About a year ago, we talked with several people who were going to work together in Randa, Switzerland. These people were united by a love of KDE and had common motives—to make KDE technology better and have tons of fun while doing it!
The 5th edition of the Randa Meetings high in the Swiss Alps in August 2014 was a huge success, with many new features and major new additions to KDE technology, through the dedicated efforts of about 50 KDE developers taking a week out of their busy lives to bring great software to users.
Among the attendees last year was Călin Cruceru, an enthusiastic Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2014 student working on Marble, the virtual globe and world atlas. He was one of the youngest members of KDE, and worked ardently in Randa along with his mentors and fellow GSoC students during the week. The 2014 Randa Meetings were productive for the Marble project, and quite an experience for Călin who was in his first KDE sprint.
All of this was possible because of your donations to the fundraiser for the Randa Meetings. We are asking you to continue with your financial support this year; we are excited about the Randa Meetings in 2015 with the theme Bring Touch to KDE.
This year the campaign has been expanded to raise funds for all KDE sprints. The Randa Meetings are big, but they are only one of the sprints that KDE sponsors throughout the year. The KDE Community is centered around development, and sprints allow for in-person coding that is much more effective than working online and communicating by email. Sprints involve hard work and long days, but it's exhilarating, not tiring. During sprints, developers accomplish more in a few days than they thought possible. It's inspiring to be surrounded by committed, top KDE developers. So while the focus of this fundraising campaign is on the Randa Meetings, all money raised will go towards the high quality, innovative KDE technology that sprints produce.
In this interview, we go back in time for a glimpse into Călin's excitement and eagerness before he attended Randa Meetings 2014 and his anticipation for it. With your support and donations, you can help other newcomers have their first Randa experience this year!
We look forward to bringing you the stories and results from the Randa Meetings 2015.
Hi Călin, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
You’ve just started being involved with open source. Why did you pick KDE? What were your expectations and have they been fulfilled?
To me it was fondly named ‘Marble’. And here I am; helping Marble be a better product since February 2014. I’m considering contributing to other KDE projects, but due to limited time this summer I haven’t been able to do so.
Regarding my expectations, I think that everything went even better than I could have possibly imagined. At the beginning I was a bit skeptical about my chances of getting involved because I thought I wasn’t technically prepared. But my doubt turned out to be an illusion; especially when I received so much help from such a friendly community.
Getting selected for Google Summer of Code to work on a Marble project as well as the feeling of really doing something useful for the application is how I know that all my expectations have been fulfilled.
How difficult is it for you to manage your school work and involvement with KDE?
How has your experience been with real world programming, especially contributing to software used by millions of people around the world?
Many students are introduced to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) through mentoring programs, and remain associated with it only during the mentoring project. What message do you have for students who want to contribute to FOSS, but who are waiting for acceptance into a mentoring program?
What I mention here is just a consequence of an essential ingredient: the sheer passion for FOSS, for the feeling that you too can write code which eases people's lives in some way. So my advice for those students is to take some time and think of what they would prefer to do when their favorite application crashes: wait for the developers to first consider their bug report and then repair it (the only option in closed-source projects), or to get the application's sources and try to fix the problem on their own. Which one describes the qualities of a 'true programmer'?
When did you hear about the Randa Meetings and why do you want to be there?
I’m very enthusiastic about this meeting because I will finally get to meet in person a lot of great people with whom I’ve been in contact daily for a couple of months now, but only virtually. I am also eager to get involved in the discussions about the future plans for improving KDE. I obviously expect to write a lot of code too!
Have you got anything in particular planned for Randa?
What are you looking forward to in the Randa Meetings?
As far as the targets of completion are concerned, I want to make sure that by the 9th of August, the first day at Randa, all the features I added during the summer are fully functional and polished.
What important things have you learned from the KDE Community?
Why do you think meetings such as Randa are important for KDE?
Why is it important for people to support these meetings? How has the support helped you?
How do you imagine your typical day in Randa?
Any other thoughts?
If you would like to make more KDE sprints happen, donate now!