GUADEC 2016 — Day 2

A dinner tradition in our house is to share three great things from our day.  Being at GUADEC is making it hard to remember to do this, so I thought I would list them here.

Jonathan’s talk

Jonathan presenting on asynchronous internet
Jonathan attempting to come up with a name for spotty/asynchronous/fluctuating internet

Not surprisingly, the kids loved Jonathan’s talk the most. It was a fascinating look into asynchronous internet and how much of the world do not live in areas with the infrastructure necessary to have a constant and fast internet connection.

Annual General Meeting

Board of Directors: Jim Hall (missing), Shaun McCance, Allan Day, Alexandre Franke, Cosimo Cecchi, Nuritzi Sanchez, and Meg Ford
The new GNOME Foundation Board of Directors

The Board met for lunch to make sure we were all on the same page with regards to how the AGM would go. The kässespaetzle was just a bonus.

I love the AGM. It’s always great to see the presentations showing off how much has been done in the past year. The official presentation of the new Board of Directors and their offices lets the general membership the ability to match faces to the names they see and humanizes them.

At the end of the question and answer section, the Board proudly presented the annual Thank You Pants to Alex Larsson. (For those following along, purchasing these pants was my super secret mission from Day 1.) Although only the Board knew who the recipient was ahead of time, it was obvious through the prolonged standing ovation that the general membership approved of the choice.

Women’s Dinner

The annual GNOME Women’s Dinner took place tonight and was planned by Marina and Moira Schuler.  Much thanks to both of them! There were twelve women plus one youngster at dinner and we enjoyed wonderful food and conversation. It is always such an encouraging and supportive atmosphere. My daughter basked in it and came out of the evening convinced she can give a lightning talk herself. As her mom, I find this terrifying and yet am so proud of her for wanting to put herself out there. Maybe my referring to her as part of the far future yesterday was a bit premature!


GUADEC 2016 – Day 1

After spending Day -1 and Day 0 with the GNOME Board of Directors for the annual in-person meetings, GUADEC proper officially began today. With much excitement in the air, people were lined up out the door for registration.

Remembering the past

Shaun Opening up the 2016 GUADEC conference
“Goooood morning, GUADEC!” -Shaun McCance

For us who have been around for a bit, it is always nice to be reminded of prior GUADECs. Shaun McCance evoked happy memories with his cheerful good morning to open up the conference. Bradley Kuhn’s keynote referred to past GUADECs he has attended. Coming up on GNOME’s 19th birthday, it is good to remember how we got here.

Celebrating the now

From the first talk (Alex Larsson’s talk on Flatpak), the first day of GUADEC moved at a quick clip. There were great technical talks that gave us insight into the goings on of multiple projects. However, I did end up missing some of the afternoon talks as I went out on a secret mission to acquire a specific garment for the AGM on Day 2.

Heading towards the future

GNOME 2016 interns
Our interns and mentors right after the lightning talks.

The intern lightning talks are one of my favorite parts of GUADEC. It was exciting to see what they have been working on and welcome them into the community.

Carlos Soriano and Bastian Ilso gave a wonderful talk on the GNOME Newcomers initiative and gave ideas on how we can improve our ability to retain their interest. It is so wonderful that we as a community embrace our newcomers!

…and even further in the future

We knew this would be the case before we even arrived. The GUADEC wiki contains a wonderful page full of ideas for what might interest kids in the city. When we arrived at the venue, we saw the corner of the foyer area stocked full of colorful toys and colored pencils to occupy the children. The picnic along with the games were fun for all and it was a great way to introduce the next generation to how awesome our community can be.

What do you do when a new GNOME Release hits?

Celebrate, of course!

Whether you are a developer, a user, a fan, or just a curious on-looker, a new GNOME release is something to celebrate. It is a great reason to get together with fellow members of the GNOME community and do something social.

Join a celebration

Is there already a release party in your area? If there is, please feel free to join!  Our celebrations are open to all GNOME enthusiasts.

But what if there isn’t one yet planned near enough for you to attend?  Obviously, what you need to do is…

Plan a GNOME release party!

A release party can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be.  Anything from getting a group together for celebratory drinks to a big shebang with decorations, food, and swag can and have been done. And since you’re the one getting the ball rolling, you get to decide how big you want to go!

Quick steps to having your own party

  • Have a ballpark figure of how many guests — While release parties tend to be open to whoever is local and wants to attend, you can take a quick stock of who may be around.  You can always send a quick note on social media or local email lists to see who is interested.
  • Have swag — If you have time and inclination, having GNOME stickers or other swag to give out is always popular. One sticker template is available if you want to print your own.  Other designs do exist; if anyone has a link, please add it to the comments.  In the future, the Engagement team may have extra stickers on hand for such situations.  Other swag possibilities include posters, buttons, stamps, postcards,… You are only limited by your imagination
  • …and provisions — No party is complete without food.  It can be something you provide, a potluck, or even just access to a place where guests can purchase food. If you need funds to provide provisions or to create swag, you may consider requesting funds from the Foundation.
  • Select a time and location — Knowing what kind of party you are planning should help you decide on a location.  Is there a local small coffee house that would let you host your event if people plan on purchasing all food and drink there?  Or if it is a smaller group, maybe a local bar.  For a large group, consider a local park or a room in the local community center.
  • Announce your bash — Let others know about your event by announcing it to the local user groups or posting on social media.  Have fellow enthusiasts help spread the word.
  • Keep in touch — Make sure to keep in touch with all the attendees.  They are GNOME enthusiasts too!  If you get their contact information, you can make sure they are invited to the next release party!
  • Take lots of pictures — Everyone loves to see what fun release parties can be.  Make sure you take some of the local GNOME enthusiasts having fun and send them our way and use a permissive license so that we can share your fun!
  • Pat yourself on the back — Thank you!  You are helping cultivate the feeling of community that the GNOME project relies on.  Cheers!

Ways to help the Board help you

The cake is a lie.

If you have read my previous post, you may have realized you need to ask the Board of Directors for help.  The next step is to send them a proposal via email for them to consider it.

Like many of us, the Directors receive more than their fair share of email. In order for your request to be considered, the Directors have to be able to quickly and easily understand what it is you want, why you are requesting it, and how it would benefit the GNOME Foundation. Below are some thoughts on how to increase the likelihood your request will be considered promptly.

Don’t bury the lead

Start your email with a quick and simple summary of what you want and why. Include a deadline for when you need a reply. For example:

I would like to request $50 for tea and snacks for a meeting of the GNOME reading club.  I need a reply by December 1 as to whether the Board will approve my request.

By putting this at the top, the Board Directors know right away what you want. If your request is further down in the email, the Directors may not realize there was an actionable item buried inside.

Having a deadline is very helpful as well. It gives the Board of Directors a time frame. Without it, the item may well slip through the cracks as the busy Directors will prioritize dealing with items that seem to be under more time pressure.

Explain who and what

Next you need to let the board know your bona fides.  If you are a GNOME Foundation member, tell them so. Knowing you are a member lets the Board know of your commitment to GNOME.  It is also important to explain why you are the one making the request and details of what exactly you want.  Continuing from my request above:

Having been a Foundation member for many years, I have noticed there being a lack of reviews from within our community for GNOME technical manuals.  I have discussed this with some members in the community and five of us (all members) plan on reading and then getting together to discuss and review these works.  I am requesting the $50 in order to serve tea and cakes during the break in the discussions.

If you have more supporting materials and explanations, please do add it here. The Board does want to have enough information to make an informed decision.

If you are asking for money

The GNOME Foundation does not have unlimited resources. As a non-profit, the Board of Directors works hard to ensure that the funds are spent wisely and towards our mission. Sometimes their budget cannot cover the amount of your request. Other times, you or your endeavor might be untested in which case the Board may not want to risk a large amount. If you give a detailed list of how you plan on spending the money in the order you would spend it, you are more likely to be able to get an amount you can work with. To continue our example:

List of how I would spend the $50 in order of priority
Tea          $10
Sandwiches   $25
Cakes        $15
Total        $50

If the Board can only approve $10, we will have a shorter event.

As a general rule, if the Board approves your budget, you will need to wait until after the event and submit receipts for reimbursement up to the approved amount. If, for financial reasons, you need the funds in advance, please put it up front in your request as that may affect the Board’s decision. Note that even if you do get approval to receive the funds early, you still need to submit all receipts to the Board as soon as possible after the event.

Be available for questions

The Board may have some questions for you that you may not have thought to cover in your email. Let them know how and when they can reach you quickly if need be. This is especially important if your deadline is near:

If the Board has any questions about this proposal, you can find me on IRC or by email this week.  Unfortunately, I will be unavailable next Monday through Thursday due to a prior commitment.

Make sure the subject heading is descriptive

Before you send in your request, please put a descriptive subject for the email. Oftentimes, Board members attempt to pull up email requests quickly during the discussion. If you use a generic subject, your email will be very hard to find. This may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes it just gets forgotten.

subject: requesting $50 for refreshments for reading club meeting

Once you have sent in your request, be patient.  The Board does meet regularly but often has a lot of business to attend to.  It is okay to ask after a couple of days to make sure the Board has received your request.  But after you receive confirmation that they are considering the matter, give them time to decide.

Good luck with your requests!


Could I possibly ask the Board for help?

The GNOME Foundation exists to further the mission of the GNOME project.  The Board of Directors are elected by the Membership to carry out the necessary tasks.  I have had the opportunity to work with more than a few GNOME Boards, and while each year is different, there are many traits the Board Directors have in common.  The Directors are:

  • passionate about GNOME
  • happy to help
  • volunteers

Amongst the things they are not include:

  • omnipotent
  • infallible
  • mind readers

The Directors really want to help the GNOME Foundation members in their efforts to improve GNOME.  It is, after all, a big part of why they volunteer their time on the Board.  If you have an idea of something you can do to improve GNOME but could use some help, please contact them!  They may sit behind the imposing-sounding email address, but they are very approachable.

GNOME Foundation Board of Directors at GUADEC Gothenberg
Every one of them are eager to help!

Previously approved requests have included money for release parties, marketing materials, or hackfests; letters of recommendation or other paperwork; and help finding the right person to help with your problem.  If you have an issue that the Board can help with, please let them know.  They can’t help you if they don’t know about it!

Do you shop on-line via Amazon?


If you are like me, then you find the convenience of shopping at to be so very tempting.  With such full schedules, ordering something online and having it arrive a few days later means I will probably get the items sooner than if I had to find time in my day to go to the store.

When I shop at Amazon, they donate a small portion of the total amount to the charity of my choice, assuming the charity has registered with them to do so.  As part of my job at the GNOME Foundation is to make sure such paperwork is done correctly, I made sure as soon as I could that we are correctly registered in their system.  Now whether I need to buy birthday gift, light bulbs, or even a book, I know the GNOME Foundation will receive a donation as well.

If you are making purchases via Amazon, please consider setting up your account to donate to the GNOME Foundation too.  The AmazonSmile store does not cost any more than the standard Amazon store.  Just click this link and it will allow you to  Shop at AmazonSmile and support GNOME.

Once you’re signed in and have selected the GNOME Foundation as your preferred charity, all you have to do next time you want to shop at Amazon is to start at  Easy peasy!  With the holiday season coming up, I know I will be making quite a few purchases.  Shopping for gifts via AmazonSmile is like giving two gifts for the price of one.

School is back in session!

Today is the end of the first week of school for my kids.  Schedules are being slowly pieced together and we may have what passes as normalcy any day now.

I am so grateful that the GNOME Foundation allows me to have a flexible schedule so that I can work around parenting needs. This flexibility came in very handy these last couple of weeks when camp was mostly over and school had not  yet begun.  It was especially daunting as my husband was out of town and I was still jet-lagged from GUADEC myself.  Amazingly enough (at least to me), we more than just survived; the kids, the house, our routines — all has improved during this period.

Granted, this achievement is not as great as it sounds.  We did start off on a pretty rocky footing.  Between medical perturbations, the aforementioned jet-lag, and the mess created when everyone returns home, we started at a pretty low point.

Thankfully the kids are now old enough I can talk to them like adults.  Okay, I have always talked to them like adults, but now they respond in kind.  I gave them the “stand together or fall apart” speech.  I reminded them we were all members of a family.  Most importantly I told them that mommy is not infallible and gave them the power to tell me when I am forgetting something important.

Delegating power is a very good motivator.  I learned this lesson by watching the GNOME Board empower groups of interested people into more active members of our community.  It allows everyone to be more productive and more things get done.  Putting this lesson in my own home made everyone happier and everyone has clean laundry!