Posts Tagged ‘akademy’

Home from Akademy

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

I snuck away from Akademy on Friday morning. My intention was to sign some legal documents (part of a resolution of the AGM of the KDE e.V.) and say good byes to all and sundry, but that got terribly sidetracked. The usual experience of walking into Demola is people saying “Hey, [ade], I need to talk to you.” I don’t imagine this is unique to me — there’s so much coordination that goes on at Akademy when you finally have every sub-project on hand to chat with. So I ended up with a long talk with Elias about truth in advertising, and then I tried to print and sign and scan the document at hand. Kaare, a guy I’d exhanged some banter during the day trip, wandered over. It turned out that Kaare is the Skanlite dude, so I took the opportunity to thank him for his work.

Then rushed goodbyes — I skipped the whole of floor 4 with the BoFs — and off to the bus. Milian, Niels, Richard and Lubos were on the same flight, and everyone who flew onwards from Helsinki to Amsterdam had their luggage left behind. So it was 9pm before I got home, sans backpack. Like Harri said, it’s not so bad on the way back. My luggage was finally delivered at home at quarter past eleven in the night (darkness!) in a violent thunderstorm.

So, yeah. Akademy rocked. The Mexican has pictures that give a good impression of the atmosphere there.

Making mistakes in my talks

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

When I give a talk, I usually take people in the audience as examples. This is why people who know me usually sit two or three rows back if they possibly can help it, or all of a sudden they’re likely to be labeled the Evil Software Corp. or something worse. "You there, you’re BSD licensed, and over on this side we’re GPL, right?"

Usually these things work out OK, but when people end up associated with companies, I do make mistakes. So the Fedora guy (not rrix, Jakub, I think) with a red hat on in the audience was my example for companies that might be concerned about the effect of the GPLv3 on their ability to ship KDE as part of their embedded products. That’s utter bollocks, though. Red Hat have been one of the bigger GPLv3 supporters throughout the process, and they ship plenty of GPLv3 products. So scratch that example, should you watch the video. Next time I’ll pick someone with a different-coloured hat. other than that, I think the talk went pretty well.

Akademy D+5

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Strange how things jump from D-2 to D+5 with possibly no time at all for blogging. The conference days were of course full to the brim of just watching talks and helping the program along. While I do visible things like the welcome address and introducing speakers and waving this year’s whip about, the organizing team is making it all possible and probably much more truly busy. Sanna, Matti, Ilkka, Karen, Taru and the others from COSS, the Finnish Open Source Centre. Kenny for the videos and Claudia — Claudia knows everything.

[[ OK, I have explained the whip thing a bunch of times, but let’s do it one more time for the record: at Akademy 2008 in Mechelen, I met Matthew Rosewarne for the first — and, sadly, last — time. He had spontaneously brought a bright pink riding crop which he presented to me as a gift just minutes before the opening of the conference. So I opened the conference with a whip in hand. Now, a riding crop — firm nylon core, braided outer covering and a leather loop at the end which does the "snap" when hitting things — is a useful device; you can point with it, herd people off the stage, and strike the table to attract everyone’s attention. Unfortunately, striking the table will also fracture the nylon core, so you end up with a limp whip. Matthew went to Brussels to get me a new one, which firmly cemented the whip in my repertoire of things-to-do-at-Akademy. Matthew passed away in 2009. His whips directed the very first Desktop Summit, GCDS in Gran Canaria. At legal conferences I get questions from lawyers who have seen me active during KDE events: "where’s your whip?" Well, whips are KDE things. I do try to keep that separate from my activities in the legal and licensing field, although I’ve since discovered that every lawyer harbours a deep dark secret talent. During the FOSS Nigeria conference in Kano this year, I bought a new whip in preparation for Akademy. It’s a strip of twisted goat hide. Very simple and straightforward; depending on how you twist you end up with a slightly thicker handle or a flexible whip part. Dried, the strip hardens until it’s functional. In Kano this kind of device is primarily used for driving donkeys and cows, not for directing conferences. Because it’s more flexible, it is harder to point with and harder to aim with, but I’ll practice. Shame Paul Adams (co-hosting the Masters of the Universe, well worth listening) isn’t here to bear the brunt of that practice. ]]

Monday the KDE e.V. meeting went through in record time which left unexpected hacking time, which became things like introducing people to each other, then being summoned to a sauna and then it was midnight and still light out.

Tuesday I mostly tried to write email, guarded Claudia’s bottle of raspberry liqueur (for girls only), sat in on Alex Neundorf multi-platform build-farm BoF with Ubuntu ARM, SUSE x86, Solaris SPARC and Windows x86 in attendance (among others). There was a KDE e.V. BoF at six. The purpose of that session was to give people the opportunity to ask the e.V. board members about the association, or to discuss purposes and activities of the e.V., or to make suggestions on the inner workings. We got a fair bit of all of those things done, with both e.V. members (old and new) and non-members in attendance. The KDE e.V. website says some things about the association, but it’s necessary to repeat regularly as well. So:

KDE e.V. is the association that supports the KDE community by doing what the community needs when the community cannot effectively do that in itself. That includes legal things, like (say) server ownership which isn’t something that can be effectively left to individuals. The members of the association are representative of the entire KDE community, (although we’re developer-heavy — once more I suggest you listen to the KDEMU interview with Anne Wilson to find out how to contribute to the community in other ways). The board of the e.V. can represent the community in contracts and the like. The members show additional commitment to KDE by doing the support work — let’s call it secondary contribution, because it doesn’t directly advance the software, but makes it possible for the software to advance.

Every member of the KDE community is welcome to join the association, though the admittance procedure as described on the e.V. webpage. If you want to support the KDE community as a whole not with time and effort, then the individual supporting membership programme might be something for you (it is for Vincent).

After the BoF it was dinner, football, drinking and dancing and then it was a quarter to five and still light out.

As a consequence, I’ve chosen to stay at my hotel for a bit today in an effort to actually get some writing and hacking done. It’s almost four in the afternoon, so I should head out for breakfast and then over to Demola any time now.

Akademy D-2, in Tampere

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Arrived in Tampere this afternoon, found Hotel Ville (if you take bus 61 from the Airport, there’s a stop in Hatanpaa right close by), heading out now to meet with the local team. I’ll also find out who is the boss this week: Claudia, Ilkka or Sanna. [[img src=CrudelyDrawnKolourpaintVersionOfIIsAtAkademy]]

Akademy bits and pieces

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010


As Paul and Aaron and Lydia have pointed out, Akademy is approaching. I’ll be flying out to Tampere next week. Gotta remember to pick up some good souvenirs for the kids this time around. My previous visit I ended up browsing the selection at Helsinki airport and thinking "karhu sausages? let’s not."

So, Akademy. It’s the yearly conference of the KDE community, including translators, users, enthusiasts, coders, documentors, tormentors (e.g. bug reporters) and fluffy bunnies. Everyone is welcome to talk about, plan and work on the future of KDE software. The conference lasts a week, which can be divided roughly into three phases:

Conference Proper: the first two days of the whole affair are the conference proper, with an organized set of talks arranged in two tracks. Here KDE contributors and technologists present 45-minute talks on various topics. 45 minutes gives us the time to delve fairly deep; it’s also an opportunity to present that state of the art in a format that’s different from blogging, mailing, and whatnot. The conference gives you the opportunity to catch up on everything in the KDE world in just a short time. There’s actually surprisingly many community and social topics, too, showing how our world is expanding. We hope that the conference programme inspires productivity the rest of the week and brings unlikely people together.

Annual General Meeting: This is the bit that we love to snicker about, but you might claim that this is the most important part. It is, unfortunately, also the part that isn’t open to the public because it is the AGM of KDE e.V. The e.V. is the association that supports KDE development — it is the entity that does the kind of stuff for which you need an entity (such as owning servers and organizing things) which don’t fit well with individual contributors to the project. In the past couple of years we’ve gotten much better at running the AGM, so it is no longer the kind of epic meeting that we snicker about. Instead, it’s a fairly streamlined session, although German law requires us to do a bunch of administration that eats up plenty of time. By contrast, the NLUUG AGM was done in 45 minutes this year (but it was rather rushed, at that). This year we’re continuing to experiment with mechanisms to streamline the meeting: two entrances for attendee registration, a seating plan in rows of ten, clear scheduling.

Hackweek: After the two main scheduled parts, there’s a whole week of variegated events. Aaron has blogged about Plasma events. There’s sure to be UPnP and Edu and all kinds of stuff going on. This part of the schedule is in a Wiki, so you can still add events there. I’ll be looking in at the dashboard and closs-platform building, the e.V. BoF, translations, Symbian, maybe some git bits. In between, hacking with whomever I run into. For me the hackweek combines hectic talking with people and sitting still and getting some of the hacking done that I always want to get done but never have time for at home. I’ll probably be spending quite some time on and the OpenSolaris packages again.

Special Events: There’s a special day trip on Thursday and there may be more special theme days introduced into the schedule as we get closer to the conference launch date.

So all in all, plenty to do. Having everyone there in one place (well, presumably scattered across the city on lawns and at bars but still hard at work) means that it’s the most efficient time of the year for hashing out plans for the next.

Chairing at Akademy

Monday, June 21st, 2010

So Lydia has posted a call for chairs. This, of course, allows me to launch the "I’m chairing at Akademy" button which is done in the style of Paul Adams. Also, an image search turned up a creepy sheep chair — perhaps we should get one to use for interviews? i is a chair at AkademyChairs do some of the footwork — ensuring that the switch to the speaker’s laptop goes smoothly, optional introductions, managing the time allotted for the talk and dealing with questions. And, if need be, you ask a question yourself. And then you thank the speaker.

When I chair a session, there are certain, shall we say, additional attributes in use. Those fall under "speaker motivational items" or incentives. I’m sure you’ll run into them at the conference.

My own talk is saturday at the end of the day, so if you want to motivate me then here’s your chance (although you will miss Henri’s talk in the process). Don’t hesitate to contact the Akademy folks, Lydia in particular, if you need more details on what a session chair needs to do.


Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Whoa, you blink and all of a sudden two weeks have gone by. This is probably related to ongoing health issues (I continue to be very susceptible to every cold germ out there) and by me focusing my attention on two things: the garden (weeding, planting out beets and sweet peas and weeding and watering and hoeing and picking the first strawberries of the season) and fixing up The api site is interesting because there’s so many different scripts involved, some historical, some broken; in addition the mechanisms for generating the dox themselves have changed over the years, so it’s not entirely trivial to generate new 3.5 documentation now. I copied over those archives I had and then tried to get KDE trunk (what will be KDE SC 4.5) up and running again. In the process I discovered a zillion broken links, got distracted by plenty of bad documentation, cursed perl from here to infinity, designed a rewrite of the tools in python and then got distracted by the garden again.

And then it was Father’s day, and I got a book titled “1001 languages”, which gives an overview of the world’s natural languages. Fun stuff, as it dives into grammatical and structural analysis of language groups as well.

Lest I blink again and not get around to blogging again before mid-july, I should add:
I'm going to Akademy
I’ll be giving a talk at Akademy about legal issues: where are we with the FLA, how do we see patents affecting KDE, what about copyright in general and where does KDE live in the landscape of Free Software and the Open Source world.

Results, great and small

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Smallest possible result: the punchline “she got the clap from a gnome” just made me giggle uncontrollably. Curse those webcomics! if there’s anything I’ve caught from GNOMEs this week, it was enthusiasm for cross desktop technologies, and I buried a Mexican. You just can’t get that kind of community building without a big conference, although I do miss a certain sense of “one moment that the entire project is together in a single room” because of the schedule.

Seeing how we (as the Free Software Desktop) are growing a new Pillar of the Free Desktop by moving Strigi analyzers and Tracker and Nepomuk Ontologies and Zeitgeist (really just a visualization of one suitable Nepomuk query) together — this is the Semantic Pillar — is really exciting. Finding this synergy takes a conference. Crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s is part of the work week around Akademy. That’s a good concrete result.

I got some patches for Qt Creator ready, but I’m so totally useless with git that I haven’t managed to push out any merge requests yet. Similarly, I see that the (Open|Nevada) Solaris packages are coming along well too, but haven’t taken the time to sync up these last few days. There are some other bugs I would like to look at in the coming weeks, but there is nothing critical right now.

Finally, I got to send off Akademy and GUADEC with a bang. No additional tools allowed (John Layt, that other photo is also genius). I spent some time going over the major results I could identify, and with Vincent Untz providing the “it was fun” part, we thanked the University, the organizers, and then we moved on to the best part: the Pope on patents.

Reasons to attend Akademy

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

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.