Camp KDE, taking place April 4-5, 2011, is co-located this year with The Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit. It’s worth hitting Hotel Kabuki a little early next week to see what the KDE community is doing with the mobile desktop. I talked to Camp KDE organizer Jeff Mitchell to learn more.
Q: Camp KDE is co-located this year with The Linux Foundation’s Collaboration Summit. Can you tell us about what attendees should expect at Hotel Kabuki?
Jeff: Co-locating with the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit gives us a great opportunity to engage with the attendees of the Collaboration Summit and in return, for our attendees to become part of a broader Linux event. As one of the largest open source communities in the world, collaboration, both internally and externally, is an important part of the KDE community experience. As a result, many of our attendees are looking forward to discussing collaboration techniques and technologies with the larger attendee base of the Collaboration Summit.
Q: What do you expect to be the hot topics at Camp KDE this year and what can attendees look forward to at the event?
Jeff: One of the hot topics this year is KDE on Mobile. KDE is very interested in the mobile space; in particular, Plasma as a technology is well suited to creating interfaces for devices with small and disparately-sized screens. The Plasma Netbook workspace is a great example of this. Qt is now available on the leading mobile platform (Android), and is also available on WebOS, Symbian and MeeGo. This is quite a large number of devices for KDE technology to target.
The other hot topic this year is Education. On Tuesday, Carol Smith from Google’s Open Source Program Office will be giving a keynote discussing KDE and Education, especially in terms of Google Summer of Code (KDE has for many years been the largest organization in GSoC). Later that day there will be a moderated panel on KDE in Education with Carol Smith, Knut Yrvin and Aleix Pol.
Q: Jim Zemlin will open up the Collaboration Summit with the “State of the Linux Union.” Can you describe for us your take on the state of the desktop? What’s critical in the year ahead to see progress in this area? What is KDE doing to help that progress?
Jeff: The vast majority of computer users these days are able to do nearly anything they could want to do within a web browser and are often not even in front of a computer thanks to the advances in smart phones and other mobile technology. This presents a major challenge for anyone writing software for the desktop. In order to remain relevant, communities such as KDE need to embrace the capabilities of the web while finding ways to enhance the user experience beyond what the browser can offer.
KDE is uniquely positioned to achieve this thanks to the huge amount of effort our community has put into the “KDE Development Platform,” which is the base of libraries and services used to power KDE applications. With this infrastructure it becomes easy for developers to create applications that integrate seamlessly with each other to provide an immersive experience not possible in a web browser.
There has also been much effort invested in the area of creating a more semantically oriented desktop experience. Technologies like Nepomuk will allow users to leave conventional desktop searching behind by allowing them to tag their files with meaningful metadata, making it much easier to find later on.
KDE also acknowledges that today’s computer users often have many devices that they use throughout the course of their day. With this in mind, applications such as ownCloud are being developed to allow them to create their own personal cloud without having to rely on third party corporations to store their data. This way, it doesn’t matter if they are on their desktop, laptop, or mobile devices as their data will always be accessible in a secure, private manner.
Finally, the Plasma Desktop and many other KDE applications are preparing for a future where computing exists outside the traditional desktop environment. We have recently added new Plasma Workspaces targeted at netbook/tablet interfaces, and much of our software is actively being modified to support utilization on mobile phones so that you can be free to use KDE even when you’re away from your desktop computer.
Thanks to Jeff and Justin, the Camp KDE organizers, for these details on what we can expect early next week. For more information on the event, please visit the Camp KDE website. Also, don’t forget that both the Embedded Linux Conference and Android Builders Summit will take place the week following The Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit.