Kaleidos is a Spanish startup, which currently has two of its own products: Taiga (Management software), and Penpot (Interface design tool). Both are Open Source (and no, again I say that Open Source does not mean free).
If you know a little about Kaleidos and what they do, you will fall in love with them. Every person on the team that I’ve had the pleasure to meet has been a real discovery.
What really describes this company is its ethical values. That workers are not seen as mere numbers, and that they are valued for the ability they have.
In addition, it is a company that takes diversity into account and that makes them grow as a company and with the products they develop.
Penpot and the design community
Kaleidos has a challenge ahead that the design community needed: opensource software.
Open Source is not just about software, it’s about freedom. The fact that someone has no barriers of any kind to design/develop or create software is something amazing, but it probably hasn’t happened to many people before.
So Penpot creates an interface design software with 11/12 workers to compete with the big ones: Adobe XD or Figma.
I’m not going to give my opinion about this, because I’m not neutral, I’m a free software lover and I’m a developer, so designers will have to be the ones to give their opinion.
If there is something I have to say, it is that Penpot was not born to compete with anyone, it was born to make designers freer, and what we developers have to do is to support them. We are with you!
Penpot Fest: The open source event for designers
When they announced the event, I didn’t really know what my role was here. I’m in love with PenPot and Kaleidos, and I wanted to support them, but here the protagonists had to be the design community.
The best way to support them I think was clear, was to go to the event. So I asked Pablo (CEO of Kaleidos) if being a developer I could go or I was going to miss it, and he told me that of course I could go, so there I went.
In this case, I think that we developers have to support our fellow designers a lot to get this kind of Open Source tools.
It is difficult to rate an event, and above all we must take into account that this event is the first time it was done.
People who go to many events, always tend to see failures for everything and this time I have to say that it has been a fucking hallucination.
For me, an event is good when there are several points that are taken into account:
- Good venue
- High level talks and where you can learn
- Good food
- Exceptional people
The people at an event are what make the difference between being an enjoyable event or not.
I had a great time with everyone, had great conversations and laughed a lot.
In addition, I have been able to devirtualize all Kaleidos that I was looking forward to (and curiously they all had me on file) and also, I have been able to meet Pablo, who curiously did not know that I had developed his sister’s project.
I can’t name everyone, because I’ve met some great people and I’m sure I’m forgetting the others, and I’d rather not name you all because I don’t want to make a bad impression.
Undoubtedly one of the things that made it such a cool event was the spectacular venue.
All the places where the activities took place (talks, catamaran, party) were amazing and we also had a very nice experience for those of us who are not from Barcelona.
Where was it done?
- La casa de Les Punxes – Welcome Party
- Convent dels Angels – Main venue
- Sunset cruise – Music and drinks on board!
If I have to say anything about all the talks I went to, I’m not done for another 3 months when I write this post.
- KEYNOTE | The future of design decisions & a special announcement: Jan Six, Creator of Tokens Studio, Staff Product Designer at Github & Marco-Christian Krenn, Freelance Design System Architect.
- A Penpot-powered community design team: Fedora and Podman Desktop: Máirín Duffy, Senior Principal Interaction Designer at Red Hat & Madeline Peck, Associate Interactive Designer at Red Hat
- SVG: Browsers vs. Editors, a light talk on a serious struggle: Martin Owens, Independent Free Software Developer at Inkscape
- 5 essential open source design strategies we use at Nextcloud: Jan C. Borchardt, Co-founder and design lead at Nextcloud
- The future of design and its multiple angles: Michał Malewicz, Helping designers learn at hype4.academy
- Crafting interactive audio experiences with Penpot and SVG: Elizabet Oliveira, Senior Product Designer at Xata
- KEYNOTE | Why both Open Source and Africa’s future successes are intertwined: Peace Ojemeh (Perrie), Core Team at Open Source Community Africa
- Designing Communities: The foundational design contribution: Mike Nolan, Associate Director at Open@RIT
- Grid Layout special announcement and demo!: Clara García, Product Designer at Penpot and Alonso Torres, Engineer at Penpot
- WORKSHOP | Get you own self-hosted PrivateGPT instance & query your local documents à-la-chatGPT but with 100% privacy and control Iván Martínez Toro, Creator of PrivateGPT
- OPEN SESSION | Product roadmap open session: You shape the future of Penpot!; Andrés González, Product Owner & Designer at Penpot & Carol Portugal, Community Advocate at Penpot
- KEYNOTE | The state of Penpot & the Rise of AI: Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz, CEO at Penpot
- The challenge of design in open source projects: Dalai Felinto, Product Manager at Blender
- Transforming factories into studios: A case study of GitLab and Penpot building efficient communication channels into their products: Veethika M, Senior Product Designer at GitLab
- Tell me why (ain’t nothing but a project management tool): Yamila Moreno, COO at Kaleidos & Senior Backend Developer at Taiga & Miryam González, Product Owner & Designer at Taiga
- Waiting for Godot! Emilio Coppola, Executive Director at Godot Foundation
- PANEL | Designer & Developer collaboration in the age of AI: Hosted by Vitaly Friedman, co-founder & editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine
My opinion as a mediocre developer is that they have been very good talks, I have enjoyed them a lot. In spite of my poor English, and the fact that I know just enough about design.
I always like to go to design talks to understand more about my work and the designers I work with, who are the people I have to communicate with the most.
We saw many real cases of companies that were already using penpot in their daily work, exceptional things that can be done with penpot, great releases and made me want to contribute a little to the project as a developer. Let’s see if I can find some time and lend a hand.
I loved all the presentations, but the ones from the Kaleidos team were all great.
The talk about the open source community in Africa and diversity really touched me and I loved it.
This kind of talks are the ones that get you fired up and then you get home wanting to try all possible Open Source applications.
Thanks to all the speakers, thank you Kaleidos!