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People person, technology enthusiast and all-things-open evangelist. I have managed and marketed communities for over a decade, getting started in the KDE community, followed by working as openSUSE Community Manager at SUSE and now managing community matters at ownCloud. I'm busy growing the ownCloud community, speaking at and organizing conferences and writing about my passions ranging from psychology and people in communities to innovative technology. I take care of my dog together with my wife in beautiful Berlin and you can find me also on Twitter and Diaspora!

28 January, 2009

In Jamaica? No more!

It’s rather odd to be scratching the ice from the windshield of a car while you still feel like going for a swim during lunchbreak.

My body agrees on the weirdness – yesterday it refused to accept the 25 degrees decrease in temperature. Despite both London and Schiphol not being particularly warm, I still felt rather warm while walking home in shorts and a t-shirt.

I’m back to my old self now, in part thanks to my current office space. It’s colder here than in an American Airlines plane (and the citizens of the USA like their airco – if it has button, you have to turn it to max).

Thursday on the way back from the rum factory tour: fresh coconut!

Either way, the way back wasn’t too bad, considering my bloodloss. Yeah, I’ve left at least a litre of blood back at the restaurant in Port Royal in Kingston. We had a meet & greet with some members of the local linux user community. It was fun meeting them, but the mosquitos were pretty bad. It felt like being eaten alive – and I thought having 19 mosquito bites on my left feet was bad. Piece of cake compared to the over-50 bites my legs currently display.

Yeah, Jamaica had a few snags for me – after the sun allergy went away I did enjoy a full night of trying to empty my internals from any food-related substance (and after that a day of not being able to enjoy the great Jamaican food - meh).

Monday morning. I went on a shopping spree, sebas slept in.

Still, had a great time. I’ll see if I can find time the coming few days to:
- clean my house in preparation for a visit from my parents
- finish the articles (including a report from the tour to the rum factory and a list of some interesting results from the conference)
- drink rum
- sleep
- Join the release happyness!

Love from a cold Netherlands!

23 January, 2009


(for camp kde coverage: there will be a talks day 1 article on the dot in like 5 minutes, and there will be another two asap - due to the dot moving to a new interface (yay!) that can mean something like sunday or even later as me and sebas travel on monday/tuesday...)

adymo writes about KDE 4.2 - excellent interview. I agree with most of his criticism (not all) but I think he is wrong on Akregator. He wrote:
Akregator is definitely useful for RSS reading, but so far it doesn't give any compelling reason to us

Now, I've always been used to the two features I'm about to show, but apparently several people here at Camp KDE weren't, and they were impressed. So I think these two deserve some mention.

Advantage nr. 1: it is a KDE application. Thus why not show the full blog using KHTML?

Hit F2 to configure this per feed:

Advantage nr. 2: it is a KDE application. Thus why not embed kate_part when viewing a text file?

*click link*

And you'll get

including proper highlighting and everything. Works for pictures (embedded gwenview), pdf's (okular FTW), movies (Dragonplayer) etc etc etc.

You might not count these things under features - after all, it is the least you'd expect from a KDE application. But using non-KDE apps now and then (firefox for example, or how about the whole win platform) shows you how much basics you miss in apps build upon other, more shallow foundations - a decent filedialog is the least of it. Funny to see how KDE apps, even with just a few developers, often easily manage to do stuff no competitor probably ever will...

Love from Jamaica ;-)

20 January, 2009

hi from jamaica

Just watched the inauguration of Obama on the beach. Interesting to see it. It is quite a bit more nationalistic and religious than I'm used too, and there was singing & music in there, but his speech was good. Now see if he can actually do something different...

Geeks are easy to spot :D

Weather here still good, we had a windy yesterday but it's more quiet now. Personally I've hit a little snag - seems like my body somehow didn't appreciate me going from dark & cold Netherlands to sunny & warm Jamaica. I've developed a mild form of sun allergy. Like having a cold during my first few days here wasn't ironic enough... Aaah well, I'm lucky in that it doesn't itch, and as long as I'm a bit careful with sun it's ok. And to be honest, I'd much rather be intolerant to sun than to food, I've never been the sunloving type anyway.

Talking about food, Mrs. Whyte from Sweet Spice deserves a medal. She is apparently the one who provides us with the lunch, and again it was very good.

The French Guy enjoying food

I've had a little sleepy-sleepy on the couch, Till is still going on and on about coding. How can he have so much to say about just some plain textfiles which happen to be compilable to applications? His voice was soothing enough to help me sleep, so whatevah.

18 January, 2009

sun, sand, rum

Jamaica still rocks.

Yesterday was great. Talks, browsing, swimming in the see, eating Jerk Chicken and drinking rum. Jerk chicken is a local food which came highly recommended by all three Jamaican guys I know here, so it had to be good. I did make the mistake of ordering it at the hotel restaurant, which resulted in a fierce discussion between the waitress and Dmitri, who considered Jerk chicken only any good if you can actually see and smell the smoke. Yeah, it's smoked in a large oil drum with lots of smoke coming out.

Anyway, so I had a chance of making up for that mistake when Dmitri told me there was actual good Jerk chicken just around the corner. We passed it on the way back to the hotel with our drinks, and I convinced Adriaan to have some with me. Us stopping there resulted in the whole group stopping there and simply following us in line to grab some Jerk chicken. I really doubt anyone felt sorry about that. That stuff was really good.

After we arrived back at the hotel a big group went to the beach, sitting on the bench just before the water, drinking rum, having a nightly swim. Imagine floating in the warm sea, looking at the stars above you. Jamaica rocks.

Work? Yeah, trying to get some work done, but I am not as productive as I'd like to. I do have a first article coming which covers the first 2 days. Hopefully that'll go online tomorrow. And I have spend some time on the release announcement and feature guide as well.

BTW it is very cool to see how much people here are thinking and talking about community building. Do check out the video's of the talks as soon as they are available...

BTW2 My previous blog featured a foto from me and a German. In a (weak) effort to ruin his day - we're talking Holger Schroder, KDE-on-Windows hacker here. Sorry, inside joke.

17 January, 2009

Jamaica rocks...

Working on the articles there were a few things I didn't put in there.

And some things I did :D

Last night I'm sure the Plasma team had their weirdest location for discussing code - ever. The Caribean sea. Now I'm all for technical talk but that went a bit too far for me, Others however, on hearing there was a discussion about plasma going on, joined them. Aaah well. I've been drinking Jamaican Rum and beer, pretty good stuff.

The morning here was interesting, as many ppl had arrived late last night. I just heard Zack appologize for being Zack ("I'm sorry, I'm Zack"), there is a guy sitting next to me with a "One Laptop Velicoraptor per child" t-shirt and I'm sure there have never been so many laptops on this beach. The food is very good. I had a Jamaican breakfeast yesterday just like today, loved it despite having no idea what I was eating. It turned out most of it grew on trees. Interesting. So everytime I saw a blank stare at a plate I just told'em to stop worrying and eat it.

13 January, 2009

How Cute of Nokia!

First of all, greetings from the beautiful country of Jamaica!!! I'm here to help prepare Camp KDE, and as such, enjoying good company and great weather...

Yeah, about that company. I'm amazed by Jamaican hospitality. For me, dutch, being rather crude & simple folks, it makes me feel uncomfortable. My host gave me his bed, and made me breakfeast. Even cut the fruit in pieces - last person who did that whas my mom, and that was a long time ago. Hmmm. When I have a friend over, I trow a matress on the floor and tell him where the kitchen is... How's that for a different culture?!?

And about the weather, well, here's a photo I just took from the window of this apartment. Should tell ya enough ;-)

During all the travelling I did I thought about the news from Nokia. Most of the readers probably know what I’m talking about. Nokia just made clear how committed they are to KDE and Qt, and to open development. The impact of this could potentially be huge. On one hand, I doubt many current customers will stop paying Qt Software for their product, despite the fact they can use it for free. Many of them will probably be glad to not have to manage licenses anymore but they will continue to pay for support.

There is a world of customers out there that are probably willing to pay for Qt – yet still have to be convinced. And it’ll be a lot easier to convince them now they can use Qt in their proprietary product for free. In time, they can become supporting customers and thus further development of what’s already the best toolkit in the world ;-)

Of course this is the last push for those who didn’t want to use Qt “because it was not free” (and for who GPL wasn’t good enough?!?). Now there are no more excuses not to use the best technology available. Personally I was completely fine with the GPL license – no free development of proprietary software, contribute either code or money. Well, with Nokia’s resources Qt development doesn’t fully depend on that income anymore, so I guess it’s not a big issue.

For KDE this might be nice as well – “Qt Everywhere” is of course good for us, more potential users of our development framework and more people who know of our technology.

But imho the closer cooperation Nokia would like to see between the KDE community and Qt Software is potentially much more important than the new license. The license, as far as I’m concerned, is a message of welcoming cooperation to the community. We’d love to see development open up, naturally. There are patches circling around in the KDE community, and more importantly, ideas and creativity. I’m sure there are people who would love to take a stab at certain Qt code. And there might very well be commercial clients of Qt who are interested in such a thing as well. This brings them in contact with KDE – we can use input from commercial parties. We’d love to know their needs and requirements, and collaborate with them on making the Qt platform even better.

In time, closer collaboration between Qt and KDE could result in a more smooth ride for code from the KDE libraries into Qt libraries – until now, that has always been difficult.

Exciting times. Not just for us in Jamaica or the KDE community around the world, but for the whole Free Software World at large. I believe without superior technology like Qt the Free Desktop doesn’t stand much of a chance. Being free, no matter how important to many, is not a very strong argument for everybody, and the KDE and Qt technology offers us a chance of simply being better than the competition.

I'll be going from Kingston to Negril today, by bus - sun, sightseeing and again good company as Roger will be going with me.

02 January, 2009

2009 brings good stuff


Happy new year to all of ya!

Had a good start? No hangover, I hope? Mine was very manageable, hehe. Had a great party, esp around 12 when we were standing on the roof of a flat, looking out over the city of Utrecht. Beautiful place to watch the fireworks from...

What will 2009 bring? I won't speculate, I'll just point to some good tidings ;-)

Check the commit digest from the 23th and look at the statistics. First of all, over 900 bugs fixed. Good news for the stability of the KDE 42 release. And second, over 270 programmers added their code to the repository that week. I'm not such a SVN-statistics-expert like that weird brittish guy, but I believe we have a record. Not in terms of lines of code, we often cross the 9500-lines-modified-per-week mark, but looking back a few digests I never saw more than 260 people commit in one week. As Paul's green blobs show, not everybody commits each week and this high number could be a coincidence. I think it's not. As Tom Albers already noted, we've giving out SVN accounts like they're cookies. Delicious cookies for which you only had to proove you can write decent code & be a decent person.

So no predictions, just pointing to a trend here - we're growing, and fast. I sometimes check the site to have a look at the commit rate, and we're under a recordbreaking 5 minutes between commits (on average over the last 5 years) now. It's probably a very incomplete picture (and it doesn't fit with the numbers Danny quotes), but still - pretty neath. I have no idea how our competition is doing, MS Windows doesn't seem to be available on the site, nor does Mac OS X yet I'm sure they're scared :D

To all of you: a toast on the future of KDE, and the wish that we all may be able to continue to express our creativity and promote freedom for years to come!