Thursday, August 20, 2015

Upon returning home from Akademy: thoughts

Akademy is long over, you say? Yes, but I've been traveling almost constantly since flying home, since my husband is on the home leg of his long hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, which he is chronicling at While driving about the state to meet him, I've not been online much, therefore unable to create blogposts from my thoughts and impressions written during and right after Akademy. Fortunately, I did scrawl some thoughts which I'll post over the next week or so.

Please visit for more information about Akademy. Click the photo for a larger version and add names if someone is left unlabeled.

First: A Coruña where Akademy 2015 met, is beautiful! Galicia, the region of Spain is not only beautiful, but serves delicious food, especially if you love fresh seafood.

The local team, working in conjunction with the e.V. Board and the amazing Kenny Duffus and Kenny Coyle created a wonderful atmosphere in which to absorb, think, and work. One of the best bits this year was the Rialta, where most of us lived during Akademy. Scarlett and I flew in early, to get over our jetlag, and have a day to see the city.

The journey from Seattle began very early Monday morning, and Scarlett set out even earlier the previous day via Amtrack train to Seattle. Our connections and flights were very long, but uneventful. We caught the airport bus and then the city bus 24 and walked to the Rialta, arriving about dinner-time Tuesday. Although we tried to avoid sleeping early, it was impossible.

Waking the next morning at 4am with no-one about, and no coffee available was a bit painful! Breakfast was not served until 8am, and we were *not* late! Rialta breakfasts are adequate; the coffee less so. I found that adding a bit of cocoa made it more drinkable, but some days bought cafe con leche from the bar instead. That small bar was also the source of cervesa (beer) and a few whiskys as well.

One of the beautiful things about the Rialta was their free buses for residents. Some were called Touristic, and followed a long loop throughout the city. You could get off at any of the stops and get back on later after sight-seeing, eating or shopping. So we rode it a loop to figure out what we wanted to see, which was part of the sea-side and the old town. Scarlett and I both took lots of photos of the beautiful bay and some of the port. After visiting Picasso's art college, we headed into the old city. On the way in, we saw a archaelogical dig of a Roman site, I guess one of many. This one was behind the Military Museum. As we walked further into the city, we heard music from Game of Thrones, and a giant round tent covered in medieval scenes. As we walked around the square trying to figure out what was happening, we saw lancers on large horses, dancing about waiting to enter the ring!

Some of the Akademy attendees were inside the tent watching the jousts, we later found out. I stopped in to the tourist info office to find out why the tent was there, and found out there was a week-long celebration all through the old city. It was delightful to turn the corner and see a herd of geese, or medieval handicrafts, or.... beer! A small cold beer from a beer barrel with a medieval monk serving us was most welcome as we wandered close to Domus. The Rialta bus was a great way "home."

A day of play left us ready to work as the rest of the attendees began to arrive.
Oh by the way: give big! Randa Meetings will soon be happening, and we need your help!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Support Randa 2015

Weeeee! KDE is sponsoring Randa Meetings again, this time with touch. And you can help making KDE technologies even better! This exciting story in the Dot this week, caught not only my attention, but my pocketbook as well.

Yes, I donated, although I'm not going this time. Why? Because it is important, because I want Plasma Mobile to succeed, because I want my friend Scarlett* to have a great time, and because I want ALL the devels attending to have enough to eat! Just kidding, they can live on Swiss chocolate and cheese. No, really: the funds are needed for KDE software development.

So dig deep, my friends, and help out.

*(And somebody hire Scarlett to make KDE software!)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

I'm loving Akademy!

And it hasn't even started. Scarlett and I flew to A Coruña arriving Tuesday, and spent yesterday seeing the town. Today is all about preparing for the e.V. AGM and the Akademy talks and BoFs following. 

Wish you were here!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Challenges and opportunities

Challenges are a normal part of life; and seeing opportunities is a skill all of us can get better at. This past week, though, has been something new.

The Ubuntu community and philosophy has been home to me. The Ubuntu Code of Conduct is not just about individual conduct, but how we make a community. In fact, the first sentence is Ubuntu is about showing humanity to one another: the word itself captures the spirit of being human.[1] This is my kind of place, where we not only have high ideals, but live those out in our practice. And so it has been for many years.

So it was a complete shock to get a secret email from the Community Council to me as a Kubuntu Council member announcing that Jonathan Riddell had been asked to step down from Kubuntu leadership. We (the KC) recently met with the CC, and there was no discussion of any issues they had with Jon. They never wrote to us asking for feedback or discussion.

Jonathan's questions to the CC about a legal issue and that of funds donated to the flavors were not personal, but done on behalf of the Ubuntu community, and on behalf of us, the Kubuntu Council and the Kubuntu community as a whole. We are still concerned about both these issues, but that pales in comparison to the serious breach in governance we've experienced this past week.

The Code of Conduct states: We expect participants in the project to resolve disagreements constructively. When they cannot, we escalate the matter to structures with designated leaders to arbitrate and provide clarity and direction.

The CC did not follow this basic procedure. The Community Council is full of great people; a couple of them are personal friends. The CC was established after the Kubuntu Council, and while the KC consists of members nominated and elected by the Kubuntu Members, the CC candidates are selected by Mark Shuttleworth, and then elected by the Ubuntu Members. [2]All Kubuntu Members are also Ubuntu Members. I first stated that the CC is unelected, which is incorrect.[3] I regret the error.

The fact remains that the CC did not follow the Code of Conduct in their procedure.

We have had a number of emails back and forth during the week.[4] What has stood out to me is the contrast between their approach, and our own. They have focussed on their feelings (feelings about working with Jon), whereas we continue to point out facts and ask them to follow the Code of Conduct. Naturally, we all experienced emotions about the situation, but emotion is not a basis for decision-making.

Of course, the members of the CC may perceive the situation entirely differently.

I wish I knew how this conflict will work out long-term. The Council supports Jonathan, and continues to ask for resolution to the issues he has raised with the CC on the community list. We have done so formally yesterday.

Jon is the person who brought KDE to Ubuntu, and Ubuntu to KDE, and has always functioned as a bridge between the two projects and the two communities. He will continue to do this as long as he is able, and we rely on his faithfulness for the success of Kubuntu. He is the magnet who draws new developers to us, and his loss would spell the end of Kubuntu-the-project.

The CC did not follow the basic procedure and raise bring the issue they had with Jon to us, the Kubuntu Council. We await their return to this principle as we work to find a way forward. We are determined to find a way to make this work.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Last chance to celebrate KDE 2014 fundraiser

Today is your last chance to get a KDE-branded exclusive postcards! Donate at the KDE End of Year 2014 Fundraising.

They are beautiful!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Drawing in new contributors and growing the community

It's a really exciting time to be active in both KDE and Kubuntu. So many new initiatives, projects, new collaborations. And yet.

Comment often heard over the past couple of years: we've lost $person / we're missing people to maintain/lead/do $project. This is understandable, and to be expected in a large, mature organization such as KDE; a dynamic project loses people as well as gains new contributors.

In contrast, almost daily in #kde and #kde-devel IRC channels we have new people trying to find some way to get involved with KDE. In an effort
to bring the solution and the problem together, at Akademy we
brainstormed and came up with the Mission forum.

What that forum needs is postings! When a developer is thinking
about giving up maintainership, please write a Maintainer Wanted
post. When you are fixing bugs, and see a valuable bit of code which needs
porting, please write that up and put it on the forum.

Naturally we always need ideas for possible Google Summer of Code projects, and the forum is a good place to post and develop those ideas. Eventually they will be moved to our GSoC docs, but they can be discussed and refined on the forum.

New skills needed, documentation, internationalization, translation, artwork, promo, and web work tasks are also suitable. If you have written a "help wanted" blog or mail list email in the past, dig it out and post it on the forum. Be sure to clearly outline for people how to undertake your tasks.

In fact, once Google Code-in is over, how about putting some of those tasks which remain into the forum? Those teams who didn't have time to mentor during the contest can still write up small tasks and put them into the forum as well. Once you get into the habit of creating postings, you'll be prepared and want to participate in GCi next year!

I know developers often don't like forums, but guess who does like them?
Beginners and people who are using search engines. We need these
people to join our community and start helping out. That will happen
when we ask in a public place, which is the forum.

One more time:

Students, Google Summer of Code is coming, but not quite yet....

We've been seeing more and more questions about GSoC and how to get involved.

GSoC 2015 will be happening, but it is not yet time for orgs to even apply, much less be accepted. So we have no ideas page as yet for GSoC 2015.

That said, the best way to have your GSoC proposal accepted is to join
a team NOW and work with them on triaging and fixing bugs, and working
on old and new projects. As you work with your team members and the
codebase, you will be learn how to create a proposal which fits the needs
of the project, and also find willing and able mentors willing to guide you. Remember, mentoring is hard work. Probable mentors want to choose students they can trust to complete their proposal successfully.

The time to prepare for GSoC is now -- but it is not the time for
creating proposals yet. The important part of GSoC is embedding
yourself into your chosen project.Your energy can transform a project
from one lacking a spark into one brimming with enthusiasm. Go for it!

How to join a team:
  • Find the best list(s) and subscribe, and scan the archives.
  • Join the relevant IRC channels and hang out there All The Time.
  • Search the forum for areas/posts where you can help out.
  • Start searching for bugs which you can test, and fix.
  • Learn how to propose your code changes to Reviewboard.
Other ways to prepare yourself:
  • Read the KDE Developers manual and prepare your development environment.
  • Read the GSoC Student Manual.
  • As you work your way through the documentation, please fix errors you find, or update it. Remember, documentation is part of the code we provide to both other developers and users.