I’m going to Randa

Tonight I’ll board a sleeper train which will get me to Randa, Switzerland by tomorrow morning. I’m travelling to that small village in the Swiss Alps to participate in the Platform11 sprint.

What is this platform11 sprint about? (Randa’s trainstation only has 2 platforms, one towards Zermatt, one towards Visp. That’s probably not it.) The wiki page about the sprint makes it more clear, however:

To examine the current state and near future of the KDE Platform (kdelibs and kdebase-runtime), particularly as it relates to the growing usage of it in new contexts such as mobile or on Windows and MacOS and its traditional usage as a set of conveniences and consistency creators for KDE application development.
The sprint will aim to create an actionable, multi-year roadmap for kdelibs and kdebase-runtime and will examine issues of modularity, topicality and the inherent dichotomy between the KDE Platform as an application development framework (similar to Qt) and as a stand-alone platform to target (similar to, e.g. Windows, MacOS, etc.)

To me, this sprint marks an interesting point in the lifecycle of KDE 4, as we are now rethinking the structure of our platform.

Platform or Frameworks?

Last week, we had an interesting discussion wether the development libraries KDE software bases upon are called a platform or frameworks. I personally prefer to think of it in terms of frameworks, because that has a less exclusive nature to it. A platform sounds very much monolithic, while frameworks give a modular impression — and indeed, one of the goals of the Platform 11 sprint is modularity of our "platform".

Plasma Active and Platform11

One of the goals for me for participating in Platform 11 is to make our development frameworks more suitable for building non-desktop systems. There have already been efforts that work into this direction for quite some time (the platform build-time profiles come to mind, or recent work on libplasma2), but we haven’t yet had a focused meeting where we sat together to discuss our platform as a whole. That will likely mean a bit of restructuring in our libraries, deprecating some overly old stuff, and examining where we’re lacking a consistent API for modern needs. Geolocation comes to mind here, and rumours are that there’s an exile-kiwi coming with plans to Randa.

Last night, during dinner Kim asked me what I’m looking forward to in Randa other than technical and community bits. My answer was “watching the mountains”. As I’m living in the Netherlands, mountains are not a normal thing in sight, and the magnitude of those Swiss Alps keeps astonishing me. I’m also looking forward to those idle moments staring at the mountains.