Meet Shobha Tyagi from GNOME.Asia Summit 2016

This month’s community spotlight is on Shobha Tyagi, one of the volunteer organizers of GNOME.Asia Summit 2016.


Courtesy of Shobha Tyagi
Courtesy of Shobha Tyagi

Shobha’s history with GNOME began when she participated in the Outreach Program for Women (OPW) internship in December 2013, with GNOME as her mentoring organization. She attended her first GUADEC in 2014 while she was an OPW intern, and met Emily Chen, who introduced her to the GNOME.Asia Summit.

Passionate about helping to spread GNOME throughout Asia, Shobha was resolute to rise to the challenge of bringing GNOME.Asia Summit to her home in Delhi, India. Fast-forward two years, Shobha is proudly leading the local organizing team of GNOME.Asia, which is ready to lift its curtain in Delhi, on April 21, 2016.

We chatted with Shobha about GNOME and her experience organizing GNOME.Asia.


Why did you choose to work with GNOME for your OPW internship?
To be honest, I thought that since GNOME organizes OPW, I would receive the most productive mentoring from GNOME. Sure enough, that happened! I decided to make my initial contribution to Documentation, and after that I met my guru and mentor, Ekaterina Gerasimova.

Courtesy of Shobha Tyagi
Courtesy of Shobha Tyagi

Do you have a favorite thing about GNOME?

My favorite thing about GNOME is its people. The same people who create it, maintain it, and use it – they are what makes GNOME really great. I really enjoy committing my patches directly to the upstream repositories and meeting the contributors in person. I also get great satisfaction whenever I tell people about GNOME and let them know how they can also contribute.

You submitted the winning bid to host GNOME.Asia Summit 2016; do you have any tips for those who are interested to bid for upcoming GNOME conferences?
Sure! It does help if you have attended a GNOME conference in the past, but once you have made up your mind to bid, have faith in yourself and just write your proposal.

Can you describe a challenge you faced while organizing the GNOME.Asia Summit and how you overcame it?
There are many challenges, especially when you are the only one who knows the ins and outs of the event and have a limited amount of time. I’m surrounded by very supportive people. Even so, people expect more from the person who lays the initial groundwork. I thank the summit committee members for their tremendous help and persistence through countless IRC meetings and discussion, without which, it would have been impossible to overcome all of the small obstacles throughout the entire planning experience.

What’s the most exciting part about being an organizer?
The most exciting part is learning new things! Writing sponsorship documents, calling for presentations, picking up basic web development skills, identifying keynote speakers, chief guests and sponsors, amongst other things. I learned first-hand what goes into designing logos, posters, and stickers. There were also other tasks that I wouldn’t have had to do in a normal situation like arranging a day tour to Taj Mahal for a big group.

Life after GNOME.Asia Summit Delhi; what is going to be your next project?
After the GNOME.Asia Summit, I would like to focus my efforts on establishing a GNOME user group in Delhi.

Advice for eager newcomers and first-time contributors?
My advice for them is to come and join GNOME! GNOME enables you and me to contribute, and when we contribute, we help each other improve our lives. If you are committed, you can commit patches too.

And now, some fun questions. What is your favorite color? 
Yellow.

Favorite food?
All vegetarian Indian food.

What is your spirit animal?
Cow! They have a calm demeanor, and symbolize abundance and fertility since they represents both earth and sky.

Finally, and this one is important; what do you think cats dream about?
Cats dream about being loved, cared for and pampered by their master.

Shobha is helping to organize the 2016 GNOME.Asia Summit while working as an Assistant Professor at Manav Rachna International University, and pursuing a doctorate in Software Engineering. She has been a Foundation member since 2014, and has previously contributed to the Documentation team.

Thank you so much, Shobha, for sparing some of your time to talk to us! We wish you a successful Summit!

Interviewed by Adelia Rahim. 

Learn more about Carlos Soriano, the main contributor of Nautilus

We sat down with Carlos Soriano, the main contributor of Nautilus in 3.20, to learn more about the man behind the project.
Courtesy of Carlos Soriano
Courtesy of Carlos Soriano

Where are you from and where are you based now?
I’m from Spain. I grew up in a city called Girona in Catalonia. Now I’m living in Brno, in Czech Republic.

How long have you been contributing to GNOME?
Three and a half years.

How and why did you get started at GNOME?
During the second or third year of university I joined a computer graphics research group and discovered the Linux world. I knew I wanted to gain practical knowledge, and when I saw Allan Day’s mock ups for GNOME shell, I knew that was what I wanted to do. I was really excited about it! I started reading the GNOME Wiki, and it took me about two weeks to get up and running.

A lot of hard work has gone into Nautilus for 3.20; what is your favorite feature?
The search! We have provided some new tools and interface, and almost everything we did revolves around the search. It’s the biggest work we did on 3.20.

What about Nautilus are you most excited about? Do you have any ideas on where it will go from here?
I joined Nautilus one and a half years ago. My dream goal was to rework the views. The icon view’s code is 16 years old, so it holds us back with everything. It makes it difficult to have the capabilities that phones and web have, like adjusting the number of items shown or the spacing between them. Also, we can’t use GTK inside icon view, so we cannot add any smart visuals, widgets, or animations. We’re set back because of the code, and need to redo all of it. It’ll take a lot of time, so as to implement new features, but it will be worth the effort, and we will likely have icon view for the file chooser as well. Making progress towards this goal is what makes me most excited.

How many contributors have been involved this release?
2 with GNOME. I have been the main contributor, along with Georges, my GSoC student. And around 10 people helped with random patches, including developers from distros and also newcomers.

We see you’re again a mentor for this year’s round of GSoC. How has mentorship factored into your own life and career?
I have always liked to teach. I started teaching IT to children in a school, and I would also teach a bit of math, physics, and other similar subjects. Whenever I have the opportunity to be a mentor, that’s the first thing I  want to do. Because I love to teach. Last summer I had a really great student named Georges Estravacas, and we created a great relationship. Not only my student learns, but I also learn how to teach and how to make people happy about contributing to GNOME. It’s something that helps both the student and me to make progress.

And now to switch gears and ask you some silly questions…
What is your favorite color? 
Azul marino! (navy blue)

Favorite food?
I went vegan 4 months ago. It was sushi before, but now I would say vegan burgers.

What is your spirit animal?
Dog! They’re always cheerful, they have a great attitude, and they always try to cheer everyone up.

Finally, and this one is important; what do you think cats dream about?
I think they’re always conspiring to take over the world!

Thanks to Carlos for answering our questions during such a busy time of the release cycle. We can’t wait to see what he and the rest of the Nautilus team have in store for us next!