I try to follow Planet KDE as close as my buggy mobile RSS reader allows me to, and I frequently see posts start with phrases like
I haven’t been able to dedicate much time to KDE lately because I’ve been busy with real life
which is a very misleading phrase, for a number of reasons: First of all, KDE is software for real people, which means that the stuff we do in KDE is real life. Second, you get to read that phrase even from people who take their role in the community very seriously, and I am pretty sure they do not mean their work in KDE is imaginary (which is the logical contraposition of real life).
What this phrase usually means is that people have been busy with (paid) jobs, family, personal life and even health issues in some cases. These are all parts of our real lives, as KDE is part of our real lives too. We either do software or help drive a community that revolves around software that directly affects the life of many people around the world, and we know this because we have much feedback, be it positive or negative, every time we collaborate with any part of the KDE community. Unlike great RPG titles like World of Warcraft and Second Life, KDE Software is used in the government, in education, in research and of course at home, and the particular needs that are satisfied by this software are all very real and evolving.
So I would like to encourage fellow posters of Planet KDE to refrain from using that phrase, because it fosters a misconception of Free Software as a hobby and proprietary software as the real deal; and even though many of us dedicate our time to KDE for fun, as opposed to being paid developers or community managers, at the end of the day the time we dedicate to it directly affects the life of many others – I actually think that’s one of the main reasons I find this fun, after all – so we better give our work the merit it deserves.