Leaving KO

Inge, Tobias and I founded KO GmbH in 2007 in Magdeburg. We named it KOfficeSource, because we believed that KOffice, which is Calligra these days, was getting ready for the big time, especially on mobile. Nokia was beginning to invest heavily into open source, Intel joining in with Moblin, the times were heady and exciting! After a bit of rough-and-tumble about the name, we renamed KOfficeSource GmbH to KO GmbH and from 2010 on, we were in business!

For a couple of years we had a great time. We ported Calligra to Maemo, Meego, Sailfish and Windows. We created half a dozen mobile versions of the core Calligra applications: viewers, editors. Along the way, we found some other customers, next to Nokia and Intel: NLNet helped with the port to Windows, SKF used Calligra in their Orpheus ball-bearing modeling tool as the report-writing component, ROSA was getting interested in the WebODF technology we had developed together with NLNet.

Our customers were happy: we really delivered amazing technology, applications with a great user experience, were good at working together with other teams and, well, basically, we always delivered. Whether it was C++, Python or Javascript, Qt, QML or HTML5.

Then things began to go awry. Even after dropping Meego, Nokia was still a customer of ours for some time, but we were doing prototype stuff in j2me for Asha phones. Not really exciting! ROSA went broke. We lost SKF as a customer when they had to reorganize to turn their development process around. Other customers had to cut down — and we were also basically a bunch of tech nerds with no idea about doing sales: until now we never had to do sales.

Which meant that we failed to build enough of a business to sustain ourselves. We tried to expand, with Krita being an obvious choice for a mature product. But that still needed sales, and we failed at that, too.

So, from January on, I’ll be no longer with KO GmbH. The Krita Foundation has taken over Krita on Steam and the support for the Krita Studio customers. We’ll first release Krita 2.9, which is going to be awesome! And then, I’ll be looking for work again, as a project lead or developer, freelance or with a company, on Krita or something else altogether.