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Randa 2010 – KDE Edu+MM

Last weekend I had the pleasure to visit a small village, somewhere in cheese/chocolate land (not sure what we agreed on, some call it Swiss).

It was awesome to say the least. The trip involved group hugs, meeting great people, discussing, presenting our work of the last months (it’s been three years since the last Edu meeting) and of course some hacking.

After a long long drive (thanks Kevin!) we got to Randa on Thursday evening.

We took a car train to get to Randa which was fun and dark (since it mostly goes through a tunnel). Once we arrived, we started to chat and have fun. Being quite tired, I went to my room for a while to prepare the “Edu-Vision” presentation I had in my mind for the next day.

After some introduction and general stuff on Friday, we started to split up, after lunch. Meals were all great by the way. So was the general organization by Mario. You rock!

To my surprise the schedule was quite full and so I kept postponing the hacking I wanted to do. Since I was slightly tired from my last round of traveling anyway I was happy to do some fun stuff on the side too. Fun stuff may involve starting a Linux distribution and working on that. But that is a different story altogether and will be told later.

Looking at the schedule, it becomes clear to me, why I felt constantly busy… Sabine and Bèrto from Vox Humanitatis joined us to discuss about languages and learning material. It was really good to meet them in person, since we could really learn a lot from each other and also understand our backgrounds which makes collaboration much easier. Especially seeing how they build up a large vocabulary collection and how the data will be managed was interesting to me.

Daniel presented Parley, and I enjoyed listening to him, which felt a bit weird, since usually I’m the one talking about it. It’s great to have someone else pushing things forward too. For most of us KDE Education folks, it was great to see trunk open for 4.6 already and work on new features. Daniel and I still work on 4.5 with Parley, since we introduced big changes that are still demanding some polishing love. But more about Parley in a later post. It will finally rock your world with new features, better work flow and nicer UI, which makes me extremely happy.

Rocs was presented by Tomaz and I was amazed to see how smooth the moving of graph nodes including their connected edges works now. And the Java/ECMA/QtScript integration seems to be working quite well. Nice!

Saturday started with a surprise present: Alex, our artist from Brazil gave us a flower, which will bloom into becoming a logo for KDE Education as a whole. I liked the concept and I’m curious to see how the finished logo will look like. This is a good step for us to have more of an identity across applications. I hope that KDE Education will manage to work closer together. The community bounding part of the meeting was important towards that goal. In the same vein we discussed about some of the Plasma Educational Desktop ideas and other things that could be done to make the apps easier to discover in educational settings and distros.

Before you knew it, lunch, group photo and the trip to Zermatt were upon us, time flew by. Walking back to Randa (about 2.5 hours or so) felt really good and was a nice change. Outside in the sun we kept discussing things. I was curious to talk to some people about the KDE e.V. and how they see it. I guess we sometimes are a bit of a secret society, at least it seems like that to the outside world.

The most important sessions were of course the evenings – that’s when things started to get fluffy. Right, I wanted to talk about that later. Free Beer was involved. Beer that was actually brewed according to the libre part of free, so we did pay for it. Nice twist 😉

On Sunday some more of the future of our apps was discussed, for example the merger of the the internals of KAlgebra and KmPlot. Sounds like a good idea indeed. It was great to have Percy coming all the way from Peru! Aleix was being his great self, so he also took on a lot of initiative. Very much appreciated, dudes!

The final day, Monday was already filled with some tears because people started to disappear. Torsten got to talk about his baby, the Marble. I finally discussed many things about Parley with Daniel, while website-planning and promotion was discussed by most of the others. It was funny to go back into history (KDE 2 times) to let the others know about where KVTML, our shared XML file format for vocabulary comes from and what we can do to make it better. Important to keep in mind is always that we can’t break the user’s files, so we need to at least read older versions of the file format, so far we have been good in not really changing anything substantial since KDE 4.0 in that regard. Sometimes staying compatible is a pain, but discussing it got all of us on the same page I think.

We finished the day somewhat tired. Leinir gave a nice talk about Gluon in the evening, but I was too tired to really follow, so I just waited for the game demos to start. The last mission of the day was to finish off the beer supply with Harald.

Update: of course Percy is from Peru, the Brazilians are not as special as that any more 😉