Akademy 2013 and la experiencia

[update: earlier, this was accidentally posted incomplete, this version is the complete one]

This year's gearheads' meetup was in Bilbao which is located in the Basque Country in Spain. The talks were very good and gave a good idea of whats going around in the Qt and KDE worlds. There were people taking Qt to new platforms and others getting your contacts more organized.

The talks

The first keynote was from Eva from EFF where she talked about how the recent revelations affect people outside the United States. Then, Kevin talked about how to use QWidget-widgets in QML, making life easier for developers. This was followed by updates on Qt on BlackBerry and story about the Mer Project and how essential they are in helping Free Software mobile platforms to funciton. Something special this Akademy, we had Jerome from the Razor project talk about the project, it goals and bits about how parts of LXDE were rewritten in Qt. There was also a talk on Plasma2 – the next version of KDE's workspaces which brings in the new feature where Plasma can dynamically load different shells (desktop, netbook, tablet etc).

I had a talk on Pair Programming with KDE where I shared the experience of me and few other KDE contributors working on code together. While there were many different things, the most important realization we had was that pairing was awesome to introduce new contributors to a project's codebase and good practices. (Also, I learnt to never, ever edit your already good slides just before your talk to screw them up 😛 )

On the second day, there were lightning talks by various people, a talk about KPeople – a new metacontact library and a pretty cool demo of dictation by Simon from Peter Grasch. We also had a group photo 🙂


Other than the usual BoFs, there was a very interesting BoF this year around usability testing. Thanks to Björn and Jos, we had a session where people brought in their apps and others volunteered as users to find usability (to be more precise, learnability) issues. We had KScreen, Plasma Network Manager, Plasma Media Center and KStars as the applications and each of them had pretty useful results. There were countless ocassions where a developer would get amazed “omg! I thought that was obvious”.

There was also a BoF around the mentoring program the KDE organizes. We talked about how the programs were going on (and were being planned) and also some of the issues that came up this and the last year. At some point, there was the topic of Indian students being too naive, which is kinda true at times because of the way kids are brought up here. Most of the times, however, just pointing out their exact mistake and ways to improve will do the trick. I say that from personal experience (and I'm sure others will agree). Still, if you believe you've encountered someone who seems from another planet instead of an Asian subcontinent, don't hesitate to ask on #kde-in (or motivate the student to do so).

KDE Mentoring program BoF

There was also a BoF on Plasma Media Center where we explored ways of improvement and the road to the future. More details on Sinny's blog.

There were also some discussions of some magic that's gonna happen in KDE-India next year, but, for now, thats all we'll tell you 😛

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