Gran Canaria Desktop Summit 2009 – The Nepomuk Perspective

Now I can look back and say: “I have been there. I have witnessed the first joint conference of the two biggest players in open-source desktop software: KDE and Gnome.” And I can tell you: it was good. I personally think it makes a lot of sense to have the conference together. After all it helps a lot in creating inter-desktop relationships and projects. A topic that is especially interesting to me since the Tracker project is also going towards the semantic desktop these days (and dare I say it is as a result of our work?) and carries in its wake projects like Beagle or Zeitgeist. Thus, the GCDS was an opportunity to meet with people from Tracker to discuss some of the many topics we deal with every day. I also had the opportunity to meet some KDE newbies, eager youngsters wanting to work on KDE and also Nepomuk. I was, of course, delighted. One idea floting around at a party in the evening was the smarter caching of thumbnails using Nepomuk information.

Anyway, I am a technical blogger, a geek struggling to deliver the cold facts (and failing later down this very page). So let’s look at the GCDS from a more technical point of view:

Shared/Desktop/Nepomuk Ontologies – In Agreement

I meantioned already that I met with a bunch of the Tracker guys and had some nice chats (this is really not a cold hard fact now, is it?). We discussed a possible shared D-Bus API for metadata storage on the desktop which looks like a project for next year and we also discussed and agreed on the shared ontologies project. Now, the ontologies have been a problem for a long time. I already blogged about how the Nepomuk vs. Xesam discussion was settled. We discussed the problem in length on the Xesam mailing list. We created the OSCAF project on sourceforge and even moved over the Nepomuk ontologies from the Nepomuk dev server. But there was no consensus so far. No real development took place. At the GCDS we fixed that. We agreed on a layout for the subversion repository, on a packaging structure, on a file format, and even on a name for the package (we will call it shared-ontologies to match the already existing shared-mimetypes package). After we settle the last tidbits we can start tackling those problems we already have in the bug tracker and get the Nepomuk ontologies ready for shared usage in KDE and Gnome.

A Talk About Practical Nepomuk

At Monday evening I had my talk about Nepomuk. I tried to give a more practical talk which followed a simple outline of three main points:

  1. Why should I use Nepomuk?
  2. What should I use Nepomuk for?
  3. How should I use Nepomuk?

I think this went quite well except for the fact that I am pretty sure that I was robbed of a couple of minutes. I don’t think that I spoke for half an hour. So we did not have much time for questions in the end which was a pity. I am pretty sure we could have had a nice discussion. Well, there will be more possibilities for that soon (see below). Apart from my talk Laura Dragan gave two lightning talks about Konduit and Semnotes and a talk on her new project: semantic context menus in KDE.

The Place of Nepomuk in KDE’s Future

Nepomuk was mentioned in quite a few talks. It seems people are slowly adapting to the ideas and wanting to integrate Nepomuk features (not only the almighty Akonadi-front). This was also backed by Sebastian Kügler’s keynote on The Momentum of KDE. He talked about the achievements of the KDE project in the last year and what is targeted for the coming year. He mentioned a survey Aaron made and which included that roughly half of the KDE projects he interviewed have plans to integrate Nepomuk in some form. And then suddenly there was one slide which had only two things on it: 1. the Nepomuk logo and 2. the words “Semantic Desktop”. And as if that was not already enough of a booster for my ego he asked me to stand up so everyone could see me. Now this is the part where I derive from my righteous path of hard cold facts and wander into a realm of egomania: it felt good.

Well, come back down here brain. Let us tell the nice readers the really good part: there is funding for one or two more Nepomuk workshops this year! I am very excited about that and cannot wait to get started with the planning for the next one (probably sometime in September taking place in Paris). So if you missed the first workshop or thought it was not for you, maybe the second one is!

And finally: the social aspect

I told you I would fail. I simply have to tell you how nice it has been to see so many familiar faces, to meet so many new people and to finally have a face connected to an irc nick or an email address. I am sorry that I could not properly say goodbye to all I would have liked to. So please know that I was happy I was to see you and hope to see you again soon. Maybe at the next Nepomuk workshop.

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