a brief reflection on balance
Contemplating things that are in a state of balance evokes serenity. It can also provide wonder and enjoyment, such as when watching someone walk a tightrope high above the ground or execute a particularly tricky bit of gymnastics in a game of sport. There is also an inherent sense of tension within systems in balance: the sweet spot that is neither too far one way or the other; a counterpoint found for every force that pulls or pushes.
Not only physical objects can be in balance, of course. Systems can be in balance, communities can show balance in their dynamics and people can demonstrate balance in their thoughts, actions and intentions. From such balance, great things can come forth.
on the morning that a release is made
Today the 4.10 releases of KDE's Platform, Workspaces and Applications were announced. People started sharing the link online and users of KDE software began downloading the anticipated release. I visited the release announcements and found myself staring at this gorgeous shot:
.. and it was only a few more minutes until I stumbled upon this funny bit of Onion-style satire: "Arch
Servers Went Down As KDE 4.10 Is Released" which caused me to, quite literally, laugh out loud.
We'd just put out a great release (after which one tends to feel something like this), I had been looking through a really well done set of release notes and then I was laughing along with others in our community ... which reminded me of something I love about KDE, something that keeps so many of us around through the years, something that powers the engines that make these releases and something that is really easy to forget because it's always there ...
counterpoints using "and"
KDE is often serious, and it is also often light-hearted. We're confident in decisions we make, and we're also keen for input from others. We love what we make, and we are never so satisfied as to think we're done. This gives us the drive necessary to keep pushing forward and improving.
We embrace the future in our plans and products, and we respect our roots and the present we live in. We have "big vision" projects that have equally large aspirations, and we also have stuff that's just plain fun and geeky. This allows us to build a future for KDE without losing touch with what we have.
We value and practice collaboration, and we encourage personal responsibility. We share successes and failures, and we highlight individual achievements. We cheer each other on, and we provide critical feedback. We support our successes loudly, and we acknowledge our failures. We're consistent on politically tinged issues that matter to us such as Freedom, and we maintain a pragmatic focus on technology. This grants us momentum and direction.
We've been a leader in the Free software ecosystem in terms community governance, and we're also a bit organizationally chaotic. We invent what we need, and borrow good ideas from where ever we can. We have large numbers of volunteers, and we have lots of entrepreneurs. We have people with lots of experience, and people who are looking for it. We celebrate diversity, and we value unity. This provides us with a rich melting pot of ideas and motivations to draw from.
the way you make me feel (and other 80s music)
None of the above are things I wish KDE did, or KDE should do, or KDE could do .. they are things KDE has been doing. KDE is not perfect nor perpetually in a state of unnaturally precise balance .. but it's hard to miss that 15 years on, through all sorts of maturing and meandering, we've just released a fantastic set of software with a shiny 4.10 sticker on it, we're working on a 5.0 inspired by where we see ourselves going and reflective of lessons we've learned, and we still manage to have a good laugh with each other, still ask and answer questions of each other, and still find reasons to come back and make another commit.
After all these years we're still one cohesive (meta-)community interacting with each other and working on an increasingly diverse set of projects that hold together thematically.
.. and that is what it meant to me when I saw "The KDE Community proudly announces the latest releases of .." appear on my laptop's screen this morning. You know, just another day at the office. :)
Thank you to everyone who made this release possible with efforts great and efforts small. I can't wait for the next one!