Some things I’ve recently been up to

Apologies, I’ve gotten out of the habit of posting what I’ve been working on!

In the past couple of weeks I’ve:

  • written a proposal for a grant for the Outreach Program for Women
  • with Marina, developed a formal sponosrship structure for OPW and started contacting organizations and sponsors about the next round of internships
  • worked with the GNOME.Asia team – the conference is shaping up very impressively!
  • started working with Sri and Flavia on the press release for GNOME 3.8, and requested some quotes from some prominent people.
  • worked a bit with Flavia – I’m just a co-mentor for this round’s OPW and I’m again struck by how much more I wish I were doing as a mentor. Thank you thank you thank you to all of the great GNOME mentors (and mentors from other projects). And a thank you to Flavia for keeping me focused and also for reaching out to other folks as well.
  • worked on the annual report, following up with contributors, writing content and proofreading and editing – we’re almost there!
  • partially wrote my talk for LibrePlanet, which is coming up this weekend. I’ve got to get that finished and polished in the next day or two!
  • discussed speaking at a couple of conferences and also at a for-profit company, I’ll keep you posted about upcoming conferences and mention below the ones coming up soon.
  • worked on a few annoying legal related matters, including a couple of things that have been sitting on my desk for a long time
  • wrote a new template invitation letter for conferences to help with the visa application process for GNOMEes who need visas to travel to our hackfests and GUADEC
  • reviewed our form 990, along with Shaun and Rosanna
  • prepared for the a11y grant proposals to come in, and sent out a reminder about the deadline, which was at the end of last week.
  • had my usual meetings – one on one with Andreas, the GNOME.Asia meeting, a board meeting, etc.

Upcoming speaking engagements

  • I’m speaking at LibrePlanet this weekend. It’s a great conference with an awesome freedom-loving audience! I’ve been speaking here for the past few years so it’s really exciting to be asked to give one of the keynotes.I’ll be talking about idealism in free software communities, mostly inspired by the awesomeness of the GNOME community and its struggles following the introduction of GNOME 3
  • Next month I’ll be at the Linux Foundation’s Collaboration Summit, where I’ll be speaking in three different sessions. I’ll be speaking on the legal track (though with a talk that’s not really that much of a legal talk), giving a talk about the Outreach Program for Women and moderating a panel about GPLv3 issues in the auto industry. Should be busy but fun!

What I’ve been up to

It’s been a crazy few weeks! I went to Cleveland to see my specialist cadiologist (which I do once a year), which was all the more important this time given my pregnancy. An added plus is that he does a lot of work with drug safety and is very interested to hear about safety concerns regarding the software in the medical devices he frequently prescribes. I also had a bunch of various medical tests connected to the pregnancy. All is fine thus far, but they seem to come in waves and are an annoying interuption to my work! Here are some of the specific things I worked on the past couple of weeks:

  • I’ve been helping with preparations for GUADEC! I’ve been working with sponsors and potential sponsors, had the privilege of inviting and working with some of the keynoters and generally assisting with the conference preparation. The local and papers committees have been working very hard. It’s going to be an amazing conference! If you haven’t registered already, you definitely should do that soon!
  • Looking forward to next year, we published the call for GUADEC 2013 proposals. If you’d like to see GUADEC in your city, this is your chance!!
  • I followed up with a company that was using the GNOME foot inappropriately, and they stopped the use. They were extremely helpful and pointed me to where they found the logo and I was able to put some trademark notices in there too. I also started tracking down permissions on other GNOME-related logos and discovered that there’s more work to do.
  • The amazing Aaron Williamson of the Software Freedom Law Center helped us figure out some legal questions for Online Accounts and in return I got to help pro bono in a small way with something important that SFLC is working on. I’ve found that I really miss doing some of the legal work I used to do, so it’s nice to do at least a little bit for GNOME and other free softare organizations too.
  • As you may have seen in one of my recent blog posts here, I’m working on helping push the accessibility campaign over the last hurdle – we’re so close to meeting our goal!
  • I helped try to make sure that all of our existing Friends of GNOME subscriptions are being handled properly, and renewed discussions to overhaul our system to track them. Right now we rely on a lot of manual work, and I hope we can do better.
  • Bradley and I released a new episode of Free as in Freedom, which included a talk by Philippe Laurent from FOSDEM 2012, entitled Open Licences before European Courts, along with commentary by us.
  • I wrote a press release announcing GNOME’s new board of directors and enjoyed the first meeting that the new board sat in on (they don’t vote until the next one). I’m definitely sad to have some of the directors step down, but it’s also extremely exciting to have fresh perspectives from new people.
  • I cleaned up some paperwork that’s been sitting on my “desk” and finally submitted for reimbursements from the conferences that were nice enough to agree to pay for my travel to attend. Also, after consulting with my doctors, it’s become clear that OSCON isn’t in the cards for me this year. I’m so disappointed, but given the fact that it’s right before GUADEC, it’s just not practical for me to go this time. I have to make sure that I’m making all of the right choices to be there for GUADEC, so this year will have to be a pass!
  • I attended the IRC meeting of the GNOME Outreach for Women program. The program is currently in full swing, and as the blog posts on the Planet indicate, I think it’s going great! As always, many thanks to Marina for doing such a great job. I also took the time to follow up on some conversations that had been started around funding time to see how we can futher expand the program in the future. It’s been great to see our program pointed out by so many different people as a good approach to helping improve the participation of women in free software (and in many different contexts)!

More stuff I’ve done recently…

I lost a little time to being sick but in the past two weeks, I:

  • did some final revisions on the GNOME’s 990
  • looked into the ongoing UK open standards discussion, and discussed preparing a comments with SFLC. Thanks to Glyn Moody for letting me
    know about it
    and to SFLC for working with me. I’ll keep you posted as to our comment (the deadline’s been recently extended a month).
  • worked on some trademark issues for GNOME
  • finished fundraising for our Outreach Program for Women, and started to put together a press release with Marina – that should be coming very soon. I also helped wrap up the tough decisions about which applicants to accept and took care of some paperwork related to the program.
  • discussed keynote invitees for GUADEC and got to invite a couple of speakers! I hope they come! I also started working on looking for sponsors for GUADEC.
  • attended a couple of GNOME.Asia planning meetings and worked on a few action items too. That group is working so hard to put the conference together, despite being thrown quite a few curve balls along the way.
  • followed some of the important discussions going on in the GNOME community and participated in a number of backchannel discussions. I’m glad that the substantive discussion is being talked about openly and I’m glad we’re committed to improving as a community. One thing I would recommend doing (and I think I might make this its own blog post) is taking the time to positively react to good emails and discussion points that go around. When we see something negative we’re quick to react but in general we rarely thank those who take the time to be good communicators. Just a thought! So if you liked an email that you read, or thought the tone was good or supportive or something like that, quickly write the person a private email to tell them so!
  • guest lectured a class on free culture and free software with Justin Colaninno at Columbia Law School. I’ve been doing it ever semester for the past few years, and it’s very fun to see how much the knowledge about the topics has changed and gotten broader acceptance.

What I’ve been up to recently

Here are some things I’ve been up to recently:

  • I talked to journalists. You can see my post here about some of the latest stuff. My interview with NTN24 was hilarious. There was a terrible connection for the transmission for my earpiece and I could only make out a few words of the questions. So I just answered what I thought they were asking! I think it worked out in the end. Hopefully more of these interviews and stories will get published soon.
  • I attended the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, where I gave a talk about trademarks, mostly from the perspective of being at GNOME. It was a fun talk to give, and a little different from my previous legal talks in that it was very much informed by my perspective of being Executive Director of GNOME. The slides are available on the Linux Foundation’s website. I also had a chance to catch up with a lot of different GNOME folks, and attended Juan José Sánchez Penas’ talk GNOME: Beyond the Traditional Desktop (Or How GNOME Can Help Those Building Linux Platforms for Mobile Devices) which was a great talk that featured a lot of the cool work that Igalia is doing. It was also great to catch up with Keith Packard, who filled me in on some stuff regarding Wayland that I hadn’t known. There were many others who were fantastic to see too. Thanks to the Linux Foundation for sponsoring my travel.
  • While in San Francisco, I visited the nice folks at Zareason, who helped me with a few problems I was having with my laptop. It was great to see their offices and emerge with a problem free computer. At the end of my trip, I swung by the Electronic Frontier Foundation on my way to the airport. There are a number of ways I think that EFF and GNOME can work together, so I’m really excited about that.
  • I participated in organizational meetings for GNOME.Asia. The organizing team is doing a great job! Check out the Call for Papers and submit yours soon (the deadline is approaching).
  • I helped Marina with some of the fundraising and logistics for the Outreach Program for Women. The applicants are again very very strong!
  • I recorded another oggcast with Bradley. This episode includes a talk from FOSDEM by the charming Michael Meeks, who talks about copyright assignment. I think it’s a pretty interesting talk.
  • I did a bunch of housekeeping, like catching up on email, handled a couple of trademark inquiries, etc.
  • I emailed potential keynoters for GUADEC. I’ve gotten a preliminary response from one of them that’s pretty exciting. Stay tuned!

What I’ve been up to

This bi-weekly report is a bit short, as I spent almost half of the time at sxsw, speaking about free culture and taking continuing legal education classes to make sure I keep my status as a lawyer in good standing. I wrote a separate report of sxsw earlier. Some of the things I did during the rest of the time are:

  • coordinated my travel and finalized the proposal for speaking at LibrePlanet in Boston this weekend and at the Linux Foundation’s Collaboration Summit in San Francisco April 3-5. Come and say hi!
  • answered some questions regarding GNOME logo use.
  • helped get the documents needed to renew our SSL certificates. Thanks so much to StartCom Ltd.
  • worked with Rosanna on house cleaning, including getting invoices out to our sponsors.
  • met with Shaun to discuss our budget. It’s hard work being treasurer. Thank Shaun if you have the time and German too for having done it for so long in the past.
  • talked to various reporters – will link here to articles as they come out. An article about my medical devices work was published in an industry magazine called Mass Device recently
  • worked on our Q4 report – thanks Emily for organizing it, and thanks to Andreas who will publish it soon!
  • talked to some folks about the OPW’s new round – we’ll have some announcements on that coming too!
  • joined the Ada Intiative’s advisory board! Check out all of the great work that the Ada Intiative has done over it’s first year in existence.
  • released an episode of Free as in Freedom with the audio from the app store panel at FOSDEM, along with commentary by Bradley and me.

Some things I’ve been up to

It’s been an exciting and busy couple of weeks. Here are a selection of things I’ve done, so that you can see what I’ve been up to!

  • worked with Chun-Hung Huang (sakanamax) and the GNOME.Asia committee to choose a bid for GNOME.Asia, get emails and announcements ready, etc. This year GNOME.Asia will be in Hong Kong!
  • worked with Walter Bender and the nice folks at MIT about reserving rooms for the Boston Summit. It won’t be official for a little while, but it’s looking good.
  • participated in our GUADEC organizing meeting. We definitely need some more good ideas for keynoters so let me know if you have any ideas!
  • worked on some interviews, followed up with journalists. I’ve been so happy that my LCA talk continued to get press, but I’ve been sad that it’s meant that I’ve had to turn down some speaking opportunities – I’ve just been doing way too much travel and need to stay put at least for a little bit to get some work done (I feel like I’m always playing catch up). The next public speaking I have lined up is a free culture panel at SXSW, which I’ll be taking some vacation to attend (it feels funny to be taking vacation to speak at yet another conference, but it’s work for QuestionCopyright not GNOME, and besides I can attend a lot of the music performances! The next GNOME related speaking I’ve got lined up is LibrePlanet2012!
  • worked with Rosanna on GNOME’s Form 990 (and asked a lot of questions of our accountant!)
  • started fundraising for the next OPW round with potential new sponsors
  • worked on the biannual report
  • contacted schools for the blind and deaf to see if we could develop any partnerships with our accessibility campaign. Worked with Juanjo Marin on another story for the FoG campaign (coming soon!)
  • worked with Aaron Williamson of SFLC about fixing a bug in GNOME’s bylaws.
  • did some research and looked into trademark implications of uses of logos in Boxes for Zeeshan
  • contacted Hylke Bons, who confirmed explicit permission to use the adorable robot logo he designed for GNOME 3
  • nagged various people about various things
  • thanked various people for various work. I’m always astounded by how awesome our volunteers are! We have to estimate the number of volunteers GNOME has for our afore mentioned Form 990 report, and it’s amazing how quickly the number adds up – thank you to volunteers who organize events around the world, who spend their time staffing the booths at those conferences, who compose our awesome sysadmin team, and our dedicated marketing team, who volunteer to be on our board, who run the outreach program for women and who mentor new contributors in all all out outreach programs, who write documentation, who contribute articles for our reports and press, and of course, who contribute on a volunteer basis to our code base!
  • recorded and published an oggcast on Ambjörn Elder’s talk from FOSDEM entitled Methods of FOSS Activism. I apologize for the crummy quality of my audio – I didn’t realize my gain was so high
  • helped coordinate getting GNOME Do their freenode channel, with SEJeff and Sri’s help!
  • communicated with a few advisory board members, and a potential advisory board member
  • followed up on overdue invoices to the GNOME Foundation

Back from LCA!

After a long series of flights this weekend, I’m finally home from my trip to linux.conf.au.

My time in Australia kicked off with AdaCamp in Melbourne over the weekend, which was fantastic and which I’ll give its own post in the coming days. I find conferences to be very intense and can never seem to find the time to blog while I’m there. I’m impressed with those who manage to pull it off.

LCA was a fantastic conference. I greatly enjoyed meeting people and catching up with old friends. It was great to be able to talk about GNOME with everyone. Many people didn’t know about extensions.gnome.org and others hadn’t actually seen GNOME3 and were impressed when I showed them my laptop. (And happily quite a number went away excited to try it.)

I gave two talks at the conference. The first was at the Business of Open Source Miniconf on Monday which was organized by Martin Michlmayr, where I talked about the nuts and bolts of nonprofit law. Since the talk was outside the United States, I kept the discussion mostly on a conceptual level, focusing on issues like governance and common pitfalls for nonprofit management. Usually I worry that these kinds of talks are very boring but perhaps this approach was better, as this time the audience seemed really engaged. I was the last talk of the day, and the Q&A session lasted well past the scheduled end time. Unfortunately, the talk wasn’t recorded but I’d be happy to send the slides on to anyone who is interested.

The keynote I gave on Thursday was my medical devices talk but longer and with more of a focus on GNOME – the thrust of the talk being that software has become critical to our lives and to our society and that since free and open source software is safer over time, we must make it usable so that we can build a bridge to ordinary users. I loved being able to talk about GNOME’s accessibility campaign in this context too. I hope that folks who listened to the talk will give to the campaign so we can make real headway on accessibility.

I was totally overwhelmed with the responses to my keynote. The twitter stream was amazing, but I especially loved the fact that folks were saying that they now want to hack on GNOME after my talk. GNOME developers should be proud about what they’re doing. They’re really making the world a better place. I’m so glad to be able to represent and support the community.

This point was underscored by Jacob Applebaum in his keynote (which was amazing but I think hasn’t been posted yet). He of course talked about security, our governments and ways that we can protect ourself against surveillance. He made great points and I learned quite a lot from his talk. In his conclusion, Jake made several calls for action, including hacking on GNOME (I was particularly proud that he quoted me as saying “the Guh in GNOME is for freedom”). He suggested we build Tor as a default into our desktop to promote more secure web use, and I think that’s a really fabulous idea. One of the problems that we have with improving security generally is getting ordinary people to understand why it’s important and how to implement it. GNOME could be the perfect place for this, as our community understands these issues and is skilled at making beautiful software that is accessible and easy to use.

It may be silly, but thanks to Jake and also Paul Fenwick who got all the crickets out of my room the night before my talk so I could prep and sleep!

I also met with a few reporters and will link to other articles if they wind up getting published.

Kudos to the LCA2012 team, especially Josh Stewart and Kathy Reid. The conference was well organized, interesting and fun. Thanks for bringing me to Australia!

what I’ve been up to this week

With the holidays behind us, I was happy to get back in the full swing of things this week. In no particular order and among other things, this past week I…

  • sent interview questions to Daniel Siegel about GNOME participation in Google’s summer of code for our biannual report. I also have been working on my introduction for the report. Emily Gonyer and Juanjo Marin have been great about working on the report. Dave Neary and Marina Zhurakhinskaya have contributed content too!
  • sent some catch up emails to a few of GNOME’s advisory board members.
  • finalized my travel arrangements to Australia for AdaCamp Melbourne and linux.conf.au. I leave on Wednesday and I’m quite excited for both events! If you’re going to be at either event, come say hi – I’d love to see you. Now I just need to finish my talks…
  • evaluated and discussed proposals for the legal issues and policy devroom I’m helping to coordinate at FOSDEM with Tom Marble, “Bradley Kuhn and Richard Fontana. Tom in particular has really been doing a tremendous amount of work on making sure the day is well scheduled and goes off without a hitch! Also, it looks like we’re going to have a marketing meeting at FOSDEM as well. Let me know if you’re going to be there and would like to participate.
  • recorded an oggcast with Bradley for Free as In Freedom. We’ve just released the last episode in which we talk about the devroom. The one we recorded this week was inspired by my anticipation of AdaCamp (but you’ll have to wait until the amazing Dan Lynch puts the show together).
  • dealt with some trademark related things with Justin Colannino at SFLC. A thousand thanks to Justin for all of his hard work on GNOME matters as he transitions out of SFLC.
  • worked with Christy Eller and Juanjo on nominating GNOME for the Computerworld Honors program, which is great because we’re putting together materials that I hope can be turned into grant applications. I’ve loved how fun the #marketing channel has become!
  • talked with a couple of members of the a11y team, about the ongoing campaign and other things. I am so inspired by their commitment to accessibility.
  • helped Rosanna with updating the retirement plan that the Foundation has, mostly to fix a hilarious typo. It’s funny – the last time I looked at the legal documents for the plan I was at SFLC.
  • started working on my own six month report to the board. It’s great to think of my time at GNOME from a general perspective, and I think it will focus me on what’s important in the months to come.
  • did a bunch of pro bono work for Conservancy, as they’ve had a lot going on and are coming up on their audit deadline very soon.

My recent activities

I’ve been a bit remiss at posting, due to my travel schedule (and more recently thanksgiving with relatives from out of town and the like). Last week I went to Latvia to keynote at the LATA conference in Riga. Perhaps not surprisingly to readers here, I spoke (in English) about software freedom and how the software that we should consider essential has expanded considerably. GNOME of course features into that prominently. You can see the video of the talk here. Thanks so much to Rūdolfs Mazurs, who in addition to filming the talk, sat next to me during most of the conference and translated from Latvian! He was such a good translator that I was even able to ask questions and feel fully engaged in the sessions. It was an exciting conference, and I was glad to hear folks who are active with free software in Latvia say in their talks that “GNOME Shell is the future”.

Not too long before LATA, I was able to attend UDS in Orlando. It was a very interesting conference, and I was sponsored by Canonical to attend. I had quite a number of productive meetings with GNOME and Canonical folks there and particularly enjoyed getting to know some of the Ubuntu community members who are not Canonical affiliated. I had a few thoughts that came out of attending UDS that I hope to give their own posts.

While at UDS, I interviewed Adam Dingle from Yorba for the Free as in Freedom oggcast. We talked about free software nonprofits, software freedom generally and the great work that Yorba is doing (you probably know them from their Shotwell photo manager software).

I also interviewed Stefano Zacchiroli, the DPL of Debian. That episode was just released today. We talked about Debian, GNOME and copyleft, and there’s a discussion about the interview with me and Bradley as well.

I’ve also been mentoring a few tasks for Google’s Code-in. I was happy to help GNOME get accepted to the program and now we’re starting to see the benefits. Thanks to Andre Klapper for all of his ongoing hard work!

While on the road I helped Marina to organize and get ready to announce the new round of participants in the Outreach Program for Women. We were able to include 12 participants this time, in a wide range of areas! I’m particularly excited, as I’m also a mentor for one of the participants. The actual work for the program begins in a couple of weeks, when you’ll start to see a lot of activity on the Planet from these ladies. It was a privilege to work with the sponsors of the program to solidify the announcement: A thousand thank yous to Google, Mozilla, Collabora, Red Hat and the GNOME Foundation itself.

I’m very happy to be home and not travelling for the next few weeks – there’s so much to be done! In particular, I’m looking forward to announcing a new Friends of GNOME program…

Some things I’ve been up to recently

It’s been an extremely busy past two weeks! Of course, I went to the Montreal Summit, which was the highlight, but there are a few other things that are probably worth mentioning here:

  • I finalized my plans and arranged my travel for UDS later this month. Seeing the list of attendees set to go, I’m really looking forward to it!
  • I talked to Christer about the current state of the sysadmin work, and he’s put up a wiki page to track the sysadmin team’s progress on migration to the new server
  • I worked on various press things, including lining up a couple of interviews.
  • I chased up some old unpaid invoices and took care of some paperwork
  • I researched some legal questions for GNOME – you’d be surprised at how much of this stuff comes up for every free software nonprofit! I’ll keep you posted as they get resolved.
  • I looked at some of the awesome applications Marina has been collecting for the Women’s Outreach Program – there’s still time if you’re interested in applying!
  • I did some pro bono work for SFLC and QCO in my free time