Posts Tagged ‘fosdem’

GNOME@FOSDEM 2014 – Stand and Panel

Friday, February 7th, 2014

It is this time of the year again *yay*. The biggest and greatest Free Software conference took place in Brussels, Belgium. It’s good to see all those interested and passionate people care about Free Software. I hope that the (intellectual) gravity of the people gets more people interested and strengthens our communities. In fact, I feel it was one of the better FOSDEMs so far. Maybe even the best. We, GNOME, had a hand full (not kidding) of new members of our communities staffing the booth or just being available. I was very please to see new faces and to identify them as people who were very committed to Free Software and GNOME.

As indicated, we, GNOME, had a booth and a fun time entertaining people stopping by. With the help of many volunteers, we presented our most recent GNOME release, sold some t-shirts, and discussed our future ideas. It’s not necessarily a venue to convince people to use Free Software, or even to use GNOME. But I have the feeling we manage to get both messages across. Bar one case in which an unlucky fellah was angry about everything and especially that this Linux 20 we had installed wouldn’t ship Emacs by default. Other than that we showed people how cool the GNOME Shell extensions are, how to quickly launch applications, or how to access the notification area quickly. Or, yes of course, how to suspend. Or to shutdown…

I also had the pleasure of being interviewed by an Irish dude who produced episodes for Hacker Public Radio. I didn’t know about that but it seems to be a cool project. I don’t know when it will go live or whether it actually has been published already.

We also had panel with the governing bodies of GNOME and KDE. The intention was to debunk some myths and to make the work more visible. I was on the Panel (on behalf of GNOME) with Kat (from GNOME…) and Lydia from KDE. She was joined by Cornelius who serves on the KDE board for more than 9 years. We were lamenting about various aspects of our work such as where does money come from, where does it go to, what are the processes of getting rid of the money. But also why we were doing that, why we think it is important and what achievements we are proud of. Our host, Paul, was a nice and fun guy and did his job very well. I think it was a successful event. It could probably have been better in the sense that we could have focussed more on the audience and making them want to step up and take over responsibilities. But the way it went and the participation of the audience makes me happy nonetheless.

Update: The interviews have been posted: http://hackerpublicradio.org/eps.php?id=1452

GNOME @ FOSDEM 2013

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Phew, I’m excited about FOSDEM and also exhausted. We had a nice GNOME presence with a lovely booth, many helpers and nice shirts. Thanks to everyone involved who made it such a success.

Our current T-shirt was designed last minute by Andreas, printed last second by an awesome printing shop, and I like it very much. Especially the girly shirts have a nice colour. The shirt accompanies our current Friends of GNOME campaign about Privacy and Security.

In case you haven’t heard: GNOME is raising money to make GNOME more privacy aware, i.e. to allow to you to use your computer anonymously or leave as few traces behind as possible. Also security is a vital part, so maybe the money will be spent on enabling the chat to transfer files encryptedly or better OpenPGP integration into GNOME. If you want to support these goals, consider becoming a Friend of GNOME. Also, if you only want one of those shirts, become a Friend of GNOME, because at a certain level, you will be eligible to get hold of one of those t-shirts :-)

Unfortunately, our donation process depends heavily on Paypal and is quite US centric. That’s not very nice, the majority of donations does not come from the US. In fact, many donations come from Europe.

Anyway, I couldn’t attend a single talk at FOSDEM, because I was so busy with the booth and with maintaining relationships with friends from other Free Software projects, i.e. OpenSuSE. They had, again, a very nice presence and “The Old Toad”, a nice German beer, which is really needed since the Belgian beer is barely drinkable ;-)

As for the GNOME night out, the GNOME Beer Event, it was seriously crowded. While we occupied the upper floor of a bar the last year, we had two floors this year. We did advertise it. Well enough it seems. We went through the building we had our booth in and taped loads of paper onto the walls and pillars. Not only beer event ads but also posters about GNOME Outreach program for Women or the fact that we had T-Shirts on sale.

Our stand was probably the second most beautiful after the OpenSuSE one. Our T-Shirts were aligned up nicely and we sold quite a few of them. Preliminary statistics suggest that we managed to convince people to buy something between 100 and 150 t-shirts. Next time we better try to provide more girly shirts in larger sizes as they ran out quickly. The KDE folks did have many girly shirts but overall their booth didn’t seem to be as well run as the other years.

While the booth generally went well, our interaction story with the people isn’t great. So far, we have a demo machine in the middle of the table which makes it really hard to do stuff together or to show off things, because you can’t really look at what the person is doing neither can you easily show stuff. So maybe putting the machine on either edge of the table would help.

I’m looking very forward to next year’s FOSDEM, hoping that we will have, again, a great set of people willing to spend their time standing there for GNOME.

GNOME @ FOSDEM2012

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Is this time around again and the FOSDEM happened in Brussels, Belgium. Probably the biggest gathering of Free Software people was a lot colder than last year. It was covered in snow. So badly, that we had big troubles coming into Brussels. It took us almost twice as long to arrive than usual. The streets were packed with cars suffering from the severe conditions.

But all that didn’t stop us (GNOME that is) from having a nice presence. If you know FOSDEM you’d expect the booth to be in a packed and smelly area because all the people try to move along in the tiny hallway. But this year was different because we got a spacious place in a new building. That was cool, because it gave us much more area to move than usual but unfortunately it made the conference much more disconnected as there was yet another building involved. I didn’t even try to visit each and everything.

Anyway, from what I’ve seen, we had quite a good stand. Our friends from OpenSuSE received the most attention though. Rightfully so. Not only because they had almost free beer and nearly free other goodies, but because they had nice hardware, nice demos and nice people to present. Fortunately, we were located just next to our friends from KDE which enabled us to chit chat with well known people and to plan conspiracies for upcoming conferences in 2013. So stay tuned for that.

With the help of local GNOME people, we had our EventsBox which is well equipped. But well, since we had only one Box, we weren’t as well equipped as last time at LinuxTag. We had loads of T-Shirts from the Desktop Summit though which we tried to sell. I especially like the name tags we had. Somebody just got them printed so we looked much more inviting, I guess. Also cool were the posters that we got provided so we could pimp the glass wall behind us. It’s cool that we have people that provide such things just like that. We didn’t have the appropriate tools to handle the posters well. We used regular adhesive tape (which we ran out of in the middle of the day) which kinda destroys the posters. From our KDE friends we got some “blue-tac” or “patafix” which was really really great. Apparently it’s well known in the western end of Europe. I didn’t know it at all, but I now know that we definitely want to have this for the next time.

We also didn’t have blank sheets of paper to write stuff on which was a bit annoying. But well, we didn’t have markers either so we needed to get both first before being able to inform the people about the t-shirt prices.

Needless to say that our demo machine got upgraded to the latest Fedora and that that broke at least the web-cam. I mean it was supported in the last Fedora version so it’d be boring it was supported now, too. But the Fedora people had a nice gimmick to give away: A cheat cube which is just a well cut piece of paper that you can fold up to build a cube. You’re supposed to put that on your desk and use it to retrieve information quickly. I was wondering whether we could make something like that for GNOME Shell. Oh and while we’re at it: Many folks had roll-up displays which look very nice. They are around 1m wide and 2m high and you can have your big design on it. It doesn’t cost all too much but we’d need a proper motif first. So if you have any idea, feel free to discuss that in the wiki. And another thing that was annoying were our flyers. While it’s good that we had some, they were quite outdated. So we badly need some flyer material. Again, in the wiki is the place to show up.

So a big big thanks to the folks that helped out at the booth to make it rock. I hope we can make it work next year again.

There was also, again, a massive keysigning going on and I have to drop a quick rant about all that mess. caff on Fedora is kinda weird. It seems like the defaults in the man page don’t match the code, i.e. keyserver defaults to a different server than the man page states. And very annoying: It’s also different from GPG settings! So while trying to use caff it failed downloading the keys. I guess the server just hit a timeout or blocked my request altogether because it’s so many keys (/.-)
After having that sorted out, gpg asked to hit “y” all the time whether I was sure to sign the keys. Goddamnit. It’s about 100 keys and I sign with 4 private keys or so. Now I have to press 800 keys to get the fork()ing keys signed and mailed. Jesus Christ. It’s fricking 2012 and not 1972 anymore. I just want to conveniently sign the whole damn thing and not buy a new keyboard after each FOSDEM. Not only because I have to type so many keys but also because I feel the urge to smash it into someone face. But not only did I need some shell-fu to get the keys imported, I also needed to fiddle the fingerprints of the official key list because caff wouldn’t accept the fingerprints. The format though, is the format gpg uses to display fingerprints… So I had to do something like

cat /tmp/ksp.txt | tr -d ' ' | tr '\n' ' '

to get the proper format… And yeah, I’ll patch everything.. tomorrow…

Although I haven’t seen much of Brussels this time, I liked it being covered in snow and ice. I hope to be able to get more out of Brussels next time, especially improve my French ;-) So yeah, I’m looking forward to next year.

GNOME @ FOSDEM 2011

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

I am very excited about having attended this years FOSDEM. Unfortunately, times were a bit busy so I am a bit late reporting about it, but I still want to state a couple of things.

I'm going to FOSDEM, the Free and Open Source Software Developers' European Meeting (I wonder how that image will look in 2012 ;-) )

First of all, I am very happy that our GNOME booth went very well. Thanks to Frederic Peters and Frederic Crozat for manning to booth almost all the time. I tried to organise everything remotely and I’d say I partly succeeded. We got stickers, t-shirts and staff for the booth. We lacked presentation material and instructions for the booth though. But it still worked out quite well. For the next time, I’d try to be communicate more clearly who is doing what to prevent duplicate work and ensure that people know who is responsible for what.

Secondly, I’d like to thank Canonical for their generosity to sponsor a GNOME Event Box. After the orginal one went missing, Canocical put stuff like a PC, a projector, a monitor and lots of other stuff together for us to be able to show off GNOME-3. The old Box, however, turns out to be back again *yay*!

Sadly, we will not represent GNOME at upcoming CeBIT. But we will at LinuxTag. Latest.

Anyway, during FOSDEM, we got a lot of questions about GNOME 3 and Ubuntu, i.e. will it be easily possible to run GNOME 3 on Ubuntu. I hope we can make it possible to have a smooth transition from Unity to GNOME Shell. Interestingly enough, there isn’t a gnome-shell package in the official natty repositories yet :(

It was especially nice to see and talk to old GNOME farts. And I enjoyed socialising with all the other GNOME and non-GNOME people as well. Sadly, I didn’t like the GNOME Beer Event very much because it was very hot in the bar so I left very quickly.

So FOSDEM was a success for GNOME I’d say. Let’s hope that future events will work at least as well and that we’ll have a strong GNOME representation even after the GNOME 3 release.

FOSDEM 2010

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

This years FOSDEM involved meeting familiar and new people as well as a lot of beer ;-) I can’t understand why the Belgians are so proud of their beer though :> Anyway, I got way too less sleep and spent too much money…
I wished I connected to more new people but I was terribly busy catching up with all the faces that I haven’t seen in a while. Hopefully, I can meet more new people next time. FOSDEM Logo

Although I was scheduled as the very first in the morning after the official Beer-Event (thx teuf…) my talk in the GNOME devroom went well and I hope I represented GNOMEs Bugsquad well. At least two people wanted to help out :-) I hope I was inviting and clear enough. I definitely need to try to hold the people by at least writing to bugsquad-list. I hope I come around doing that, but I also have a huge backlog that wants to be processed. On the todo list is a new bugsquad as well as a membership-committee meeting, so if you are interested, watch out for mails :-)

If you happen to have seen my talk at FOSDEM and want to look over the slides, please find them  here. If you have been there and want to join the bugsquad fun: Awesome! Join the mailinglist now and wait for the next meeting to be organized. Don’t hesitate to push for it ;-)
If you haven’t been there but you want to help the Free Software movement or GNOME in particular: Awesome! Consider subscribing the mailinglist or join the IRC Channel and make sure that you’ve read our awesome TriageGuide :-)

Talks that I have enjoyed at FOSDEM include Maemo6 Platform Security by Elena because Nokia is about to build yet another security for Linux to meet their needs. Apparently the new Maemo devices will come with a TPM to allow DRM like scenarios. But also encrypting data on the device will be possible using an API which in turn uses the built-in keys. These turn out to be recoverable nowadays. If I read this correctly, then the “Open Mode” will not make use of the TPM keys. This means that if your contacts, images, texts, etc…, were encrypted using the above mentioned API, then you couldn’t get hold of this data in Open Mode :( I thus reckon that stuff like Contacts will not be stored encrypted. Hence you would leak all your data when losing the device. So I don’t expect a real advantage but we’ll see.
Another not very informative yet entertaining talk was done by Greg Kroah-Hartman and dealt with creating a patch for Linux. It actually motivated me so that I put “fixing some random driver in staging” on my Todo-List ;-)

Note to self for the next FOSDEM: Book accommodation early. Very early! Also, Charleroi might not be worth it, because the Bus from Brussels to CLR is 13 Euro, return 21.