Hello everyone, I realized we haven’t asked this question (in Discuss) yet
The question is simple: “Why do you not contribute to KDE?” I would appreciate if you could elaborate as much as you possibly can. Here’s a few examples:
I don’t contribute to KDE because Matrix is confusing, and when I joined via IRC I couldn’t see anyone’s messages.
I wanted to make a patch for Kompare, but I didn’t know where to start and the README didn’t say where to ask questions. I gave up when I tried to download Qt from qt.io, and I needed to go back to my day job.
I feel like Invent is a bit overwhelming, I can’t figure out how to make a merge request. I gave up once the developers told me that I was using the wrong branch.
I managed to upload a merge request to Invent, but no one has responded to it in months. Is this project dead? I wanted to ask for a ping in chat, but I don’t know if that allowed They seem pretty busy in there.
I wanted to join the Web team, but no one responded. Someone eventually pointed me to the Community wiki, but I still don’t really know how to contribute.
For previous contributors: if you have contributed to KDE in the past, is there a reason why you’re not doing it now? Has something changed in the project (externally or interally) that’s preventing you from making progress?
Even if your answer is simply “I don’t have any programming experience”, is there anything you are good at? We can always do a better job at advertising our other teams.
This is an interesting way to get feedback.
Until very recently, I had no time to even reading these threads, [working and studying full-time] I’m still reading and learning more about the community here and other foss projects I use.
My background is not in software development. Years ago I took the CS50 class online, when they were still using scratch and C to teach. Those classes formed a foundation for me to better understand technology. Today I know enough shell scripting and python to understand what is doing what, look up documentation to do what I need to do. That’s the limit of my technical knowledge.
Best I have done on KDE side is, report few bugs. I’ll probably do more of that when I can use the beta for plasma 6.
I want to ask, what other ways can I contribute to KDE?
Pretty much what Louis-Sc said, the Get Involved page is a good place to start as it details what there is to do
Since you have a bug tracker account already, the easiest way to help is to triage and report bugs - especially for our smaller applications who do not get many reports.
For example, today someone ran into a bug with KWallet where the Configuration window didn’t open. It was a 1 minute fix but a little embarrassing like that something went untested and unreported So, even testing and bug reporting can help!
Yes that’s something I’ve been trying to combat, there’s a lack of documentation for some projects and that might only live in the maintainer’s head - I’m guilty of the same thing Not out of malice, but sometimes developers don’t even think to write it down. There’s plenty of projects that have at least a basic code overview now, like KWin.
For me it’s like for most people: lack of IT background. I just can’t contribute the way I want, or whats most important for me which is bug fixing and bug triaging. There is nothing KDE and it’s contributors can do to help, that’s just on me.
I also have some (hopefully constructive) feedback:
As a long time Plasma 6 tester (even before some [most?] devs!)
A lot of little issues with kdesrc-build do not get documented but only mentioned in the matrix channels. removed long rant on specific issues
Point being, if your build fails you should be able to see if some else has a fix or workaround already. (matrix is not a good tool).
Also some best practices on how to fix your bad build are very hidden, for reference https://discuss.kde.org/t/problem-building-appstream-using-kdesrc-build/5062:
Some devs report kdesrc-build issues to the bug tracker but only rarely.
I could go on or explain this better but I don’t know if this is worth it for anyone.
Just so it doesn't sound so depressing. I am still a happy community member!
I still think I contribute in some way (and so can you!): Financially and being a community member. I try to help out in the forum, reddit or wherever people need help as best as I can (join your local community!). Even talking about what you like about KDE can help.
One time or ocassional contributing is hard, even having years, years and years experience of C++ and Qt. Few years back I had by chance a really quiet 2 months or so at my day job, so I spent most of the time fixing bugs for one KDE app. Few weeks sank into just to figure out what’s what. Moreover now it’s effectively dead, so all those efforts wasted.
I also developed a small and really bare bone plasmoid, it took almost 100 hours of work. 80% of time went to some obscure edge cases , trying to figure out how to make Kirigami to do exactly what I want.
I would suggest instead put a focus on donations and way to securing a few full time developers. Who knows code base, code style, who knows each other and can make long term decisions and work toward them.
I would suggest focus on visuals and stability. Attract people focusing on UI and ergonomics.
Also consider an idea to hold frequent clubs and video conferences, like every other week. It can have an agenda, like a select people present what they work on, and get instant feedback. It can also have free form part, everyone talking about their current ideas, and some one always shouting, hej, i also am interested in that and count me in. They can be onboarding sessions, where people willing to help ask questions, and someone patiently explains everything.
I’m not involved with Fundraising, but fortunately this seems to be our plan right now. A lot of the donation text is centered around hiring more people through e.V.
This is something a lot of other developers like to focus on (like Niccolo) and it seems to work great. It also attracts more people to our VDG team.
This is something I’m not sure is discussed yet, but a good idea. It’s pretty hard to get everyone in one place, but there’s already a few that are held regularly. We have a weekly Plasma and Frameworks meetings but nothing similar for KDE in general. I think that would be an interesting prospect!
I know Java and some C# programming, and from my experience inside my community, I would say Qt development is not widely spread or even known, and even who knows it doesn’t fully understand the nature of its dual license or how it can benefit his career while contributing to Qt projects.
Compared to GNOME and the effort it does to market its GTK platform, especially their customized LibAdwaita library that seduced many small projects. KDE focus on advertising their final products which are Plasma desktop and KDE apps, while the used development platform stays hidden and any newcomer who wants to read about it will be directed to Qt company website where at first glance he will be disappointed.
That website is badly presented, because the strategy used by other companies is to advertise the open source version to get the maximum number of developers and clients and then offer support or extra libraries via commercial license.
Personally, I simply contribute by reporting bugs because I really like Plasma desktop and its community, the only difficulty I found while reporting is the weak algorithm used to detect duplicated bugs, because it adds more work to developers to read, verify and sort them which I know it takes big time to do.
At this point, I’m personally not contributing, or rather not contributing the way I’d like to, because of lack-of-time and know-how. Although, I do submit bugs and help out others when I feel as though I have enough knowledge on the subject in question. Most of my free time goes to studying IT for career purposes which will also lead back to better KDE contribution. However, I will say that there are some major hurdles that hindered my contributing progress when I did so: communication channels and imposter syndrome. There are so many avenue’s on which to communicate that it becomes confusing on where one should communicate properly. A clear and direct message that conveys that properly would be extremely helpful. Perhaps there should be a “KDE Shaperone” designation for those that are willing to direct people to the right place, and have ONE place where that communication should happen. It’s not all bad though… there are some helpful communication channels like the new-contributors matrix; it just takes some time to sift through it all to find the right place. This was also a little while back, so things may have changed.
For me, to get the ball rolling, I just had to tell myself, “Screw it! Have at it! If you’re doing it wrong, someone will let ya know!”