Posts Tagged ‘e.V.’

Rain and Reason

Monday, November 15th, 2010

As Sebas has already noted, there was a KDE e.V. board meeting over the weekend. I had Claudia, our business manager, over on wednesday and we had a good thursday at the NLUUG Fall Conference on Security (where Claudia ran the booth and I was acting as part of the NLUUG board). I think there’s a real advantage to getting together before a board meeting and spending some time chatting and whatnot — it takes those topics out of the meeting time and allows us all to synchronize a little on what the current issues are.

You might claim that the main issue was horrific weather, with storm, rain, more rain and cold going on in the city of Nijmegen. I might claim that the main issue was how to eat all the food.

Another issue we ran into was the visible lack of visibility (!?) of the documentation for Sprints and developer events. Sjors is the catalyst here. I think we spend about half of the total KDE e.V. budget on sprints (the rest is Akademy and office and personnel costs), and you can find plenty of mention of events in the quarterly report (PDF) or on the Dot once they’ve happened. So the board thought that the sprint organization mechanism was pretty obvious, and it turns out it’s not.

But thanks to that realization, we now have Sjors being all enthusiastic about a KMess event, and I’m starting to plan an KDE4-OpenIndiana event and there’s something I need to cook up further with Celeste, too. So expect more entries in the upcoming-sprints department soon. One of the tasks I’ve taken away from the board meeting is to improve the sprint HOWTO with perhaps some more fine-grained instructions or checklists. But I’ll give my own interpretation of what a sprint is and what it’s for first:

A sprint is a single event, highly focused on technical results, in one location with a short time frame (a week or less) and a single topic; the topic is most often development of an application or library. A sprint is organized by an existing development community, and has a small core group of attendees (six to ten people). A sprint is 80 percent sweat (e.g. getting work done and of that, let’s say 60/40 for doing stuff and planning future doing) and 20 percent social.

You’ll note that some things we call sprints aren’t, by this personal definition. Those events are swept up by the more general term “developer events.” It’s not like we hold up events plans to this simple descriptive yardstick — feel free to come up with something else.

KDE e.V. supports the organization of these events — financially, sometimes administratively, and rarely (simply because it’s almost never needed) organizationally. However, KDE e.V. doesn’t come up with its own sprint ideas, nor will it (generally) approach people saying “you should do a sprint.” It waits for (sub)communities within KDE to come up with something and to show off a plan — or even a sketch of a plan — before starting to act.

So, to paraphrase the A-Team: if you (collective, addressing a developer community) have a problem, and no one else can help, maybe you should get together to solve it — and then you can ask the K-team (KDE e.V.) to support your efforts by covering the costs of getting together to solve that problem. ( — Ed: that’s not a very good paraphrase at all.)

Vorstand (list) no more

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

For years — perhaps since KDE e.V. was formed — there has been a mailing list kde-ev-vorstand. A perfectly sensible name if you happen to speak German and know something about eingetragene Vereine. For the rest of the world, perhaps not so much. The list has now been renamed to kde-ev-board. Unfortunately, during the changeover, mail sent to one list or the other has gotten lost. So if you tried to communicate with the board of KDE e.V. on the weekend or monday or tuesday morning, september 18-21 2010, your mail may have silently vanished. Please be extra alert for replies and don’t be shy to re-send.

So, what’s KDE e.V. you might ask? It is the non-profit association which was set up to support KDE development. An association is a convenient legal form in Germany (and elsewhere). It has members — the membership of KDE e.V. are those people who want to help the association achieve its goals. It’s a little like a tennis club: the members want to be able to play tennis and so set up a club that ensures that there’s infrastructure so that everyone can play. The association doesn’t play tennis itself, even when the members do; its purpose is there to make things possible. KDE e.V. makes it possible to channel money into developer sprints and helps organize the yearly Akademy conference — this year that will be a Desktop Summit once again in cooperation with the GNOME Foundation. You can find out what the association has been doing in the Quarterly Reports. The latest one is for 2010Q2; Q3 is just about to close so we’ll be looking for volunteers to help write it up and we’ll be soliciting items from the various working groups and teams in the KDE community.

The board list is the right place to ask about travel reimbursements (ask before you book!) or to suggest sprint topics, offer hardware support and instigate new projects which have funding requirements. Just remember that kde-ev-board@ is now the best address to use (although -ev-vorstand continues to function).

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.

Done in Berlin

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

We need a couch in the office, for sunday-afternoon naps after long, long meetings of the KDE e.V. board. Since we need some more furniture for the office anyway — shelving for storing schwag, some organizing cabinets and things to keep down clutter and a better monitor stand for Thorsten — we just might end up ordering a cheap one. It might improve efficiency in the long run. Some complicated discussions today about interacting with the KDE community and the membership of KDE e.V., since the board has a formal role in the association but is also composed of KDE contributors. Planned some bits and pieces for Akademy. I finally got around to booking a hotel — far away from Team Humongous, so bedtime stories are going to be an issue. And I was just finishing up an ecological fairytale for sharing, too.

A board meeting wobbles between abstract, long-term thinking (for instance) about financing developer sprints and procedures around those sprints and really concrete things like (for instance) ensuring that we have a stable document storage facility or brainstorming potential KDE SC release codenames. It’s a fun kind of meeting, but it really takes it out of you. I’ll be glad to take an extra nap on the train back home tomorrow. Given that the train leaves Berlin at 6:37am, that shouldn’t be all that difficult. I’d like to thank Claudia and Thorsten for taking time out of their weekend to facilitate the meeting, and applaud Celeste for doing crazy stuff.


Friday, August 21st, 2009

I’m in Frankfurt this weekend for a meeting of the board of KDE e.V., where the main topic is the office; we will be moving to Berlin later this year, and selecting a location and planning the move is important for having a pleasant autumn. It’s a typical board meeting, with document sharing, silly drawings on the flip-over chart, a nice lunch organized by Claudia and a bazillion topics to go through besides the ones on the agenda.