Re: GNOME Foundation Board Meeting Minutes :: 7/6/07


----- "Quim Gil" <qgil gnome org> wrote:
> About the KDE & GNOME event, probably the best way to progress is by
> doing progressive approaches. Jumping from the current situation to a
> joint conference sounds a bit like going from self-esteem to the 32nd
> position of the Kama Sutra in one go.
> As others have suggested, a successful combined room in FOSDEM would
> be already a big (and useful) step. Trying to put together GUADEC and
> aKademy befor trying smaller challenges in save contexts would be
> very
> risky.
> And combining both events is complicated only from the organizational
> point of view. The KDE and GNOME community don't meet in random
> places, or where the software/events industry decides to organize
> something. The organization of each event rlies on local communities.
> It is not that easy for each project to find brave teams and good
> venues every year (how many candidates for GUADEC 2008 have we got?).
> Now think about the challenge of searching for a place with GNOME &
> KDE critical mass

I would tend to agree with Quim here and perhaps go a bit further - I might not be in the best place mentally atm so feel free to ignore what follows;

I do think it's a good idea to pursue the possibility of a joining up GNOME, KDE, XFCE, X, Freedesktop, LSB (any others?) conference - there are so many reasons that it would make sense (as others in the thread have said). But the organisational challenge can't be ignored. IMHO GUADEC alone is already getting close to the limit of something that is entirely volunteer driven and I think just thinking of the direction of GUADEC (alone) is something that requires some discussion in the community.

Here's the thing that tricked off a mind shift for me: There were 1400 registered delegates for RailsConf - it's the cool kid on the block, there are more web devs the desktop devs, blah, blah. Given the growing interest in the desktop (in the widest meaning) it's not a stretch to imaging 1400 delegates for GUADEC alone in 5 years (nevermind combining forces with everything all in one place).

Given that;

* The Foundation see GUADEC as an income source - I don't mean this as a criticism, just that without GUADEC income there might be other initiatives and events that couldn't happen.

* We might hope / expect and 20% growth rate for GUADEC alone - much higher if it's a combined uber desktop conference

* It can be difficult coping with with all the competing forces just with in GNOME (again not meant as a criticism just a fact of life) let alone multiple projects.

* People aren't exactly falling over themselves to host and organise these things

* Since currently both are volunteer driven they rely heavily on the passion of the people who step up to get involved in the organisation. No offense to KDE but the idea of hosting aKademy doesn't get me fired up at all, whereas the idea of hosting GUADEC fills me with joy and excitement (or more precisely the bits that bring joy and excitement far outweigh the bits that don't). 

It would seem to me that these things need to be considered;

* Need to be at a fairly fixed time in the conference schedule (since GUADEC moves country every year we have to go with what ever organisers and venues can accommodate). 

* Possibly in the same place every year - this would have massive organisational overhead savings and benefits. As the numbers go up the possible venues in any region go down and the venue organisational complexities go up. O'Reilly events happen in a select few West Coast venues year on year for good reason - they get to reuse the knowledge and relationships again & again.

* The organisation of the conference is contracted to a company like O'Reilly - this contractually and financially easier to do just for GUADEC but a lot harder as a combined thing. Even if the uber event were to remain volunteer oraganised this would seem to me to be the biggest hurdle - how do you split the profit / risk over the various foundations

* need to switch the GNOME community focus and organisation to smaller Boston summit or barcamp type events that happen around the world (supported by profits from a bigger  conference).

I'm not saying these are things that have to happen or are the only way forward or either/or type propositions (or even that coherent) - just stuff off the top of my head to think about. Thinking about an uber conference would be valuable if for no other reason than it will force us all to think now about issues that GUADEC may face down the line anyway.

I was hoping to wait until after GUADEC to calm down and organise some these thoughts more coherently, but I thought that some of them, no matter how random, might be relevant to the debate.

> I wouldn't spend much time discussing about mixing/approaching GUADEC
> & aKademy. Steps towards combined sessions and programs in the main
> free (and also non-free) software events is probably more fruitful.

While I don't want to add any stop energy to those persuing the joint conference idea - just thinking about doing joint sessions, programs, or even booths at OSCON, FOSDEM, SCALE, Ohio Fest, LCA, CHI, etc would seem enough of a challenge. And again since they rely on volunteer energy combining forces might be rational but might not be the best way to go.

Regards, Paul

Paul Cooper                    |  Tel: 0121 634 1620
Assistant Director             |  Fax: 0121 634 1630
OpenAdvantage                  |

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