Re: Survey: GUADEC and Akadamy co-location in 2011


john palmieri wrote:
> "Just do it" is the wrong attitude.  We "Just did it" last year and it
> was a mess.

A mess is a little harsh. Let's say it reminded me of earlier
conferences where some stuff fell through the cracks. We had
organisational issues and communication issues, and (as you point out)
integration issues (which were, as it happens, by design - the
organisers were explicitly told by both boards (from the KDE side, that
was a membership decision) that we were co-hosting two conferences, and
that both conferences wanted to have a certain intimacy during "their"
conference, with some overlapping sessions.

I think everyone who was there agrees that doing it this way wasn't
ideal. Some small improvements would already make things better - having
one schedule, with tracks labelled GNOME, KDE or XD, for example, would
be an improvement on last year where there was a GUADEC schedule, an
Akademy schedule, etc.

> Nokia used it as an event to pimp their decision to move from GTK to Qt

Not much we can/could do about that...

> there were some who wanted to take over decision making for the next years
> events before we even assessed the current year (Tempre was already a
> chosen location by some before we put out the call for hosts, which is
> on so many levels the wrong way to go about having a cohesive
> co-maintained event).

We were put in an impossible situation.

First, we usually open the call for hosts in February or March for the
year after - so that we can decide during the conference. But last year,
both boards wanted to wait & see how the conference went before committing.

Second, while KDE had a natural way to evaluate community will (their
well-attended AGM during Akademy) for this year, GNOME didn't. We
delegate that to the board usually, and the board didn't want to make a
decision of that magnitude without consulting the membership. Which
meant that the earliest any decision could be made & open a call for
hosts for this year was August (that means September with holidays).

Opening bids in September meant that the earliest a choice could be made
would be October, and at that stage you're already 2 months late on your
organisation timetable for getting a site, sponsors, etc. In reality,
GNOME announced the Hague at the end of November - making us more or
less 3 months late (but with an organising team who have been working on
this since September, and have done great work so far).

The Tampere bid manifested their interest in carrying their 09 bid over
for 10 - and the KDE board thought that was a good option. Given the
alternative timeframe (which we're currently experiencing), they said
"Good enough - let's co-host, choose Tampere, and do a proper call for
hosts next year". Given that Tampere was also one of the top 2 choices
of GNOME the year before, seems reasonable to me.

It's slightly unfair to say that Tampere was chosen before a call for
hosts was opened.

> To be fair there were some positives which is why
> I voted to do it next year but my support is contingent on us choosing a
> location which has GNOME members on the ground and the schedules
> becoming better aligned.

This year, Stormy & I actively encouraged the Dutch guys to put together
a bid. Vincent, Reinout et al came through with a good bid, but were
concerned (as we all would be) with the workload involved - and given
the timescale, I think some compromises are going to be made this year
between a budget for salaries of organising staff and the surplus that
the foundation gets back.

Until now, we have always opened the call for hosts and waited to see
who comes in with a bid. Perhaps the new model is to decide where we
want to go, and then find a group to organise?


Dave Neary
GNOME Foundation member
dneary gnome org

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