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!


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.

Bangalore Hackfest – Day 2 & 3

Time to blog again about what I did during the past two days:  as planned,  I did the site visit at the Dayananda Sagar Educational Institutions and spent quite some time discussing conference details with the volunteer leads. The college already has a Tech Club and its members are very enthusiastic about starting a separate GNOME / Free Software entity right after the conference. I was also very impressed to see that all the 100 computers from the computer room were already installed with GNOME. So here is my summary of things for 29th March (2nd Day):

  • Site visit with some professors and room inspections for the upcoming five days activities
  • Briefed volunteers for exhibition arrangement, registration, performance for opening / closing ceremony, master of ceremony and photo / video taking, etc.
  • Finished all the marketing material artworks for GNOME.Asia Summit 2011

And the summary of what I have done on 30th March (3rd Day) is:

  • Finished the artwork of the two-page badge together with schedule
  • Prepared and set up the GNOME 3 HelpDesk
  • Gave some insights to Chandni (Participant of GNOME Outreach Program for Women) for her upcoming presentation
  • Discussed with Vincent and Allan about planning of the GNOME 3.0 release day, my tasks will be to contact all the GNOME 3 party organizers to localize and advertise the press release as well as announce the release on the GNOME.Asia website
From Mar 30 to April 1, we move to a library in Dayananda Sagar Educational Institutions
Bharath brought us to another delicious Indian vegetarian restaurant for lunch.

My plan for tomorrow will be to work on the GNOME 3 HelpDesk (both virtual and physical), contacting more press to join the conference and finishing all the outstanding items in the event checklist (we still have quite some work to do).

To be continued…

Bangalore Hackfest – Day 1

I am finally finding the time to blog about my first day working on GNOME in Bangalore. This is the first GNOME hackfest ever in Asia and the whole GNOME.Asia team is really happy to be part of one of the biggest GNOME hackfest. We have 16 hackers today (Monday 28th) and more will be arriving over the coming days. This is really making us wanting to continue on the “hackfest+summit concept” each year as we roam around Asia.

My workload today is totally focused on the GNOME.Asia team to finish all the GNOME.Asia Summit 2011 organization tasks and plan for upcoming years. I am however still hoping to find the time to work with Allan(s) and Andreas on marketing GNOME 3.0.

I also made the effort to take a few pictures to share and make people who couldn’t attend feel like they were here with us in Bangalore. We all think of you 😉

10 hackers made in on Mar 27, Srini brought us to a very delicious Indian Restaurant for lunch.
Mar 28, our first hackfest day, starting off with a planning session run by Vincent: everybody shared what had to be done and built work teams.
Names were written down and assigned to tasks: performance will be reviewed daily.
Our GNOME release and marketing team.
After half a year of weekly IRC meetings, the GNOME.Asia team finally gets to make a face to face.
Evaluation time at the end of day in Intel office!
Another delicious Indian restaurant recommended by Srini and Bharath 🙂

I actually finished everything I planned to do for the day and Tueday will be conference site preparation with Bharath, volunteers briefing and final  room/auditorium inspection for all the remaining activities (and they are a lot of them!).

The participating GNOME hackers have been really impressed with the enthusiasm around the GNOME project here in India, the amazing registration count we have achieved (over 1000!) and are all very excited to meet with those passionate people on the upcoming Saturday and Sunday.

To be continued…

GNOME People starting to arrive in Bangalore

Members of the GNOME release and marketing teams have started to arrive last night and will continue to land in Bangalore today and tomorrow. We have been welcome by a lovely weather which is a change for most of us living in colder countries at this time of the year. The local GNOME.Asia team has done a wonderful job in picking the place where we are all staying and we could say that the moral is really high! Indeed the week ahead is going to be busy for all of us working at the GNOME 3.0 hackfest and the warmth and sun from Bangalore can only give us more energy towards our goals.

As a side note the second training session has been filled in no time and unfortunately we are not able to provide more seats. Now considering the interest we strongly believe that the local GNOME User Group will have no other choice but to rock and provide monthly doses of GNOME technology to its community.