Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Solstice greetings, happy Christmas, looking ahead to the new year

Time to sum up 2014 and look ahead to 2015.

I'll start with the bad in my personal life: I heard this week that my dear younger cousin has cancer in his lungs, brain, bones and lymph. This is very hard to accept. He is only 57. My dad continues on his slow downward slide, but I think Brian will go first. I don't see how it is possible to beat cancer that is basically everywhere. My long-time Alsachat friend Maria has gotten word that she too has cancer, and they hold out some hope. She has cancer in one ovary and is on chemotherapy.

The good: my husband has worked his last day at Boeing after over 30 years there, and is retiring officially at the end of the year. His plans for hiking the Pacific Crest Trail are falling into place; he has most if not all his equipment, and has tested it, and the clothing he'll wear, and food he'll eat. He is hiking over 20 miles many days, and I think if the weather holds out for him he'll make his goal of walking from Mexico to Canada from April to September. to follow his progress.

Bob's schedule will complicate mine this year. I'm unsure whether travel to Europe will be possible, although my son Thomas has offered to live here when I leave, feed my cat, make sure the bills are paid, Bob's blog updates are published, and food boxes sent. I hope this all works out.

Also this past year we made some progress in remodeling our house; our new bathrooms are awesome! Bob gave me a 23&me kit for Christmas in 2013, and I got results this year. It's been quite fun to find distant "genetic" cousins, and also do some research and database cleanup. Gramps is great!

In mid-summer, Bob and one of his hiking buddies wanted to do a hike from half-way up Lake Chelan to Stehekin at the north end of the lake via the Lake Trail. I took the ferry north with them, and waved goodbye when they hopped off the boat at the trailhead. At Stehekin, I bussed up to the Ranch, where I had the most lovely peaceful stay. Bob and Patty eventually got to Stehekin and joined me at the Ranch for a day, before we left on the fast boat down-lake to Chelan, and then the drive home. Patty and I plan to meet Bob at the Ranch this year, near the end of his hike. Should be fun!

Now for the KDE and Kubuntu side of my life, which was really rich this past year. As KDElibs were split into the KDE Frameworks, I was asked to edit another book for KDE, about the Frameworks. Since I'm no coder, we assembled a team to work at the Randa Meetings. See some of my blogs about this or for more. In short: we have a good start to our book and hope to publish early in 2015. Also in KDE this year, Plasma 5 has debuted, and the Visual Design Group (VDG) has attained world domination. That team is the bubbles in the champagne of the KDE community for sure.

At the end of April I staffed a booth at Linuxfest Northwest for Ubuntu and Debian. Unfortunately, I was mostly alone except for *lots* of visitors who wanted DVDs or USB drives of the latest ISOs. Sooooo busy! This year, I think we'll have a KDE booth. I don't think I'll have time for burning ISOs unless we share with Ubuntu and there are others to staff the booth too.

This year I've already committed to traveling to Spokane for a new Linux fest there in May. Should be fun!

Early in August 2014 I flew to Geneva and met up with a friend I only knew online before now. I also got the chance to meet up with Christian, and another friend I only knew from Kubuntu IRC. Then the best train ride in the world to Randa, where we got together with all the Frameworks team to get our book well underway. Because of some connectivity problems, we ended up with the best process ever: our book chapters live in each of the Frameworks git repositories. We have a process to assemble all the chapters simply, so people can get PDFs or ePubs. Stop by #kde-books on freenode if you'd like to help out.

Early September, it was time to meet Scarlett, another person who was a friend only online until then, and fly to Vienna together. There we met Stefan, who walked around his beloved Vienna showing us his favorite places. What a great lead-up to Akademy in Brno! A very nice part of this trip was that it was sponsored by the Ubuntu Donors since we were headed to the annual Kubuntu meet there at Akademy. Such support feels great. I'll write a separate blogpost about Akademy, the plans and work we did there, and how much progress has been made.

This fall, some cool things happened. Locally, we got a KDE Meetup going. That helped a lot when the LISA/USENIX conference happened in Seattle, because quite a few of us could plan to be there to staff the KDE booth. One of our guys sat in front and used Krita to draw stuff most of both days. That drew a lot of interest from many of the attendees. Finally, I was a lot more active in our KDE mentoring programs this year, first Google Summer of Code, then Season of KDE this fall, and now Google Code-in through the next few weeks. I do love working with my fellow admins, the mentors, and especially the students. It is really cool to see how we can all work together.

Altogether, 2014 was an amazing year, absolutely full of wonderful experiences and learning. While some terrible times lay ahead in 2015, many exciting opportunities await as well. Hopefully the mourning is balanced by the work, the friendships, the research, writing, cleaning, simplifying .... too many more verbs to list.