The KDE PIM spring sprint was held in Toulouse, France in March this year in Makina Corpus offices.
The sprint was very important, because the team needed to decide how to continue from the current situation. At the previous sprint in Munich in November when Christian Mollekopf and Aaron Seigo introduced their new concept for the next version of Akonadi it was decided to refocus all the efforts on working on that, which meant switching to maintenance mode of the Kontact Suite for a very long time and then coming back with a "big boom". In Toulouse this plan was re-evaluated and decided that it is not working for the team and that it will be much better for the project as well as the users if they continue active development of Kontact Suite instead of focusing exclusively on the “next big thing” and take the one-step-at-the-time approach.
The result was that the team re-focused on releasing the Frameworks 5 based Kontact Suite in August as part of KDE Applications 15.08. After that they will be fixing bugs and further stabilizing by improving the current code and adding new features as normal. At the same time they will be preparing the code base for migration to the new major version with the Akonadi 2 backend. So instead of one “big boom” of Akonadi, which Christian will be working on in the meantime, this approach ensures that when they finally do the switch when the code base is ready for it. With that approach the disruption to user experience will be minimal, while allowing for active development of the project. In other words a WIN-WIN-WIN situation for users, devs and the KDE PIM project.
Another discussion we had was closely related to the 15.08 release. The Kontact Suite is a very huge code base but the active development team is very small. Even with the incredible Laurent Montel on their side it’s still not enough to keep actively maintaining all of the suite. So they had to make a tough decision and abandon some parts of the KDE PIM project, at least until new maintainers step up. Some of it will only move to Extragear and will live their own lives there. What they released as part of KDE Applications 15.08 is what is called KDE PIM Core and it consists of the core PIM applications: KMail, KOrganizer, KAddressbook, Kleopatra, KNotes and Kontact. If your favorite PIM application is not in the list you can volunteer as a maintainer and help us make it part of the core release again. We believe that in this case quality is more important than quantity and this is the trade-off that will allow them to make the next release of the Kontact Suite the best one to date.
Thanks to hard work of Christian Mollekopf and Sandro Knauß most of the changes they did for Kolab have been upstreamed during the sprint. There are some very nice optimizations and performance improvements for Akonadi included, among other things. So the current releases of KDE Applications 15.08 have a really shiny Kontact Suite.
Vishesh Handa also brought up the topic of the bug count situation. They all realized the sad state of the Kontact Suite bugs and talked a bit about re-organizing and cleaning up the bug tracker. The clean up part has already begun as Laurent with Vishesh have mass-closed over 850 old KMail 1 bugs during the sprint to make it at least a little easier to get through the rest. Regarding the re-organization a short summary would be that we want to remove Bugzilla components and close bugs for the application they decided to discontinue and maybe do a few more clean up rounds for the existing bugs.
Last but not least, Franck Arrecto, Remi and Kevin Ottens have been working on Zanshin and are aiming at polishing for its next release. It comes with a lots of tests, some of them might become tests for Akonadi itself after discussing it with Dan Vratil.
Huge thank you to Franck Arrecot and Kevin Ottens for taking care of the team and securing the venue for the sprint! All in all it was a great sprint and they are happy to say that they are back on track to dominate the world of Personal Information Management.