The aKademy 2005 KDE Developers Conference finished yesterday with a second day of talks to prepare for KDE 4. Topics of the day included integration with other programming platforms, marketing KDE and accessibility. In their keynote, David Carson and Deepika Chauhan from Nokia described the challenges involved with porting KHTML to the series 60 platform. Another highlight was Novells desktop migration study. After four days of conference talks the KDE developers are now into a 5 day hacking marathon which will feature not only 24 hour non-stop coding but more spontaneous BoF sessions and two days of usability sessions.
The day was opened with comedy double act Aaron Seigo and Waldo Bastian on Marketing for Geeks (Slides, Transcript). "We suck" Waldo said, "I was talking to my mother the other day and we make all this great software but she doesn't know about it". The duo went on to give ideas on how to get our software better marketed including grassroot marketing like blogging and the value of cute furry animals.
Continuing the theme of presenting KDE to non-technical users better was a talk from Rainer describing how to make multimedia presentations. By using VNC recording and voiceovers we can describe our software much better than with plain text. Look out for more dynamic previews of KDE in future feature guides and documentation.
Meanwhile Mirko Böhm took a "Walk on the Dark Side" reporting on strengths and weaknesses of Java and .NET. Richard Dale gave one of the most involving talks on The State of KDE Language Bindings (Transcript). He has worked particularly hard on the KDE Ruby bindings, Ruby he says is like going back to his pop-11 roots from 30 years ago because it is so much more interactive than programming in C++.
Nokia's talk was conducted by two engineers from the Series 60 webbrowser team. It covered their experiences of porting KDE's web rendering engine KHTML to the Series 60 mobile phone platform. After a brief history of mobile phone usage and lot of technical details they outlined the challenges of porting KHTML/Webcore to a very constrained operating system. The KHTML developers seized the opportunity to get in touch with the Nokia representatives. They were keen to emphasise that they did not want to fork KHTML. They feel able to contribute back a lot of their changes in the future.
Domas Mituzas, developer for the Wikimedia Foundation and contributor to Wikipedia described details on the worlds largest and free encyclopedia project, its contributors and the technology behind it all. He then described the importance of metadata and proper ways to index data in order to make them available to third parties like KDE, e.g. via WebServices.
The Windows Desktop Migration Study (Transcript) had a few surprising examples of how users interact with KDE. They gave their testers 5 basic desktop tasks and videoed their actions. One task that caused a lot of problems was adding a new user, most of their subjects found Switch User in the K-Menu and ended up trying to create a new user through the login manager.
The KDE OpenOffice Integration talk from Jan Holesovsky (Transcript) described how they got OpenOffice's Native Widget Framework to use KDE widgets, finding and creating 1500 icons and the integration of OpenOffice with KAddressBook.
The conference closed with a presentation on the new Oxygen icon theme which looks set to become the new icon theme in KDE 4. They are keeping the exact look under wraps for now to keep it fresh for KDE 4 but the ideas include a more serious colour palette and well defined concepts for different icon types.
The kdelibs and kdebase restructuring BoF came up with a new structure for these core KDE modules in KDE 4. This will give ISVs more flexibility to use KDE while being easier to port to other platforms and have smaller memory footprint for non-GUI applications.
The coding marathon now goes on until Sunday. KDE's resident usability experts have announced their usability tracks which will take place on Thursday and Friday.