First off, people would not keep their hands off the tablet running Plasma Active with the Countour user interface. Despite it being alpha software, people loved it. They got the idea of the four essential concepts right away: Activities, Recommendations, Peek (at your running applications) and Launch. Several people asked how they could get one. They also provided me with tons of valuable feedback, some of which we'd already heard before and had on our worklist and others that were new to me. This is great!
The presentations were varied and several were excellent. Even though most were (of course :) in Chinese, many of the slides were in English so I could semi-follow along. The really telling thing, however, was the audience: rooms were full to standing-room-only and the audience was quite evidently fully engaged. The topics were mostly about mobile, server, web and embedded. This is where the attention was, even though there was a laptop in front of nearly individual. We are taking the desktop for granted now (not a bad thing, but a natural stage) and looking into the near future that is around us. We need to keep giving people a great desktop experience, and move forward into the new form factors as well.
I also noticed a few people with tablets and keyboards, using them as lightweight laptops, if in two pieces, when seated at a table. It's another tween-category in the device spectrum, which is going through a fantastic time of differentiation, though it will almost certainly be followed by a period of post-experimentation consolidation.
I met with a number of companies while I was in Taipei, both at COSCUP as well as outside of it. I have a lot of follow up work to do, but having a tablet UI which is a truly open ecosystem and which looks as good as this already does gets us attention and interest. That is shares so much code with the Desktop and Netbook interfaces also fascinates people. There is great potential in these relationship building efforts for KDE in terms of increased support and investment.
I also continued talks started by Armijn about hosting a KDE event in Taipei, possibly alongside COSCUP, next year. Many people affirmed their commitment to help us achieve this, and while we're still working on the details (and will be for a few months yet), I'm confident that we will pull this off. It will be beyond amazing to follow the successes of KDE India in Asia (an example I used many times with people in the local KDE community in Taipei) with a strong KDE event next year! I was highly impressed with the level and efficiency of organization at COSCUP: it's a large event, and it ran very smoothly with a lot of very nice features like on-site lunches (and even some dinners!). The people who can make a KDE event in Taipei a roaring success are there, and now we need to do our part in making sure it comes to fruition.
I also spent time working with people in the area on how to bolster the KDE community there. We held a really nice BoF at the end of the first day (where people kept playing with the tablet some more ;) and, among other things, out of that came the decision to set up a Chinese language section on Planet KDE where people can blog in Chinese. This should be appearing in the very near future and I'll post a follow-up announcement when it goes live.
A few days after COSCUP, I gave a presentation for the local Linux User's Group which was well attended. It was held in the upper floor of a lovely restaurant. People ate dinner together first and then out came the projector and the presentation started. We talked about KDE for a couple of hours, most spent in the Q&A period. We looked at KDE from a community perspective as well as a technological one and examined KDE's past, present and future. I even fixed a small problem live on the projector that we ran into during one particular question and when the `git push` completed successfully after testing the fix, everyone aplauded. That was a very nice experience. Again, people played a lot with the Plasma Active tablet. :)
While I did a lot of working in the 5 days I was there, I did manage to find time to experience the city itself. It is a complex city full of flavor and texture. It was hot and sticky (and rained a few times most intensley), the food was amazing and the people were even better. I exchanged gifts with a few of the people there and, I like to think, made some great new friends that I hope to see again soon. I also took a few hours before my flight left on the last day to visit the National Palace Museum, which has an astounding collection of diplomatic documents, jade, pottery and bronze work. I managed to see a few other sights at night after the business of the given day was over. However, I also learned that it is impossible to really experience this city in such a short time. I passed more gorgeous temples, more markets, more interesting looking shops, more restaurants eminating curious and wonderful odors and more interesting sights than I cared to .. I wish I had had more time.
My take-aways from this trip are, in short:
- We have to get the word out more about our direction on tablets, both within the KDE community and outside of it. Not enough people are aware of what we've been cooking up, and it's time they did. This is a unique offering in the F/OSS space, and compliments our desktop efforts beautifully.
- We also need to work on our HTML5 and Android compatibility stories, starting with deciding what they are.
- I have a lot of follow-up work to do in the coming weeks with people I met. The reach of KDE in Taiwan is in its infancy, and we can improve that situation with attention and outreach.
- I have a lot of business focused writing to do to support our new efforts
- A KDE event in Taipei next year will be wildly successful if we make it happen (and it looks like we can and will)
- I need to go back ;)