GNOME.Asia Summit 2008


Here is the report of GNOME.Asia Summit 2008 in Beijing. Might be a article candidate for GNOME journal.


GNOME.Asia Summit 2008 Report

The first ever GNOME.Asia Summit was held at the Beihang university, Beijing, China, from October 18th to 19th, 2008. The GNOME Foundation was the organizer of GNOME.Asia Summit in collaboration with Sun Microsystems, Beijing Linux User Group (BLUG) and China OSS Promotion Union (COPU). This premier event was very well attended:  318 people attended the first day, and 212 people attended the second day. The majority of the attendees (2/3) were from universities, the remainder from companies.  Ninety percent of the participants were local (from China)  with the remainder from other countries. We had 46 volunteers from Beijing Linux Users Group, Beijing OpenSolaris Users Group, OpenParty, Beihang university, Beiyou university and many individual contributors,  they helped us in many ways including registration, guidance, emcees, photography and video.

This year, there were total 42 speakers, 70% were local speakers and 30% of them were from other countries,  including USA, Finland and Singapore etc. There were 46 talks over the two days of the summit. The talks covered several topics, including: accessibility, mobility, i18n, community, development and deployment. Each day started with a general session in the morning and was followed by 5 tracks in the afternoon. For more details, refer to the schedule on the summit website: Most of the slides have been uploaded to the website, as well as speakers' bios and photos.

We had many sponsors for the first GNOME.Asia Summit. Sun Microsystems sponsored the summit at gold level. We had three silver sponsors: Nokia, Motorola and Mozilla. Red Hat sponsored the Summit at bronze level. We also had one local sponsor, Lemote, who sponsored the summit by providing three Lemote Laptops for the lucky-draw program. Google sponsored the summit by providing gifts to participants. Finally, CSDN and Programmer Magazine were media partners. We are grateful for the great support we received from all of our sponsors.

We had 7 booths at the venue: Sun, Motorola, Mozilla, Red Hat, CSDN & Programmer Magazine, Lemote, and the Beijing Linux Users Group. Each booth brought their own booth materials such as: laptops, PCs, lab equipment, gifts, posters and fliers. For example:

We invited 5 media reporters to the Summit, they interviewed important speakers and core contributors to the GNOME community. On the 18th, they interviewed Stormy Peters and Brian Cameron from the GNOME Foundation, Robert O'Dea and Paul Mei from Sun Microsystems, Kate Alhola and Richard Sun from Nokia Finland. On the 19th, CSDN and Programmer magazine interviewed Rafael Camargo from Motorola, Jack Guo from Mozilla Online, Kevin Song from COPU (China OSS Promotion Union), Frederic Muller and Pockey Lam from BLUG (Beijing Linux Users Group). They also interviewed three Chinese input method authors: James Su, Yong Sun and Peng Huang ,  and Funda Wang from GNOME Chinese translation team. Below are the media reports:

They are in Chinese. 08-10-21/110209130.html

Highlights of the Summit

One of the top three OSS conference in China
The GNOME.Asia Summit  ranked as one of the top 3 open source conferences in Beijing this year.  The others were: the Linux Developer Symposium in February and the OpenOffice organization annual conference in November. All the open source communities think it is time to go to Asia!

Keynote about GNOME Community
Stormy Peters' keynote "Community built software is bringing change to the world" kicked off the summit on the first morning.
[Download slides from ]
During this speech, Stormy introduced the GNOME project and its strong community. She said that the GNOME community has developed core values like accessibility, internationalization and developer-friendliness that are shared amongst all the volunteers that work on GNOME. Over time, the GNOME project has developed strong foundations like time-based releases, universal access, and good communication with companies in the industry as well as the community itself. Building on the community's values and foundations, the GNOME community is now enabling their technologies for the future with initiatives like GNOME Mobile.  Finally, she encouraged everyone to join the GNOME community.

Brian Cameron's keynote about "Building Free Software Asia" was also very interesting. At the start of his talk, Brian played a video, made by a contributor in the GNOME community, which demonstrated GNOME using animations and cool music.
Next, Brian introduced the concept of free software, open software, the GNOME community, how to get involved and be active with a free software project.

Accessibility was one the main topics in this Summit. So we were honored to have Will Walker, lead of the GNOME accessibility project, join this summit as well as other accessibility developers, QA engineers, and teachers from the Beijing School for the Blind. On the first day, Will Walker gave an overview of GNOME accessibility. [Download slides from

Later, Li Yuan introduced the accessibility infrastructure from a developer point of view. During a lightning talk, Ray Wang from Novell China introduced Mono accessibility & UI Automation. On the second day, Will Walker gave a second talk, this time about Orca. Later, Tim Miao and Harry Fu shared their experience with accessibility testing. We also invited two teachers from the Beijing School for the Blind. They were interested in the screen reader, Orca, and they attended Will Walker's talk. After the talk, they went to Sun's accessibility booth to watch a demo about accessibility and share their expectations and user experiences with Will Walker and other accessibility developers. There were many accessibility discussions covering topics such as automation testing tools in GNOME community. Further discussion are going on after the summit.

GNOME Mobile
GNOME technologies are used in many of the world's leading mobile phones. Nokia and Motorola, the leaders of the mobile industrial attended the first GNOME.Asia Summit. Nokia representatives from Finland participated in the summit by giving various technical talks which covered the Qt port to GTK+ on maemo, Tracker, GStreamer and memory management on mobile devices. Motorola's director Rafael Camargo talked about Motorola's commercial experience with Linux, how to improve the collaboration between open source communities and commercial enterprises. Finally, he announced that Motorola is joining the GNOME Foundation this year. Building on open source technologies enables them not only to get to market faster but also to offer cheaper and more open solutions.

Localization is very important to non-English speaking GNOME users. This was also one of the main topics of this Summit. We invited four authors of the input method sub-system. They were: James Su, lead of the SCIM community (; Peng Huang, author of scim-python ( and ibus (; Peng Wu, author of Novel Pinyin (; Yong Sun, maintainer of SunPinyin ( They co-hosted a technical talk about the input method frameworks and introduced IIIMF and SCIM. Funda Wang,  leader of i18n-zh team, talked about the overall localization infrastructure of the GNOME project, the GTP infrastructure (administrator, team leader, translator, tester), and how to contribute to the GNOME Translation project.

GNOME & Mozilla
Mozilla is a sister community to GNOME. It was great to have Mozilla at this Summit. Jack Guo from Mozilla Online talked about "Mozilla in China", and shared his experiences promoting Firefox in China. Mozilla Developers, Brian Lu and Alfred Peng from the OpenSolaris community, shared their experiences developing Firefox and Songbird on the OpenSolaris desktop.

Lightning Talks
At the summit we introduced a new talk style to China: Lightning talks.
A Lightning Talk is a short presentation given at a conference or similar forum. Unlike other presentations, lightning talks only last a few minutes and several will usually be delivered one after the other by different speakers.
At the GNOME.Asia Summit, we had lightning talks on the afternoon of the 18th. The lightning talks session was one hour, with each lightning talk being only 5 minutes, with no Q&A session. We used a gong as timer. Here's the list of lightning talks:
1. Richard Sun : Package management
2. Simon Zheng : New generation of GNOME Display Manager
3. Coly Li : Quick introduction to grub4ext4
4. Ray Wang: Mono accessibility & UI Automation
5. Anthony Fok : Attracting new GNOME contributors with Glade
6. Jon Philips :The Open Clip Art Library + China Lightning Talk
7. Funda Wang: Experience Empathy
This was one of the most entertaining parts of the Summit, see:

Live Summit
Check Live Summit from here:
Thanks to Alfred, Will and Joey's excellent work, we have successfully built the GNOME.Asia Live Summit.

Online Summit is a real time aggregation tool for Flickr/Youtube/Twitter.
To join in, you can use any of these services:
1. Flickr
   - Have an account on Flickr(
   - Upload your GNOME.Asia summit pictures and tag them with "gnomeasia"
2. Youtube
   - Have an account on Youtube(
   - Upload your GNOME.Asia summit videos and tag them with "gnomeasia"
3. Twitter
   - Have an account on Twitter(
   - Send message to the GNOME.Asia twitter by adding "@gnome_asia". For example, if you want to say hello, just send this message "@gnome_asia hello".

Party and Tour trip
We had a wonderful celebration party on the evening of the last day at the Laoshe Tea House. We invited organizers, sponsors, volunteers, speakers and media representatives. We had 120 people join this party. See:
On October 20th, the GNOME.Asia Summit arranged a one day tour trip for speakers to the Great Wall and Ming Tomb. See:

Future work after Summit
One of the major goals after the GNOME.Asia Summit is building the Beijing GNOME Users Group. There are already some GNOME communities in Beijing, including: GNOME-CN and the GNOME learning panel at Tsinghua University. It would be better if we could gather together everyone who is interested in GNOME and host a GNOME Users Group regularly in Beijing. So far, we have recruited about 10 core members of the Beijing GNOME Users Group, notably: Pockey Lam from BLUG, Zhangshen and Da long from Beihang university, Fengyi from Beiyou University and Yanghong from GNOME-CN. We will use the following infrastructure for the Beijing GNOME Users Group:
1. Website: (Need to add more modules into this website, like Wiki, BBS etc.)
2. Mailing List: gnome-cn-list gnome org
3. IRC: BeijingGUG
We plan to host regular weekly meetings starting in November, 2008.

Another big task after the Summit involves Pockey Lam from the Beijing LUG who is organizing a student study group on GNOME accessibility projects. Since accessibility generated a lot of interest in Beijing, this is a good to time to encourage more people to contribute with GNOME projects. The accessibility project is the first project for the student's study group. Some local engineers from Sun and Novell China will be mentors for the study group.

GNOME.Asia Summit was a success, we see a lot of things happening during and after the summit! Let's ride on the momentum and continue to build a strong community in Beijing, in China and in Asia!

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