On Friday 14 January 2007, members of the KDE PIM developer group came together for the fifth year in a row in Osnabrück, Germany to review
the state of the project. Important topics including Akonadi, KDE PIM
maintenance and enterprise usage. A record number of attendees were welcomed
into the Intevation office and made at home by Bernhard Reiter, Jan-Oliver Wagner and the rest of the team.
The meeting participants (from left to right):
Martin Konold, Tom Albers, Simon Hausmann,
Bernhard Reiter, Cornelius Schumacher, Volker
Krause, Till Adam, Ingo Klöcker, Robert Zwerus,
David Jarvie, Frank Osterfeld, Thorsten Stärk, Will
Stephenson, Tobias Koenig, Adriaan de Groot
The emphasis of this meeting lay in driving the development of Akonadi
forward. With much of the storage functions implemented, the team's
attention moved to accessing PIM data and the design of the libakonadi
clients which will connect the cache to the outside world. A streamlined
offline caching design and the issues posed by large volumes of enterprise
PIM data were also discussed.
KDE PIM is the Linux client for the Kolab groupware solution, and as such has
many enterprise users who are supported by the companies making up the Kolab
Konsortium. Due to their stability requirements, most commercial Kolab users
are still using the KDE 3.3 codebase. A new enterprise branch of the KDE 3.5
PIM module is being created which will be used as an ultra-stable base for
Kolab users, and so that Kolab-derived improvements can return to the KDE 3.5
Another topic under discussion was the maintenance strategy for KDE PIM. PIM
software is a critical component for most KDE users, both as individuals and
organisations, and as KDE grows in importance it is important that its
quality is maintained. Distributions' representatives, developers and
companies using KDE PIM will in future use a dedicated list to coordinate PIM
maintenance work, to ensure that important bugs are solved once and that all
the participants are aware when a fix is available.
During the long weekend there was plenty of other activity taking place. For
example, KDE PIM software has a tradition of placing demands on the KDE
platform that lead to improvements benefiting everyone, and this year's
meeting was no exception: Akonadi uses a heavily multithreaded design to give
fast access to your PIM data and this requires the ability to make and
receive D-Bus calls using several threads and a single D-Bus connection.
Improvements to the QtDBus bindings' multithreading behaviour were also discussed, which are now being implemented.
The KDE 4 progress of the individual applications was reviewed, so that
user interface improvements can take place while Akonadi is still under
development. A dedicated session to learn about Interview, the Qt 4 model-view framework, took place on Sunday morning. In addition, Till Adam and Martin Konold spent time analysing the safety properties of disconnected IMAP, while Adriaan de Groot and Cornelius Schumacher planned to rationalise the KDE PIM group of websites under the Kontact banner.
While several of the participants were returning to Osnabrück, some new faces
were present. Tom Albers made the hop across the border to present Mailody,
his new mail application, which was received enthusiastically, and long-term
PIM contributors were able to share some of their experience with Tom. Frank Osterfeld, the Akregator author, made his first appearance, and we welcomed Robert Zwerus, a student at the Universiteit Twente who hopes to work on Akonadi as part of his studies. One goal of Akonadi is to make it easier for new authors like Tom to write PIM applications, by making the features and knowledge developed by the project over the years available via libakonadi. The team hopes that KDE 4 will see a flourishing development of radical uses for PIM data.
The KDE PIM team would like to thank the KDE e.V. for supporting the KDE PIM
meeting at Osnabrück with the help of its supporting members and Trolltech. Our gratitude goes also to Intevation for kindly hosting us again, and KDAB and the Kolab Konsortium for a fine Mongolian meal.
The meeting will be followed up in April with a smaller Akonadi hacking meeting at the KDAB offices in Berlin.