Akademy 2019

At this year's Akademy I had great moments with new and already known people. Akedemy gives me much power for hopefully the rest of the year. I really enjoyed the daytrip to the lake. It was calm and beautiful environment. The daytrip helped me to calm down again. Together with Leiner, Florian and Valorie we sat down to discuss issues for newcomers attending Akademy the first time while having an amazing lunch. Is it often hard to remember how hard it can be to attend the Akademy the first time without knowing lots of people. The outcome of this discussion will feed back to community after some more cleanup of our notes. Hopefully we can make the next Akademy even better for newcomers next year!

My highlights from the first two days of great talks are Kirogi and "Developers Italia". I really enjoyed seeing that Open Source reaches more and more domains and now you can even control your drone with Open Source named Kirogi. The software itself looks already quite usable and I'm looking forward what features we will see there in future...

"Developers Italia" was an eye opener, in how governments can change the laws so administrations must invest in Open Source. In Italy, administrations are forced to search for an existing solution in Open Source and then use this solution. If the software does not work for them they can pay developers to implement their needed features, but still the code will be owned by the administration and they need to publish the code afterwards under an Open Source license. I'm very interested to see how this will develop in future, because at the moment I still have the bad feeling that some big companies may have the ability and also the desire to destroy this revolutionary idea, with the result that only some big companies will get all the big grants, and the result will be bloated unusable Open Source software. But none the less, let's give the Italy administrations a warm welcome and give them a hand to become good Open Source citizens.

I also enjoyed the talk by Albert about the status of fuzzing KDE software. Albert explained, that the first Frameworks are covered by fuzzing, and the results that were found by the fuzzer. The first days and weeks spit out a lot of interesting issues, but nowadays, the fuzzer takes a lot of time to find new issues. So it is time now to add the next set ready to be fuzzed. I talked with Albert about what would be the most valuable parts of KDEPIM that should be covered by fuzzing. The first set is KMime, KContacts and KCalenderCore as they handle input without any user interaction.

As Qt6 is planned for next year, KDE needs to plan KDE Frameworks 6. In a BoF we discussed the timetable and also some things to do to prepare. Within the same day a Phabicator board was set up and the first review request was accepted. The first big task is not to get rid of KDE4Support and where possible remove deprecated Qt5 API.

Within the KDEPim BoF we discussed, what parts of KDEPIM are ready to become a Framework. Volker has done a really good job in getting KContacts and KCalendarCore into Frameworks. Then we looked at what external applications depend on KDEPIM and why they depend on our stuff. We can see clearly, that most of external applications want to use an address book. The solution we favor is that the external application use kpeople and kpeople has a plugin system where Akonadi can have a plugin. Bhushan and Nico are willing to implement this. It is great that we now also get a stronger connection to Plasma Mobile, as they are interested in a PIM solution for the phone too. We all know that the current stack with Akonadi is not ready to be pushed to the phone, but we can make sure that as much code as possible is reused on the phone. We named the two parts PIM dinosaurs (the desktop apps) and PIM mobile. The most important part is that we are in one team.

As there was also some time in between the BoFs. I spent time to make MemoryHole (encrypted mail headers) support ready for KMail. Together with some time after Akademy, we now have MemoryHole support for the MailViewer implemented. The next step, to implement the sending part, is still being developed. I also took the opportunity to talk with Jonathan and Daniel to get AppArmor support for Akonadi Server. The state before Akademy was that Neon and Debian had both implemented a AppArmor profile, and they were not same, so we sat down together and started to took into it. This unified profile is now ready and will be shipped with the next release 19.12.0.

The last topic I want to talk about is the privacy goal. This goal is surely not finished and we want to continue. At this point we now slowly starting to really work as a strong team of people. And we have a hard task, because privacy is difficult. This makes it hard to pinpoint big issues we can improve. Privacy is more about the small details, which made it hard to write a guide for developers. So we planned how to make it visible that we are not dead, so we want to do a bimonthly blog post series to show the world what we accomplished within those two months. Also we tried to identify the KDE Applications that are in the scope of the Privacy goal.

I'm not able to write everything that happened during Akademy, as it is simply too much. Talking and discussing things or just getting status updates of people's lives is so rich and give me a lot of energy for the year ahead until the next Akademy!