Closing doors

Yesterday was my last day as KDE e.V. Board Member. As you know I have been the KDE Treasurer since April 2012. I will keep being part of the Financial Working Group so I will be able to help my successor during the landing process and in the future. I still have some leftovers to finish (reports) and I plan to write a couple of posts about our numbers, so you all know what it the situation of KDE e.V. in general….healthy, by the way 🙂 It is being a soft transition.

KDE e.V. is in the right time to be ambitious and heavily increase its resources to support KDE community. Several decisions have been made in this regard and they will be executed during this 2014. The financial situation is healthy enough to afford some level of expansion. So I think it is time for somebody else to come with energy and enthusiasm to drive these changes the following months/years. And we have that person so…..

KDE e.V. is a solid organization, well managed and with a Board that takes the financial area seriously. It has been a pleasure and a honor to be part of the Board.

On the other hand, my relation with SUSE will end this month. Working on openSUSE, an specially building and leading the openSUSE Team, has been a great experience. I wish them all the best, specially in their current main task, turning Factory into a “usable” rolling release by changing the development work flow/process. It is a goal with a high impact for openSUSE.

 
openQA has a nice present, a tremendous potential and future, not just from the technical but also from the business point of view. For those of you looking for a great place to work, consider SUSE. It was for me.

The last few weeks I have been temporary living in Prague. I love this city. I am not attending to openSUSE Conference (I am sure it will be a great one) and I am not sure if I will be able to go to Akademy-es, which is a pity since it takes place in Malaga, where I lived for three years, and it is organized by one of my colleagues, Antonio Larrosa. I plan to go to Akademy in Brno though.

As you can see, these are times for changes, after around two years putting my best in KDE e.V. Board and SUSE/openSUSE. I have no idea what am I going to do next but I am sure it will be exciting so I expect an article soon called “Open Doors”. Otherwise….I will not know what to do with so much time, or maybe I will… write more posts. 🙂

Thank you for your monetary contribution to KDE

This post is dedicated to everyone of you who contributes (or did) to KDE with donations, sponsorship or participating in any of our corporate programs we are currently running.
KDE publish a quarterly report where we include the major activities we do thanks to the money we receive from you. We also publish some numbers so we give you some information about how we are doing in terms of income/expenses. During the AGM, the Treasurer presents the report from the previous year and some numbers to give KDE eV members an idea of how the current financial year is going. To that AGM we invite Patrons and supportive members, so they can also have direct information and can ask questions.
But I would like to go beyond numbers and actions, reports or cold analysis. I would like to point out how important is that money for many young students from countries that do not offer the opportunities we are used to in Europe or North America, for example.
For many of them, the economic support we offer them to participate in our activities allow them to become part of KDE. Attending to Akademy or any sprint means much more than just the opportunity to meet KDE developers. For many of them, the economic support we provide them allows them to access to a future avoided for most of their friends, impossible to provide by their families or educational system. It means a passport to a deserving future.
I’ve seen in the past as a KDE member first, as a Desktop Summit organizer later and now as KDE eV Treasurer, how relevant is that help we provide, how much they deserve it, how good use of it they do in general and how that benefits to KDE. But above all, I’ve seen how their lives have changed, how many opportunities brings for them collaborating with a Free Software project like KDE and what a great role we play as opportunity providers.
I’m very proud of participating in a project that really change people’s life, specially to those that, because of where the live, they have very few opportunities to get what me and many others can get. And it is possible because of your support.
Thank you.

My activity as KDE Treasurer… so far.

KDE is a mature worldwide community FLOSS project. Contributors develop KDE Frameworks, Workspaces and Applications that are used by many people and companies around the world. Some of them get paid for contributing while others do it for fun. All them share an identity and some universal and specific values.

To sustain such a huge activity, resources are needed, and they need to be managed. One of those resources is….yes, money. One of the KDE eV Board of Directors goals is to build relations with organizations that could be interested in supporting KDE activity in many different ways. Supporting us economically is one of the relevant. To improve this goal, KDE eV hired a Business Manager, Claudia Rauch. You can check KDE Quarterly Reports to get information about our incomes and expenses.

KDE eV Board manage those resources, assuming the legal responsibility for them and making sure they serve to KDE goals. Claudia is also of great help in this goal.

Beside contributing in every aspect of the Board activity, as Treasurer, I have three major duties:

http://jointhegame.kde.org/
  • Assume the legal responsibility for a correct management of the economic resources.
  • Lead the creation of the budget, the financial reports and the everyday control of KDE eV resources. Presenting the year repost to the KDE eV assembly is a major milestone.
  • Lead the economic discussions/decisions within the Board to take the better possible decisions to accomplish the action plan, guided by the strategic decisions.
I have previous and wide experience in business and professional associations but this is my first relevant experience as Board Member of a community project. As expected, there are many similarities and a few but relevant differences. Maybe one day I have time to talk about them. I think it could be an interesting post.
I’m still trying to catch up with my responsibilities and it will take me a little while to contribute at 100% but, fortunately, since I’m not working, I have some time to make this adaptation process shorter. The rest of the Board members and Claudia are helping me.

As you can see in the financial section of every Quarterly Reports, a big part of our economic effort is concentrated in two areas, Akademy and technical Sprints. The last couple of months, the Board is taking decisions that have a big impact, in terms of budget, on those two areas, so I’ve tried to catch up fast to participate with criteria, being useful.

The third week of May I will go to Berlin to work with Claudia on the 2011 report we will present to KDE eV during the General Assembly (check previous announcement), that will take place during Akademy 2012 in Tallinn. I have also to learn a little about German taxes/law that affect KDE eV so it will be more efficient to work at KDE office with her.

LinuxTag will take place during that week so I’ll meet Cornelius Schumacher (KDE eV President) and Lydia Pintcher (Board member) there. We will have time to talk about what needs to be done during the second half of the year. With this effort, I expect to be prepare to defend the Board action from past and present year, in the economic area, during the General Assembly.

I have a second personal goal. My election as Board Member and Treasurer ends in Akademy so, no matter if I present myself as candidate for a full period election or not, I would like to leave to the next treasurer the most relevant/urgent decisions related with this year already taken, so he/she will have a few months for landing, evaluate and prepare the budget for next year with little pressure.

In future posts I will write about other aspects of the Treasurer job. I think that in general, they are not well known although they are relevant. During Akademy, Sebas and Lydia (Board Members), will give a talk about KDE eV. Don’t miss it. It will be very informative.

About KDE eV, its Board of Directors and the Treasurer position

What is KDE eV

In order to get to the point where we are right now in KDE, coding is obviously not enough. To be able to ship KDE Platform, Workspaces and Applications, there are non-technicals activities that must be done in different areas. Some of those can be better accomplished creating a legal entity.

To support KDE in some of those tasks, we created some time ago KDE eV, a legal organization based in Germany. It is formed by some KDE members that want to put some time and effort in helping developers to concentrate in what they like the most…. coding, bug fixing, translating, designing, etc.. KDE eV support the community in four major areas:

  1. Legal
  2. Administrative
  3. Economic
  4. Institutional

It is important to focus on the verb support, which have little to do with drive or decide. This concept is not easy to understand and, in practice, it brings some challenges. But that idea is part or our identity and differentiate us from many Free Software projects. Like any other legal entity, KDE eV has some duties that we cannot avoid, obviously, but we work everyday to make that compatible with what our community want and demand.

To achieve this goal, we need to be constantly open to what the community is demanding and the best way to do this is involving in KDE e.V. those people who significantly contribute to our project.

A German eV is different in some aspects from a Foundation (in US for example) or an Association (in Spain for instance). These differences explain some of the limitations and improvements we can achieve. Legal entities are just instruments and there is no single universal tool that works for everything everywhere, right?

KDE Board of Directors

Like every legal entity, somebody must be responsible for actions and decisions taken, leading and representing the group. KDE eV Assembly elects a five Board members (individually) for a three year period. Different countries also have different ideas of Board rights and duties.

Please check KDE eV Statutes to know more about our organization.

KDE eV elects a Chairman (we call it President) and two proxies. One of them must be the Treasurer. As you probably know, Cornelius Schumacher is our President. Sebastian Kügler Vicepresident, Celeste Lyn Paul and Lydia Pintscher are also Board members.

Treasurer

A few weeks ago, Frank Karlitschek, resigned as Treasurer to focus on OwnCloud Inc., his successful new project, so a we had a vacancy.

The plan is to open an election during KDE eV Assembly, that will take place during Akademy, to elect a long term Treasurer. Until then, I’ve been elected as new Board member and Treasurer.

One of the things I would like to do during this period is to write about the economic aspects of KDE. Some of the information I will manage is confidential, but there is room for explaining a lot about how a community driven Libre Software project, like KDE, work. We usually do not have time for things like this but I hope I can, at least, write two or three posts about this topic before Akademy.

I don’t want to finish without thanking KDE eV members for supporting me. I’ll work hard to live up to the circumstances.