonder what the
> purpose is besides highlighting science apps.  Are there a lot of KDE
> science apps that are not in kde-edu?

Quite a few. From the very quick and very unscientific survey we did the most 
mentioned apps were:

KbibTeX (KDE 3)

If that is a fair reflection then the applications people are interested in for 
science (and this is probably more students themselves, postgrads and 
researchers than lecturers and teachers) span many areas: KDE 3, text editors 
that you'd think of as more developer tools and writing and viewing tools. 
Only Cantor is in KDE-Edu and I would guess several don't really fit in with 

> Is the idea to make something like
> the Educational plasma project the other guys are doing to help
> discoverability of science applications?

No, not from my point of view anyway. I think the needs of 'scientists' are 
too varied to make that useful. I would rather just have a list of potentially 
interesting apps by category that users can discover. At the moment, our only 
option for things outside KDE-Edu is to trust Google. Even in the quick 
discussions I've had with people recently, I have learned about several new 
KDE applications that I might find useful as a scientist.

In contrast, I think the Plasma project for Edu does make sense because at 
least you can define some kind(s) of general use case and make an environment 
for that. Even up to first university degree level there is a lot of similarity 
in what people are doing.

'Scientists' I think are too varied to be well served by, for example, a big 
KDE-science module to install. Some want plotting apps, some stats packages, 
some need to program, other people need to make diagrams and flow charts.

Again, other people may have different ideas, but I don't see any changes 
happening in the KDE science offerings - just a place for people to find out 
what is out there and for people to connect. From the latter we may be able to 
bring together people with the time, skills and interest to, for example, make 
a Platform 4 version of KBibTeX - but that would be an unexpected bonus.


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