KDE Community (update)

libre software, mswl, mswl-cases, mswl-comm, mswl-devmotiv, mswl-intro

Hi folks!!!

If you read my previous post about KDE, I wrote that that post was based in the slides which the Albert Casals Ruiz used in his talk.
Now with the video of that talk available, I’m going to talk again about KDE following it.

As I did before with QA, Mozilla and Thunderbird talk, I will be writing while I watch the video writing interesting things that I listen, things that I think are curious, etc. so let’s go!!!

At the beginning Albert explain a little bit about him, which is his position in KDE, etc.

1- What is KDE?

Is an international team which do things, is never more the desktop, now KDE is the team (but at this moment also is used for the desktop).

http://commit-digest.org/ is a website used just in KDE to know the commits performed every week in KDE.

KDE is Free Software, all applications that KDE do is free software, and all tools that they use to create KDE are free software (except one, a code analyzer, which they don’t use a lot and it’s optional).

KDE is not just for desktop computers, also you can find KDE (applications and tools) in other devices as smartphones, tablets, netbooks, etc.

KDE has applications, they want to provide to the user all kind of application the user needs to use, as musicplayer, office tools, development tools, games, etc.

KDE is translated into multiple languages (52), including the most important as English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, etc. and also in languages not too used as interlingua (http://l10n.kde.org/).

KDE is crossplatform, it works in the most important operating systems.

2- KDE History

It started in 1996 by Mattias Hettrich.

Mattias Hettritch started this project because in that moment all application used different toolkits, and there weren’t consistent.

He knew about Qt, and he started KDE using that library.

They understood Qt had a weird license, so to preserve the future of Qt in GNU/Linux, in 1997 the founded the FreeQt Foundation.

In 1998 the first release of KDE was launched.

In 2000 KDE moved to GNU GPLv2.

After KDE 4.0 the team promised release a new version after 6 months, so they follow now the statement “Release soon, release often”.
Also every month they release a minor version.

They released KDE 4.0 because they they have the libraries that didn’t work ok, but they wanted to have reviews and opinions from the users.

Officially they have a QA Team and its formed by three persons.

They have a KDE annual meeting since 2003 called AKAdemy.

They have also regional meetings.

Although KDE is a global project the developers are mainly focused in Europe, and for this reason the Akademies have been located always in Europe.

They accept the following licenses for KDE:

  • LGPL, Mit, BSD or X11 for the libraries.
  • Applications use GNU GPLv2 or later.
  • Documentation GNU FDL (without invariant versions, the one which is accepted by Debian).

When GNU GPLv3 was launched they wanted to change its license but they had the problem about the rights of the code, because they don’t have the copyright reassignment, developers have their copyright, so they must to find all people to change, they relicensed some things, but not all, and they are happy to have and use GNU GPLv2.

In the beginning KDE was FLOSS, all code was under GNU GPLv2, but they used Qt which wasn’t FLOSS.
Trolltech was released in 2000 under a new license it was approved by OSI but not for FSF.
Later Trolltech released Qt under GNU GPLv2, later also for both GNU GPLv2 and GNU GPLv3 and later under GNU LGPL too.

FreeQt is formed by two members of KDE and two members of NOKIA, and in a hypothetical draw in a possible vote KDE wins.

3- KDE Community

The communication in KDE uses mainly:

  • Mailing lists
  • IRC

But they have also a forum (maybe used by newbies).

Actually there are 2544 people with commit rights account in KDE.
There are more or less 9000 commits per month.

KDE e.V. is the non profit organization which represents KDE in a legal way.

KDE e.V. is based in 162 people.

4- KDE Versions

KDE uses X.y.z series name.

Each time Qt has a new release, KDE tries to have also a new version at the same time.

They want to change kdelibs to don’t need to use the entire library when you need to use a little thing, so for that reason they want to separate kdelibs into little different libraries.

5- Business and companies

There are companies which use KDE to get money, like companies which develop for KDE, or applications based in KDE, give support, etc.

Rim uses now Qt for its last tablet.

In Brazil there are also a big KDE community because the official GNU/Linux distribution uses KDE as its desktop.

KDE has the money for itself by individual donations, Google Summer of Code, and in the Akademy events which companies collaborate economically.

The idea is to have more individual sponsors.

Nokia Next billion project is something unknown which will use Qt.

6- Who is who in KDE

In the KDE eV Board the people is not there to organize KDE, is also people who is involved in other parts of KDE.

David Faure is the main architect of KDE.
Kevin Ottens is another import man in KDE.

Since KDE 4 instead to have a Release Dude they have a Release Team to set the date of the releases.

Mattias Ettritch is not involved directly in KDE but in Qt (is the main lead architect).

7- KDE in Spain

Is the local chapter of KDE in Spain.

8- Questions

8.1- Which were your functions as president of KDE Spain?

He worked with the directives of KDE, establishment the association, creating a bank account, etc.
Now they tries to talk more with the different institutions.

8.2- Which is the future of KDE?

He thinks KDE is carrying well because there is around 4 or 5 new developers per week.

8.3- What about the opion about KDE by Linus Torvlads?

His opinion has the same value than any other user opinion.

8.4- Have suggested as KDE some suggestions to other communities as Compiz?

He don’t think so, because they don’t know a lot to use different toolkits, the different things they develop, etc.

8.5- Will be a lot of changes in KDE 5?

They won’t do a lot of changes like KDE4, or Gnome Shell in Gnome, etc.

8.6- Do you know why KMail is not in Ohloh?

He doesn’t know.

8.7- Do you have a collaborative platform to do the translation?

They don’t have it because they don’t want to use it.
He thinks the quality and level of the translation using this tool is low, maybe there is more people but the quality is lower.

Also this kind of tools ought to the aleatory people who can work gives more work to the maintainer.

8.8- How is the decision take?

The decisions are taken by consensus, and when you are a developer and need to take a decision about your work, you can take it.

In KDE e.V. the decision are taken by votes.

The minor is the one who take decisions because the rest of the people involved don’t mind about some questions.

8.9- Which is the strong point of KDE vs another desktop and the strong point of the KDE team?

Is difficult, personally, he started in KDE because they used C++ and Qt which is very good documented. So the good point are the technologies.

And as the team, is a funny place to stay, to work, to develop.
And apart of that also gives you a kind of happiness.

8.10- Why do you think the GNU/Linux desktop environment are not used as much as server environments?

Because MS Windows, or MacOSX or other alternatives are not bad.
And in the servers, the licenses are free and this cost is really important for the companies.

9- Conclusion

In conclusion after finishing to watch this video, I can say as the beginning Albert said, KDE is people and is software, but the most important thing in KDE is the people.

Is really interesting how a group of people can create a really interesting software project using by a lot of people around the world, also is really interesting how a community can make pressure to a company (Trolltech) with a product which is used by them to change its license.

You can find the video here.

And that’s all my friends!!

See u!!


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