05 June, 2013

Akademy for everybody

About six weeks from now the yearly KDE conference 'Akademy' will kick off in Bilbao, Spain! Looking forward to that. I had to ramble a bit on why I think it's worth going there. And a tip for if you still have to book!

Have not booked yet?

Aw, I was late, and I'm paying the price, in terms of money and convenience. There's work and family and in my case a dose of always-lateness with this stuff that got in the way. Probably not different for others. But keep in mind - I never met anybody who who was sorry they went through the trouble of going to Akademy! It's worth it...

Relevant

Akademy is relevant, useful and fun above and beyond just another Free Software event. Seriously. Even in a world of Android, KDE still builds major Free Desktop stuff. Think about Krita going places lately. Think about how KDE PIM still is arguably the only serious Free enterprise-ready mail-calendar-etc solution on the market. There is plenty more at the event: KParts might get a successor, we move forwards with new task-centered UI paradigms, we move to new devices and more.

Directions

Akademy is important for setting directions. We don't all agree on where KDE is going and that's why we meet. To SET goals and CHECK expectations. That is hard to do over mailing lists, blogs, social media and all that - so we need to talk in person. We're doing new things and it takes a while, often a long while, to get stuff together. We have to address misconceptions, improve common understanding, find out why we disagree. And this works, we're making progress! Nepomuk is now getting the love it needed and same for KDE PIM, the Plasma team can finally implement their ambitious plans without the technical limitations of old thanks to QMLv2 and openGL etc etc.

And I'm betting that those who think KDE is doing the wrong thing actually have arguments and reasons for that. Are these reasons so vague and unconvincing that nobody will listen? Or would the KDE folk be so stubborn they wouldn't listen to obvious facts? That is either under-estimating who-ever-disagrees or the 300-odd KDE contributors. And both, I think, are undeserving of that.

Family

Akademy is about more than listening to talks or giving them. Even if you haven't had time or motivation to contribute, if you didn't agree with one thing or another or got yelled at by (or did yell at) somebody, does that matter? KDE is family: family has plenty of disagreements and fights, yet in the end, you all hug and make it up to each other, yes? Being at Akademy is not just about learning new things and deciding on the future of what we do (and, to a large degree, where Free Software for end users is going) but it is also about meeting, having energizing and inspiring conversations, learning from each other, sharing great ideas. Something we all enjoy, don't we?

Booking

I'm sure there'll be a lot of people at Akademy but I think that should include you... Now, about the booking. It will be hard to get a hotel room, esp if you need space for two people, I'm afraid... I booked the first 3 days (Thursday-Friday-Saturday) for a painfully high price in the Holiday Inn Express Bilbao and the rest in RÍA DE BILBAO which is far cheaper.

And last but not least, if you're going to Akademy and want to make sure all relevant people are there, be sure to talk to those you'd like to have a chat with, convince them to go! And perhaps add the awesome going to Akademy badges to your blog or website!