Tuesday Akademy Wrapup Session

The second day of Akademy BoFs, group sessions and hacking has just finished. There is a wrapup session at the end so that what happened in the different rooms can be shared with everyone including those not present.


Plasma's Vision

Sebastian Kügler writes on his blog about Plasma's vision statement, which names durabililty, usability and elegance as its corner stones.


Akademy 2017 -- Day 2

Antonio Larrosa advocates building
intracommunity relationships.

Antonio Larrosa kicked off Sunday with his talk on The KDE Community and its Ecosystem. He expressed concern about what he perceived as an increase in the isolation of certain communities and laid out the advantages of working on intra-community relationships.

Later on in the day, Kevin Ottens gave his audience a taste of what Qt's 3D API can do in his talk Advances in Qt 3D. There are more and more applications that rely on 3D everyday, especially with the increase in popularity of virtual reality. Ottens introduced the tools Qt developers looking to include 3D into their programs and even treated attendees to a preview of a feature that is still in the works and that helps manage shader code.

Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen gave a very entertaining talk on Supporting Content Creators or Satisfying Your Inner Capitalist. Leinir laid out ways app developers could make enough money to be able to sometimes eat, while at the same time still feed their craving for developing cool stuff under free licenses.

Jonathan Riddell gave a demonstration of what Neonception would be like by running Neon inside Neon using Docker images. The point being that, apart from looking cool, as Neon comes in various experimental flavours, developers can run unstable versions in a container without endangering their main set up.

Jonathan gives a good explanation himself in the following video:

Ivan Čukić rounded off the day, invoking the Cthulhu of programming languages. In his talk C++17 and 20, he reviewed some of the more interesting features included into C++17, as well as those planned for C++20. Although some attendees would probably prefer C++ lay dreaming a few aeons more, new things like ranges, concepts, and coroutines may just convert some developers over.

About Akademy

For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest free and open software communities in the world—works on-line by email, IRC, forums and mailing lists. Akademy provides all KDE contributors the opportunity to meet in person to foster social bonds, work on concrete technology issues, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work bringing those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, and those that are looking for opportunities. Join us by registering for the 2017 edition of Akademy today.

For more information, please contact the Akademy Team.


Akademy Monday Wrapup Session Video

Akademy has had its first full day of BoFs, group sessions discussing our plans for the next year. The wrapup session has just finished so watch the video to find out about what Plasma devs are working on, what tutorials happened and how we avoided a fist fight to the finish.


Akademy Awards 2017

Every year at Akademy we celebrate some of our hardest working achievers in the community. The prizes are selected and awarded by the previous year's winners. The winners this year are:


Application Award

Kai Uwe Broulik for their valuable work on Plasma.

Cornelius Schumacher

Non-Application Contribution Award

Cornelius Schumacher for their long term contributions to KDE.

Olaf and Martin

Jury Award

Martin Konold & Olaf Schmidt-Wischhöfer for their work on the KDE Free Qt Foundation.
Honourable mentions also go to Lars Knoll and Tuukka Turunen for their work on the Qt side of the foundation which controls Qt's licensing.

Thanking the Akademy organisers

The organising team were also given a certificate and thanked for their hard work. The organisation has been led by Kenny Duffus who has helped for over a decade making the events appear to run smoothly. The local team have worked hard this year led by Rubén Gómez and Ismael Olea to bring us a fabulous event.

Lukas Hetzenecker

Akademy continues for another four days with meetings, workshops and hacking from teams within KDE to discuss their work over the forthcoming year.

One final announcement was made at the end of the talks. The location for next year's Akademy was announced to be in Vienna, Lukas Hetzenecker introduced what he assured us was a beautiful and welcoming city.


Akademy-es 2017 Fue Muy Bien

Akademy-ES 2017

On the 20th and 21st of July, KDE España held, with the invaluable help of UNIA, HackLab Almería and the University of Almería, and with the sponsorship of Opentia, its 12th annual gathering: Akademy-es 2017.

As it always happens when Akademy takes place in Spain, Akademy-es 2017 became a prelude of the international event and many well-known KDE developers attended.

Throughout two days, talks were offered covering many different topics, including Plasma, programming (C++, Qt, mobile), exciting projects like Kirigami, proposals for the future such as KDE on automobile, encouragement to use KDE software and contribute to KDE, and information about KDE España.

People who could not attend should not be worried as videos of the talks will be available online.

Akademy makes the news

The local newspaper stopped by for a photo shoot and to write a story on the world gathering of KDE developers that was about to happen.

Attendees also got a chance to play around with Slimbook Ultrabooks such as the well-known KDE flavour or their new Pro edition.

As usual, KDE España members gathered to celebrate their AGM. If you wish to find out what goes on in there, or if you wish to help us out organizing events like Akademy-es and getting the word out in Spain about KDE, please consider joining KDE España. It is now easier than ever!

KDE España board, Baltasar, Adrián, Antonio, José commonly knows as Los Guapos

Slimbook Talk by Alejandro


Akademy 2017 -- Day 1

During the first day at the Akademy, everything went according to plan and nearly everything was on time. Kudos to the organisers.

The weather was balmy at the beginning of the day and, although Aleix Pol said it was not hotter than a hot day in Barcelona, many of the Scandinavian and Scottish attendees were visibly wilting under the sun. Fortunately for them, the venue is equipped with air-conditioning.

Little known fact about Almería: it is situated in the biggest desert in Europe, the Desert of Tabernas. A better known fact is that that same desert has been used as a location for many spaghetti westerns, including the seminal Sergio Leone movies "For A Fistful of Dollars" and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly". What is more interesting for some KDE members is that Tabernas has also been used in the filming of at least one Doctor Who episode ("A Town Called Mercy"). Unsurprisingly, the whovians amongst us quickly got busy and organised a trip to the place of the shoot for later in the week.

The Talks

Robert Kaye has managed to woo both an active
community of volunteers and the industry with MusicBrainz.

Robert Kaye did not disappoint and delivered an entertaining keynote on how MusicBrainz, a community-powered non-profit, has managed to be THE database of musical metadata. MusicBrainz's data is used by Google, the BBC, YouTube, Amazon, and nearly everyone else (including most FLOSS media players).

Jean-Baptiste Mardelle introduced us to the new features, back end and interface of Kdenlive, KDE's video editing software. Apart from having cleaner code and being more stable, upcoming versions of Kdenlive will sport intelligent clip cutting, resizing and inserting, making life for video editors much easier.

As expected Aditya Mehra's talk on the Mycroft plasmoid was another of the highlights of the day. The topic, after all, is intrinsically interesting -- there is something about issuing voice commands to an AI assistant on your desktop that appeals to everybody.

During the mid-afternoon Ask Us Anything session, attendees had the chance to... well, ask anything to the KDE e.V. board members. Questions ranged from governance to how donations were used, passing through the process of getting elected to the board. Talking of which, it was a chance to properly meet the new board member, Eike Hein, who stepped in for Marta Rybczynska.

Eike, among other things, maintains and develops Konversation, a user-friendly IRC client for KDE. He is also in charge of Yakuake, an original spin on the traditional terminal. Yakuake sits hidden at the top of your desktop and you can unfold it like a blind when you need it. He discovered KDE when test running Corel Linux (does anybody else remember that rather bizarre distro?) back in the 90s and started contributing in 2005.

In the evening, Timothée Giet gave us an update on GCompris, the suite of educational activities and games for young children. The improvements in design and to the number of features are turning GCompris into a free, safe and privacy-protecting suite of educational programs as opposed to some of the proprietary alternatives out there.

Eike, the new member of the KDE e.V. board,
answering attendees' questions.

Agustín Benito, on the other hand, pointed to new sectors KDE should probably be looking into. Agustín has been working on Free Software on embedded devices for the automotive industry for some time now and reckons this is an area in which KDE could grow and even become a mainstream technology.

At the very end of the day, in the very last session, there was a lively debate on writing and how developers could better describe their projects to a larger audience. The discussion was animated enough to make us forget the time and, finally, we were all thrown out.

Day 2 promises to be equally fun.

About Akademy

For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest free and open software communities in the world—works on-line by email, IRC, forums and mailing lists. Akademy provides all KDE contributors the opportunity to meet in person to foster social bonds, work on concrete technology issues, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work bringing those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, and those that are looking for opportunities. Join us by registering for the 2017 edition of Akademy today.

For more information, please contact the Akademy Team.


KDE Arrives in Almería for Akademy 2017

KDE Chartered Flight to Almería

We have travelled from across the globe to meet for our annual gathering where we plan and discuss the next year's activities creating free software to share with the world. Almería is in the south east of Spain, a country which has long been a supporter of free software and collaboration with its creators. The sun here is hot but the water is also warm for those who make it to the beach to discuss their work with a pina colada and a swim. Over the last year KDE has run conferences in Brazil, India, Spain, Germany and sprints in Randa in Switzerland, Krita in the Netherlands, Marble in Germany, GSoC in the US, WikiToLearn in India, Plasma in Germany, Kontact in France, and sent representatives to OSCAL in Albania, FOSSASIA in Singapore, FUDCON in Cambodia, HKOSCon in Hong Kong and more.

Tapas y Sangria

Today we meet from around the globe, KDE contributors have flown in from Taiwan, US, all over Europe and British Isles, India, Brazil, Canada.

We have completed Akademy España, talks in Spanish to the community.

We also met for the formality of KDE e.V. Annual General Meeting.

The Community Working Group reviewed issues they had to deal with and were pleased there were fewer firefighting issues than in previous years and they could concentrate on gardening community.

We are KDE

Our outgoing treasurer Marta reported on the year's finances which were pleasingly balanced and with ample reserves. The Financial Working Group reported how they had supported this and that their main task is to support the incoming new treasurer.

The Sysadmin Working Group reported on the pleasing developments retiring old machines, old software such as Drupal 6 and old operating systems. They are moving towards Ansible for system deployment and were pleased at the new multi-platform CI system which is now running.

We heard from the Advisory Board Working Group who now have regular meetings with representatives from supporting companies and large deployments of KDE software.

The KDE Free Qt Foundation controls the licencing of Qt with representatives from both KDE and Qt company. In the last year they have concluded the relicensing of all Qt parts as Free Software. All parts of Qt are available under the GPLv3 or under a compatible license. Most parts are also available under the LGPLv3 and under the GPLv2. The last remaining code to be relicensed was the Qt Quick Compiler. This is now deprecated and replaced with an open source solution since the release of Qt 5.9.

Your new KDE e.V. board

Finally we voted on replacement board members for the three who's terms came to an end. Marta the treasurer did not renew her term. Holding one of the most important but least thanked tasks in KDE we owe her much gratitude for keeping out books balanced and our payments prompt. Lydia Pintcher and Aleix Pol i Gonzàlez both stood for the board again and were re-elected for another three years. And long term KDE developer Eike Hein was elected as a new board member, hoping to bring in more representation to the community from Korea where he lives. We thanked the outgoing and new board members with the traditional thanks of a fancy dinner.

Tonight we drink sangria and wine under the stars at a welcome party meeting old friends and new, eating tapas of salmorejo, croquetas, tortillas and rice, looking forward to the week ahead.


What to Expect from Akademy 2017 on Day 1

I'm going to Akademy

There's less than a week until the beginning of Akademy 2017 (if you still haven’t registered, do so now) and this is what you can expect from your first day at the event:

Keynotes and Master Talks

Akademy opens on Saturday, July 22 at 10 am with Robert Kaye, the brains behind Musicbrainz. We talked with Robert a few days ago, and he will tell us all about his projects and how he managed to marry FLOSS activism with the pragmatism of having to make money in order to keep them alive.

Sebastian Kügler will follow with an overview of the most important things that happened over the last year in the development of Plasma. He will talk about current features, future plans and goals, what to expect on your desktop over the next year, and how to help and get involved.

Meanwhile, in the next room, Jos van den Oever will examine Calligra and its native support for ODF. He'll look at a number of areas of ODF and see how well they are supported compared to other office suites.

At 11:50, Mirko Boehm will review the governance norms applied in FSFE, KDE and Wikimedia in his talk Why we Fight. He will examine how the norms developed over time and how current debates reflect their evolution.

Kdenlive, KDE's video editor, now comes with a new, re-vamped user interface.

At the same time, Volker Krause will present the UserFeedback framework, which provides ways to engage users from inside the application itself, including the collection of system or usage statistics, as well as asking an interested set of users that match a specific set of criteria to participate in an online survey.

Continuing on with a similar topic, at 12:30 Aleix Pol will talk about the challenge of developing for users employing bundled systems. We'll see what impact shortening the path between the development and users being able to run the software will have.

At the same time, Emma Gospodinova will tell us how she plans to add support for Rust, the promisingly popular programming language, to KDevelop during her Google Summer of Code project. Emma plans to include standard features any IDE should support for a language, such as semantic highlighting, code completion, refactoring, debugging and project management.

From there, we will move onto the light entertainment, which is movies. Or more like movie-editing. In Kdenlive, rewriting the timeline, Jean-Baptiste Mardelle will show us the new, polished Kdenlive 17.08, which now uses QML for many parts of the UI.

On a more technical note, Ivan Čukić will talk about how functional programming can improve our day-to-day work, make our code safer, cleaner and more correct.

Lightning Talks

After lunch, at 15:30, we'll have a bunch of lightning talks. The first one will be about Mycroft, the Alexa-like AI, and Aditya Mehra will explain how you can turn it into a Plasma widget and really enhance your life by having something you can boss about.

Volker Krause will then take the stage and tell us all about KF5::SyntaxHighlighting, a syntax highlighting engine that was originally tied to Kate, but can now be used anywhere.

Then Albert Astals Cid is up, and he will explain the work being carried out on Clazy, a compiler plugin which allows Clang to understand Qt semantics.

Marco Martin will then have ten minutes to explain how the feedback generated from the design and implementation of applications significantly improved the quality of Kirigami, KDE's user interface framework for developing applications that work both on mobile and desktop computers.

Finally, Vasudha Mathur will talk about Ruqola, the first generic chat application based on Rocket.Chat. Ruqola is a Qt/QML/C++ app and provides multi-platform portability. Ruqola will currently run on both desktop and mobile (Android) platforms.

... Back to Regular Talks

At 16:30, Sandro Andrade will be talking about preliminary implementation of a modular and flexible framework for building Qt mobile applications. He will also explain how you can use code generators and a plugin-based architecture to automate the implementation of recurrent tasks.

Babe allows you to add music from multiple sources, including YouTube.

At the same time and next door, Camilo Higuita will be introducing Babe, a contextual multimedia desktop app. Babe uses online resources and AI to find relationships between the music metadata and its context in order to generate personalized queries and suggestions.

Lydia Pintscher and the rest of the KDE e.V. Board will then sit down for an Ask Us Anything session with the audience at 17:10. If you want to find out what the board really gets up to and hear the plans for KDE as a community moving forward, here's your chance.

Meanwhile, Dmitri Popov will be teaching you how to take your digiKam skills to the next level by mastering its advanced functionality. Dmitri's talk will introduce several useful features and tools, such as filtering, batch processing, and curve presets.

At 17:55, John Samuel will be talking about Wikidata and how it can play an important role for the visibility of KDE applications. He will show how developers can build tools to integrate their applications with Wikidata to present an up-to-date view of their applications and their cool features.

At the same time, Arnav Dhamija will introduce you to the KIO (KDE Input Output) library. KIO is what allows your KDE apps to access data from a number of different protocols, such as local file systems, ssh, https, samba shares, ftp, and network file systems. Arnav will explain the need for KIO, how KIO works, KIO slaves, and how to develop for the same.

At 18:35 Timothée Giet will be taking us down the long road to GCompris-qt 1.0. GCompris, the collection of educational games and activities for children, has finally officially released the new Qt-based version. Timothée will show us the progress the team has made to get there, as well as some shiny new activities.

In the next room, David Edmundson will be explaining the Binding loop detected for property "title"" error, an annoying and cryptic error everyone developing QML has experienced at some point or another. He will talk about what this warning really means and how you can tackle even the most complicated loops.

... And a last Blast of Lightning Talks

At 19:15 we'll have the last three Lightning talks of the day. First up will be Agustín Benito with his Opening new doors presentation, in which Agustín will explain why he thinks KDE should jump into the embedded-for-automotive fray. Should he have called his talk Opening car doors? Definitely.

Then Annu Mittal will talk about all the application domains and various programs currently running in KDE, namely: Season of KDE, Summer of Code, and Outreach Program for Women. She will follow up by explaining the various ways you can get involved with KDE, both from the technical and non-technical point of view.

Finally, yours truly will help you look for love (for your projects) by explaining in ten minutes flat three simple steps that will improve your communication and increase your audience's appreciation for your project.

... And that is just day one.

Register here and don't miss Akademy 2017, one of the most important Free Software conferences this year.


Antonio Larrosa -- Dragons, Doom and Digital Music

Antonio Larrosa, President of KDE España.

Antonio Larrosa is the current president of KDE España and he and I have been friends for quite some time now. It may seem logical, since we both live in Málaga, are passionate about Free Software in general, and KDE in particular. But in most other respects we are total opposites: Antonio is quiet, tactful, unassuming and precise. Enough said.

But that is what is great about Antonio; that and the fact he is very patient when troubleshooting. I know this because he has often helped me out when I have unwittingly wrecked my system by being an idiot and installing what I shouldn't. When he quietly muses "¡Qué cosas!" (which roughly translates to "That's interesting") you know you've messed up good.

Antonio will be delivering the keynote on the 23rd of July at this year's Akademy, so I caught up with him and asked him about stuff I didn't already know. Turns out that is quite a lot.


Antonio Larrosa: Hi!

Paul Brown: Good morning Antonio! Long time no see.

Antonio: Good morning! Yes indeed. Heh heh!

[We had talked the day before]

Paul: I think you are aware that the other keynote speaker is Robert Kaye from Musicbrainz, right?

Antonio: Yes, I know. It's quite an honor to have him at Akademy this year and I hope to meet and talk to him, since I love the Musicbrainz project.

Paul: I understand you worked on a project that ties MusicBrainz to a KDE app...

Antonio: Actually, it's not really a KDE app. Some months ago, I learnt about Picard (which is MusicBrainz's music tagger) and I wanted to use it, but it lacked a few features that were important to me. So I had a look at the code and was excited to see it was using Qt, so I decided to contribute to it.

Paul: What did you change?

Antonio: I fixed a small function in Picard's script language to better support multivalue tags. I also improved the support for cover art, like allowing drag & drop from a web browser, a nice way to see differences between old and new covers before saving the changes, better visualization of albums with different covers in different tracks, etc. The fact that it's written in Python and has a very good design made it easy to start contributing fast. The community was quite friendly too, which always helps.

Paul: You have also contributed to Beets. What is that and what did you do?

Antonio: Yes, Beets is (I quote from its web page) "the media library management system for obsessive-compulsive music geeks". Who wouldn't like to use it with that description? It has auto-tagging support which also uses Musicbrainz's metadata (like Picard), but the tagging is not as advanced as Picard, so I tried to improve its multivalue support so at least it could read and perform queries on all tags written by Picard. Apart from very simple patches, the important patches I submitted to Beets are still in the review queue, but I hope they'll get merged soon.

Paul: You are a mathematician, not a programmer, by training. Correct?

Antonio: That's correct.

Paul: How did you get started in programming?

Antonio: I got started when I was around 7 or 8 years old. I had a Dragon 64 and it was almost impossible to find games for it. So, when I got tired of playing the ones I had, I learned to write my own, and found it was great.

The Dragon 64, Antonio's first computer.
Photo by Miguel Durán - Dragon 64, CC BY-SA 2.5, Link

Paul: BASIC?

Antonio: Yes, BASIC and a bit of assembly.

Paul: What sort of things did you program on the Dragon? Games? Anything to do with school work? I remember writing a function plotter for the Commodore 64, for example.

Antonio: Really? That's interesting, I did a graph plotter for the Dragon and one of those old text-based RPG games. But no, not really school-related.

Paul: What did you have to do in your text-based adventure?

Antonio: I don't remember very well -- I was around 8, but it was probably something related to killing dragons.

Paul: Of course. If I remember right, the Dragon was quite limited even for the day. What did you upgrade to next?

Antonio: A 286 running at 6Mhz with 640 KBs of RAM and a great big 20 MBs hard disk.

Paul: 20 MBs! Did you have the sensation of: "Wow! I'm never going to fill that up."?

Antonio: Of course! There was plenty of space for so many applications in there!

When I was 12, I created a calculator that parsed mathematical expressions, and then calculated and enunciated the result through the sound card

Paul: How old were you at this stage? Were you already at university? Because those machines were expensive! I don't see a parent buying a 286 for a twelve-year-old.

Antonio: Not at all, I was still at school, maybe 10 years old or so. But I have an older brother who would have been about 15 by then. My father, being a car plater, never used computers, I would go as far as saying he hated them, but he had a good eye for seeing what would be important in the future for us.

Paul: What did you use the 286 for? More games?

Antonio: Yes, I have to admit that I played games when I was 10. But also I learned Pascal and Assembly. When I was around 12 (just before high school) I created a calculator that parsed mathematical expressions, and then calculated and enunciated the result through the sound card. In order to do that, I used Assembly, learned about IRQs, DMA, memory addressing with segments and offsets... It was quite fun. I even had to do my own audio editing application, in order to cut my voice saying different numbers which would then be concatenated together by the calculator.

Paul: Wow! You did all that when you were 12 and on a 286?

Antonio: Yep.

Paul: What did you do in high school? Hack into WOPR?

Antonio: Hah hah hah! No. I wrote and refactored up to 7 times a general purpose object oriented database that I used to store the contents of all my floppy disks so I could search where a file was quickly. Note that I learned about the word "refactor" much later, but that's basically what I did, although at that time I called it "throw everything away and rewrite it better".

Paul: Of course. After all, you probably didn't know about version control then. What year was this?

Antonio: Maybe 1992 or 1993.

You could say that Doom influenced my choice of careers.

Paul: When you say floppies, are we talking about the real thing, those 5 and 1/4 things that often got chewed up in the drive?

Antonio: Yes! 5 1/4 and 3 1/2, in fact. When I started using the application to catalogue CDs, I remember having lots of problems with memory addressing since data structures flooded over segment boundaries. After all, it was a windows 3.1 application.

Paul: Ok. You're now at university, but you decide to go for Mathematics instead of Computer Science. Why?

Antonio: I read back then a now defunct magazine called Dr. Dobbs Journal. One of the special issues was dedicated to 3D rendering as used in games such as Doom. I saw that you had to know a lot of mathematics to understand the articles, and I thought I could learn by myself what was interesting to me from computer science (as I had been doing for many years) but mathematics was different, so I decided to study mathematics.

Paul: Doom influenced your choice of career?

Antonio: Yes, you could say that in a way, it did.

Paul: Why am I not surprised. When did you first hear about free software?

Antonio: I was finishing high school, and my brother, who studied computer science, came home with a bunch of floppy disks containing a new operating system. It was Linux 1.x.

Paul: Linux 1.x! So you guys installed it?

Antonio: Of course! If I remember correctly, it was around 1995 and it was a Slackware distribution.

Paul: Let me guess, you had to dig out your monitor manual and work out the vertical frequency.

Antonio: Yes, finding out the specific horizontal frequency of your monitor was a nightmare, indeed. I also remember having troubles with the 20th something floppy and having to start again, inserting and swapping floppies. But I was excited that I could for the first time write a program in which I could reserve a block of memory of more than 64 KB of memory and just address any byte in it without caring about segments and offsets. Definitely those were other times.

Paul: Did you install it on your 286?

Antonio: No, by that time I had a 486.

Paul: Were you aware of the "Free as in Freedom" thing back then?

Antonio: I read about it, but of course I couldn't understand the importance of "Free as in Freedom" until some years later. At that time, I only knew that I had the sources for everything that run on the computer, and that allowed me to change things to make them work the way I wanted.

Paul: That was exciting, wasn't it? So different from the constraints of other OSes.

Antonio: Exactly! At that time I had an electronic keyboard with a MIDI interface which I used to connect to my windows 3.1 system. The keyboard didn't support the General MIDI standard, but windows 3.1 had configuration parameters so I could configure it to work. Once Windows 95 was released, they removed those options so my piano wouldn't work any more. But I had this operating system with all the sources for the MIDI player (playmidi at that time). You can guess what happened.

Paul: So when did you discover KDE?

Antonio's first KDE project: KMid.

Antonio: The playmidi author didn't accept my changes because the sources differed a lot from what I used. I sent him a real letter with an actual floppy disk since I didn't have Internet access back then. He didn't release any newer versions with different implementations either. So I decided to do my own MIDI player, but instead of doing a terminal application I wanted to make an X11 app. I looked through the options, which at that time included Athena widgets, Motif, and so on. I found KDE searching for alternatives, and absolutely loved it.

Paul: And the rest is history...

Antonio: Yes.

Paul: What projects have you worked on, apart from your personal MIDI thing?

Antonio: Apart from KMid, I worked on KPager, which was the application that showed the virtual desktop miniatures, and parts of kdelibs, specifically the library version of KMid and the icon loader classes which I maintained for several years. I also worked on all sort of applications fixing bugs everywhere I could.

Paul: Your day job is being a developer at SUSE, right?

Antonio: That's right.

Paul: Is there any overlap between your job at SUSE and KDE?

Antonio: To some extent: I'm a SLE (SUSE Linux Enterprise) developer working in the desktop team. As you may know, SLE is a term that refers to all the enterprise oriented distributions made by SUSE. The latest release only includes the GNOME desktop, so much of my work at SUSE includes fixing issues in GNOME. On the other hand, openSUSE not only comes with both KDE and GNOME, but openSUSE Leap uses KDE by default, so I also work on fixing KDE issues too.

Paul: How many people work on KDE at openSUSE?

Antonio: Really not as many as I'd like. In general there are around 10 people, but actively working everyday on KDE at openSUSE there are around 4 or 5 persons. If anyone reading this wants to help. We're always at the #opensuse-kde channel on Freenode.

Paul: What about the openSUSE community, volunteers?

Antonio: In general, everyone contributing to KDE packages in openSUSE is a volunteer. As I said, there are around 10 maintainers, of which I think only 2 or 3 are employed by SUSE. Fortunately, there are more community packagers helping with the near 1000 KDE/Qt packages available in OBS.

The openSUSE Build Service is where the community creates packages of their favorite software.

Paul: This is the openSUSE Build Service thing?

Antonio: Yes. That's where we build all openSUSE distributions (Leap, Tumbleweed, Krypton, Argon, etc.) and where we develop all packages that users can install in their openSUSE systems from software.opensuse.org.

Paul: And unofficial packages too, right? I mean, if there is something that is not in the official repos, you can look for it on software and it fetches and installs it from OBS, yes?

Antonio: Yes, that's right. Users wanting to try the latest version of any package can search for it on software.opensuse.org and install it from there with a one-click installer.

Paul: I imagine there is a warning that pops up when you try to install from an unofficial repo.

Antonio: Yes. Installing unofficial packages is not recommended in general, since users can break their systems if, for example, they install a buggy glibc library, but it's possible to do so.

Paul: Let's get back to the reason we are doing this interview: Is this your first keynote at an Akademy?

Antonio: Yes, it is and I'm really very honored.

Paul: Have you thought what you want to talk about?

Antonio: I have a general idea. I want to talk about KDE and its ecosystem, everything that KDE is, and where KDE is at this moment/where we want it to get to.

Paul: "Ecosystem" as in the people working on it? Or the state of the tech?

Antonio: The state of the communities around KDE compared to KDE's own community and how we could improve it and make it grow.

Paul: When you say "the communities around KDE", what communities are you referring to?

Antonio: Distribution communities, the Qt community, communities from other projects that use KDE libraries...

Paul: What is one thing we can learn from them?

Antonio: Well, something I learned is that we (KDE) are not alone and everything we do affects other communities, while at the same time, everything they do affect also our beloved KDE community. If we want to prosper, we all need to learn to work with others and let others work with us so we all benefit from the shared work.

Paul: And is that not happening?

Antonio: That is happening, but there's always room for improvement. For example, we at openSUSE made a terrible job at requesting help from KDE developers some months ago and the request was interpreted by some KDE developers as a threat. Fortunately I think we solved those problems nicely and the misunderstanding is fixed now. But we really should have done a better job at communicating better.

I started going to Akademys before they were called Akademys.

Paul: Let's talk about the tech for a moment. What is, in your opinion, the most exciting KDE project right now?

Antonio: Well, that's a personal opinion, and you might say that I'm cheating, but I'd say that the whole KDE Frameworks is great. If you ask me for an application, I'd probably say Mycroft. The author has a talk scheduled at Akademy that I hope to see.

Paul: Ah yes, the Free Software alternative to Alexa-like AIs.

Antonio: Correct.

Paul: Have you been to all the Akademys?

Antonio: Not all, but nearly. I started going to KDE meetings before they were called Akademys. My first one was KDE-Two, in 1999.

Paul: Wait... Was that what it was called back then? Just "KDE" and a number?

Antonio: Yes, the first meeting was "KDE One", the second "KDE Two", and so on.

Antonio Larrosa, 2nd row, 2nd from right, at the Kastle KDE meetup in 2003.

Paul: How did it change to "Akademy"? Were you in that meeting?

Antonio: Well, it wasn't any kind of "special meeting". After the "KDE Three" meeting in 2002, we had a get-together in an old castle in the Czech Republic in 2003, so it was clear that we should call that one "Kastle". Then, in 2004, the meeting was organized in a "Filmakademie" film school, so we called it "Akademy", and in 2005 we thought that it was important to keep the same name every year to build a brand, so we decided to name it "Akademy" just like the previous year, and it was named “Akademy” from then on.

Paul: And again history was made. Which has been your favorite Akademy so far?

Antonio: Always the coming Akademy! But of course I have a special fond memory of the one we organized in Malaga in 2005.

Paul: Almería is close to Málaga, so it may be just as good, right?

Antonio: I'm sure it'll be even better! We've learned a lot about organizing events since then.

Paul: Well, I for one look forward to your keynote. Thanks Antonio!

Antonio: Thanks to you for the interview.

Paul: It's a pleasure. See you in Almería.

Antonio: You can count on it.

About Akademy

For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest free and open software communities in the world—works on-line by email, IRC, forums and mailing lists. Akademy provides all KDE contributors the opportunity to meet in person to foster social bonds, work on concrete technology issues, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work bringing those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, and those that are looking for opportunities. Join us by registering for the 2017 edition of Akademy today.

For more information, please contact the Akademy Team.