30 June, 2012

keynote by Agustin Benito Bethencourt at Akademy

Agustin wanted to talk about success. Times are a tad uncertain now - in the economy, in software and in the KDE ecosystem. It's good to be aware of how well we've been doing over the last 15 years and how well we are positioned for the next decades!

Success story 1

Active patience

We now have an open development process around Qt. Once upon a time, nobody believed that to be even remotely possible - it was not even free software. But we knew how the Qt people wanted the things we wanted and we had the patience to wait and quietly keep pushing. And now - the unexpected happened. This will have a pervasive effect on our infrastructure. We (and others!) can now more easily take Qt in other directions, do new things!

The lesson is, in the words of a Chinese proverb: Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.

Success story 2


KDE is first class in getting new, young people involved and educating them. Our contributors are from a variety of cultures, students or established developers - we all work and learn together. And being involved in KDE you learn a lot. Once you start working in companies you will notice how much you've learned in KDE. And that should make you confident that those who will take over in the future, also part of this community, will be ready for it.

Success story 3


As a 'loose' bunch of volunteers, we're doing incredible work. Most companies in 'our business' do a far worse job at developing products with often far more resources.

Success story 4


We're becoming better and better at becoming business incubators. More and more entrepreneurs step up in KDE and start new, cool, innovative businesses. We're proud to be part of a community where innovations can go somewhere!

Success story 5


We're capable of developing and executing on a vision. Take KDE 4! We've embarked on that vision seven (!!) years ago and today - while it is not perfect yet - we've gotten very close. Most of the plans we decided on are implemented and have come into reality. All that without investments of millions and millions by large companies. We did the impossible!

There are people out there who have their own ideas and projects and who want to be part of KDE, develop under our umbrella, our vision and who join us. This tells us we're on a path to a bright future: we're not just open to people, but there are projects outside who recognize our clear vision and the fact that we deliver.

Success story 6

Experience Innovating
People see how hard it is to stay in the tech business for a long time. You see that with many companies. Yet, we're 15 years old, yet we are still doing new, innovative things. What we do is completely different from what we did, but we still do it with the same spirit and energy than when we started. And Agustin is confident that in 10 years we'll still be approaching entirely new challenges with that same energy!

KDE's future depends basically on US.

These 6 examples (and we haven't even talked about design, the project and code, design or many other things) tell you something about KDE: we have a bright future!

We've gotten to a point in which most limitations we're facing come from inside, things we need to and can change. Not from outside but under our control! There is little out there that can stop us from being successful for another 15 years!

(Agustin holding a Plasma Active tablet) Innovation does happen right here!


  1. People don't really care that much about innovation. They want a reliable desktop to serve their needs. Realism triumphs. KDE should not even have tried "the impossible" but make realistic steps forward.

    1. You're saying KDE should not strive to be ahead of anyone else, just copy what the proprietary desktops do. Make a reliable, polished version of the latest Windows release?

      I would not claim that that would be a great product - but it won't make anyone use it (after all, why not use Windows then? It will always be ahead and it does allow you to run your Windows apps). Nor will it be interesting to work on - so there won't be many developers for it, making it even worse.

      So a nice idea in theory but in practice - it won't work. Creating boring products happens to be boring work and result in a boring thing that nobody really wants. That is reality, too ;-)

  2. +1 Jos. KDE needs to innovate and differentiate as much as possible. Frankly speaking, KDE is never going to appeal to those who a) still hold a grudge against moving away from KDE3..(jeez it's 2012 now...!) or b) insist that any good Linux DE needs to be absolutely spartan and minimalist. Reading any knock on KDE from comments across the 'Net usually fall into one of those two camps.

    KDE is NOT Gnome and certainly not a 'window manager'. It's a very robust and diverse Community using cutting-edge tool sets and technologies to create new ways of allowing computers to not only 'get things done', but to help enrich our lives by proving a better overall experience in how we use and interact with our computers.

    That's my two cents. BTW - Long time, no speak. Hope you are well!


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