The pre-4.0 development of KDE was helped along by everyone knowing what we were striving towards: we had the Pillars, these new big chunks of technology we were busy slotting into place so that we could build ever better applications on top of; we had a renewed focus on clean, usable interfaces; we were also aiming for beauty and greater platform independence.
The individual projects around the KDE universe all swirled around these shared goals. Each headed in their own direction that reflected their own interpretation of these goals as weighted by their development team in terms of importance. Not remarkably, while there was variance in execution, there was a remarkable harmony in the overall approach and results.
That didn't happen by accident: it happened because we were communicating with each other about our goals and in-the-moment situations. I was part of only a fraction of these conversations, but I remember the huge number of informal meet ups both online and in person (part of my "coffee shop meetings around the world" tour, or at least that's sometimes how it felt ;). It was inspiring and helpful and marked a high water point in KDE community togetherness for me.
We're into 2009 now and it's time to stoke those fires again. We're at a point where the big rough edges are worked out and we're into the heavy lifting of making things smooth and improved .. but where are those things happening? Where are we headed in this moment?
Work is going on in so many areas: really powerful image manipulation, new artwork for games (the new Egyptian themes are hot), power management improvements, bluetooth and IR support, Policy- and Package-Kit, remote Plasma components, hot media experience improvements, etc, etc, etc... If we don't share these things with each other, it'll end up slowly decaying back to where we were in the no-direction-days of yore.
We need to know where each other is headed and where we've just been. This will help us coordinate without having to elect a coordinator, as we can alter our orbits as we choose to match up with trends that resonate with us. That implies we are aware of those trends in the first place. It's also a key point to helping people representing KDE in the public to be able to talk with accuracy and potency.
I don't want to just say "we should!", though. So I've allocated time over the next month to meet with as many "people in the know" as possible amongst the various KDE sub-projects to document the 1-3 things that highlight the last year of work and the 1-3 three things that define their forward momentum. This is different than a feature plan because it's about direction rather than implementation and scheduling issues (e.g. feature freezes) are irrelevant.
If you are one of those people "in the know" (which doesn't mean you're a "team leader" necessarily, just that you are a contributor and have a good idea of what's going on) and we don't already have a meeting time lined up, please find me either on IRC or by email and we'll work out a time to talk. If you can send me what days/times are good for you, your timezone and whether your prefer IRC, skype or phone that'd be great.
I'll post all of the results on Techbase in the Projects area for everyone to reference, and if this proves to be valuable I'll do it every release cycle around this time.
I knew I'd find something to do with the time freed up after the summer when I'm no longer on the KDE e.V. board. ;)