Sandro has broken the news, and I am very glad to join him and talk about our little event. And I am also glad to blog again after several months of baby sitting 🙂
First, a bit of history: during the last months of 2009 we talked about a KDE sprint in Brazil, as a way to foster the local community and also because it is currently too expensive to fly all of this people to events in the US and Europe all the time. We reasoned that we could continue to send people (a few at a time) to the sprints and events, but something local was needed to care for the growth of KDE in Brazil.
Also, we did some discussion in order to identify the needs of the community, and what prevents more participation in the global project. As most of you have seen in the planet, there are people here working in projects related to kdegames, kdeedu, amarok, kdepim, plasma, kdevelop… But some of these contributions are developed in parallel, and only after much effort (and hand holding from the veterans down here) we manage to integrate them effectively into trunk. One of the issues identified is the language barrier, which is something we have to work with, but should not prevent participation in one form or another. There are others (documentation in portuguese, revamp of the local site, establishment of a local promo team) that are already happening, but could benefit a lot from a concentrated effort, such as a sprint. We have a very good presence at the big events here like fisl and latinoware, but these are venues where it is difficult to sit down and actually work together, like we can do in sprints or hacking sessions.
With all of the above in mind, we found a nice solution: Akademy–BR. An event for the local community, with the majority of content in Portuguese, and structured as a super-sprint. We will have three days of events: one day of talks, one day of unconference, and lots of hacking sessions in between. It is not only for developers: promo, translation and website teams will also be there to work together on br.kde.org, and also to refine our plans for having the best possible KDE presence in fisl 2010 and LatinoWare 2010, among other venues. The dates chosen were April 8, 9 and 10.
We are following on the steps of Akademy-es (thanks to the spaniards for pioneering local Akademies!), but using the sprint format as our discussions appear to suggest that this produces the best result when community-bonding is needed (working on smaller, focused groups, mixed with talks and planning) . The goal is not to only TALK about KDE, but to actually sit down and work together on the various individual projects, lifting the barriers that prevent people from contributing more directly to trunk, usually due to lack of confidence or lack of information on how to do so. In the process we hope to convince people to help maintaining KDE code, mainly in edu and games, as this is very much needed.
I mentioned that we have dozens of people working on KDE in Brazil, but we are all scattered geographically and sometimes only meet once a year if at all. So our initial goal for this sprint was to have in-between 12 and 18 people. However, just the initial call for action on the kde-br mailing list already produced more than 30 people signed in (in 3 days), and this does not count the brazilians that were at Camp KDE, or the guys from iNdT. Due to concerns regarding organization, budget and venue capacity we had to limit this first edition to 30 people (and a half), and I think we achieved a good mix of old and new blood, developers, designers, web and promo people, men and women. And at least one baby is confirmed as well, if you are wondering about the half person mentioned. The list of confirmed atendees (in portuguese) can be found here.
The location is very near Salvador, Bahia, at the NE part of Brazil. This is where the LiveBlue group (from Sandro and Tomaz) is located This proximity will save us a lot in transportation costs. Salvador is also a well connected city, with direct flights from most capitals in Brazil, which makes air travel cheap from other areas of the country. Sandro also scouted a very good location, a hostel that we can use to both sleep and host the event, at a very reasonable price. LiveBlue will be doing the hardest part regarding organization, and I am very glad this group exists and very happy for the work they are doing (and have already done) for KDE in Brazil.
My personal goals at the event are related to KDE Games and Edu: I hope we can get some developers up to speed with their contributions, and assemble local teams for projects with the intention of working with the bigger KDE Games and Edu community. Suggestions are welcome, as we are now in the process of closing the structure of the talks and setting up the pre-event coordination, which is done via the akademy-br mailing list (thanks to sysadmins for that).
In closing, many, many thanks to the e.V. members and to the board for their help in setting up this event. I hope we can make it a success and produce high quality work that will jumpstart several projects for the growth of KDE and FLOSS in South America.