Event Report: Sparking the Community at KDE Akademy

KDE Akademy is the annual world summit of KDE, which occurred last week from July 15–21st in Thessaloniki, Greece. We blogged earlier about why we are going, and why we believe it is important to sponsor the conference as part of our community activities.

We’d like to tell you more about our experience there and what we’ve achieved. The main part of the conference was on Saturday and Sunday, with a wide range of talks from open source in space, learning about KDE’s Goals and its community, and various technologies that are a part of the desktop environment. The following days were BoF days, filled with engaging conversations on KDE’s roadmap, solving technical issues, or training on specific technologies. We also had an exciting day trip to Mount Olymp with an amazing view of the area.


In Internal Communication At KDE: Infrastructure For A Large And Diverse Community, Joseph told the world about some of the common issues KDE is facing with regard to communication in the community. They face some of the very common issues you’ll see in almost any open source project: information being out of date, fragmentation between many platforms, and the need to engage more contributors towards those efforts. It was also a teaser to a later BoF on the same topic, which in turn was a teaser for a working session to make tangible improvements to the KDE wiki in a social environment.

As Ubuntu is considering alternatives for synchronous communication, we were very interested to hear about KDE’s experiences. They have been using Matrix successfully since 2019, and it was also used nicely to combine live streaming of the conference sessions with a chat where people can discuss remotely. The presentation focused on introducing the concepts and how it is used in KDE Itinerary to share information. You can use NeoChat in KDE to access Matrix. There were also two different sessions on Matrix to talk about the infrastructure and apps integration. We’re happy to hear that they’ve so far not had any bad experiences with moderation and feel it has been serving their needs very well.

On the engineering side, Jesús Soto from the Desktop team at Canonical learned about an OSS Tool for Comprehending Huge Codebases, which is a GUI tool for displaying code dependencies for a C++ project. Even though it is complicated to understand with a quick look, it is great for detecting circular dependencies and unused imports. Also, attended a few talks about KDEnlive, KF6, Plasma 6, as well as some new projects and trends in the community, with special attention to energy consumption, accessibility and apps related to sustainability. In general, the idea is to focus on three pillars while developing forward which are accessibility, automation and sustainability. Most of the talks were developing these concepts a bit further with specific use cases, tools and apps.

Jesús also joined Scarlett Moore during her talk related to Snaps and their importance to talk about some tips and tricks while snapping Qt applications. Qt apps aren’t the most straightforward apps to snap since the kde-neon extension is very new and it is intended more towards KDE apps. So sharing the knowledge about some environment variables, layout bindings and tricks for getting dependencies is crucial for getting more Qt apps snapped with the help of the developers and community. Do you want to try snapping a KDE app today? Here is how you can get started.

We learned that first-run wizards seem to be cool again, where KDE acknowledges that in certain situations it is important to guide the user through a few important settings to provide them with a customized experience.

Booth and Conversations

Ubuntu had its own table, along with the Qt Group, Codethink and OpenSUSE. We came packed with a bunch of swag. Unsurprisingly, Kubuntu and Ubuntu Studio stickers were most popular. This gave us the opportunity for some interesting conversations about operating systems, desktop environments, and how to contribute to open source. Aside from those who traveled from afar, we also had a number of students from the University of Macedonia, where the conference was held. It was great to hear how passionate and eager these students were to be a part of something larger and begin their careers in open source.

A number of people approached us regarding job opportunities at Canonical, and we feel there are some promising candidates we hope put forward their application.

Ubuntu Local Communities

One of the Ubuntu Community’s goals is to invigorate communities not only around location, but through a joint passion in technology, frameworks, and programming languages. As we happen to be in a very specific location together, we used the opportunity to bring together Thessalonians to talk about the Ubuntu Community and how they can be a part of it.

We had a great chat about many of the topics you commonly experience when getting people together: how do you get domain experts to talk to your group about a topic that interests you? How do you best share knowledge within the group? With people coming and going, how do you make sure knowledge is retained so that recurring activities can continue? Once you grow to a certain size, how do you best approach collecting donations to support your group? As part of our effort to support local communities we’d like to make this information more broadly accessible, and the Greek community will be helping to create some of the frameworks necessary to do so.

What we’re most excited about is that this group wasn’t just there to chat. They were ready to get something going. We pinpointed two initiatives that they will create a model for and make a real impact for Ubuntu. George David Apostolidis will drive a “Localizer Day” at the university. He will prepare a number of computers where people can sit down for a short while, translate a few strings into Greek, and then receive a token of appreciation. Efstathios Iosifidis will also prepare an Install Fest Day, where they will help others install Ubuntu or resolve any issues they might have and encourage folks to file issues if they encounter a bug. Thank you George and Efstathios for stepping up, we’re looking forward to hearing about your journey!

Do these activities sound like something you’d like to replicate in your own area? Please respond here or get in touch!

It was great to get together with so many talented and passionate individuals at KDE Akademy and we’re already looking forward to next year!