Some previous ideas about building new ecosystems around free software projects (V)

Related to our topic, the most relevant internal factors /strengths and weaknesses) I can think of are the following:

Strengths

  • Passion.
  • Collaboration. Sense of community/identity.
  • Worldwide project.
  • Prominent FLOSS project. Well known brand.
  • Leading technology. Innovative.
  • Well defined product (software).
  • Broad base of skills.
  • Efficient development process.
  • Economically sustainable.
  • Internal communication.


Passion: KDE, like other community projects, is formed by people passionated about what they do and aboutfreedom.

Collaboration. Sense of community/identity: this culture make them extremely efficient and determined when decisions are taken, reaching goals that might seem impossible.

Worldwide project: KDE is a worldwide project, with active members all over the world, that speaks in many different languages and come from many different cultures.

Prominent FLOSS project. Well known brand: KDE is one of the current leading free software projects in the world and its brand has a high value, not just because of the product delivered, but because of the clear identity behind it.

Leading technology. Innovative: KDE develop some of the most interesting technologies in the software industry for desktops.

Well defined product (software): KDE Platform, KDE Workspaces and KDE Applications form a whole product that give answer to millions of user needs all over the world.

Broad base of skills: KDE is formed by people with many different skills, experience and motivations. It is a rich community.

Efficient development process: to develop and deliver the product throughout 15 years, KDE have a
complex, efficient and innovative development process. Coordination.

Economically sustainable: KDE is todays an economically sustainable project. Budget control and management is efficient.

Internal communication: KDE has solid communication channels and procedures with high participation.


Weaknesses

  • Weak marketing culture. Lack of experience.
  • Lack of resources for non technical activities.
  • Complex ecosystem.
  • Complex decision making process.
  • Diffuse points of contact.
  • Self criticism.


Weak marketing culture. Lack of experience: marketing haven’t been a priority in the past. We can do much better in this area.

Lack of resources for non technical activities: some non technical areas need more manpower.

Complex ecosystem: KDE is a big project with a complex structure. It is not easy to understand it when you come from traditional organizations.

Complex decision making process: because of its nature, some kind of decisions are hard to make in KDE. This is common to most community driven projects.

Diffuse points of contact: approaching KDE can be hard to do since we lack of globally defined roles. Some knowledge of how KDE work is needed to make the approaching process efficient, specially for non technical issues.

Self criticism: KDE has a strong sense of self-criticism, which is really good for internal processes, but harmful if it is made public continually focusing on weaknesses.

Once again, if you think some other elements must be added, feel free to make comments to this post.

4 thoughts on “Some previous ideas about building new ecosystems around free software projects (V)

  1. Regarding Weak marketing culture. Lack ofexperience: … We can domuch better in this area [1]

    One basic thing that everyone in F/OSS must get right is always say what their product does! I even have a stock clipping to comment on all the blog posts that are unintelligible to newcomers, here it is:

    1. You are the marketing department for your software.
    2. You never know who will come across your announcement, and you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
    So the second sentence of every announcement and blog post HAS to be a one-sentence overview of what XYZ does. It’s a good exercise to come up with a crisp meaningful summary and no one will begrudge you the repetition.

    [1] How/why did planetkde.org smash together yourwords?

    Like

  2. “Yep, you have few great points here. In my opinion KDE as a project needs better marketing and more good PR. “

    I think it is not just a KDE problem but most free software projects need improvements in this area. KDE has made good steps forward but some more are needed.

    “Complex ecosystem: mostly about nepomuk and kde pim/akonadi stuff. As a PCLinuxOS user I do not use any of them because nepomuk is disabled by default and akonadi applications are replaced by thunderbrid and pidgin (agnostic DE apps)So I do not have this problem, but users using kubuntu and fedora have.”

    When I talk about complex ecosystem I'm referring more to the organization/community than to the software.

    “Self criticism: Yes kde users have tendency to to self criticism and most criticized are nepomuk and kdepim/akonadi aplications. Almost 3 years and most users thinks they are unusable.”

    My point is related to KDE contributors. Frecuently we concrentrate a lot of effort on pointing out the mistakes we make instead of the good points. I think that is a common attitude in engineers.

    Like

  3. Yep, you have few great points here. In my opinion KDE as a project needs better marketing and more good PR.

    Complex ecosystem: mostly about nepomuk and kde pim/akonadi stuff. As a PCLinuxOS user I do not use any of them because nepomuk is disabled by default and akonadi applications are replaced by thunderbrid and pidgin (agnostic DE apps)So I do not have this problem, but users using kubuntu and fedora have.

    Unfortunately this areas lack manpowers/dewelopers. So we have situations where core developers needs donations (nepomuk). And I think this technology (akonadi, kdepim apps, nepomuk) should be disabled by default or even removed from KDE. Yes I know that sounds brutal. Or at lest we should clerly says that this technologies are not working properly.

    Self criticism: Yes kde users have tendency to to self criticism and most criticized are nepomuk and kdepim/akonadi aplications. Almost 3 years and most users thinks they are unusable.

    Like

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