Desktop Summit Planning

GNOME Foundation Members:

At two previous GNOME Foundation IRC meetings, there has been discussion
about how to approach the Desktop Summit[1] going forward.

At the October 26th IRC meeting, Jon McCann spoke about his concerns
about the Desktop Summit.[2]  At the November 23rd meeting, Dave Neary
(who was also very involved in making the past Desktop Summit happen),
highlighted that there are real benefits to sharing facilities and that
concerns can be fixed.[3]  Dave pointed out that it would be best if a
decision could be made sooner than later, since it is hard to start
putting together bids for 2014 if the scope of the event is not clear.

In support of having a Desktop Summit, the survey results taken at the
event did report that a strong majority of attendees felt the event
was a success and wanted it to continue at the 2-year interval.  At the
last GNOME Foundation Advisory board meeting, there was also strong
support with only one advisory board representative against.  The
approving advisory board representatives felt that combining GUADEC and
Akademy makes it easier for them to coordinate (e.g. sending people)
and they appreciate that a combined event eases their ability to
sponsor.  Also, the past two Desktop Summit events have been profitable.

The biggest complaints about the Desktop Summit seem to be:

1. It subtracts momentum from the GNOME brand and community.  With
   GNOME 3 to focus on, the community needs to more focus on making
   GNOME 3 a success, less on collaboration.

2. It is hard to measure what specific collaborative benefits are being
   made possible by the Desktop Summit.  It is hard to point to specific
   advances that have been accomplished.  Some have concerns that not a
   lot of collaboration is actually being done.

The GNOME Foundation board of directors has been discussing this topic
at length[4].  The board is divided with 3 directors believing that the
event needs to be organized significantly differently to continue, 3
directors believing that the survey results and advisory board
discussions indicate the will of the Foundation community, and 1
director undecided.[5]

In discussion, the following options have been suggested as ways to
improve the event.

1. To not have a large combined GNOME+KDE event, and to instead have
   a smaller Desktop Summit or focused hackfest(s) with a more clear
   agenda to work on specific and measurable collaborative tasks.
   GUADEC and Akademy would continue as separate events.

2. To arrange the Desktop Summit so that it is more of a co-located
   event.  The GNOME and KDE events are separate but overlap on
   certain days.  For example, GUADEC could happen first and continue
   for several days, then a few combined days of Desktop Summit
   followed by several days of Akademy.  This setup would likely be
   more complicated for bidding, since it would likely require a
   more dynamic space to accommodate the shifting needs.

3. The GNOME community has been having trouble finding volunteers to
   help make events successful lately.  Some people like Dave Neary,
   Lennart Poettering, and Ekaterina Gerasimova did a great job
   volunteering to make the last Desktop Summit a success.  However,
   the fact that there were too few volunteers engaged caused some real
   issues.  Many of the things GNOME folks have complained about the
   last Desktop Summit were caused more by a lack of GNOME volunteers
   helping than anything else.  For a Desktop Summit to be successful,
   we need to more clearly see that the GNOME community is more
   interested to engage and wanting to get involved.

The board would like for the Foundation membership to help discuss
and decide whether it makes sense to move forward with having a Desktop
Summit.  Although the Desktop Summit survey results indicated a strong
majority were supportive of the current format, we want to want to
understand what plans would engage GNOME Foundation members and
volunteers the most.  If we choose to have a Desktop Summit, we need to
consider how the event needs to evolve to be more effectively
collaborative and whether we think it should keep to the current 2-year

The board has some concerns that this topic may be controversial, or
generate flames.  So, please, before responding take a moment to
collect your thoughts and try to avoid rash responses.  Keep in mind
the GNOME Code of Conduct[6].





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