There is a lot of interesting and innovative development currently going on in KDE PIM. Over the last number of years we have been porting the 10 year old Kontact suite to the new and spiffy Akonadi and KDE PIM platform. The primary benefits of this are scalability, extensibility, reliability, maintainability and ubiquity. The bread and butter of software engineering.
At our Osnabrück meeting early this year we discussed promoting KDE PIM for the purposes of attracting new developers and interested users for testing. Some of the ideas from the brainstorming session were good ones and have been actioned. The key to getting the message out to a wide audience is multipliers.
The developers and others close to the KDE PIM community number in only a few tens of people, but we want to reach an audience of tens of thousands. We can put out messages about features and improvements in KDE PIM, but to reach the wider audience we need others to relay the message.
We’ve been putting the message out in more channels over the last few months, such as twitter and facebook, and have had successes in getting content in German into LinuxMagazin in print and online. Markus Feilner attended the Osnabrück meeting in January and wrote a short article and a longer article about it in German. More recently he has covered the developments in KDE PIM mobile, so that is a good channel that we can keep open.
Of course, the KDE promotion team and infrastructure is also a huge help. Regular KDE Software Compilation release announcements on the dot help spread awareness of the coming stable releases for KDE PIM, and the dot editors are helpful and flexible enough in scheduling to get our own articles onto the dot. The dot is a good multiplier itself too, because articles appearing there often appear on other sites such as LWN.
How you can help
Even more multiplication of the news of work that we’re doing in KDE PIM would help us reach more users and potential developers. Anyone can help us get the message out. Is it still worthwhile to submit stories to slashdot or digg? Can you do that for us? Many of us in the KDE PIM team don’t know what sites are relevant to post to these days. Should we be on Technorati? Should we be on delicious? Are we on delicious already? I have no idea.
If you use these websites and know how to submit stories, go for it! Be part of the KDE PIM promo. Join the game.
Make sure you let us know as well. We can let you know if we fixed 20 bugs today, if we make something 14% faster, give you screenshots, or anything else suitable for twittering about. It also means you get the information before anyone else. The character limits on those kinds of sites don’t suit my writing style.
Who knows – it might even reach a national newspaper some day.
So, what are we doing?
The dependencies of KDE PIM have become more portable over recent years. Qt4 licensing changes made it easier to deploy Free Software on non-free operating systems. GPG4Win was developed and deployed bringing cryptographic features (and KDE technology) to Windows. More recently, extensive work has been done to port D-Bus to Windows and WinCE. The master branch in the D-Bus repository now contains the results of work that has been going on inside KDE and elsewhere in different branches and repositories. Future releases of D-Bus should be able to work just fine on Windows based systems.
This means that the entire KDE stack is portable in principle. In complicated programs, there is always going to be platform specific code which needs to be written, and in KDE PIM we have been making the PIM platform and applications work on Windows, MacOS, Maemo and WinCE just as well as they work on Linux. Those ports are in early alpha states of completion and stability, but work is ongoing. It’s an exciting time to be part of it. Future efforts innovating on top of Akonadi and Nepomuk could change the way we handle information, the web and the cloud, and we already have plenty of ideas.