KDE ON Program: Dealing with private and public

When I began with Free Software I already was CEO of a little company back in the Canary Islands. To me it was a complete shock getting in contact with LTSP first and KDE later. In both cases I had business projects related with their technologies so, at the very beginning, that relation with them was a matter of pure business.
I remember thinking…. If they behave like crazy nuns, fine, I won’t. I felt like the The Walking Dead lead actor. Not many months later, I realized I was one of the zombies. Still, both project made easy for me to get involved. No regrets, no blames, no pointing fingers…. just friendly hackers.
This common experience can be softened. Times have changed but business culture not so much. KDE ON Program must reduce this culture gap. One the main issues to do so is clearly defining how to deal with confidentiality, a key point for organizations.
When designing a Program like KDE ON, that deals with organizations, specially with companies, one of the possible conflicts we need to take in consideration is the different views/models/culture we have around confidentiality, about what is public and what should be kept private.
FLOSS communities, like KDE, that evolve in the Open, tend to reduce as much as possible the amount of private information, forums, decisions. Companies usually promote the opposite.
We have a tough challenge ahead of: to bring organizations into the open in a compatible way with their current business culture.
Someone might think that it is just a matter of building trust. But we know that is not enough. We have seen in the past how strong relations between companies and communities fell apart in seconds. We need to establish some procedures ensuring that common spaces can be built where private and open meets comfortably.
KDE-ON Program, our effort to create an ecosystem of organizations around KDE, must define those meeting points without changing our ground rules, which it won’t be easy if we want to become attractive to organizations, so they join us. We should not underestimate their fears to the Open, specially when dealing with managers, born in the classic MBA business culture.
We have around KDE (other community projects too, obviously) many companies that, at different levels, understands and/or have experience dealing internally (and with us) with many of those fears, misconceptions, reactions, etc. Along with other experienced KDE members, I feel we can do a great job teaching organizations how powerful and profitable embracing the opening could be.
Don’t you remember the first person that showed you how cool Free Software was? We always tend to have a special relation with our first mentor, that special teacher that opened our eyes, that first love that allowed us to discover a new world, right? That is the kind of hit we are able to create in many CxO that, hopefully, will get involved with us through KDE ON Program.
So KDE ON Program should be for participants a learning process that end up allowing them to build long term relations with Free Software community projects in open forums, in a FLOSS life style, accepting some Free Culture principles. At the same time, it should help us to understand them better, so along the road we can become a more business friendly.
Let’s see if we do it right in KDE ON, or at least, we create learning spaces understanding we are in a, somehow, R&D environment. So we all judge our mistakes with scientific, or at least not pure business, eyes.

Moving to Madrid for a few weeks

As I posted a couple of weeks ago, I’m looking for a new job. I’m moving to Madrid to have some interviews and, hopefully, to attend to some Free Software/Free culture events. Let’s see if I can also give a talk about KDE too.

I’ve been in Madrid many times before. I even have family there, but most of the times, I couldn’t enjoy the city or visit some of my friends there since I went to work. It’ll be different this time.

During these weeks in Madrid, I’ll finish the Building innovation nodes through Free Software Communities series of posts and will try to help launching KDE ON Program.

You probably haven’t heard anything about it. You can get some idea by reading the following previous posts from my blog:

Yes, I know, it is too much to read, but hey, I’ve been busy.

KDE Organizational Network Program structure


The Organizational Network Program is divided into three subprograms:

  1. KDE Organizational Network Program Guest: basic level
  2. KDE Organizational Network Program Membership: intermediate level
  3. Patron Forum

    Depending on the evolution of the network, more levels can be added. Each level with take into consideration the nature of the three basic targets. Each subprogram offer different kind of networking activities and implies different requirements and commitments.

    The general idea from KDE perspective is that the differences between the first two subprograms, Organizational Network Program Guest and Organizational Network Program Membership are low, while the Patron Forum is a little more that the top level subprogram, that include some extra services.

    The KDE ON can also be described as a business opportunity KDE offers to organizations related to our project, linked to our community and our software.

The KDE Organizational Network Program is based in networking

    KDE Organizational Network Program is a networking based service associated to our community and our software with the idea of building a network of organizations around us that, through a structured program, build new relations among them thanks to the creation of an adequate environment. That environment will be possible to build because of:

  • The involvement of KDE members with experience in two areas:
    • Community management and development.
    • The field where the organizations belong (Education, business and non-profits).
  • The experience KDE have in key areas like
    • building communication channels.
    • community decision making procedures.
    • mentoring programs.
    • organizing events.
  • Existence of a Core Group of organizations already interested in building such a network. Most of them have a very strong relation with KDE actually. Some of them are Patrons.
  • KDE support to the Program.

    KDE Organizational Network Guest/Member Program are networking (sub)programs, while the Patron Forum is an institutional/political/commercial program, so it has a different nature. Each subprogram is described in following sections.

    KDE  ON Guest/Member subprograms must be seen as a two stop journey to become part of KDE. By becoming a Guest, the organization will have the opportunity to build relations with KDE, other Program Guests and Members. Every networking activity will have a digital nature.

    If the evaluation is positive, KDE will offer to the organization the chance to become a Member of the Program. If the organization accepts, it will participate in further activities. Several of them are physical.

     KDE  ON Guest/Member subprograms are designed for three different type of organizations:

  1. Education
  2. Business
  3. Non-profit

    Some of the activities and procedures are common to those three, but some will be different.

Please remember that this articles is just the latest of a series (7 more articles). Please read the previous ones to fully understand the ideas proposed above.

All the above are personal ideas, even though they are written in third person. Do not take this as a KDE strategy or Plan. They are not.