This is the work blog for the KDE Visual Design Group a group of dedicated designers striving to improve community participation in design for KDE as well as design work in general for KDE applications and Plasma.

tisdag 1 april 2014

Open Source I love you!

In which we apologize for "monday" being a fluent term, promise that it is coming and essentially talk about Open Source instead - because we should.

Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer above the sea of fog, 1818 

First of all - "Monday" - I know it's been a tad fickle when it comes to those reports. This is has all to do with the massive amount of work being done and the work posted in the Public Forums. Going through it is a solid days work suddenly which is brilliant! It's also something that suddenly springs on you - much like the sudden burst of great weather we're having here in Sweden. So tomorrow a "monday" report is coming!


Until then I want to take this short moment to talk about the magic of Open Source. I recently spent some time trying to fish up local funds from City officials and politicians and found out the hard way how hard it is to describe what Open Source is.
Not just technically but communally - the idea behind the method that is Open Source and why I left everything proprietary behind and switched to it when the design and illustration community is so thoroughly entrenched in proprietary software.


Ok so I spent the day cold-calling (IE calling without having a prior contact) local politicians. The discussion went sort of like this:

Politician: So you guys want venture capital to invest in your idea?
Me: No, see since this is something that everyone will use we need the common, the state, the EU etc to help fund it.
Politician: So you're offering this to us for free?
Me: No, we need help funding it. We can't do a years work without paying people.
Politician: So the company you work for want to sell it to the City?
Me: No, we want to give it away when its done so everyone can use it for free.
Politician: So you're giving it to us for free?
Me: No we still need funding.
Politician: So you want venture capital?

Here I had to explain, again, why you can't sell Open Source software in the same way you can sell Proprietary software. Then I had to explain why something that would benefit everyone isn't exactly economically viable to invest in by a company or venture capitalist.
After that I had to explain WHY I did something that I couldn't make any money off. Which got me thinking... Isn't this awesome? Isn't it great that my motivation clearly isn't about making money (aside for paying my bills) but doing something that I know will benefit a rather excluded group in Europe (if not across the globe)? Something that is common - a thing for all?

But how could I explain it without going on into a marxist tangent? (Now, granted I am one, but it doesn't do to use that as an explanation for your actions)

The end result was: because this is the future.


Yes we don't have as much cash as proprietary software. Sure, we don't have the business contacts or perhaps even the market savvy.

But the difference is, they are an oared ship trying to catch the wind - while we have full sails up, flowing with it. They can hire hundreds of dedicated developers - we are already thousands. They try to figure out how to create something you can sell - We look at whats needed and do that.

We're not salesmen, we're creators. We're explorers, pioneers, inventors and artists.

At this point one of the politicians asked: "So do you work for Microsoft or Apple?"


Tomorrow the "Monday" report will be done and posted! There will be a run through of all the things we're getting done and it will be awesome. Stay tuned!

1 kommentar:

  1. You could have said "Look at it as paying up-front. You pay us to make something, then you - and everyone else - can have it without paying anything else, because the production has already been paid for!"
    Btw: Getting public funding for open source software isn't something entirely new. Many scientific projects today (though sadly still a minority) produce open source software as a result.