Why should we care?

Eep! EEp! EEp!

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
(Leo Buscaglia)

Don’t worry, this post is indeed KDE related.

No one would probably disagree that one of the most important aspects in open source is a healthy community, full of users and developers/contributors, each one caring for each other in any way possible. It is not about demanding a certain piece of functionality or behaviour, but working together for a certain target and a nice atmosphere.

We want to start a new initiative, a new fresh look at things. What are we offering? What are we doing good, but also what bits are missing? where do we fail? Sometimes it’s just the easy path to look at our own needs and not ask the actual users what they need.

We worked through that awesome book Lydia wrote, and realised that we are probably not listening thoroughly to all users and we want to change that.
We will start to listen, we will try to make a difference. Small steps, we can’t do it all in one day.

Ok, so we already thought of some items where KDE can improve, but that’s just what *we* have thought, and that’s just not enough, we need your feedback. Let’s give you our 5 minute brainstorm items:

  • We currently mainly communicate with users via bugs.kde.org. This medium really is not the best tool for that. It is not user friendly.
  • We have a great userbase.kde.org but developers don’t use it that much, nor is there any links from applications towards Userbase.
  • We are in no way effectively using web 2.0 technologies, for example live chat, to provide direct support to users from within our applications.
  • We have an more than awesome forum.kde.org where users can help each other, but it is not used a lot by developers, not linked from within applications, nor used in any marketing or promo efforts.
  • In that same forum there is a great system to talk about features, measure popularity of such new features and provide a completely documented feature towards developers. Not a lot of developers are using that. Instead features still are reported to bugs.kde.org.
  • There are new tools out there, for example for crash aggregation. We don’t use those, instead we use bugs.kde.org for those too. Crash aggregation would improve the usefulness of bugs.kde.org, by minimising duplicates and bugs belonging to other components.
  • Overall websites are a very important part of outreaching to the community. They are not effectively used by the developers and lack important parts of information
  • Lack of social media integration within all apps for example, or a ‘feedback’ tab as you see on many, many sites.

The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being.
Tenzin Gyatso

All these ideas have let to the formation of a Special Interest Group called ‘water carriers’. Why water carriers? There is a certain group inside the KDE community which is not related to any development nor is a plain user group. Those who try to support users on a daily base. Compare it with the Tour de France, there are some riders that just bridge the gap between the source of the water (cars behind the riders) and the people riding with Moto 1.

We set a goal to focus on these items:

  • Come up with proposals that will create communities around applications.
  • Make sure users have a pleasant experience when reporting bugs, crashes and wishes.
  • Think about how KDE should communicate effectively and efficiently with users.
  • Make sure developers are communicating with users effectively to solve problems with applications.
  • Motivate developers and users to improve the available resources / knowledge about applications.
  • Lower the barrier to get quality support
  • Investigate and implement new technologies.

Does this make any sense to you? Are you willing to help? We are thinking of gathering a special group of users and developers which will provide feedback to us. Do you want to get involved? Do you want to help to shape the future of KDE? What are your ideas? Do you like the ideas given in the above list or is it just a waste of time? We are looking forward to as many comments as possible, we want to make KDE rock, but we need you to tell us what you need.

With the gift of listening comes the gift of healing.
Catherine de Hueck Doherty

(thanks to Tom Albers and Ben Cooksley for thinking and writing about it with me)

photo by: Carly & Art

Bugzilla and Neverland

As some of you might have noticed, our bugtracker got a facelift lately. Not only the sources where updated thanks to our insane sysadmins, but the look changed as well. So let me tell you a bit about it.

This is the first step of many to update the look of all our KDE sites. This newest attempt is called “Neverland” and provides themes for the CMS’ we in KDE use, like bugzilla, mediawiki, phpbb, drupal, our very own Capacity and others.
Naturally, every use case needs adjustments, so the bugzilla theme looks a bit different than e.g. the version for our main site. These adjustments still need to be sorted out, but the Webteam is working hard on it, and you can expect more results soon.

I hope you enjoy the new KDE Bugtracker. And if you have issues, like always you can submit bugs for the bugtracker itself on bugs.kde.org 🙂

Have a nice day.

Top Ten of the most viewed KDE Websites


Internet Access Here Sign
(Image originally uploaded by Steve Rhode)

Some readers might remember, some time back we talked about setting up stats for most of our KDE Websites. Yes, we did. And i thought it is time to share something of that with you, my highly interested readers 😉

Let’s compile a chart of our most viewed sites.
It’s no surprise, our highly dynamics sites are ranking very high. But which and how? Let’s see:

10: community.kde.org (1139 unique visitors a day)
The youngest of our wikis goes to the last place in our chart. Not a big surprise, project specific documentation is done in various places these days, not only in that wiki. But at least it got into the top ten 10, nice. Improvements can be sorted out.
Some other facts:

  • USA ruled out Germany with a difference of over 3000 requested pages. The next follower – Great Britain – is already over 13000 requested pages below Germany.
  • Visits duration is 252 seconds
  • 68.4 % directly enter community.kde.org, only about 10% come from a search engine and approximately 20% find their way from a link on another site.

9: edu.kde.org (1159 unique visitors a day)
This was a little surprise and i want to congrat the folks responsible for that. No other module specific website comes close to that value. And it even has beaten one of our global wikis. Keep up the good work!

  • 77.1% enter that site directly, only 5% come from a search engine and 17.7% followed a link on a different site
  • the visits duration is not that different than the above community.kde.org

8: blogs.kde.org (2158 unique visitors a day)
Even though the URL seems to be new the site itself is not, formerly known as kdedevelopers.org.

  • Like expected from a blog aggregation the visits duration is now a bit higher: 502 seconds average
  • Nearly all visitors view that site through a feed reader

7: planetkde.org (2598 unique visitors a day)
Another blog aggregation platform and still, not that many visitors. At least probably not that sufficient to widely spread news.

  • visits duration is a bit lower again, 309 seconds. Shorter texts maybe?
  • again the biggest part of the viewers use a feed reader

6: docs.kde.org (2716 unique visitors a day)
Everybody needs documentation, if one likes or not. This site’s hits and the next ones will show.

  • Here we have a surprise. 53.1% of the visits come from – tada! – Windows! Only 41.5% use Linux as their operating system
  • And also now we have way more connections from a search engine, namely 49.6%

5: techbase.kde.org (2928 unique visitors a day)
Developer documentation and tutorials. Yes, expected that this site will rank high. No need for more words.
And also, no interesting facts to tell.

4: dot.kde.org (3108 unique visitors a day)
No documentation, but an official source for news and updates. But did you expect it to be only #4?

  • This is the first site in this top ten where the use of Konqueror is above Firefox with 22.6% (Firefox 22.4%)

3: userbase.kde.org (4336 unique visitors a day)
Our wiki superhero platform. Great team, always taking care to provide the best source of information, they clearly deserve that rank.

  • When watching the most viewed pages, i notice there is a big demand for app pages users do worry about most, like Akonadi, Kontact, Plasma etc.

2: forum.kde.org (8018 unique visitors a day)
And that makes me a little proud, my baby enters the second rank with ease 🙂 Parents couldn’t be more proud.
Sadly no kicking facts to tell for this one.

1: www.kde.org (16215 unique visitors a day)
And this shouldn’t come to you as surprise in any way. But would you have expected that number? What is your thought about that?

  • 356 seconds as average visits duration. Not bad. Some of the above pages are more informational and still worse than that.

Note: due to our caching system the stats may not be very exact, and also they change from hour to hour. This is meant to give a fun overview of what we provide on our web platform.

So what can we learn from that?
Basic values are more or less the same across all domains, like demographical values, browser/os usage. But overall we can say there seems to be a real need for documentation and information, either project news or general ones.
And we reach quite many people out there, probably more than some of you have expected. Now the question is how can we keep that state or even better, improve it and reach even more? I leave that question up for discussion.


KDE Wikis – Get the dust away from it

Some might already have noticed, yesterday we made a long needed update to all of our wikis. Some months after it was already done for Userbase the others (Techbase and Community, the brazilian site and the wiki for akademy) now also followed.
Till now those were run on an over 2 years old mediawiki version. Many improvements have happened over this time in Mediawiki and it was time to get them into our own wikis.
Another reason was the maintenance overhead with managing 2 different mediawiki installations. This is now done and all of those share a single codebase again.

Along with that there is now a new theme in use for Techbase and Community. Some might have seen that on Userbase already. Switching between those wikis now gives a consistent look and feel. And a hidden easter egg…

But now to the bad news. The former syntax highlighting extension stopped its work due to missing maintenance and updates. So we needed to switch to a different extension for that. It is quite feature rich and fullfills what you would expect from it.
But the syntax has changed. You can read up on it here. It was evaluated if we could script the transition, but due to too many possible options and conflicts it was rejected. At least the old usage doesn’t look too broken. If you want to have it a bit more beautiful, you might want to adjust it, once you stumble upon one of those code examples.

I hope overall you are happy with the update. I will be, it is much easier to maintain now. 😉


Webworld 2011 – Day 1

The title is missleading, this is day 2, but i will try to summarize day 1. At least the parts the others didn’t blog about yet.

But let me first talk about something else. Everybody should have noticed by now, the webworld sprint is hosted at linuxhotel.
It is an awesome hotel with pretty much anything a geek would like to have from a hotel. But to make the concept work you need to obey some basic rules. Like, there are free drinks 24/day. You just need to put the bottle back to where you got it from. Basic rules.

And that leads me to our webteam. Up to this point we were there to fix broken links, typos and maybe even be sort of creative to create a new and shiny look now and gain. Guess how hard that is with subdomains and code spread all over the place.
So we really are in need for some basic rules. We discussed it and came up with the following ones:

No new subdomains will be set up from now
Right now we have over 80 subdomains on more than 5 different servers. That is insane and doesn’t add ANY value. Having less separated systems and maybe a single point of entry makes it both easier to maintain and easier for users to find the information they need.
Note, there are of course exceptions. Like, reasonably big projects might still request one. A good example for that is the new Edu site. They have a very enthusiastic team behind their website and reasonable traffic. This subdomain is worth its setup.

Subdomains need at least one person of contact/maintainer
Let me repeat, we have over 80 subdomains, each having its own codebase, images, screenshots, content etc. A maintenance nightmare for our team, which basically consists of a handful of people. Also, those sites are hosted on svn/git. Another barrier for webdevelopers who are less likely to be used to SVN/Git than app developers, but would have loved to contribute.
So each app or project wishing to run its own subdomain should also provide the manpower to care for it and update it regularly. To give you an impression, yesterday we archived some sites which were not updated since over 5 years. Having listed “news” from 2005 gives not only a bad impression of the app but also of the whole KDE.

Subdomains should have a reasonable amount of traffic
If they really give some value to the users then it indeed makes sense to have a separated domain.
For our followers, we installed a webstats system now, and will now monitor how much traffic goes through our subdomains. But if noone is really interested in a certain subdomain, why should we even provide it?
But of course, in case we will remove a subdomain, we will not remove any data. There are options to move it back to the main page of kde as subdirectory, or just putting it onto userbase (which btw is way easier to get new contributors to than php files in svn).

These are the rules. It is not that much. But it makes our life easier.

Webworld 2011 – Day 0.5

Half a day over, break for some food and random bits learned so far:

– Pork is evil
– Toma is evil, too
– Farewell, Capacity
– Lucy is sooo cute
– Linuxhotel is awesome, next year same place
– Eugene still working on the logo
– Joomla is not as bad as its reputation
– I (and most others) have already a sunburn

Details about to follow later once this day is over.


Webworld 2011 – Day 0

Hey folks at Randa, we have nice weather and just made a barbecue 😉

Yes, this is the day of arrival of this handful of awesome guys. The picture shows Tom Albers and Eugene Trounev trying to manage the correct  height for our grill.

They did quite fine, it tasted good and we had enough to make everyone replete.

Eugene also made some adjustments to the meat i never ate before, thanks for that, quite nice.

Anyway, back to topic. This is the day of the arrival for all the attendees. It was mosty relaxing until everyone arrived.
The location is awesome. Funny geek toys everywhere, nice crazy hotel rooms sometimes, but overall, i vote for making the next webworld sprint happen at exactly the same place. Yes, i say that already after half a day.

Now, after our wonderful barbecue we also got some musical interruption, thanks to Hans Chen:

But then we decided to use the late evening to really discuss something so we have a good base for starting up tomorrow. Quite interesting discussion followed,  more to come, i am sure.

It was (or is) already late, so we will continue tomorrow.
All i can say it will be a great event with some big points to make. Some will be done this weekend, some might not, but at least laid out as plan for the next months. Not much more to expect from such a small group.
Agenda follows tomorrow noon.

Some other pics:

Our grill in action

The crowd eating

Eugene working really hard on new designs (dude, our logo is still missing!)

Anyway, time to catch some sleep, day starts early. Stay tuned. And wait for the things to happen.


KDE WebWorld 2011 about to start

As Stuart Jarvis already blogged lately, the KDE WebWorld Sprint is about to start next Wednesday, lasting from 1st to 5th at the awesome Linuxhotel in Essen, Germany.

For those curious, yes, KDE has indeed a bunch of people just showing their support with taking care of KDE’s infrastructure. Those people will meet. Well, at least some of them. Sadly others aren’t able to attend, even though i’d liked to have them around. But there are still enough people attending.
Who are those? We have some hackers, who would like to improve KDE’s own php framework, called Capacity. Might even result in a full rewrite, Emil Sedgh already blogged about it.
Then we have some of support members from userbase around, our most famous wiki. They will improve the overall experience even more, also having the new translation system in mind. Speaking of which, the main hacker for this mediawiki extension will also attend and giving us more insights into the core of mediawiki.
The other wikis might as well get some improvements and finally get its loooong needed update and visual/technical improvement to also use that translation system.
Also, a sysadmin will be around. Some of you might have been aware that much in the server infrastructure has improved lately. We try to make that even better.
Lastly, a very famous KDE designer will attend. Yeah, you might guess there will be some visual improvements in our websites as well.

I won’t tell any names, you will soon hear about them anyway from other blogs.

So, as you can see, our target is high, much needs to be done, but i am pretty sure the awesome location will help us motivating ourselves. This is the first sprint of this sort, and i hope it will be a success and others will follow. No, i am pretty sure about that.

And if you are around that area between 1st-5th June, you might want to stop by and look over our shoulders 🙂


CWG: We have new members!

Some of you might remember, we were looking for new CWG members, as 2 seats got empty and needed to be filled with appropriate replacements.

Now, those 2 are found. Let me proudly present you Valorie Zimmerman and Tomaz Canabrava as new CWG members. Most of you know Valorie already as valuable member of the Amarok community, also always tireless to help out in various other OSS communities. Same goes for Tomaz, who did wonders not only in the brazilian KDE community.

We are pretty sure they form a great addition to the team. If you meet them, give them a hug on behalf of the rest of the CWG team to congratulate them. 🙂

CWG call for nominations

As some of you might already have read on Lydia’s blog the Community Working Group is asking you for nominations for 2 new members.

Recently 2 seats got empty, and now we are trying to give new members the opportunity to fill those. And along with that necessary step we decided to give you (the community) the chance to nominate your favourite candidate.

For those who don’t even know what the CWG does, you can read up here.

So this is your chance to have some influence! You know someone who might be a good candidate and already has proven his/her ability to work inside this community? Or you think you are even able to  yourself? Go and write it to us on community-wg at kde org. 

The nomination period will close soon, so take some minutes, think about it and send us your suggestions. Every input is welcome and can help a lot.


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