Desktop, Desktop and Desktop, Sprint in Pineda de Mar (Barcelona)

First of all, excuse the super late release of this post, I have been super busy up to the point where I couldn’t use 15min to spellcheck this post, now I had to adapt it a little bit, change times etc.

From 11jun to 18jun we had an amazing sprint in a small town near Barcelona called Pineda de Mar. This sprint was organized to gather all the developers highly motivated in move the Desktop forward, including those working in areas not strictly related to what the user sees or not strictly known as part of the desktop. We had a week of fun and work lead (as usual :p) by Kevin Ottens.
We had endless discussions about our weak and strong spots , hacked a little bit (some more than others), played table tennis (Yay for the Southern European team vs the British Empire), and enjoyed good quality food done mostly by Dario Freddi (let the italians cook we say) though more people worked in the kitched to prepare delicious disesh (Kevin, Sebas, Clemens, Marco Martin, Lluis Eskerda…).

It is hard to describe what the environment of a sprint is like, just imagine that you are with your best friends a whole week doing what you love only stopping for eating and having fun. In this case KDE is the people and what we love is our software, full week non-distractions equals super productivity of all kinds. It is hard to summarize the whole week, but these are my personal highlights of the sprint:

  • Almost everybody attending the sprint would like shorter and more dynamic releases (à la chrome or kernel).
  • Everybody agrees that we must be careful when modifying the Desktop, we don’t want to make it worst !
  • Common agreement that we have to start looking for alternative to the current windows 95 paradigm.
  • Our current notifications suck and we know how to fix’em (1) (2) (3).
  • Virtual desktop are a thing from the past in its current state.
  • Activities are a super awesome concept, yet we are nowhere close to make them appealing in the desktop (as they are in the tablet)
  • Knowledge about Plasma terminology was shared and kind of agreed on (did you know that Plasma Active is about all form factors? yes! that includes the desktop !)
  • We need better PulseAudio support
  • We need a better screen support
  • Lots of stuff to clean and polish! papercut program by Agateau on the way
  • Lot of people using icontask (this is more of a personal note :p)
  • WebAccounts is supermegaultraimportant, we need it now.
  • We want KTp or even better “KPeople” everywhere, it will become one of our new pilars.

On this list (I hope quite close to the reality) you can see more or less the feeling of the Desktop developers, and especially that it is alive in all senses.


Pineda de Mar BeachHouse viewOutside having a chatFirst wave of foodHacking zoneTable TennisKanban everywhereGroup Photo

Photos taken by Martin Klapetek

I hope you could see a glimpse of how intense a sprint is lived and how useful they are.

Bye !

  • François

    Hi Alex,

    Thanks for that report. Unfortunetly, it seems like you forgot to put the link related to the notifications thing.
    Can you please edit your post ? I’m really really interested in this issue.

    By the way, thanks a lot for your work.

    • afiestas

      Done, sorry I totally forgot them !

  • MMM

    Thanks for the nice list and the work you have done.

    We do not want to make it worse is something everybody should keep in mind for the future.
    • Removing features which are actively used while refactoring is not acceptable (Plasma and KDE-PIM come to mind) and must be avoided in the future.
    • Changing the toolkit, i.e. upgrading to an incompatible new Qt version, and the KDE libraries/paradigmas at the same time also must never happen again.
    • All support for web accounts, social media, desktop effects and the like must not influence the people who want to get real work done with their computer.
    • Nepomuk/Akonadi and the like: The costs like instability (in the past) and longer login-times just do not pay off during work. Although the basic ideas are great, the technical implementation (inotify, using databases, …) is still not ready.

    Regarding activities and virtual desktops:
    With the fixes in KDE 4.9 and using the WorkFlow plasmoid on the Dashboard. Activities start being appealing, this just needs a bit more polishing, but the progress is already great. If the numbers of virtual desktops could be configured per activity, they would start making sense again.

    • afiestas

      Those points you have written are marked with fire in the memory of KDE (developers, users, everybody) and trust me, we are not going to make the same mistake again.

      One of the good things that KDE 4.0 broguth was that now there is a common awareness of how things should be done.

      Removing features: This will never happen again, all plasmoids are being ported to QML and compatibility with QGV will be kept.
      Changing the toolkit: We will switch to Qt5 and KDE Frameworks breaking the ABI, but that’s all we are going to break. Source compatibility will remain.
      Social stuff: Is going to be implemented in a way that you won’t notice is there unless you configure something. Don’t worry.
      Nepomuk/Akonadi: We are not planning to drop neither of them, my personal experience is that Akonadi “works” but with issues and Nepomuk runs smooth as butter.

      Cheerz !

      • MMM

        So these are great news. Thanks a lot!

  • nwoki

    Virtual Desktops may be a thing from the past, but they’re super handy. Please don’t mix personal taste with what’s good/helpful to people who use kde.

    • afiestas

      That is not a personal taste, after we analyzed virtual desktop and compared them to activities, we quickly saw that activities can do whatever VD are used for and more. So simply we said “let’s focus on activities”.

      OFC virutal desktops are here to stay, nobody is going to remove’em.

      Remember, KDE doesn’t tell to their users how you should use our stuff, it is your computer, your environment, you decide.

      • anonymous

        Is that the same analysis that said Nepomuk and Akonadi are super-useful and those who don’t need them don’t understand anything and can go fuck themselves?

        • afiestas

          Those that don’t understand or don’t want them can simply disable them, with 2 clicks. Then use whatever alternative you want.

      • Toey

        I’ve been using toggle for a few years now. I find the new vsorien of the desktop client much less usable than the old one. Rather than seeing a list of recent tasks that I can resume with one click, I find myself having to constantly use the + icon to resume old tasks. Yes, it’s nicer looking, but why do you keep changing the way toggl works? I just don’t want to continue having to re-learn toggle with your improvements , particularly when the old vsorien worked just fine. I really want to like toggle and resume my Pro account, but you continue to make changes to how the tools work and how the reports are configured.

  • Michail Vourlakos

    I hope you had fantastic time!!! The Sprint looks wonderful in the photos!
    One question about “Virtual desktop are a thing from the past in its current state.” because I am developer of . the motion is to deprecate them or to enhance them?
    what do you think?

    Thanks a lot,

    • afiestas

      Nothing is going to be removed, so the idea is to improve them in conjunction with activities, your work was actually brought up in the discussions we had.

      • Michail Vourlakos

        This is fantastic!!! Thanks a lot for the good news….