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KDE, what next?

Let me tell you a little story, a story about our vision since a while, a story about what happened the last week, a story about what will happen now and why it will matter for you.

Let's start with a digression. I started to write this entry several days ago on the bus, from the Milan airport to Turin, after some days in Germany (more on that below) the return in Italy was so typical and so contrasting with the German aim for precision. The highway was closed in three different points, the bus had to take diversions that made the journey some hours longer. Max respect to the driver btw, he managed so well things that were going wrong in an epic way.

But in the end we arrived where we wanted, I decided to not get angry but take the occasion to think and write this lengthy blog entry...

This remembers to me some other story, that wasn't always easy as well...

Uh, has it something to do with KDE?

14 years ago, the KDE community was born with a very bold vision: give to everybody a cool, attractive, easy to use desktop environment, now we are a worldwide community with hundreds of members, we provide a very strong foundation with the kdelibs framework, many apps, the Plasma Desktop workspace and the Plasma Netbook workspace.

In the end, why we work on the KDE software? Probably everybody has a different answer, in my case i can say, free software, done on top of what i think is the best technology available today is giving to people something that can make their lives slightly better, so the world slightly better as well.

But this to be true it must reach as many people as possible and be really useful on their today's needs, otherwise it remains just a nice coding exercise.

Every now and then some group feels that a new kind of jump is needed.

  • How many expectations we did deliver?
  • Do we need something more to be able to be where we want?
  • How much the world is changing?

Sometimes in the arc of just one or two years, things are changed so much that you have to question your answers (pun intended?): are the questions still the same?

Many things happened in the last few years since the adventure of the 4th iteration of our platform started (that's roughly when I joined this strange family: in retrospective I think one of the reasons was that it was one of those "dare to dream" moments).

Some of the things that happened have influenced the future of computing in general (the mobile shift that happening in recent years is only one of them), some others more near to KDE, some things happened were not so good, some were very good.

On the mobile

Not a lemonWhat didn't change is my (ours) certainty on the goodness of the KDE platform, even when seemed a weight for some, it's an amazing toolbox that I know it will be there in the whole device spectrum, giving not only a consistency in look and feel and behavior for the user, but also for the developer.

Some says that the desktop days are over, some says that the desktop world won't change that much. There is truth in both. desktop is here to stay, there are so much tasks that simply can be done just there (this is confirmed as well by desktop sales going significantly up last year)

But there is as well another truth. often, and for more and more tasks, a more "human", portable and ergonomic device is way more appealing, smartphones and tablets are an example, and that's why all our efforts in this direction started.

We have several projects already in the mobile space, like the Plasma mobile workspace, Kontact touch, Marble, Calligra.

Can we do better? Can we have more mobile applications? But most important, can we provide a direction, an unified vision that would make KDE lead and be innovative in the mobile space?

In the end, have an unified, compelling story that would be interesting enough to make KDE the natural choice in the mobile world to both users, and who actually wants to sell a device and has to choose between the various platforms he can ship (and how much freedom he will have when he wants to build a customized, fine tuned experience)

I know what you did last week

Last week some KDE people did met up and started to discuss a bit about those very issues, challenging ourselves and taking a step back to see what we could do to improve our outreach

What we realized is that what is missing is for sure a lot, but on the other hand, we are so near as well.

So expect new entries about it in the near future, we are thinking on it :)

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