Didn't blog in a while... Indeed the end of 2011 was hectic lots happening (both at work and in the community) so almost no time to write about it. Despite Christmas and the New Year I didn't take vacations in December, I admit I'm now a bit tired.
Anyway, the last few months were awesome, as I said: lots happening. So let's
take a look in this post at the latest endeavours I participated in be it
technical or community work.
Akademy-fr / Capitole du Libre
This event was grouped inside the Capitole du Libre with an Ubuntu Party, a DrupalCamp and two tracks of conferences on Free Culture. As usual, the whole Toulibre LUG was a great support to organize such activities.
The first day, we managed to fit two tracks of talks in Akademy-fr itself, one oriented toward contributors, the other meant for users. It was a nice success overall even though we maybe suffered a bit from the user track of the Capitole du Libre for our own track. That's understandable and something to fix for later. We also had a booth where we demoed the different productions of KDE. Using one of the Exo-PC with Plasma Active on it was just great to attract people, it is also great to show such a device next to a Plasma Desktop powered computer as it helps illustrating how coherent thoses workspaces are together (activites being pervasive concepts, same widgets to operate the devices, etc.).
The second (and last) day of Akademy-fr and Capitole du Libre was dedicated to workshops and labs. I think it was a really nice idea and we should keep it for the next edition. There was a bit less attendance, such workshops are more involving and requires to engage more with the community so it's understandable they can be a bit more frightening. Still, it was just great to get people trained on how to make a proper bug report, how to make their own Calligra plugins and such.
Of course, the real plus of this event is that most of the french KDE contributors showed up, we also got "pure-Qt" french contributors around. Funnily, all of KDAB France showed up in the end. Anyway, it was really nice to gang with already known faces again, but also to finally meet some people we only heard of so far.
Thanks to the sponsors who made this event possible. Also, thanks to everyone who helped, held a talk, or simply attended: you made the event a success! Finally, I'd like to give a special thanks to Aleix Pol who traveled from Spain to talk about Akademy-es and KDE España (which are both nice inspiration for us).
PS: I finally uploaded the handful of pictures I took during Akademy-fr 2011
Lot's happened around Zanshin which led to its first proper release. Most notably it got its own website now, and we fixed bugs like crazies leading to the release of 0.2.0 the day before Akademy-fr (although the public announcement was done only the week after).
It's also interesting to see it picked up by packagers, and now it is available on most of the major Linux distributions and on Windows. Hopefully it will sooner or later reach Mac OS as well, it has been reported to build and run by a couple of users but there's no official packaging for it yet.
The community around Zanshin also grew a bit, with a couple of contributors gettings in. I'm looking forward to see their influence inside the project. Nice ideas floating around at the moment. We'll have to implement those ideas incrementally of course otherwise the next release will be one of those long cycles again but I'd love to see shorter cycles for Zanshin now.
After a period of some slow down, the KDE Frameworks is picking up again. I volunteered to help with the stewardship of that effort which led to some discussions and the creation of a wiki to track KDE Frameworks state.
It's obviously still on-going so the wiki needs to be improved, but it helped quite a bit already in decision making and figuring out where we are headed and where we want to be.
On the people side, we're getting contributions in but more importantly as we make kdelibs more modular we're finding volunteers to maintain the newly created library. It think that beyond the technical side of KDE Frameworks this trend is a very important one to nurture.
Indeed, the number of maintainers in kdelibs has been only a few for a very long time, and even though we have people interested in it they don't necessarily commit to be maintainers. With the modularization it is apparently less scary to step up to take care of one of the modules created, they're well identified, have a given scope and so on. Less unknowns then leads to less fear.
I find interesting how the motivation for KDE Frameworks was mainly technical, but is apparently changing the structure of the community. My take is that it will lead to a somewhat similar organization to the Qt Project. Only time will tell anyway, but it's fascinating to be a direct witness of the on-going evolution.
KDE Toulouse & Monthly Hacking Sessions
The KDE Monthly Hacking Sessions are just running as usual, we keep having this monthly get together on saturdays people carrying on their work, but also having a talk or a workshop in the morning. Thanks to Benjamin Port and Jean-Nicolas Artaud strong involvement, this activity is more secure than ever not being completely dependent on me being available and relaxing constraints on my own schedule. Thanks for that guys! It helps the whole group having enough energy to undertake other activities (like the Akademy-fr above). Say no to burn-out, distribute work! :-)
We had less people attending the sessions at the end of 2011, probably in part because of Akademy-fr being around the corner by then. There was also some other factors but we have plan to fix that. January's session, held yesterday was the proof of the continuing interest in those monthly events, we had another of those high attendance rate of the good old days. It was even further improved thanks to Akademy-fr. Indeed, we met Romain Perier who attended the conference in November and we were delighted to have him motivated enough to volunteer for holding the workshop part yesterday, travelling just for the day to do it! Thanks a lot Romain! It was really nice to have you around, hope to see you soon again.
Toulouse University Involvement
Bad news there... this activity came to a halt. We saw it coming for a while, but last year was the last time our projects and teaching to run with the IUP ISI (the course of study whose director, Henri Massié, trusted us to do a good job there). Indeed, after a few years of political games (mostly driven from the ministry as far as I can tell), all the "IUP" type of courses of studies disappeared. The IUP ISI was one of the last to carry the torch...
I thought I'd just carry on with another course of study this year. But I have to admit this abrupt ending and the way it happened (nasty details I'll spare you) just hit my motivation more than I expected. So somehow I still have to recover from it, but I have some leads and potential contacts to maybe setup something again for 2012-2013. Let's see if I manage to revive that activity. Apparently, after seven years of efforts to nurture that collaboration, I'm back to square one. Challenge accepted!
On the brighter side though, I got invited to a whole day seminar in Paris early February to discuss and share with people on the topic of University/Free Software Communities collaboration for student projects and teaching. Nice opportunity to meet with people having similar aims and share on alternative setups to the one we had in Toulouse. Really looking forward to this event.
What's coming next?
Well, I don't plan much ahead and I'm not the type of guy taking "good resolutions" in january every year (I just try to improve as I go). Still... from the waves around me, my own motivation at the moment and some other factors I think I can forecast a bit of what's coming.
Obviously I expect new Zanshin releases, at least two. Zanshin 0.2.1 should appear soonish as mentionned earlier. And then we'll roll toward Zanshin 0.3 which will be the release where Zanshin gets more of the missing basic features making it really useful.
I also expect the first KDE Frameworks release. Quite some work needed still, but I have a target date in mind that I think we can reach... No, I won't share it yet. :-)
Maybe I'll also get through the necessary mourning and administrative steps to setup a new University/KDE collaboration in Toulouse.
And last but not least I expect our monthly sessions to go on as usual. It's just great to have a small team of people helping with the local promotion, I'd like to see it grow more to spread even more love. Despite the current team size it's very likely we'll pull another Akademy-fr, but this time truely focused on the contributors needs, while the end-user aspects would be completely provided by talks and workshops of the upcoming Capitole du Libre 2012.
And so that concludes my last look back at 2011. Time to look forward again, lots to tackle still. :-)
Only a few days left before the Desktop Summit 2011, I'm really looking forward to wander around in Berlin again. I'm excited and almost counting hours before my flight out on friday morning! Yes, I'll be there:
And I'm not just attending, I'm also giving a talk on monday during the afternoon (3:20pm to 3:50pm). It's titled "We're a family" and it's a look back at the efforts I put into a Community/University collaboration in Toulouse for the past few years. I had talks around that topic already for an Akademy, but this one is going to be special for two reasons.
First, it'll be much less about the organizational challenges such a collaboration carries than the human impacts it can generate. Here it'll really be about showing the bonds it created among the people participating in this collaboration, and the opportunities it created for the students in the community projects. It will also cover the local and global influences those students had on the community.
Second, the course of study where this collaboration was taking place is closing... Right now it's not yet clear if the students projects we had in the past will still be possible. So this talk is really a wrap up about what happened in Toulouse for the past few years, and probably a "goodbye". Even if we manage to create a new collaboration somehow, this talk marks the end of an era. That's why we tried and managed to line up several generation of students related to this adventure. We'll have a lot to share, but maybe not enough time for all the most juicy secrets. ;-)
So, if you're looking for some laugh, tears, and insights on such a Community/University collaboration, hopefully it'll be the right talk to attend. Don't miss it!
On my side I'm putting the finishing touch to the talk, and of course it'll be ready on time.
Disclaimer: An exceptional post in french, likely the last one for a while though... Et voilà... C'est déjà passé, la keynote du vendredi soir s'est bien déroulée, j'ai plutôt eu de bon retours à son sujet. Le cocktail qui a suivi était très réussi grâce aux volontaires sur place. Le samedi après-midi nous avons simplement été pris d'assaut. Les salles étaient pleines, et la piste contributeurs a eu plus de succès que prévu! Nous avons même dû permuter les salles pour pouvoir caser tout le monde. Nous avons eu d'excellents retours des orateurs qui sont visiblement content de l'accueil. Je gage que le repas de cloture le samedi soir a aidé pour cette opinion: Quoi qu'ils en soit, c'est très encourageant et motivant pour recommencer. Maintenant nous allons faire notre possible pour essayer de mettre les vidéos des conférences en ligne le plus vite possible... stay tuned. Et bien sûr, je tiens encore une fois à remercier nos sponsors (Capgemini, KDAB et Qt) ainsi que les bénévoles de l'association Toulibre sans qui cet événement n'aurait pas vu le jour.
Disclaimer: Yet another of those somewhat exceptionnal post in french. :-) Et voilà, le grand jour est enfin là... La journée va doucement (en fait plutôt "rapidement", elle est bien remplie) vers la conférence d'ouverture de ce soir. Pour ceux qui n'auraient pas suivi: Centre Culturel Bellegarde, Toulouse, 20h. Soyez là! Plus que quelques flyers à récupérer, les petit four pour le cocktail, transporter le merchandising et le matériel de démo voilà ce qui va occuper une partie de ma journée. Les autres tâches sont sous la responsabilité de bénévoles de l'association Toulibre qui font un boulot formidable. L'autre partie de ma journée, je vais la passer à l'Université, il se trouve qu'aujourd'hui tombe aussi la dernière réunion projet avec mes étudiants. Ils vont défendre le travail réalisé, qui je dois le dire a été de bonne qualité cette année. Mais je ne pourrai pas m'attarder cette année, je devrai repartir au plus vite vers Bellegarde pour notre conférence. Les autres orateurs sont en chemin, et demain samedi ils prennent le relai pour une après-midi de conférences. J'ai hâte de voir ce que cela va donner! Pour plus d'informations sur l'événement: http://www.toulibre.org/kde46 Et pour le programme complet du samedi:http://www.toulibre.org/kde46programme_19mars_2011
Disclaimer: Again, an exceptional post in french and again, my apologies to non-francophone Planet KDE readers. ;-) Nous y sommes, plus moyen de revenir en arrière (et franchement qui le voudrait??), tout est en place pour demain. La KDE Release Party 4.6 à Toulouse démarre dans environ 28 heures (au moment où j'écris ces lignes). Les premiers orateurs vont arriver demain après-midi (pour ceux qui ne vivent pas sur Toulouse), il me reste quelque détails à régler pour ma keynote, et j'ai reçu quelques petites choses par transporteurs que nous nous ferons un plaisir de distribuer demain soir juste avant de passer au cocktail. ;-) Pour plus d'informations sur l'événement: http://www.toulibre.org/kde46 Et pour le programme complet du samedi: http://www.toulibre.org/kde46programme_19mars_2011 Et bien sûr, je tiens encore une fois à remercier nos sponsors (Capgemini, KDAB et Qt) ainsi que les bénévoles de l'association Toulibre sans qui cet événement n'aurait pas vu le jour.
Disclaimer: As an exception this post will be in french since it's mostly relevant to people understanding french. Still, it's pretty much relevant to the KDE community. Expect a couple more such posts before friday, my apologies in advance to non-francophone Planet KDE readers. ;-) Nous sommes donc à seulement quelques jours de la KDE Release Party 4.6 à Toulouse! Les préparatifs vont bon train, et à part quelques détails mineurs tout est prêt pour tenir deux jours de conférences. J'ai vraiment hâte d'y être, je vais tenir la keynote le vendredi soir, et le samedi nous aurons des conférences pendant l'après-midi... Nous avons la chance d'avoir la crème des contributeurs français présents le samedi, avec un excellent programme, il y en aura pour tous les goûts aussi bien pour les contributeurs que pour les utilisateurs. De plus, toutes les conférences seront filmées, et nous espérons les mettre en ligne assez vite après la fin de l'évènement. Enfin, en marge des conférences il sera possible de rencontrer et de discuter avec les contributeurs français de la communauté. Nous aurons la chance d'avoir des piliers toulousains de la communauté comme Jean-Nicolas Artaud (Calligra) et Anne-Marie Mahfouf (KDE Edu) qui ont déjà annoncés leur présence. Pour plus d'informations sur l'événement: http://www.toulibre.org/kde46 Et pour le programme complet du samedi: http://www.toulibre.org/kde46programme_19mars_2011 Et bien sûr, je tiens à remercier nos sponsors (Capgemini, KDAB et Qt) ainsi que les bénévoles de l'association Toulibre sans qui cet événement n'aurait pas vu le jour.
Once again I didn't blog in a while... In particular I didn't blog about this year project students even if they got covered once in the commit digest. Now we're two weeks away from the official end of those projects, so I thought it might be a good idea to show some of their accomplishment.
This year we experimented with a project starting from scratch, and apparently we had some demand for a copy of an old famous game... hence why now we have Kapman! It's kicking and alive, it's in a pretty good shape already so maybe it'll be able to enter kdegames in 4.1. Of course it's all SVG based so you can freely resize it (artists wanted!).
We also poked the good old Kscd... Our team made quite a lot of improvements in there. In particular it's now fully themable using SVG (artists wanted!), and uses MusicBrainz to identify discs. Of course it also got the expected KDE4 refactoring: it got ported to Phonon and Solid.
Ksirk is one of those games we have in playground for quite some time. One of our team has been working on it to improve its quality and make it releasable... It's definitely getting there. They mainly worked on improving its usability and that shows in my opinion. At least now I feel like I could play with it for hours. :-)
Last but not least, this year we got a team working on Kopete. They did an awesome job, it's harder to demo or to make a screenshot for it, but they mainly focused on integrating support for UPnP and for the new live messenger protocol. On the UI front it looks less impressive, but I'm very proud of this team, they definitely had the hardest project to work on and learned a lot. Since I had no screenshot to offer, here is a picture of today's "Kopete Gang of Four" who attended the hacking session:
A few words on the hacking sessions...
Of course, after last year projects we kept the good habit of having KDE Hacking Sessions in Toulouse, we even have now a few people who are coming regularly... the community is definitely growing here. And during the student projects we have an unusual amount of my students showing up. ;-)
Missing on the picture: Thibault Normand who arrived later, and Alexis Menard who is unfortunately sick today.
Last week-end we had the release event in Toulouse, it has been the only french event and that's why I decided not to go to Mountain View. On friday evening we had a long user oriented talk with some bits of Aaron's keynote, followed by a cocktail and a merchandising booth. It's been a real success, I expected not more than 20 or 30 people... but it turned out that the room was full, some people had to stay outside. Also I was the one giving the talk, and I think I didn't screw up from the questions I had after the talk and people reactions. Of course, I played our first KDE Commercial, especially since it's been secretly done by a couple of people in Toulouse. They really did a great job in my opinion.
On saturday, we had technical conferences for the whole day. We had a really nice bunch of speakers. Aurélien Gâteau, David Faure and Lauren Montel travelled in Toulouse just for this event and give talks. We also had our local gems: Anne-Marie Mahfouf and Alexis Ménard. I also gave a couple of talks. The atmosphere was quite nice, people had interesting questions and David even implemented a feature request almost in realtime (after screwing up his desktop).
We (the speakers) ended up the saturday evening in a restaurant, Aux Fils de l'Aligot, were we had an excellent regional food. Laurent and David didn't knnow what aligot is so we had to help them discover it. Too bad Aurélien had to leave in the afternoon... next time Aurélien you'll have your share of food too. ;-)
Finally, I'd like to thanks all the people who made this two days event possible:
- our sponsors, C&S and KDAB;
- all the speakers who made this event possible;
- all the people from Toulibre who were really supportive;
- Michel Saliba who spent hours coordinating the necessary work to subtitle Aaron's keynote;
- and a special thanks to Alexis who really did a great job organizing this, he was so active I didn't have much left to do. :-)
It's really nice to see how the Toulouse community pulled such an event almost from nothing... I think it was a good test run for us, maybe next time we can try something bigger. Akademy 2009 or 2010 anyone? :-p
Damn, another late blog entry... I've nothing worth blogging for months and when I finally have something I let it sleep for two weeks. *sigh*
Friday the 23rd of March was the official ending of the KDE/ISI student projects we announced in December. Of course, it was an important event for all the students involved. Particularly since each group had to showcase their products and defend their work in front of the professors. The two KDE groups did well in my opinion, and the professors particularly liked the result.
It has been a great pleasure to work with such dedicated students, now we'll see how many caught the KDE-virus. :-)
I posted only two pictures (one for each KDE group), but I have more! The pictures taken during the past two Hacking Sessions with the KDE teams and the students defences (including the J2EE groups) are available on my FlickR gallery.
Ok, I'm a bit late on blogging this one, let's not delay it further. :-)
So the Hacking Session of March happened on saturday again. It was quite a success in my opinion. Working in group is always a pleasure, and I generally end the day in very good mood. Note that this session was a particular one for the students working on KPlato and Umbrello, it's the last one before the official end of they university project. They'll have to exhibit what they've done for their respective projects on Friday, I wish them good luck.
Unfortunately Philippe and Anne-Marie couldn't make it this time... But all the other people who attended in February attended this month too. Even more students joined us which raised the number to 13 persons.
February group (from left to right): Florian Longueteau, Thibault Normand, Nicolas Micas, Hassan Kouch, Frédéric Lambert, Mohamed-Amine Bouchikhi, Alexis Ménard, Florian Piquemal, Stanislas Krzywda, Caroline Bourdeu d'Aguerre, Pierre-Benoit Besse, Florence Mattler.
Of course we had quite a lot of wires, it was a bit messy but worked. And we got plenty of food with a particular focus on pizzas for lunch (yay!).
Since a few months, we try to setup a hacking session per month with my friends from the IPSquad. Of course, we have no problem having "outsiders" (I don't really like the term since we're not a closed group) participating, and that's how Philippe joined us a couple of times.
For this month I had an idea: What about proposing the students working on KPlato and Umbrello to join us? It's definitely better to work in groups like this. You can do more in less time and feel part of the family. Monthly hacking sessions like this are a perfect way to share the fun. So we did it yesterday. Not all of the students involved in the projects joined, but a few of them showed a real interest and were able to attend. Since it was a bigger group than usual I had to find a place. Luckily, we've been able to use a room of the University which was just the perfect location (most of the students living nearby). We had also the nice surprise to have annma join us. To all the people involved: Thank you a lot for your presence!
February group (from left to right): Florian Longueteau, Philippe David, Anne-Marie Mahfouf, Caroline Bourdeu d'Aguerre, Hassan Kouch, Florence Mattler, Frédéric Lambert, Florian Piquemal, Thibault Normand.
Of course, no hacking session is perfect without food and a compile cluster. We had plenty of food, but for the cluster we had to install icecream on most of the computers (it was already setup only on three of them). But once everybody got it running we obtained a really nice ten nodes cluster:
Fellow hackers, food, and a compile cluster... It was just a perfect saturday!
Past week I've done some KDE promotion. It was interesting because I did this using two radically different methods.
On monday and tuesday, I gave two talks in my university about Qt and KDE as a development platform. I gave Kubuntu CDs to the students and since they are in computer engineering they'll hopefully install it. It seems that they enjoyed the topic. They started to wonder why they had to suffer with other non-free toolkits when I showcased Qt and QtDesigner. Then they were impressed about the niceties provided by kdecore, kdeui, and DCOP. After that, I explained them how to use the KParts and their jaw dropped when I showcased the small browser George Staikos wrote for OSDW. And finally having network transparency in their applications using KIO finished to convince them. I also took some time to present what will hopefully be in KDE4
The result? Several amazed students, that will surely want to experiment with Qt and KDE in the future. It even looks like some of them are really hooked and I had the opportunity to discuss more with them on friday answering some late questions.
On saturday, I participated in an event organized by Toulibre. I showcased a laptop running Kubuntu, there was also some boxes running Ubuntu. A talk took place, but I didn't attend since I was involved in the booth with the rest of the team. People were really interested in the topic and we even had a journalist from the local press that came and asked questions for a paper. I think we were all impressed by the age diversity of the attendees (the youngest was under 10 and the oldest surely over 70). I find nice to be able to propose KDE to people that could be your grandparents for their daily use.
Really a nice week, I'd love to have more occasions to do this kind of things... I'll surely try to invest more of my spare time for promotion.