KDE has added new dimensions to our repertoire over the last few years. A move towards greater awareness that we are part of a larger free culture movement that has taken hold in various ways and form around the world is one such shift. It hasn't changed what we do (create client-side software with all the trimmings) but it has changed some of how we do it and what we include in our software.
A key concept in free culture is participation: it isn't a spectator sport or a watch-the-rock-star-on-stage-from-the-audience experience. We each take our turns as audience and the performer, sometimes simultaneously. The implication here is that the people who are our audience can also be performers in their own right. We're starting to see this happen, but to be honest it's all a bit awkward at times. That is not too surprising: it's something new, and new skills take time to build up. We also don't have many examples in history to pattern our behavior after; most examples we could look to are contemporaneous to our own experience. (Examples might include Wikipedia and OpenStreetmap for content, Mozilla for software, various social media sites, ..)
If we can find ways to enable KDE users to spend more time "up on stage" themselves, at least to the extent they feel self-compelled to, I think we could all win a lot. It would be more enjoyable for our "fan base" (I'm a card carrying member of our fan base, btw :), it could help spread the KDE love and experience and it would bring new rewards to the KDE community.
In 2009 we saw some seeds sown that may well turn into our "first crops". The bug days are doing terrific things, and the trick there is simple: advertise then facilitate IRC meetings then report on the good that was achieved for everyone to take notice of. There is the KDE brainstorm is helping people connect in a much more positive and helpful way with developers (I"ve snagged a few good ideas from there already, in fact, and it's much more enjoyable than the usual dysfunction at bugs.kde.org). Then there is Userbase that is aiming to collect a body of user-generated content and documentation. I'm especially inspired by the various ideas and efforts that Anne Wilson is spearheading with Userbase.
I think 2010 could be a breakthrough year for these efforts, where they transition from "new additions to KDE" to things we just take for granted and come to rely on with a healthy amount of support from our users.
Then there is promo and communication. The organization of release parties (in this case for the KDE Software Compilation v4.4) is good and the level of attendance for trade show booths year after year is very impressive, but perhaps we can do more and get more people involved. Can we make it easy for people to give KDE related presentations in their area through materials or even some online training? How can we enable KDE fans to show KDE to others as much, as often and as accurately as possible?
In one question: What else can we do to harness the latent energy in our biggest fans?
I'd love to see 2010 be a year where more of our closest users feel more involved with achieving our shared goals than ever before.
(This article is part of the "Key Quests for KDE in 2010" series)