Modern life has become increasingly dependent on software systems. Many daily used devices rely on Free Software for their basic functionality or additional services. TV sets, ATMs, smartphones, media centers and in-flight entertainment systems are examples of how Free Software has been pushing the boundaries of current technology. This is achieved by using well-proven solutions, developed in a collaborative, open, and trusted way. The Workspaces, Applications, and Frameworks delivered by KDE are representatives of the empowerment Free Software provides to our lifes. Examples are educational applications of the KDE-Edu suite, lots of KDE technology deployments in public centers for digital inclusion and a full open software stack for mobile devices with Plasma Mobile.
Furthermore, in the past few years KDE has been a quite fruitful community for incubating projects like GCompris, ownCloud, and WikiFM. This is a good indication of how open, diverse, and bold the community turned out to be. KDE also coaches young Computer Science professionals: our continuous participation in programs such as Google Summer of Code (GSoC) and Season of KDE (SoK) has been providing a welcoming and fertile atmosphere for newcomers, helping leverage their technical and social skills and enjoy the full experience of Free Software contribution.
Although most of the work in Free Software projects is done remotely, mediated by online discussions in mailing lists and IRC channels, it is well known that in-person meetings (sprints) are important in driving general goals. They help having in depth discussions and to get things done. Sprints are a chance for contributors to do focused hard work, everybody being enthusiastic and committed to get the most out of these days. Sprints made the most innovative and bold ideas become true. Newcomers joined with their hearts taken by the vibrant and thriving atmosphere they experienced.
KDE has a strong tradition in organizing sprints, focused on different KDE technologies. Over the last few years, we conducted sprints which brought together developers from teams like Kontact Suite, Plasma, digiKam, Calligra, Krita, Okular and many more.
During the sprint days, long-time contributors, prospective newcomers and GSoC/SoK students gathered together to build and improve relationships, strengthen the collaboration and create amazing KDE products.
The Randa Meetings in particular are of the most successful KDE sprints. They allow contributors from many KDE projects doing awesome work in a quiet place in the mountains. Focused working in separate team rooms leads to great progress among software, artwork and documentation and the shared dinning room built up good relations and friendships.
This year's Randa Meetings motto is Bring Touch to KDE. It's a unified effort to make KDE applications ready for touch-based devices and looks like a logical follow up to the Plasma Mobile project announced at Akademy 2015 in late September. But this is just a nice coincidence.
To make all of this happen, KDE relies on the support of our patrons and from initiatives like Join the Game and the Supporting Membership Program. Your contribution can make a difference in helping us keeping all those sprints running. Last year's Randa fundraising campaign was of utmost importance for covering the expenses of contributors' participation. We believe that's a great reward for those who dedicate their spare time as volunteers and keep pushing the boudaries of KDE technologies. We would love to win you as an active KDE supporter, contributing in the development, translation, artwork, and promotion activities. If you are unable to do that due to whatever reasons, please consider giving a donation in the KDE Sprints 2015 fundraising campaign. This is also an important way of helping us to move KDE technologies and values forward. We'll be glad to send you a nice "Thank You" gift in return!