But now that I'm not on the KDE e.V. board and putting my energy into that, what's next for me?
Besides the professional, there are also some changes happening in my personal life. I'm moving out to where my heart has always lived regardless of where my head lay: amongst the trees that tower above the ocean on Canada's West coast. P. will once again be geographically near his mother after this move and to top it all off I've been blessed with the arrival of a loving partner who will be joining me out there.
The ten year chapter of my life in Calgary is coming to a close, and a new set of chapters is opening, this time set in a place I find a bit more intuitive and meaningful to my soul.
As far as my professional life, I'm not planning on straying very far. As a regular member of KDE e.V. I will still support and volunteer within that organization. I'll also continue working on KDE technology projects full time and keeping some eyes on the organizational structures in and around them. I'm quite looking forward to getting back to attending conferences and doing the public speaking thing again once my geographical relocation is complete.
Beyond that, there are three areas I plan to focus my energies on over the next few years: technology focus in KDE, helping communicate what KDE is and working on whole product concepts.
It's really important that we do more than simply release new KDE 4 packages twice a year: we need to follow through on our plans and take full advantage of the various Pillars of KDE in our applications.
I feel we have lost a little bit of the sharpness in our focus that we had during the lead up to KDE 4.0. We've been working hard with our heads-down on getting 4.1, 4.2 and now 4.3 rocking hard and we have some great results to show for it. While doing so, we've let some of the long term picture grow a bit fuzzy in places. Stepping back and taking stock from time to time to maintain our focus is needed so that we the global coherency in our efforts remains and we continue to hit meaningful end points.
Whether it is Nepomuk-ing our apps, pulling fresh new ideas into the Plasma/KWin pairing, exploring the future of social/contextual computing, targeting different kinds of hardware form factors, exploring the needs of educational environments, improving document management, sorting out the web content issues we face, etc. ... we need to keep these goals in focus as we continue to refine, improve and enrich our software.
This doesn't tend to happen all by itself, so I will be working in support of our community leaders to document and maintain these goals, backed by consensus and follow through.
In addition to the critical ingredient of Freedom, we have a lot of great features and exciting capabilities in KDE right now. The world needs to know about these things, and we need to be telling them about it repeatedly and with passion, communicating with clarity what the real world benefits of KDE are for people.
We also need to ensure that others working in technology know what we are up to so that they can join us or invite us to join them where there is overlap and mutual interest. In general, we need to be in front of the variety of KDE users more often and more effectively.
I haven't been involved as much with communication side of things in the last 18-24 months as I'd liked to have, especially when compared to my level of involvement in the years preceding. Now with some of my energy freed up I will be putting some time into that.
Whole Product Thinking
How can we build up a more dynamic, sustainable and responsible commercial ecosystem around and for KDE? That's a big question. One possible answer (among many) is to engage in some clear "whole product" thining and building a full, open and participatory solution stack with KDE as one of the crown jewels within it.
I've been working on a map that has four areas within it: hardware, operating system, user interface and services. Multiple players exist within each of those areas who have relevant expertise and offerings, but finding working harmony between the four different areas is really hard and it's become rather hit-and-miss. I hear this from Free software users on a regular basis. So what can we do?
By focusing on specific use cases, specific hardware profiles, specific OS integration targets and specific kinds of services, we can create whole product prototypes that "feel right" and which can be relied on more that our current "
KDE's open, generic support-everything approach must be maintained and having "support everything" distributions out there is also good, but these are instruments which need to be tuned to create harmony with each other so that great products can be reliably and affordably created from them.
It should be easy for someone to build a netbook device without having to start from the ground up by just ticking off boxes on a checklist. Right now, this process is currently something that even the biggest of companies struggles to succeed with. Creating whole product concepts that provide clear and reliable options for specific use cases can open up entirely new kinds of possibilities for even the most humble of groups and ultimately let us create exciting, useful and reliable objects for people to use.
No Guarantees, But When Are There Ever?
As I put my KDE e.V. board duties into the capable hands of others, I'm making a lateral move within the community and focusing on a different set organizational and process oriented tasks that really need some love and attention.
To pull it all together will take an ongoing, concerted multi-year effort. It will require building working relationships with each other in ways we perhaps haven't previously and working on defining what we expect from the systems, social and technical, that we are building. The goal-posts will also be likely to shift and evolve as we explore the landscape.
There are no guarantees of success in any of this, of course, but I am ready to bring what I have to offer for as long as it is welcome and needed. Working with and in support of this great community of thinkers, dreamers and doers, I feel we can achieve nearly anything we put our collective minds and backs into and I'm chomping at the bit to get going. :)
I'm leaving for Vancouver tomorrow morning and will be only sporadically available over the next couple of weeks. I wanted to get this blog entry out before I left, however. I hope it answers the questions that some of you have been asking and will make my being out of touch while I'm throwing my life into the chaos of moving a little less concerning. Love 'n hugs ... aseigo.