Automotive, what an opportunity for KDE!

During the last year I’ve focused a significant part of my effort on driving the GENIVI Development Platform, together with some Codethink colleagues and other GENIVI professionals and community members.

What is GENIVI Development Platform?

GENIVI Development Platform (GDP) is a project and an outcome.

As a project, it can be defined as the delivery side of the GENIVI Alliance. Today is a fairly standard Open Source project, done in the open following many of the most common practices any FLOSS developer would expect.

As an outcome, GDP is a Linux base distribution (Poky) derivative, built with Yocto, that integrates the software that GENIVI community (automotive professionals) develop as Open Source software.

It still a small project but the quality of the platform and the number of people involved has grown this last year significantly.

GENIVI Alliance is a consortium of +140 companies so obviously most of the overall effort is done by paid developers. Changhyeok Bae (community member) together with Tom Pollard and Robert Marshall (Jonathan Maw before him) from Codethink Ltd, constitute the maintainers team, who are responsible for the integration, testing and release of GDP.

These guys are supported by people like myself, doing coordination, marketing, documentation, IT services, infrastructure, testing and many other key tasks which provides the project a level of robustness and scalability that any serious attempt of this nature requires nowadays.

I am interested, where can I get more?

You can find more general information about the project in the following resources:


GDP-ivi9 is the current stable version although we have moved so fast this last year in terms of the software shipped, that I recommend you to try the following:

  • If you are interested in a solid base system, try GDP 11 RC2
  • If you are interested in checking the latest UI and demo applications, try GDP 11 RC3
  • If you are interested in building from scratch you own images with the latest software, do it directly to GENIVI’s rolling release, called Master for now. You can get the latest software there. It should most ly work since we put stabilization effort on it, following the openSUSE Tumbleweed mindset in this regard.

Currently GDP supports RPi2 & 3, Minnowboard MAX and Turbot, Renesas Porter and Silk and Qualcomm Dragonboard 410c. GDP ships Qt 5.6 at the moment, since it is based in Yocto 2.1…

…which makes GDP a great target for KDE software, specially for Plasma.

 

GDP and KDE

Putting the effort on having KDE well supported in Yocto would provide the project a third life, landing on an industry that is heavily investing in Open Source with a key piece of software, with no clear competitor today in the open.It would revamp the interest of many KDE developers in porting their apps to embedded/mobile environments and would bring attention to the project from Qt professionals all over the world. Currently KDE is significantly better than anything else that is open in automotive. It would just require the effort to include it and maintain it in Yocto, which is not small, and adapting Plasma a little initially, not much.GENIVI launched a Challenge Grant Program that might help to put some funding in the equation 😉

Whatever effort done to put Plasma on Yocto (so GDP) would also be picked up by GDP’s competitor, AGL UCB (Auto Grade linux Unified Code Base), the Linux Foundation automotive group Linux (again, Yocto) based distribution. So there would be at least two players for the cost of one.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Qt companies would jump in on this effort too. In order to play in the open filed today, they need to Open Source their products, which is a big risk for most of them. Playing with KDE, which is based in the technologies they are familiar with, would be simpler for them. I bet the Qt company would be heavily interested in promoting this effort. It would help to dissipate all the pushing back from the automotive industry to the current Qt license model, GPLv3 based. And it would do it in the best possible way, by providing great ready-to-use software with no competitor. I have been one year preaching about how big the opportunity currently is for KDE, but this is not the kind of challenge that can be sustained on volunteer basis, sadly, since keeping KDE up to date in the Yocto project would require a high level of commitment from KDE as a whole.

The community probably needs first a small success story and some company/corporate push before really jumping on it, I think. The support of a couple of KDE or Qt companies would catalyze the effort.GENIVI and AGL make a significant promotion effort around the world within the automotive industry, participating in forums where KDE is unknown. Many companies that currently develop close source Qt applications for automotive would be interested in KDE which would increase our potential targets for our Corporate program.

Having KDE on GDP and AGL UCB would increase the incentive of developing new applications for many of our young developers who currently do not have automotive as a “professional target“. 

Companies like LG, Renesas, Bosch, Hartman, Intel, Jaguar Land Rover, Toyota, Visteon, Fujitsu, Mitsubishi, Volvo, among many others…. are key stakeholders of GENIVI and AGL. Isn’t it this attractive enough?A success story like the one I am proposing would be yet another example of how KDE can play a key role for the Qt ecosystem. Sadly not everybody in this ecosystem understand what a great “tool” KDE can be for them. After a hit like this one, it would be undeniable.Think about the exposure, think about where we are today… Something like this would place KDE where Unity, Android (AOSP) or GNOME are not… yet. I believe this is the kind of strategic decision that would change KDE future. But also the business perspective of those companies (specially Qt ones) who would get involved.

Let’s do it now… or somebody else will.

Update(29/10/16): to find out about the state of KDE in Yocto please read the comment to this article from Samuel Stirtzel. Thanks Samuel.

Akademy 2012: my story

Another Akademy is gone. This was a good one. Beautifully organized (probably the best one), nice city, good venue… Of course it wasn’t perfect, but I’ve been in way more expensive events where things didn’t go as smooth as in this Akademy. Thanks to the Akademy-team for the effort. I liked Tallinn. I’ll be back.

I didn’t attend to this Akademy in shape. As you already know, two weeks before the event, I moved to Nuremberg to begin my new job at SUSE. Going through the last step of the hiring process, packing everything and moving in just some days was challenging. Add to that finishing the economic report to send it to KDE e.V. members before the event, catching up with KDE Connect activities (and the talk) and finishing the keynote preparation and arriving late at night to the hotel…..it is easy to understand why my keynote wasn’t as good as I would like to, and you probably expected.

I’ll do better next time. Sorry.

By Sunday I felt much better and my KDE Connect talk was a little better. I explained the basics of the program and I could talk to several companies about it. Congrats to the ones that got an Akademy Award. They are well deserved.

And then Spain won the Eurocup. Oh man, what a feeling. After so many years without winning, these last six years taste like glory for football fans like myself.

I don’t even remember what I did the day after. Probably doesn’t matter. I will never forget the feeling of knowing we are the best ever.

On Tuesday we had the KDE eV General Assembly. I presented the economic report and the conclusions. I feel good about the presentation since I think I managed to give the message I prepared clearly. I got elected as Board Member so I’m not ‘temporary’ anymore 🙂 Congrats to Pradeepto too, who also was elected.

By Wednesday I was in shape, so BoF were smooth.

As usual, when you come back home from these events…..you are exhausted. I was, once again.

I would like to mention here what I already expressed during Nokia’s/Qt talk at Akademy. First of all, my respects for standing in front of KDE contributors. These things are not easy. Others in the past didn’t even show up. You not just did, but also gave explanations. Yes, the ones you had, but explanations at the end. Thank you. It has been an amazing journey and more is yet to come. We in KDE don’t feel this is the end but a new beginning.

I liked to see together once again the KDE Spain crew. They (ups, we) are not kids anymore. We are getting more and more responsibilities within KDE. This is the result of many people’s effort, but above all, is the result of Albert passion, hard work and vision. KDE Spain is nowadays not just the most mature KDE little sister, but is also economically healthy and growing, Bilbao is trying to be selected to host next year’s Akademy….

Albert…thanks.

The results of the election for the new Board came during Akademy. Aleix Pol is now the new President. He’ll be a good one. Congratulations Aleix…and the rest of the new Board members.

I will write soon deeply about KDE Connect and the economic report. 

I have a final request for sponsors, as contributor……..

Dear sponsors, in Free Software communities, there are people like me, who do not code, but still have a little sensible heart that suffers while watching others during several days having lots of fun playing like kids with nice new toys (devices) they receive from you during events. 

Akademy-es 2012, the annual Spanish KDE event, will take place next weekend

KDE Spain, in collaboration with Saragossa City Council, The Saragossa Knowledge Foundation and the Aragon regional FLOSS SME cluster (CESLA) organizes Akademy-es 2012, the V edition of the yearly meeting where KDE community from Spain meets. It will take place next weekend, from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th in Saragossa.

This year we pay special attention, beside pure KDE contents, to Qt and companies, with several talks related to them. KDE Spain (a legal entity), as usual,  also celebrates its annual assembly on Saturday, May 19th, as part of the event.

We have several sponsors. One of them, Wadobo, is owned by Eduardo Robles Elvira (aka edulix). This is nothing but a confirmation of how Free Software communities, even local ones, work as business incubators, feeding the project back. This is definitely, something to promote even more in KDE.

On Friday 18th I’m giving a talk specially oriented to companies. I will try to explain them the advantages of getting involved in a community driven Free Software project like KDE. On Saturday 19th I will talk about KDE Connect.

I’m glad to see that this year we will also have several talks from representatives of non KDE initiatives that helps us in different ways, like Jesus, G. Barahona, from Libresoft (we collaborate in FP7 project ALERT) or Paul Brown, from Linux Magazine (Spanish version director). We will also have OpenSUSE related contents. I hope next year some other distros propose talks for Akademy-es.