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Reasons to attend Akademy

A while back Aaron wrote a bit about his reasons for attending Akademy. They aren’t *personal* reasons, but reasons of community building, community growth as well as the “special reason”, the overall question answered at the conference; unfortunately personal reasons will keep him from attending this year. Akademy (the yearly KDE world summit) and GUADEC (the yearly GNOME world summit) are hosted together on Gran Canaria, as part of the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit (GCDS). The reasons for this are twofold: the boards of both projects wanted to try a joint(-ish) conference and that Canaries have a strong track record in Free Software. I suppose you could also claim proximate cause and say that it’s being held there because the boards of both the GNOME Foundation and KDE e.V. decided (following membership consultation) to hold it there.

The generic reasons for attending a large KDE event — community building, putting faces to svn account names, doing design work on a whitboard with a cup of tea and a crowd discussing things and then finally taking a picture and putting it in SVN somewhere as documentation, discovering hidden shared interests and talents (team humongous will be on a foodie rampage, I can assure you) and the simple joy in being together and creating something beautiful and Free — will apply as always. I’ve never been to a GUADEC, but I imagine that the atmosphere there is similar, and look forward to looking around there.

The most generic reason of all to go to a conference is the content thereof; the programme committees of the joint conferences have put together a wonderful set of talks with cross-desktop and project-specific content lasting three days. The keynotes have a few surprises in store for us all.

Still, what’s the special reasons attached to the conference, its overall purpose? I think Aaron does well in aiming squarely for KDE 4.5 — to be released around Akademy 2010, that is. Taking the long view and ensuring the long term stability of the software platform and improving the user experience so that it will keep for a long time is a good thing to do. I have my own list of things that need doing and for which a large-scale event is necessary; they are ancillary to the long term goal and not, strictly speaking, at all essential:

  • Plan how we can expand the i18n efforts in novel locations (I’m thinking Hausa and Amharic for largely personal reasons here).
  • How to get Raffi to do a KDE theme song (because the bananaphone is ringing).
  • Ensure that the legal tidbits around KDE code are explained clearly to all contributors and that newcomers learn quickly how we not only do the technical stuff but the project management and legal mumbo-jumbo around it as well. As part of this we will be encouraging — gently, since it is an individual’s own choice — people to fill in a FLA to simplify our copyright situation.
  • I want to re-connect to the people working on Krazy and the English Breakfast Network. I’m sometimes (often?) better at starting things than seeing them through to to their technical perfection and conclusion, so I’ve been rather disconnected from the goings-on in KDE’s software quality checking system. I know Bertjan is doing cool stuff together with Allen and that Brad Hards is looking into gcc plugins (not necessarily for the EBN, but you never know). A long term plan — where do we want to go with this software quality toolset? what should be its direct impact on KDE code? can we promote the use of the tools and presentation software elsewhere?

I'm going to AkademyA large Free Software project like KDE has many facets. I’m going to Akademy to try to buff up a few of them and to get a picture of what the consensus is on the direction of the project as a whole.

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