For those of you who have not been before, Open Help has quite a standard conference layout of two conference days over the weekend followed by three hacking days during the week. As I mentioned before, I joined the travel committee a few months ago and was working on processing GUADEC sponsorsip requests. A number of the summer interns asked me to explain to them what is the difference between conference days and BoFs. So, this is what our conference days at Open Help were like:
And this was what our hacking days were like:
We took one look at https://developer.gnome.org/ and decided that it needed some care. After quite a lot of brainstorming and debate, we concluded that the structure of the Developer Center needs to be simplified, which is now a work-in-progress in master.
One of the biggest issues that we addressed is that the Documentation Team does not have the manpower to keep up with all the cool new stuff that developers should know about. Ryan is leading the effort to try a different approach which we hope may be more developer friendly when it comes to maintenance and new content with a “How Do I…?” series on the wiki.
In the mean time, we are aiming to merge the platform-demos, the examples and mini-showcase applications, into what is currently the platform overview.
For more details on the state of https://developer.gnome.org/, have a look at the Documentation Team’s planning pages on the wiki.
Open Help is on this weekend in Cincinnati. We’re half way through the two conference days and have seen very interesting presentations from Jorge Castro about helping users help users, Janet Swisher on sprints and Rich Bowen about writing better help, which led to interesting discussions during the panel and open floor.
The trip over to the US was a bit long as Dave and I were delayed at almost every point of the way, but we finally arrived in Cincinnati after a 22 hour trip to a lovely reception at Via Vite on Fountain Square.
The conference itself has a very relaxed atmosphere. With around 40 attendees, it is possible to meet everyone and it is rather nice to have a fluid schedule. There are people here from a range of different projects, including Drupal, the Wikimedia Foundation and WordPress, including four people who previously participated in the OPW. Unfortunately, Sindhu and Aruna, the Documentation Team interns from round 5 and 6, could not make it because they have exams right now, but I am hoping to meet them at GUADEC.
We had a grand total of 54 sponsorship applications for GUADEC and a budget of €30,000 (approximately $39,000). The requests amounted to $57,668 which we calculated would be more realistic at $53,661 after verifying travel costs. We were able to offer sponsorships to the amount of $45,055 to all 54 applicants, as Google will kindly assist with some of the cost of bringing the interns to GUADEC.
The applicants consisted of 24 Foundation members, 12 speakers, 24 GSoC students, 5 OPW interns, 18 women and 1 journalist.
The first application was received on the 5th of April (thank you for being organised) and three applications were late.
This was the first event that I have helped process from the start, with lots of help from Germán. The earlier applications were generally easy to process, but some of the later applications were more time consuming as not all were complete and precise, so we needed to verify details. Sorting applications is surprisingly time consuming, three of the travel committee members spent around 51 hours on it over the last week, and there are many points to consider before making the offers. Overall, the applicants have been happy with the offers that they have received, some have already booked their travel, and it is satisfying to see so many Foundation members and new contributors being given the opportunity to come to GUADEC.