GNOME.Asia Summit 2011, our biggest event ever!


After Beijing, Ho-Chi-Minh City and Taipei, the forth GNOME.Asia Summit took place in Bangalore, India on April 2nd and 3rd 2011. Organized right before GNOME 3.0 release the feedback has been overwhelming with many people telling us it was the best Free and Open Source Software conference ever in India! Having chosen a theme to echo the changes GNOME is going through “The next generation free desktop: GNOME 3.0” we were able to deliver over 40 presentations and lightning talks from 30 speakers coming as far as Canada, USA, France, Germany, Belgium,  Sweden. Of course Asian countries such as China, Taiwan, the Philippines and India were well represented too. In short the whole world came to speak about GNOME at the GNOME.Asia Summit 2011 in Bangalore and apparently really enjoyed it!

On the attendance side out of the 1,400 online registrations a thousand participants actually showed up at the conference (very consistent ratio over the years when registration is free) with a split of 80% students and 20% professionals. Of course this wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our 15 sponsors and partners (yeah!), the 30 volunteers who helped us on site and the 6 exhibitors who took the time to bring valuable activities and discussions during our breaks. A special thank you also goes to the journalists who made it to the conference and helped to cover the event.

In terms of successes it was the first time we had over 90% GNOME related talks, which is a 20% improvement over our “previous record” in Beijing 4 years ago!  We can already feel the good things coming out of this event such as several GNOME User Groups in the making all over India (Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, etc) as of now busy with website building and members recruitment, or GNOME.Asia new popularity generating a lot requests from various Asian communities to host the next summit.

Another major achievement of the GNOME.Asia Summit 2011 was the diversity and range of activities offered together with the summit. On top of the conference,  we also hosted :

A huge thank you goes to the GNOME release, marketing & GNOME.Asia teams, our speakers, our trainers, our volunteers and our participants as well as our sponsors and partners Google, Oracle, Mozilla, Novell, Lemote, Lanedo, EDF, Candis Group, JoomlArt!, Dayananda Sagar Institutions, Intel, Airtel, Convergent, Linux Format, Linux Pilot, and The Hindu. We also would like to specially thank Bharath who worked around the clock and allowed us to put things together in Bangalore. We couldn’t have made such a wonderful event without all of you!

And now you can enjoy those great moments that made the whole event unforgettable! For those of you living in Asia it is time to subscribe to the GNOME.AsiaGNOME Bangalore or GNOME India mailing list if you have done so yet, and for everybody else time to try out GNOME 3 and visit a launch party in your area. Last but not least, see you all next year!


GNOME 3 rocks!

Following the release of GNOME 3.0, the world has been celebrating GNOME 3 here and there starting from April 6th: 141 registered GNOME 3 release parties spreading over 47 countries according to this wiki page. Being on the GNOME.Asia committee for 4 years already, I am happy to see that 43% (61 parties) of the release parties are from Asia (in 15 countries), India actually organizing the most (20% i.e. 29 parties in total), followed by Greater China (9% i.e. 12 parties in total). That makes me feel that all those efforts and time spent on GNOME.Asia are starting to bear fruit.

In Europe, we have 41 parties (almost 30%) coming from 21 countries, Germany leading the pack with 8 parties, followed closely by Spain and France (6 parties respectively).

The Americas have 36 parties (25%) coming from 8 countries with Mexico hosting almost half (16 parties i.e. 11%). And finally we also have 3 parties in Africa. While this is not a lot for such a big continent it is definitely a start for GNOME and we should try hard to keep those people motivated and participating in the project.

In Greater China, it’s worth mentioning that organizers from Taipei, Kaohsiung, Beijing and Hong Kong coordinated their events to provide live video between each others. It is a good sign for the community to see collaboration among different cities or countries and maybe something we could extend on different aspect of GNOME.

Another challenge among us now is to transform those celebrations into deep involvement in the project. GNOME has a lot to offer, and that was very obvious when we discussed with the college hosting GNOME.Asia 2011, however the road to participation is not always clear to everyone. I wonder what could be the most effective way to achieve this goal and would be happy to hear how people started to get involved at first (maybe something to learn there?).

It is now time to promote GNOME 3 by blogging about your parties! Don’t forget to tag your blog posts,  microblogging messages and photos with #gnome3parties, and link them to the GNOME wiki page. You can also join the best photo competition by simply adding your photo link here.


Bangalore Hackfest – Day 4 & 5

While we had all those GNOME people around we took the opportunity to set up some extra sessions for the “public” to benefit of the event. March 31st and April 1st saw 4 extra sessions organized with specific objectives separate from the GNOME 3.0 release: student training sessions over 2 days, one full day for a business sessions and a distribution collaboration meeting while we had some of the right people on site.

The student training was very popular, all the tickets sold out within a day and the trainers nicely extended the session by doing an extra day in order to accept more students.  In total over 250 students were trained and introduced to the Google Summer of Code program. We received a lot of positive feedback and it was nice to see that participants are all very passionate about joining the GNOME community. As usual, we collected email addresses and will make sure they can join the local GNOME User Group later! For those who may not know I will talk about Building a GNOME User Group on Sunday (hopefully my voice will return – maybe too much GNOME people baby sitting?). It is probably a good idea to come and discuss if you are interested to learn some of the tricks to establish or grow your own community.

April 1st (yesterday) was the last day before the conference, so I spent most of my time with the volunteer team to make sure everything was ready for The Day including the three tracks, the exhibition hall and a few other details.

Being part of this hackfest really made me happy and I wouldn’t have thought being around all these GNOME hackers could be such an enjoyable experience! I was also very impressed by how productive each respective team – release, marketing and GNOME.Asia – has been on its own and in their collaboration with one another. Everyone has been working really hard to ensure the success of GNOME 3.0 and of the GNOME.Asia Summit. The hard work of the past 8 months for some, and more for others, was definitely worth it! Please stay tuned as I will continue to cover the two conference days on this blog.

Lionel sharing his experience of GSoC after a hand-on session given by Akhil about bug squading.
Josselin giving a speech about science computing with Free Software.
Distribution collaboration meet up in progress.