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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!

29 January, 2010

On Being Free

As I promised on an obscure mailinglist where the evil plans for KDE World Domination are being developed (and consequently rejected), I'd like to solicit some opinions in this blog about Freedom.

I'm not talking about the free-as-in-beer nor the free-as-in-speech, but the relative independence the KDE community enjoys from the influence of one or a few large corporations. Most of you probably realize that it's a rare property for a community of our size - pretty much all other communities with over a 100 developers (KDE has about 2400 active developers!) are basically run by anything from one up to 3-4 large companies with little or no volunteer input. At a recent meeting Frank, Jeff and myself had with a major manufacturer of mobile chipsets it became abundantly clear that the independence the KDE community enjoys is seen as a big plus by companies who might want to work with us.

Of course, talking with volunteers you are not seldomly reminded how they prefer their freedom. While support from a big company is nice, for many the decision making power has to be with the community, even for those employed by companies. Some say it's because it results in better decisions, others argue it is simply more satisfying to be in control. Whatever the reasons, it matters to us.

Now the KDE community certainly DOES work with big companies, and not just a few. I am compiling a list of companies active in our ecosystem, and it is impressive. Of course some are more involved than others. Some work closely with a sub community, providing incentives for specific features, like XXXX does within the Amarok community. Others have so many developers working on a specific piece of technology they almost run the whole thing, like is the case with KDAB and KDE PIM. Of course, especially in the latter case, the question might come up: to what extend is this community still independent? The answer might be a difficult one, however just asking around gives you a decent idea. The companies around KDE PIM (yes, not just one) put serious thought and effort in keeping the community in control, working with and not behind or over them, supporting and attending meetings and sponsoring several developers.

So despite the corporate input we receive, we still are largely independent and in control, and we'd like to keep it that way. Basically, that gives us two ways forward:
- don't work with commercial parties anymore than we already do, and maybe even tone it down here and there. Effecively keeping our community as it is - volunteer based. Of course organical growth is possible, esp considering that we grow by about 300 (mostly volunteer) developers per year...
- figure out what exactly it is which keeps us independent and keep an eye on those factors while proceeding to work with (more) commercial parties.

In my opinion, the community needs to think and decide how comfortable and happy they are with working with (more) companies in the first place. It might surprise you but there are people with vastly different ideas about this than you might have. We need to get those opinions on the table, and decide, as a community (or as sub communities!) where to go from here.

To help with that, I'd like to make the second option a real posibility: proceeding with increasing corporate collaboration to grow and improve our products while staying independent in terms of decision making. For that we need to figure out 'what keeps us sane', about which I'll be writing my next blog. For now, any input, ideas and discussion are welcome!

28 January, 2010

25 January, 2010

ramblings on the USA

This country continues to surprise me. Take the concept of lite beer, bringing the taste of this beverage to a new low. Or the fastfoodizing of practically every kind of food you can imagine. And at the same time - fruit and vegetable snack trays in the supermarkets which must be scary healthy to some. Amazing.

Van Camp KDE 2010 - Banana Bungalows, THE place to be in San Diego :D

Then the breakfast - I've had sandwiches with peanut butter and jelly every day, certainly something crazy I'm gonna keep around. However, I won't ever even contemplate having a breakfast at a restaurant around here. I tried an American breakfast 2 years ago in San Fran, and since then I know it's not for me. Way overkill, I'd consider the average breakfast here a heavy dinner... I've even skipped several dinners as the 'lunch' I had was just too much.

Van Camp KDE 2010 - get your FLU shot at the supermarket. ?!?

But of course, I really love the people here in California. The dudes & dudettes at the hostel - so relaxed, chill... Great conversations about the weirdest stuff can happen at any time, people come in with beer and other stuff - happily sharing everything. Just great.

Right now I'm behind my laptop while to my right the gang is gearing up for party mode - loud but pretty OK music, lite beer (I'm having one, gggggh) and some fruit I brought. Good times.

Pic to the beer here. Yes, I'm on facebook (finally). If you can convince me I like you feel free to invite me as your new best friend.

Friday, Frank Chani and me went on a shopping spree after a nice lunch and some walking on the beach. We took a cab, and the Somalian taxi driver asked where we were from. When he received a phone call, he suddenly put the phone in my hand, and lo and behold - the first Dutch I heard in about 2 weeks on the other side of the line... Turned out the friend of the taxi driver had been living in the Netherlands for a few years, in the kind-of rural area of Tiel to be precise. World is small, ej.

From Camp KDE 2010 - Weird sealife friday morning

Then came the shopping, which was fun (I like shopping). New levi's (darn cheap over here), a jacket, some shirts and new sunglasses (the previous pair was broken by Troy when he pretended to hug me, remember?). And I went to a Body Shop to buy something for my mom - I already brought some beer for my dad so it seemed reasonable to grab something for her too. I don't really remember how it happened, but when I stepped out I suddenly realized I just bought about 50 bucks worth of scrubby, smelly and oily stuff... Will make mommy very happy. At least I hope so, as she shouldn't count on more gifts this year.

That evening we had food at Ricks, where Marcus just happened to have dinner with his wife and kid... He stayed for a beer with us and joined us that evening at Banana bungalows.

From Camp KDE 2010 more sea stuff, this time me and Frank ate it...

Saturday morning Frank and Chani left and around 15:00 Wade suddenly appeared at Banana Bungalows, looking for me. Took the ppl downstairs a while to figure out who he was looking for - until he mentioned that I'm Dutch. Oooh, the Dutch guy, of course, he's upstairs... Somehow I left an impression. Must be my orange t-shirt, hehe.

From Camp KDE 2010 - More cute than babies...

Wade and Molly took me on a tour of San Diego - we went to a hilly spot where you could see San Diego, we saw baby seals and had dinner in an excellent and pricey place. Had an truly excellent night. "Peggy" took excellent care of us (interesting to have the waitress introduce herself to you...)

Van Camp KDE 2010 - Wade & Molly. Aren't they a cute couple?

Last day (monday) I had to stop by Macey's on my way to the airport. The cassier had forgotten to remove the electronic safety tingy from my jacket :(

And now I'm finishing this blog in the plane, flying over Texas. Will go and look out of the window now for a while, have a nice day all. Oh, and can I say I love my new noise-cancelling headphones? If only they had a "cancel out stupid girls talking while sitting behind me" knob.

Last days at Camp KDE 2010

Now everyone is gone, I'm the lone wolf here in San Diego. Still working on a couple of loose ends, including the final article (which is next on my todo, after I've done this blog and done some stuff for Qualcomm as we promised during our meeting).

I knew the esp the first to articles were long and booooring - al talks, little fun. This time I'll do better, I promise.

You can expect an epic tale of hackers risking their lifes to get to the university while the streets were flooded, only to arrive in a place threatened by two dragons and a few too-cute babies. And more flooding. If it wasn't for the good care of Jeff we'd have been without beer, snacks and wifi...

So expect an article tomorrow around this time on the dot.

Meanwhile I'm uploading my final pics to Picasa:
Camp KDE 2010

21 January, 2010


A kind soul (Hosein-LS from pointed out to me that this persian KDE wiki page has some wickedly cool looking Release Counters:


Two pretty pics:
KDE SC 4.4 Release Counter

KDE SC 4.4 Release Counter

Basically, the text could probably be improved, probably using our 'be free' slogan, saying X days to release of KDE SC 4.4 and Be Free with KDE SC 4.4 or something. But we'll surely rock anyone with the new release ;-)

Either way, I don't know anything else about who did this besides the fact they DID - as I don't read farsi/persian, but I do wanna say: you guys and girls rock, please rock on!

(and do send me an email and get in contact, esp if you plan on doing more stuff like this hehe. google will tell you my email as I'm horribly uncarefull with it)

20 January, 2010

not about camp!

Between the Camp blogs something I think we should seriously have a look at:

The OpenSource for America team is working on a set of guidelines for the different government agencies to help them with their mandated Open Government Plan by April the 7th.

I know life is busy, but this is really worth a good look and input. Having good guidelines helps the US government set up a decent Open government, improving service for its citizens while benefiting the wider world. In other words, a very good thing! So if you have experience with open policies at either government or companies, spend a while on these guidelines and pour some of that knowledge in them.

17 January, 2010

camping KDE 2010

I'm pretty tired but I did upload new pictures and added descriptions to them. Find them here:

A few highlights:

Chani being eaten by William

Till showing how you can give relaxed talks

The gang preparing presentations and mingling with the local crowd (while finishing my 1.75 litre bottle of rum. It was empty at the end of the night so saturday we bought two)

The crowd at the conference...

Hanging on the beach (friday during the day)

Tonight we had mexican food.

15 January, 2010

Just before Camp KDE 1

As promised (but a bit late) here's one more blog about thursday (prepare-for-conference-day1)

As I said we went to the venue for the Camp KDE conference yesterday, and below an image of the room & Jeff & the local guy organizing it (sorry, forgot his name):
Van Camp KDE 2010

Upstairs are these computer screend with a camara which tracks sound. I was making the click sound with my fingers to make it focus me instead of jeff (who was talking). Weird thing. You can let it make a picture of you and put it on the web by moving your hand into a square it projects over your image... Which I promptly did, of course. Privacy be screwed!
Van Camp KDE 2010

And below the trunk of the car after we went for shopping. Rest assured we'll take good care of all ya visitors to Camp :D
Van Camp KDE 2010

Today Frank and me were up early and went shopping. We've just returned from "Ralph's" and are being geeky. Weather is good, as the picture below probably makes clear (check the cool sunglasses)!
Van Camp KDE 2010

CampKDE SD 2

Today - was up early (duh) to work on some articles for the dot and other stuff, tried to get online but that didn't work that well. Luckily they fixed the wireless later that day, it's great now. And so is the wireless at the university, btw so our basic needs are catered to (there is also power).

It turned into a busy day - been to the university to talk to some ppl and check things out, then moved on to buying snacks and other stuff at a few shops. Now we're going out to get Frank Karlitschek at the airport and find us some food ;-)

For those coming by plane - the directions on the website about the shuttles is wrong. The one they recommend doesn't exist anymore but if you walk out of the exit doors of the airfield, cross the street, there's a booth or something where they help you. You can get any of the other shuttles, ask the lady or guy there. Costs about 25 dollars...

Will blog more later today (if I find time)...

14 January, 2010

USA-yihaaa again

Apart from the customs delaying me enough to let me miss my next flight (I had almost 3 hours transfer time, damnit!), the USA's been treating me well. The usual very nice people - somebody pointing me to the right gate, lady at the gate putting me on top of the list of ppl to get spare seats in the next flight to San Diego, and then a taxi driver showing me around. I know, there are all these horrible things when it comes to the USA, from them choosing Bush up to 4 times, the (anti) terrorism stuff, the bombing of people pretty much all around the world. Environment. Politics. Yeah yeah. But they're nice people! Really, in person, I like 'em. At least in California I do...

Beach at night

So after traveling and working in the plane on some feature guide stuff I arrived at Banana Bungalows in San Diego. Well heck. The organizing team did it again - like in Jamaica, this place is pretty much ON the beach... And it's really a surfers dream (of course I don't give a sh*t about surfing - like any sport it can't rattle me for a sec). But a nice room for a decent price, in a good spot, I can appreciate that. Looking forward to seeing the university where we'll work!

At night (ok, it felt like night but it was like 18:00) I went for a stroll, then came back to the hotel for my laptop and went out for dinner. Yes, with my lappy, I didn't expect the service to be that fast...

I went to a place which calls itself "World Famous". Seriously. Not sure if they are (well, they probably have a website...) but they made me wanna support greenpeace. Provided Greenpeace wants to protect the sharks. I do, to preserve that taste for future generations... It's bloody well worth it. Tastes a bit like a combination of fish and mamal, a very smooth, soft kind of meat. Really nice. They had a kind of sweet sauce with it, which I didn't particularly like, and I decided to keep to the seasoning.


Anyway, those visiting Camp KDE and staying at Banana bungalow - go to the beach, walk left and you'll see it at your left hand. Isn't far, but it's pretty good :D

Of course it has the usual (in the US) nice service and the beer... well, I haven't slept in 20 hours and the last time I DID sleep it was pretty short so you can imagine I can't say much about that. Especially because while I ordered a lager they gave me a white beer. Probably a good idea considering my condition.

Anywayzz. I'm off to bed, just a few things to finish and commit and it's g'night all and see ya soon!

Oh check Camp KDE 2010 for my images ;-) I'll upload them every now and then. Wireless here ain't fast but I'll try at least :D

Edit: in the morning it ain't very warm but as you see it looks OK out here ;-)

Beach at early morning ;-)

11 January, 2010

Who is KDE (once more with feeling)

A while ago I expressed my appreciation for all the cool blogs out there. And my sadness when it comes to my limited language knowledge - lots of interesting KDE writers and even whole communities out there I can't understand at all.

One thing which came out of that is that there seems a need for a site. If anyone with a little php skills (but mostly time) feels like setting it up - please let me know. We can just modify slightly and copy it...

Another thing which came out of this is an email from Anselmo pointing me to what is going on on a few spanish blogs and sites. Unfortunately I need google translate to read them but it's still very much worth a look.

* Espacio KDE - google translate. This one is written by a guy in Mexico. It's a lovely Oxygen themed site with excellent content, the latest article is about Marble. The article about KCM touchpad was new to me, and I'm really looking forward to this in the default KDE SC installation. I'd sure love a bit more info about it ;-)

* KDE blog - google translate - from Spain, not in Latin America. Good content according to Anselmo and indeed, it is. The latest post is about video's from youtube about KDE software, pointing to this wonderful little gem. Maybe I should discourage you all from watching as it is timeconsuming (I do like the ksnapshot one as I use that tool quite often);-)

Let me further quote Anselmo:

There is a new group in Chile (their websiteisn't ready yet) and in Argentina (google translate), people are reorganizing the community. And for a better integration, a mailing list was created for the whole latin american KDE community (kde-latam).

Here in Brazil, besides the developers you may already know, guys from KDE-MG (MG = Minas Gerais, a Brazilian state) and KDE-BA (BA = Bahia, another state) are doing a great work in promotion.

Combine this with the recent Latinoware conference in Brazil, which had a visit from some KDE people who came away incredibly impressed - it seems the center of gravity is shifting ;-)

The plasma team is already experiencing this, as they have a few very active Brazillians on the team. And promo is being infiltrated as we speak ;-)

As usual, this blog isn't only to make you all spend more time on the web but of course I want to invite anyone who has some spare time to help out. Either by helping to set up or contribute time and ideas to get us all closer to each other - no matter what language we speak or what continent we live in!

08 January, 2010

Release party in NL


Some might have noticed there are release parties being planned for the KDE SC 4.4 release ;-)

Anyone up to organizing one in NL (check here)? I just don't feel like cleaning my house (will take me well into march to get it clean enough to welcome visitors)...

Meanwhile, we're gearing up to the 4.4 release with the first Release Candidate. If you feel like some writing about what's new - please send me an email or the kde-promo mailinglist. Really, we can use some help on the feature guide...

04 January, 2010

Happy new year

To all ya KDE'sters and gearheads and even to those who happen to read my blog and don't give a you-know-what about KDE: Happy new year!

At first I decided against blogging about the new year. I could have been writing about the great plans for KDE marketing (including our work on the 4.4 release). After all, there were all these visionary and introspective blogs by Aaron and Richard. But I would have felt kind of forced to mention the new year party I went to - and when sober, i just don't feel like telling anyone.

Luckily, I just had a new year 'borrel' from work, including an 'Andre Hazes' tribute singer (most dutch readers now feel a shiver up their spines). And luckily there was beer, so my reservations just dissolved. Here you go: this is how I looked from 31 '09 10:30 to 1 '10 4:00.

Van new year party in utrecht

Other images on my picasa account, yes. Including pretty pirates, pilots and a space princess. I was a light bulb. A Philips one, to be exact. The story behind it has to do with me being like 8 or 9. We had to do a 'werkstuk' (like a paper) for primary school. Of course popular subjects were things like "my goldfish" and "Ponies". I was stupid enough to choose the company Philips. No idea why, it's too long ago - but the result was that from then on everyone on school refered to me as "the Philips light bulb".

So when I went to a new year party with the theme "what you wanted to be when you were little" I felt I had to conquer my past ;-)

Still, it actually resulted in a lot of fun. And champain, 2-3 bottles of that too. So I wish ya all to have at least half as much fun on your average day in 2010 as I had on the night of old-to-new year ;-)

Just don't drink 1-2 bottles of champain each day. They tell me it's unhealthy.