Re: Free Desktop Communities come together at the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit

On Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 4:43 AM, john
palmieri<john j5 palmieri gmail com> wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 12, 2009 at 4:08 PM, Quim Gil <quimgil gmail com> wrote:
>> So I guess there is no way back.
>> Speaking clearly, I wonder what weight in people's opinions (in the
>> polls and the board meembers) had the Qt branding in badge, towel,
>> roll-up ad in the main entrance, etc. Many GNOME people said they
>> didn't felt 'at home' in such context. But that is something easy to
>> solve in future editions.
> For me that was a huge part of it (though I was not part of the final
> vote).  Some parts felt hijacked and need thought on how to avoid it in the
> future.  I still think there is value to co-locate but I personally felt
> some of the pitfalls I wanted to avoid, such as identity issues got
> steamrolled by those who had other agendas.

Thanks, this helps understanding.

The decision of putting Qt in the badge was made in little else than 2
lines of an email thread with the organizers, where GNOME, KDE and
local representatives were involved. At that time I couldn't care less
since sponsors logos in GUADEC badges hadn't ever been an issue. Can
you recall whether there were sponsors logos in the badges you wore in
previous GUADECs? I don't.

The only discussion had been about the logo(s) to be put there. Nokia
was deemed as too corporate. is actually the logo of the
Maemo (independent) community, as Maemo-the-platform has no logo
currently. Having all three was not even proposed by us because it
looked like willing to abuse with triple branding. This is why Qt was
left. That logo in the badge was actually the most visible difference
in the sponsors packs between cornerstone and Gold. Qt paid more than
half of the Nokia bill so it actually made sense in those days.

The problem was visible only when the conference had started and we
were getting our badges, and we were just as unhappy that the little
detail turned out to be an unforeseen problem.

Solutions: design a badge according to your identity needs (e.g. one
side GNOME and one side KDE, double paper people can fold to the side
they will...) and share the samples on PDF among the organizers and
sponsors with time to get feedback and make modifications. You can
also make more prominent the conference & projects branding, and less
prominent the sponsors branding since the average GUADEC / aKademy /
Summit sponsor is quite flexibke compared to the sponsored packs
detailed to the millimetre available in commercial fairs.

Then there was the towel, which I found a funny surprise myself. If
people has more problems of identity with a Qt beach towel than with a
Google plastic bottle, that's another thing. :)

Also people told me that they were expecting more Maemo iconography
present. Well, if I tell you that we sent 3 roll-ups that the
organization could only find few days after finishing the event, you
will see that we are even less happy about that. Actually I found that
gold and silver sponsors shouldn't have many reasons to be happy since
their roll-ups were quite spread and relatively not-visible here and

Solution: put all those banners and roll-ups in the entrance where the
"Qt developer" roll-up was and everybody happy. Again, the average
GUADEC/aKademy/Summit sponsor would be just as happy since we are all
used to be more in the mood of collaboration and co-presence than in
brand & product location battles. Have a floor plan where all the
locations of banners can be seen. have drafts of the banners shared in
advance so organizers and sponsors can get an idea and have a say.

Nothing that could not be fixed in a second Summit and nothing a
successful single GUADEC shouldn't do anyway.

All this makes me think: have the sponsors of the Summit and the GNOME
Foundation advisory board members been asked their opinions about
col-location vs single conferences? I don't know for companies like
Novell, Canonical or Google, but at least for Nokia it was easier to
put up a bigger sponsorship budget having one bigger desktop
conference in one go. Also why the Linux Foundation (Gold in GUADEC
2008) didn't come back in the Summit? Was this a consequence of the
co-location or would have happened anyway with the Global Crisis? And
Intel, and ARM...? Are there chances to get them back? And if so,
would a co-location help or not?

> If GNOME and KDE are going to
> have a more united front it needs to happen slowly in an organic manner, not
> abruptly with agendas.  Speaking for myself and not the board I felt there
> was an arrogance in some peoples thought that a co-located event was going
> to happen again next year even before this year's was over.   It made some
> of the important details, such as the badges, fall by the wayside.  I had
> specifically stated in the initial meetings that I felt badges went a long
> way to preserving the identity of each conference.

Arrogance? To me the convergence of free desktop events makes a lot of
sense... since the days I knew how hard is to get a conference up and
running back in 2006. It also makes sense to think that once the
hardest first step of confluence has been done, the next ones will
follow fixing, polishing and optimizing. Dunno, it's like the Europen
Union thing. First you blame Schengen and the euro, but once you go
there you keep the direction and at some point you'd hate to go back
to national borders and currencies. Keeping the analogy, if you think
a co-located Summit harms the local identities just make a
trans-European trip. Local identities are even stronger but actually
the boundaries are more relaxed and exchanges are much more productive
thanks to the new commonalities.

Agendas? Everybody has agendas. If the majority of agendas in the
GNOME project lead to a separate GUADEC 2010 that's fine. My only
concern (as a GNOME supporter, leaving aside my role at Nokia) is that
I'm not convinced that such separate GUADEC serves better the GNOME
agenda. Sounds like a deeply strategic move has been made based on
specific problems with the GCDS marketing, schedule and location. A
defensive step back instead of a visionary and leading step forward.

> I felt there was also the same steamrolling with next year's venues.  In
> some circles Tampere was already decided before the event was over and we
> haven't even made a call for proposals yet.  There was even a proposal that
> we not have a call for proposals and just decide on Tampere.  Now we may
> decide on Tampere but there numerous factors such as some wanting to have
> next years GUADEC near a major transportation hub that need to be
> considered.  So, making brash decisions like that felt like poorly disguised
> agenda pushing.

So how many teams are there interested in organizing an event next
year? Not that it's easy to find them. Vilanova 2006 and Istanbul 2008
had virtually no concurrence. Birmingham 2007 was challenged only by
one contender. Is the separate / co-located factor relevant for
potential organizers?

The Desktop Summit got 3 candidates, being the 'finalists' A Coruña
(by the creators of Guademy) and Tampere (first team ever willing to
run now for a second time?). I wonder how easy is to find  separate
organizers for GUADEC / aKademy as opposed to one brave host attracted
by the bigger attraction.

I only hope you don't mix the Tampere candidates with any Nokia
agenda, if this is what you are insinuating. These guys have plenty of
genuine energy which is not pushed by Nokia but by themselves. Then
again for Nokia and for me personally it doesn't really matter where
the conferences are held as long as they are successful.

> Speaking for myself, little details such as those and the fact that things
> like the schedule weren't fleshed out better made me think we needed to step
> back and approach such events from a better thought out position.  I didn't
> have a vote this time around but I think the board took the correct action
> here.  Again, I think there is value in the future of doing this again but
> only if we work out the changes needed.  I feel jumping right into another
> one would have perpetuated the issues instead of working to solving them.

I don't see what issues can't be solved in 10 months preparing a
second edition, as I don't see how having extra 12 months and separate
GUADEC / aKademy will help solving such problems.

But hey, let me tell something clear:

The GNOME project moves forward thanks to great guys with heavy
involvement such as the ones that made the tough decision. So even if
I personally disagree *thank you* anyway for the extra work and for
keeping the uncomfortable position. We have been discussing many times
about vision and leadership and the easiest for someone lacking them
would have been to just adhere to the limited majority in the surveys.
The goal of GUADEC 2010 is clear and now it's time to do the
consequent steps.

Quim Gil ///

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