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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!

27 July, 2009


Most of you probably have read about the Amazon Kindle and Orwell's 1984 incident, but for those who haven't or those interested in a good insight in what it really means for our society, the article I link below is a good read.

Last week a few Kindle owners awoke to discover that the company had reached into their devices and remotely removed copies of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm. (...) Amazon was only trying to look after publishers' intellectual property. The Orwell incident was too rich with irony to escape criticism, however. Amazon was forced to promise that it will no longer delete its customers' books.


15 July, 2009

about akademy 2009

-> some ramblings from short after Akademy I still hadn't published ;-)

Yesterday we put the impression article online, and I have to get something of my chest about that one.

Don't mis-understand me, this meeting has been great. There sure are things which could have been better, but hey, can you expect to put 800 ppl to work in one place and expect everything to be perfect?

It's just that I (we) had to be a bit politically correct in the article, so I want to clarify a few sentences for those who did stay home. Note that this is ENTIRELY personal, my opinion, and probably mean towards some people.

"Negative voices are few and far between, at least on the KDE side, and even those who do not value the cross-desktop cooperation see advantages in this larger meeting."

In other words, many KDE people have really been appreciative of the joint meeting. They were interested in joint and GNOME technology. The things said during the KDE e.V. meeting were very positive and all except like 3 ppl voted for a joint meeting next year.

But apparently at least some (important/influencial) ppl on the GNOME side think different. A big issue seems money: the joint conference means sharing revenue. This is even mentioned in the poll about a joint conference on the GNOME site. Personally I don't see the relevance in light of the great things we accomplished... But knowing the financial situation at their side I guess it's to be expected.

Another thing was the organisation - way too much ended up on the shoulders of our people like Kenny and Claudia. I think that's unfair. Now they apologized for that, but it is something we'd have to do better if we do this joint meeting thing again. BTW Stormy did a lot for the event, esp in the sponsors area. And I'm sure there is enough blame for everyone, not just on the Gnome side (actually I myself should've gotten involved in an earlier stage, the PR would've been better if I had).

But the above is not black and white. I was pleasantly surprised by the attitude Collabora people, the Tracker and Zeitgeist developers and many more. There might also have been KDE people unfriendly towards our gnomy friends (I hope not, and have not seen any such behaviour).

"There are tensions too admittedly, not everyone was appreciative of our primary sponsor, but the conference has acted as a real focus to break down such attitudes."

What happened is that at the first Gnome keynote someone introducing the speaker basically told the audience to put a GNOME foot sticker over the logo of the biggest sponsor, Nokia's Qt. An act I described initially as 'childish'. I do however understand it - imagine that a few minutes before that Quim Gil told the conference audience Maemo would move to Qt. And imagine you work professionally on GTK, getting your business from Nokia... I do however think it was very unprofessional by the person introducing the speakers to say such a thing.

Ok, enough complaining. I can think of other things I was unhappy/disappointed about but that'll have to wait for another time. Besides, there was enough good stuff there as well. And things to improve (also for myself). I hope I managed to keep this reasonable (I tried) and not too offending. And I'm open to input - as always.

14 July, 2009

GCDS over

It's over. Sitting here in the lobby of my hotel, contemplating a swim. Still a bit tired of all the writing and running around, but generally satisfied with the whole thing.

I've been playing catch up to my backlog of email and blogs. Almost done. Now on to some more writing and wrestling through the businesscards and other stuff.

(ok that was 2 days ago - forgot to finish and publish the blog. So I'll just continue)

This time I'm in my hotel room. Just had Japanese food with Kenny - interesting, as usual. Yesterday we took a car and drove through the center of the island, stopping a few times to admire the view. We also climbed some big rock to the highest point of the island. That was fun (and I got a bit sunburned). Kenny was less lucky, aside from the sunburn his cold got worse and his left ear has issues with the differences in air pressure. I hope for him it gets better before he boards the plane...

The rock from a distance

Rock a lot closer :D

None of my pics actually gives a reasonable impression of the actual size of that thing (hint: in the previous pic, you wouldn't be able to see a human standing next to it...) but I do have a photo showing the view standing at the feet of the rock:

Spot kenny ;-)

I'm working on some more geeky blog stuff, but that'll have to wait a bit - I think I deserved some relaxation after all the running around I did last week.

BTW you might have noticed that Troy is back working on promo stuff - first articles are online already, and more is on the way.

another more geeky thing, I agree with Richard: Moblin "We don't have menus, we think they're useless" 2 is seriously awesome! Great performance and a very interesting take on small-screen interfaces. Seems very usable. The more technical among you might say Intel would've done it faster and cheaper by choosing 'the right technology' (probably starting with a Q or a K) but the enduser in me thinks "bullocks: I couldn't care less, it works great!". That doesn't mean I don't like the stuff notmart and the others are doing, btw ;-) I do think they should probably have a very good look at Moblin.

09 July, 2009

GCDS day whatever

GCDS is continuing. The party Monday night was very quiet for me, and I noticed many other people being rather quiet as well. Guess we should have at least one day between parties so people can gain their strength back.

Anyway. Lots of stuff going on here. We've moved to the university. It's hot here, no airco. But power and a cable for every chair - very good network. I'm now listening to Gokmen who's talking about Pardus and KDE integration. On my left there is Jonathan with a beach pic of him and our BUGSQUAD mistress (we all know who she is...).

Yesterday the two PR ppl (Thomas Keup, GNOME and me) planned a cross-desktop marketing meeting. Well, it was initially planned for Thursday morning, then moved to Tuesday. Me being slightly off on Monday, I failed to notice there was the KDE e.V. meeting. No cross-desktop meeting after all.

We did have some interesting discussions while we planned the bof, and I'll try to put some of the ideas we had here (or rather, MY interpretation, don't go and kick Thomas for what I say).

The goal we have is to get a bottom-up approach in marketing for the Free Desktop. As both KDE and GNOME can do this, we wanted to discuss this together. This is not about technical plans or roadmaps - it is about getting people enthusiastic and get them to spread the word about what they love.

That's basically the point - love. Why do we love KDE or GNOME? Those reasons are different for everyone, but often emotional rather than rational. This is a well known fact - how do you get people to believe you? Focus on emotion rather than ration. So we need to know what emotions we feel and convey them to others.

According to research there are 5 important areas people are sensitive to these days:
- Persionalisation
- Emotionalisation
- Simplicity
- Eco-awareness
- Austerity (less is more)

To keep things simple, I'll group this into three, cuz personally that's how I feel about these:

So how does KDE make you happy in these area's?

For me, one of the strongest points of KDE is how personal it is - you can make it look and work any way you want. Especially plasma is very good in this department. It makes me feel like my laptop is really mine - compare it to putting a sticker on something that's yours, or painting your room, or even picking your own clothes. Wouldn't it be boring if we all were wearing the same grey clothes?

And of course a second part of this is the community - all the great people here are so cool. The new Social Desktop initiative is already bringing the KDE community to your desktop - in KDE 4.3 there is the social desktop widget showing KDE users in your neighborhood! You'd be surprised how many people within 5 kilometers of my home already are testing KDE 4.3 and run this applet.

Simplicity is there in many area's - take network management, it is far easier with the networkmanager plasmoid in KDE than on windows or mac. The same goes for many other things, and I like that a lot.

Finally, I truly believe contributing to Free Software (and just USING is contributing already and makes you a real member of the KDE community) is very important to the world. Thanks to what we do, children in Brazil and other countries all over the world have access to good education. Thanks to what we do the reliance of governments around the world on a small number of large corporations is decreased. Thanks to Free Software computers don't need to be replaced as often and use less power, helping our environment. We spread freedom in China and other countries were freedom is limited. We allow computer users around the world to take back control over their own hardware. After all, in a world where speech depends on software, Free Speech depends on Free Software*.

So. Think about this. Why do you love KDE? What is it that makes you happy? Then go and tell people about it. Tell your boyfriend, tell your girlfriend. Tell your friends, family. Boss, colleagues, competitors. The pizza boy, the cleaning lady. Everyone!

I'd love to hear some blogs about what makes you love KDE!

Another piece of Cool Stuff from GCDS:
Will Stephenson just said he was green (SUSE green, of course) with envy about the work Pardus has done on KDE integration, and he said we, as KDE community, should applaud them for it. And so we did ;-)
(their tools are integrated in plasma and systemsettings, they use KDE things like Solid and Phonon etc etc - really makes for a unique and smooth experience).

There is more talk going on about cross-distro collaboration, getting (more) tools upstream and such. I'd love that ;-)

I' working on two articles for those not here to give an impression of this conference and to tell ya'all about the cross-desktop collaboration, sit tight!

* by Don Marti jr.

06 July, 2009

GCDS day 3

I'm very surprised that the party we had last night has not been blogged about yet. It was really a great party - my head and stomach remind me of that continuously... Maybe I shouldn't have had that last beer. Or a few of the ones before. But I agree with Troy that our community rocks, and I think we did prove ourselves yesterday. Lots of KDE ppl dancing (I'm most proud of getting Praedeepto to dance). Most of the KDE Board members did their duty, only Cornelius Schumacher disappointed me and refused to dance. I tried talking to his conscience ("you have to set an example!") and his sense of honor ("look, even Sven is dancing and as Amarok dude he knows how sucky the music is") but no dice. Tried bribing him with beer (he's german... How the heck could he refuse?!?), tried to involve some others (thanks to those who tried). In the end I had to give up. So I offer 5 beer to the person who gets Cornelius to dance at one of the next parties here in GC. I do want to see it, however.

There will be another party tonight and I promise I'll be a lot nicer. I won't go around, sneaking up behind ppl and giving them a surprise hug, I won't annoy ppl by 'accidentally' bumping into them, or explain to Gnomes why KDE is a happy community using a very outdated term. As long as you guys & girls don't scream at me today, I'm in a sensitive state. Deal?

Yeah, about that state.It took me until about 15:00 to feel reasonably human again. I just started breakfast. And I wanted to do soo much today... Ah no problem, there will be more days.

Currently listening to Sebas who is trying to get some input from the community on the direction we will be taking in the future. Seems the party has afflicted a lot of damage, everyone is quiet ;-)

05 July, 2009

GCDS day 2

So much is happening here, so little time... So let's do this list-wise.

First, reasonable weather. I'm so glad it's not sunny, the humidity is killing me already. But it is windy so quite OK. Sea looks like it wants me to swim in it but I'm too busy... Still for today I brought my towel, so please someone force me to take a dip sometime today!

Second, the conference is fun and interesting. I'm planning on actually taking advantage of that today, not hiding in the press room. I'm going to let some of the local personel keep the press happy ;-)

Third, Zeitgeist. WTF? Yeah, while walking to the conference building I bumped into a Zeitgeist and a Tracker hacker ;-)

Most of the KDE-ies must have read about that stuff - seen a screenshot. Well, I didn't know the screenshot wasn't really the interesting part ;-)
Zeitgeist has two components, and the most interesting one is the underlying, low-on-dependencies (Glib & Gio, from what I understand) library. It tracks events - like Application A opens file D, Application X kills kitten Y etcetera. They're working on storing that info into tracker and creating a Nepomuk ontology for that. From what I understood they would also like to have a Qt/KDE gui for Zeitgeist. So what we need now is some KDE people interested in indexing, logging and search to get to the Zeitgeist Talk later today and more importantly the Zeitgeist BoF ;-)

Now I'm off to some talks...

01 July, 2009

same day - twice!

Whoaaah, two blogentries in one day. I'm on a stroll. And it's such a bad day. Imagine. This poor sod is sitting on his balcony (view on the sea) - no shirt, it's too hot for that. Then sudden disaster - I spill some of that icecream I'm eating on my belly. COLD! Oh boy. Luckily I brought some cold beer so this day isn't completely bad.

Ahem. I'm sure you all feel for me. Meanwhile, I had a stroll through the area around the hotel, had a chinese salad (?!?) with a beer and followed it up with a swim in the sea. That's still the Jamaican spirit, by the way, I wouldn't even have thought about swimming if I didn't enjoy it that much in Jamaica.

Here you see where it all happened...

During the evening I got a call from Holger Schroder who told me there were already people at the conference location, working on the preparation. It was quite a long walk along the beach (lot's of distractions there, beautiful nature for sure). So that's where I am right now. We've just folded a few hundred papers which are going to be put into plastic now. All the while there are various discussions going on - it seems I have some writing to do before the press conference on friday morning...

Las Palmas!

So, I've arrived at the hotel. Most of the journey went smooth. Aside from my brand new laptop suddenly scaring me with weird harddrive-related errors and a busdriver letting me wait for another bus for nothing, it was fine.

So how is it here? A bit windy, which is good considering the temperature. It's a nice island. Not very green - actually it can look surprisingly 'desert' in some area's. Very nice people, lots of ocean. And I have wifi in the hotel so what more can I ask for?

Just two days and Akademy will start. Several ppl are supposed to be here already, I'll meet a few of them for dinner tonight. Looking forward to it, didn't have time to catch up much at Linuxtag in Berlin last week.