Selling GUADEC


following the discussion on the foundation list about changing the name
of GUADEC, I presented my point of view to Luis and Dave. Luis suggested
to let others read it as well. So, here it is but blame me for doing 
so. :-)

>From the name changing discussion, I got the feeling the problem is not
the GUADEC brand but selling GUADEC (by eventually changing the

A conference is similar to a journal or newspaper; thus I would
like to point you to the 'news values' listed here:

I believe if you look at the GUADEC survey results with news values in
mind, it'll indicate what topics make GUADEC successful. For example,
the Shuttlework Keynote was considered interesting by a lot of people.
But why? He's got nothing to do with GNOME directly!

But he and his talk has 'Impact' (lots of GNOME'ers are affected by his
decisions) and 'Prominance' (He's a well-known person).

This may also explain why the business/government day isn't
successful: There's no value for government people unless they already
consider GNOME to be a choice, and hackers aren't interested in
government affairs either.

One thing that could make a difference to government people is, for
example, training costs. Unfortunatly, none of our UI designers managed
yet to present a study that all the interface spit'n'polish indeed
reduces training costs or improves training effectiveness.

Another thing is applications: GNOME has no special applications for
governments (yet), and just a few for businesses (except some of the
Office must-have ones). And hackers are probably not interested to learn
from government people what applications are needed because noone will
hack them anyway.

Another thing I already pointed out on the marketing list after the last
GUADEC was its missing final press release; indicating a lack of results
at GUADEC. Readers then learn that GUADEC has no 'Impact'. (And most of
you probably noted that KDE made such a final press release this year.)

If you think about GUADEC from this point of view ('What would be
interesting to have in a final press release?'), you'll get a list of
potentially interesting topics, for example:

 * Product or project announcements (new applications or projects like
   Ridley; this is basically the Apple kind of way to promote their
   conferences. And it spreads the news much faster than a blog entry.)
 * 'Status reports' such as "The status of Project Ridley", "Memory
   reduction", "Artwork (Multimedia, Science, etc.) with GNOME"
 * Any decisions that have impact for GNOME.

Additionally, the 2.12 release fixed so many core issues that I believe
lots of people are very happy about GNOME as it is. What's missing is a
broader adoption of GNOME'ishness by third party F/OSS applications. 

I might be wrong but my feeling is that GNOME developers somehow expect
others to pick it up but aren't able or willing to get it started.

Now, the advantage of a conference compared to an journal or newspaper
is direct interaction. Are there any programming trainings at GUADEC
with a tutor or mentor who'd be able to help? I can't remember about it,
so probably not or not advertised properly.

I noted there will be *very* interesting workshops the weekend
before but I don't speak spanish or catalan, and I have no time to
visit spain for a whole week or two weekends.

There's so much even hobby programmers like me could do: Fixing minor
HIG violations in GTK applications is rather easy, for example, so
here's another hot topic for a workshop.

There are also quite a few top-rated 'old-style' GTK applications under Also, Jordi Mallach once posted about all the GTK1
applications in Debian in his blog. Once well known applications like
GNUCash die slowly because the switch is complicated.

Imaging we could get people to work on their GNOME'ishness and sent
patches from GUADEC to their developers; they'll note it and (hopefully)
learn: GUADEC has 'Impact'. This is a good reason to join GUADEC next
year. You may call it "GNOME Love Live". ;-)

Davyd Madeley is good at spotting such topics; he already announced an
article about Cairo programming for the next GJ edition. Now, that's a
hot topic! Java on the other hand is not, and it shows in the GUADEC

Sorry for making this soo long, and the cross-posting. Hope it was at
least 'inspirational'. :-)


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