October 16, 2013
I got home a day and a half ago and am packing up to go to San Francisco for the Mentor Summit, but email from James with his excellent write-up of the event reminded me that I too needed to report back.
James covers the bases so I won’t give that overview again but one of my favorite things from the weekend was that a whole group of students drove up from Western New England University. They’ve decided to work on Mousetrap (an assistive application that uses facial recognition to move the cursor without having to use a mouse) for their senior project. I kicked things off with an overview of free software for them (and discussed just what you need to know about licensing to get started) and Colin and Ryan helped them out with jhbuild. Colin, Ryan and Joanie hung out with them all weekend and I think they made great progress. It was also fun to have them at all of the social events.
I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Ryan and Tristan for organizing the events, plus CRIM for hosting us, Savoire Faire Linux for helping us to organize and for hosting the cocktail party on Saturday, Red Hat for sponsoring the pool party on Sunday and Canonical for providing snacks and coffee during the days. The famous Montreal bagels in particular were a huge hit:
I was glad to see such a diversity of companies represented at the Summit, and nonprofit orgs too – I had great conversations with Yorba and Debian people. The Summit is pretty amazing in that it’s a small event so it’s intimate and it’s easy to talk to everyone and the people who come are focused and awesome and a good amount of stuff gets done at a high level. The event was so productive and fun that there was some talk of adding a west coast summit, and that sounds pretty great to me.
You can also check out Mike’s and Matthias’ write-ups too.
October 14, 2013
So I am at the
Boston Montreal Summit, but I realized that I never published my post about the GNU 30th so I thought I’d get this up now and then write about what’s going on here this long weekend!
The GNU 30th was really fun. There was a great turnout and the GNOME room was petty full the entire time. Marina and Owen ran a Newcomers’ Tutorial and other GNOMEees were around to hack on stuff. We took a break for lunch with OPW interns and mentors. It was amazing to look down the long table and to realize how many non-GNOME people were there – a testament to the success of the program with other projects too. The GNU MediaGoblin folks were in full force, and I got an awesome 3D printed “Goblin Force” badge, which I now have with me in Montreal!
One of my favorite moments was a conversation I overheard just after the Newcomers’ Tutorial.
Richard Stallman asked a gentleman named Matt what he was involved in with free software. After initially describing himself as a fan, he corrected himself and said, “I’m no longer just an admirer, thanks to Marina!” He went on to explain how he went through the GNOME Newcomer’s tutorial and was now able to contribute for the first time to free software. I was also very pleased to give stickers to some students from George Mason University who wanted to run their own Newcomers Tutorial with the local user group.
On Saturday night we had a GNOME dinner at an Indian Restaurant to celebrate the GNU 30th and also the 3.10 release. Thanks to Joe for remembering to send me this picture of some of us outside afterwards:
October 2, 2013
We’ve gone ahead and gotten a block of rooms at the Hotel Le Cantlie Suites subject to availability. The rate is $135.00 per room per night for single or double occupancy. You can either call the hotel directly at +1.514.842.2000 and mention “GNOME” or reserve online.
All the information on the summit that you need is on the wiki. If you’re planning to come and haven’t already, let us know. Hope to see you there!
October 1, 2013
The nice guys at Linux Format Magazine have published a pretty long interview with me. I had such a great time with them I got fairly chatty and we talked about GNOME, medical devices and the Outreach Program for Women. It gets pretty serious at some points. Check it out!
September 26, 2013
Many thanks to everyone who contributed to GNOME 3.10 – almost a thousand contributors and 35,000 changes!
I am a bit late in my own blogpost because I had to run out after the GNOME posts went out in order to make the Brooklyn release party. I like this picture of the event as it shows not one but two former pro bono lawyers to the GNOME Foundation, plus users!
It was organized fairly late as I wasn’t sure about babysitter availability but we were saying that we should do this more regularly. Are you a GNOME user or contributor in the New York area and interested in meetups? Let me know!
Now I’m getting ready to leave tomorrow for the GNU 30th, where we’ll have another release celebration on saturday night. We’re also going to have a tutorial for newcomers as well as a hackfest, depending on who turns up and what they want to work on. If you know of someone who wants to contribute to free software but doesn’t know how to get started, this is the event for them. I can’t wait to see you there.
September 18, 2013
The FSF has made some reservations at local restaurants for the GNU 30th in Cambridge on Saturday September 28th. If you’re in the area please sign up and come have Indian food with me and other GNOME folks. Sign up soon so I can get excited about seeing you.
September 12, 2013
I was excited to add my name on the participants page for the GNOME
Boston Montreal Summit set to happen October 12 to 14th. Are you planning on coming? Take a minute and add your name so that the organizing team can better plan.
The Summit is always informal and really fun and productive, so if you’re driving distance to Montreal and still uncertain, just come!
We’ve also added a page to request travel sponsorship. If you need to request sponsorship, please fill out the table asking for the relevant information by September 26.
Can’t wait to see you there!
September 4, 2013
I have been realizing that I need to talk about the medical devices stuff more outside of the core free software space as it’s the kind of argument for freedom that anyone can understand. Tech savvy people, in particular, who haven’t thought about the issue are the perfect audience. So I’ve submitted the talk to SXSW Interactive. The voting process continues through Friday, so if you have a minute to create a profile, please go ahead and vote for it. I’d love for GNOME and sofwtare freedom to have a presence at such an important tech conference.
August 31, 2013
As you enjoy your weekend, take note that today is the last stretch of the Ada Initiative fundraising campaign.
I actually promised at the first AdaCamp in Melbourne that I would blog about Imposter Syndrome, and so now I will finally make good on that promise. The experience at AdaCamp was amazing for me and the more support we can drive to The Ada Initiative to be able to continue their good works the better! I was so lucky to attend, as I was keynoting LCA and Marina Zhurakhinskaya suggested I look into going a couple of days early for it.
AdaCamp was actually my very first unconference, and I remember being a little bit nervous when I put a post-it up on the wall suggesting an Imposter Syndrome session. I had never talked about Imposter Syndrome in public before and I wasn’t sure it was the best topic to propose (especially around so many talented and accomplished women). When the time for the session came, the room was full. I was floored.
For those of you who don’t know about it, Imposter Syndrome is exactly as it sounds. It’s the feeling (no matter how capable you are) that you are a fraud and that at any point you will be found out to not know what you are talking about. There are many better descriptions that a basic web search will bring you to. In my case, I am lucky enough to be in such niche fields that I *know* there aren’t that many people who know as much or more than me about the particular issues. I mean, how many people have thought deeply about free and open source software in medical devices from a public safety perspective? How many freedom fighting cyborg lawyers can there be? And yet, every time I’m asked to do an interview or make a speech I worry that I’ll be asked a question that I won’t know the answer to and it will turn out that I don’t know what I’m talking about afterall. I scour my research in a panic beforehand, every time. Of course it turns out that when I don’t know the answer to a question, it’s for good reason. But when the presentation or interview is over I am so relieved to have scraped by again. Rationally, I’ve known for some time that this is a bit silly.
I was once asked to be interviewed for a documentary on software patents (Patent Absurdity). I referred the interviewer to a number of other experts, including Dan Ravicher, Eben Moglen and Mark Webbink, saying that I wasn’t the right person to speak on the issue. The interviewer told me that he had asked quite a number of women to participate in the documentary but that they all had said the same thing as me. He told me that in fact, more than one person he’d consulted had suggested me for the interview and so he was sure I was right for it. He also told me that he was having the hardest time getting any of the women who other people had suggested as knowledgable to agree to an interview which made the documentary look very off balanced (especially as compared to the recommendations he was getting from other experts). So I agreed to do the documentary. It was very eye opening for me.
When I found out about Imposter Syndrome the first time I couldn’t believe that what I was feeling was actually part of a documented phenomenon. I read about accomplished women (and some men too) who felt the way I did and I started to feel like I had some tools to deal with it. But really it was during the AdaCamp session that I felt I had turned a corner. I still feel small waves of panic when I must hold myself out as an expert, but I have much more confidence in my knowledge and value as someone worth consulting on all matters related to software freedom.
The Ada Intiative is such an important organization (I’m one of their advisors now). Please take a minute today to give them a donation. Our free and open source software communities are already better for their work. If you’re reading this after the fundraising campaign is over, please still give them a donation!
August 30, 2013
I mentioned in my report at the Annual General Meeting during GUADEC that the 30th birthday of GNU is coming up and I hope you’ve all been thinking of ways that GNOME can participate! I taked to Libby, FSF Campaigns Manager, this week and she filled me in a bit on the plans. The event will be held at MIT and will be largely comprised of hackfests and meetings, rather than conference style presentations (though RMS will be speaking). Registration is already up and today is the deadline to apply for travel scholarships, so move fast if you need one!
Do you have any great ideas for a hackfest or meeting we could hold there? We need to start organizing soon, as the event is at the end of September. I’d also like for us to organize a GNOME dinner on one of the days. Let me know if you’d like to help organize.
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