Back in 2009 I was one of those lucky hackers who met in Randa, Switzerland, for a Plasma sprint. I just had started my Master Thesis, so actually I had better and more important things to do than to go to a developer sprint a few hundreds of kilometers away.
Almost half a year later we had the next Plasma development sprint in Nuremberg. I was just finishing my Master Thesis, so again I had more important things to do. I remember that I spent as much time as possible reading and correcting my Thesis.
Since then attending developer sprints no longer conflicted with my studies, but they conflicted with my work. To go to a developer sprint requires to take off days from work, spending your holidays to do work. This year I spent already two weeks – one for the sprint in Spain and one week for Akademy.
Next week I will attend the XDC in Nuremberg and I’m basically out of holidays left for sprints, because I also want to go on non-work holidays this year. That’s the reason why I unfortunately cannot attend the sprint in Randa.
Why do I write all this. Well, I want to explain that going to a sprint is nothing close to holidays. It’s actually quite some hard work and you do quite some compromises to go there. You do that, because you know how important these sprints are. Nobody benefits more from a sprint than the users. Issues which are hardly possible to discuss on a remote media like mailing lists or IRC are solved in few minutes. Developers can start hacking together on an issue to make it go away. Developers can easily see shortcomings in the software like finding anti-patterns in the software usage (yes Martin I’m looking at your systray). Last sprint I took some time to just walk around the desk with all the notebooks to study the Plasma configuration of each hacker and noticed that nobody uses a default setup. That’s quite some important finding to make Plasma better for our users, but also shows the power of configuration of Plasma.
These are just some very few examples for the importance of a sprint. And again the most important part of it is that the users benefit from the sprint. The time will be used to make our software better. If you are a KDE user, I’m quite sure that you want to support such efforts.
At the moment we are raising money to make this sprint possible. At the time of this writing just 144 people donated money. And that’s something that surprises me. KDE software may be free of charge, but the development is nevertheless expensive and the software has quite some worth: according to David A. Wheeler’s SLOCCount it would take 22 Person-Years to develop an application like KWin.
Please think about whether you want to support the efforts of the KDE hackers and make this important sprint possible. It is not a sprint for us, it’s a sprint for you. We want to deliver better software to you.
If you like me think it’s important to constantly support KDE, you could also Join the Game, KDE’s supporting member program. Although I’m donating quite some source code each year to KDE I’m also a supporting member. Oh and if you are living in Germany: KDE e.V. is a gemeinnütziger Verein.