This post is from Aaron Aseigos blog:
As I noted earlier in the week, my recent blog posts have been slowly leading up to something, and here’s what that something is:
The first tablet computer that comes with Plasma Active pre-installed.
It’s name is “Spark”, in recognition of it being the start to an even bigger flame.
It sports an open Linux stack on unlocked hardware and comes with an open content and services market. The user experience is, of course, Plasma Active and it will be available to the general public.
I’m sure some of you are already wondering what the retail price will be. The answer: a mere €200.
A Bit of the Bigger Picture
This is more than just another piece of hardware on the market, though. This is a unique opportunity for Free software. Finally we have a device coming to market on our terms. It has been designed by and is usable by us on our terms. We are not waiting for some big company to give us what we desire, we’re going out there and making it happen together. Just as important: the proceeds will be helping fuel the efforts that make this all possible.
It’s also more meaningful than “just” Free software: The people who get to use these tablets will have in their hands a device that is more than an application bucket that sees them as a consumer. They will have a device that places value on who they are and what they are doing. This lies at the heart of Activities in Plasma Active and the open software stack will drive that trend further. Perhaps best of all: there’s no walled garden to get locked into or which can be taken away.
This also will provide opportunities to the wider Free software ecosystem. Partnerships are being forged to provide things as diverse as OwnCloud hosting services, Kolab and Kontact Touch deployment support and exciting Qt/QML add-on apps for download.
The content store will offer great Free Culture artifacts such as digital books from Project Gutenberg as well as contents and apps for purchase. It will provide a conduit to users for those who love writing great software, Free and otherwise, using the typical Linux tools.
In case it wasn’t painfully clear already: this epitomizes what I’ve been writing about for the last few days. It is a product made with and out of a commitment to the philosophy of making, playing and living. In fact, that’s the brand under which this tablet, and those that follow it, is being brought to market under: Make·Play·Live.
.. but that’s not all! 😉
I’ll be sharing more information as to when the tablet will be available to be shipped directly to you (soon!), how you can place orders for them as well as more details on the hardware and software provided.
This will have to wait until Tuesday, however, as I’m off on a business excursion for a couple of days. Leave your questions in the comments and I’ll do my best to cover them all in the coming blog posts.
Some Credit 🙂
Before I go, though, I want to offer some credit where credit is due. I’ve been involved in bringing this to fruition, but I most certainly have not been alone. The entire Plasma Active community, with their commitment and efforts, have been critical and inspiring. The efforts and commitment of both individuals (such familiar names as Marco, Sebas and Martin) as well as companies such as Basyskom and OpenSLX have been critical to making this even possible.
We’ve also had the support of projects such as Mer, the community continuation of MeeGo. One shining star there for us has been Martin “vgrade” Brook. He’s a contract software developer contributing Mer hardware adaptations and Plasma Active bring-ups on ARM devices such as this one as well as various Tegra2 Tablets, Ti Tablets, Nokia devices and the Raspberry Pi.
Countless others have worked in so many ways I could never even begin to cover them all. This tablet is only possible thanks to the KDE community, to Qt, to the Linux ecosystem and to the pioneers of Free software.
… and finally a bit about my own future
In a few months I will no longer be sponsored by Qt Development Frameworks to work full time on KDE. I have been looking at various possible paths that lie in front of me, and as I’ve been going through this process I jotted down a few things that I would like to share with all of you:
First, I am deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to engage so deeply with a community as great as KDE thanks to the support of a company as great as Trolltech and right through its evolution into the Qt Development Frameworks we know today.
Second, I won’t be leaving KDE or Plasma, let alone Free software. My heart lives here and I can’t imagine not being involved.
Third, this is an exciting doorway through which I am stepping. I can not see with perfect clarity what lies on the other side, but it looks bright. 🙂