Awesome days during Akademy 2013
Being a part of KDE Akademy is one of the most awesome experiences ever. This was my second Akademy after the one in 2012 . Akademy 2013 was held in the beautiful city of Bilbao in Spain. Held from 13th July to 19 July, it had 2 days conference followed by 5 days of workshop, Birds of a Feather sessions (BoFs), lots of hacking, and of course lots of fun!
I reached Bilbao on 12th July and went for pre-registration where I also met many KDE folks (some of them I already met during last Akademy and some new people). It was great to meet everyone again, we all had a fun time together with greeting each other, drinks and lovely music.
The first day of the conference started with a keynote by Eva Galperin . A member of EFF, she talked about the NSA surveillance and how it affects people outside the US.
After keynote, Kevin Krammer gave talk on Declarative widgets where he explained and showed demo on how to create widgets based UI in QML. This approach enables non-C++ programmers to participate in UI development for traditional desktop applications.
Till Adam talked about KDE on Blackberry where he explained about Blackberry 10 architecture which is totally based on Qt with QNX kernel and discussed why KDE should be interested in another mobile platform.
We got a chance to hear the story about the Mer Project and the current status by David Greaves. Mer is used by Jolla for the Sailfish operating system and Plasma Active as the base distribution for creating tablet systems. He talked about how the Sailfish SDK uses virtual machines for even the SDK (apart from the simulator) as it makes it easier to run the SDK on different platforms.
I always wanted to see a live demo of the Jolla Phone, based on Sailfish OS, and I got lucky! Along with a beautiful demo of the phone, Vesa-Matti Hartikainen from Jolla talked about the history behind it, how Jolla’s team collaborates with various open source projects such as Qt, Mer, and Nemo Mobile to build the system.
Further Will Stephenson talked about LightWeight KDE which try to exploit KDE’s modularity and tweakability by cutting down a full feature desktop to the lightweight desktop size, while retaining the ability to use additional components from the full feature set as needed.
This time we had a new guest at Akademy, the Razor Project. Jerome Leclanche talked about the effort towards a lightweight, modular, Qt-based desktop. He discussed how Razor project collaborates with other desktop environments and various efforts towards compatibility with KDE Frameworks. And if this was not enough, he pointed out that even LXDE is moving to Qt (yay!).
I think this is probably one of the coolest things about the Free Software communities, that even projects that are technically competitors actually collaborate with each other.
Marco Martin talked about Plasma 2 where he talked about changes in the Plasma library from Plasma 1 to Plasma 2, how to use it from any application, and how a single workspace will now be used for all form factors, such as Plasma Desktop, Netbook and Active. We are planning to move Plasma Media Center too from Plasma 1 to Plasma 2 (and hence, to Qt5) once the libraries are stable enough.
Later, Shantanu Tushar gave talk on “Pair Programming”. He shared his experience on benefits of doing pair programming and how did in KDE projects like Calligra and Plasma Media Center with me, Sujith and Akshay.
At the end of the day, Thomas Pfeiffer and Björn Balazs gave a talk together on Task-Centered UIs in Plasma Active . Plasma Active is one of the best example I know which is a tightly integrated system combining various components into it. UI workflow is in such a way that optimal user intervention is required while achieving required task.
Jolla phone demo Thomas Pfeiffer
Similar to last year, there were Lightning Talks by students. It was interesting to see that this year students were from GSoC as well as other mentoring programs like SoK, Google Code-in, OPFW. Students were from different KDE project like Telepathy, KDE connect, Keyboard layout, Digikam, Tomahawk. It was good to see the progress and experience of students while working on KDE projects.
Lydia Pintscher talked about Negotiation Theory for geeks. It was about conflicts which arise in free software projects and techniques to resolve them.
As per tradition of Akademy, we had a group photo 😀
After lunch, Kevin Ottens gave Keynote on KDE Democracy where he looked upon the democratic and meritocratic structure of communities and how KDE has changed over the past few years.
Later, Vishesh Handa and Martin Klapetek gave talk on Metacontacts Library which aims towards a system to aggregate all multiple contact sources into a manageable way. This is done by keeping all information in Nepomuk and providing library to developers called KPeople.
Simon is KDE’s speech recognition system which is maintained by Peter Grasch who gave an interesting talk on FLOSS Speech Recognition. He explained current status of this project and also gave demo on how nicely speech recognition works.
At the end of conference, there were short presentations by various sponsors of Akademy like Blue Systems, BlackBerry, Red Hat etc.
Like every year, we had the awesome Akademy awards given to:
Eike Hein – Best Application award for his work on Konversation
Vishesh Handa – Best Non-application award for work done in Nepomuk
Timothée Giet – Jury’s Award for shaping the future and community of Krita
Kenny Duffus – Jury’s Award for for being the memory and soul of Akademy
Dani Gutiérrez – Organization Award for organizing wonderful Akademy
I had a great time during Akademy by meeting old friends again, making new friends, learning new stuff and lots of fun 😀 Thanks to my employer, RedHat for sponsoring my travel and KDE eV for taking care of my accommodation.