SFD preparation meeting@STU Linux Association

After moving to Southern China, we have been attempting to meet with local FOSS communities. Finally we got to visit the Shantou University (STU) and talk to the core members of Linux Association, one of the winners of  Software Freedom Day Innovative event award 2009 from sfdchina.org.

Since its establishment in 2005, STU Linux Association has been hosting regular meeting on a weekly basis (except holidays and exam period). They strive to introduce members of different FOSS applications and give technical lessons that their core members are familiar with. They even have members dedicating to help students with difficulty in installing Linux.

It was a great pleasure to meet with all of them due to their enthusiasm towards FOSS. Some of them have been the core members for 4 years, that’s usually not the case in other universities I’ve met. This year they are planning for a double capacity SFD event. Fred and I promised to support them with more goodies and be the SFD speakers. We are looking forward to celebrate SFD with Shantou University and wish everybody Happy Software Freedom Day!

A thousand people joined COSCUP / GNOME.Asia 2010!

COSCUP / GNOME.Asia Participants, a lot of them use GNOME Desktop!

After Beijing and Ho-Chi-Minh, the third GNOME.Asia Summit, co-organized with COSCUP,  was successfully hosted in Taipei (Taiwan) on August 14th and 15th, 2010. It was a great two-day conference with 69 presentations and speakers coming from all over the world like China, Taiwan, Philippines, Japan, India, USA, France, Spain, Germany… That does not include the BOFs and lightning talks which definitely helped to bring the whole conference to a new level. A total of 977 participants, 25 sponsors,  20 news outlets, 10 exhibitors (including communities) and a hundred volunteers supported the event. We also had webcasts which attracted over 700 viewers each day joining the event from their homes!

What amazed me the most was that 95% (from my observation) of the participants were actually using GNOME as their desktop and we even spotted a few local developers using GNOME 3.0. Besides, Taiwanese Free and Open Source Software communities seem to be flourishing and and the conference was a great opportunity to start discussing with several of them to establish a GNOME User Group in Taiwan. Their response has been fantastic and  right now a mailing list  (gnome-tw-list |at| gnome.org and http://mail.gnome.org/mailman/listinfo/gnome-tw-list) and a dedicated IRC channel (#gnome-tw @ Freenode) are already up and running! In fact there are existing GNOME interest groups inside those various communities, and the creation of a GUG will definitely help transform those “little islands of GNOME” into a stronger GNOME representation addressing Taiwanese users and developers needs as well as inviting new comers to the joys of GTK+. I am glad to be part of GNOME.Asia and witnessing more local GNOME communities being built and growing in Asia!

I have summarize the whole event into the following report in terms of sponsors, media, presentations and post event assessment, enjoy!

We had a total of 25 sponsors both international and local companies, split into four levels of contribution. Nokia was the platinum level sponsor, KKBOX, Open Source Software Foundry, Yahoo!, Pixnet, Google, Delta and Oracle were our gold level sponsors. GodGame, Industrial Development Bureau Minsitry of Economic Affairs, Oxlab, Open Invention Network, Canonical and ezPeer were our silver level sponsors. Tcloud Computing, Trend Micro, VeryWed, Via, 5VT, iServer, Linpus were our bronze level sponsors. While Mark Shuttleworth initially committed to attend the conference, he had a unfortunate last minute reschedule preventing him from presenting as well. It’s important to note that those kind of large scale Free and Open Source events can happen thanks to the commitments and support of the private sector.

20 reporters were invited to the Summit while three were chosen as media partners for their special coverage of the event. The media partners were Engadget, Components Times and Linux Pilot. Linux Pilot interviewed Brian Cameron from The GNOME Foundation and Pockey Lam from GNOME.Asia. Below is a list of some of the articles covering the event and available online (and in Chinese):

  • http://www.linuxpilot.com/industry/society/kiji/2010081404
  • http://www.linuxpilot.com/industry/society/kiji/20100815
  • http://ghostsinthelab.org/?p=2299
  • http://www.linuxpilot.com/industry/event/kiji/2010060201
  • http://www.openfoundry.org/index.php?option=com_content&Itemid=296&id=2382&lang=en&task=view
  • http://www.ubuntuhome.com/coscupgnome-asia-2010.html
  • http://www.ctimes.com.tw/News/ShowNews.asp?O=201006181033350044
  • http://www.digitalwall.com/scripts/displaypr.asp?UID=18790
  • http://wenews.nownews.com/news/18/news_18811.html

Highlights of the Summit
All seats were booked just an hour and a half after the online registration went up. In addition to the thousand participants who joined the conference, an online video and text broadcast was set up to accommodate for the high demand: more than 700 people actually logged in and were able to attend all the sessions from the comfort of their homes.

As a direct result of the summit the local Taiwanese and surrounding Asian countries communities are now more actively involved with their international counterparts. In Taiwan they are working with the GNOME.Asia Committee to build a Taiwan GNOME Users Group. It is important to note that there were existing GNOME interest groups inside some of those communities, but nothing coordinated. The creation of a local GUG is going to transform those a little islands of GNOME into a stronger GNOME representation addressing local users and developers needs as well as inviting new comers to the joys of GTK+.

In parallel the GNOME.Asia Committee spotted five more Asian members to join their effort and bring additional strength to the organization: Allan Caeg (Ph), Bharath Acharya (In), Utian Ayuba (Id), Akhil Laddha (In) and Chun Hung Huang (Tw). More details can be found at https://pockey.dao2.com/2010/09/gnome-asia-committee-2010/

GNOME Keynote
Brian Cameron (Director and Secretary for The GNOME Foundation and Advisor for the GNOME.Asia committee) gave a keynote speech and introduced the “Road to GNOME 3.0” to an audience outnumbered by GNOME users: “It was exciting to see so many free software lovers at GNOME.Asia in Taiwan. The many attendees seemed to really enjoy digging into the technical depths of the GNOME desktop which made things fun.” Slides can be downloaded at http://coscup.org/2010/slides/15_0_0945_Opening.pdf

Emily Chen and Frederic Muller (GNOME.Asia Committee members) during the opening and closing speech also covered a bit of the history of GNOME.Asia, its yearly summits and how people could get involved between each event.

A list of the various topics covered during the conference is right below. One should be able to access all the slides at http://coscup.org/2010/zh-tw/program .


  • Bugzilla, Bug squad and GNOME 3 by Akhil Laddha, Novell
  • GNOME Build Environment on Solaris by Dave Lin, Release Engineer, Sun
  • xPad – Building Simple Tablet OS with Gtk/WebKit by Penk, xpud.org
  • Building and Using a Memory Profiler by Holger Freyther, zecke
  • Introducing GStreamer, the Media Framework on GNU/Linux by Li Shi Yuan, FourDollars
  • Understanding Internals of WebKit/GTK by Holger Freyther, zecke
  • Hybrid Desktop/Web applications with WebKitGTK+ by Xan Lapez, Webkit maintainer
  • eekboard by Daiki Ueno, Red Hat i18n team
  • Exploring New Paradigms of Computing for GNOME by Allan Caeg, Philippine Open Source Network Inc.


  • Introduction of GNOME Accessibility and Suggestions on Improvement by Professor Ye
  • GNOME Accessibility Development and Testing by Miao Tao and Ke Wang, SUN China


  • How to integrate to the FOSS world with Chinese by Funda Wang, GNOME China localization team leader


  • GNOME in Education: a practical case study by Frederic Muller, Founder of Greenboard Open Education


The Foundation

  • Introduction of The GNOME Foundation by Brian Cameron, Director and Secretary of The GNOME Foundation

The Community

  • GNOME in Asia by Emily Chen, GNOME.Asia Committee Member
  • Hosting GNOME.Asia is FUN by Pockey Lam, GNOME.Asia Committee Member

Post-event Survey Results

A total of 188 surveys were filled by our visitors of the conference. Half of them are already Linux users and 86% of the Linux users use GNOME as their Desktops. According to the survey the conference has helped visitors to get a better understanding and perception of GNOME. Some of the collected feedbacks and results have been sampled below:

62% of the surveyed participants would like to join the Taiwan GNOME User Group meeting, which means that assuming all existing GNOME users would be interested, 20% non-GNOME users would be willing to join a GNOME user group meeting. Again 51% of the respondents left their email addresses to be contacted about the first local GUG meeting. Out of the people who are willing to join the meeting, 58% of them think the meeting should be hosted quarterly, 23% bi-monthly and 16% monthly respectively.

The following statistics specify in which area they think the GNOME Desktop should improve. You will note that only 23% have no opinion, meaning that we were able to collect feedbacks from 2/3 of the non-GNOME users responding to the survey.

  • 29% Usability
  • 27% Tools
  • 19% Appearance
  • 9% Games
  • 5% Others (e.g. don’t know, stability, lack applications)
  • 23% No comment

We can even add that with only 43% of GNOME users among the respondents we are getting 82% of them willing to recommend their friends to use GNOME. Definitely something interesting and which could make one believe that the extra 39% are most likely going to try GNOME out in the near future.

Out of the 18% negative responses (“no I will not recommend GNOME”), the reasons of not doing so are:

  • Not familiar with Linux or GNOME
  • Friends are not using Linux
  • Prefer to recommend other desktop

This sounds like a very reasonable thing to do and shows that the survey has been taken seriously by the respondents, thus giving more weight to the other feedbacks.

75% of the respondents would like to see more events similar to COSCUP / GNOME.Asia 2010 in Taiwan.

On a less statistical note we also asked respondents to write a comment about their perception of GNOME after the conference. Here are some of the quotes we gathered:

  • GNOME 3 is very interesting, cool and attractive, looking forward to the launch
  • Learnt a lot more about GNOME through the conference and will definitely try it out
  • GNOME Shell looks cool and should play with it
  • GNOME education is very cool
  • GNOME has a lot of great tools
  • A lot of contributors in the GNOME project
  • Got so much new ideas about GNOME out of the conference
  • Not to become MacOSX
  • The new GNOME Shell is too complex to do task switching, the “traditional” tarkbar-like UI is out fashion, but it’s useful through many years.
  • GNOME/GTK+ should also focus a bit more on embedded devices, not to let KDE monopolise. Besides it is suggested to make a light version of GNOME
  • Chinese localisation is quite complete, but still have room for improvement e.g. Pango+Cairo applications, there is Chinese display problem

Overall GNOME.Asia efforts to bring local summits to each Asian country seem to be a valuable goal well received by the local participants. It also seems that the intended side effect of growing the GNOME community and attracting more users is being achieved. After three years of operations we can see the creation of local GNOME User Groups in 2 out of the 3 countries visited, a strengthen GNOME.Asia committee and a willingness by this committee to go beyond a summit organization effort. The committee is already actively working on the next chapter of GNOME.Asia Summit, trying to coordinate with the GNOME 3.0 release as well as already looking at the 2012 chapter. GNOME.Asia Summit is definitely here to stay!

Click here to visualize those great moments that make a conference unforgettable 🙂

Thanks GNOME Foundation to sponsor my travel!

SFD 2010 registration is open!

Software Freeom Day 2010

As a board member of Software Freedom International (and Secretary), it is with great pleasure to announce that Software Freedom Day 2010 registration is now OPEN!

For its 7th inception, the team at Software Freedom Day has finally opened registration for SFD 2010 teams to get free goodies to prepare their event. For those not familiar with SFD, it’s an annual event happening on the third Saturday of September (September 18th this year) which purpose is to reach out to the public to educate, discuss and demonstrate the virtues and benefits of Free Software. With around 800 locally managed events in 2009, SFI (the non-profit organization behind SFD) hopes to reach more than a thousand teams this year and hundreds of thousands of people. Indeed within less than 24 hours, there are already over 100 teams registered!

I personally started to get involved in Software Freedom Day since 2007 when I was the Vice President of Beijing Linux User Group. Organizer and winner of the Best 2007 Event Competition in 2007, I have then been involved in three events in 2008, two in Beijing and one in Qingdao. In 2009, supporting 86 events in China as well as a founding member organization of the SFDChina.org. Since, I have also been helping Software Freedom International to ship all the goodies worldwide, while making funny videos of it. I have to say it’s a great fun to organize and join all those SFD events! So will you also participate and join this passionate community in their world domination effort?

A thousand registrations within 85 min. for COSCUP / GNOME.Asia 2010

After months of preparation and working with  COSCUP team (a local co-organizer from Taiwan), COSCUP / GNOME.Asia 2010 is going to be hosted next month on August 14th and 15th in Taipei. I would like to share with you a few updates. Firstly, a total of 90 talks were received before June 25th, 2010, thanks a lot for all the speakers who submitted their talks! Due to the limited time slots, only 60 of them could be accepted. Final schedule will be announced in a week from now. Secondly, the online registration opened on July 5th, 2010, and over a thousand participants registered within the first 85 minutes. That is very impressive! I would say it’s a very good start for the joint event! We’re now looking at ways to accept more people or make the event available also to people who couldn’t get a seat at the conference.

COSCUP / GNOME.Asia 2010 Call For Participants

GNOME.Asia SummitAs part of the organizing team of GNOME.Asia Summit, I would like to post the Call for participants of the GNOME.Asia Summit 2010 here and let all the communities in Asia know that we are looking for speakers, exhibitors and participants this year. Please find below the announcement and don’t hesitate to pass the message along!

Dear GNOME friends,

For this third edition of the GNOME.Asia Summit we’re delighted to partner with the organizers of the largest annual community-based Open Source conference in Taiwan, COSCUP (Conference for Open Source Coders, Users and Promoters). The event will be held on August 14th and 15th at the International Conference Hall, Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, Academia Sinica in Taipei (Taiwan).

Right now the joint conference of COSCUP / GNOME.Asia 2010 is calling for papers. With a tagline of “Open Web and Mobile Technologies”, it emphasizes the exciting development in these two areas as well as the GNOME desktop environment, and leverages the world-leading hardware industry in Taiwan.

Call for Paper
Submit a Talk!

Important Information

The deadlines:

  • Submission: June 25th 2010
  • Notification of acceptance: July 4th 2010


  • Conference Date: August 14th – 15th 2010
  • Venue: International Conference Hall, Humanities and Social Sciences Building, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan

Main Topics
Possible topics include, but not limited to:

1. The latest GNOME 3.0
The three big things about GNOME 3 are user experience, accessibility, and apps. The most coolest apps on GNOME 3.0 etc.

2. GNOME library and application development
Development involves many different projects, on the GNOME Desktop Environment and the GNOME applications.

3. Desktop deployments and customization
Deploy and customize GNOME desktop in your country

4. Mobile platforms and thin clients
GNOME desktop on mobile platform, like on phone, thin clients like Sun Ray

5. Localization & Internationalization
Translation, Input Method, Dictionary, anything related to L10n and I18n is welcome

6. GNOME Communities
Organize local Users Group, spreading the knowledge of GNOME and building a vibrant, thriving community around GNOME

7. GNOME Accessibility
Accessibility enables people with disabilities to participate in activities such as work and the use of services, products, and information.

8. Testing
Automation testing framework, test cases developement, bug management and all kings of topic related to QA.

9. HTML 5 and the Web Technologies
Topics around web technologies including demonstrations, tips and applications etc. It would be best if it was related to HTML 5 and front-end technologies but is not a requirement.

10. FOSS & Hardware
Hack your devices using FOSS! The term “devices” include embedded systems, home electronics, set-top boxes, wireless base stations, e-book readers, automotive electronics, mobile phones, and PDA/MIDs etc.

11. FOSS Business, legally
FOSS legal issues which include standard processes on FOSS  commercial usage, FOSS business model research, and reverse engineering for GPL compliance check.

12. Other topics
Any FOSS related topic which not listed above is still welcome. Your participation can help us make the conference better, and that’s how Open Source communities work!

13. Lightning talks
A five-minutes presentation to demonstrate your work or promote an interesting topic. Reservation and on-site application are both accepted.

The sessions at the COSCUP / GNOME.Asia 2010 will be scheduled for two time blocks:

A: 45mins talk + 15 mins Q&A

B: 25mins talk + 5 mins Q&A

Please take into consideration any time you will need for preparation. The session could be a technical talk, panel discussion, or BOF.

If you’d like to share your knowledge, experience, or opinion at COSCUP 2010, please fill in the form here before June 25th, 2010. The program committee will contact you before July 4th, 2010 to inform you whether your submission has been accepted or not.

All interested contributors are highly encouraged to send in their talks. Please help us to spread the invitation to other potential participants. Even you do not plan to be a speaker, please consider joining COSCUP / GNOME.Asia 2010. This is going to be a great event!


Organization Team