JAN
10
2009

If you build it, they will come ...

I'm currently on my way back home to Berlin from a hit-and-run visit to the Osnabrück 7 KDEPIM meeting. It's just close enough for me to take a very early train in the morning and still be back home before midnight, which was the best I could do this year, due to other commitments. I'm really glad I did, as I'm leaving the others hacking and discussing with the kind of warm, joyous feeling of fulfillment one gets when a long and slow process seems to be coming together nicely and things align beautifully.

I still vividly remember our intense discussions years ago at a previous meeting in Osnabrück about our lack of new blood, the declining fun in working with an increasingly crufty code base, the ever rising bug count etc. and what to do about it all. One of the fundamental conclusions we came to was that if we wanted our project to survive longer term, attract new developers, restore our sense of fun, we would have to build something new, a foundation that we and others would want to hack on again, that KDE would embrace and that would allow us to build a kick-ass next generation infrastructure for PIM for ourselves and whoever else would want to use it. We realized back then, and throughout the process that concentrating our very scarce resources on something new could potentially mean jeopardizing the quality of our stable versions, making our users and partners unhappy and increasing the frustration in the short term. Luckily a few brave souls stepped up to help keep the old lady KDEPIM from keeling over while Volker lead the others on the Akonadi adventure.

So it is not without a sense of relief that I, and I think the other old KDEPIM farts as well, noted today that the new Intevation offices were filled with a whole new generation of PIMsters, eagerly hacking away on and with Akonadi and KDEPIM. There's a real sense of excitement around the project again, Tobias is making plans for KAddresbook again, Ingo is fixing KMail bugs again, things are moving forward with porting the main apps to Akonadi proper. It looks like we might succeed at retaining as much of the experience of those who've been doing this stuff for a while as we can to provide those who come into the project with a solid foundation to stand on. To build cool stuff with, and stick around to maintain it. To have fun with. Like Thomas, Tom, Bertjan, and Stephen, Bruno, Igor and Szymon, Kevin, Allen, the students from Toulouse and all the others who've more recently joined us and already made many great contributions. Of course not all of this positive development is due to Akonadi. But beyond solving technical problems I think it has allowed us to rally around a vision and helped keep the community from falling apart in frustration.

We have built it, and they have come. Feels great. :)