On hiring, and fundraising to make it more biggerer

This year at Akademy, I took the plunge and decided to run for a seat on the KDE e.V.’s board of directors.

What is the KDE e.V.? It’s the nonprofit organization that represents the KDE community in legal and financial matters. It has several paid employees who work on KDE stuff, most notably promotion & marketing, project management, and event planning. You can see more at https://ev.kde.org/corporate/staffcontractors.

By the way, in case you were wondering (as I did at one point), “e.V.” is short for “eingetragener Verein” which is German for “registered association”–basically a type of nonprofit entity.

For several years, I’ve believed and publicly suggested that the KDE e.V. needs to have more technical positions. We need to directly hire KDE community members so they don’t have to seek employment with a 3rd-party company, or even drift away from the community when they have less free time and age into positions of greater financial need. In fact the KDE e.V. has already been moving in this direction, but slowly, because the available budget is pretty small compared to the vastness of the KDE community and the scope of more ambitious hiring. You can get an idea by looking at the report of the Financial Working Group in the 2021 annual report.

So I ran on a platform of hugely increasing both fundraising and technical hiring. And I’m honored to report that I won the election and am now a member of the board!

i got board

To those of you who voted for me, thank you so much for your support. For those of you who didn’t, I hope I can represent you well anyway, and if you get ticked off with anything I’m doing… please tell me! I welcome feedback. This position is all about being a good representative, and that’s what I want to be.

So what does this mean?

It means that a majority of the KDE e.V. membership approves of these goals, so when it gets more money, the KDE e.V. has a mandate to do more hiring–especially for impactful technical positions. It means we will eventually be able to have the big names in KDE paid by KDE, so they can stay in KDE over the long haul! And it also means we need a lot more money to make this happen.

There are a lot of steps to this, including figuring out the legal technicalities of full-time hiring, and increasing the budget so we can make sure we’re always offering market wages. We’ll be investigating potential ways to boost fundraising: hiring a professional fundraising director; applying for a lot more grants; having more explicit fundraising campaigns; gamifying fundraising; sending out nudgey newsletters to people who have donated in the past; making it easier to donate on a recurring basis; and more.

But for now, if you want to see us do more hiring, the best way is to make a donation to the KDE e.V. at https://kde.org/community/donations. It helps. It really does! This money is going to transform KDE into a professional powerhouse with its own internally-employed cadre of world-class superstars. We’re going to take on the Big Tech dogs and win, and we’re going to let our heavy-hitters make a living within KDE while doing it. But it can’t happen without your help, so please consider making a donation today!

15 thoughts on “On hiring, and fundraising to make it more biggerer

  1. Congratulations Nate, you really deserve it, you’ve been doing such a great work for a few years (since I know your work, at least), so enjoy it and I’m pretty sure you’ll do your best to represent the KDE Community as best as you can :).
    Take care, receive a huge & sincere hug as well as my best desires to you ˆˆ.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations! One big thing to figure out is how to enable donations that individuals and companies in the US can write off. Lots of groups won’t donate unless this is possible.


    1. Yes, this is a good point. A friend of mine who works at a big company made this point recently. Not only could he write off the donation on his taxes, but his employer would match it one for one (and I guess they could then write it off too). I’ll look into it.


    2. Easy ways to donate or to pay a dev to get a bug fixed or some feature done is really important.

      It should be as easy as getting an ATM and transfer some money.

      And it should be easy in any country.

      That should be the starting point iyam 🙂


  3. Another blog post idea: Talk about how KDE, as it grows, will utilize its increased influence to further the goals of software freedom, privacy, and digital self-sovereignty. Even if KDE gets pre-installed virtually everywhere, that will be a pretty hollow win if its only purpose is to serve as a basis for proprietary empires like Steam and Google Play.


    1. Indeed, I think it’s a good idea. And in general we already do a lot of this in KDE by providing free alternatives to the big tech products that don’t respect your freedom and privacy. There’s always more to do of course, and I think the best way to make it happen is to continue growing KDE and making sure that this part of its culture doesn’t fade away, so its contributors become exposed to it automatically.

      I think we can and should always encourage free software, but we can’t be so picky that we *require* it or else we miss out on opportunities and most of our users will drift away. For example, without embracing Valve and Steam, a million people wouldn’t have had the opportunity to use Plasma and other KDE apps. The energy and money added to KDE as a consequence of the Steam Deck has been huge. Would I prefer for Steam and its game libraries to be FOSS, and for the Steam Deck to be Libre Hardware? Absolutely. But IMO it’s better that they’re using our stuff than GNOME’s stuff or Windows–God forbid.


    2. Yes, total purism is counterproductive, but we still need to promote our principles to obtain the public support we need to combat the trend toward remote attestation, a sneaky way to lock down devices by preventing access to important services if a custom OS is detected.

      This is not a hypothetical threat; users of modified Android ROMs already commonly need to bypass SafetyNet just to use banking apps. And given that the newest version of Windows demands TPM, I’m concerned that this BS will eventually spread to PCs and laptops as well.

      Imagine manufacturers pre-installing Plasma with spying ads that users have to put up with or else lose the ability to make online payments. And since installing a modified version of Plasma is technically allowed, I don’t believe GPLv3 guards against this.

      Software freedom is meant to be about total control over one’s computing; if we allow its meaning to be limited to only being able to contribute, we’ve failed.


    3. Enforcement of the KDE trademarks will be the only option to combat this, but it doesn’t stop the vendor from using KDE software with different branding along with ads and spyware.


  4. Congratulations !!
    Kde has been my favorite and most loved Desktop for long time, Thanks Nate for your effort, and also thanks to the great Kde community members an developers,
    Note: Today i did my first donation to say thanks, and i definitely will donate regularly on the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Congrats, Nate!I’m genuinely thrilled for you. Very well deserved and I feel very confident that in your new position you will help to steer the good ship KDE in the right direction.

    Liked by 1 person

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