I had the great pleasure to be invited to GNOME.Asia taking place in Hong Kong and to give a talk there.
The first day started off with a very nice introduction by the local organizing committee. It is amazing how much energy they invest in Free Software, especially in GNOME. I think it’s outstanding given that I don’t see that many contributers from eastern Asia and that I was told several times that the attitude in Free Software communities is discomforting, at best, to people from eastern Asian cultures. But maybe it’s because of GNOME’s rather friendly community these people feel comfortable in GNOME. Let’s keep it that way.
The main talks were given by westerners and I hope we (the westerners) could encourage the audience to believe in themselves and in GNOME. We, I and my old GNOME friend Andre Klapper, were talking about how to start contributing to GNOME as a member of the Bugsquad. We already talked together a couple of GUADECs back. Our slides can be found here. With probably 75% of the conference attendees the talk was comparately well attended and I think it went well, too. We had a good and very unexpected discussion afterwards, too. That was very refreshing.
The second day was filled with talks, too, although I didn’t find it as interesting as the first one. Mainly because I couldn’t understand many talks. The language barrier was quite high for me as my Chinese isn’t all too good While I do appreciate the Free Software communities for enabling everyone to have access to computing, i.e. by translating the software into every language in the universe. I do sometimes wonder whether we actually fragment ourselves and should rather concentrate on improving the actual code. Especially since we are an international community having interational conferences. If there were isolated communities, it is crystal clear that translating everything into these languages is a major bonus. But since we eventually want to talk to each other and support each other, the translations are a bit of a hurdle to overcome. But this point is very moot because these people probably wouldn’t even know about Free Software, not to mention want to exchange thoughts, if the software wasn’t translated in first place.
There was actually one talk about Asian Women’s participation in Free Software Projects. But the talk disqualified itself quite early by bringing the common biological argument of different brains and that thus women could not code (sic!).
I enjoyed the stay in Hong Kong so much that I decided to append two weeks of traveling through China. It was very hot and humid and next time I’ll try to carry less things with me (although I do travel very lightly already).
Thanks a lot to the GNOME Foundation for making this possible for me. I also think that it helped to foster Free Software and GNOME in Hong Kong, China and Asia.
This years FOSDEM involved meeting familiar and new people as well as a lot of beer I can’t understand why the Belgians are so proud of their beer though :> Anyway, I got way too less sleep and spent too much money…
I wished I connected to more new people but I was terribly busy catching up with all the faces that I haven’t seen in a while. Hopefully, I can meet more new people next time.
Although I was scheduled as the very first in the morning after the official Beer-Event (thx teuf…) my talk in the GNOME devroom went well and I hope I represented GNOMEs Bugsquad well. At least two people wanted to help out I hope I was inviting and clear enough. I definitely need to try to hold the people by at least writing to bugsquad-list. I hope I come around doing that, but I also have a huge backlog that wants to be processed. On the todo list is a new bugsquad as well as a membership-committee meeting, so if you are interested, watch out for mails
If you happen to have seen my talk at FOSDEM and want to look over the slides, please find them here. If you have been there and want to join the bugsquad fun: Awesome! Join the mailinglist now and wait for the next meeting to be organized. Don’t hesitate to push for it
If you haven’t been there but you want to help the Free Software movement or GNOME in particular: Awesome! Consider subscribing the mailinglist or join the IRC Channel and make sure that you’ve read our awesome TriageGuide
Talks that I have enjoyed at FOSDEM include Maemo6 Platform Security by Elena because Nokia is about to build yet another security for Linux to meet their needs. Apparently the new Maemo devices will come with a TPM to allow DRM like scenarios. But also encrypting data on the device will be possible using an API which in turn uses the built-in keys. These turn out to be recoverable nowadays. If I read this correctly, then the “Open Mode” will not make use of the TPM keys. This means that if your contacts, images, texts, etc…, were encrypted using the above mentioned API, then you couldn’t get hold of this data in Open Mode I thus reckon that stuff like Contacts will not be stored encrypted. Hence you would leak all your data when losing the device. So I don’t expect a real advantage but we’ll see.
Another not very informative yet entertaining talk was done by Greg Kroah-Hartman and dealt with creating a patch for Linux. It actually motivated me so that I put “fixing some random driver in staging” on my Todo-List
Note to self for the next FOSDEM: Book accommodation early. Very early! Also, Charleroi might not be worth it, because the Bus from Brussels to CLR is 13 Euro, return 21.
FOSS.in has finally finished and I really enjoyed being invited. It was a real pleasure having all these talented and energetic hackers around me. It’s definitely on my top-conferences list. You could feel a real hacking spirit and it’s really sad that it’s already over.
The closing ceremony featured TRDP, a really really good Indian band playing fancy music. I was told that they are pretty famous in India and that FOSS.in was lucky to have them there. Hence we were all nerds, a Twitter wall companied the band showing recent tweets concerning the event…
Besides the entertainment, the program itself was pretty good as well. I disliked the keynotes to some extend though. I felt that they were mostly not really relevant to FOSS because the content was obsolete (i.e. one guy basically showing how to do shellscripts) or otherwise out of scope (i.e. a free robot operating system).
I have to thank the organizers of FOSS.in for running that conference and inviting me. Also, I need to thank the GNOME Foundation for subsidizing my trip.
The Bugsquad Talk went pretty well, I’d say. Around 5 people were interested joining the Bugsquad and I hope that they’ll stay around Unfortunately, the GNOME project day took place on the last day, making it unattractive to start something new because you can’t ask anyone anymore the next days.
Also, compared to other organisations such as KDE or Fedora, GNOME was highly under-represented. KDE had sweaters to give away. Admittedly, they were not very well designed but hey, it’s sweaters after all! Also, they had very fancy leaflets shortly describing what KDE was, why they rule and how to contribute. Very well done.
Srini brought GNOME T-Shirts which was fine but somewhat boring. Seriously, I have gazillions of T-Shirts and think other people do so, too, as nearly every project or company gives away T-Shirts. So doing something new is a smart thing to do. I hope the GNOME marketing team will come up with something fresh and shiny (hoodies? shoes? underwear? “GNOME” Keys for the keyboard instead of Windows Keys?).
So Javier Jardon kicked that meeting off and we were having productive three hours, I guess. It was really good to see people caring about our bug database. The decisions we’ve made are visible in Andres Blog or on our Wiki page of course.
We’ll have a next meeting and right now, we are using a Doodle to determine the next time and date. Feel free to add something to the preliminary agenda and participate! I am sure we’ll have lots of stuff to discuss, especially due to our brand new bugzilla! We can now have a look at other folks like KDE and exchange hacks on our bugzilla!
Also, I am looking for ways making our processes easier: One thing is giving away bugzilla permissions so that a new Triager can start modifying bugs. We are supposed to track the people we are giving permissions to check that they don’t screw up, but it’s not that easy to track someone right now. Also, we can think about automatically giving away canedit permissions once we have given commit access to git. The argumentation is, that a committer might submit patches from bugzilla and thus needs to be able to close bugs. We’d need to talk to the Sysadmins in order to implement that…
I’m thinking about using a Gobby session while having the meeting just that everybody, including people joining the meeting lately, can see what the current topic is. Another reason is that we you can order or prepare for the next topics if you are a bit bored. Also, we might have an easier protocol at the end, because if everybody writes everything directly in that gobby session, the log will be ready once the meeting is over. I’ll make up my mind and come up with something at the meeting.
Also I think, not using #bugs, but rather #bugs-meet for the meeting is a good idea because you can see who’s actively participating. Moderating the session without knowing who’s actively interested in the debate is not that easy, because you either wait for people who are either offline or have just left or you don’t ask people willing to participate. These are not really big issues but moving to another channel is also not a big deal.
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…