Randa Meetings 2015 – What I plan to do

It is time for one more Randa Meetings this year, and over 50 KDE developers are going to participate in it along with me as well. The Randa Meetings is a codesprint sponsored by KDE and organized by Mario Fux, in which KDE developers from all across the globe are invited, and get to sit under the same roof and work together to collaborate on different ideas, coming up with some awesome feature implementations within a time span of about a week. These meetings generally focus on a common topic every year. Last year (2014) it was focused mainly on porting of various KDE applications to the KF5 framework. Similarly, this year we have a common focus as well, and it is aimed at bringing more of KDE to the mobile platform as much as possible. Now, since I am a Marble developer, let me tell you in brief what are my plans for Randa Meetings this year.

Marble is a virtual globe software, released for use in Desktops for now, but we’re working on “Marble Maps” for Android currently, which brings the openstreetmap + navigation/routing parts of Marble to Android. Although this Android app is still in its beta version for now and is going through a lot of testing at the moment, it will be openly available in the Play Store for being installed by everyone very soon. Along with that, we also plan to release an app called “Marble Globe” for Android later, which will focus more on different map themes, different planets, satellites and so on. For Marble Globe we think that it would be very interesting to include the “interactive tours” feature there prominently. So there could be a tour that shows landing sites on the moon. And another one that introduces certain interesting spots of a historical map. And so on. We would need declarative/qml support for tours to do that, and probably some other extensions as well that plain KML tours do not support out of the box. So we are interested in exploring these stuff, and are going to discuss these topics in Randa. Apart from that I am going to polish the existing feature in the desktop version as well.

I am really excited to meet Dennis and Torsten once again this year in Randa, along with the rest of the Marble team. Hope to have a lot of fun, loads of food, and a whole lot of hacking! 🙂 Although, all this can only be possible if you can provide us your support in this. So, please make sure to donate to the Randa fundraising to encourage the time and energy spent by all the KDE developers in this meeting, if you are an user or supporter of KDE in any way. Your every small contribution will be as precious as the rest! 🙂

Thanks a lot to Mario for organizing this amazing event. And I hope to have another awesome week in Randa this year. Cheers! 🙂

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Akademy 2015: An awesome experience.

So this was my very first Akademy, and I was excited about attending it ever since the beginning of when I started contributing to KDE a couple of years back. Feels great to have finally made it. Although I had some visa problems at the New Delhi airport because of which I reached A Coruna quite late and missed out on the entire first day of the conference, still I’m glad I could at least reach Rialta by sunset of that day and be able to attend the rest of all the days at Akademy.

So Day 2 began with the keynote speech by Lydia Pintscher on “Evolving KDE”, where many concerns regarding how KDE began, where it is going, how it needs to change, were discussed among many other things as well. It was really interesting, very motivating and I loved it, the best way the day could have started. Following this, were an array of many other talks as well, one of which I loved a lot, was the one given by Andrew Lake, where he spoke about visions, and how important it is for any product’s growth. His examples about a few “this is how *not* to write a vision” visions were hilarious. Overall, it was very interesting and fun to attend, and very informative of course. And then Vishesh Handa also spoke about file searching in Baloo in his talk, and how file searching and indexing happens in various other softwares and platforms, compared to how KDE does it in its browser in a more efficient way, was too good. Following the first half of talks, there was the group photo (glad I didn’t miss this 😀 ).

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On the second half of the day I gave a very brief lightning talk about my previous year’s GSoC project on implementing interactive tours in Marble. It kind of finished very soon, and I still regret why I did not extend it with a few demos by creating some tours on-spot or something of that sort. Still, hope people didn’t find it too boring. What felt very good though, was when Valentin Rusu came to me some time later that day to let me know about a website called flightradar24, which shows real time flights that are actually taking place right now all across the globe. Although these are real-time flights and are not similar to those that happen in Marble tours (tours in Marble are only virtual and don’t deal with actual real-time flights in airplanes), the link he sent me is pretty awesome and you should check it out once here: http://www.flightradar24.com/.

Apart from all this, there was a questionaire session with the KDE e.V. where various topics were raised, many interesting questions asked and answered, many secrets revealed, including the “secret handshake” ( 😛 ). It was totally awesome. Finally the day ended with the Akademy awards, where two of my most favorite KDE applications, that is, KDevelop and KDE Connect, were awarded, which they totally deserved, so I was very happy about it. The organizers were given a big thanks as well, along with all the sponsors, where Frederik Gladhorn from Qt, said something interesting, that is, “Be a good coder. But you need to be a good person before that” which was awesome to listen to!

So, after the first two days of talks, up next were the BOFs starting from day 3. The BOFs were too good. Lydia’s BOF on “Evolving KDE” was very interesting to attend, and many key points regarding what KDE actually is, how it should be correctly defined given the various types of projects under so many different fields that it supports, were discussed for a couple of hours, and it gave us a well detailed insight about the direction in which KDE is going as a whole, and ended with a decision to come up with a well-designed vision for KDE, among other things, in the next few days. It was good listening to everything that was discussed in this BOF.

Next day there was a party at the terrace of Espacio Coruna, which was awesome. I took this opportunity to meet up with a lot of people I didn’t interact with in person before. I really really wanted to meet Lydia Pintscher for a long time. And I did. It was so great to talk and discuss stuff with her in person, exchanging various ideas, opinions, and whatnot. I caught up with Aleix Pol as well, and the conversations were enlightening indeed. David Edmundson is a fun guy to hang out with. So is Andreas, Vishesh, Pinak, Devaja and everyone else. Akademy is totally awesome, mainly because of this, and its such a smart way of helping you have such fun conversations with so many people in person, with whom you had only conversed online before that. The food was great, along with the beer and wine, and there were even freestyle dance steps performed towards the end as well. A totally awesome evening it was.

On one of the next days, there was a tour to the aquarium as well. Viewing the shark from so close up-front was an out-of-this-world experience. Following that was a very long and tiring climb towards the top of the tower of Hercules, the view from which was magnificent. It was beautiful to be able to view almost the whole of the city from the top by standing on that tower.

I would like to thank KDE eV. a tonne, for providing me the sponsorship for this year’s Akademy, without which I would have had to miss out on such a wonderful experience of my life. Thanks to Jose Milan for organizing such an amazing event, and to all the rest of the organizers who played a part in this. It was so well-planned, I met a lot of people, explored through Spain, saw a live shark, and so much more. I would love to attend the Akademy’s that would be held in the next years to come. Thanks again, for giving me such an awesome experience of a lifetime to keep in my memories forever! Until next time, ciao! 🙂

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