gnome, marketing, openwengo, running Comments Off on FOSDEM

It’s Sunday afternoon in FOSDEM, and I’m just adding one or two slides to compliment the presentation I’m giving this afternoon – which gives me a minute to sit down and think on everything that’s happened since we got here.

I travelled to FOSDEM with Mathieu Stute of OpenWengo on the surprisingly fast Thalys, which gave me a chance to write my presentation on “Developing GNOME through marketing and outreach” (shortened to “Marketing GNOME” on the title slide).

Thanks to Bader for proving one of my early points after the talk – he said “you know you didn’t talk about marketing, you talked about promotion”. We spend too much time talking about metaphysical questions like “what is GNOME” and “what is marketing”, and not enough time actually making the easy wins in outreach. The main point I wanted to get through with this presentation are that there are lots of ways that grass-roots movements can do outreach, but that we have now got most of the useful infrastructure in place to allow the project as a whole to benefit from that outreach, and create the feedback loop which will improve GNOME over time.

Some simple things that you can do as an individual:

  • Talk to your local council and get in contact with their CTO to see if there are plans to use free software
  • Talk to the college professor you know asking if he’d like to have students do a free-software related project next year
  • Offer to do a talk to the local LUG/college computer club on free software and GNOME
  • Write articles for the local paper/magazines
  • Ask local magazine editors if they’d like to include a GNOME LiveCD or OpenCD on their cover

All of these things come from the same principle – people aren’t aware that there are free software community members everywhere – a local counsil would like to use some stuff, but they don’t know about the local LUG, and no-one’s thought to go and talk to them. Magazine editors are looking for content, but don’t know who to ask. Trade stands are being organised, and people ask the GNOME Foundation if we can run a stand, the answer is almost always “I don’t know”.

I also gave a lightning talk on OpenWengo which was well received, I think – and I’ve had lots of chats at various stages with Yannick from Nokia and Simon and Daff from Collabora about Telepathy and its relationship to OpenWengo.

Yesterday evening, had a good dinner (expensive, and not very copious, but nice) with a bunch of people from the FLOSSFoundations group – I don’t remember all the names, but Gerv from MoFo, Allison Randall from TPF, Cornelius and Sebastien from KDE eV, Greg Stein, Sander Striker, colmmacc and others from the Apache Foundation, and Leslie from the Google Summer of Code were there – we had a good & varied chat which went from energy through to hacking, accountants, trademarks (as usual) and governance. Oh – and Belgian beer.

Today is chill-out day in FOSDEM – everyone’s a little dehydrated, a little hung over and a little tired – which makes for a nice chilled atmosphere. I am still getting over people walking around at 10 in the morning with a bottle of Orval in their hand…

For those wondering, I didn’t manage to get up and get running at 7am on Saturday. I finally got on the road about 7.45 – and planned on running a little over an hour just to tread water for the week. In the end, I got lost in the outskirts of Brussels (running South on the East side of the park, rather than North on the West side), and ended up running about 11 miles, which is close enough to keep me on schedule for the marathon.

Marathon training

General, home, running Comments Off on Marathon training

For the past while, I have been running quite a bit, in training for a marathon. I have no idea why – I was never a fan of jogging – but the idea of running a marathon started teasing me last Summer, and I finally decided I was going to do one. At the point where I went searching for candidates, and chose the lucky winner, the Annecy Marathon on the 29th of April, the die were cast and there’s no turning back.

To get into the habit of running, I trained for and ran the Marseille-Cassis on Hallowe’en weekend – I got through the 21 kms in 2 hours and 1 minute (I beat the 2 hour pace-maker by a couple of minutes, she had faded in the heat at the end). The unusual think about the Marseille-Cassis is that you start at an elevation of 0, between kilometers 6 and 10 you climb from 100m to 320m elevation, and then from kilometers 16 to 20, you go back down to 0 again. It’s very tough on the knees and hips, but great fun.

Next weekend, in Brussels, I will be asking myself whether this is worth it – will the madness ever end. I have a 21km run to do according to the Hal Higdon training schedule I’m doing my best not to ignore, and I’m planning on doing it in Brussels early Saturday morning (with thanks to Martin Sevior for the link to the very useful gmaps-pedometer site).

How early? I figure if I want to be at the conference for 10am, I will have to be running by 7. So getting up at 6.30 ought to do the trick.

Which brings me to ask myself: is it marathon or masothon?

France’s Iron Man

General, running Comments Off on France’s Iron Man

I’m not a triathlon fan unlike some other GNOMErs, but you have to admire the dedication and athleticism (and stubbornness) of people who swim 5km, cycle 180km and run 42km (a full marathon) in the Iron Man triathlon every year. One of the competitors in this year’s triathlon will be Frenchman Xavier Le Floch, who finished last year’s race in 14th position, 25 minutes behind the winner. What is extraordinary about this is that 4 months prior to the race, Xavier was involved in a plane accident, and had 2 vertebrae in his neck broken. Normally, such an injury requires 6 months of heavy physiotherapy. Xavier was back training for the Iron Man after 6 weeks.

This year, he’s back, and in the best form of his life. And he expects to win, even if he is not the favourite. Yet another inspirational example from the world of sport.

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