Gran Canaria Desktop Summit

The GCDS has just finished and I think it was a great and successful conference. It was the first joint aKademy + GUADEC conference and I feel it turned out quite well. We could have had more explicit collaboration or more attention on the “other” talks, but I think the people have to get used to the fact that there are people with different approaches who you can talk to. Let’s hope it’ll be a joint convention next year as well (I always wanted to spend a week or two in Finland…).

The registration process was a bit weird, because the organizers wanted to know private data without even trying to make clear what they are used for. In fact, the only thing I could see (even from a retro perspective) is to collect the data. As I’ve stated in a mail buried in this thread, I don’t really like that for several reasons and I hope that the next organization committee will not collect absolutely necessary data.

The first day began with a RMS keynote for me. I expected it to be really bad because for some reason the people say that RMS’ talks are boring, stubborn and repetitive. I’ve never heard a RMS talk before and I couldn’t apply any of these critics onto his talk. In fact, I really liked and enjoyed it, although it was not necessarily pleasant to listen because he disagrees with our decisions: He doesn’t like to see new applications to be written in C# because the Software Freedom Law Center doesn’t think that the Community Promise guarantees that Microsoft will not charge patent fees. I am not into that topic but I believe that the SFLC does a good job. And I also trust the SFLC more than I trust Microsoft. So it’s not about patents in general (which should be abolished anyway) but rather about not putting too many weight onto our Desktop so that we can get rid of C# apps easily in case of fire^W ugly patent stuff. And I don’t know what’s not clear about that: As the risk seems to be there and we want to have a free desktop in the future, we have to watch out now to not fall into a Bitkeeper trap.

I also don’t agree with travis or lefty who think the reference to an EMACS virgin is sexist or mixing different topics (software freedom and religion in this case) is unhealthy. RMS clearly referred to the Christian church and it’s habits, so if there is anything bad, it’s to be search in these circles. Also, virtually everyone has cheered after RMS’ performance. And I wouldn’t go that far and call all the audience sexist. Actually, I dislike the idea of (computer) engineers answering sociologists questions for the same reason I don’t ask a sociologist in case of computer trouble (I like it, when they think, talk and discuss about it though). From an intersectional point of view, I’d ask whether the strong focus on women is actually sexist, because there is clearly more than one domain we have minorities in. Take Blacks, Jews, Disabled or Queers or people with an inside out belly button for example. By constantly reciting that women are a minority, we could actually harden this situation instead of making it disappear. I could actually write a paper about it, as I need one for university anyway to finish my Gender Studies.

The parties were all awesome, thanks to Canonical, Nokia, Igalia and Collabora who really know how to throw a good party. I wonder why Google didn’t show up though.

I also have to thank the GNOME foundation for sponsoring my trip to Gran Canaria! It’s really good to see that my contributions are valued and that I can improve them by attending various talks and sessions. This year was especially useful because we could attend the KDE peoples sessions. I especially enjoyed being at the KDE bugsquad sessions to share and improve ideas.
Sponsored by GNOME!

Although I took some photos, I won’t upload them to flicker, but the people seem to tag their photos with “gcds” or “guadec”. I have looked through a couple of them and they seem to be all good. But I couldn’t make it through all of them as there are way too many.

Two major drawbacks were the relocation of the conference and the Internet connectivity during the event: We moved from the rather central Alfredo Kraus Auditorium to the suburban University on the fourth day or so. That was inconvenient because it took ages to get there. The Internet thing is totally unrelated to the organizers, but left a bad taste anyway. The uplink was totally broken with a packet loss with up to 75% in “So6-0-0-0-grtmadno1.red.telefonica-wholesale.net”.

I’m looking forward to next years GUADEC or maybe “TDS”… :-)

Bugsquadding Talk on GCDS

I just had my talk with Pedro and I think it went quite well.

We talked about how to do QA in GNOME and how to use our tools properly. There were about 30 people listening and discussing with us. It was a great honour to meet the bugsquad heros like Philip, Akhil and guenther. Thanks to Andre to look over our slides.

Besides telling about our infrastructure, we slightly discussed alternative ways to access our bug database: There seems to be DeskZilla and Mylyn to work with bugzilla through the XML-RPC API. I haven’t tried Deskzilla yet (the GNOME key link is broken atm), but Cosimo says it doesn’t work with the GNOME bugzilla probably because it’s heavily patched. I wonder when we’ll migrate to Bugzilla-3…
I tried Mylin but it unfortunately doesn’t work either :( You can query and show the bugs but you can’t update them. It’s a pity because I think that webinterfaces suck in general and our GNOME bugzilla in special.

Although the intended target group wasn’t there, we managed to recruit triagers :) Let’s hope they’ll stay with us for a while. You can find the bugsquad-slides.

I followed the KDE Bugsquad BoF and we discussed several things. They seem to have more fundamental problems than we do, especially getting the bugzilla used by the developers. I collected a couple of ideas: Given that you can’t edit bugs right away if you just have created an account, would it be good to automatically set editing right once a user has commit permissions on the VCS? What about a bugsquad (micro) blog to keep the community informed and involved? It could be a good idea to have kind of a monthly digest which will be sent around. I also envy the KDE Bugdays which apparently are a lot of work, but also potentially recruits new bug triagers. Maybe one could write an webapp for managing the work involved…

CeBIT 2009

I have been at the CeBIT to represent GNOME. Actually, Herzi got sponsered by his generous employer, Lanedo, to make the GNOME booth happen. And he probably got bored that he called me up to do this together :)

We were in Hall 6, booth F60, sitting next to Drupal and some LDAP Webthing. Also, the KDE guys were next to us :)

They had awesome posters hanging on the walls, nice T-Shirts hanging around and banners showing off. They even came with name cards pinned on their chests and probably even with working hardware. The Drupal guys had a Roll-Up display and a foldable flyer holder with many information materials.

I envy those guys, because we haven’t had any of this stuff, besides a small computer and a monitor :( There probably is something in GNOME Event Box, but unfortunately Herzi didn’t bring it, probably because it’s way too big and too heavy. Also, a roll-up display wouldn’t fit into that Box. Posters and banners would be nice, too. We even had to install an Ubuntu on the fair (instead of having it prepared beforehand). Then, the webcam didn’t want to work with cheese, so we couldn’t use that as an eye-catcher. Anyway, Sudoku and gnome-about were pretty good ;-) I believe, LinuxTag is going to be better, though. Because we have GNOMErs right there and you can transport things fast and easily, so it’s no big deal to replace a camera or a second PC.

Anyway, most of the time, we told the people, what GNOME is and automatically came to what a “desktop” is, what this “Open Source” thing is and what “Unix like systems” are. Some people actually had Linux experience and have a second (linux) partition, a VMWare or a server running linux.

We were also answering questions related to GNOME ;-) Users were asking what’s new in GNOME, how they use the accessibility stuff or the like. We used the chance of talking directly to users and asked what they like and dislike about GNOME. It turns out, that most of the time, the people are satisfied with their GNOME desktop, because it “just works” and it’s not in their way to achieve things. Also, they thought that the GNOME desktop is more light-weight than, e.g. the KDE desktop. Some people disliked that it looks a bit old-fashioned and that they can’t “play around” as much with their desktop as they are used to from, say, using windows. I told them, that it’s a design philosophy, to not have a huge (obvious) configuration space but to try to make it as easy as possible to do regular stuff. Of course, there is GConf where the about-to-be hackers can turn the nipples (and see the result instantly). I also tried to convert a few users to hackers: I even gave one guy “homework” to do… We’ll see how it turns out *g*

One guy asked me why he should choose GNOME over KDE. I avoided the whole discussion and gave no reason back. He should use what he likes and what fits his needs. Of course, I explained the philosophies behind GNOME and tried to make GNOMEy points.

Another one asked, whether there’s a “german GNOME community” and I sadly had to say “no”. But I hope, we Krauts can meet at LinuxTag and do that name-to-faces thing in a cosy restaurant. Maybe it’d be a good idea to pick one which has *no* WiFi or GSM/UMTS coverage, just to have no excuse to not talk to each other ;-)

We pointed many people to our Wiki on live.gnome.org, especially the Roadmap or gnome-love. Let’s hope, they want to give some love to GNOME and fix some bugs :)

Of course, there were good parties at the end of the day, as well :)