SCaLE 18x

Melissa Wu is organizing the Community Education Challenge. She attended her first conference with the GNOME Foundation at SCaLE.

The 18th annual Southern California Linux Expo (SCaLE) took place on March 5–8, 2020 in Pasadena, CA. As the largest community-run open source and free software conference in North America, it was interesting to see the variety of corporate and non-profit exhibitors all united under their passion for open source.

A photo of the GNOME booth, featuring a blue GNOME table cloth and exciting GNOME swag, including bugs, t-shirts, and a tote bag.

The GNOME presence was felt throughout the conference with a special GNOME Beers and pre-release party on the first day of the conference, Thursday, March 5th. GNOME information flyers were also included inside every attendee bag.

This presence carried on to our booth where we were able to connect with GNOME community members, contributors, and enthusiasts as well as tote our merchandise, including a brand new GNOME t-shirt, and stickers. Thank you to the number of supporters who assisted us at the booth including Foundation staff, Melissa Wu, Caroline Henriksen, Neil McGovern, and Rosanna Yuen, along with Foundation members Matthias Clasen, Sriram Ramkrishna, and Nuritzi Sanchez.

A photo of three people showing off temporary tattoos of the GNOME logo.

How do you say “desktop environment” in Flemish? FOSDEM 2020 Trip Report

A cake shaped like two gears with a red "20" printed on it.
Photo courtesy of FOSDEM. Licensed CC-BY

FOSDEM is one of the biggest community organized conferences in Europe. Run by a team of dedicated volunteers, the conference has been going for 20 years. It’s one of the biggest yearly events for us at GNOME Foundation and a rare opportunity for the staff to come together.

As a fully remote team, the GNOME Foundation staff all get together twice a year to strategize, plan, and collaborate at GUADEC and at FOSDEM. This is also when the Foundation Board of Directors and Advisory Board have the chance to meet in person.

In the four days leading up to the event, GTK Core Developer Emanuelle Bassi and Matthias Classen hosted a hackfest focused on GKT and the future of accessibility in GNOME. We really appreciate everyone who showed up, and would especially like to thank the blind participants and those with vision issues and expertise as those using the accessibility tools.

A stack of liege waffles on a red plate.
Photo courtesy of osiristhe on Flickr. Licensed CC BY-ND 2.0

Prior to the conference, we had two days of meetings – one for the Board and one for what we affectionately call the “AdBoard.” At both we learned and planned, which we’re looking forward to sharing with you over the upcoming months.

While Executive Director Neil McGovern and Director of Operations Rosanna Yuen met with the Board of Directors, I attended Sustain Summit. I led a session on diversity in open source with a focus on building global movements.

On Friday the entire staff met with the AdBoard. These meetings are focused around what our AdBoard members are up to, what GNOME has done over the past six months, and what we’re looking forward to over the next six months. It is a time for questions and answers, and also a place to find points of collaboration and to help the Foundation understand what is happening for organization stakeholders, where their interests, successes, and pain points lie.

Buildings of Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium.
Photo courtesy of Friar’s Balsam on Flickr. Licensed CC BY 2.0

FOSDEM itself was a whirwind. On the first day we participated in three sessions. Neil participated in a friendly debate over whether the four freedoms and the Open Source Definition are still relevant today. I had a lot of fun arguing in support of the creation and adoption of licenses to advance social issues. I could also be found in the main track talking about the ethics of Internet of Things devices and how they impact communities.

While all of this was going on, the rest of the staff attended sessions, had meetings, and helped with the GNOME booth in the exhibit hall. The GNOME booth was amazingly successful. Caroline Henriksen, Brand Manager, and Melissa Wu, who is coordinating the GNOME Education Challenge, talked about our upcoming plans for Challenge. Program Coordinator Kristi Progri spent her time representing the GNOME Foundation to stakeholders, meeting participants in the project, and forged new connections for the future.

Saturday night we had a fun evening at BAR NAME SOMETHING BOOI for GNOME Beers. Contributors and FOSDEM attendees came to hang out, have a drink, and have a chance to meet one another in person. Meanwhile, I attended Open Source Funding Speed Dating, serving as a judge to help fund up-and-coming free and open source projects.

The Sunday of FOSDEM was full of meetings, more sessions, and, of course, the GNOME booth.The GNOME booth wouldn’t be possible without the awesome volunteers who took on so much of the responsibility of running it. Thank you, Adrien, Anisa, Bastian, Ben, Bilal, and Kat!

On Monday, several of us attended CopyLeft Conf, a conference hosted by our friends at the Software Freedom Conservancy.

As I write this, I am on the plane headed home. Reflecting on the great week I had in Brussels, Belgium, I recognize the role all of you had in making it happen. Your support of the GNOME Foundation makes it possible for us to attend events like this. Without you we wouldn’t be able to bring the Board of Directors together in person. We wouldn’t be representing our project and the value of community built, free and open software. We wouldn’t have been able to host the hackfest that pushed forward GTK development and accessibility planning. We wouldn’t have been able to bring other GNOME contributors to the event, by funding their travel.

Thank you so much! I believe this was my fourth FOSDEM, and my first with GNOME. It was definitely the best yet.

Event Report: Free Software and Linux Days 2018 in Istanbul

Özgür Yazılım ve Linux Günleri 2018 (OYLG18)
Free Software and Linux Days 2018 Banner

I had the pleasure of coordinating GNOME and LibreOffice presence at Özgür Yazılım ve Linux Günleri (Free Software and Linux Days) 2018 in Istanbul, which took place between May 12 – May 13 in Bilgi University’s santralIstanbul campus. Here, I’ll try to share the GNOME part of the picture.

Free Software and Linux Days 2018 (OYLG18) Entrance
A view from the entrance of the event building

I am back at home after the Free Software and Linux Days 2018 in İstanbul. It was a small and cozy event. The number of attendees was lower than the previous years, but on the plus side, we had more time for each visitor. It was also a good opportunity to break the ice between different segments of the Turkish Free Software community.

We had a nice booth, jointly run by GNOME Turkey ad LibreOffice Turkey community members, next to the Pardus booth. We gave out stickers to the visitors, answered their questions about GNOME, LibreOffice, and Free/Libre Software in general. Community members also had a lot of time to chat, and to discuss the current situation and the future of our community in Turkey.

Free Software and Linux Days 2018 (OYLG18) GNOME Booth
GNOME and LibreOffice booths

We also had two GNOME related presentation/seminar sessions:

  • Özgür Yazılımları Türkçe Konuşturmak (Making Free Software Talk Turkish), by Muhammet Kara
  • GNOME Recipe Uygulaması (The GNOME Recipe Application), by Emel Elvin Yıldız

And we now have all materials to set up a complete GNOME booth for any upcoming event in Turkey (thanks to The GNOME Foundation for funding the booth stuff).

Please see the wiki page for more details, photos, and links to related tweets.

Many thanks to all the visitors, attendees, and the organizers of the event! If you’re a GNOME user and you want to help promote it in your local region, consider joining the engagement team.

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.