Introducing K16 and the Future of KDE

Where will KDE be in five years? To answer this question, we plan to bring together visionaries, strategists, planners, out-of-the-box-thinkers, realists, dreamers, doers, creators, leaders, coders from the KDE community and everybody else who is interested in discussing the future of KDE and picturing what it will be.

As a first step, we plan to hold a meeting under the name 'K16' to gather a first round of community people to come up with an idea where KDE will be in five years, in 2016. The goal is to formulate a common direction for the community, creating a shared vision that will drive the long-term development of KDE software.

The meeting will take place in early 2011 over an extended weekend. We'll provide a creative and productive atmosphere by having a heterogenous group of participants, inviting external moderators, having computer-free time, applying brainstorming and other creative techniques, and a location without distractions.

Join us

If you want to attend the meeting or provide input, please submit a one-page pitch of your idea where KDE will be in five years. The format and content is up to your imagination, be it a strategic text, a picture of KDE's Wikipedia article in 2016, a comic strip, or something completely different. The only condition is that it can be printed on a sheet of paper and pinned to a whiteboard. Please submit your K16 pitches to [email protected] no later than 31 December 2010. Please also state whether you would like to attend the meeting and when you are able to do so.

The K16 organization team (consisting of Sebastian Kügler, Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Riccardo Iaconelli, Stefan Werden, Jos Poortvliet, Artur Souza and Frank Karlitschek) will select up to 15 participants for the meeting based on the pitches, and invite them to the meeting. KDE e.V. will support the meeting by covering costs for travel and accommodation.

All results of the meeting will be published, and follow-up actions will be planned with the community.

We are looking forward to all your ideas. Don't wait, send your one-page pitch now to [email protected]. Share your vision of where KDE will be in 2016.

EDIT: the K16 team would like to add the following elaboration to the request for K16 pitches:

We would like to explain that we have some requirements for a 'vision' to be actually called a vision.

First of all, just stating what extra work is needed, especially when it comes to polishing what is there (no matter how important that is) is not enough. Yes, we all have many pet peeves and there are many areas where improvements are needed. But we asked for a 5 year vision.

Second, you need ideas on how to accomplish the plans within a Free Software community like KDE - and this is important. We are mostly volunteers, working on what we like or consider important. Whatever vision you present, it has to show how to get there and how to get people involved with it.

So in short, a vision should be ambitious - yet have some realism. Our long-term goals - create something so compelling it can overtake windows - should be the focus, not incremental improvements because that won't be enough in 5 years.

Dot Categories: 


I will suggest that you bring full multi monitering back to the kde 4. In used to work perfectly in kde 3.
There has been some work in plasma recently (kde4.5.3 and kde 4.6 beta 2) so now it kind of work but there are still at lot of issue that need to be fixed (eks )

Do you really think the chances that the bug gets fixed increases when you post a comment to each and every dot news? Honestly the opposite is true. I don't direct my development power towards those bugs which have the most vocal supporters but towards those bugs that affect most users.

Multi monitor (twinview, xinerama, xrandr) with KWin is working fine. The only thing missing is a legacy MultiHead support. It has been unmaintained for three years now and is not working with most drivers anyway. It's a bug that needs severe changes to the setup which makes working on it much more difficult. It needs investigation by those users who demand the feature, but that's all mentioned in the bug.

As far as I know twinview, xinerama and xrandr does not work for me since I have 2 graphics card to power 3 screens so those "working" technology are not good enough (or maybe I am to stupid to use them).
If you know how to set everything op with one of those tech so I can use it with my current settup (1 card for one screen and 1 card for 2 screens).
Atm KDE us unusable for me becouse I cannot get 3 screen to work nicly. The only way I know of, to set them up, is via MultiHead. That works with kde 3 and works gnome. And since gnome is to ugly and there are no modem distro that ships with kde 3 any more I dont have any other option that use win 7 unto I can return to kde 4

OpenSuse has a very nice feature for communicating on the future direction of their distribution: openFate

Could KDE borrow the idea ? That would help ignite new ideas that can then help K16 to build a vision (and roadmap)

... we do have KDE Brainstorm over on :)

There is already
kde brainstorm( tthe problem maybe it's that not all developers check the ideas here, it would be nice if best ideas would be promoted as some sort of big whises and put where everyone can see them(specially developers), maybe an ideas of the month post in planet kde?, I don't mean to obligate developers to like this ideas and do them but it should would help the communication between users and developers.

I am a KDE4 fan. However, the state of kde4 since it's inception to now seems to be a jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none DE.

Vision for the future must include:
1) recognize and define limits
2) refine focus
3) strive for bug-free releases

I have used kde4 since its inception on many different linux distros. The progress seems to be focused on including new features moreso than on stabilizing and completing funtionality.

Kmail, for example: Mail list headings ALWAYS default to order of Subject, sender, date, even though I constantly reset them to date, sender, subject. Tiff files cannot be opened without ALWAYS going to Open With dialogue and typing or choosing okular. Signature placement and cursor placement settings are limited. Inline photos don't get forwarded. Plus other frustrating issues that I can't remember yet.

Kword and the Koffice software suite seems to be suffering. Panel control is suffering badly now (although I understand will be improved in its next release).

Kopete has never worked for me for video/voice connection, no matter how hard I tried. (And don't be defensive and say that I am an idiot and can't use the software properly. I am a "power-user" who can generally learn how to use new software quickly and without many issues.)

The introduction of "Blur" as a default desktop effect at one point slowed down many many many machines (do a search of several linux distro forums to confirm).

New sys-tray monochrome icons to "blend in more" with the DE are ridiculous - EVERY other icon - kmail, opera, gwenview, digikam, dolphin, firefox, etc etc are in color. The new icons do NOT blend in better. And when I reset the icons manually to the older colored icons, these were deleted during my next kde4 version upgrade.

Kde4 version upgrades changed user settings including log-in screen and log-in sound (and the above resetting of sys-tray icons).

Also, where is my application data?? The best programs are ones that save my data in one location. I have tried to back up kmail data in the past, but it is spread out in different directories (with 5 or 6 or more mail accounts, the incoming/outgoing server info, the folder information, the address book, the email files - they are or were all scattered amongst different directories making backups painful at best and nearly impossible at worst).

The list could go on and on.

Again, the point is that KDE team must first define its reason for existence, then define its limits, and define its focus.

IF the project is to be an experimental cutting edge desktop environment AND semi-functional unfinished application software, then continuing on as-is should be A-ok.

But IF the project is intended to be a functional desktop environment with an ecosystem of functional and polished software applications, then focus MUST be shifted to creating a stable and functional user experience. Also, creative energies must in this case be LIMITED to areas of importance - ie: 1) in version releases new functions are less important than eradication of bugs; 2) the amount of software applications is less important than creating a smaller core of highly polished highly functional stable software that works.

I hope you all see my point.


Oh, and I forgot. Something I have been thinking about for a LONG time now is this...

International language input method configuration should be included in the systemsettings module. Input method is an integral part of an operating system and should be part of the DE setup. Apple's iPhone is the best at this (although I do not myself like the iphone, I can admit that it's language display/input settings are superb!)

Why do I have to depend upon each distro's config tools (or lack of config tools) to try and set up language input?? If I could in kde4, similar to iPhone, click on languages and add checks to boxes to enable display and/or input of languages like japanese, chinese, korean, arabic... This would be superb.

You also have to count this is free software there are a lot of people that won't work if they feel limited, also you can't have the better desktop centring only on bugs, I think there should be a balance of people with the feet on the ground, and visionaries.
I think these issues should be vaguely expressed somewhere, half wish-list half bug, and a bit like mayor junior-jobs.
Like saying, "opening a file in ark and extracting to current directory work-flow is inefficient" so that any developer could take on this, this way nobody is forced to stop creating new stuff, but it's easier to spot and fix those issues.

In the future, we will have much better integration of metadata. There will be nepomuk-enabled file dialogs, and metadata will be used with activities to determine how we want to work with applications and data in a particular activity context. Meta-data and activties will be able to provide instant access to relevant actions, files, contacts etc. Configuration and metadata will be saved in the (own-)cloud, and will be available from any location and device. Location will work with metadata.

In 5 years I will have a KDE/plasma phone and tablet, with plasma based apps.

In 5 years, no KDE app will fail to provide a ui that works on small (netbook, tablet) screens.

In 5 years we have replaced menus with a smarter, faster command system (maybe something searchable?).

In 5 years we have found out how to avoid shortcut conflicts, and every KDE app is keyboard controllable.

In 5 years, noone will remember the bleak future where kmail struggled to use akonadi.

In 5 years, we will have automatic file version control as part of the KDE infrastructure.

I hope :) <3 KDE

I've been using KDE since its inception around 1997 and since that time I'm experiencing more or less the same set of problems. If KDE didn't manage to create a decent mail client or file manager in _14_ years, do you really think this thing will ever work? To me it looks like a pipe-dream.

Dear all i'm following really close that post on dot.kde and in my humble opinion i would like to say something to whose users that made some irrational posts

@ users:i've read a lot of post that complains about various stuff,some recalling kde3 other just swearing against this or that kde app,i'm a happy kde4 user and i would like to remind that kde is free software,there are people that works for free on that,and nothing is perfect(neither softwares) so if you think about a windows user for example,they can't go to microsoft's blog and swear against SBallmer or whoever,they just take it as it comes even if they don't like advertisment in livemessenger or something else,so keeping in mind that and that kde is yet a great piece of software,stop complaining and be productive please;

after that,i would like to take the occasion to wish a nice meeting at K16 to everybody.

p.s i'm an italian computer science student and i really would like to give some help in kde development,my only problem is that i know only a lot of java by now and i'm beginning using c++,that means that will take more than a year to learn it in a proper way,i'm really looking forward to give some help and join kde development!

Since I am not someone who is going to make "a pitch" to [email protected], I would like to make a few suggestions about negative and positive things. I know I will miss alot but feel free to criticize this post and add to it (I love to know what I don't know).

Negative (This always goes first :) )

  1. Text to Speech does not work, for some reason it just does not. I have installed espeak and yet ktts etc. does not recognize it. There probably is a work around to this but it would be better if it was set up automatically. I love to do things manually but this one just has no good documentation (that I can find) for setup.
  2. Fix the bad preformance and freezes. This is simple, I think it is a qt problem but...
  3. Simply fix [almost] all bugs before release


  1. Make a universal package management gui. This should be something that can function through any type of package management system. The way that it should be made is to design the UI, add the functionality and let the commands be configured during the compilation process. That way we won't have to make different package managers over and over again (synaptic, kpackagekit [This could be easily modified to fit what I am thinking of], yast, cinstall, etc.)
  2. Get a better marketing model. It seems that KDE is just sitting there waiting for users to just come and say, "Hey this looks cool let me try it." There must be some way for KDE to have good marketing without using up too many resources. I have no idea how but it seems doable
  3. Work on KDE for mobile devices, it seems like a good way for KDE to get some popularity in mobile and desktop usage. GNOME does not have a chance to do anything on mobile devices but KDE does. Maybe there should be some type of Plasma Mobile to go with Plasma Desktop and Plasma Netbook.
  4. Make a better kioslave system. This is one of the best taken-for-granted features of KDE. It should STAY and have more added features. It would be nice if it would work with almost all media like audiocd:/ does. If KDE gets into mobile electronics the possibilities for kioslave could be endless (unless I am getting something wrong :) ) for example you might be able to do something like num://19049921268 also if kioslave was added to mobile devices they could access ftp, sftp, fish, smb, webdav, etc. Without much work from the developers
  5. Try to make the line between the desktop and the internet (and other networks) thinner, maybe even so thin that the line isn't hardly there any more. ownCloud should get some more attention and be integrated into the KDE desktop, but it should not be in kdebase because the users would feel forced to use something they don't want to use.

I may add more later, but that is all I can think of now. Also count me in as a happy KDE 4 user.

We are talking about the hobbyist's software, but we forget that a hobbyist's intentions are of love. His provocative tendency of dreaming while there are present and unresolved problems, can easily corrupt the self control of a rational man.
It is obvious that entering this wonderland of KDE software, some of it's pieces can be seen to suggest a dreamed computing experience that they are not delivering. When someone promise you the stars and the moon, always answer "I will give you a chance". He might have meant it and you may see him cry for not giving him this chance.

My vision for 2016: Don't let down love

Here are my suggestions for the future of KDE:

1)Voice recognition.
Simon provides a framework for this and it is needed to be implemented in the KDE core.
Voice recognition means that you can control KDE trough voice as well as speech to text.
2)Built in multilingual OCR
This is very crucial as a standard option when you read texts that are not ocr-ed
3)Activities that change as rapidly as the virtual desktops.
A screen edge that shows the current activities as there is a screen edge that shows in grid the current virtual desktops.
More over an activity cube is required.
4)Perfect use of every device either it is a wii remote or kinect or wacom tablets or joysticks or whatever to access the GUI as you now can access it through the keyboard and the mouse.
5)A built in search machine that is a good as that of Google.
6)Video wallpapers alongside with the slideshows, the globe etc
7)Efficiency and responsiveness.
9)STABILITY (no more crashes)

Well, I educate myself so I can contribute to some of these.

And one more thing I forgot:
Make the gnome apps to run at least as fast and even nicer than in the native gnome environment.

No someone will moderate it soon :)

Thank you for spending time finding and answering this question buried between all these commends. People like you makes a community feel warm.

I think KDE has a bright future, without any doubt. There will certainly be more quality apps for KDE since it will have an even bigger advantage on the ease of development front.

Anton @ Jogos

1) I'm a casual user and advocate of Linux who uses Mint KDE a simple plasmoid menu option to reset the desktop would be outstanding I can't count the number of times I've gone to an elderly persons home to re-add at a minimum the task manager... usually the whole bar.... because it was unlocked and they couldn't help themselves. Perhaps integrating alien into Kdebi would be an asset as well, it would add to the simplicity for the end-user as well as the ability to download dependencies automatically.

2) If you want to overtake windows, look at the idea that has been showing up in the add where the end-user is moving room to room switching from device to device and their content is migrating seamlessly. Perhaps a partnership with Maemo or Android, using wifi or bluetooth, to for example, start working on a document in Koffice then tap the mobile button to sync with your paired device, as you walk away your desktop goes to sleep. Approach your tablet and it awakens, tap the sync button pickup the tablet and continue working, phone goes back to sleep...

To make this or any desktop work it needs to be simple, look at the success of the horribly locked down iphones, disgusting limitations, but old folks are walking around with them and have been able to make it work. The pros, phone app goes to phone, music app goes to music... and its darn near instantaneously... Cons limited supported platforms, massive restrictions. Now present the community with an all in one package that can move from device to desktop with the power of opensource and the freedom to extend your desktop.

Just my two cents

What I think is coming due to mobile phones, skype,, etc. is person/group centered communication.

If I want to contact someone, I currently need to start the program corresponding to the activity, for example to send an email to someone I open kmail, create a new mail, select the contact and then send it.

But what I actually want to do is either

* contact person X, or
* write text Y

So I’d like to have the addressbook more central in my workflow. A rich display like kopetes contact list, just not limited to chat. Maybe with different view, where I can decide to see recent communications from that person (like choqok).

I don’t want to have to know beforehand if I have an email address of a certain person when I want to write a message to that person.

Group centered could mean: „I want to write a post to the KDE forums“.

Going a step further: I also don’t want to have to know where I store a text when I write and save it. But I want to decide where and in which format it is stored in the end. For example having a default storage where files with undecided names are stored could go a long way here.

Note: continue/change a text is different than creating a text. It needs a global view of the recent files, ideally without having to start all corresponding programs, first.

So, person/group centered communication, activity centered content creation, but data-centered content retrieval (nepomuk search).

And Akonadi with Nepomuk go a good deal into that direction.

But this is only for the desktop itself. The real question is how computing changes with smartphones and tablets, etc.

If everyone has a phone to write email, how does KDE fit into the workflow? The phone is always on and always available, so it’s the better interface for any kind of quick and short communication.

I’d say KDE can fit in for longer works (writing on a desktop is more comfortable). Speech recognition might change even that, though.

Also it can fit in as store for the information (synchronization, backups and combining info from various sources). And it could provide gateway access. I want to send a mail to a group I only stored on my desktop? Why not send it to my home address with some metainformation which tells my desktop to forward it to a group of people?

Another option would be to make the whole desktop content centric. If you ever used emacs, you’ll know that with emacs everything is a buffer and you can give it capabilities by activating modes.

Why not having everything a kpart and being able to migrate that between applications. But not by starting applications and copying the content, but by keeping the content and changing the application around it.

This text field I’m writing the text in could stay where it is, but when I want more editing capabilities, I could start the kate activity *on the text field* which would then make kate appear around the field. After editing I could go reactivate the suspended konqueror activity (where I was editing the text field for this post) and send the changed field.