whenever people ask me that question, I have trouble answering. what is KDE? it’s not just a desktop environment any more, not by a long shot. it’s a whole universe of software projects (one of which is a desktop environment). it’s the libraries that we use to make that software, that helps make a KDE program really *feel* like a KDE program. it’s the community around that software, people we work with and care about.
I love kde’s approach to software. it was the beauty of the underlying design that drew me in… I want to use, and make, software that works for me instead of against me. software that integrates and works together, so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. software that shares code, shares standard behaviours, etc. software that’ll remember things for me – I don’t have to know the whole name of a program if I can type the first few letters or the category, kontact will remind me of appointments, rsibreak tries to make me rest once in a while… I can use my memory for more important things while the computer takes care of those details for me. :) this is where things like nepomuk and solid will really shine, as applications begin to take advantage of them… things will Just Work, powerful things will just happen naturally, and we won’t have to spend as much time fighting with our computers instead of working on them… and then new, easier, more natural ways of using the computer will open up, as we put these tools to use and build more flexible software, software that works the way *we* want…
with kdelibs, the pillars of kde4, and qt, writing software gets easier and easier. need audio? phonon can handle it for you. need to deal with hardware? let solid handle the details while you focus on whatever your app is *really* trying to do. when you use kio, your program can read and write files locally, over ssh, over ftp, or pretty much any other protocol. kparts let you suck in big chunks of functionality from other kde software. and the more kde features you take advantage of, the more integrated the software is, the easier it is for people used to other kde apps to learn it and use it and feel at home. :) and of course there’s all the benefits of using qt – such a well-documented, coherent toolkit, where so many things just make *sense* and so many little headaches are taken care of for you.
most important, though, is the community. people from around the world, working together to make our computers a better place (am I too corny yet?), make awesome software, and have fun doing it… people who are friendly and intelligent, respectful and considerate (at least, most of them, most of the time). I want to be part of a community that treats people with respect, that welcomes anyone who is willing to act responsibly and be considerate of others, where people support each other and work together and work out disagreements without saying hurtful things. I love being around so many people who share those ideals, who believe in KDE, that we can make software that has quality, that will be useful and lasting and will make people’s computers at least a little less stressful… :)
developers, translators, writers, artists, bugsquad, usability folks, everyone who has been working to improve KDE and being a positive part of this community: thank you for making KDE (however you define it) awesome. :) I love working on KDE software, and I love working in the KDE community.
and now, I
steal borrow a couple of my favourite images from Wade Olson: