Last weekend the members of the KDE-Edu team met in Paris for a meeting about the Education project. The meeting took place at the Mandriva office, where the members got to know each other and started vivid discussions about their applications, life in general, as well as the future and vision of the Edu module. Read on for the report.
KDE Edu Developers: Anne-Marie Mahfouf, Jeremy Whiting, Carsten Niehaus, Patrick Spendrin, Mauricio Piacentini, Vladimir Kuznetsov, Aliona Kuznetsova
Frederik Gladhorn, Jure Repinc, Albert Astals Cid, Peter Murdoch, Johannes Simon, Benoît Jacob, Aleix Pol
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While everyone meets quite often on IRC and talks via email, this was the first face-to-face meeting for many of us. New people from all around the world were welcomed heartily.
Vladimir and Aliona of Step; Jeremy, who seems to be everywhere, takes care of KAnagram in particular; Johannes and Frederik working on Parley; Aleix Pol with his KAlgebra; Peter improving KPercentage; Jure for translations and Patrick struggling with "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" (Windows). Long term contributors like Albert, Benoît, Carsten and Mauricio worked on their projects and helped the others with their insights. Benoît and Vladimir spoke about using Eigen2 instead of GMM in Step. And of course the amazing Anne-Marie who helped getting KDE Education started in the first place.
Software libre seems to attract nice people, everyone was really friendly and fun to talk to. The organisation of the meeting was not overly formal but since we all were really motivated, the result was a flow of ideas, code and motivation in all directions. Patrick gave a presentation covering the state of KDE on Windows and explained his special affinity to the education team. The chance to have Edu well supported on Windows is especially great for us to reach more teachers and pupils to get them interested in software libre. And even schools that use free operating systems will like the opportunity to provide the software used at school to their pupils easier.
The entire team was euphoric and somewhat overwhelmed by the talk on Step, the physics simulator, due to be released with KDE 4.1, but already in a great state. You should definitively give it a try. It is located in playground and to get started we recommend opening some of the great examples. Wow!
On Saturday evening we all went out to visit Paris, lead by Benoît. We saw the Palais Royal, the Louvre and then went to a restaurant where we waited for ages! This allowed us to chat and carry on exchanging ideas.
We are looking forward to getting KDE 4.0 out of the door and our applications into the wild in order to receive more feedback and harvest the fruits of our work. Mauricio worked hard, successfully getting his recently adopted child, KTurtle, into a releasable state so it will ship with KDE 4.0. Aleix worked on usability enhancements in KAlgebra. Albert and Jure fixed some deeper bugs to allow our applications to actually start, and of course Albert was helping here and there just as great as he is on IRC. Jeremy, who lately was pushed to adopt KHotNewStuff2, got pushed by Frederik to actually implement some yet-to-be done parts of the collaborative data sharing framework. Finding spots that have simply not been implemented is a challenge there.
The chemical division has a lot to offer, and many people are involved. Carsten and Benoît were there to represent them. Not only Kalzium, but also libraries like OpenBabel, Avogadro and the related Strigi plugin make the chemical desktop very attractive. Johannes worked intensively on redesigning parts of the Parley interface. We hope we can turn his very promising ideas into reality for KDE 4.1. Frederik's todo list grew hourly, as Carsten also had some great suggestions for the interface of Parley. Anne-Marie gave a short presentation about the state of various applications for KDE 4.1, such as KMathTool that seemed somewhat unmaintained. Also the general consensus was to merge at least KBruch and KPercentage since they are quite strongly related.
Everyone noted just how greatly our communication improved, as well as the friendships and new cooperations which came into existence. We would also like to thank Mandriva very much for providing us with a great room to work in, two laptops, free coffee, tea and chocolate, as well as wifi. A big thank you also goes to the KDE e.V. which sponsored travel and lodging. A special thanks from all participants goes to Anne-Marie Mahfouf, who brought us together in the first place by organising this great meeting. Fourteen happy Edu developers have returned to their homes with renewed enthusiasm.