23 May, 2008

Vision X

Last week I gave a talk at the Ubuntu Release Party in Amsterdam (NL, of course). It was fun, just like last year. And again I was surprised how much broader this meeting was than 'just' free software. Free Culture was heavily represented, and there even were talks about digital freedom/privacy projects like Little Sister (Dutch, sorry). And of course we saw Big Buck Bunny, the movie by the Blender project. I can tell you - it's a piece of art. Literally, of course, but also in the sense of 'an stunning piece of work'. Pixar couldn't have done it any better, and if you consider the resources it was done with - amazing.

As usual, my talk focussed more on the vision of the KDE project than on specific details. Of course my own interest in Innovation, both social and open (somehow that sounds funny) have quite an influence on how I see this topic. On the other hand, being in this community of course gives me at least some illusion that what I say about what the project as a whole wants is founded in reality. But a check, now and then, never hurts. I've talked about vision and future before, not too many comments that time, so now I'm gonna ask explicitly for comments.

Of course - I realize we are many. As one of your T-shirts says: different people, different ideas. But it also end with: same vision. Is that true? Do we share a vision? Does something coherent emerge from the fog-of-war surrounding the development of KDE? I believe so. Yet I really wonder what people would say if one asks them: "What is the mission of KDE?" and "What is the vision of KDE?"

So, think about it for a second. What would you say? I've dug up a 'mission statement' from a mayor company to help you think ;-)

Improve the quality of people’s lives through timely introduction of meaningful innovations.

In a world where complexity increasingly touches every aspect of our daily lives, we will lead in bringing sense and simplicity to people.


- they want MEANINGFUL innovations
- And to get there by focusing on sense and simplicity, to help people cope with increasing complexity

Now KDE. Our website states:
It is our hope and continued ambition, that KDE will bring open, reliable, stable and monopoly free computing enjoyed by scientists and computing professionals world-wide to the everyday user.

The above seems to be our mission, that's for sure. Now, how do we get there? That's where the vision comes in. How do we fulfill our mission?

Not everyone will say the same. Actually, I don't think there will be much coherency - so, do we or don't we share a vision?

I will continue this blog next time, as I'm really looking forward to your comments (and maybe even other blogs - one can dream, right?)


  1. Personally I believe so far KDE4 has ruined the good name of KDE. It's not a desktop I can recommend to friends or family anymore, it's unfinished and awkward. I feel like this desktop no longer works for my but I am a slave to it's lack of substance. Just my 2c, take it for what it's worth (2c isn't much), but thats just how I feel sorry. :(

  2. I've always believed the heart of the vision is always based in our self-interest. "Have fun creating, promoting, and maintaining software we're excited to use."

    That would be "our vision" as if the fun stopped so would the developed. You might pretty it up by saying something like "Create an exciting and thriving community for the advancement and development of blah blah blah" but that's a corporate statement.

    We're community of majoratively volunteers who are scratching itches. Our currency is emotional and I think any "vision statement" should reflect that.

    Fortunately, as you alluded to, being a community of communities there's going to be more than one vision.

  3. Ok not being able to leave well enough alone, here's a small tweak to try and capture the software and non-software aspects as well express sadness if our stuff gets used for evil to take away people's freedoms:
    "Have fun creating useful art we're excited to be used to better the planet."

  4. This reminds me of this //hitchhikers guide to the galaxy// scene where these marketing folks tried to survive … But I think that a vision statement can be smth. like a mantra.

    So it should be always a reminder of what the community stands for. Maybe there should be a survey of what KDE is used for the most -- how it infects the life of the users.

    Has a vision to be discovered or is it better to create one?


Say something smart and be polite please!