Re: GNOME and KDE to Co-locate Flagship Conferences on Gran Canaria in 2009


Replying to 2 mails in one.

john palmieri wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 15, 2008 at 7:42 PM, Jonathan Blandford <jrb redhat com
> <mailto:jrb redhat com>> wrote:
>     On Tue, 2008-07-15 at 14:10 +0200, Dave Neary wrote:
>     > I've been pushing the board to do the following:
>     >
>     > Shared:
>     > * sponsorship
>     > * registration & accommodation recommendations
>     > * local team
>     > * organising resource & infrastructure costs
>     > * Some social events
>     >
>     > Co-ordinated/negotiated/agreed:
>     > * Travel budgets
>     > * Target surplus and its distribution
>     > * Programme for shared sessions
>     >
>     > Separate:
>     > * GUADEC and Akademy programs/BOFs/meetings
>     > * At least one social event
>     > * Decision on sponsored attendees
>     This doesn't sound like colocation, and sounds very much like the one
>     conference that has two tracks.  Colocation means (to me) that we are in
>     the same city at the same time, and have the possibility for a couple
>     events.  I would rather see registration, and  some of the resource
>     costs per-conference, and especially sponsorship be per-conference.

Having both conferences in one place allows a number of economies - one
organising team rather than two locally, companies who get hit up twice
a year currently will only get hit up once (such as Canonical, Nokia,
Novell, Google - not counting those who got asked and said no to one or
both conferences), which gives us a greater clarity in our messaging
around "supporting the free software desktop". It allows us to take
group rates at cheap hotels or hostels, and be reasonably secure in the
knowledge that the rate will be fully subscribed.

For registration & web, I imagine it makes sense to have one central
site with 2 child sites for Akademy & GUADEC (note: Akademy changed
capitalisation this year), the common site will register everyone with
people choosing an affiliation (KDE, GNOME, Other) to allow for
evaluation of attendee numbers for things like travel budgets & surplus
distribution, and will contain the program for overlap/shared events.

Registration is important for a number of things - knowing how many
attendees to expect for allocation of resources, knowing what press are
coming, getting some money (assuming there will be a registration fee).

>     I must admit, I am pretty disappointed that the board did not really
>     discuss this prior to putting out the call for bids (or even accepting
>     any) and only now are we trying to figure out what we have agreed to.
>     As you said, the devil is in the details, but these are some really big
>     details!
> Jonathan, we did discuss these issues and it came down to being a
> co-located event or it wasn't going to fly with either board.

I'm prepared to wait & see what the board comes up with as a plan, but
please (and this goes for KDE eV too) don't come back with a fait
accompli, come back with a proposal for agreement that we can comment
on, and do a round trip to KDE eV based on feedback from the membership.

As I've said, I'm in favour of a shared local team, a shared conference
co-ordinator if we can afford one, some shared infrastructure, and one
central point for sponsorship, with the rest separate. To summarise,
have the thing be one event to the outside world (including sponsors),
and two events for attendees.

> It was heavily discussed at DAM in Austin.

At which there was no KDE eV board member present...

> We perhaps could have advertised it
> more but we almost didn't put out the joint call for bids because KDE
> objecting to details of just the press release alone.

To be fair, I feel I should share some details here...

KDE eV talked about this, as is their wont, on the members mailing list.
As happened when it came up here, there were many people vocally against
sharing the conference (and mostly for the same reasons of community
identity, "it's the one time in the year we get to see each other",
etc). The board came back & said "we have a mandate from our membership
to have a co-located conference, but our conference will be called
Akademy, and yours will be GUADEC". Which everyone agreed on.

When I proposed a press release & call for hosts that were pretty
unequivocal - "we're opening up a call to co-host GUADEC and Akademy",
their board objected to that, on the basis that it was only one of the
available possibilities - they didn't want to come across as
strong-arming their membership, and they wanted to leave the way open
for interested parties to propose hosting just Akademy.

Based on that, the proposal for the press release from KDE eV was along
the lines of "KDE eV is putting out a call for hosts for Akademy 2009.
<blah blah blah> Oh - and by the way, if anyone is interested in putting
in a proposal to co-host with GUADEC, we're interested in hearing about
that too".

My opinion was that putting out the call for hosts like this was setting
ourselves up to fail - both because it's an ambiguous message to
potential hosts (are joint bids preferred or tolerated?), to press (it's
a lukewarm announcement, at the very least) and to our communities.

So I suggested that we put out the call for hosts & press release that
we did - "GNOME & KDE want to co-locate their conference, we're opening
a call for bids to co-host. But if you don't feel you can handle
co-hosting, we'd like to hear from bids to hold only one or other of the
conferences too".

The whole discussion took 2 days of over & back in email, and while I
agree that my impression at the time was that negotiating with the KDE
eV membership would be extremely difficult, since the board doesn't
appear to have any decision making mandate over there, there wasn't a
huge amount of bad will there.

> All this talk about
> co-funding is pretty impossible and short sighted given the agreements
> we made with different parties.

Are you sure? I get the distinct impression that we want to share some
infrastructure here.

> Both boards will be looking closely at
> how this is organized and make sure it is pulled off as originally
> conceived.

Great! But please, as I asked earlier, come back with a proposal that we
can comment on & help revise & refine before you agree the final plan
with KDE eV.


Dave Neary
GNOME Foundation member
bolsh gnome org

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