Tag Archives: akademy

Akademy retrospective

I had an amazing time with the KDE community in Vienna this past week at Akademy. In fact it was my first Akademy despite contributing to KDE for so long, but Vienna was a great reason to make my first trip to Europe.

selfie of mpyne in front of an ad for a yellow submarine

It’s like Vienna knew I was coming over

It was nice to experience in person many of the things I read about from previous Akademies. There were the talks, meeting up with friends, the late-night hacking, showing others the work I’ve done. I even got to participate in impromptu collaborations such as taking Helio’s Qt1 port to CMake and building and running it on the Windows Subsystem for Linux within minutes of his announcement of the release.

I also got a reminder again of the importance of open source and making the work we do available to the wider community at the postmarketOS talk on day 2 of the talks, where the presenter noted how their effort to port a real Linux (as opposed to something like AOSP) to mobile form factors with a good GUI ran into some roadblocks related to their use of Alpine Linux (which uses musl libc), but managed to overcome those roadblocks more quickly¬†thanks in part to some patches I’d written a year ago for musl support. This helped get them closer to running Plasma Mobile on platforms like the original Nexus.

This talk was the first I’d heard of this, and this platform wasn’t the reason I’d pushed to get KF5 to compile on Alpine, but then that’s the beauty of open source — people will do amazing things with even the smallest contributions you make, if only you get those contributions out there.

Improving the onboarding experience

A big theme of this Akademy was improving our ability to onboard new contributors, whether that’s testers, artists, bug triagers, designers, and developers, which is one of our major goals as a community. We need help everywhere, and this focus was reflected in many of the “Birds of a Feather” (BoF) sessions we conducted.

Improving kdesrc-build

I led a BoF on this topic for kdesrc-build and participated in a few others as well. There’s a lot out there that we can do to improve our story here, in kdesrc-build and elsewhere, and I’m hopeful we can accomplish real improvement here over the next year. But it was also nice to see and hear a lot of the positive feedback our developers had about kdesrc-build.

A blackboard listing some user complaints about kdesrc-build

Pain points from the kdesrc-build BoF

A blackboard listing some suggested improvements for kdesrc-build

Suggested improvements from the kdesrc-build BoF (some less serious than others…)


At that BoF, Dominik Haumann also demonstrated a mockup for GUI he’s been working on that, in association with the work I’ve been doing to add support for APIs in kdesrc-build to communicate to external processes, would make it easier to use kdesrc-build. More to follow on that, but I’m excited for it.

Other options for onboarding

Also, there was acknowledgment during the week that kdesrc-build is not the best method to get access to bleeding-edge KDE software for all the types of new users.

That’s OK — I agree myself, and if anything it would be surprising for a command-line script to manage to be all things to all people.

So we talked during the week about other options for getting people access to more recent builds of KDE software (Plasma, the Frameworks, Applications, etc.). These options could include:

  • Using virtual machines like KDE Neon’s Developer Edition¬†(recommended by Nate Graham)
  • Flatpaks or Snaps for nightly builds
  • Conan.io C++ binary packages
  • Container-based solutions (e.g. being able to “docker pull” a kdesrc-build-based image based off a standard Linux-based docker image and which automatically gets you all the way to a working install without extra effort on your part)

There’s pros and cons to all of these. I don’t expect kdesrc-build would go away — our developers need some way to build our software on their own, but many of these would be much easier for power users to test on, or for application developers to use to just get the latest Frameworks easily.

Closing Thoughts

All in all, Akademy was an amazing experience, it more than met up to the reputation it had built in my head from seeing things from the outside here. It’s never too late to attend either, so don’t let missing a few like I did keep you from going to your first!

The team that hosted Akademy did an amazing job in organizing. These types of events offer every opportunity for “Murphy’s Law” to strike, but you’d never have noticed from my perspective as a participant — everything simply happened smoothly. I was especially impressed with the extracurriculars like the day trip to the Kahlenburg, and the sightseeing tour of Vienna hosted by the local team (the tour was so good you’d never have believed it was organized nearly at the last minute in response to the high interest we showed).

Now, it’s time to dive into all the “TODOs” I’d collected from just a week of in-person engagement with the Community, until the next time I can come back!

Olympics and other fun stuff

So I was excited to see my people behind KDE interview get posted the other day, especially since the comments were much more positive than I was expecting. blauzahl did a good job on the interview, I’d like to thank her and Danny Allen for taking the time to work on it. It was hard for me just to handle the Q&A session so I don’t want to think of how much work they put in!

Akademy 2008 is over and it’s kind of bittersweet for me, as I hear it was the best Akademy in the last couple of years and I wasn’t able to attend. I am glad that everyone found it such an enjoyable time though, I will hopefully be able to show up for one some day.

I’ve spent quite some time watching the Olympic games this past couple of days. There’s a lot more excitement than I’m used to, between Michael Phelps winning 8 gold medals (including 2 squeaky finishes), the excellent performances of our gymnastics and volleyball teams and watching Bolt destroy all competition on track and field. It’s kind of a shame to see China apparently faking the age of some of their gymnasts and going overboard in keeping protests away, especially given how unnecessary it is. China’s athletes have done very well so far, there’s no need for trickery, and trying to hide protesters is kind of like a Streisand effect. We already knew that China had dissidents, and now it’s also all over the news. Either way the Games themselves have been good although I’m starting to think it would be nice to have a organization not so completely corrupt like the International Olympic Committee to handle the Games. But I suppose the kind of money we’re talking about it practically going to guarantee rampant corruption :-/

Anyways I’m working right now on polishing off the kio_perldoc KIOSlave which I’ve added to kdesdk and I will probably make another kdesvn-build release in the not-too-distant future. Also, does anyone know who I should ask about adding a screensaver to kdeartwork?

Akademy night

I just wanted to say hi to everyone going to Akademy. I once again cannot go this year but I figured to compensate I’d regale you with a story from my Officer Candidate School days.

This is a War Spoon

This is a War Spoon

Plate of spaghetti

This is a plate of spaghetti

When I first got to OCS, my eating habits were, uh, modified (to say the least) by the Officer Candidate Regulations manual. Instead of being able to eat food with a knife and a fork, I, as a newly minted worse-than-dirt OC got a spoon to eat with. The spoon was used to eat everything.

It was not sufficient that the spoon was the only utensil you had either. As an Officer-in-training you were not allowed to do anything as barbaric as pick up your food with your fingers. In fact you had a regimented, easy-to-follow 8-step procedure for eating. They called it eating-by-numbers.

So how does spaghetti tie in? Well, at every trip to the chow hall, spaghetti was an option on the menu (except for breakfast). Didn’t like mystery meat with noodles jefferson? Just get spaghetti. Get it every meal if you want. I wasn’t sure why the mess cooks liked spaghetti so much, but I wasn’t complaining. I love spaghetti. I even loved spaghetti by the end of OCS, wasn’t tired of it one bit.

But… how do you eat spaghetti with a war spoon? Well, the secret is that you cannot twirl your spaghetti into a bundle on your spoon and eat it as if you were using a fork. If you were to try to you’d make a mess everywhere (and thereby risk drawing attention to yourself). Even worse, it would be hard to actually eat all of the spaghetti without having to slurp any into your mouth. This definitely draws attention from the roving Class Drill Instructors. Officer Candidates do not like attention from Class Drill Instructors.

Instead learn to use what you have. With a war spoon, you simply have to use the edge of the spoon to cut the spaghetti into bite-sized pieces. Basically you use it like you’d cut a piece of pie out of a pan. It takes less time than you think once you get good at it. After a couple of days of practice you’ll be able to actually eat more spaghetti than you were able to before in a given amount of time.

At about week 4 or so we had our forks given back to us. How did I eat my spaghetti? With a war spoon, of course. Time is still precious, and you can fit more spaghetti onto a war spoon than onto a fork even if you use the pie-cutter technique.

To this day I still eat my spaghetti by the pie-cutter method instead of twirling. I use a fork now though, no reason not to be civilized. ;)