Meet the Guangzhou LUG

guangzhoulugWe happened to be in Guangzhou earlier this week and spent a wonderful evening with the core members of the local GNU/Linux user group in Guangzhou. They gave us an overview of their group history and progress: basically it is a two years old group with over 700 people subscribed to their mailing list and around 5 core members to manage the group activities. They host regular meetings on a monthly basis in different locations such as restaurants or classrooms. They also organized Software Freedom Day events the past two years and recorded over 100 participants in 2012. While we shared our experiences of how we ran and grew the Beijing GNU/Linux User group with them.

They also mentioned that half of their members are interested in “free” hardware highlighting the growing connection between two movements that we feel very linked. In fact we cannot ignore the fact that hardware needs software to operate and a bit of free culture to make those logos, the documentation and the potential courses that go together to bring it to more people. Each of the movements (software, hardware, culture, OER) should care equally about each others in order to exist as they need one another to thrive. I truly believe that bringing those concepts as one within our communities and to the world will create a bigger impact for everyone.

To conclude, Guangzhou LUG wants to grow in terms of attending members and meeting frequency so we offered to put them in touch with the Shantou Linux Association as they are planning for their upcoming activities right now, and sharing ideas can’t hurt. Besides, there are five universities in Guangzhou with computer science classes which are located in the same area and could become a very prosperous ground for cooperation and activities. That’s another lead right there!

In light of all those discussions and plans we will be hosting a round table discussion mid December on our next visit to Guangzhou. We hope that getting members from each university and setting up a plan together will create a more diverse group in the area with a more balanced workload for everyone.

I am always very happy to meet passionate people from different communities and can’t wait to meet them again soon!

SFD2013@ Shantou University

Group photos with the STU Linux Association members.
Group photo with the STU Linux Association members.

After organizing the SFD event in Hong Kong in PolyU, Fred and I were invited to join another SFD event hosted by the Linux Association from Shantou University (STU). We had the pleasure to meet an associate professor of the Computer Science Department, Mr. Liao who is actually a Free Software user himself. The three of us gave presentations about different topics related to software freedom: Fred began with introducing what is Free Software and why it is important, he gave an overview on how the audience could benefit from using and contributing to any Free Software project, including GSoC for next summer. Then I talked about who and what makes Free Software, I started with a quick history review of Free Software and followed by how the audience could get involved and contribute to the community (I reused the slides created by Mathieu for SFD Hong Kong 2013). Mr. Liao presented his experience with Free Software and GNU/Linux as well as introduced a lot of great Free Software projects to the audience.

The event ended up with local desserts and lots of great discussions about how to strengthen the Shantou Linux Association. We also agreed to follow up with core members meetings and mailing list in the following weeks. From what we learnt, they are having a meeting today to kick-start the discussion! By having a professor involved in the process, I believe it can definitely help to build awareness of Free Software in STU. We are definitely looking forward to our next meeting together and committed to help them grow stronger and bigger.

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…

JoomlArt & Candis, more regional sponsors

We are very happy to announce that two more regional companies have decided to support GNOME.Asia namely JoomlArt! from Vietnam, providing commercial templates for several free software CMS, and Candis Group from China, an IT solution service provider including hosting services in and out of China. Both companies have centered their business around using, contributing and making money with free software and we are very glad to be receiving their support for this forth edition of GNOME.Asia.

In fact Candis has been a supporter of Free Software communities as far as we can remember and hosting the famous Beijing GNU/Linux User Group since its inception. The decision to support GNOME.Asia was taken on the fact that we will be hosting the 2012 summit most likely in Hong Kong.

JoomlArt! actually provides their conference template for free to any interested Joomla! Day organizer , promotion which they have extended to GNOME.Asia. We have to say it’s been a great design which has enabled us to get the website up and running within a week. We were able to focus on our content rather than designing, css’ing and html’ing, which is not our main expertise. Hopefully the two companies will have the time to join next year event and for foreseeable future.

The cherry on the cake was when we received this email from Alvin Xue who set up our VPS at Candis:

“Dear Fred,

I didn’t notice that. If it’s for, I am very happy if I did sth for it.

Best Regards !”

What else can we ask for? 😉

Check out our brand new website now. We updated a few pages including the Business Sessions and Conference Program. Please help spread the word and see you soon in Bangalore!

Google, our Centurion Sponsor

We are very happy to announce that Google is supporting GNOME.Asia Summit one more time and has taken the Centurion level sponsorship. In fact since GNOME.Asia inception in 2008, we have had a few companies backing up the event and Google is one of them. We’re of course very pleased to have them as a sponsor again in 2011 and take it that we must be doing something good. Thank you Google!

As a side note, we would also like to kindly remind everybody especially  participants of the GNOME 3.0 Bangalore hackfest that we’d love to hear about what you’ve been working on during the conference so we can all be inspired and receive in-depth coverage of your field of expertise. The deadline of call for papers is tomorrow (Feb 18). If you haven’t added your talks yet, submit one today!