These days LinuxTag 2008 is taking place in Berlin. KDE is there to show off the coolest and newest like development versions of KDE 4.1 as well as visions of the desktop/web integration. And I’m there as well, helping out and enjoying my first Linux conference.
At the LinuxTag
The LinuxTag 2008 is taking place place from May 28 till May
30 at the conference center in Berlin. In the past I thought about visiting the conference several times but lost track of it. However, some days ago red alert (which I know from Fedora) asked if I would like to get a community ticket (thanks, I owe you something!). Of course I said yes and immediately checked which project was in need of a helping hand. At first I thought I could help at the Fedora booth (given that I am a Fedora packager), but since they already got 24 (!) people signed up for help I decided to check the KDE page. And indeed, the KDE team welcomed a helping hand and I joined the team and helped at the booth today.
So I arrived in Berlin on Tuesday evening/night and went to the conference center in the morning next day. The KDE booth was already set up, but the booth computer wasn’t running properly. We tried to fix it, but finally gave up (via chrome graphics card, no 3D there…) and fell back to the private laptops of the others (mine doesn’t have KDE 4.x yet). Most of them were running KDE 4.1dev which gave us the opportunity to show off some of the new cool features.
And indeed there were many interested people. We’ve got questions from beginners (“What is the difference between Gnome and KDE, and how can I decide which one is better?”) up to discussion with experts for example about general possibilities of semantic cooperation between web and desktop. During the discussions I also faced a problem: how can you show off how cool KDE’s libraries are? Libraries are “invisible” and it really takes some effort to give a proper and interesting explanation to people who can hardly imagine what a computer library is.
Anyway, it was really exciting. The only sad thing was that the booth was missing a big eye-catcher like a large KDE flag or something. On the other hand, due to a lucky incident – I’ve won a drawing – we now have a giant Tux. Maybe we should try to paint it green and make it look like Konqi? 😉
Speaking about booth setups: kudos to the Fedora project! Their booth (which is cater-cornered to KDE’s) is probably one of the most impressive community project booths at the entire LinuxTag. Some photos can be seen here. And the fact that they also show off a Fedora 9 running KDE 4 at a prominent place is also a bonus 😀
However, of course KDE is not only represented in the form of the booth where we showed the future of tomorrow (KDE 4.1), but also in the form of presentations to show the future of next week (well, and a bit more). Aaron Seigo held today’s keynote (!) and was talking about the desktop in a Web 2.0 world. The next days there will also be talks about Kontact, PIM in general, multimedia, Nepomuk, usability, KOffice, KDE on WIndows, Amarok and so forth. Additionally, there is also not only the KDE booth, but also the Amarok booth: they show what Amarok 2 is becoming, and how it will change the way users experience music. And it will change!
Me in Berlin with KDE people: social and technical things
Besides this exhibition part there was of course a social component: I’ve met a whole bunch of new people and must admit that they are really great. It makes fun to be at the booth, to help out, to talk, to sit around, to organize together and also to go to an Indian restaurant in the evening.
Also I am now able to put names to faces and vice versa. That is very important for the social aspect of the community – and it simply makes more fun to communicate afterwards if you really know someone behind a nick name in person.
Additionally, the conference of course provides news about future technical development. Aaron for example was asked during his presentation today how KDE 4 will deal with security in case of Plasma widgets, and it turned out that there will be a gpg-sign system in a future Plasma version (maybe 4.2) with several trust levels. To give a rough idea: some Plasma widgets will be signed by KDE (highest trust), some will be by signed by third party developers you trust, some will not be signed at all. Since you can manage the gpg keys and their trust on your machine by yourself the level of security and trust also depends on yourself.
I’m looking forward to the talks of the next days. A last word, though: in case you wonder where all the cool pictures went: I had no camera and have to ask the others tomorrow if I can have some cool pictures…