Report: KDE at FOSDEM Brussels, 2004

A group of KDE hackers went to the FOSDEM event to represent KDE. FOSDEM is a two-day summit were leading developers in the Free Software community come together. It is an event held by developers, for developers where you can attend many interesting presentations, mingle and hold discussions with other projects.

Some (KDE) people already arrived on Friday night and got together
in downtown Brussels. We had a nice time drinking beers like Maredsous and Duvel
in a pub called Manneken Pis, close to Grand Place and across from the
famous statue.

Saturday 10:30, FOSDEM 2004 kicked of with a talk from Tim O'Reilly. Not completely back in the land of the living you can
find those KDE hackers
(left to right: Cies Breijs, Simon Edwards, Adriaan de Groot, Otto Brugman) attending that talk. After the O'Reilly talk,
Richard Stallman held a talk about the Free Software Foundation.

Every year the event follows some kind of theme and this year it is accessibility which been chosen as a main
theme and so some of the tracks were dedicated to accessibility software. FOSDEM 2004 had a friendly and inspiring atmosphere,
where hackers moved from one room to another to attend the talks.
You could find all kind of developers staffing their booth and telling you about their project.

KDE's main speaker, Gunnar Schmi Dt from the KDE Accessibility Project,
told about the progress accessibility is making in KDE, the new accessibility features in KDE 3.2 and the upcoming
bridge between Qt and AT-SPI. Very good contact
was made with the GNOME Accessibility Project and
other accessibility authors and will very likely lead to better inter-operatibility in the future.

Furthermore we noticed a great interest in "Linux on the Desktop".
Robert Love's "Kernel and the Desktop" talk was very well attended, while Keith Packard's "XFree86" talk
was standing room only!

Speaking of talks, some KDE hackers also gave talks
in our Developers' Room about the following topics:

KDE hackers invited Daniel Veillard to do a talk on libxslt in the
KDE Developers' Room. The network connectivity in the KDE Developers' Room was well enjoyed by several Gnomies
who sneaked in. :-)

Please check out our photos, because
we spotted a new convert. :-)

Thanks to Simon Edwards, Olaf Jan Schmidt and Phillipe Schroll for their contributions to this small write-up.

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by Karl (not verified)

Scince I am not a native english speking person I dinden't understand this sentence "while Keith Packard's "XFree86" talk was standing room only!".
Does it man there was no one else in the Romm listening or The whole Place was crowded so you only could stand around to listen?

by John Alamo (not verified)

The second -- the speech was very well attended.

by Nobody (not verified)

So were there anything outside new license issue? ;-)

Hopefully at least someone brought up moving the xfree86 to GPL... ?

Ps. How compatible/portable Qt would be to the version (using OpenGL renderer)?

by CE (not verified)

At least parts of it should be LGPL.

by Rayiner Hashem (not verified)

Well, the version is a regular X server. Qt/KDE already works just fine on the fd.o server. Now to take full advantage of the new server, they'd need a new Qt painter that could do anti-aliased drawing via Cairo.

by panzi (not verified)

Karl? German? I think you can translate it to german like that:
Während (oder "Bei"?) Keith Packards "XFree86" Vortrag waren nur Stehplätze verfügbar.

by annma (not verified)

If you were not at FOSDEM and would like to see KTurtle presentation, it's online here:
Great job, Cies!!!

by je4d (not verified)

Scott's C++ pitfalls presentation can also be found online, here:
Great job, Scott (:

by Scott Wheeler (not verified)

Actually it was kind of the other way around -- it was like, "Oh, well, I made this webpage last week -- I guess I'll do a talk on that..." :-)

by Source (not verified)

Found a typo, "decleration".
(Just do a search :))

by cies (not verified)

Actually annma put that presentation on the web :) I wasnt even aware of it beeing webbed allready...

by janne (not verified)

Why did Ketih Packard talk about Xfree, and not his own (well,'s) Xserver?

by cies (not verified)

He spoke on:
- XFree86 licening issues
- f.d.o X-server, and the future of it
- he showed some things he had working allready
- and he told about things that were not even created

It was a good, funny talk.

by Simon Edwards (not verified)

* Keith has his own hack server called Kdrive where he prototypes his work.

* Kdrive is for research and is not a replacement.

* has a copy of the last XFree86 under the 1.0 license.

* If XFree86 don't drop the 1.1 license, most people and distros will continue hacking on the version at using the old 1.0 license.

Does that answer your question?


by janne (not verified)

"Does that answer your question?"

Uh, no. In case you didn't know, I was talking about this:

Xserver is based on Kdrive, but it improves and builds upon it. It's not related to Xfree (apart from that they are both X-servers). While Keiths Xserver is not a drop-in replacement for Xfree yet (it's still relatively young), it is improving and there are people using it instead of Xfree RIGHT NOW. There will be an official release of Xserver sometime in the future.

I'm not that interested in Xfree, Xserver seems to be where the action is. And since Keith Packard is it's lead architecht, I would have guessed that he would talk about it instead of Xfree.

by Simon Edwards (not verified)

This link here tries to explain the recent history:

...but it doesn't answer the question about "X Server".

Watching the presentation, I had the big impression that Keith was planning on adding these extensions to the XFree86 code base.

To be honest, I don't know where X Server fits into the picture.


by je4d (not verified)

As I understand it, kdrive is a small X server for handhelds.

xserver is Keithp's research prototype. It is not intended as a mainstream X server, it is just to experiment with composition managers, transparency, et al.

- je4d

by janne (not verified)

"Watching the presentation, I had the big impression that Keith was planning on adding these extensions to the XFree86 code base."

He's no longer involved in Xfree-developement (he was kicked out), so I don't see how he could add to Xfree codebase.

by José (not verified)

Maybe this means add to XFree 1.0 licensed codebase?

by Anonymous (not verified)

Forking XFree 4.3rc2 is easy.

by janne (not verified)

Why should he fork Xfree, when he already has Xserver, that does many thing Xfree does not do? Xfree is a monstrocity that could use a replacement.

True, Xserver is not as mature as Xfree is, but that is to be expected. It is a relatively young project. But that does not mean that it should be scrapped!

by Anonymous (not verified)

XFree86 is established and has more hardware drivers.

by janne (not verified)

Windows is more established and it has more hardware-drivers, maybe we should all concentrate on improving Windows instead of concentrating on Linux?

Just because something is "established" is not a good enough reason to think about replacement. Xfree may be "established", and it shows! it's developement is stagnating. Without any competition, they have no reason to really improve.

by chris (not verified)

we cant concentrate on improving Windows

windows certainly has no competition, it's developement is stagnating.