Stormy’s Update: August 30, 2010

This is my update for work done for the GNOME Foundation. For a higher level overview for what I do as the Executive Director, see What do I do as Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation?

During the week of July, I was at GUADEC 2010! There I attended the GNOME Board of Directors annual meeting, ran the GNOME Board of Advisors annual meeting, put together the Getting Things Done lightening talks and met with lots of people. It was a great GUADEC in a great venue with lots of good talks and conversations – we’ve been getting lots of good feedback. Kudos to the local organizing team! You can see all the videos of the talks at Flumotion’s website as it was streamed live and recorded! The videos are licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0 so please use and share them. (Flumotion was nominated for a Reader’s Choice Award for them. You can vote for them here.)

During the first week of August, I went on vacation.

Since then I’ve been trying to catch up on my Inbox, follow up on conversations, and generally make sure that I’m helping make great things happen in GNOME.

Attended LinuxCon in Boston and made a call for free (as in free software) web services. Pointed out several of the ones GNOME is working on. Ran into lots of interesting people but not enough time to talk to them all as much I’d have liked.

I met one on one with Rosanna. And Brian.

I attended board meetings. I think the new board is still figuring out who’s doing what and who’s good at what but they are coming together and their talents balance nicely.

Met with Nokia about the money they are providing to GNOME Mobile.

Tried to attend a webinar about Finances and nonprofits put on by our insurance company but had some technical difficulties. Will try again next time.

Had several interviews for magazines and blogs. Trying to push them towards other interesting GNOME people! (I do the same with speaking invitations, by the way. Which is why I’m really looking forward to the GNOME Ambassadors program.)

Had brief meetings with our attorneys and our accountant to get some clarifying information.

Attended the FSF’s women’s group meeting. (I don’t think it’s called that – that’s how I think of it. It’s a group of women in free software that are trying to make sure women know about opportunities in free software and to get more girls involved.)

Worked on the Free Software booth for Grace Hopper. Booked hotel for that.

Booked travel for Ohio LinuxFest.

Worked on getting GNOME representation at board and community level for the Desktop Summit 2011.

Finished the Q2 quarterly report with help from all the teams, Vinicius Depizzol and Vincent Untz!

Worked with LGM to help them get their reimbursements in order for LGM 2008, 2009 and 2010. (Rosanna is double checking them and processing them.)

Debating future travel. Latinoware, GNOME Forum Brazil, Desktop Summit 2011 planning meeting (how much of a role should I play in GUADEC – is it changing?), Boston Summit, … already going to Ohio LinuxFest and Grace Hopper and I’m enjoying being home for a while.

Had a meeting with LiMo, Samsung, Ryan Lortie, Alberto Ruiz and Vincent Untz at GUADEC.  To talk about GTK+ and upcoming related events.

Reviewed actual budget numbers for the year in preparation for helping with our 2011 budget. The year starts in October so now is the time to get in your requests for community events or other things you think GNOME should do in the next year.

Connected several people with great ideas with people I thought could help move them forward.

Pinged the MIT folks a few times, as did J5, and we now have rooms for the Boston Summit!

Following up with marketing team and others on numerous offers to give us pro-bono ads in magazines.

Met with a couple of advisory board members. Hoping to meet up with those I missed via phone soon.

Putting all the Hackfest pieces together

Planning a hackfest is not an easy process. You need an:

  • organizer – someone willing to put some time into making the whole thing happen
  • topic – what are you going to be hacking on, what do you hope to accomplish
  • attendees – this is usually a particular group of people that work on a specific project or team
  • date – have you ever tried to schedule a multi-day meeting with multiple people? Agreeing on a week can be really hard.
  • place – a place with affordable lodging and food with a comfortable place to hack with great internet. Preferably some place easy and cheap to travel to.
  • sponsors – flying a group of people to the same place often costs quite a bit of money

Luckily we’ve had people and companies willing to invest the time and resources to make this happen. During the past year we’ve had a record number of very productive hackfests and we have even more coming up!

And we have more opportunities! Not only are a lot of teams looking to have hackfests in the near future but we have people offering up venues!

  • Dave Richards from the City of Largo is interested in hosting a hackfest. Many of you know Dave from his participation in the Boston Summit. The City of Largo is a big GNOME fan – they use a lot of thin client solutions.
  • Daniel Siegel has once again offered up Bolzano and the Free Software Center of South Tyrol as a GNOME hackfest location in conjunction with their annual event in November. It’s a beautiful location and we’ve had several successful GNOME hackfests there over the years like the Zeitgeist one. This year all of the groups that I’ve contacted can’t make the dates work, so if you know of a team looking for a venue, this might be right for you!

So if you are interested in organizing a hackfest, please let us know. The GNOME Foundation is here to help – we can help find sponsors, venues, mentors, checklists, etc. The Board of Directors have even offered to act as mentors for any one planning a hackfest!

GNOME Foundation hosting free web services

The GNOME Foundation is hosting free web services.

As you probably already know, the GNOME Foundation is hosting Tomboy Online which is in an invite only alpha right now.

We also have a public instance of a Gobby server running, so you can edit documents real time with others by pointing Gobby at! When we update to the new protocol, you will also be able to collaboratively edit in gedit. Gobby runs on Windows, Mac, Linux and other Unix like operating systems.

For those of you that easily host your own Gobby servers, this may not seem like a big deal. But for those of us that groan at the thought of figuring out how to host a server of any kind, keep it running and answer questions from others, well, this makes it a lot easier for us to use the free software services that are out there!

Kids on Computers is officially a 501(c)(3)!

I got back from GUADEC and was ecstatic to find a letter from the IRS saying that Kids on Computers is officially a US federal 501(c)(3) organization!!!

It’s retroactive to February 25, 2009. (We have been a Colorado nonprofit since our start but this gives us federal status.)

Having 501(c)(3) status will enable us to qualify for more grants and programs targeted at nonprofit organizations. It also helps establish people’s trust (they know you are doing a public good) and enables some people to deduct their donation from the money they pay taxes on.

Many thanks to Serena Robb who filled out all the paperwork for us! It was her first time filling out a 501(c)(3) federal application and she did a lot of research to make sure she got it right.

Lake Powell

In case you were wondering where I was the week of August 2nd, here are some pictures. 14 of us spent the week on this boat. (The one in the background!) 6 adults, 4 teenagers, 3 ten year olds and 1 three year old. We had what we’d brought along and the lake and the surrounding country side for entertainment and subsistence. I was really excited to be going as it’s something I’ve wanted to do since I moved to Colorado 15 years ago.

We had an absolute blast. The scenery is beautiful. All desert colors. Lots of cliffs and canyons. Even some Indian ruins – which after our hazardous climb up we wondered how in the world they got food and water to their cliff dwellings.

The favorite activities of the week were fishing and combat tubing. (And just hanging out talking and taking in the scenery.)

If you haven’t seen Lake Powell, I highly recommend it. If you aren’t into boats, there are parts you can drive to. It was absolutely beautiful.

In an ironic twist of fate, my cell phone was the only one that didn’t work on the lake, so I really was on vacation!

How are you helping GNOME to be web aware?

Thursday I’ll be giving a keynote at LinuxCon. I’m talking about your desktop, the web and your data. If you are working on a GNOME project that integrates the web with the desktop (or plans to), and would like to spread the word about it, please let me know!

Ideally you’d send me:

  • a brief description of your project and how it interacts with the web or web apps
  • a screen shot
  • issues or concerns that you’ve had either about how the desktop, the web and data integrate or about how user freedom is preserved

I can’t promise to include them all but I’d love to highlight what GNOME people are thinking about and working on.